“Challenging behavior occurs when the demands being placed upon a child outstrip the skills he has to respond adaptively to those demands.”
-Ross W. Greene, The Explosive Child
It’s hard enough for a parent to have to deal with their child’s explosive outbursts at home, in private. It is a hundred times harder to deal with it in public, while being watched by strangers. I experienced this last night. My child had a massive explosive outburst at his school, that lasted for a good 20 – 30 mins, which involved hitting me and calling me names. I never got angry or behaved aggressively towards him but once he was carried away into another room by his teachers, I broke down into tears right there, in front of strangers. Definitely not my shining parenting moment but it is what it is. I was pretty overwhelmed, needed an outlet and feel like I took the easy way out. After beating this incident to death in my head by going over it a million times and seriously doubting my own parenting capabilities, I decided that I will chalk this up as another learning experience.
I am still trying to figure out what it is that my child needed from me that I feel like I was unable to give him during those few intense moments. If I had a chance for a do-over (I am certainly not asking for it), I think I would focus less on the behavior that he was exhibiting at that time (eg: “please don’t hit me/call me names/yell at me”) and focus more on the underlying reasons behind them (eg: “you are angry and upset because the toy that you really wanted to play with since yesterday was snatched from you and put away on the shelf…”). I know now that this is very hard to put in practice but definitely something that I can work towards.
Today is a new day that I fully intend to start positively and with a renewed determination to become the parent that each of my children need me to be. These words from ‘The Explosive Child’ by Ross W. Greene, a book that I read few months ago, inspire me. I hope they inspire other parents like me out there who have good intentions and are doing their best at all times.