Having a Child With Down Syndrome, Part CIII: The Crux of Frustration

Copyright © 2016 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.

I’ve been writing this in my head for about a week. Alice and I have been butting heads on a number of things, not the least of which is that she has been regressing on a number of behaviors – things that she had mastered since she was 3: using a napkin, getting dressed in a timely manner, and so on.

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For some of the more egregious things, I’ve been resorting to shame as a corrective measure. It doesn’t work. In fact, it makes things get tremendously worse.

It came to a head on father’s day when, from Alice, I received a gift of open disdain. It’s been frustrating and I was getting more and more angry.

After stewing for several days, I thought through the whole process. Think about this: suppose you slipped up on some things at work and every time you slipped up, your boss berated you and shamed you. Would you want to try harder? Would you want to come back to work? So it’s no surprise that Alice’s behavior is getting worse.

So what’s the answer? It’s surprising simple: love her more. Approach the problems with love and positive messages. Trying to get her on our side instead of a confrontation of shame. Implementing is harder, but we’re already seeing change in her.

Although today, we had a serious bout of “I’m not going to listen to either mom or dad.” for which timeoutularity ensued, most of which she spent screaming at me. But that was fine. I can let the storm pass. Still, the trend is in the right direction.

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