In 2009, I launched My Learning Curve, a series of posts with practical tips for parenting children from “hard places.” I’m reaching back into my archives to share some of these updated posts with you. We are nine years into our adoption journey, while many of you are at the beginning; I remember how desperate we were for help. I hope these posts are useful to you.
I was a “no gum mom” until June of 2009 when a wise therapist changed my mind. In an early therapy session, Kalkidan was dealing with some difficult emotions, so our therapist had us take a break to chew gum and have five hugs. She explained that chewing gum has a calming effect; I later learned that it is related to deep pressure in jaw joints.
She broke out a bag of Dubble Bubble and all three of us went to work on chewing and being calm. Just in case you are tempted to try this with a skimpy piece of Trident gum, it is my personal and completely non-professional opinion that it won’t have quite the same impact. There is something about the way a big chunk of Dubble Bubble fills the mouth, making your jaw and tongue work hard, that seems to be part of the process.
Our therapist advised me to give Kalkidan gum before transitions and any time that stress seemed to be mounting. That seemed pretty simple to me, except for the problem of not allowing gum in the house. This is a perfect example of the importance of flexibility as adoptive parents. We have to adapt and change in order to help our children from “hard places” heal.
Our new rule became that gum could be chewed while sitting at the kitchen counter or rocking in the big chair with me. When my child was calm and ready to move on, it had to be thrown away.
The other kids thought this was brilliant and offered to participate in “gum homework” with their sister. To this day I keep gum in my purse for Eby and Wogauyu to chew during the sermon at church. They are calmer and more focused when their jaws are busy chewing gum.
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As I write, it occurrs to me that bubble gum might help us get through some stressful afternoons of homework. I’m going to order some Dubble Bubble today. It will be a fun surprise for the boys and just might take the edge off of a challenging part of our day.
I spent hours rocking Kalkidan while she chewed a big piece of bubble gum and became calm. I hope this small tip is helpful for you and your children.
Let me know if you give it a try! Have a great Thursday, friends.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.