“IT IS NOT PERSONAL” Part 1
“I hate you”
“You are the worse founder and my mom feels you can’t teach kids so why did you open a school”
“I’m going to talk to my mom and she will FIRE you”
“You aren’t the boss of me”
“You are stupid”
Oh and my favorite is, “You are Cruella Deville”. I’m waiting for the day I walk in dressed like Cruella Deville to make everyone laugh at my school, since I hear that weekly when a child is upset with me. This is just what I hear in my school alone and that doesn’t include my home visits.
When I go into a home, knock on the door, and the child opens it and they realize who it is at the door, they sometimes will close the door in my face and try to lock me out of the house. I’ve been locked in a room before, since some parents will have a lock on the outside of the door, and of course I didn’t know about it since I’m new to their home. It’s never fun when you are home alone with a child and they are free to walk around a house and you are stuck in a room. Very stressful to say the least! When this all happens I take it as what I call “Love Taps”. This is the child’s way of showing me love and that is how I take it, and not take it as they hate me and that I’m the worse person ever and doubt my own skills. I won’t let a child have that much control over how I feel about myself and my clinical skills.
If I was doing what every child wanted me to do then I’m not doing my job, which is teaching children what to say when they get upset versus the vomit that comes out of their mouth when they are upset. We have only talked about the language that comes out of their mouth and not the behaviors that match their language, which is always fun! So instead of getting upset every time they act up think of the love they are sharing with you. They are showing you how they feel in that moment and not everyone is lucky to get that behavior. One reason I like to work in the home is because all the truth comes out when your are in a comfortable setting and I can give parents the tools needed to help regulate what is happening in the home once the behavior occurs in the home.
With language children need to be taught what to say when they are upset instead of what comes to their head which is “You are the worse person ever”. That is how they feel in the moment but what if we teach them to say “I’m mad because ________”. This won’t feel so personal when their sharp tongue is going all over the place. But remember we need to teach this and model it for the child.
Sometimes, after a couple of visits or the second visit the child shuts the door in my face, I feel like I accomplished something since the parents are following through with what I was telling them to do. Great job Parents in my mind! So the child is seeing me as helping them, even when they don’t want the help, they still see their world is changing. This is why I’m there and with time family life will be getting easier for everyone. After a couple sessions the child will eventually start asking me to come back since children crave consistency and boundaries. Once they know their limits, life starts to get easier and the doors stop getting slammed in my face, literally!
As a parent your job is to teach and love your child and that means not giving in to their every ‘Want’ versus ‘Need’. Children need boundaries and consistency and once they feel they don’t have it that is when behaviors start to happen. The child can say hurtful things and then you as a parent start to question yourself as a parent with your own parenting skills. It’s a double edge sword since it is important to question your intent on what you are doing with your child, along with your child telling you it is unfair and they hate you and they want another parent.
The good news is that is your job to place these boundaries and there are days when things will be hard on the family, but with consistency and a united front at home, life becomes hopefully better. Through my experience, each child I have worked with will always ask me to come back into the home even after they have locked me out of the house or threatened to call the Police on me for not letting them get away with what they want to do. Children know i truly care for their own wellbeing even if I come off too hard at times, which I don’t feel is a bad thing. And that’s the parents’ job too!