How to be a tough cop parent with kindness and compassion 28/01/2019

What starts off with oneself being young and vibrant and full of hope and dreams meeting the man/girl that they are going to have their children with. And one day it happens, they excitedly bring home a beautiful delicate newborn that they can only love and adore. As dreams become harsh realities of hard work and little sleep, they unknowingly begin a pattern of destruction. They eagerly give into every demand their little angel has, (anything for a quiet life, right?) Then zap on ten short years later and a monster has come into the home and kicked their sweet little precious out and it’s here to stay! And the nightmare begins.
Of course I’m not generalising this. Not every child is going to cause you major headaches and confusion. If you’re one of the lucky ones and your first baby is easy enough and not very demanding, you’re probably going to escape major tantrums. Although take it from me, don’t sit back and relax just yet, there’ll be plenty of opportunities and issues that will arise with that particular child to keep you confused and questioning.
But let’s have a look at the difficult child first. It will have severe crying fits from as early as newborn. She/he is one of those babies one has no idea why they cry. They are fed, watered, nappy changed, not too hot, not too cold, cries when they wake up, cries when they go to sleep. And every cry is immediately met with instant attention.
As baby grows into a toddler, it becomes more demanding and stubborn. This can appear cute and harmless at first when you think your toddler is asserting themselves. It’s not so fun when it becomes clear that the child has become the boss of the house and screams in deafening hysteria until it gets its own way.
My difficult child came third and last. Now, I’m not saying that she wasn’t the most adorable little creature God put on this earth, but had she have came first, I’m pretty sure I would’ve been locked up in one home and she in another! She was definitely a challenge. She had the terrifying tantrums and by age four she began to hit me when I tried to get her to do what she needed to do. I could see that she was terrified during her tantrums. She was so sad and frustrated.
So the first thing I had to do was sort out this bad behaviour. After getting some very good advise from a wise old person, I got down to her level and firmly but kindly took her hands and said that if she hit me again, she would go on the step for a time-out. When she continued to hit me, I placed her on the bottom stair for four minutes. Of course there was mass hysteria and she tried to leave the step the whole time but I stood there preventing her from leaving the step again, kindly and firmly until her time was up. Then I asked her to tell me she was sorry.
This was a tactic I continued to use successfully from that day on. The thing was, on that first day, I could actually see the fear leaving my daughter’s eyes as she realised that Mammy was finally taking control.
As it turned out, my daughter had a sensory condition and a comprehension disorder, so the two factors meant that certain conditions or environments made her confused and uncomfortable and frustrated, which is why she cried a lot.
Learning to read and write and understand things was really difficult for her, so she got really angry with herself.
Having a learning disorder was all the more reason to not let her away with the bad behaviour from such a young age. Because she was always going to have this difficulty. It was always going to be hard for her to learn. It was always going to frustrate her but what was the alternative? Give in to her? Feel sorry for her? And let her tantrums get worse, no way.
So yes, it is so hard to see your child crying and genuinely upset when they are finding things difficult to do, but kids are good at crying and if you know for sure that they are in a pretty good environment, well then what I would often say is ‘Don’t believe their crocodile tears!’ And you can’t tell them ‘Ok then, don’t do it.’ You’ve got to sympathise with them for sure , blow their nose if needed, give them a bit of fresh air and then say, now let’s try that again! And that goes for behaviour, education sport, activities.
Because that is the only way your child with learning difficulties or no learning difficulties will get through life.
It’s ok for things to be tough and hard when it’s all for the child’s benefit.
Jean xx

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