My daughter a couple weeks ago would not even enter our home because when she opened the front door she could hear my son screaming. She-and myself-knew that he was starting a meltdown.
It is awful feeling knowing I do not have complete control over my home and the behaviors in it.
As a parent I can create the boundaries and consequences in my home, however, I can not directly control someone else and how they respond. Especially if they naturally lack the skills and maturity to better direct themselves.
I do not believe in sweeping things under the rug. I tell my daughter its Okay, I understand why she doesn't want to go inside and I'll send Daddy out so she can tell him about all the fun things we did at Girl Scouts and I go switch with my husband to help our son cope and calm down.
I believe that part of protecting my daughter is acknowledging the unique things in our family that are hard and even scary.
Seeing your brother in full meltdown-needing at times-to be physically removed screaming like a feral animal is scary. Full blown meltdown mode is not pretty. And we talk about how uncomfortable, awkward (sometimes even socially) it can be for her.
And our son afterwards has more ability to aknowledge and apologize to the people around him. Just like when our daughter stomps off yelling mean things-she has the opportunity to apologize and aknowledge. This then gives us time as a family to bond and forgive-or at least aknowledge the person's attempts at verbal restitution.
The meltdown that we were about to walk into after that daisy scout event was over turning off a video game. There was support, warning etc. and it was not any kind of new event that our son was introduced to. I know my son well enough to know that usually there is a silent build up to such a dramatic event but it is at times even hard for me to detect beforehand (like how animals instinctively change behavior before an earthquake-sometimes I know beforehand something is about to happen)
She also instinctively knows that when she hears that scream she is going into a situation that is not only uncomfortable but could potentially be harmful to herself. This is the dead of the floor type of heartbreaking realization for me.
Yes, it gives opportunity to discuss and talk about feelings and how we can help ourselves in this situation, what we can do next in that moment or next time. But in many ways I feel so frustrated that it is something she even needs to worry about.
It feels nearly the same way when my son cries because his sister is invited to another birthday party when he has had one invitation in two years from a peer.
Its all black and white being honest on how personal behavior affects relationships with others but that is not something that applies to the fundamentals of being a child who is learning about themselves still and have feelings and need to belong.
Each of my children have amazing special gifts. And as our baby grows I am so looking forward to getting ot know him better and his personal gifts-and yes-even challenges.
What this parenting stuff continues to teach me is to not wish for things to be different but to recognize what we have and do the best to cope, change or let it go.
I can wish all I want but it will only leave me frustrated and discouraged. I hope to teach this to my children as well-not that I have any way mastered it. But maybe at least help by example show them that it is the better choice.