I’ve seen enough of a syndrome to give it a name! One of Lilly’s new doctors called me and asked what her diagnoses were. I rattled them off and added, “And there’s one that I made up, but it affects everything Lilly does.”
I give the doctor kudos because she could have ignored me. This curious doctor actually asked what it was!
I replied something like, “I call it the Yes/No Syndrome. When everything goes well, and Lilly gets a yes everytime she wants something, the world is a lovely place. But when she gets a no, the world can be an ugly place for everyone around her. She doesn’t take no’s well. (Remember the tossed dresser and a broken window in Chasing Lilly, because I told her she had to wait for a brownie until after dinner?)
The Yes/No Syndrome exists because she doesn’t have all the resources she needs for coping. She has legitimate anxiety and discomfort when she hears a no. And it can be overwhelming to her.
I spoke to Lilly’s therapist the other day about my made-up diagnosis, and asked if there was a way to help Lilly get used to taking no’s. I mentioned that the last time Lilly was at my house she saw a tiny peppermint on the counter and asked if she could have it. I could easlily have said yes, but didn’t because I thought maybe we should practice, and begin really small. 🙂
Lilly was surprised I said no to the mint, and she was uncomfortable for a few seconds but was able to get past it. I would never before have said no to a tiny mint. We’ve all been told to “pick your battles,” so we gave Lilly a yes whenever possible.
Lilly’s therapist is terrific and said she would begin to work with Lilly on accepting no’s as a type of conditioning.
I’ve told Lilly that we are going to practice this, and she recognizes that she has a problem with accepting a no, because of concrete examples, such as, “Remember the time you got mad because of this particular no, and you broke the TV? How could it have been different if you accepted the no?” (Answer: I would have had a TV.) I don’t think it would be good to give many examples, because we have to stress that kids like Lilly are not bad people because they can’t get their act together, and they need to know that.
Ending on a funny note, Lilly’s new doctor called me (laughing), and said, “We are seeing the Yes/No Syndrome, Mrs. Rose!”
Love my readers, -Nealie