A few days ago, a lovely member of our community raised the question of using spontaneity as a strategy for PDA. When we talk about strategies, we mean all of the side steps and tools that help us as PDA parents, or that help the individual with a PDA brain. The strategies, help overcome the pathological response to say no or not be able to achieve a task or desire. We have to find ways to almost trick the brain into leaping through the barrier of no, otherwise, very little gets done, life is small, life is upsetting and full of anxiety. Being spontaneous can help leap through that barrier.
The post threw up some great insight and since I have not been able to stop thinking about how massive this conversation is and worthy of a blog post to try and unpick the intricacies behind language and intent. In this post I just scratch the surface, but hopefully, it’s some food for thought.
First I will tell you a little story about spontaneity and ironically how this happened on the very same day that I had been reading Jo’s post. (Hi Jo). So, at the moment, our lives are very small. Getting out of the house is rare and a military operation. Waking is hard, the routines lengthy, exhaustion high, leaving little room for unexpected added stresses. Like a flea infestation from our new kitten. Yes, apparently even if they have been treated, they can still bring them in. Yes, it has completely thrown me. I don’t do well with unexpected stress either. So, when I realized that we would have to evacuate the house overnight in order to nuke the ‘bleep’ ers, dread befell me. How on Earth was I going to present this idea and where on Earth would she sleep? Not in the tent with us on the lawn that’s for sure.My mind went blank. In desperate panic, I announced the problem and handed it over to her. What can we do?
“We will do it now Mum, I will sleep at my boyfriends house”
” Oh” I said, feeling my own panic coming to the surface.
“I’m not sure I’m ready for now, I haven’t planed it” I heard myself saying the words and felt myself scramble for something to cling onto in my mind.
“Mum, no offense, but you really are boring sometimes. Just be spontaneous” She said.
Jo’s post came flooding back to me and I stopped myself and laughed.
“I can be spontaneous” I said. “Just give me a week to plan it”
We evacuated the house, set off the flea bomb, took daughter to her boyfriends and the rest of us slept outside in the tent, including 2 cats and a dog. Spontaneity worked.
So, question. Can we instigate or create spontaneity without it feeling derived and planned? Can we use it as a tool? The definition of the word is natural occurrence without thought or planning. So do we watch out for spontaneous opportunities and turn the situation into a tools if we can, in the moment? If our child has a moment of acting on something because it their desire, derived from spontaneity, a place with no demand, then in that moment, should we always go with that no matter what the cost? Is the insistence to do something or have something done simply lack of impulse control or is the PDA person so pure, that following the heart is the only way to live? Are they acting on spontaneity because it is demand free? Are they teaching us that we must live in the moment, for the moment and anything that is planned and written in stone, is wrong for them and us? So many questions this topic has thrown up for me. One could spend days considering all the ‘in’s and outs’.
As far as I can work out, from talking to my girl and learning from other adults with PDA and parents of, novelty and out of the norm surprises, if genuine and from an intent or source with no purpose or control (ie the fleas disaster) can override the ‘no’ and catapult the person with PDA into a comfortable yes. So I guess it watch and act mindfully when those moments arise. Harness the gift of spontaneity. See it as a space in time to do wonderful things.
I’m just a regular Mum musing, not a professional and these are just observations, so in summery of the subject of spontaneity, how I see it is this. We as parents to pda can deliver an idea and remove the feeling of demand by presenting it as a novelty or a circumstance out of our control, these are tools of language and intent that can override the anxiety or attack on freedom by blasting in with an idea totally left field and surprising the brain into safety and fun. However, the definition of spontaneity is to do something without thinking or planning. So in order for true spontaneity, we have to wait and act when it comes in it’s true form. Then we can use the ‘moment’ as a tool and in that moment we have a choice as parents as to how we help craft the decisions we make following the spontaneous opportunity.
I for one will be looking out for those opportunities now and will do my best not to be ‘boring’ by saying no in the moment, even if my anxiety kicks in because I haven’t planned! What an intricate, beautiful dance we dance. With new steps to that dance every day.
I would like to say a special thanks to Joanne who brought up the conversation and to those amazing Mothers and folks with PDA, without whom, I would never have walked the path I have to uncover the mysteries and keys to PDA.
Now then, what spontaneous thing can I plan today.. no wait.. 🙂