I know that it’s going to take some time for him to learn how to self soothe, but I admit, his behavior makes me feel like a lousy parent, it embarrasses me. He tends to have no filter and if he’s upset, he lashes out with such loud, disrespectful behavior. In the moment, I try to calm him down, using the “ignore it” therapeutic approach our therapist has trained me to use, but this method has me ignoring the behavior instead of disciplining him. As a mother, this feels wrong. On the surface it looks like I’m letting him get away with it, instead of intentionally not giving him attention for his bad behavior.
Our therapist reminded me, “You can’t reason with a limbic system that’s misfiring, it’s like trying to scold a drunk person—it’s a waste of time. Instead, you have to wait until he’s calm and ready to learn then at that time, get to the heart of what’s triggering him. Don’t focus on his bad behavior because that’s just a symptom of what’s much deeper, instead try to figure out what causing it in the first place.”
I understand her logic, but in the moment, when he’s talking back with a vengeance while we’re being watched by nearby shoppers in Target, I can’t help but feel like a bad parent. I can almost feel the eyes of onlookers screaming at me, “What kind of parent let’s their child talk that way?”
As I expressed these frustrations our therapist asked me, “So it bothers you because of how it makes you look?”
I responded, “Well...yes it does.”
I can’t help it. No matter how much I understand the situation and my son’s limitations, I still want to be seen by others as a good mom. I work so damn hard that it kills me to think that even strangers think I’m a lazy parent.
There, I said it.
I admit that I’m concerned about what others think.
Now I have to work on letting that go.