Saturday, 2 August 2008
Don't think so!
At least not at the moment.
Our nearly-6-year-old Thomas is developing a pretty vicious temper, we are getting tantrum after tantrum over absolutely nothing and I'm slowly discovering exactly how much hard work it is trying to parent such a tempestuous child. Man, I am really struggling... And failing - at least it feels that way.
OK. I'll grant you that: Tom is absolutely delightful. He is happy, easy-going, charming, tender and generous. He is so loving that he makes my heart melt and soar with joy many times a day; needless to say people everywhere fall in love with him, because he is simply irresistible! He does indeed have a stunningly sunny personality and undeniable charisma. And he's WAAAAY cute. And he knows it. Too cute really; if you have a child with Down's Syndrome, or know any, you'll be familiar with the 'cute-factor'... Right??!
His play and social skills are second to none; he is funny and entertaining and I would go so far as to say he is a very talented, hilarious little comedian whose potential God only knows (...watch this space!).
And I can truly, honestly say that we are very blessed to have this special child in our lives; we wouldn't swap him for the world.
Thomas is also stroppy, fickle and sometimes aggressive. He screams all the time with a very high-pitched, shrill little voice. This seems to be his 'default setting', the only way he communicates and it's so loud I often have to stick earplugs in to avoid getting migraines! He is incredibly easily provoked and this makes him very belligerent - sometimes even downright mean. When he gets cross or upset, it's head-against-the-wall type stuff! You do not want to get in his way when he is in a rage, as he has a tendency to randomly throw heavy objects around the place, and/or kick, and/ or bite.
And I could go on.
How do I parent this child??
He doesn't really respond to rewards.
Ignoring him could lead to him injuring himself or one of us, or to him escaping out of the house, which has happened a few times.
Smacking has been tried, and is not an option, as it just makes him even more aggressive and angry, and teaches him that hitting is OK.
I cannot really reason with him.
I refuse to plead with him, and am certainly not prepared to let him wrap me round his little finger!
I am persevering: in prayer, in loving him, and in praising him as much as I can. But tonight I am strugglin, and worried; I'm anxious about how much worse he might become over the next few years if I don't nip his behaviour in the bud.
I'm really not sure where to turn for support and advice. I have heard and read that you should discipline a child with special needs as you would any child.
Ha! Yeah right...
Much as I'd like to, I don't think I believe that to be possible.
If you have a child with similar patterns of behaviour, what strategies have you found helpful?
Have you read any books which have helped, given practical and realistic advice?
Is it likely to get better or worse??
...And would you pray for us?