Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Comparing my child to the Westboro Baptist Church and why ignoring crazy doesn't work
I've been writing a lot about the Westboro Baptist Chuch. I get paid by the page view at a news website and the WBC gets me the most views of any topic I've written about. I always get comments on the articles saying, "The media should ignore them. By writing about them you are just giving them the attention they want. Ignore them and they'll go away."
I'm not going to stop writing about them. Aside from the fact that writing about them brings in money for my family, I know that ignoring them won't make them go away.
Lots of well-meaning people (including therapists not trained in early childhood trauma) have advised us to ignore Princess's tantrums and crazy antics. That doesn't work for her. She's in that state because she's afraid or needs something that she doesn't have the words to express. She is acting out because she needs that attention.
Ignoring her crazy isn't going to make it stop. It's going to show her that she isn't being heard with that level of crazy, so she's going to keep upping it until she is.
Princess and I had a little chat about this yesterday morning. We had a big batch of crazy again before school. Hubster was home this time and he took the brunt of it. He was mad and ignoring her. She acted out more to get his attention. I saw exactly what was going on, but wasn't able to get either of them to recognize it at the time.
So yesterday evening I shared with Princess that I'm doing an interview soon with someone from the Westboro Baptist Church and told her that a lot of people think I'm encouraging them to do more bad stuff by writing about them. Then I told her what I noticed about the morning and my theory that when people do crazy things, ignoring them brings even bigger crazy until they feel they have the attention the wanted in the first place.
She agreed with all of it - that it was exactly what she did that morning and that she did indeed act kinda crazy.
Then I realized how totally bizarre it was that I was explaining my child's behavior to her through an analogy about the Westboro Baptist Church. But whatever. 'Tis my life.
And so I'll continue responding to my child when she's bringing the crazy and writing about crazy hate mongers as part of bringing in money for my family. Because acknowledging crazy doesn't make it worse. Ignoring it does.