Friday, August 5, 2016

Guest Post: Epic moment for a gently parented child

This is a story posted on Facebook by a friend who is committed to parenting his children with gentleness. It is an example of the marks that gentle parenting leave on a child and is shared here with permission.

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Really cool story about Aizen from today. 

It's important to explain something first though -- for daily activities like going to school or in the summer going to the community centre for summer camp Aizen establishes a specific ritual of activities he has to complete going in to the building or coming out of the building. If this gets disrupted it can massively throw Aizen off -- think Obsessive Compulsive Disorder reaction. He needs to start and finish it without interruption. 

Also he will have layered in rituals with different people -- usually I'm picking him up or dropping him off places so he layers routines in with me. 

He gets so anxious to start them that in the summer Dee has to come to meet with his support worker so they can talk about his day -- with just me we wouldn't get much communication in because he wants to get going on his ritual. 

Swapping a person out mid ritual (switching from me to Dee for example) can result in a full blown meltdown. 

So currently this ritual revolves around doors -- he has to open and close specific doors in the stairwell in the parking garage on the way up to the car a certain number of times. 

As I mentioned it takes place with me -- I'm familiar with the rhythm of everything at this point so it goes smoothly and he can stabilize himself for what is coming up next. 

When we were leaving the community centre today we met up with a lady who needed an oxygen tank to breath -- this was fascinating to Aizen because he loves his helium balloons -- so he announced she had a helium tank with her and starting scripting about balloons. I explained it was an oxygen tank and she smiled and said it was a breathing machine. I tried to explain his balloon thing to her but she didn't really get it hehe -- however she was leaving the community centre at the same time an when we got out the door she asked me to help her to her car. She needed to switch apparatuses so that her oxygen tank was directly behind her and she needed help to do this. 

Keep in mind this is mid ritual -- we were about to get to the stairwell, and helping was a disruption. 

I decided to give it a try though -- I told Aizen *stop and wait* since he was about 20 feet in front of us hehe -- I explained to him what we were doing and that we were helping the lady. He stood patiently while I helped to retrieve the driving apparatus from the car, transfer the tank over, and put the walking apparatus in the back seat. 

By this time Dee was coming out after talking to his support worker and she called him over to her to go up to the car with her -- he protested in one sentence, but then went with her and only requested they didn't ride the elevator so he could do his doors. 

So two things -- First -- he stopped mid ritual, and waited while I was helping the lady -- he didn't touch her equipment and he waited patiently at a little post in the sidewalk. 

Second -- he switched out the primary person for this ritual and successfully got to the car without heightened anxiety. 

I know this may seem like such a little thing to many folks -- but trust me this is HUGE. Not even 6 months ago this would have triggered a pretty epic meltdown -- and just trying to get him to not touch the lady's equipment would have been nearly impossible. Wall of text -- but a pretty epic moment for the little guy

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