Two years ago, I listened to a presentation by Renee Swope on Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child at a Hearts At Home conference.  It was all about focusing less on our children’s faults and more on the “gold” in their hearts, lives, days, etc.

Although I have acknowledged the larger nuggets in Ty’s adjustment period–sleeping through the night, attachment, affection, and language comprehension /expression, I have been largely bogged down in all the proverbial dirt and dust.  To be honest, I have never felt so frustrated, inadequate, insecure, and downright angry as a parent.  I underestimated how hard it would be to discipline a child with whom you missed out on 2 1/2 years of relationship.  I underestimated how frustrating it would be to only be equipped with timeouts when you have a child who spits, screams, hits, and pinches whenever he pleases…who has no reason to comply with your requests.  It’s a viscious cycle.  The more angry I got, the harder it was for me to forge a healthy relationship which would in turn precipitate more bad behavior…more anger…worse behavior.  You get the picture.

Then I started reviewing Dr. Karyn Purvis’ book, The Connected Child, in my head and the encouragement of Renee Swope came back.

So, please, allow me to share with you some of the things that Ty’s done/doing that I’m trying to hold on to (typing this as he screams in the kitchen after a rough morning and refuses to take his medicine)…

*Although his speech has a long way to go, he is singing some preschool songs like Wheels on the Bus…see?

*He is showing spontaneous affection for all members of the family.  We didn’t realize we were missing this until he started doing it.  He actually initiated hugs and asks to be picked up now.

*When I slam on the brakes and pull the car over because he’s using his outside voice screaming inside the car, I don’t even have to ask him to show me his quiet voice.  He does it automatically.  Now if we could just get him to stop the screaming thing all together.

*He apologizes spontaneously–meaning I don’t have to ask but he’s still doing plenty that deserves an apology.

*He’s doing very well in his toddler group that sponsored by the Maryland Infants and Toddlers program.

*He’s finally recognizing sights along the road (farm animals, vehicles, etc.) and getting excited about kids’ characters (i.e. Handy Manny, Bob, Thomas).

*He can switch to his “happy” voice when I tell him my ears don’t hear whining.

*There is finally an attention span to speak of–albeit a short one.  He loves trucks, pretend food, and trains.  A couple weeks ago, he just up and sorted by multiple colors which was a huge step for him because we were beginning to think he was color blind.

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