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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Frustrations and De-Escalations

Lately, Buddy had been a ball of frustration. He hasn't been having full-on meltdowns but every little thing gets under his skin. From chores to homework to bedtime, he reacts to daily tasks like we are asking the world of him.

There are a multitude of reasons that may have contributed to Buddy's bad attitude. I have learned that guessing is pointless because even when I think I know, I am often wrong. But when I stop and think about everything that may be going on inside of Buddy, it isn't hard to sympathize with how he is feeling.

Regardless of the cause, he is cranky and unable to effectively deal with it. Since he can't make himself feel better, he tries his darnedest to make Hubby and I miserable as well. He knows the buttons to push and he has gotten really good at trying to appear innocent while doing it.

I try to not take his rudeness personally. It isn't about me. I also do my best not to interpret Buddy's feelings analytically, because that often makes the situation worse instead of better.

We try to meet Buddy's frustration with de-escalation techniques. We've done a lot of trial and error, and found a few different things that work for us when used in combination.

- Keeping body language and facial expression relaxed.
- Not worrying about eye contact.
- Being respectful of his feelings even when we don't understand them.
- Not arguing or getting loud.
- Empathizing with feelings but not behaviors. (I understand you have ever right to feel angry, but it is not ok for you to...).
- Trying to tap into his cognitive mode. (Tell me how you feel, help me to understand why you are doing this.)
- Suggesting alternative behavior.
- Sometimes the best thing is walking away, at least for a bit, to center myself.

It feels weird to try to de-escalate the situation. When Buddy pushes me, my fight or flight instincts want to kick in. But the more I consciously try to de-escalate, the more second nature it becomes.

Hopefully soon it will happen naturally but I'm not quite there yet!

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