The Sounds of Silence


Posted on : 10:03 AM | By : Anonymous | In : ,

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whisperd in the sounds of silence.

- Simon & Garfunkel

Ok that quote really doesn't have much to do with what I am talking about but I love me a little Paul and Art so I had to throw it in.  I also don't have much time to write as today is my father-in-law's wedding and we're all in it so it's a little crazy. 

I make lots of mistakes as a parent, especially as a parent who feels constantly at odds with a child that doesn't react to things the way that most people do.  Her behavior is right for her, just unexpected.  One thing that I have learned, but can hardly ever remember to practice effectively, is that silence is better.  

Before we ever ran into The Continuum Concept we took parenting classes to do things positively and listened to everyone's advice and tried it all.  Nothing works.  I'm not sure that these strategies even work with children that are so-called 'normal', but with Annie she would actively seek out punishments, logical consequences, time-outs.  It's like a game to her, and she is more persistent than we are because she's willing and able to repeat something we saw as negative and live with the results over 100 times in the course of a day if that meant winning the game.   When she was younger communication was a big dilemma, since her vocabulary was so developed but she really wasn't emotionally developed to tell us how she felt.  And being a baby that really felt uncomfortable with touch and being held, and very little eye contact, made it next to impossible.  It was a guessing game.

The thing that does work, is silence.  If I need her to do something for me, I don't ask her to do it, I just tell her.  Once.  If it's not that important, I'll ask, only once.  If I really need her to do it, and she just won't, I don't nag or yell.  I just take her and help her go through the motions without reaction and without talking about it.  If it wasn't important and she just refuses, I ignore it.  

That's the way that works best, but because I'm human I forget many times and get frustrated and irritated and take it personally if things aren't within my control.  The truth is, it shows respect to her and demands respect for myself when I just take the lead and can accept her behavior without judging.  But silence is truly the key - if I can just keep my mouth shut, despite myself, it's like Annie is a different person.  She makes those choices, more often than not. And I am calm and I think, "Why do I get so frustrated?"  It feels silly to have such personal feelings over such silly things like picking up toys or helping with her little sister.

Forget Supernanny, lol.  Just zip your mouth. :)

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