Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Blame Game

This morning, Blink and I were goofing around on the walk to school. He was walking right behind me, so I jokingly stopped short and we collided. I like to play these kind of games to give him some heavy pressure and get him laughing before we walk into the school building. All was well until he started playfully stepping on the back of my heels. Which hurt!  So I told him that and upset and angry. "You're blaming me!  You think it's my fault! Everyone blames me for everything!"

It's a pretty typical Blink response.  Dramatic yelling and complaints and angry withdrawal.  It's a little mysterious to me, like a switch has been flipped. I'm not sure what triggers it, but once he's in angryland, it's hard to know why he's there or to get him back.

This morning, I tried to get him to see this was no big deal. I said, "Look at me, do I look angry?"  He told me that I was obviously faking it.  I tried to reassure him that I wasn't.  I asked him if he wanted to take a minute before going inside the school. He did not.  But in the hallway, he said, "It just feels like I always ruin games. I always mess up games. No matter what I do."

I just about fell over.  He told me what was going on inside his head!

I had no idea he was feeling this way. None. The anger response really masks what's really going on for him.  Like everyone else around him, I get caught up in dealing with the loud, angry outburst and never see what's going on inside.  And you know, it is really difficult to summon up a lot of compassion for the child who is screeching/thundering at you when you have no idea why. Much easier to remain compassionate when you know the kid is mentally beating himself up.  I wonder if he's always blaming himself when he yells "You're just blaming me!"  Interesting.

So I was able to tell him that this wasn't anyone's fault, that when two people roughhouse this kind of thing happens, and furthermore, I was the one who started it in the first place. I just kept stressing that is was No. Big. Deal. Then Blink got stuck on another frustrating situation at his father's, which I decided not to engage.  

By the time we got to his classroom, he was still mildly out of sorts but when his teacher reminded him that it was his turn to share today, he snapped right out of it.  Hurray!

No comments: