Yesterday morning, Emily’s EA had a glimpse of Emily’s ability to turn into a small overwhelmed child in a teenager’s body.
I was there, I brought her back quickly and helped her manage the stressful situation to reach a positive outcome.
What triggered this?
An innocent enough announce that last class would end 30 minutes early for the students to have a pep rally before walking over to attend a football game.
A Pep rally in the cafeteria, something Emily has never experienced and is now imagining to be awful as it would be crowded and loud…
Pep rally are supposed to be fun and supposed to energize you before a big game.
My girl was scared, her eyes got watery, her smile turned upside down and she looked worried.
This was an instant reaction to a small talk we were having with her EA.
I looked at Emily, right in her eyes (its cool that I can do that standing now, no need to get on my knees to make eye contact) and ask her where my teenager went?
She knows, it’s our “cue” to bring her back. She took some deep breath while I was telling her that I needed to talk to my teenager so we could decide what we would do at 3pm.
She was completely focused on me and I on her. I hope her EA was paying attention as she might need to do this without me one day…
Emily’s tears were still really close but she managed to control whatever was going on.
I asked her if she wanted to stay for the pep rally and experienced it? She started the spiral descent into panic mode so I offered to pick her earlier than usual that way she could avoid the commotion. She agreed to that, dried her eyes, breathed in and out and left to go to class.
I know I could have avoided most of this by making arrangements to get her out of there before the pep rally as soon as it was mentioned but I want her to learn to manage those crisis so they stay little instead of turning into full meltdown. I can’t give her all the answers, she needs to learn to see her options and make her own decisions.
This one was a little crisis as I had my imaginary hand on my daughter’s pulse the whole time. I knew how far I could push her while trying to help her make a decision and see the options in front of her.
I am hoping her EA took some mental notes on how to help Emily navigate a potentially disastrous situation.
Only time will tell.
Was it wrong of me to try to walk Emily through this on her own? Should I have told her right away that I could pick her up earlier?
I think you made the right decision. You know your daughter and you know how to help her learn and stretch and manage – you were there and while her brain was trying to short circuit you were showing it that there were other options – preventing the neurons from automatically traveling the same path – and helping them create a new path! With any kid, and sometimes more so with Em, you just have to show them over and over again that you are there – but that they still have options and that they can take control of the situation! I’m really proud of you – because I know how tempting it is to just swoop in and surround your kid so that they never have to have a moment of panic. I’m so proud because one of the hardest lessons to learn is that sometimes our kids need to feel that and learn that they can have control, too!
Thank you! I always struggle with the balance between helping her and doing for her. It’s such a fine line!
I think you did a marvelous job of helping Emily one more small step on the road to independence. And I, too, pray that her EA watched and learned. Too often “professionals” think that they have all the answers while we, the parents and grandparents, are just amateurs who don’t understand. In fact, it is the caregivers who have learned and polished skills over years or decades that they really need to acquire.
I’ve been ignored multiple times before while trying to help therapist understand how Emily functions! I know try to teach by showing… Lead by example! :). Hoping they will catch on to the hints.