Early one morning, my daughter began to be aggressive in her play with her younger brother. She was insisting that he play with her, and on her terms. He was doing his best to tell her no, but it wasn’t getting through. The situation was escalating, and quick. I decided to step in with an invitation to my daughter for 5 minutes of Special Time, as I could see that her limbic ship had already sailed.
I got out the timer, we went into her room, and very quickly, she came at me with all that she had. Scratches, bites, head-butts, pushes, and spitting. Something was really up for her. We started to wrestle and towards the end of the 5 minutes, my daughter bumped her head on the wall. That was all she needed and she began to cry.
When the timer bell chimed, she very sadly got up and went to sit in a chair. She reminded me that it was her brother’s turn for Special Time. I told her that I would stay with her since she seemed so sad. She half-heartedly told me to go. I stayed, and tried to gently and playfully get close for a hug.
After a little bit, she apologized for being mean to her brother, and told me that it was hard when others didn’t want to play with her in the way that she wanted. I nodded and listened. She then opened up and said that sometimes she’s felt betrayed by other kids. She was referring to a friendship she was having trouble with at school. I listened some more and stayed close.
When the moment passed, and we went back to our plans for the day, my daughter and son were on good terms again. The 5 minutes of Special Time, at a very tough moment, helped my little girl access and connect to something that was really hard for her.
-Lana Harel, Parenting by Connection Instructor in Palo Alto, California
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