My son isn't a dark and moody person.
But I do have trouble with his emotions, and the explosiveness of them.
Just the ones that come from frustration... the rest I am at ease with.
I always say that he comes by it honest, as his Mama and Daddy are both emotional, "wear it on your sleeve" people.
And the three of us (Eric, Trev, and me) have to pay close attention to oncoming feelings of stress, and get it (physically) out of our bodies, otherwise we're explosive and agitated.
If it doesn't come out of us through intentional exercise, it will come out at the expense of those around us. Something that took me way too long to realize. [Rolls eyes at herself.]
So Trev's not a "doom and gloom" kind of kid.
But he does tend to tailspin, and does get sucked into a dramatic vortex of "Oh, I'm the worst person, ever!" from time to time. (Of course to this we always "No, you're not, Bud, everyone makes mistakes, it's no big deal..."
But it is always the same, and whatever I offer doesn't help.
This has been a sore subject with me particularly the last year. Most of my Mama Complaints have to do with this subject. (My complaints are never "something is wrong with my child's behavior", but rather "there is this problem, and it's up to me to fix it, and I don't know how."
"I don't know how to reach Trev."
"There's a disconnection, and I don't like it."
"I don't know how to deal with this angst."
In steps Freeing Your Child From Negative Thinking, by Tamar E. Chansky, Ph.D.
I have never even heard of this book.
I was online at my library's page, and requesting "Raising Your Spirited Child" and "The Heart of Parenting: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child", and at the bottom of the page, were similar books, and Freeing Your Child From Negative Thinking.
Couldn't hurt, I thought.
And, as it happens, it came to my library immediately.
Let me just share a few things with you.
Jaw-droppers, for me.
A person who absolutely and unequivocally believes that we have the power to heal or harm ourselves with our thoughts, and in the whole microcosm/macrocosm Universe.
(A little sidenote: Seratonin in the brain can not only be raised by acts of kindness, but it is also raised simply by witnessing acts of kindness.)
- "The relationship between behavior and neurotransmitters is reciprocal, a two-way street: Serotonin impacts behavior and mood, but behavior impacts serotonin levels as well. When our mood is low, we may have less serotonin available, but when we make changes in our mood or behavior, they register as changes in brain activity as well. In other words, our biochemistry both reflects how we have learned to respond to situations and may dictate our tendencies to respond in certain ways. This process of changing brain mapping through changes in behavior is what neurobiologists refer to as neuroplasticity. And it is why we can have confidence that if we engage in cognitive behavioral techniques, "depression can be cured", in the words of Martin Selgman.
- "..... The second strategy for working on neutral thinking is to neutralize the punch of the negative by doing nothing short of simply accepting it-- embracing it wholeheartedly.
- Flexing neutral muscles: "What may seem like an exercise in good etiquette is actually cultivating the discipline of observing life without judgments, criticisms, and comparisons. For example, the comments above" (which were "That broccoli is so disgusting!" and "Charlie is such a slob!") "...could be rephrased humorously as follows: "This darkish green treelike vegetable is the champion of bitterness, and it is remarkably tough"' "Charlie is a great collector of things, and keeping things neat and organized is his next great challenge." Asking children to become impartial observers of things outside themselves will be especially crucial when the judgments and criticisms are aimed at them."
So I began it.
And found this:
- "The problem is that parents may feel daunted by learning how to help their child create these new tracks. Their responses to this point - frustratingly ineffectual - have been either to rush in with reassurance or, after reassurance exhausts everyone and gets nowhere, to get fed up and say, "Enough!" which leaves them feeling like horrible, insensitive parents. [ahem.] Parents' uneasiness and uncertainty about how to approach their child [yeah. ahem again] is not lost on the child and only rocks an already wayward, unbalanced vessel." (Which is the whole reason for my trying to figure this out... I want my child to be emotionally healthy, and am not sure how to point him in the right direction... as I was never really given any tools myself...) "On the one hand, the parents see their child suffering and want to make it better; on the other hand, talking about what is bothering their child feels like a process that could spiral into a complaining fest on a good day or, worse, a bottomless pit in which the child - holding onto his negativity like a heavy anchor- is not only not ready to let go but is going to take his parents down with him."
I certainly don't think my child is depressed, nor do I worry that he is heading that way.
But I am so happy to have found this book, and look forward to being able to face the unhappy and powerless moments with tools and a different mindset!