Sometimes small victories feel really big. Especially when the victory was over a year in the making.
Royal has an angry side that is rarely seen outside of our home. Mostly his anger is just frustrating to live with, but every now and then it's scary.
That's when I think, "If he acts like this when he's my size, what will I do? I won't be able to physically restrain him." Scary.
One day, in desperation, I called my friend Jen. She's trained in this area.
"Oh My Gosh, Jen help me!! What do I do when his anger is violent? How will I do this for years to come?"
|The face of a disregulated child|
This is what she suggested knowing he needs to learn to control himself before he's too big to be controlled. "Choose a place that is far enough away to give both of you space, but close enough to keep an eye on him." I chose the step next to the window (thinking it may be calming to look out and see cars driving by). "Next, say in a loving but firm voice, 'Go sit on the step and when you're ready to talk to me I am here for you." She emphasized that I should not choose the amount of time. It's up to him to know when he's calm enough to interact in an acceptable way.
Easier said than done. At first when he was sent to the step, he'd jump up after 5 seconds just to be sent back again and again. Often he'd yell mean things. More recently he huffs a lot and whispers mean things (mostly about me or Hiyab) to himself. Only a couple times has he used the step on his own (and those times were to escape trouble that he deserved to be in).
Yesterday, Hiyab hit him on the hand with a wooden sword and it hurt. He was mad. He grabbed his hand, growled a little, I braced myself for him to attack her.
Drum roll please...
He ran to the step!!! All by himself!!
On the step he cried an angry cry, but he stayed there until I talked to Hiyab about what she'd done and then came to him. I was so thrilled. I hugged him, told him how amazing that was, told him how proud I was of him for following the steps (no pun intended). He was happy too because Hiyab "finally" got in trouble and he didn't.
|The face of a goofy happy child. YES!!|
Maybe he can do this after all. I know we need at least 357 more good choices under his belt before I feel okay but for now we have one.