We aren’t asking for much. Just talk. Not acting out, not harming yourself, not running away, not irritating your mother or father or siblings- just use your words. We wouldn’t even mind if you give us a code word or two to let us know that your angry, and that you aren’t ready to talk. Maybe you need some time to decompress- and that’s fine with us.
What can be hard for families with mental health issues to handle is the trigger that sets a child off into no man’s land. Where you act more like a therapist, a fireman, attempting to keep things under control while your child doesn’t have all their normal brain functions within them. It’s scary. You yourself feel a sense of powerlessness, wondering what will work best to corral your son or daughter into safety.
Both of our daughters have different ways of handling their anger, their frustration, their shame. One will get in your face to get complete control- or run away if they feel they can’t handle things anymore. The other will resort to fighting their way out- carrying on like they are 3 or 4 years old with their fits of screaming, shouting, stomping and then resorting to hands and feet gestures towards any family member close enough to them.
We just want talk. We know when they were younger, their words didn’t get the desired reaction. What can eventually happen is either no crying at all or the total opposite- resorting to a baby like wail to get your needs met. But at the pre-teen to teenage years of development, that’s not the healthiest way of getting help when you are in crisis. You eventually have to learn new methods for coping, safer strategies to let your children know they can overcome their past trauma and flashback moments.
I’m so glad that my wife and I have a sixth sense about things. We know when to stay close to each other and when to pass things off. We know how to get the children to talk. Last night our oldest daughter seemed stuck in yet another flashback- until she brought out her favorite stuffed animal and he spoke to us about what’s been bothering her for the past three weeks. Now we can get somewhere when she goes for specialized therapy next week- as we all agree that she needs to find a way to not let the past trauma stay in the way of bright, beautiful future.
Your children may prefer building with blocks, drawing a picture, writing in a journal- but encourage them to find their own way to talk. Get the thoughts out there and then you can figure out a plan to make things better. Don’t take it personally. They want to inflict pain on those closest to them- you just need to teach them that they can develop better skills to redirect their stress. Our daughters love blowing bubbles, coloring, listening to music, and using magnets or other tactile objects to make them feel centered and whole.
Now that I’m all talked out, have a wonderful day. Thank you for your continuous support.