Thursday, November 3, 2011

the full force of a Raging Mother

I used to wonder why I was blessed with two challenging children. And, then I realized that we are all challenged and challenging in different ways. Each one of us flawed human beings, with demons that we exercise and need exorcised. Our children are no exception.

Tonight my daughter had one of her full-out tantrums in which she is so angry that she cannot see straight. She loses feeling of where her body is in space, and rages, flinging herself wildly around.

I handled it poorly. I met her anger force with mine. Not with physical force, but the full force of a Raging Mother.

That never works.

Later, after tears and hugs and tears again, we talked it through. She needs me now. More than ever. To guide her, and provide tools so that she can choose how she reacts to a situation in which she feels she has no control over.

We are both exhausted. But, we are on to something. A plan. One that will help facilitate a conscious negotiation, and not just a battle.

I rubbed her back as I sang to her tonight. It calmed us both. And, I ached with the thought that any of her pain had been caused by me...

Sculpture called "Comforted" at The Sculpture Gallery.

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  1. Oh, Jennifer, you speak to a part of parenting I think we ALL can relate to! I grew up with parents who believed in corporal punishment which caused me to make a pact with myself that I would never, ever hit my kid. But boy...I gotta tell you, there were times he'd make me mad enough that the force I sent back his way in terms of volume and anger was not something to be proud of. I kept my promise, I never, ever hit him, but I did feel shame a few more times than I'd like to admit. But I apologized, he apologized, we talked, just as you did with your little girl, and we got through it.

    Growing up ain't easy, not for the kid, not for the mother. But I think any little girl who gets calmed to sleep by a loving mother who sings and rubs her back in spite of earlier conflagrations is a little girl who knows she's loved and whose pain is caused only by life and its vagaries, not the mother seated at her bedside.

  2. As a mother of a child routinely prone to full out rages and a mother who occasionally resorts to raging back, I've got a little personal as well as professional expertise in this area. "Blow out birthday candles" is what I taught my child. A child version of deep breathing - full inhales followed (most importantly) by full exhales. My child hated doing it, resisted it, but when we were successful at extinguishing as many candles in one exhale as possible? Calm and sanity restored. In fact, the child would start to giggle.

    Best to teach and discuss before the next rage event.

    Now, just so you know, birthday candles does not come with money back guarantee where mother-rages are concerned.

  3. p.s. there are no actual cake and birthday candles involved. imaginary cake and candles? yes.

  4. i got into it with my 13 year old the other night about homework and swim team. it was HORRIBLE. and by that i mean i was horrible.

  5. This happens to all of us at some point. It's the talking through that makes it parenting.


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