Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"I Like That" Answers

I have been saying, "Oh, it sounds like you are having a hard time trusting Mommy. Do you want to try again? " Then she will usually give some other version of what she just said. I then respond, "Oops. Try again. Mommy knows what you want. Mommy wants to take care of you. When you need something, you can ask me." I will also, depending on how often it has happened THAT day, sometimes add something like 'if mommy says no, I still love you.' Unfortunately, if she does gather the courage to ask, it usually scares her into a crazy afternoon. But we have to keep trying to give her the socially appropriate and trusting answers.

I'm a bit firmer w/my girlie. Most likely due to the fact that I have been at this for going on eight years now :)

Our conversations go something like this:

Girlie: Random untrusting comment.......such and such about so and so and this and that.........

Me: I do not answer comments like that....especially when they are made with no eye contact. Please, go in the other room and think about things until you are able to treat me like the loving mother I am, have proven myself to be over the last eight some odd years and will forever be to you."

I sometimes add..."The Lord chose your mom and dad. He knew we were the perfect family for one another. If you do not trust us....could it be that you are really having an issue w/Him...the One who loves you even more than we do?" (then)
"That's a lot of love."

The good news: She's usually back w/in a minute or two....expressing her needs and trusting me to meet them. Hugs and kisses afterwards to seal the deal.


andykiara said...

Your examples of conversations and your answers are SO helpful. Thank you!

kayder1996 said...

As a primary teacher, I would also chime in that some of this is compounded by developmental issues. Kids are born egocentric; they are born thinking only of their only needs. As they mature, they leave some of those tendancies behind. RAD in some ways is egocentricism that has never been outgrown because kids with RAD and any form of attachment issues can't move past trusting that someone will take care of ME, so they are constantly focused on ME. Developmentally, it is common for lots of young children to not use words to communicate their needs because they assume that everyone knows what their needs are.

For example, you may have seen a kiddo saying something like "Look at that." without pointing at it. That's because in their brain everyone thinks the same as them. So you should just know what they are talking about without them really explaining themselves. They don't understand that you actually are seeing whatever you're looking at from a different perspective than the child so you have no idea what they're talking about.

I'm sure you've been around a 2 or 3 year old who throws a temper tantrum because they saw the water on the table and wanted a drink of water but no one got it for them because the toddler didn't communicate his needs to the adult by using words or gestures.

Even my first graders do things like this. They will need help zipping up their coat. Instead of just asking, they will just stand by me holding onto their zipper, wanting you to figure out what they need. Or they will say things like "I can't get this zipped." Which is almost correct, but what I really want them to say is "Please help me with my zipper." While I don't make a big deal over it, I do want them to recognize that they have to ask not just hint around at what they want. Good communication is essential in life and part of that is clearly communicating what you want. And the majority of my first graders don't have attachment issues; it's just developmental.

It's the same with kids working on attachment in some aspects. They are stuck at a toddler level, not recognizing that in order for someone to meet my needs I have to ask or they are stuck because they don't believe that if they do ask, those needs will actually be met.

So going back to the developmental stuff, I think part of it is remembering to treat a child with attachment stuff, as a younger child. With a toddler who is learning to communicate his needs, you say things like "Use your words. Tell me what you need." So goes it with an older child who is beating around the bush about pudding but refusing to ask. (Which is just what Cate and Dawn have done with a bit more complex wording.)

It is in some ways like the toddler who starts to pout, then gets grumpy, and then throws themselves on the floor in tears all in an effort to have someone get them water. Instead of actions, the older child in question is more verbal and is using her words as a way to "test", as a way to see if someone is going to meet her need and get her pudding, all without saying what she needs.

kayder1996 said...

I was going to add one of the lines we use a lot in our school "Use your words not your hands. (or feet) (or face)" It's great for all kids but I can especially see its use with kids who don't communicate verbally their needs but then stomp around, pout around, hit, etc. when they don't get what they need. Plus its an easy line to remember.

Leaders In Learning said...

I like the examples you included in this post and the comments of some other readers regarding developmental approaches.

I have to remember that myself. This is provoking a new thought I might blog on tomorrow. Well, until later, keep plugging into this beautiful blog! I love visiting here.