Do you have locks on your kitchen cabinets, so a week’s worth of food doesn’t get eaten/destroyed within minutes?
Do you have alarms on your doors and windows?
Do you have cameras set up around your house to keep an eye on places you can’t physically be at all at the same time?
Do you do all this not in an attempt to control an innocent kidnap victim, but to keep your trauma kid safe, and others safe from your trauma kid?
Do you fear inviting people over and having them wonder about the locks, alarms, and cameras, and having it all be misunderstood and being looked upon as a bad parent?
You live in lockdown. A prison of your own making, but in reality, the real person in prison is you. You are the one that has to monitor the ding-dongs of the alarms, monitor the cameras to make sure everyone and everything is safe, to make sure the cabinets are locked so that everybody can eat tomorrow and the next day. You are the one that has to sleep lightly and wake up at any little noise in order to make sure that everybody else can sleep peacefully and safely through the night.
The lengths you go to in order to provide a safe environment for your trauma child to heal and the lengths you go to in order to keep everyone – including pets – safe in your house is not over-the-top. It’s not over-reacting. You don’t need to “Raise your fear threshold” as one social worker told me after one sibling tried to kill the other with a baseball bat. You are doing the right thing. It feels weird, because it’s not normal. But neither is the past of this child. Neither is the information that was programmed into their brain long before you came into the picture. That doesn’t make this way of doing things wrong. It doesn’t make it over the top or over-reacting. The only people who can understand are the ones who have lived it, and the few professionals who actually are qualified to work with trauma kids. This is not about “being a control freak”. This is not about YOU. This is 100% and totally about this child – and any other child living in the home – and keeping everyone safe and providing an environment for healing to occur. This is at YOUR expense, your “fun” budget is out the window with electronics, your sleep is out the window with door or window alarms, your food budget is out the window every time you or someone with access forgets to lock up the food, your peace of mind is nonexistent because you are always on guard, always watching, always making safety the first priority.
You are a freakin’ rock star. You are my hero. Even though things are to the point where you have to do these things, you are still hanging in there, still trying. You have not given up on them. You are balancing the safety of yourself and everyone on a very thin line, hoping it won’t get to the point where you can no longer keep the child and others safe – you are willing to give up every second of free time, not to mention decent sleep for years – for this child that, well, to be blunt, hates you with their entire heart and lets you know it every waking moment of their entire existence.
You are an amazing parent, an amazing human being. You deserve a medal. You deserve more than a medal. I applaud you. Whether you’re a foster parent, adoptive parent, step-parent, whatever-parent, your love for this child is truly sacrificial and it WILL make a difference in their lives, in their brains, eventually. Because they can’t say it yet, I will: THANK YOU.