As expected, when one door opens, another one is sure to follow in this household. Tripped you up there, didn’t I? I don’t think we ever believe in closed doors, we tend to be such an open book in knowing that our daughters have so much to fight for and so much to resolve. My oldest daughter feels a certain amount of guilt over her younger sister not being with us right now. If only I could have gotten along with her better statements have been pouring from her mouth.

It’s tough to have her accept the fact that no one can make those choices she made but herself. When someone comes into conflict with every member of the family, in every possible combination of solo or group interaction, they are looking for some outside help. If they can’t control their anger in private or public, they need help. If getting a child to handle a simple morning, afternoon or evening routine that she’s been doing successfully for years suddenly sends her into a scream fest, you need outside assistance.

So today when my oldest felt it was necessary to test her level of worth in the house, she threw a fit of her own. She grabbed every expensive item not tied down to the walls and left them in the hallway. She grabbed doors and kept slamming them and opening them- even attempting to tape us inside our bedroom to show us how mad she was (but I wonder how much of a punishment that would really be?). After 30 minutes we got her focused on basic who, what, where questions, had a bowl of ice cream and eventually got to the bottom of the issue: she believes my youngest daughter is there because of her solely.

My wife and I knew this backlash would happen. I suppose it’s better sooner over the course of the weekend than getting a phone call during school time which has happened before. I’m amazed that my oldest still worries that if the youngest becomes more normalized in her behaviors, the oldest believes she will be forgotten. Let me tell you- her outgoing, engaging personality will not let that happen. Everyone who gets the chance to know her remembers her, and that they always comment on how great she is to be around, communicate with and engaging as a person.

The trick will be giving her enough attention so that she realizes we love her, while also encouraging her to spend time with other friends and family members. I don’t want her to feel consumed with guilt. I know she wants the home to back to a level of four members, and we will be there when my youngest gets the help she needs. We received our first phone call from her there. My wife and I sensed she was bored and longing to come home, but not really understanding fully what she needs to show and do to get back home.

In the meantime, we get a chance to build up our mental fuse reserves. Life still goes on, and we can only hope that when she returns that the daily tantrums and violent outbursts subside. We build ourselves back one moment at a time, and that’s how I plan to handle her and my other daughter through the rest of their lives.


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