People with newborns, especially first time parents, lament about how there’s no instruction book for their babies, especially the difficult ones, the colicky ones, the fussy ones, the spit-uppy ones, the ones that won’t sleep the night through. As if all babies are supposed to be easy, they’ve bought into the myth that babies sleep and eat and are easy, because that’s what Grandma said we were (of course, she’s Grandma, what else is she going to say??) and because that’s what the tv shows say it should be like, and all those parenting books “How to get your infant to sleep through the night Day 1” or whatever crap they’re trying to sell, and because the few people who admit the truth “Jennifer was a really tough baby” are looked at like they don’t love their kids, or they were bad parents, or some other such rot. In reality, babies suck. They poop, usually great, smelly amounts, quite frequently outside of their diaper, they cry frequently for no apparent reason, they want something and can’t communicate it to you, they get pissed off – they are actual little human beings with personalities and all.
So when you go into adoption, or foster care, you’re fed the same myth – “They just need love and stability and they’ll be fine”, which is the biggest load of hogwash there is, second only to “We’ll be there to support you and provide whatever these kids need to succeed.” So, just like brand spanking new parents of brand spanking new babies, you are completely unprepared for what you get, because what you got is NOT what was in the brochure, and not what everyone else said THEY got. You feel alone and the “help” that was offered is gone like a mist.
You’re on your own. The things other people said they did aren’t working, in fact, those things are making things worse. Even the few pieces of advice the “professionals” are offering you – sticker charts, candy rewards – are not working. You are thinking to yourself, “What am I doing wrong?? What is wrong with me?”
Simple answer is, there is nothing wrong with you, and most of the professionals offering you advice are full of crap. It’s time to think outside the box. Grandma’s advice is not going to do you any good, the good Mormon next door with eight kids birthed five years apart isn’t going to be able to offer you any advice except maybe on how to keep up with laundry. Anyone offering you “the answer” is full of crap. Anyone saying “this worked for me, might help you” is worth listening to. Reading 100 books might give you 10 bits of wisdom that you can use in your child(rens) situation and make them work. And that’s ok. There is no such thing as One Size Fits All. There is no magic pill, no magic answer. And what works now may not work later as the child’s brain grows and develops – just know within yourself, that it’s simply time to change strategies, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.
Use the Hippocratic oath of “First do no harm.” That means, some of these crazy things out there like re-birthing and such can and have been very dangerous to the kids – stay away. But other things that seem crazy but yet do not harm – EMDR, acupuncture, Reiki, if you’ve exhausted other means, why not? First do no harm also means with your own actions and words, so when (not if, when) you find yourself ready to lose control and say or do something you shouldn’t – spank, call names, whatever, then have a system set up to get you out of that situation so you have time to step back and take a breath. It might be a trusted friend who can take the child for a few hours while you regroup. Some people believe that if an issue is not handled “RIGHT NOW” then the kid is getting away with it. In how our kids’ minds are wired, by the time we find out about something, they’ve already forgotten about it. Another hour, or day before dealing with the issue is not going to matter to them, and if it means you will be calm and controlled when you do discuss it, then you will have the opportunity to do some real teaching and reaching out to that child.
Think outside the box.