Ayla reading with Gigi (my mom)
mmmmm, organic watermelonOne of my daughters can be very...sensitive, intense, explosive. If she feels that things are unfair or overwhelming, out of control, or Just Too Much, she's likely to scream, run, slam doors, etc. She is also very creative, loving, intelligent, and thoughtful, and she doesn't WANT to act like a maniac, hurt other people's feelings, or embarrass herself. So, my biggest challenges as her mother are how to best support her through these intense emotional reactions, soothe others' hurt feelings (including her siblings) , and NOT take it personally.
Firstly, I try to avoid situations that I know are likely to agitate her. I can not control her feelings or her reactions, but I can find ways to bring goodness, fun, and learning into her life without putting her in situations that I know to be uncomfortably demanding on her nature.
I don't always get it right. I don't always stay calm, and find the magic solution to smooth out a bumpy situation, but she knows that I'm trying my best, and I know that she's trying her best. I don't attempt to shame or discipline these behaviors out of her, because not only would that not work anyway, but it would erode the relationship that we have, and make it that much harder for her to trust that we can work things out, and Breathe in the process. I do coach her on how to make better decisions, take deep breaths, and we talk about how her reactions affect her and other people (in the calm moments we talk, not the explosive ones). She may not be able to shut down her intensity in these moments, but I ask her to make the best decision that she is able to make in the moment. Yelling is better than hitting and moving away from an irritating situation is better than trying to forcefully change it. I trust that her decisions will get better and better as she matures and learns what works for her.
Respectfully parenting an emotional, powerful, intense daughter can be such a challenge, but I love who she is, and I find that I have been challenged in ways that have made me a better person.
sisters at play
lettuces, mulched, backyard garden
staking out front yard garden (corn, beans, and squash, soon to be planted here)