Something I've noticed this week....
My child who once would have a complete and utter meltdown if you gave her one word of praise now loves to receive it. A year ago....unconditional praise....heaven help us.
Shortly after J came home I took her for a haircut. My dear friend, Robin, unknowingly told her that she was so beautiful. It was repeated many times over during our visit. As soon as we climbed in the car complete destruction of my backseat occurred. Cupholders were ripped out, seats were damaged, console broken beyond repair. Screaming bloody murder all the way home. Needless to say it was a long evening. Anytime she received an unconditional praise it resulted in a nasty hot mess.
From that time on I spent hiding at far away grocery stores. Distant town shopping, dining, etc. Getting family/friends to get it. Fat chance.
So we spent months (years) working on praise but it was done with conditional praise. I like the way you tied your shoes. Nice job wiping the table. I noticed you did a good job on your picture. You matched your clothes well today. Nice job cleaning up your room. I noticed you were responsible with your laundry. Etc. I was also very careful to hold up on the negatives comments if at all possible. Not that I ever did this perfectly by any stretch of the imagination.
See....my child had no self-esteem. None. Nada. Zilch. On the inside she felt like one one organism lower than an amoeba. Telling her that she was beautiful when she didn't believe it for one whit of a second meant that she pulled out an all-out attack. Search and destroy. Take no prisoners.
When you love someone more than they love themselves they will ALWAYS attack you. Sorry, I don't know who that quote is from so I can't give proper credit. It is a true statement. Just think about it for a minute.
Today she loves to hear unconditional praise and she will feed on it. Now I can lavish her with loves and praises (hugs and kisses) and her little face lights up like a Christmas tree. Then mine reciprocates. It warms my heart. For over a year now she will melt into me when I hug her. A real genuine hug. Not board-stiff-something-might-break-and-fall-off hug.
A lot of people discouraged me from thinking we'd ever make progress. Truthfully there was many times that I doubted it myself. Grateful I didn't listen to anyone. Including myself.
So glad we made it.