This is the first of our series of blogs about therapy. Over the next weeks we will hear from people who've loved it, hated it, abandoned it and thrived on it. We're starting with The Great Behaviour Breakdown. This is a brilliant account of conflict mounting, mounting... and how GBB therapeutic parenting can turn down the heat.
In this age of fake news, perhaps I need to re-evaluate my feelings about lies. I hate them. I have a thing about lying, cheating and everything else to do with falsehood.
And I know we are not supposed to use the L word, but I do. Something that’s dishonestly made up is a lie. I know that’s not therapeutic, but, like I said, I have a thing about it. How can I be therapeutic for something I need therapy about?
Enough of me. This is actually about my otherwise delightful son, who is very much into lies.
I took The Great Behaviour Breakdown course to manage his behaviour. Tell him you know how angry he is, they said in the classroom.
Jump up and down with him when he’s angry, they said.
Try to get him spinning, they said. It regulates the vestibular system in his brain.
I jumped. I spun. I shouted.
“I would be so angry too,” I shouted. And my son screamed at me, so high and shrill and then he hit me harder and opened his jaws as if to bite. It made it worse.
We have recently had some involvement with CAMHS which has (unlike our previous encounter) been quite positive. We’ve talked through what’s working, what’s not, how we can try to shift things that seem a bit stuck. The psychologist has been quite upfront in his appraisal of us: he was concerned maybe I was not affectionate and loving enough, or the differences in my partner and my own parenting style were incompatible and causing conflict. He was happy to report he was assured this was not the case and, while we were different, this was within the ‘normal' range of difference!
If anyone is familiar with the five ways to wellbeing, one of the quadrants (ignoring that this is quadrant no. 5!) is to give to others. One way I’ve been able to do that is by supporting potential adopters via sessions at the agency I adopted though. I troop up to Barkingside once every few months, usually harassed and running late due to my nine year-old’s fear that I am not coming back! I always ask my little munchkin if there is anything she would like me to say, and this varies depending on her mood. This time I had a huff and a “Really? Again?” So we decided it would be so much easier if she wrote it down so I wouldn’t have to keep asking her! Below is exactly what ten minutes of her mind created – totally unprompted (I have not changed anything; everything is her own words and style…except for adding the YouTube link which she insisted I help her with.)
So from the mouth of a babe…