Mama, you really love ME?
Yes, those were the words that came out of our precious Grace's mouth yesterday. It was both a statement and a question all in one. Grace has had such a harder time of adjusting and attaching and understanding our love for her than Shaoey did. I haven't posted much about her attachment lately, well, probably not much at all. Why? I guess because it's still such a work in progress. It's so hard to explain to those around us that she's wounded, fighting our love, unattached when all they see is the silly, loving, attention getting little girl that she lets them see.
We are making some really good strides forward, but then there seems to be an innate fear that senses we're getting too close and she goes into fight or flight and misbehaves all she can to try to keep us at arms length, to keep us from getting in. (Doesn't that sound just like how we relate to God and others?) I've been incorporating a lot more of Nancy Thomas' stategies and philosophy into our parenting. We are having good results with Strong Sitting and using some of her tactics on Dealing with Defiance.
Strong Sitting is a gift to the child. It is a gift of time. Grace sits cross legged on the floor with her neck and head in line and arms relaxed in her lap. She is facing a blank wall, preferably in a quiet area near you, without too many distractions. This works well for us when I'm cooking. The research shows that the yummy smell of food cooking is a positive sensory input. Grace has built up to 4 minutes at a time and we aim for 2-3 times a day. A big thing to note is that this is NOT punishment, I repeat, it is NOT punishment. I make sure NOT to do it when I am annoyed and cannot place her there in a peaceful loving tone and be there to cheer her on. Yes, I get to give her positive input such as "I like how you are sitting so straight." I try not to interrupt too much, but a little encouragement goes a long way. I can see her smile from the back of her head when I do! Why do we do it? Nancy says it well. Here's an excerpt from her website:
Strong Sitting gives the brain an opportunity to shift in the most successful position. Children who have been traumatized have the wiring in their brain more developed in the inner core (R Complex). This is defense or survival mode. (Fight: arguing, defiance, negative behavior, Flight: running away, Freeze: shutting down) This inner core is where children with RAD are most comfortable because it is the most highly developed section. They seek negative attention and criticism because it puts them in their comfort zone The parts of the mind with RAD that are less developed are the Limbic system (Love and Attachment) and the Neo-Cortex (Logic, reasoning, school work) In order to do it correctly (sitting still, straight and quiet) they must shift gears in their brain to the Neo-cortex by going through the Limbic system. It stimulates both of these parts of the brain! Each minute they spend doing it correctly exercises the logic and/or love parts of the mind. Brain power!
I love it--exercising the love and logic parts of the brain--
helping our girl to get stronger and healthier!
In Part 2 I'll share how we are dealing with Grace's defiance. Nancy has some off the wall ideas that really seem to be making a difference in our relationship with Grace.