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Old 03-03-2007, 12:22 AM   #1
canadiyank
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Default Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

I just cannot recommend this book enough - is it so fabulous and every time I read a section over I learn something new! (There's also some great books and articles at the publishers site...they are against corporal punishment but not all of the things are totally non-punitive, just FYI. Still a helpful site. Parenting Press.) I bought it when Kiri was 2 at my local indie bookstore and read through it but a lot of it she was just too young for. Well, now she's not. And I'm in need of some new tools and to teach her some new tools so I'm rereading it.

I'm going to be posting a summary of each chapter as I read it. It has a built-in workbook so I'm also doing those exercises. Anyone who is interested, join in, comment, ask questions, etc. Since I know myself, it'll probably be pretty slow-going as far as the chapter posting but I'm a few chapters in, so at least I have *something* to post right now. I'd really encourage you to buy this book since it's such a great reference and b/c doing the workbook adds another level of insight.

Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2007, 12:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

Chapter One - Who's Responsible For Happiness?

Wow, that was a big insight for me. I mean, I know I can't make my children happy, and that quote at the top of the board that pops up periodically about just b/c our kids are having a strong reaction to the boundaries doesn't mean it's punitive, has had a lasting impact on me as I've parented. To hear it from a difference source was so helpful to me...so here it is again, folks: My child is responsible for his or her own happiness. We can provide wonderful experiences, encouragement, etc. but ultimately we can't make them happy, nor is it our responsibility.

Although we can't "make" them happy, we can help them...

Parents' role: modeling ways to deal with feelings appropriately, teaching information and skills needed, backing out (when appropriate) and letting children be responsible for their own feelings;

Children's role: to notice their feelings, learn the skills to manage feelings and situations, experiement with what works for them.

This quote was especially pertinent to our situation:

"Recently parents have begun to acknowledge their children's feelings and are surprised that their children sometimes remain upset. Acknowledging feelings is very helpful, and children need more than that. They need information about feelings, concrete tools and strategies to deal with their feelings and the situation they face, and support as they experiement and find out what works for them." (p. 9)

What kids need to manage their feelings...

1. Information about feelings - a feelings vocaulary, to know that feelings change, and that feelings are different from actions.

2. Tools and strategies - to calm themselves instead of putting a lid on it or exploding.

3. Support - different levels of parental support depending on age and stage of learning. (She makes a big distinction about this, focusing on the fact that stage of learning of skills is more important than age. So many times we expect things b/c they're "x" age, but they lack the skills to deal with the situation.)

She then goes on to a self-test that talks about your "Parenting EQ (emotional quotient) Style," which is helpful for determining how you handle kids' feelings. There's the sensitve response, which acknowledges feelings and often tries to destract the child but not offer tools or strategies for dealing with the feelings (that would be me...). A Critical response dismisses or discounts the child's feelings, may blame child for situation, doesn't like display of feelings, offers no skills. A Fixing response tries to solve the child's problem or avoid the situation so the child won't be upset. Rarely acknowledges feelings, offer tools, or encourages the child to problem-solve for him/herself. The Coaching response acknowledges child's feelings, offers strategies to deal with feelings, reminds they have choices of strategies, and that they (the parents) are available as a resource.

Obviously the Coaching response would be the one they are teaching us how to do. I was suprised to find that while I was reflecting and acknowledging away I wasn't giving a whole lot of tools for dealing with the situations and feelings. And I'd already read the book but was still doing that.

Anyways, there ya go.
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Old 03-03-2007, 07:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

Hey, Meghan! I will be following
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Old 03-03-2007, 07:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

wow, how cool! thanks!
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Old 03-03-2007, 08:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

I just ordered this from amazon.  Should be here in a week or so.  I'll be following.
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Old 03-03-2007, 12:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

I have this on interlibrary for another two weeks. I'll be reading!
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Old 03-03-2007, 12:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

That sounds really good. I still need help like this!
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Old 03-03-2007, 04:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary


I'll try and post some thoughts when I have more time.
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Old 03-04-2007, 10:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

Chapter Two - What To Do When Your Child is Upset

I love that this book is so practical. She admits there's tons to do and foundations to lay, but most people pick up the book wanting to know what to do *now* when a tantrum is happening. She says, "The good news is there are things you can do to help your child to deal with his feelings over time. The bad news is that nothing "works" in the moment of crisis. Once your child has "lost it," he can rarely learn anything until he is calm again. At the moment of crisis, the most effective approach is to give the child the support he needs, and then plan what you will teach he when he is calm" (p. 14) [italics mine].

Levels of support - depending on the child's age and skill level for dealing with emotions and situations, that parent's role changes as children grow in age and ability.

Comfortor - I will take care of you.
Teacher - You have choices.
Coach - You can think of choices.
Supporter - You are in charge. I'll support you.

She then illustrates these examples with stories from various ages and skill-levels of children, making it clear that just b/c a child is x-age doesn't mean they're able to deal with the emotions/situations successfully (jeepers - how many of us can't? Yet we skill have higher expectations of our, say, 3yo... ). As the child grows and they learn they will be able to more successfully handle these situations and your role as a parent will change. I love that final stage of "supporter" - you are in charge; I'll support you. I can think of many parental relationship that either didn't have any of these roles or were stuck at one which led to many problems in their adult children's lives.

As far as the crisis of "in the moment," she clarifies that while it's important to deal with the crisis, very little learning occurs as this time. In fact, if that's the only time you deal with feelings, your child will probably continue to have emotional meltdowns b/c although acknowledging feelings is helpful, it does not teach the child *how* to deal with the emotions.

First, the steps for dealing with a crisis:

1. Check for safety. Move anyone or anything being hurt.
2. Acknowledge feelings. "It's ok to feel ____." (Identifying feelings gives them a feelings vocabulary, that feelings are acceptable, and that their feelings are different from actions. It's ok to "guess" at their feelings and be wrong...they're still learning and if they can tell you're wrong, great!)
3. Set limits. "And I will not let you _____." (Notice use of "and" here instead of "but," which can negate or minimize their feelings you idenitified in step 2.)
4. Offer choices. "You may ____ or _____ instead." (These are the skills you've introduced at other times.)
5. Offer support. "Would you like me to ___?" ("Offering support may be tricky. Some children want to be left alone, others feel abandoned if you leave. You can ask what the child wants, but remember that she may really not know. You may need to experiment to see what works best." p. 17.)

Between crises is when the main teaching takes place and that's the focus of the future chapters. To start off, though, these three actions are important:

1. Teach new strategies and skills for coping.
2. Ackowledge effort. Teachings skills is a gradual effort and learning them may takes weeks or months versus hours or days.
3. Reduce stress. (Too many activities, triggers, dealing with your own stress, etc.)

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Old 03-04-2007, 11:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

Ahhhhh! Ok, so right now I need to be more the comforter as he has no skills with which to work through this on his own (not that I really expect him to at this age), but I should be moving into the teacher phase as I teahc him how to cope and then use those skills to cope during crisis. I think due to the trauma of adoption though, we are definitely still at the comforter stage. Add that we were punitive and are in the process to no longer be, he is still learning to trust us for comfort. Does this basically mean that he can't truly utilize or learn skills to cope on his own until he is secure in the fact that we are there to comfort and help if needed, do you think? Very interesting!!! Also makes me realize that if I can't comfort him in public the same way I do at home, then I probably don't need to go there Like, for instance, I oftentimes nurse him for comfort, if we are some place I am not comfortable doing that, then I don't need to be there huh? Consistency for the trust factor All kinds of things opening up in my mind
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:10 PM   #11
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

I think you're exactly right, RiAnnon. The comfort phase is so important right now, especially b/c of the adoption and punitive background. And you will be able to teach him skills but realize that especially in the moment right now he's just not able to use them. Add into that that technically your child is 1 and he only needs one skill per year of age...and you've got it, nursing. Good insights into your particular situation.




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Old 03-04-2007, 11:16 PM   #12
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

WOOHOOO!!!! I feel like jumping on the roof!!! It is SOOOOO wonderful when light bulbs start going off! I love it! Ok, now feeling much LESS frustrated! Let's see how tomorrow goes, I feel more equipped already!
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

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Old 03-05-2007, 08:10 AM   #14
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

Quote:
Add into that that technically your child is 1 and he only needs one skill per year of age
This is an intresting idea to me. Where does this idea come from? What other kinds of skills can you have besides nursing?
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:53 AM   #15
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Default Re: Discussion of "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary

Well, that is the premise the author has...one skill per year of age. (I was mostly teasing about the nursing...that's not one she mentions but it *is* a self-calming tool. )

There are six main types of self-calming tools, and that's in ch. 4, so stay tuned, lol, but some other examples would be comfort corner, watching swaying trees, large-body mvt's such as jumping or running, repetitve tactile things things like stringing beads or playing play-dough, drinking tea, warm bath, etc.
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