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My Aha! parenting moment

Two weeks ago I wrote about how I have been seeking outside assistance for behavioral issues besieging us at home with my eldest child. Not only have I been amassing volumes of parenting strategy books, advice from veteran parents, and scouring the internet for magical solutions but the three of us (Kieran, David, and myself) have been going to a “multi-disciplinary therapy center for children which helps provide parents and children with a holistic and effective intervention for challenges they may face.” This is because, as you may have gathered, I was at my wits’ end with no real solutions to our plight. It’s been a month in and I am already seeing the benefits of our therapy.

ONE STEP  AT A TIME Amanda Griffin Jacob with her first born Kieran (Manila Bulletin)

ONE STEP AT A TIME Amanda Griffin Jacob with her first born Kieran (Manila Bulletin)

Yesterday, David and I went to our solo session with the social skills therapist to discuss the improvements (or lack thereof if that was the case) in Kieran’s behavior as a result of their input to us and their work with him in the last month. I’ve been cautiously optimistic about our progress, but yesterday’s session presented me with an epiphany. Or rather, our therapist shone a light on the complications that are contributing to these issues and, as I suspected, a lot of them are because of the way we react to him.

One of the main reasons I decided I needed to garner professional guidance was because I knew in my heart that we as parents were not responding in a way that was helping our situation at home. In fact I knew our reactions and responses were compounding the problem. But knowing this information isn’t that useful, as we need concrete solutions and strategies on how to be better for our son. It wasn’t comfortable that’s for sure. But when is it ever pleasurable when your faults and flaws are presented so that you can evaluate them?

(Manila Bulletin)

Kieran (Manila Bulletin)

The Aha! moment came when I realized I had become so resentful because I felt like the amount of time and energy I was spending to diffuse Kieran’s temper, fights, and neediness were encroaching in on my time with my other two kids. This realization really made me feel like a crappy mom. Here my child was needing me, my attention, and more of my love and I was feeling angry. I hadn’t even known that I was feeling like that until I started speaking out loud. As a mother you don’t allow yourself to dwell on emotions like that because of the guilt. Once, it was out there I felt relieved. Finally my comprehension of my experience has come to light and now there is something I can do about it.

With the therapist’s help we have formulated a plan to help the family dynamic and how we all interact at home. As she cautioned, we aren’t “fixing” anything. We are providing tools for Kieran on how to deal, cope, and communicate in a manner that will help Kieran in life. We are also resetting the way we approach him and our issues so that we can respond in a way that he can understand. I’ve been told many times (and by this therapist as well) that Kieran has the traits of a great leader. This kind of personality is just difficult to parent. I know my lovable, independent, intelligent ball of fire is destined for amazing things. It’s my duty to learn how to parent him in a way that will help develop these traits in the best way possible.

So my Eureka parenting moment was a unification of feeling crappy and then realizing that I have the power to effect change in the way I parent and the atmosphere at home. It’s only been a few days but I already feel much better about myself as Kieran’s mother, which is also evident with his improved behavior. All three of us are working on improving ourselves. As we all know parenthood doesn’t come with an instruction manual, so we are all learning as we go along.

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