By K. Hecht, A. Hosack, & P. Berman
I hate Davy. I hate myself. It’s his fault! It’s my fault! What do I do?
She had hit Davy. He had been driving her crazy refusing to listen. Davy was asleep now, looking so sweet and making her feel more horrible about herself. Claire had trouble all day in school; she couldn’t concentrate and she might have blown a math test because of it. She had been nagged all day by the fear that she was turning into her mother.
What could she do to stop this?
She couldn’t tell the Carsons, but she could try to think like them. They were always saying she didn’t have to be perfect, but she knew hitting Davy was way too far from perfect to be acceptable to them. They would say, “reach out for help.” But she couldn’t reach out to them or they would know something was wrong.
She slipped on one of Davy’s socks and as she did this, she noticed the family computer that she had forgot to put back in the living room. Okay, this is a sign. She decided to get on that www.zerotothree.org and see what that complex place had to say about Davy and his refusal to listen. PLEASE let him be normal! PLEASE let me not have turned him into a monster!
Was God helping her out again? The first thing she say was this video that looked perfect for her situation. It was called: “Tantrums, Defiance, Aggression – Oh my!” (at https://vimeo.com/136542833). She watched it three times. She wanted to be like one of the parents in it. Watching the baby girl screaming in the video, she looked so much like Davy – really like a monster. But once she calmed down, she looked so cute. The video said it was normal that she screamed like that when she was mad. Having strong feelings was normal! Little kids just needed help learning how to calm down. This meant Davy wasn’t bad. She hadn’t ruined him already!
Claire had thought this through herself! She had not been like her mom, just screaming and hitting. She had hit Davy but, she realized this was being a bad mother and she acted and found other ideas. Her mom and dad got angry all the time, but if she or her siblings showed any signs of anger- her parents called it disrespect and took out the whip. Claire was free to think for herself now. She respected the Carsons and the stuff they were allowing her to learn from. Since zerotothree said it was normal for kids to get angry, it must be normal. Claire would have to tune out that voice in her head, that sounded just like her dad saying, “time for the whip bitch” or her mother saying, “you waste of space, you can’t do anything right.”
Could she do this? If she told Mrs. Carson about it would she help her?
Davy woke up in a bad mood just as she finished reading. He began kicking her as she took him out of the crib. Claire tried her new ideas, “Davy, I can see you are mad because you kicked me. It’s okay to be mad, but it is not okay to kick me.”
Davy kept throwing kicking her, “I know you’re mad, I will help you calm down.” Then, she put him in her lap, hugged him tight and stroked his hair the way Mrs. Carson would stroke hers. At first, he kept kicking, but not enough to hurt her. She said, “You are so mad, but it is going to be alright. I will help you calm down.”
Davy finally stopped kicking and snuggled against Claire. She remembered that the moms in the video would say something nice when their child calmed down. She said, “I love holding my cuddly Davy.” Davy looked up at her and smiled. She said, “Let’s go see what Mrs. Carson is making for dinner, maybe we can help her.” She stopped hugging Davy, he slipped down off her lap and waiting for her to stand up, then he took her hand and they walked down stairs.
“I want to thank you God for helping me think when I got home from school, I promise to never hit my Davy again.”
Claire wanted to ask the Carsons to help her learn how to identify her feelings and Davy’s. She realized she would have a hard time teaching Davy to control his anger, if she couldn’t control her own. But she was afraid to tell them she slapped Davy, so how was she to bring it up? Could she admit that she felt both good and bad about slapping Davy? She felt good because he listened, and she didn’t miss the bus. But she believed that video when it said that was not good for Davy.
During dinner Claire could barely eat. Dinner time was talk-together time at the Carsons. This is when she should bring it up. But if they knew she hit Davy, would they throw her out? As this thought played over and over in Claire’s mind, she began to sweat, and her heart was pounding. Then, she realized that she could tell them about what she did right- the stuff from Zero to Three website. This would help her explain why she would like their help.
Do you think Claire will keep her promise to God?