This post is the SECOND stop on From Left to Write’s Virtual Book Tour of Nancy Rose’s latest book Raise the Child You’ve Got – Not the One You Want. I received a copy of the book for review purposes, but my words and feelings are my own.
If you missed the FIRST stop on the book tour, click on over to Allison’s review at Home and Never Alone.
It took me 37 years to come to terms with my son’s defensive sensory processing disorder.
No, my son is not 37 :-), he’s only 5.
But I am 37, and it took looking into my sweet little boy’s face one day in the midst of the catastrophic meltdown that occurred after getting water on his face, finally SEEING him for who he really is, and recognizing in him that which I had so desperately tried to hide about myself for so many years – I am also sensory defensive.
Or as Nancy Rose puts it, I have high sensory reactivity.
I couldn’t rationally explain to him that the water on his face was “no big deal,” because to him it was. A VERY big deal. And nothing I said was going to change that.
In Nancy Rose’s new book Raise the Child You’ve Got – Not the One You Want she writes about how we need to embrace our child and his CoreSelf (more on that in a bit), but to do so we must first recognize what makes up his CoreSelf. Of course, it turns out, to do this we must comes to terms with our OWN CoreSelf as well.
That moment changed the lives of my whole family. It wasn’t until then that I recognized my son’s true CoreSelf. And I saw mine. I let go of all the things I remember my mother telling me – “stop being difficult” – “don’t be ridiculous and eat the [insert squishy food here]” – “the TV is not too loud you just don’t want to hear it,” some of the same things I had parroted back to my own child. I vowed to never say them again, nor hide from him my own sensory defensiveness. I saw in him the pain he was feeling, the pain I had buried, and he needed my understanding and guidance, not admonishments. I, as Nancy Rose writes in her book, ended the toxic legacy of my family.
I got the chance to chat with Nancy about her book and ask her a few questions. Please take a moment to read our exchange below and enter to win your very own copy of Nancy’s book!
Me: The heart of the book lies in identifying your child’s “CoreSelf” – defined as “those aspects that are present at birth and unlikely to change over the course of a person’s lifetime.” Can you tell us a little more about this idea, break it down to its simplest parts for all of us parents?
Nancy: I developed the concept of the CoreSelf to give parents a framework for understanding what they can and cannot change about their children. I took the findings of many studies in personality and trait theory, and adapted them into an easily understood format for parents. My hope is that the Nine Traits of the CoreSelf will give insight into which traits aren’t going to transform, so parents can make good decisions about where to push and where to let go.
The Nine Traits of the CoreSelf are:
4. Ease with the Unfamiliar
9. Sensory Reactivity
I have a free report available at www.nancyjrose.com that details each of the nine traits and illustrates them with examples. It’s a great reference tool, and I encourage your readers to download it.
Me:Acceptance of CoreSelf is another big one. You write that acceptance “means you understand that something cannot be changed. It does not mean you like it or condone it. It simply means that you can embrace it as something that ‘is.” I love this! Most people are under the false impression that if they accept something it means they agree with it. Not true! What advice can you give to help parents come to terms with the true definition of acceptance? They need to be able to do this if they want to have any success in accepting their child’s CoreSelf.
Nancy: There is a continuum of acceptance, and of course, the best scenario is when parents wholeheartedly accept their child’s CoreSelf. There are times, however, when a parent can’t or won’t do that. Begrudging acceptance (tolerating) of who their child is, while not ideal, is certainly a step up from a total lack of acceptance, or outright rejection. When you break it down this way, it is easy to see the pain that accompanies the different levels of acceptance. My hope is that seeing it this way will motivate parents who struggle with acceptance to look within themselves for answers.
Me: You include worksheets at the end of many of the chapters for parents to complete, giving the book an interactive component. Parents are busy and these worksheets take time and thought. How important is it for the parents to complete these worksheets in understanding the message of the book?
Nancy: It is not necessary to do the worksheets in order to understand the message and get value from the book. They are included for the convenience of those readers who find them helpful. Some parents have aha moments just from reading, and have no need to do the exercises. Others find that writing brings out things they weren’t consciously aware of that help them understand.
The power of acceptance in parent/child relationships is so profound that the SMALLEST OF SHIFTS IN A PARENT can help in a big way. So worksheets or no worksheets, I hope parents will do what they can and know that whatever they do will pay off.
Me: So many parents want their children to have white collar jobs and get a huge paycheck when they grow up, that they think jobs that need less formal education or lower paying jobs are not “as successful,” even if it is something that their child excels at and “shines” at, to use your term. This also goes for younger children meeting developmental milestones. Everyone is so busy comparing their child to the child next door that they may be missing where their child is shining. Given how ingrained our society has become in equating how successful a person is in life with how successful a person is at his occupation or how early developmental and education milestones are achieved, how obtainable do you really think it is for parents to change their definition, their perception, of the word “success” and uncouple it from career success?
Nancy: You bring up a very important point. Our competitive culture makes it easy to fall into this way of thinking, and for some parents it will be a real effort to detangle themselves from this mindset. But I have great faith in parents’ desire to do right by their children, and believe that they will do what it takes once they are aware of the importance of acceptance.
That said, when parents are intransigent in their belief that their child must have a profession or white collar job, I would ask them to look inside themselves to examine this belief.
Me: You mention that acceptance creates strong attachment between individuals and that everyone in their life has a teacher, friend, parent, someone (s) that they have powerful memories of due to unconditioned acceptance of his CoreSelf. Do you have special memories of someone from your life? If so, who and why?
Nancy: What I mean is that ideally, everyone has someone in their life who sees and accepts them exactly as they are. Although I didn’t have the acceptance at home, I was fortunate to have several elementary school teachers who filled that role in my life. Teachers are in a position to really get to know their students and offer the acceptance that is otherwise missing. I can close my eyes and remember how special I felt in they eyes of those teachers. This tied in with why academic accomplishment was such a strong motivator for me. First and foremost, though, the healthy goal is for children to feel that special connection with their parents.
I found myself nodding in agreement with so many of the things written in this book and said during the interview with Nancy. It solidified in me the idea that my family is now on the right track to a much happier home life.
If you would like a chance to win your very own copy of Raise the Child You’ve Got – Not the One You Want, please leave me a comment below telling me one CoreSelf trait you think you have in common with your child(ren). I will randomly choose a winner on Saturday, January 11th, so please have your comments in by 11:50 PM EST on Friday, January 10th.
Make sure you check out the rest of the book tour to read some excerpts from the book, as well as more reviews, Q&As with Nancy, and chances to win a copy of the book!
Learn more about Nancy at http://www.nancyjrose.com
Happy Reading and Happy Parenting!