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Feb 05

Go in your room until you are done

I don’t know what I’m doing with Jess half the time. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but really, I am never completely certain on what the best way to deal with her tantrums would be. I’ve done just about everything at one time or another. I’ve tried indulging her, holding her and sympathizing. I’ve tried punishing her, putting her in time out every time she has a temper tantrum. I’ve tried ignoring it, just letting her cry and paying no attention whatsoever. I’ve tried reward charts, a sticker earned for every time she stopped herself mid-fit and pulled it together.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been using the “Go in your room until you are done.” It’s not a punishment, it’s not ignoring it, it’s just drawing a line in the sand that if she needs to cry and rage and scream, that’s okay, but it’s not okay to make everyone else deal with it. She can come out whenever she’s ready, and at least some of the time, she’ll calm down enough to forget about it and start playing with her dollhouse. Sometimes she comes out and we can talk about whatever’s bothering her calmly without tears, and more often than not, she comes out crying just a little bit less intensely and gets sent back in there.

She’s an intense kid – everything is real and huge and worthy of utter intense focus for her. I think sometimes my job, with Jess, is to teach her to deal with her emotions, to be able to control them, not to just let herself go in the flood of drama that’s always right there for her to tap into. You know what I mean? She lets herself be so influenced by circumstances, and I’ve thought, from the time that she was an infant, that she makes life so difficult for herself sometimes, just by letting herself get so upset by things. I wish I could teach her to shrug it off, to have a smile on her face, because if she could do that, she would have an easier time making the circumstances of her life suit her better. Just smile, ask for help instead of collapsing into tears and whining.

But even though I wish she could make things easier for herself sometimes, she’s so magical about the way she thinks. She’s brilliant and kind and so amazingly herself – mostly, I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to be her mother. She’s so much more than I ever hoped for in a daughter.

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