“Flight com, I can’t hold her! She’s breaking up! She’s breaking–“
Remember that opening scene in The Six Million Dollar Man? Man, I do. I was just a kid, but that show had a huge impact on me. I mean, here was Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) being rebuilt before my very eyes! And no question about it: when they were done with that crazy surgery, this guy was going to kick some major ass.
Kinda like me! Hahahaha. How I wish! I could use a little bit of that bionic surgery right now–could use some of those shady government men appearing out of nowhere to reboot me, give me some kick-ass super-human powers. Maybe they’ll even make me a little more like The Amazing Carissa, our Amazing Superhero of a Nanny, who’s always so great with the kids no matter what. (Obviously, she’s already been rebuilt! How else do you explain how effortlessly she manages the kids’ freakouts? If you ask me, there’s something a little too cyborg-like in her ability to redirect the kids, turn a hot-button issue into a game and perform the 1800 other kinds of magic she does on a daily basis to keep everyone calm and happy.)
Me, I’m a little more stuck in the extremes. I’d like to be calm, cool and collected, but alas, more often than not, I’m more like some kind of Crazed Balkan Superhero who runs around wearing day-old clothing and yelling with abandon.
Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been digging around David Code‘s To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First, and I’m slowly beginning to understand a few things behind my endless flip-outs. As you read this, I will be spinning in circles and turning into Wonder Woman, I mean Wonder Balkan Woman, drinking endless cups of coffee as I pull out my hair:
What we resist persists, and this is especially true with parenting. The more we anxiously obsess about or angrily scold a child’s behavior problem, the more we create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There are three main ways that parents deal with a child’s behavior problem. The first way is to pour emotion all over the problem by overreacting with anger or anxiety, which creates more amygdala memories of the behavior, deepening the neuronal pathways that created the undesirable behavior in the first place. An animal trainer succeeds by rewarding desirable behavior and acknowledging, but not overreacting to, bad behavior….
This second way to deal with a child’s problem is actually a form of denial. It seems calm on the outside, but the parents’ anxiety within is so high that they are denying the problem as a kind of flight response. There are situations where the child must be disciplined and taught the right way to act, and denial is a slippery slope.
The third way of addressing a child’s bad behavior is calm, but firm. We don’t deny there’s a problem, we don’t overreact emotionally to the problem, but we acknowledge the problem and define the consequences for it. (197-198).
Ah, the Promised Land: Calm, Cool, Collected Behavior! What I would do to surgically remove my crazed Balkan genes and replace them with some cool-headed kindness. Can it be done?! Can my children turn me into the 21st Century version of The Six Million Dollar Man? Rebuild me from the ground up?
Listen closely–they’re planning it already!
“We can rebuild her! We have the technology! We can make her better than she was! Better…stronger…faster!”