Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire

Parents use a new technique to curb their child's bad behavior.

Sonia Billadeau April 15, 2014
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fiddler_on_the_roof_fiddlerOr out of the bedroom into the bathroom. When we saw our therapist on Wednesday, she said my daughter was too comfortable in her bedroom avoiding us. So- she directed us to have her move to the bathroom. Surprise, surprise, my daughter was suddenly extremely motivated to follow our rules. For the first time in a month, she earned privileges like going with the family to see Fiddler on the Roof. Success was so sweet! And so brief! She woke up the morning after Fiddler on the Roof just as yucky as she could be.

Part two of Operation Bathroom is that when she is yucky, I’m to read that as her saying, “Mom, I really want you to tickle me” or “Mom, I’m really asking for a hug.” So every time she’s yucky and disrespectful, lies, or breaks rules, I’m supposed to give her physical contact. The therapist said if Kaylyn won’t come to me, I’m to come to Kaylyn.

I tried to give Kaylyn a chance to earn sleeping in her own bed every night, which she did until the day after Fiddler on the Roof. She just refused to be respectful, responsible, or fun to be with that day. And I get why. She had a little taste the day before of letting herself have parents, be part of a family, and enjoy the fun. Then the next day, she freaked out and took it all back. It was so hard for me to let her sleep in there, but I made myself do it.

There was quite a lot of yucky behavior along about one in the morning. I found myself in there with her, hugging her while we stood cheek-to-cheek, rubbing her back and cooing, “Such yucky behavior, yes such yucky behavior.” While she screamed. For a long time. But the longer I stood there, the slower her breathing became and she finally calmed down. I really couldn’t believe that she actually stayed in the bathroom the rest of the night but she did. And oh what a peach she was the next day. Delightful. Earned all kinds of privileges and enjoyed lots of good time with the family. Then…the next day…yucky behavior and back in the bathroom.

So it’s up and down but at least there’s some up now. The two good days Kaylyn has had were wonderful and at least she took a couple of breaks from being stuck. Progress is not a straight line.

Meanwhile, my sixteen-year-old son is doing great! The horse therapy in particular stirred up a lot of feelings for him and he’s actually feeling them.He has been drowning in sadness and loneliness for many weeks, writing down memories of his birth parents and struggling to get through the tough feelings. Today when we rode horses, he asked for help when he needed it (unheard of!) and when he wrote his one-page essay afterward about how he felt, he said he felt happy!

Some of the other moms at horse therapy told me it takes about six months to get through all the pot-stirring before things truly calm down and get better. We’re about halfway there.

Photo credit: www.allgoodseats.com/fidder on the roof_fiddler

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Sonia Billadeau

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