Tonight my oldest daughter talked to us about what’s going on within our community that worries her. We’ve had a couple of school tragedies hit home where lives on all levels- family, community, school- have been affected. As a teenager, she twists things around and wonders if she’s worthwhile, if she will be remembered in a positive light and where she’ll be going in the next few years.
The bottom line that scares her is we had a temper tantrum free weekend in our house. To those of you who’ve known my family since the girls have been in our lives, I believe this has been the second time it’s occurred in 3 1/2 years.
Why would that scare my oldest daughter? Well, she fears that if my youngest is doing well, she will be forgotten, so there has to always be chaos in this house for her to feel safe. I know that this seems very strange, but change in this instance in her mind is not something she believes is a good thing for this family.
We reminded her of all the people that love her outgoing personality and the impact she makes with every experience, be it the kids she babysits on up to the grandparents who look forward to her long-winded social stories. We let her know that if she needs some special one on one time with each of us in order to reinforce her place in this family, we will do so this week. I think she’s always dreamed of living in a “normal” family, but doesn’t know if it’s going to be everything she’s envisioned and thus wants to take a cautious approach to this development.
Does this ever happen to you in your life? Where you may venture into a new realm of possibility, and it’s easier to stay within your own comfort zone no matter how destructive it may be? Are you scared of succeeding and it’s easier to admit defeat before you’ve even given a new opportunity a fair chance?
I don’t want to say that the roller coaster has leveled off permanently. There will I’m sure be additional stresses that hit my youngest daughter, and she may revert back to her older temper tantrum ways. But I welcome this newer, more open level of communication and behavior we are receiving. She seems willing to talk about her feelings in the moment. She knows what we expect of her, and while getting temporarily frustrated she is willing to take direction much better.
I’m working on asking my children more questions instead of just hammering them with lots of talk. I think it’s important to understand exactly what’s going on in another person’s mind, and the only way is to hone in on the details. I like to give my kids a few minutes after school to decompress before plunging head long into homework. I want them to know I’m genuinely interested in their school life, what’s going on around them and what seems to be fun as well as troubling them.
I’m so happy that some spark, some trigger finally settled in within our family and now this next level of closeness can take place. It’s going to be exciting and frightening for certain family members, and I will keep everyone posted on the developments.
So don’t be afraid of success- embrace the challenge. Sure there may be obstacles and set backs- they will make you stronger. Success doesn’t come easy- it’s a continuous, moment by moment development to make you a full, vibrant person.