It has been said that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. This principle can be applied to all our relationships, marriage, work, social, you name it. This is a great and true principle in the field of human interaction. One relationship where this is especially true is with our children. Sometimes as parents we want to believe that our kids should just tow the line and do as we say. Perhaps we think this way because we we were raised this way. We do, after all, go with what we know when nothing else seems to work. But in order for this tow the line system of parenting to work fear needs to be in play and all of these kids came from living in fear. Their fear is not a fear that makes you seem impressive and moves them to action but rather a fear that causes them to freeze. So what to do?
Full confession time. I have struggled to connect with our foster son J. It seems that so much about his personality and mine are just like oil and water. Chalk and cheese if you like. But I am trying to understand and be compassionate because I know so much about the circumstances he came from. I know what he has heard and I know what he has seen. But even that knowledge has not been enough to bridge the gap between us. Because I don’t know how he feels. Knowledge is not enough to move people to action. Facts and figures do not inspire us and until I make a decision that my reactions need to be based on how he needs to be treated then nothing will change.
So that’s what I’m trying to do. I want to be proactive and not reactive. I want to head his way and not wait for him to head mine. Do I get it right all of the time? No, of course not, but things are getting better and as I choose to engage rather than react I find there is a snowball effect. I find that the things he does are not as bad as I previously thought they were. I find that he is just a little boy who is more silly than anything else and as much as he enjoys being here he still doesn’t view our house as his home. Maybe that is the real key to his behavior. Maybe he feels that it is our doing that he can’t live where he wants to live or be where he wants to be.
At the end of the day I don’t know how long he’ll be with us but for now we are building a bridge and he is doing his part in it by killing me softly…