K has become my best angel. She’s rarely angry and hasn’t had any problems with violence, verbal or physical, in the last month. More than that, her language has changed completely. She speaks politely most of the time and is much more open to talking about her feelings, and asking me about mine. Of course she still gets frustrated, but deals with it in a more logical manner. She tells me that she uses some of the tools she learned from Moshe Elbaum and from her therapist.
With Passover, both kids were on vacation for 10 days. But before and since, I continued to get almost daily reports from both teachers and other mothers that Karen has been polite, helpful and most importantly, not angry or destructive. She’s even changed her manner of dress. Where once she wore only sweats and usually had them stained and torn by the end of the day, she’s now wearing skirts and tights with pretty shirts and staying much cleaner. It’s as if 85% of all the negativity she had been carrying with her forever, has just dissipated, leaving a sweet, but very independent first grader.
As her behavior has improved, we have granted her more privileges and independence. She has always wanted to do things on her own. In fact, some of her first words were, “me, alone”. In other words, she would stop me from helping her dress, bathe, etc., as a 2 year old, and yell at me, “me, alone”, she wanted to do it all alone, with no help.
Now that she’s in school, and sees the older kids arriving on bicycles and scooters, she also wants to ride her bike to school. It’s not far, but there are 2 street’s to cross, and several driveways. We weren’t keen on allowing it, not just because we felt she wasn’t responsible enough to stop and walk the bike at cross walks, but also because we didn’t want the bike at school to cause more behavioral issues.
Now that she has succeeded in conquering her behavioral problems for almost 2 months, with only one week of problems more than a month ago, we decided to let her ride the bike and lock it up at school, then ride it home. Of course we “shadow” her in the car, initially to make sure she was being safe, and now just because it makes her feel better to know we’re near by, even if she is doing it all on her own. And guess what? She’s showing incredible levels of responsibility in safety. I told her the more responsible she behaves the more freedom she will get. But how much more freedom is it safe to give even the most precocious and well behaved 7 year old, no matter how responsible?