Quite some time ago, hubby and I read a fascinating book about love bombing. In it the author talks about resetting your child's emotional thermostat by giving them undivided one on one attention. During this time it is essential to let your child set the rules, and dictate what you will do.
Our eldest daughter P has high functioning autism, and as you can imagine, a lot of our energy goes into averting her meltdowns and keeping her on an even level. Unfortunately, so much effort goes into this (especially now that she's back at school) that it can leave very little time for much else over and above basic need meeting for our younger two.
I'm sure many parents will relate to feeling as if they spend all day putting out mummy/daddy fires. Life is often about surviving as best you can when you're in the thick of it with small kids, but chuck the early days of autism into the mix and you're constantly in survival mode.
With time being as sparse as it is, and so much of it going on our eldest (and by default of age) our youngest, it's our middle girl who often draws the short straw. After returning to school P's behaviour has been getting steadily worse. We pretty much saw the back of pinching and name calling towards her siblings over the summer holiday, but it didn't take long before it was back with a vengeance.
At 19 months F is starting to fight back, and screams in her face when she's being spiteful towards him. C (3½) is another story though, because she's such a good natured kid she rarely fights back. Instead she retreats, looking like a wounded animal, into her own world. It is heart wrenching to witness.
Ironically after my blog Top Tips for Surviving the Witching Hour was published on Thursday, we had truly horrendous bedtime that evening. I said to hubby after we had finally got them all to sleep, that he should take C out for a daddy day on Sunday. In the hope that giving her some extra love would somehow reverse the heart ache that's being caused at the moment.
Quality daddy daughter time
Middle child syndrome is well documented, and as hubby and I both grew up in families with three kids, we are super conscious of trying to ensure this does not happen with ours. We don't want C to feel like she's missing out, because her needs come last. So a daddy's day was had, and it sounds like they had a brilliant time.
The author of the book recommends letting your child choose everything that will happen during their special time. C declared she wanted to eat fish and chips for lunch, and go swimming in the afternoon. They left the house before 10am, and along with a coffee/juice at the coffee shop to kick start their time together, this is what they did. They returned around 4pm, and couldn't have been happier.
She came back absolutely beaming, the difference in her was truly remarkable. Even a full scale meltdown from both her brother and sister did not remove her smile. My ears were ringing for at least an hour afterwards, but that's a whole other story.
C is a gorgeous girl, inside and out. Her world is small though, and when she's copping it in the neck from her sister multiple times every day, the cracks soon start to show. This weekend has proved to us a little bit of love bombing goes a very long way, and we'll definitely be making it a regular thing!