Re: Building Trust

Schuyler <s.waynforth@...>

Is there a pattern to the difficult days? Are you busier and more likely to forget to eat, are you more tired? Can you feel the tension building? If you can are there things you can do to alleviate it? Watch a movie, go through a drive in and get some food, do something slower for a bit.

I started out spanking. I spanked until Simon was 5 and Linnaea was 2. Spanking was all about my way and my frustration and my inability to seek out a different way. It was amazing when I stopped. It was hard not to turn to the quick solution that never solved anything and left everyone upset, me included, me, maybe the most. But it was amazing to have to expand into the vacuum left by not having that blunt tool in my toolbox. Both Simon and Linnaea grew to trust me. It took less time than I expected. They didn't want to think of me as a bad mom, it was easy to rewrite myself as a no-longer-hitting mom than I expected.

Two days ago I got irritated at David. And I raged at him for about 1/2 second and I stopped. I breathed and I apologized and it was gone. There is no way that I could have done that when Simon and Linnaea were little, not because of them, but because I hadn't taken the small steps to get from where I was to where I am. It took recognizing that what I wanted from them and what they gave didn't have to be different things. It took more and more seeing how much I enjoyed them and being with them and all that they did. As a side note, when I feel myself getting annoyed I find it helps a lot to just hang out more with them and appreciate them all over again. It took seeing that I didn't need to get to the end of a tirade to apologize for it. I could stop midstream. It took using Ronnie Maier's rewind and do-over requests and having two children who had the generosity to give me those momentary reprieves. It took doing better each time. It took looking at
the toll not doing better took. Simon would ball up and get smaller and smaller. Linnaea would rage back and scream and defend. Nobody heard what I was saying anyhow. My raging, my approach to problems didn't help anything.

I can remember talking about it, thinkiing about it, it was like a switch I could feel turning. I went from calm and in control to *switch* furious in no time at all. And I couldn't figure out how to not turn the switch on, to make the switch a thoughtful process. When it flipped the other day I felt it go and I stepped away and I turned it off. Most days I stop long before the switch goes. The thoughtful process was recognizing the grumpiness earlier in the day. Feeling a shortness that isn't normally there and doing things to respond to that like going for a quick breath outside or having a chocolate milk or a chai latte or something else that just ups my energy budget a bit. Taking 5 minutes to close my eyes and be still helps, too. Whatever works for you to buffer yourself is good, come up with lots of little things. With an almost 4 year old little things and little moments are what you are most likely going to get.

t helps a lot to try for better moments not days. Don't judge a day by one upset, judge it as a bad moment and move forward. A little bit better each moment. A little bit more aware.


From: Emily S <saturnfire16@...>
To: AlwaysLearning@...
Sent: Saturday, 10 October, 2009 3:48:18
Subject: [AlwaysLearning] Building Trust

My name is Emily, and this is my reintroduction to the group. I was here for a while (a year maybe?) and then I left. I was spending too much time reading about unschooling and not spending enough time with my kids. I'm doing better with that, and I needed to come back to ask some questions.

Here's some background:

My daughter, Ezabella, is almost 4. I started out spanking (swatting her hand when she was about 18 months) and did timeouts. I stopped both when she was 2 (spanking and timeouts for a 2 year old! Terrible, but that's all I knew to do. I couldn't imagine doing that now.) I'm firmly against spanking and all punishments now, but there have been a few times in the last year where I hit her out of frustration. One time she smacked me in the face, so I smacked her back. Each time I *immediately* realized what I had done and appoligized profusely.

I'm getting better all the time about handling my anger. I'm using meditation, lots of prayer and other things to help me work through my own issues so I can be a better mom.

So, here's my question- after screwing up so much in her short life, how do I rebuild trust? I always apologize when I yell or handle things badly. We don't have arbitrary restrictions- food, tv, bedtime (I slowly let those things go, thanks to this list).

Intellectually, I know what I want to do. What kind of parent I want to be. I want to be her partner. I want to help get her needs met. I want her to trust me. But I feel like I lack creative problem solving skills and sometimes I just want things *my way.* It's like I get stuck and can't see past my own wants.

Some days I hit this awesome groove where I'm flexible and creative and kind and helpful. And other days..... not so much.

Will it just take more time of practice, fail, practice, fail, before I start to feel like I'm succeeding at this and she trusts me again? Any suggestions of things I can do (or not do) to build trust?

A few people on this list- Jenny Cyphers and some others who may not be as active here- have seen Ezabella and I together. Any observations that might help?

(I know my kids are little and maybe we aren't *really* unschooling yet, but I'm asking here because I appreciate the honesty and clarity of thought on this list).



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