Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bryan Post Training--and how it's going in our family

I shared several weeks ago that my agency had given me the green light to go to an intensive Post Institute training that would, in the end, leave me as a certified instructor (specifically in The Great Behavior Breakdown).

The time has FLOWN by since I first registered. Now I am a day away! Everything about this feeds into my personal struggles. I'm going to be face to face with people (instead of behind a computer screen). I'm going to be with people who have more degrees and more experience than me. I don't have letters behind my name. I'm going to have to suck it up for 29 hours this weekend regarding the Fibromyalgia. There is no taking a break because of pain. It's been a while since I've been in the academic scene, sitting and interacting with other professionals in my field. Most of all, I am afraid of failing--of disappointing myself and my employer, and of embarrassing myself. It's sort of ironic, really, that I'm trying to become certified in a method that is ALL about managing stress, and I personally deal with a TON of stress and anxiety! Maybe that's why the method speaks to me so personally?

I'll be in class from 9-6 on Friday, from 9-9 on Saturday, and from 9-5 on Sunday. LOTS of hours. Then I'll come home, probably with lots of homework (if it's like other trainings) and have to manage that while also trying to meet the needs of my kids who are used to having me 24/7 and will be HUNGRY FOR THE MOMMY! I sort of wish I could stay in the hotel where the training is taking place, but that would be such a waste of money when I can be home in half an hour.

Last week I re-read The Great Behavior Breakdown. I figured I should probably have a fresh idea in my mind what I am going to be learning in more detail this weekend! I have never really shared about the philosophy with Eric. After discussing it a lot, we have put it into play in our house for the last several days. [Eric has a hard time buying into lots of this "mumbo jumbo."] I asked him to please just try this for 4 weeks. If it doesn't work for our family, fine. But let's give it a GOOD try. I talked to the kids about it on Monday--explaining how we were going to do things a bit differently. I talked about stress/fear vs. regulation/love. The little ones don't/can't understand it, but the big ones can understand to a certain level.

Our little experiment begins!

I can honestly say, we are seeing positive results. Lying has been a MAJOR problem in our family for the past few months. However, the child who has the hardest time with lies has found it possible to tell me the truth this week, when a lie would have been told before. Feeling defeated in school is another thing that we struggle with in the family. This week, the kiddo that struggles with that has found that if he takes a moment to defrag and talk about the stress he's having, he can move on and be successful. We've seen fewer fits of crying from stress. Or rather, shorter. When something starts, we're able to stop it before it escalates.

Obviously, our kiddo with MUCH stress and anxiety is going to have the hardest time regulating himself. We talked to the big kids about how it might take a thousand times of us helping Bright to regulate/calm down before he learns to do it on his own (maybe a million)! The thing is, when Bright gets stressed he explodes into rage, which causes the other kids (some more than others) to also get stressed. We turn into a giant stress ball and before you know it, we're all screaming at each other! AAAAHHHH!!!!!

With this philosophy, when Bright explodes with stress, we MUST remain calm. We are working with the older kids to realize Bright's rages are a trigger for them. It's working. The stress is no longer spreading like wildfire throughout the family. It might be years before Bright can self-regulate, but if the rest of us can learn to stay calm and RESPOND instead of REACT to stress, our family can be much more at peace. It's all about calling a spade a spade--recognizing and talking about stress when it boils over so that we can manage it instead of do what comes naturally and through a fit about it!

Eric has seen the results so far and I can tell he is "buying into it" more and more every day. Are there times when I'm thinking, "The book doesn't tell me how to deal with this!" Oh absolutely. Are there times when I haven't managed my stress well? Sure. But are things BETTER around here? They truly are. I don't think there is any magic method for living, but...

1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."

This is, in essence, what The Post Institute is teaching. At the base of all emotion is either love or fear. Stress is a manifestation of fear. Responding in love works to cast out that fear. The goal is that we each, as human beings, learn to recognize when we have become "disregulated" (are stressed/afraid) so that we can teach ourselves to self-regulate. Until that time happens (when our kids are kids) we need others in our lives to speak to us with love (not stress/fear) so that they can help us to come back into a place of calmness/regulation. After everybody is in a state of regulation, we can learn from one another and make improvements in an undesirable behavior. The goal is that we gain "perfection in love" by learning to cast out our fears!

I sounds out there. But there is something to this philosophy. My daughter, who recognized me in no way on Mother's Day, who was getting very distant, has given me more hugs and "I love yous" this week than she has in the past 4 weeks put together. She is learning very quickly that it's okay to show me her soft underbelly because I am not going to come back yelling at her for her shortcomings. We're just working through stuff together now.

Time will tell, but so far so good.


Ericka 5:34 AM  

That is fantastic Anita!

Mama D.'s Dozen 12:04 AM  

I so look forward to learning more from you. Keep learning. Keep writing. Keep sharing.


Laurel :)