I emailed the therapist and told her what an awful weekend we had. She had a drug screen run on him for us just to make sure that it wasn’t the reason for the arguing all weekend. It came back clean. That was good.
I think the therapist just LOVES to get my long emails. But, she is the only one I have to turn to for help right now.
I don’t know what I will do without her when he commences out of the program.
She is a much needed life line.
Then, she brought up the Red Shirt Incident in Family Group Therapy the next day.
It actually worked out pretty well talking about it with the other families. I was sure that all of the other parents would think it was crazy that we were having this problem because of one little red shirt, but they weren’t there when he was gang-talking during his first few weeks in treatment. They didn’t know that we were asked to take away his red shoe-laces and bring him some shirts in colors other than red. They hadn’t seen him wearing red all of the time.
Everyone in the group knows that any little thing that causes a conflict is also a little thing that can send the kid into relapse and they are willing to help each other talk about and try to solve problems. I like Family Group Therapy and all of the families in the group.
Through talking about a Dialectical Behavior Therapy skill called DEAR MAN, we came to some conclusions about wearing red.
DEAR MAN stands for:
*D stands for Describe what is bothering you.
*E stands for Express how the situation is making you feel.
*A stands for Assert Yourself and tell them what is wrong.
*R stands for Reinforce how it is important for you to be heard.
*M stands for Stay Mindful—don’t allow the person to go into another topic, stay on the discussion at hand.
*A stands for Appear Confident.
*N stands for Negotiate.
I think it will be hard to think of all of those things during a blow-up. Maybe now that I have learned this one, I can say, “Wait, I need to get out my notes on DEAR MAN before we can argue about this!”
By the time therapy was over, my son agreed that he will only wear the red shirt twice a week. And, when one of the girls pointed out that he wears his sweatshirt hood pulled up over his head and around his face all the time, acting has if he wants to be all closed off from the world, we also got an added bonus. He agreed that 50% of the time when we are out in public he won’t walk around with his hood up on his jacket. I appreciated her insight and everyone’s help.
We left the group that night with the mood in our family greatly improved.
The next day—the bad mood seemed to be gone.