I’ve had many big gaps in my blog posts over the last year. I haven’t stopped writing. Life has just been a little ugly and the writing I’ve done didn’t need to be shared with the whole wide world. Some of that ugliness has revolved around Sofija. She has had big regression in her behavior and many new behaviors have shown up. Because of our history with having things used against her (and our whole family), I choose not to share the really hard stuff.
My dear hubby sometimes calls me “Tenacious K”. I don’t give up on things, people, ideas, goals. I just don’t. It’s a blessing and it’s a curse, but it’s who I am. In my tenacity to help Sofija reach her full potential and be the amazing world-changer God created her to be, I have read more books on attachment parenting and parenting traumatized children than most professionals who treat the children diagnosed with RAD and PTSD. Some of the books I’ve read were obviously written by people who have never actually spent time at home with a child who was neglected and traumatized early in life. Those books are filled with all these ideals of enforcing consequences and using reasoning and rational thought to parent your adopted child. Ummm….. have you ever tried to reason with an autistic child who is self-destructing? I have. They don’t really care what rational thoughts you’re trying to share and it’s almost impossible to come across as rational when you’re chasing them across the street and through the front door of a neighbor who has no clue who you are. “Come on, Sweetie. Let’s go home. It’s not a good idea to run away from Mama when we’re getting in the car and it’s never a good idea to run through the front door of a house where you don’t know the occupants or what weapons they protect their house with.” Sounds PERFECTLY rational… Right?!
The best books I’ve read are based on the premise that “Love never fails.” I have always told my children that they “are the only variable in any situation”. The variable in an algebra equation is the thing that can be manipulated and changed. None of us has any power to change another person. We only have the power to change ourselves. The books that have made a difference in my parenting skills are the ones who remind me that I have to change me and my reactions. They all say the same thing…. Everything I do is based out of love or based out of fear. the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is fear. If I want to react to my children on the basis of love I have to stop worrying about them making bad choices. I can’t be afraid of what other people think of them or of me as a mother. I can’t be afraid that they will make the same mistakes in life that I made. I can’t be afraid that every risky behavior is going to end or drastically alter their lives. Love and fear just cannot coexist. Period. 1 John 4:18 ESV There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
So…. I’m attempting to react to everyone in my house on the basis of love. This is not such an easy feat. I am the oldest of five children. I’ve always believed that I would not be heard unless I spoke loudly. My husband is Italian and our last name ends in a vowel. Yelling is what we do. But yelling is not loving. I can’t remember ever feeling loved when someone yelled at me. I want my children to always feel loved. I have to let go of my fear of not being heard. I have to let go of my fear that my children will fail epically if I do not speak loud enough to make them stop what they’re doing. Now that I think about it. I can’t remember my yelling ever being very effective at stopping them from making bad choices. It may have made them angry or given them a reason to be sneaky, but it certainly didn’t make them want to be good.
This morning I discovered Orange Rhino Mom. This woman has four boys and she set out on a mission 421 days ago to not yell for an entire year. 421 days later… she’s still not yelling. Her journey is amazing and filled with great life lessons. If you are thinking about starting this love-based, non-yelling journey with me, I encourage you to read her Q&A on getting started and 10 Things She learned When She Stopped Yelling at Her Kids.
And then… if you’re really serious about joining me on my journey, I encourage you to go to THIS LIST. Print out several copies. Laminate them or put them in page protectors and post them in all the places you are likely to have your buttons pushed. People, if we can’t find a loving alternative to yelling out of the 100 options on that list, then we have absolute confirmation that our children are not the source of our anger or lack of self-control.
Let’s get busy loving our families.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. LOVE NEVER FAILS…