Jen and I were up in her room. Her timeouts always spent together. Partly because it’s recommended by experts for kids with trauma history. Partly because she wouldn’t stay in her room if an adult wasn’t blocking the door.
I told Jen that we could go down together after she had been calm for one minute. Just sixty seconds without yelling, flailing or bolting for the door.
She screamed back, “59 seconds!”
When I insisted on a full 60, she demanded 61.
Sadly, her need for control isn’t far from my own. Though my decibel level might not vacillate so widely. And I like to think I would catch myself before suggesting more than the required consequence.
But I can’t be too sure.
I like my way. Sometimes just because it’s mine.
I struggle to let another lead without my eyes open to ensure I agree with the path taken. Occasionally on car rides, I bite my tongue before re-routing my husband who has a deep love for small roads and an infinitely better sense of direction than I do.
The truth is he likes his way too. Most of us do.
But most of don’t have the history Jen does. A lifetime of lies, neglect and predictably rotten decisions by the adults in her life. Her caretakers.
How does she possibly learn to trust when those of us who don’t have such a painful past can’t?