Thursday, January 5, 2012

*BIG* feelings


We've had some big feelings come out in the last few weeks.  It has not been pretty.  And it is *hard* to respond in appropriate ways when my kiddos are taking those big feelings out on me.  I know I'm a safe person in my children's lives, so they're trusting me to be able handle it.  And in turn, it's my job to help them learn another way of handling their emotions.  This is a huge responsibility!

One of the ways I help my children process their big emotions after a blow-out is through coloring.  (It's important to also color during happier times, so it doesn't feel like a reward -- extra time to together after a blow-out.)  We sit down together and get it all out on paper.  Then I add whatever words they want.  I encourage them to identify the feelings they were having when they were so upset.  Sometimes it is very insightful!  

Here, Keandre shares that his tummy is hurting.  He deals with chronic pain and a VERY limited diet, due to his EE & EGE.  He is starting to grieve the way he can't eat like other children.

It has also been a very tough adjustment for him now that Daddy has a full time job.  Andy was unemployed, and working occasional contract jobs from home, for the last 3 years.  Now he works long hours M - Th, plus finishing up some contract work on the weekends.  Praise God my sweetie can tell me what is upsetting him so we can help him work through it!

Nichole, age 7, is dealing with adoption losses.  Her birthmother (also Nichole) has been out of state for a while, and she really misses being in contact with her.  These are normal ups and downs in an open adoption.  I'm thankful she loves her birthmom and that she is willing to talk to me about it.

I'm feeling worn out by all the craziness and acting out.  So I needed to draw also.  As I put it on paper, not censoring how I think it 'should' look, I found myself calming down.  I was reminded of the Cross, and Christ's gift of forgiveness when I don't respond the way I want to.  I'm so thankful for His peace and comfort, too!

Lucas doesn't spill his emotions in the same intense way, but this approach is still very helpful for him.  Here is a picture he drew last year after he and I discussed a problem he faces regularly.  He was frustrated and tired of sharing a room with his brother.  Lucas can spend a couple hours cleaning his room, and within a two days (or is it hours?), it is a disaster again.  After working through it on paper, we talked about some solutions.

If you are caring for spirited or wounded children, I hope you'll consider a little informal art therapy.  I'd love to hear how it works out for you your kids! :)

It's really hard to pretend you're angry when you're no longer angry. :)

(Pictures and info shared with my children's permission.)


Jolene said...

I am praying for continued healing for your children. We just had the best Christmas season ever with our little man who has PTSD and RAD. I am so proud of him that he had no major meltdowns or anxiety attacks.

I had no idea your little man has EE and EGE! We had our daughter tested for that last year and she was negative but her severe food allergies make it difficult for her to eat normal. We are constantly finding new foods she can't have. She's almost 2 and so tiny and so sick. I wish we had more answers for her.

Runner Girl said...

I love this idea, thank you so much for sharing. And thank your for an honest look through the window of your life. It is good to hear that others have the same kinds of days we have sometimes! Also, I love love love the way you described being a safe place for your kids to express emotion... and what a huge responsibility that is for you. I have felt that with my love too, momma is a safe place to melt down on those tough days. You really put that in beautiful terms.

Roxanne said...

I love the honesty and encouragement in this post! Good job mama!

Ariana said...

Kiara, is Destany going by Nichole now? My girls who are close to her age have been going through a rough patch as well, sounds like it may be similar situation. I love the coloring, I'll have to steal that. Thanks for sharing! I always love reading your blog, I'm glad Andy is back to work, your family will remain in our prayers :-)

Alisha said...

Okay I'm confused. I thought your daughter's name was Destany?? Did she change it to her birthmom's name?

Denise said...

This is such good stuff, Kiara, and I really appreciate you sharing the actual artwork. We've had therapists do this a little bit but I haven't done it myself. I'm going to try it, and the way things have been going, it will probably be soon! :) I'll let you know how it goes.

Andy and Kiara said...

Alisha - Destany started going by her middle name (Nichole) a few months ago. Her birthmother named her - which we love! - so of course her middle name is after her bmom's name. Sometimes it gets a little confusing, knowing who we're talking about. ;) At some point I'm going to have to go through the blog and figure out what to do with all the tags that say Destany! :)

Annie said...

Oh I LOVE this! It is so insightful to see the art work.
You are doing a beautiful job with you children, Kiara. Even on the days it doesn't feel like it.
I'm totally going to try this. Maybe with my kids. definitely for me!

Anonymous said...

I love this idea. Thanks for sharing it.

MyLinda said...

Thank you for posting this idea. I think this would be excellent to try with our 7 yr. old daughter (adopted) when she is having a hard time expressing herself. I would love to hear about more things you do with your children to help in this area!

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