Sunday, August 25, 2013

Therapeutic Roots

The going has been rough around here lately. We’ve got a variety of stressors going on from all areas of our life. Monkey’s mishandled case and SuperD’s disregulated behavior are at the top of a very long list of challenges right now.

Since I can’t get a handle on Monkey’s case and am basically limited to being a spectator as incompetent attorneys sit by and refuse to advocate, I am instead devoting myself to dealing with SuperD’s messy little mind. I admit, we’ve fallen out of the habit of being therapeutic all the time. More times than I care to confess recently, we have defaulted to taking away toys (putting them in time out), using time out for SuperD (we call it quiet time) and even sending him to his room (which he HATES because it is on a different floor than the rest of us). I’m pretty ashamed to have fallen so far from my therapeutic beliefs and given in to frustration so often.

While sitting in court for 5 ½ hours last week waiting for Moneky’s case to be called, I went ahead and reread The Connected Child. Since we can’t have any kind of electronics, including cell phones, in court the book was a good way to distract me from the 13 or so other people who were also waiting 5 ½ hours for the case to be called. You can only talk for so long. I’m glad I spent the time refreshing my memory on therapeutic techniques.

I’ve made a concerted effort to use affectionate touch more with SuperD, to praise for EVERYthing he does well/right and to use a more authoritative but emotionless voice when correcting him. I’ve never put a lot of effort into getting him to maintain eye contact until the last few days and I’ve been surprised to find how difficult it is for him. When he’s disregulated, he also flinches away from touch (overstimulating?) and is hypersensitive to sound and temperature.
Hubby and I had moved away from referring to each other as mom and dad to SuperD, as it seemed to be causing him some anxiety. We went back to it this weekend, though. I realized that for the rest of his childhood, people would be referring to us that way. And we need him to see us as his parents, not his temporary caregivers. He still can’t bring himself to call us mom and dad, and I’m trying to be okay with that. I want to hear him call me mom, but it has to be on his comfort level.

Things that worked for us this weekend were: lots of lap time, snuggling, reading together; getting on SuperD’s level and mirroring his movements (sitting cross-legged, putting my hand on my head, etc.); long family walks; SuperD/hubby TV time, one of the few times the boys really snuggle up to each other; staying close to home and limiting SuperD’s exposure to very stimulating situations. That meant missing a birthday party, which was disappointing, but I’d rather have my kiddo feeling safe and secure than spend 2 hours at a party. It’s nice to be getting back to my therapeutic roots.

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