Progress on this journey is such an interesting thing. With some kids it came quick and we moved consistently forward. They were almost hungry for the help and ready for it.
With other kids, most of the kids really, they were super resistant to making any changes.
The more I pushed the more they pushed back.
I found the quicker I just accepted their reality.
The need for control to feel safe.
The need to not be pushed.
The more I accepted that and created space for it the easier the process was. It wasn’t faster. But it wasn’t any slower either. It just was easier.
Let’s take a child with a need to have hygiene issues. Sometimes we think that’s the hardest thing ever and it can drive us crazy. You know how you send them to shower, and they say they showered, because they did shower, but what they didn’t do is use soap??? Just to annoy you?? Because of course you have told them over and over to use soap. The things we are most triggered by seem to be the ones our kids pick.
When you just accept the reality:
My child wants hygiene issues to be the current battle.
How will I make that work for me, and the whole family?
Well let’s see - Let’s look over the problems we see:
Joe sitting on the couch makes me feel like I need to have it cleaned every time he's on it.
Joe in the kitchen doesn’t feel sanitary.
I don’t want Joe on my bed.
That's it really.
If you were to remove all those things from the equation then are the hygiene issues really an issue anymore? Is it possible to let the hygiene issue exist for as long as it needs to, while creating a safe and happy home for the rest of the family? Can I solve this? Totally!
Does Joe need to sit on the couch to have a happy childhood? No! There are lots of places to sit that are way easier to keep clean and sanitary and Joe can be perfectly happy there and keep his need for a hygiene issue right now - no need to fight over it.
Does Joe absolutely have to be in the kitchen to be a full and happy kiddo? NO! Anyone can bring him food and he can eat just fine in other areas that are easier to clean.
Does Joe need to be on your bed in order to spend time with you? NO! You can swing outside together, jump on the trampoline, read outside together, play a game just fine on the back patio table or on the lawn. We can still go for a walk or bike ride together. There are lots of ways to create time together that feel good for both of us!
Areas of contention around the behavior are solved. Joe can keep the behavior as long as he needs it and he can still be happy and safe. Everyone can be happy and feel safe.
This is what we might call “create the space for the behavior”.
When you finally just sink in, accept the behavior as reality, and create the space for it - meaning set it up for success for the whole family. You included. Then either everyone is happy and the behavior still exists OR everyone is happy and Joe no longer feels the behavior is needed - because no one is annoyed by it and 6 times out of 10 that was the intention in the first place.
Get my drift? This can be applied to any behavior. Important to remember, it doesn’t mean all behaviors go away, some behaviors are needed for protection and control for a long time. But it does mean that everyone in a family deserves to be happy and feel safe. Even you!
The progress comes when you least expect it.
When you settle in to where things are right now and create space for them you will be amazed at what no longer is an issue!
Remember my earlier post about attitude though? A lot depends on the way you go about it.
Question just to think about and look at and journal about - remember no action needed unless you want to -
What behaviors right now are driving you crazy and how could you create space for those behaviors to not be a problem or source of contention any longer?