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Friday, June 6, 2014

Ethan had a breakthrough!

Something excited happened here last night and I need to capture it here.

Some of you know that the divorce was pretty tough on Ethan. He was very sad and got to a point where he was hurting himself at times. Eventually he was diagnosed with situational depression and we found a good therapist that really helped him.

But with kids, the progress is slow and you don't always see the fruit of your labor when you want.

One of the things we worked on in therapy was Truth Talk vs. Stinkin' Thinkin'. Stinkin' Thinkin' are the lies you have in your head. For example, I'm so stupid, I'm unlovable, I'm the worst boy ever. Truth Talk is what you say to combat those lies. For example, I made a mistake that I can learn from. I may not have all the answers but I can handle it. I was created for a special purpose and am meant to be here.  You get the general idea.

It was an exhausting nightly exercise for many, many months with Ethan. We would sit together on his bed, he would be down on himself, I would encourage Truth Talk. Very difficult to see what I feel is a truly amazing boy be so down on himself.

So flash forward to last night. After I tucked the kids in, Ethan came back down to tell me he had a chat room fight with a friend. He was just explaining to me what had happened and that they worked it out but I was only hearing "cyber bully!!!" in my mind. I told him very firmly that he was not to ever say mean things to a friend online ever again or I would take tech away from him for a very long time. I didn't even really hear what he was actually telling me, which became clear later.

When I went up to bed, there was a long note for me at the top of the stairs. He explained that he made a mistake, that he felt bad about it but that he was glad he apologized. Then he said "I'm a very tired boy, I need to sleep now".

I immediately wrote him a note to see in the morning about how I could've handled that better and praised him for apologizing to his friend and for handling the situation.

Then I creeped into his room just to see if he was still awake and sure enough, he was. We hugged it out and I gave him my note. He told me that he was going to write "I'm a stupid, terrible boy" but then he stopped and realized he was just really tired and that those things weren't true about him.

THIS IS HUGE. I've gotten many notes from him that tell me how horrible he is, how stupid he is, how he is the worst kid ever. Honestly, when I first saw that he had written something last night, I sighed and thought "Here we go again.". My instinct when I get those bad notes is to hug him, tell him how amazing he is and let it go. But that doesn't really get to the heart of the matter--what he believes about himself. He is the only one who can Truth Talk himself. I simply need to put the right tools in his path. I am so proud of him for doing it all on his own this time!

Ethan just made a huge step forward in his emotional health. I want to celebrate him and encourage him to keep moving forward in the right direction!

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