Our kids break things. They break things to test the limits of everything because they cannot intuit when to stop, where the breaking point really is. That is an attachment issue. A lack of good enough parenting in the first 33 months of life (starting at conception) creates in a child’s brain the inability to intuit when to put the brakes on: when to stop. So, SNAP, it’s broken. Have you noticed that your child seems surprised every time something is broken? It broke.
Along with the inability to put brakes on is the inability to extrapolate. Extrapolation is an executive function of the pre-frontal cortex. Our attachment challenged children cannot extrapolate one broken thing to another broken thing. Attachment challenged children have a higher level of cortisol (stress hormone) flooding their pre-frontal cortices, thus delaying the development of the executive function. The executive function in the brain is what makes it possible for our children to put two and two together. You probably noticed already that our kids don’t put two and two together very well, thus the need for repetition, repetition, repetition on our parts.
They are developmentally delayed. It is important for us parents to understand this. They may look “normal,” but they are not really. Their brains are different. How can we continue to expect age appropriate behavior from a child whose brain is delayed by many, many years?
The 65,000 dollar question is: Will their brains ever change? With help–your safe love, corrective parenting, attachment therapies, neurofeedback, Trauma Therapies, and time–mostly they will…much later than we parents usually expect and desire. Hang in there.
Up your empathy for how in the world it must feel to make the same mistakes over and over and over again and to be in trouble over and over and over again? For me, horrible to the core and angry as hell at those who appeared to be constantly picking on me. I think our kids feel something like that. When I feel empathy, I handle things more gently and lovingly. So will you. That is what our kids need–gentle, consistent parenting. Over and over and over.