Sunday, June 26, 2016

Passionate Child

E1 is passionate. I should know. I am passionate. When you're passionate, everything is big. You love big, you believe big, you laugh big, but the flip side carries emotions that are difficult for an adult let alone a child. Your sensitivity is big, your frustration is big, your anger is big. Passion makes for a phenomenal employee, mother, sister, friend, etc if you can handle the roller coaster of emotions.

Yesterday we experienced another passionate storm with E1. E1 can get really  mad and frustrated. She can clench her fists, stomp her feet, and slam her door, or she can literally scream with or without tears rolling down her face. I have to walk away when she's mad. My mouth wants to say things like, "Are you fucking kidding me, calm the fuck down, why the hell are you even mad, you're being a bitch, etc." My brain and heart know after almost eight years to say, "I'll talk to you when you are calm."

I cannot tell you how many nights I have worried about her. She is passionate. She is smart. She is a child who feels emotions so intense that when she she is happy and laughing your whole world lights up and when she is mad - stay away. E1 is me. She is her mother's daughter. This is what worries me. I can make a decision based on anger and hell hath no fury like me.

We know she can control her anger because E1 never behaves this way at school. Never. The outburst is reserved for home - fun times for us. We have had a behavior chart, we have bribed with outings, we have taken things away, we have earned screen time, TV time, play dates, etc. The Take A Break Box (see blog post) has helped IF I can diffuse the situation early enough, but when I do not see it coming...damn it. The chain helped (see blog post Strength) and I do not remember why we stopped. Shame on me. I am so guilty of putting something in place, it works, the behavior subsides and the idiot in my brain takes over and tricks me into believing we are finished with that phase.

Parenting is not a phase. Children are not a phase. Everything just comes and goes. And sometimes when it comes again, it has grown.

Yesterday's episode involved both girls and it escalated because E1 got angry at her sister and instead of working it out or coming to us for help she turned her back on her sister and refused to acknowledge her. We do not ignore family in this house, we do not turn our backs on family in this house, we do not disrespect FAMILY. This not negotiable. May you get mad, angry, frustrated at your family? Hell yes. But, you will communicate you need a break, alone time, time to think. You will NOT ignore. That is bull shit. And it is damn rude.

So after E1 finished screaming and after E1 calmed down, with tears down her face she said, "I am only 7 - what do you expect from me? To be an adult?" Was she right? Do we expect too much? In some respects, yes. In others, no. I have high expectations for both my girls and my own passion will not allow me to settle for anything less than their best. I am understanding more and more each day how this is a blessing and a curse for my children. I will deal with my own expectations as I help them deal with their own daily lives. I think this is why I drink so much coffee. It is exhausting being a parent.

With E1, we discussed ALL our previous behavior plans, interventions, punishments. E1 let us know taking things away only makes her madder and makes it too hard to earn things back because she starts each day mad. (That is a damn good point.) So, the hubs and I brainstormed again and we went back to what we know. E1 needs to SEE her progress.

We have a jar that we will fill with a pom pom when a day is completed without a major storm. E1 can get mad, frustrated, angry, etc but she cannot escalate to screaming. When the jar is filled, E1 receives a "small prize" of her choosing. E1 expressed that if the jar is too big she will never reach the goal. Together, we decided to start with a small jar and have the jar size grow as she gets better at controlling her anger.

I know this is difficult for E1. I know when she gets frustrated and angry her first response is to clench fists, stomp, or scream. I know it is hard to handle an emotion bigger than yourself. I know this is a challenging task for adults and to ask a child to be successful in this is a tall feat.

What I need to know is to be patient. I need to know that this will take time. I need to know that some days are still going to suck. I need to know that we will be dealing with this for her entire life.

I hope and pray that her passion leads her to great accomplishments and that we will have given her enough strength when she is frustrated and angry, she can move forward. That is what life is about - moving forward.

Raising a passionate child has reduced me to tears, has brought me intense joy and laughter, and has given me a love bigger than myself.

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