...Addie playing stuffed animal "school" with a little friend that visited last week.
We were having a rough couple of weeks with a sudden increase in Addie's aggression/jealousy and my frustration/anger in dealing with it. It was terrible. The more I corrected her or chastised her, the more she would hit/kick/bite/throw things at/yell at her brother/friends/me.
It was like a spiral of aggression. Confronting her about it made it seem to get worse. I was dreading each day, filled with fear of what to do, hating having to reprimand all day, and feeling like we weren't going anywhere. Except upping the violence level.
Then I had this incredible epiphany. It was in part due to my husband's advice (he always has such great advice... single moms, how do you do it?!), my spiritual director's advice from a while ago and a blog post. The blog post was actually talking about facebook, but she was inspired by St. Francis of Assisi's prayer, "Where there is hatred let me bring your love, etc."
I realized I don't have to reprimand Addie. She's still small and most of her aggression was coming from being unable to deal with her emotions anyway. And "what you did to them you did to Me"... was I treating her as I'd treat Jesus?
So I started responding to any outbreak of aggression with a hug, a kiss, and a little prayer for Jesus to help her be gentle. And it's working. The aggression decreased almost to zero. And when it does happen, I don't get upset anymore. I feel like I have a plan, like I'm doing the right thing and like I have a long-term vision.
Sigh of relief.