Hi, Candice...After reading your post, I remembered one of the posts made on the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Circle by one of the moms, Elizabeth. This was such a beautiful idea that I thought I'd share it with you and anyone else who might be reading. Your daughter sounds like she is going through an extremely conflictual and emotional period with her feelings about her deafness. Instead of focusing on which language to use, this approach opens a different type of dialogue. This is what Elizabeth re-wrote (I was unable to find the original post in the archives)and posted again - THANK YOU SO MUCH, ELIZABETH! Candice, hope this helps...Jodi
When my daughter was just starting her teen years, she was going through some
tough times, that is very normal as kids realize they are going from a kid to a
teenager. At that time she was not the kind of kid who would sit at the end of
the kitchen counter to process her life with me. This gave me the idea to
journal with her.
I left a journal on her nightstand. I wrote about how I wanted to share with
her some of my thoughts and it would be fun if I asked her three questions, she
could answer them, tell me things about herself and then she could ask me three
questions. When she was done with her entry she could place the journal on my
nightstand. When I was finished with my entry I would put the journal on her
nightstand. It was not a daily routine, but more a 2-3 times a week routine. As
she became more comfortable with the asking of questions, I would slower ask
some tough questions, thrown in with the easy ones.
It developed a very special relationship with her as she entered into that
difficult stage of development. She has since journaled on her own for years.
She is 18 years old. Even now there have been times when I will go to her
computer and ask her some questions if I think things are off with us, she will
respond and print it off and put it on my desk. We are very close to this day
and she still is not the one to come and process her world. And believe me I
have one of those. It's not her or her temperment. She will come and sit on my
bed after the little ones are sleeping and I always know that she is going to
chat with me about what is important in her world.
Those early days of journaling together were so important for her and I truly
encourage every parent to find ways into the hearts and heads of thier kids.
Interesting sidebar here. Ethan, who is 5 has the same temperment as Emily.
When he is mad over something, I tell him to go and draw mommy a picture of what
he is thinking or feeling and he goes away and comes back and then shares the
picture with me. Often what he was thinking is completely different than what I
thought was going on, so in a sense using the same idea with Ethan, but on his
level of writing/drawing.