“Don’t talk out of turn, listen when the adult is talking…He is always impulsive and hard to calm down.” (Bryan, age 6)
What if a child’s personality, the way he acts in the world was actually a pattern developed out of a need? What if he was acting out because he was feeling uncomfortable and this was the one way to escape and get a free pass out of the group dynamic? What if he had brilliantly developed a pattern that worked seamlessly?
Bryan was this master…he had familiarized himself with the notion that from the first time he talked louder than others, he was immediately given the title of “difficult.” He knew if he grabbed at the toys fast enough, he was “impulsive.” But yet, what other options did he have?
Then came therapy with me…I told Bryan that he was brilliant, that he had figured out the most elaborate plan and pattern that worked to get him safely out of the unknown situations of group dynamics, of parent discussions, and of waiting his turn. I admired his determination and perseverance, time and time again to predictably respond the same way.
Meanwhile, the adults in his life were shocked each time he presented in these “same” patterns. As soon as I helped his parents see the similar way Bryan moved before entering a group, how he quickened his speed and how he got to avoid conversation, then Bryan’s patterns shifted.
When his parents no longer said he was “impulsive, and hard to calm down.” Bryan was then given opportunities of what he was allowed to do. We said, “Bryan, do you want to talk first?” Bryan did you want this piece?“ “Bryan, you moved so fast when we passed out the games. Can you help teach your friends how to have a turn moving first and fast too?”
He smirked and realized we had understood his needs, we had accepted him and that he had choices. He began to wait his turn and listen. He communicated that he felt seen and that he didn’t need to push or run away from situations. He wasn’t defined by one personality but rather that he had a way to change his patterns for the better!
Everyday I work with children of all ages and their families to support their comfort, development, and connections! For more ways to learn how to embody parenting and support your child through life, Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (310) 966-0700 to schedule your time.
Please Note: These stories are based on real moments but all names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.