During a recent session with AbsurdlyHotTherapist, I got incredibly frustrated. All Hope wanted to discuss was band and her crush. For 18 minutes I sat there stewing in my increasing frustration.
Really? Is this what we’re doing today?
We aren’t going to talk about the fact that there were bugs in your room?
We aren’t going to talk about no chores?
I’m paying a co-pay for this ish?
AHT eventually got Hope to mention several things that were bothering her since school started.
I shot him some side eyes as I clearly didn’t think *those* things were nearly as important as the fact that she had a room that lured bugs to it.
Oh, I was righteous in my frustrated indignation.
AHT eventually asked Hope to give us some time to talk without her.
He asked me what I heard, had I listened? He told me what he heard. I acknowledged those things, but still wanted my drama to be acknowledged too.
I grabbed a tissue as I dropped a few tears.
He smiled and said, but you didn’t really hear her. She is having a very hard time in school already, and she needs your help with that stuff more than you need her to tidy up.
But what about *me?* #mynarcissismwasreal
Then he told me the good news. Hope is behaving like a ‘normal’ teenager. Her ability to communicate even about challenges is light years better than what it was months ago. She doesn’t practice avoidance and her confidence is up in spite of her lingering and new challenges. She can see a successful future even if she isn’t sure how to get there.
And oh yeah, she still wants to make me proud.
He’s right. Hope has grown emotionally so much this summer.
And I seemingly have regressed a bit.
How did I miss when she evolved into a kid who largely behaved like other kids her age? She hasn’t caught up on everything, but wow she has caught up a lot, given that she was emotionally about 5 when she was placed with me.
And me? I missed that what she really needed was for me to be responsive to her, to help her with her new problems, to just shut up and listen.
She spends so much time talking about band (and we know that I hate that) and what she’s fretting about ish that might happen a year from now. And she goes ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and ‘round, for hours.
It has been easy for me to zone out after 20 minutes and take to my couch.
Instead this weekend, I stopped her and listened for that 20 minutes, and instead of zoning out and I asked her questions. I worked on redirecting her; I focused on solutions to current problems rather than imagined problems of 2017.
And I stopped the babbling and got some responsiveness.
She’s got some new limitations right now that we need to work through, and I’m going to have to chill. I’ve got to focus on being a cheerleader rather than a disciplinarian.
I’ve got to do the laundry. I need to meal plan so that I know she’s eating healthier, and I need to be sure she’s in bed at a decent hour whether homework is done or not.
I have a meeting with the counselor this week about additional support needs for Hope.
She’s finally catching up in some key areas, so it’s time for me to change strategy and catch up too.
This parenting is a constantly evolving game of come from behind and sprinting ahead.