Friday, December 9, 2011

Choose Your Words Carefully

RADish's do not process language the same way typically developing healthy brains do. You actually have to think about the words you use and how they can be interpreted. Here are a couple of examples.

When a child has done something wrong, do not let any child or adult say "it's okay." This is true of all believers and conflict resolution but especially true of kids struggling with attachment. It is anything but okay. When they have damaged relationships and sinned against others, they need to be told "I forgive you" not "it's okay." As you help the child learn, accompany them on reconciliation moments. If the injured party says it's okay, gently correct them and say, "No, Bobby, it was not okay. Do you forgive her, though?" I have actually seen rages happen when verbiage is changed. They've lost control over the person.

Another that I am acutely aware of lately is saying "I'm sorry?" when I don't hear my daughter. She is quite purposeful in mumbling and whispering when she speaks to me. Saying "I'm sorry" may seem polite in other situations, but here, however, it is misleading. I am not sorry for her actions. I am not sorry that she is mumbling and trying to push me away with her words. I am not sorry that she is trying to control me by getting me to say, "What? What did you say?" I've started ignoring her. I told her calmly and kindly that she needs to speak to me in a clear, big girl voice. When I do slip and say something like "I'm sorry?" to her mumbling, I will stop and say, "Oops, I shouldn't have said that. I say I'm sorry when I have sinned. I have not sinned here. If you have something to tell mommy, I want to hear it!! :) But you must speak clearly and in a big girl voice!"

Little things that I would have never thought I would have to think through as a parent, but have been helpful in shepherding her heart.

Remember, every day is a day closer to healing. It does get better. Slowly. And yes, I am telling myself that tonight.


Jennifer said...

Thank you for continuing to encourage those of us who are struggling. Bless you!

Johanna said...

Great blog post. We've stumbled to some of these ideas (particularly the "it's okay" one). My kiddo really does think it is ok if someone says that. He already doesn't feel much empathy for others, so we have tried to be more clear about the hurt he has caused and help him make restitution. I've enjoyed reading your blog - thanks for all the great information!

Simply Moms said...

welcome ladies!

Great job, Johanna!

Andy and Kiara said...

Light bulb moment. Wow! Our kiddos have said "It's okay" for a long time -- usually as a shortened version of "I forgive you", which they do still say occasionally. And the kiddo usually doing the apologizing struggles to have empathy. I'm so thankful to know one more way that we can help -- and an easy way, at that! Thanks for giving such specific examples of 'small' things that can really help.