Monday, February 21, 2011

Raging Rhinos and Growling Grizzlies

As a mother sometimes things just aren't what I wish they were.  There is one particular cavebear in our little clan that is feistier than the rest.  He is bright, charming, creative, intelligent, kind, and full of energy.  Sometimes that energy gets channeled into wonderful places where happy memories are created.  And sometimes...that energy goes no where good.  At school, especially, extra energy seems to get expelled through all kinds of inappropriate activities that typically end with a trip to the principal's office.

Anger is one form that extra energy sometimes takes.  And its expression has become troublesome.  Not discounting the possibility that we're not getting the whole story, there is still reason for concern as to how this angry energy is being used at school, at home, and well, yes, even at play.

Its difficult to admit that my child has a behavior problem.  It would be alot easier to blame it on everybody else. So and so is picking on him, this teacher doesn't like him, that kid is a teacher's pet, etc, etc, etc.  But none of that would help him get on better at school, it would just keep me from having to admit that there's an area (or 3 or 5 or 10) of parenting that I'm not doing so well at.

I know in my heart its better to admit that I'm falling short and ask for help than to let my kid suffer from bad parenting.  But that doesn't make it any easier to admit.  One big step was making the call to the Child Crisis Center.  Just the name alone put me on edge.  It felt bigger than what I felt we were dealing with.  Calling a place with that kind of name felt ominous, like I was somehow one parenting class away from completely losing it.  But making that call has been a wonderful thing for us.

Here's what I've learned:  The Child Crisis Center is a loving, safe, friendly place for families to learn together.
Their tagline "Strong Families, Safe Kids" says it much better than the title of their organization.  By offering a variety of classes for parents, children, even grandparents acting as caretakers, stronger more functional families can be created, and where there is love and safety, there too is a successful family.  The Child Crisis Center is not a place to be ashamed to visit.  Its not like visiting a welfare office, going to the "wrong side of town" , or otherwise any kind of embarrassing.  Its not full of dirty ne-er-do-wells.  In fact, the center is full of regular, every day, normal families, just like yours and mine who have decided that something is not working, and perhaps another perspective on the problem could be helpful.  Its full of families who love each other and want to experience family life as its meant to be experienced. Walking into a center such as this is not an admission of failure.  It is an admission of not knowing everything there is to know.  Not all the information you will recieve in this kind of setting will apply to your situation.  Take from it what works, and leave behind the rest.

What I love most about participating in these classes is the opportunity to bring things home like the "Bucket Filler" concept, which ironically is helping us more with our youngest child, than the child enrolled in the classes. But also the comraderie of children, and parents who all came together looking for the same kind of help, but showed themselves all to be wonderful, kind, personable, creative, and joyful people.  Each with a similar area of struggle.  I guess that's to say I learned we're "Normal" to need a little help.

And that makes it a little better.  Because really, don't we really just want to feel "normal" inside?
And when we secretly deal with a problem that we have made bigger than it is, our feelings of normalcy are stolen and replaced by feelings of shame and guilt.  Its silly! And I refuse to participate anymore.  So if you think less of me because I enrolled my family in anger management class, that's ok.  I still won't feel guilty about it, because guilt isn't the appropriate emotion here.  And I learned THAT at anger management.


Kristina P. said...

This sounds like a great place. I work for a local government agency that provides crisis services and free counseling, but the youngest we will take is 8.

Lara said...

Excellent. I think any time that we can learn how to be better parents (because we all need help!) it's a good thing. Even if the name makes it sound scary. :)

Good for you and your family.