Radical Unschooling

#100 Days of Home Ed…Day 21

Let’s see. The other day we left off at…

Treat every day as a fresh start.

But as I said they got this one a bit wrong. It should be….

Treat every MOMENT as a fresh start!

This one is crucial when it comes to meltdowns and bad days. But I admit…once you have taken that jump…made that surrender…and realized that this is NOT personal…once you have done that, this is one of the harder parts.

But there is a physiological reason for that…it is called adrenaline. 

Our children start to meltdown and we go on alert. Our bodies prepare us for the worst. Our brains flood the body with adrenaline and other hormones that heighten our senses, give us more strength and speed, and prepare us to fight for our child.

Of course the same thing  is happening to our little aliens too.

Except for some reason I do not understand once it is over with them then it is that perfect calm after the storm.

They act like nothing happened.

They may not even remember parts or all of it.

No matter how bad it was in the moment…

Once it is over, it is over for them.

This is when they need you the most. Because the truth is that during those meltdowns…

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can do to help your child.

The only thing you can do is keep them and others safe. That’s it. But we will talk more about meltdowns another time…

Back to you now…

It does NOT work like that for you. 

Your body and mind are still on high alert. Your heart is racing. You are sweaty or clammy. Ready to take off again at any moment…and most especially… Antsy and Itching for another fight. That is your fight, flight or freeze response. It is evolutionary.

And it takes time to come down…to calm down.

Time that your child does not have to give you.

It is so easy…and loads of parents do it…to start right back in on them. To feel like you have ‘make them see the error of their ways.’

Don’t do it! Don’t make that mistake. It will just lead to another meltdown…what we call a double meltdown…theirs and yours.

But there you are. Full of these hormones racing through your body. On high alert and itching for another round. While your child needs your love, attention and reassurance most of all in that moment.

And no, you really don’t have the luxury of time…of starting fresh tomorrow. You need to do it now. In that moment.

What do you do? How do you just start all over like nothing happened?

I’ll be honest…like I always am. Dat ain’t easy, folks.

I can remember times when PanKwake had calmed down and rushed off to her iPad or computer and hidden under the covers…sometimes they too need time to come down…but not always. I have sat, curled into a ball on the cold, hard floor and cried as quietly as I could. I wanted and needed to bawl but I could not for her sake.

A few times she has called out for me during one of those times and I wiped my eyes, plastered on a smile…and pretended for her sake that nothing was wrong.

Then once she was asleep I would cry…really cry…some more.

Things are much easier now though. I have Cookie Monster. Afterwards I go to him for cwtches (Welsh for hug or cuddles…but more than that). Just having another human being, another adult, there has made ALL the difference to me.

Even in less than a year since he came into our lives, I look back and wonder…

How the H-E-double hockey sticks did you ever survive?

But we did somehow. As hard as it was, we managed. And you can too.

A couple of other tips…

  1. Find a hobby – something that is just for you…reading, writing, sewing…at one time or the other all of those were my escapes.
  2. MAKE time for you – I know…how? Some people are lucky to have carers funded by the council (UK only…no such thing in America). But honestly, I had and still have a carer for the past three years…and never got a pence from any council. Even when all we had to live on was her DLA (Disability Living Allowance), my carer’s allowance and child support. We managed…get creative. Us family and friends first…because your child is used to them. Then look for students in your area that are both cheaper and more easily trained to do things your way than some expensive agency staff with all their rules.
  3. Never feel guilty about it – Whatever you do to relax (short of course of illegal ones) don’t allow yourself to feel bad about it. If it relaxes you then you will be a better parent for it. And that is all that matters.
  4. Build a support network – Be that family, friends, or support groups face-to-face or online rely upon others. Find your tribe…those that think like you…and stick together. Heck, if nothing else, email me. I will make time for those who need some support. It’s a start at least.

Trust me…I do know just how HARD this one is, but it is essential not just for the mental health and progress of your wonderful little alien, but even more so for your own sanity.

funny-face
On the roller coaster of life, #HomeEd, and #autism…there is no one I want to hold onto more than my beloved Cookie Monster.

Or insanity in the case of our beloved #HomeCrazzyHome.

Tomorrow I will tell you why this blog was a day late…and the importance of setting realistic expectations.

 

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