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Thursday, August 19, 2010

When Holding Hurts

A recent difficult morning with Alec prompted me to write this post, though it has taken me awhile to put my thoughts to words. I have shared before (see "Why Mommy Needs Holding Time") that often we will do "holding time" with our boys as both a means of working through bonding, attachment and even disciplinary issues with them. It is never easy but the end result has been rewarding for all of us.

As the boys have adjusted to our home and family we have gotten somewhat out of the habit of doing holding time, but a week or two ago I experienced situations with each of the boys which prompted me to do so again. The first case was Ian's and the intensity of his anger and resistance startled me and caused me to realize we were probably overdue for this time together. Even so, he settled down within no more than half an hour and then became comfortable and loving as we snuggled together.

In Alec's case, however, the holding time was a result of a morning of repeated defiance and aggressivity. After having to correct him multiple times I felt that we probably needed this one-on-one time together and although I expected resistance I never imagined what was in store. I can only describe his reaction as utter rage which last for almost an hour and left both of us spent and in tears. At one point I cried out to God for help because the force of his fury frightened me. How could a two-year old be so angry for so long with such passion?

At the end of that session there were no "warm fuzzy" feelings for either of us. He was exhausted, though finally accepting of my affection and direction. I was emotionally drained and shaken and unsure whether I would ever try holding time again.

That night I talked to my husband about the experience. He felt I had done the right thing and should continue to do so when needed. As we talked I was reminded of one of our daughters who was every bit as strong-willed and could be just as angry as Alec at this age. Only in her case we had not heard of holding time and instead there were a few occasions where all we could do was put her in her crib and let her scream out her frustrations in there. And she would - for an hour or more sometimes, with just as much fury as her little brother does now. Yet today she is the sweetest, most compassionate child you could meet.

So as I have tried to regain some perspective, I have been encouraged that this will all take time but there is light at the end of the tunnel. No one said parenting would be easy - and multiplied times five we have on some days found it very hard indeed. But nothing truly worthwhile comes without much effort and much prayer. By God's grace we keep loving and learning, holding and healing, and trusting that in time He will knit our hearts and lives together even more tightly than they are now. I am so thankful that the Creator of families holds mine in His loving hands!


Becky said...

I had never heard of the concept of holding time per se until your previous post, but I do something similar with our children, too. I usually do it when they are getting into a tizzy and need to calm down and nothing else seems to get through to them. Our 2nd child can be quite aggressive at times while doing this and I've been pinched, kicked, etc, and she is our most petite child! We had one of those awful drawn out sessions last month and her behavior since has been much better. I'm glad that you have the positive results you see in your daughter to keep you going!!

Stacey said...

Holding can take everything out of you and the child but you still need to do it. If you do the work now it will pay off later. I wish that I had done more of that when my kids first came home so that maybe I would not be dealing with what I deal with now. You might not get the warm fuzzy love everytime. Keep up the good work with those little guys. GOd is on your side to help you through.
Love ya

sea salt MOSAIC said...

oh, we are so very much in the thick of all of this with you. some days are spent going from one child to the next and back again. . .

finish that off with a phone call to papa b/c it's then mama's turn!

oh honey, praying through this together!