|Lightning is tired of all the rain, too, but he likes watching it fall.|
My big girl turned nine last year. While we shouldn't have to worry about some of the major changes of puberty for quite some time, I have noticed some changes over the last few months. Particularly with mood swings and anger.
We're no stranger to mood swings around here. I remember what it was like to feel out of control and swept away by hormones, and I remember being an angry child a lot of the time. Also, she suffered a lot of stress from sensory issues and early years in public school, where she felt bombarded by the sights and sounds and people simply brushing up against her. We've seen great improvement the last couple of years as she has outgrown some of the severity of these sensitivities, but also as she has been home and learning how to cope with them. Her anxiety and anger have decreased, and some days I can't even remember how much we all struggled through those days.
But just when we were getting used to this more relaxed, carefree Ella, growth and change have once again backed us into a corner. Once again, we're dealing with the mood swings and anger.
Like I said, I understand what she feels and where this is coming from. Yet I still feel like I'm failing her. I don't know how to help her when she burns like that, and everything I do seems to fuel her more. I have gotten much better over the years at remaining calm, but completely ignoring her angers her more (ahem, she might have gotten that from me . . . ). I feel like all I can really do is wait her out. Get some distance between all of us, breathe, and sit by her side when I can see her wearing down. She's such a fighter (ahem . . .), the rage runs its course and she wants to give up & apologize, but she can't bring herself to admit it. She can't quite transition out of those tantrums on her own. I have to catch the tiniest sign that she's ready, then sit with her in a quiet room. Only then can I discover what she's really upset about. Yesterday, she was angry about something she wanted to do but never told us she wanted to do it. In fact, Ken and I had already discussed doing this same thing with them, but we never got the chance, because she came in the room throwing a fit.
She gets enough sleep. I probably need to limit screen time again, because this happens more often after she's played the computer for an extended period of time, but she spends most of the day screen-free. She isn't overscheduled; in fact, she might need more time outside the house or with friends as she gets older. She eats a healthy diet, although this has also been a point of contention with her demanding she doesn't want to eat or insisting she doesn't want to eat at certain times. We have boundaries, but I'm not a tyrant about them. I strive always to be flexible.
Today was better. I recognized that she seemed stressed, for whatever reasons I can't see yet, so they played in their pajamas all morning and did work this afternoon. We have agreed to start having family meetings on Friday nights again, so everyone can know what's in store for the weekend and voice any problems they might have. Fingers crossed.
I don't have a magical solution. I have trial and error. I have love. I have patience (not much, but hopefully enough). If you have any suggestions for books, ideas, or websites, I always welcome more tools.