The ‘WHY’ question.

Tickle is very definitely at the ‘why’ stage. It’s not uncommon for children to go through this, although normally they get it out of the way a bit earlier. In Tickle’s case, sometimes the “Why?” is a genuine ‘why are you saying that / I don’t know what you mean’ - and sometimes it’s an angry “WHY?!!” (are you still going on at me?!)

We’ve had a new ‘why’ question this week: why did Birth Dad hurt me?

That’s a trickier one to deal with. It started off in the car, just the two of us, on the way back from the dentist. Tickle asked for a ‘chat’, which is his code for ‘there’s something on my mind that I need to talk about’. We had a chat. It lasted all the way home, all the way through dinner, and all the way in to bed. I didn’t really know what to say, so mostly I was honest: “I don’t know why he hurt you Tickle, but he shouldn’t have done it. It wasn’t your fault, and it was wrong. Grown ups are not allowed to hurt children. I don’t know why he hurt you.” Eventually he said “I don’t want to talk about this any more”, rolled over and went to sleep.

It didn’t really feel resolved, though. It came up again over the next couple of days. This morning Husband and I had a trip to the therapist without Tickle, to catch up on how everything is going. We asked her what else we could say to help him, and her suggestion was to really empathise with him about the fact that it’s an important question that he really wants the answer to, and how frustrating it must be to want an answer but not to get one.

So that’s what I tried, this evening. “I don’t know why he hurt you Tickle, and I can see that you really want to know why, and it must be so difficult, because you really want to know why and I don’t have an answer for you. It’s so frustrating when you want to know why but you don’t know.’ (Our therapist recommends literally repeating stuff back to Tickle so he feels that we have genuinely heard what he is saying.)

He took a deep breath.

“OK” he said.

By half past six he was sound asleep.


Our therapist is delighted with how well Tickle is doing. She said it’s quite unusual for a child to progress at this speed through this sort of therapy. We watched back some of the recordings of an earlier session with the three of us, and she pointed out some really positive signs, and some of the things we are doing well, and it was really encouraging to watch.

Fairy has had a difficult week; she’s been anxious and overwhelmed and didn’t manage to go in to school on Monday. But I am so proud of the way she has been dealing with it - working through some CBT exercises for kids, sitting down with me to identify triggers to her anxiety at school and at home, and starting to try and identify how her body feels at different stages of anxiety so she can (hopefully) begin to recognise it earlier. She even has a load of strategies for different levels of anxiety, which we are putting all together in to a five point scale, for her to take in to school. I honestly couldn’t be prouder with the mature way she is approaching it all.

Tickle has a new word - widd-ick-u-luss [ridiculous]. As in, “Mummy, you’re widdickuluss.” Cracks me up nearly as much as when Husband does something sweet and Tickle goes “Ahh, bless him!”


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