'I look like a drill sargeant!'

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By : LAURA MILLIKEN

Spark NH

The following is a true story of a NH mom, Honey.

Honey found many interactions with her children to be overwhelming.   Honey's home visitor suggested she might benefit from the opportunity Stephanie provided and Honey hoped it would help her to get her children's behavior under control.    With Honey's permission, Stephanie showed us the videos. Honey had asked Stephanie to videotape the time her children returned from school, which felt especially difficult to her.  In the first video, Honey's house was very dark.  The children returned home and Honey immediately pointed her finger and admonished them to hang up their coats, not to leave their shoes around and interrogated her daughter about where she'd lost her mittens.  In the same video, Honey is shown playing a game with her daughter.  She was frustrated and distracted, often looking at her phone.  When Stephanie showed her the video, Honey was distressed.  She said, "I look like a drill sergeant!" and, "I saw the video and I saw my mother."  She said that she realized that it was not her children's behavior that needed to change, but hers.

Stephanie and Honey's home visitor helped Honey to think about how to enjoy her children more.  Honey was highly motivated and the home visitor helped her over a number of visits. The second video Stephanie showed us was filmed several months after the first video.  The difference was dramatic.  In the video, Honey's house was bright, shades open.  Honey and one of her daughters were playing a game.  They both were giggling, making eye contact and thoroughly enjoying each other's company. 

I was struck by how much difference this kind of family support can make.   I wish every parent had access to helpful feedback and encouragement to help them find joy in their children.   

Abstract

Honey found many interactions with her children to be overwhelming.   Honey's home visitor suggested she might benefit from the opportunity Stephanie provided and Honey hoped it would help her to get her children's behavior under control.    With Honey's permission, Stephanie showed us the videos. Honey had asked Stephanie to videotape the time her children returned from school, which felt especially difficult to her.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

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