Saturday, May 03, 2008

Ann's Story Part 15: Beginning Again

Jan 17, 2003
To my friend:

Ann is taking the bus home to spend the afternoon with Mandy. Mandy was hoping they could have a nice visit, and maybe they will, but Ann has an awful lot of anger to express.

I picked her up from school yesterday and she would not look at me. I asked her if she wanted to talk and all I could get was "nothing's wrong." The other kids in the car pool got into the car and I chatted with them on the way home. After they got out Ann started telling me how angry she was.

Later in the evening I asked her if she wanted me to help her sort through the boxes and put things away today. She said no, in a grumpy voice, still did not want to look at me. Clearly she was upset and wanted someone to fight with her. I told her that she did not have to go through her things. If she needed to pout and mope that was fine. If she felt sad she should be sad until she felt better. "Really?" "Yep." She tossed herself down on the sofa and put her head in my lap and said, "Okay, I'm pouting." She practically skipped around the house all evening tell people that she was moping and pouting.

She finally did ask me to help her go through her things. We got all the clothes sorted, though there will be a lot more after everything is washed. Ruby stopped by after the class to say hi and help out.

Ann is pretty sad, but she is expressing it. We will get through this, but I am tired. It has been an emotionally exhausting week.

By the way, giving kids permission to feel sad has been really successful for me. I'm not talking about the technique for ragers where you give them a set amount of time to rage. I understand that is successful, but that is not what I am talking about.

No, I just mean telling kids that they don't have to cheer up, that it is okay to be sad and that they can feel whatever they are feeling for however long they are feeling it, seems to make them feel better. Most respite kids come here in pretty good moods, ready to demonstrate to me that they are so much nicer than I have been told, but some of them are not happy about being shuttled off for the weekend. When I tell them that I would be grumpy if I was in their position and they can feel however they feel, they are typically so relieved, so excited at the freedom, that they cheer up.

Which isn't the goal, but it is an interesting response.

Part 16

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