Monday, December 13, 2010

Annnnd, Action!

Sounds like I've moved back to LA and am joining the throngs of movie director wannabe's, right?
Not so much. 
 {I fear if I did it would end up like a bizarro Luis Bunuel movie....}

This is a short bit on learning and living with kids; those from hard places and working on learning to live comfortably with new families in new places, but even those kids who are just in the normal hard places of teenager-hood or middle school... heck, really this works for any kid.

But this post isn't really about the kids at all.
It's about the mom, the me.
It's a long steep learning curve and a slippery one at that, for me.  I've been doing this parenting thing for over twenty-one years now...you might well presume I've got it down, pat.
Not so much.


Because I have some very bad habits and personality quirks, the kind that keep knocking  me back when I'm trying my darnedest to move forward.
This is one of the biggies.
I am a "reactor."
I am what we call around here a "high responder."
Yuh.  Me.
I bet you're surprised.
Ok, not so much, I know. 

This tendency of mine can be a very good thing when it's all about the high high's, the high fives, and the parties and the cheering successes.  It can be a very good thing when it's passion and caring and persevering with intensity, like when you are going to bat for your kid.
But it's not so good when you are responding, or reacting, to the other high responders in the house.
Because that is when you need to play against type, and you need to pull back and chill down, slow down.  And then, in that pause that you've just given yourself before you react without thinking, in response to whatever blowing....you get, you need, to act.


Action.
Deliberate, intentional action, is a much better choice, always, than reaction when you are talking about kids who have high responder natures, or buttons.
To act, instead of react, is key.
And if you're like me, you might, just maybe, tend to react in anticipation of the event.
Which of course makes it all doubly difficult.

I am trying, mindfully, {no, really honey, I am} to try to not anticipate, to only act after the fact, and then only to what is actually happening (rather than react to my expansive imagination on the multitude of possibles). 
Sounds really good, doesn't it?
Not so easy though, all this deliberateness.
It's the anticipation of the blow and the immediate visceral reaction that is the hardest to stem, actually.  When I know something is gonna trigger a blowout or a domino reaction snit and attitude, my stomach immediately knots up and my breathing changes.  It's my own trigger.  But I am working on slowing, stopping, and setting the anticipation aside.  Because it's unfair, it's a disservice to whichever child is in mind.  And I am forcing myself to wait, trying trying.  (Another weak skill.) To just wait to see if the anticipated fallout um, falls out...and only then, ONLY then, start dealing with it.  And then, deal with it in an intentional way, not an expanded way, but an intentional action of empathy and logical consequences.

Again, sounds really great, lofty even, huh?
Not so much.
It's a total work in progress.
But progess it is.
And progress I'm seeing, baby baby steps.
Because ya know what? Sometimes, my expectations are left wanting.  That fallout...it doesn't happen, or it is smaller than I imagined.  Not always, but maybe it's getting more of a chance to be so.  Because I'm not escalating it myself in advance.  Ouch. But, I'll take that hit, the ouch, mea culpa....if it means that we can have less drama overall.  Even mine, maybe.


Action.
Not reaction. Not anticipatory reaction.  Just action.  Deliberate.  On time.
What a concept. Awfully challenging.  But, what a concept.

2 comments:

Heather said...

I think this says it all. In order to be able to see past a behavior or to understand what it means we cannot react.

I know, for me that is easier said than done! Life is a learning and growing process. A process that for me seems SO slow sometimes. But I guess it IS progress nontheless.

Sonja said...

Michele, that third picture of you is so stunning. That's how I see you all the time.

You are so right about the action-is-always-better-than-reaction thing. Nothing molds behavior like emotionless consequences. I know that policeman didn't scream and yell and cry when he gave me that ticket...:-) Love you.