Monday, 23 February 2015


I feel like I comment a lot on how good Phoenix's behaviour is. I've been reflecting on why this is so important to me.

I was a difficult child and in truth I can be a difficult adult too. Growing up, I can't tell you the number of times I heard my mother say "I hope that one day you have a daughter JUST LIKE YOU". 

However, somehow I have 3 daughters who are not like me at all. Well, they obviously have some qualities of mine, but it appears that challenging behaviour isn't part of the package. 

There is also a bit of pride involved. I teach some very challenging teenagers and taught a severe behaviour class for 5 years. I'm good working with these kids, I like teaching them and getting to know them and I take pride in the fact I can build strong, consistent relationships with them that foster mutual respect. 

It would be awful if I couldn't do the same with my own kids. 

Many of the students I have worked with over the years come with these incredibly thick school files documenting their troubled history in and out of the school system. Phoenix will have her own thick file that follows her through her life too. 

Logically I know it will be full of assessments and reports and a list of her deficits. However, I would love if we could keep behavioural issues out of the mix. The kid has enough on her plate without dealing with that too. I hope that people other than us can see what a smart, beautiful, sweet natured kid Phoenix is. 

We have a statement that underlies our understanding of problem behaviours:

 "Behaviour is communication".

So I AM proud of Phoenix's good behaviour. That she listens and responds at home and in public. That she knows when we mean business. It's a very good child parent relationship based on respect and love. The message that Phoenix communicates to us over and over is: "I am loved. I feel safe. I feel listened to. " It's a powerful message and it is one I don't take lightly. It's an affirmation of our parenting, our relationships, and our love.

And just because, here is a video of her practising her sight words. She has a box of about 200 words that she knows. Articulation is an ongoing issue, but she knows the words and understands their meaning.


  1. What a wonderful daughter and reader Phoenix is! Could you suggest any books or websites to help us learn more about how to foster that relationship between our daughter and us or learn the basics on understanding behavior as communication? She is one and she's our first, and both my husband and I are softies. But I want to give her that confidence that she is loved, safe, and heard. Our baby has Down syndrome, and we had a great first year.

    1. Good question. We just always tried to encourage signing at a young age to help Phoenix express herself. We seem to be very in sinc with what she wants or have been able to piece together what might be bothering her. I think it is more about paying attention and thinking about what is happening around her that she might be responding to.