Unanchored Thoughts

Bits and pieces of musings about family, friends, social issues, and whatever else travels through my head without a purpose.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Difficult, Hard to Manage, Spirited, or Something Else

I'm reading this book right now. (I couldn't figure out how to get a "clean" image like Mike does, so ignore the "click to look inside" arrows from Amazon.) Months ago when the wheels were coming off the Maguire bus our pediatrician suggested this book. I bristled and decided to change my attitude toward difficult parenting situations...embrace them and go with the flow. It worked, sort of. Peace seemed to be a relative constant in the house and I was confident in my parenting. Well, some prompting from outsiders has caused me to rethink whether or not we really have peace. Have I just willed myself into believing that daily meltdowns over clothes and food are the norm with a three-year-old? Is there an underlying issue that needs to be addressed? Can my parenting be tweaked to get a sense of peace that is apparent not only to me, but to outsiders as well?

These questions prompted me to talk to the school. No problems there, they assure me....though they also take more than the per capita annual income for many small nations from my bank account every week so I do question their motives. Make an appointment with a recommended pediatric psychologist. Their office won't return my calls and I'm not really sure what I'm asking anyway, but I continue to call daily. And, purchase this book.

The book has been very insightful and I'm only through the anecdotal stories part that make you think, "Glad I'm not that parent." The author outlines 10 different traits that make up a person's "temperament," including activity level, self control, initial response and adaptability. With regard to 8 of the traits I would say that my child is relatively normal, sometimes leaning toward the "difficult" side of the spectrum, but not on any kind of regular basis. However, with regard to initial response and adaptability he's clearly in the "difficult" category. I've always called him the 20 minute kid....takes 20 minutes to warm up to any new situation, and even familiar situations that he hasn't experienced in a while (e.g., visiting a friend). Adaptability...no way, no how. He resists most change....from the transition from play to eat to clothes to car to treat...oh wait, that last one always works.

I've also learned that mama's personality is a big factor in how a "difficult" child responds. Uh, OK, so this means in addition to helping my kid cope I have to do some self-exploration too? Damn. Fortunately, I sort of get a rise out of that kind of stuff. So, if you see me in Lotus pose chanting Ohms in the courtyard soon you'll know that I've reached a new level of peace in the house. In the meantime stay tuned as I work my way through the "solutions" chapter.


Blogger Mike said...

I hear you-- the screaming and wailing around our house has been on the increase lately. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I'm also fascinated by the internal struggle I see in our strong-willed kid: "I don't want to keep screaming!!!", "I don't want to stop screaming", "I'm not happy when I'm screaming!".

(oh, and I usually do a google image search for clean covers. Though lots of them are really small and grainy)

6:30 PM  

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