Sunday, September 03, 2006

Responding to a melt-down

Yesterday Brian had a bit of melt-down.

Remembering what these were like a year ago I have to admit it is a lot better. He did not stay in his room crying loudly. He came upstairs, sat next to me and cried softly. He did not want to tell me what was wrong though. He would only say he was having bad thoughts. I ran though a list of categories of "bad thoughts" and hit the jackpot at, "thinking about bad things that might happen to people you love." He nodded and cried louder.

Hubby wanted him to tell us what the bad thoughts were. I thought Brian just needed to distract himself, think about something else. We tried talking to him for a while and then told him that he would have to take care of himself.

I cleaned up the kitchen reminding myself that this is what the professionals had advised us to do (not give him too much attention) and that Brian has not had nearly as many melt-downs as he once did. I reminded myself not to mention it to all the people I know who will instantly think I am a bad parent or wonder how on earth I can do foster care when it affects my child this way. (I have been assured by both a pediatric psychiatrist and pediatric psychologist that this is just the way Brian is. Brian reports that he likes having more people in the house and the professions do not think that not doing care would change things at all.)

Evan kept asking me what was wrong. I just told him that I did not like it when Brian was this upset. The truth was I was reviewing every bit of parenting training I had ever had. How could I not know how to handle this situation? How did I end up with a twelve-year-old who cried over nothing? What was I doing wrong?

Anyway, after about half an hour Hubby went and fetched Brian from our closet, where he was still curled up crying over his "bad thoughts." They went for a ride and came back cheerful.

I asked Hubby how he pulled off the miracle.

"I was hungry and stopped to get something for us to eat. Brian was hungry. As soon as he ate he was fine."

THAT's right. I remember now! They left that tip out of all my recent foster parent trainings.

Parenting Tip 101
Children must be fed on a regular basis or they get cranky.

[For those wondering how it is that a child in a house with responsible parents could get this hungry the answer is pretty simple. Andrew made us black beans and rice for dinner. It was wonderful, but Brian hates it. When Brian refuses to eat what is prepared he is responsible for getting his own food. He didn't.]

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