My teen has a very strong controlling personality, and when things don’t quite go her way, she gets angry very easily. All her life she has butted heads with me, but a few months ago, I discovered a little trick to help avoid out and out war . . . when she is irritated about something if I could figure out how to make her laugh before she starts pushing my buttons, (remind me to have surgery to get those removed) then I am usually spared most of the temper tirade. And still we have had many difficult days. Until recently. I suspect the body snatchers, but I’m not sure.
But wait! I am NOT complaining. The body snatchers can keep her for all I care — she has been heaven to be around. She cooks, and does an occasional load of dishes without going nuclear, and she comes in my room and engages in intelligent endearing conversation when I get home from work. She even kissed me on the cheek yesterday.
What a darling adorable girl has taken her place, and it has gone on for nearly three weeks straight.
What have I done? absolutely nothing. But I did learn about a change that she made on her own about three weeks ago that could have a huge part to play in this little drama.
My daughter wants to be a writer when she grows up. She ‘made’ her fist poem when she was barely 4 years old, by grabbing my hand and demanding “Type!” as she dragged me to my computer keyboard. I didn’t mind much, since she didn’t bite me as was her usual approach in those days. She put my fingers on the keyboard and assumed a calm thoughtful pose, and began to recite:
A Tree was in my back yard,
with a yellow leaf that falls down
I went in my house.
I asked her what she wanted to call it. She said “Tree.” and then she ran off.
Of course, a writer myself I was beside myself with giddiness. After that, she would ask me to type every once in a while, and now at age 14 she fills up notebooks all on her own. Sometimes she will be sitting there on the couch staring into space and I used to have to shake her a little to snap her out of it. “What are you doing?!” I asked her once. She said she was making up stories.
So what does all of this have to do with her transfiguration? Well, I learned that she had been given a 20 day challenge by her teacher. 20 days of journal writing. 1 writing prompt a day for 20 days. And she had been doing it. As it turned out, it was exactly what she needed for her emotional constipation. Will it get rid of her temper completely? I doubt it. I think her old self will resurface occasionally, and if she doesn’t I will be pleasantly surprised. At the same time, I am also going to make darned sure she has as many writing prompts as she needs.
This post is the most recent in my series "Raising a Writer" at www.meanroostersoup.com
P.S. JICYWW, She has already read this, and thought it was funny -- she asked me to blog about her ;)