Defining moments

I find myself blurring the line between treating Jaydn like everyone else and having to recognize her special needs and cater to those. Its hard when you are parenting more than one child as well. A typical scene for us goes like this...

The three kids are playing a game in one of the bedrooms when all of a sudden Jaydn takes the game to a whole new level which saddens Jaxon and enrages Jovie. They will try the tactic (sometimes) of using their words to communicate with her that she is taking the fun out of the play and making it hurtful or dangerous but most of the time she just keeps doing it however she wants, provoking the two even further.

Our job gets really blurry at this point. Do we ...
A. Go in and deal with the situation as we would if it were the other two (IE time out or remove from group play) ?
B. Go in and talk to Jaxon and Jovie about how Jaydn doesn't understand the game or that they have to try and teach her where the limitations are b/c she has never had them before?

It may sound simple but both scenarios cause other things to happen. In situation A we upset Jaydn and further distance her from building that bond with her brother and sister. We may be reinforcing their standard of play (good) but also teaching them that Jaydn doesn't meet that standard so she is not someone you want to play with (bad). In situation B we would be making allowances for inappropriate behavior and causing Jaxon and Jovie to think that she will get away with things b/c she is "from Uganda."

Most of the time we make the call at the time of the offense. But we are starting to see the mindset that is developing in Jax and Jo when we do either of these things. If anything gets broken or someone gets hurt or leaves a toy where it wasn't supposed to be, all blame gets placed on Jaydn. They seem to think that she will get in trouble less b/c she is "different." Even if they never saw who did it, they will point the finger in her direction.

That leaves us (Nathan and I) feeling like we are somehow representing to our older two that 1. Jaydn is causing a lot of problems and/or 2. She won't get in as much trouble for the same offenses so b/c mommy and daddy treat her "different" we should too.

Its a troubling predicament to be in as a parent.

While I know understanding will come in time for all of us, the present situations are also defining things about what our children believe about themselves, their place in the family, and our dynamic as a whole group. This makes our game day decisions even that much more crucial b/c what we do and how we handle Jaydn sends messages to everyone involved and we have to be very intentional about what messages we are sending.

My goal, and seemingly impossible task, is to teach all of our kids this:

She/He is different. Just like you.

How do we plan to do that? I have no idea- we are still trying to figure that out!


Anonymous said...

This is actually something I might be able to help you with! :) I am a behavior disorder resource teacher, so if you're interested in sounding this off to me, feel free to email/call me! I won't throw my 'expertise' at you unless you want it, haha! Jaydn is too young to be considered a behavior disorder, of course, but I can maybe help you comb through the psychology of the situation. Let me know if you wanna talk!


Bethany Gaddis said...

Mandy who? You are anonymous!

Anonymous said...

Oops...sorry! Mandy Atkins :)