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Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Train I Call Sybil

I'm looking for advice. I woke up at 5 this morning when Ray was getting ready to go and laid in bed for another hour thinking and praying. I'm having parenting problems. I know there are things that I could have done differently but I don't know what to do to stop the train once it starts.

Let me explain. Hanan is my Sybil with the exception that she hasn't suffered 16 years of major child abuse. She can go from on extreme to the other in half a second. She is six years old. I thought the year she was three was hard for me. She had temper tantrums that were horrible. Slowly I thought she had outgrown them. They are fewer now, almost to the point that they had stopped. Then a couple of months ago, they started again. The difference is, she might not have one every day but the one she has is so bad it makes me crazy every day for a week trying to prevent the next one. Now at six I find her much more difficult that she was at 3. I'm really worried about what 16 holds in store for me.

Last night, she was trying to protect her sister. She accidentally upset a 3 year old at church. The 3 year old had a 3 year old sized fit in front of lots of people. I asked Hanan to apologize. She broke down. She was sobbing. It's hard for her to know she's hurt someone's feelings. Things just got out of hand from there.

It was time for class. She didn't want to go. That started the train. I saw it. I thought I could stop it. It wasn't her fault. I was so wrong. I coaxed her upstairs to where Ray was sitting. My arms were full. I was holding Bria, all my supplies for class and pulling Hanan with a spare hand. I wasn't in a good mood either. This isn't what I needed at the moment. I had prepared the O.U. dinner. I needed to ask Ray to clean up so I could teach. I made an April Fool's dinner that a few people weren't happy with. (more on that later.) I just needed the train to stop. Neither of us were in a good place.

I should have paid more attention. I should have gotten on her level and encouraged her more. I'm still not sure that would have stopped it. She's a stubborn girl. She didn't want to go to class because her face was spotted from crying. This is something that I could understand. I told her that her friends wouldn't care. I have to make this story shorter so I'll just say that before it was over, Ray had taken Bria to class and I was dragging Hanan kicking and screaming down the hall because I needed to be in class.

Ray saw what was happening and tried to intervene. Nice for me, bad for Ray. It got worse and worse. He finally sat Hanan in a corner in the class. (I teach Hanan's class.) She was screaming and yelling things that don't sound like Hanan. It didn't matter at that moment how nurturing and caring we were, she was too far gone. The little girls in the class were putting their fingers in their ears and laying their heads on the table. The train kept coming. At one point, I went to try and comfort Hanan. She tried to push me away and then slap at me. This is something Hanan would never ordinarily do. We disciplined her, sat her back in the chair and that made it worse.

Before it was over, Ray removed her from class and sat her downstairs. I'm not feeling good about that because she in some ways got her way. Her friends also something much worse than a red puffy face. By the time we got home, Hanan was so sad and remorseful. She always is. She's been hanging on me all morning. Right now there couldn't be a sweeter kid in the world.

I've heard everything at this point. I give in too often. I don't make myself available to her. It's her birth order that does it. I can see that part of her problem is that she's stubborn and she doesn't know how to deal with her anger. In some ways she is too much like me. In other ways it amazes me how she seems to have this Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personality. It really changes that fast.

So please help. What can I do to help her understand what she's doing? What am I doing wrong? Her next fit might be tomorrow or it might be in a month. Either way, it's coming. I need to know how to deal with the next one.

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