Funny line from a friend

“Some people live paycheck to paycheck. Attachment families often live med check to med check.”

Yep, I can relate!

It’s Friday.  What most people look forward to, we dread….

Hang in there, for some, school starts in a couple of weeks, for others, summer school starts in a week, and for others, school doesn’t start for over a month.  Just hang in there!  That yellow bus will be a-coming!!!

-realmom

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Off topic but…

Went to the dentist yesterday, had to take RAD since he wouldn’t be quiet playing in his room and let the baby sleep while I was gone for that little bit. So he got to go with me.  While waiting in the waiting room, he started talking to a woman next to us.  A total stranger.  He’s 10, this is taboo.  She said “What? I didn’t hear you,” pleasantly, but which notified me that he was trying to start a conversation with her, as Mr. Charming does everywhere, with everyone, and I lightly smacked him on the leg and shook my head no at him, gave her a brief smile.  She looked at me and said, “Oh it’s ok. I can talk to him.”

Mr. Charming is the kind to not disobey or act like a brat in front of total strangers he’s trying to charm, so he put his head down and pretended to see something very interesting on the floor.  He knew what I meant and he knew what she meant, and he knew she had just crossed a line and all hell was about to break loose.  ‘It’s ok, I can talk to him?’  I don’t know you, lady, no, you may not talk to my 10 yr old even if he did start the conversation!  I’m surprised the fire in my eyes didn’t melt her on the spot.  But I was good.  I just shook my head slightly at her to indicate no it was NOT ok that my son talk to her and went back to my magazine.  If she had pressed the issue, or if he had, she would have gotten an earful, but luckily, it was her time to go back and get tortured, uh, see the dentist.  Because I had that feeling that she was going to push the issue, that she wasn’t going to let it go.  And truth be told, my Mr. Charming will charm your socks off while he’s lifting your wallet and all your jewelry and you’ll walk away thinking, ‘what a nice boy’.  Or what if he’s the type of kid that starts screaming that she hit him and suddenly she’s in jail for child abuse when she was just sitting there?  Truthfully, lady, I was protecting you more than I was protecting my son from a stranger.  But I was protecting him as well, because I don’t know you.

Which reminded me of someone’s story on a forum where their kid was playing with a neighbor kid, at the neighbor’s house.  The same neighbor who’d called CPS on them multiple times for stories the RADling had told.  No charges were ever filed, the lies were outrageous and easily found to be lies.  And my first thought was, doesn’t anyone know what real abused children are like?  Because they don’t go around telling everyone they meet how abused they are.  They don’t show you a bruise and go into great detail how Mom or Dad beat them with some odd kitchen utensil in the middle of the night to get that bruise (the bruise that looks like they fell down on the playground, you know, the one from when they fell down on the playground?).  If you’ve ever met a truly abused child who is still living in the abusive home, they are not all open and chatty about the abuse at home to everyone they meet.  In fact, they may never share with anyone what’s going on and lie about if if asked.  Why?  Because they are scared of more abuse, more pain, worse things happening to them.  You notice them because of their lack of interaction, their lack of care, wearing long sleeves in summer to hide the bruises, etc.  CPS is no better, in most of these cases, but that’s a whole other can of worms I’m not going to open today.

So my thought was this: where has common sense gone?  The woman who thinks she has a right to talk to my son and override my parental no, the neighbor who repeatedly calls CPS on another neighbor – even though the family has repeatedly provided her with information on the child, and the condition – but everyone else seems to think they know better than the parents.  I wonder, is it only special needs parents who go through this, or is it all parents?  Having multiple special needs kids of different varieties, I personally have experienced it a lot, I’ve had to teach a lot of non specialist doctors or therapists the intricate details of certain rare conditions my kid might have, and bring them up to date on the latest research, teachers who believe my developmentally delayed child should be doing macaroni craft projects instead of algebra, because he’s not good at reading, etc.  (It did take awhile to train the neighbors not to feed my kids.  But that was because they figured the kid was hungry, because kids eat a lot, NOT because they believed they weren’t being fed!  Luckily my neighbors never put a bad thought towards us with my kid’s door to door begging for food and nobody believed him when he told them he hadn’t been fed for days.)

When did the parent become the complete idiot?  Has it always been this way?  Or is this a new thing? I know there are some bad parents out there – all of my kids came to me with some trauma or another, whether it was in utero or during childhood – but generally, outside of my circle, where parents keep their kids and send them to school and there are no large special needs, are those parents treated like idiots when it comes to their kid by pretty much everyone they come in contact with?  Or is it just me, do I have idiot written on my forehead?  Or is the multiple races of my children, they’re making a judgement about my character based on my children’s races?  Or do I just look that stupid?  (It’s possible.)

If you know the answer, please tell me.  My patience with other adults is down about to zero with them thinking they know better about my kids than me.  Now I will take constructive criticism from others, don’t get me wrong, I”m not saying I’m perfect or doing everything right, far from it.  There’s a few teachers at our school that know us and our kids well enough that anything they say, I take immediately to heart.  But at the dentist’s office, was that really a parenting teaching moment where you needed to teach me to be a better parent?  Was I somehow harming my child by preventing him from talking to a total stranger, a conversation that he initiated?

Does this stuff happen to you?  Let me know your stories in the comments.  And if it’s just me… well, maybe I should wear my bangs long.  Maybe there is a tattoo on my forehead.

My Family Expectations

I’d always wanted a family.  A big family.  As a kid I’d dreamed of all the kids I’d have and the things we’d do together and how life would be.  As an adult I guess I never let go of some of those expectations of how life would be with kids, and I think it’s time I examine those expectations to see if they were realistic to start with, if they were, is there a way I can change things so that my kids can be successful so I can experience that piece of parenting still, and if not, to allow myself to mourn the loss of that dream.  Otherwise, it feels like my kids are always “letting me down” even though they don’t know it and it’s not even an active or conscious thought on my part, but those expectations and dreams that are in my subconscious are floating around, and every time one of them gets smashed or blown to smithereens, it hurts, and it makes an event that isn’t all that important on the outside a really big deal on the inside.

One of things I always dreamed about was taking my kids to Disneyland.  It was a dream of mine as a kid (as it was every kids’!) and I couldn’t wait to grow up and take my kids there.  However, Disneyland is not going to work for my kids.  Too much stimulation, too many people, it’s just overwhelming for them.  Heck, it’s overwhelming for me and I’m a grown-up (I went last year with friends – no kids!).  So what  is it about the Disney thing that is really important to me?  When I really think deep, and pare it down, I envision myself eating cotton candy with my kids, riding rides, and playing those you-can-never-win games.  Well, I don’t need Disney for that.  And I sure as hell don’t need to pay $100 a head just to get in the door for that experience.  In a smaller environment, say the little carnivals that come through all summer, in the afternoons where it’s not very busy, I can have those experiences with my kids.  I can ride the rides with them, play the games, eat the cotton candy.  And yes, they may still get overwhelmed and overstimulated, they may still blow it up and have a meltdown – but I didn’t pay $100 each to walk in the door and we’re 10 minutes from home instead of 1500 miles.  And – we can try again.  And again.  And again.  My dream of enjoying these things with my kids is not dead, is not destroyed, and it doesn’t have to be Disney in reality.  I can adjust my expectations and work on the dream.

Another thing I always envisioned in having a family was sitting around playing board games, laughing and having fun.  In my house, board games, or any games, ends up being a pout on somebody’s part, a meltdown on someone else’s claiming someone’s cheating (even if they’re not), and usually the board game is thrown across the room and it takes weeks to find all the little pieces.  No matter how much we tried to teach our kids that it’s just a game, who cares who wins or loses, the fun is in the playing together and having fun (for years we tried!), it never worked.  And we stopped playing games together because it just wasn’t fun for anyone.  Were my expectations realistic, that Hasbro commercial of a happy family sitting around playing games, laughing?  Truthfully, no.  All kids hate to lose, no matter what age they are.  And some adults, as well, can’t seem to give up the competitive spirit, for that matter.  So the entire expectation was unrealistic to start.  What was it I wanted to accomplish by doing this?  I wanted to play with my kids, having fun doing something that we mutually enjoyed.  When I break it down like that it gives it a whole new spin.  How many things can I do with my kids that are mutually enjoyable, that are play?  A ton.  And as far as board games?  We’ve brought them back.  It’s important for our kids to learn to lose, and to win gracefully (and not to cheat).  We do get those moments – brief moments – where we’re all having fun.  Now that’s more realistic for all families!  And those are the moments I cherish, those Hasbro commercial moments, and hopefully my kids will remember those times fondly as well.

Another big thing I’d always wanted to do is projects with my kids, whether it be baking Pinterest-y cupcakes or building a birdhouse or learning about leaves on the local trails.  That expectation might be quite possible for some families.  But as it turns out, I fall short of this particular expectation from the get-go.  I’m not crafty even a little, my few attempts at doing crafts with my kids have ended up with laughable results on my end (yes, my kids laughed at my results, theirs looked SO MUCH BETTER!) and because it was so much work for me, it bored the kids.  So I have to accept the fact that if I want Pinterest-y cupcakes for their birthday party I’ll have to ask my neighbor to make them, if I want them to do crafts I’ll have to send them to craft camp, and if I want to go on the trails I’ll have to get over my fear of walking into a spider web.  This dream, or expectation, is one I’ll have to give up because I can’t meet the expectations.  But I’m ok with that.

Do you have expectations or dreams in your subconscious that are ruining times that could be fun and enjoyable with your kids because they aren’t “perfect”?

-realmom

This generation

As parents of RAD or attachment challenged children, or with mental illness, or other special needs that causes us to cringe when we take them out in public due to their incredibly rude and uncontrollable behavior (that’s NOT due to bad parenting), we (I) might be super-sensitive to every word my kid says that could be taken as rude or offensive.  I focus on my kid.  Recently I’ve been noticing “other people’s kids”.  Kids called normal.  Kids called nuerotypical.  Kids without trauma, kids born without drugs and alcohol in their system, kids who have been raised in a stable environment by the parents who birthed them, parents who feed them, clothe them, and in general, are decent parents.  And those kids are still rude, obnoxious and overall disrespectful to adults, much to the chagrin and angst of the parents.  In fact, a lot of the times, they act like our kids!

This got me to thinking.  I remember my parents talking about how “my” generation was so disrespectful and rude, and I’m sure their parents said the same thing, and so on.  And we are saying it about the generations coming after us.  Could it be that the “collective dna” of humans are still fighting against authority and the inner cave man is still trying to get free?  I don’t know, it’s a thought.

But the reason I ask, is because of this:  Are we asking too much of our kids, kids with trauma, kids with a real reason to be disrespectful to adults in general, and distrust them, to ask them to be Beaver Cleaver, when all around them, literally everyone else, from kindergartners on up, are twerking, calling each other bitches, and arguing with adults and asserting their “own” authority as if they know everything already?  I’m not suggesting let our kids be little assholes – there’s enough of those in the world – but it is making me realize that my kids have a lot more to overcome than just their past.  They also have to overcome their environment and their peers in a way I never had to.  I mean, in my day, “crap” was a bad word.  I clearly remember my parents being angry with me for using the word “man” in a sentence inappropriately, as in, “Hey, man, whatcha doing?”  I laugh at that now, because today, the f* bomb is going off everywhere.  In our nice neighborhood elementary school, the kindergartners are twerking at recess.  Trying to buy my 3 yr old a pair of shorts that or a dress that ain’t hootchie momma is extremely difficult.

So maybe it’s not just “my kids”.  If I really watch and compare, in those situations, frequently my kids are cleaner mouthed and better behaved when adults are nearby than other kids who were raised well from birth and have no issues.  Maybe I would be less stressed if I take a step back and realize that my kids are fighting their environment, too, and I need to teach them the right way, the proper way, to be, so that they can be successful in life, but that I don’t need to be so anxious and upset about it in the moment, or freaked out, because it really is around them constantly.  Not just from birth, or their bio parents and a bad environment, but from the nice neighborhood school, from the well-dressed twins down the street with the mom who drives a Lexus and wears Prada.  And maybe instead of fearing my kids are going to hell in a handbasket due to their potty mouths and disrespectful attitudes, realize that the whole generation is going together – and it’s not MY fault.  Just hng in there!

-realmom

“My kid hates me”.. Things you don’t know before adopting

I was watching a true crime tv show the other day and the cold blooded killer was the grown up son, although in this case, not adopted, no known trauma, although who knows?  He just wanted the inheritance.  Which reminded me of the Mendoza brothers, and their trauma defense (again, who knows?).. and on the same day, reports of the two youngest kids ever to be tried as adults are about to be released from prison after serving their time. In their story, however, abuse and molestation is known, and known by many adults including CPS…

But what about when the abuse, trauma happen before your kid comes to you… and your child hates you?  Not the normal, tantrum, “I hate you!” because they don’t get a sucker before dinner or because you won’t let the teen drive his friends to the movies.  I’m talking a deep-seated hate, a rage, one that is frightening to see even in the eyes of a 3 yr old because you know their intent and will to carry it through, you are the target, even though you’ve done nothing wrong to them, ever?  How do you get past that?

In the beginning, you think, it just takes time.  They’ll see that I’m here for the long term, I’m not going to abandon them, I’m not going to starve them, or beat them, and I love them with my whole heart.  Years pass… and yet, the hate doesn’t diminish, in fact, it seems to grow as the child grows.  Why can’t my child feel my love?  Do I still feel love for my child when the most overwhelming feeling I have is fear?  Fear for the future, fear of turning my back?

No words of wisdom here.  Just hang in there, keep loving, keep trying, because I believe it is making a difference.  And – safety first, yours, other family members, pets – and keep your child safe from doing something they might regret later when they’ve healed.  But don’t give up.  Hang in there.  You are not alone.

-realmom

Holding on to expectations

If you think you broke your arm and needed an xray, and the doctor pulled out a lead lined xray sheet and placed it under your arm to take the picture, then went to have it developed, would your expectations be that a digital xray be taken that is instantly put into the computer system?  If the doctor is still using lead lined xray sheets to take xrays and developing them, then how good could the care he gives actually be?  If you are sitting in an ER in Chicago, USA, your expectations are appropriate. However, if you are in the rain forest in some part of the world most of us can’t even pronounce much less find on a map, your expectations would be very different.  Your expectations might be, this is the most advanced place!  He has an xray machine!  Our expectations depend on the situation.

The same is true with our kids.  If we’ve raised a bunch of bio, neurotypical kids, we know the traditional parenting techniques work when our kids are pretty young.  Consequences of unwanted behavior do deter bad behavior.  Rewards for good behavior do encourage good behavior.  Your child really does, for the most part, want to please you.  What you think matters to them (unless they’re teenagers).  Then along comes a child that is not neurotypical, and everything is backwards.  Nothing works the way it should.  Negative consequences seem to encourage negative behavior.  The child may even develop the attitude of, “Bring it on, I can take it.”  The child doesn’t care a bit about what you think or what you say or even that you are looking out for him/her and  literally trying to save their life.  Positive rewards for positive behavior backfire.  Nothing seems to work!  And you, the parents, are stressed, fried, nobody understands, your other kids think you’re being too lenient, and nobody seems to understand why that child doesn’t learn.

Here’s the truth:  The child can’t learn from consequences, at least not now.  Having the mental expectation that after a certain number of time-outs or a certain number of groundings or weed-pulling sessions in the garden will deter the negative behavior is only going to stress you out as parents, make you angrier and angrier, and quite possibly interfere with the child’s healing as you blame “the child” for his broken brain.  This doesn’t mean change the rules so that anything goes.  This doesn’t mean that there are no consequences to actions, or anything like that.  This is a mental change on the part of the parent only.  The expectation is changed to “this child may or may not be ready to learn from these consequences, but I will not take it personally or get upset if it doesn’t work this time.”  Another expectation is “this child will continue to lie and steal, or whatever, regardless of the consequences, actions, talks, etc. that I give to the child.”  If you expect that (a) the behavior will continue, you can hopefully keep a handle on your emotions in the moment when it happens, and (b) if you expect the consequences to not work, again, hopefully you can keep yourself from getting stressed out or angry when it happens the next time.  You can change the consequences or mix things up and try other strategies, I’m not saying don’t keep trying new things, but the bottom line here is that we are trying to teach our children survival skills for real life.  In real life, if you steal from someone you have to pay it back and you go to jail, depending on the amount.  If you lie, you lose trust with that person.  I am not saying stop consequences.  Real life is full of consequences.

At what point will the child be able to learn from these mistakes and not repeat them?  At what point will these consequences work?  I wish someone could tell me that.  Until then, I have to keep doing what I’m doing, try to teach them survival skills in the real world, appropriate social skills, appropriate hygiene skills, whatever it is they need to learn, and keep repeating myself over and over and over, with the understanding that their brain hasn’t got it yet.  I have to keep trying.

Another way to look at it is like this.  If Stephen Hawking handed you a very complicated math problem, and you barely passed algebra in high school, and this was advanced physics and then some, you couldn’t do it, right?  You don’t have the knowledge and understanding.  Your brain hasn’t learned it yet.  Your brain isn’t capable of making that jump at that moment.  Does yelling and being angry at you for not being able to solve the problem?  No.  Does it help you learn the answer?  No.  Adding emotion and anger to the relationship at this point shuts down all learning ability on the part of the child.

Am I saying do the impossible?  Yes, and no.  I’m saying, do your best, as you are asking your kids to do their best, in that given moment.  If you reset your expectations, your best may be a whole lot better than it’s been in the past.  And, as always, hang in there.  You are not alone.

-realmom

It can happen to you, too

Some days we get so caught up in the daily grind of nonsense chatter, firestarting, urine puddles and being called names that we lose focus on the little successes that might be there.  We get lost in the muck of the day to day.  The little tiny baby steps go unnoticed by us because we are in the trenches.  It takes something big for us to notice.

A few years ago I noticed something big in my middle son.

Before we knew we had attachment challenged children, when it was just “my bad parenting” that two of our boys were out of control, we adopted an infant with Down Syndrome.  Our middle son, who at the time was 8, a bully, picked on little kids, especially his little brother, was the type to steal candy from babies and laugh as they cried.  Yep, I had that kid.  We knew it was learned orphanage behavior but after five years of working on it, we hadn’t gotten very far in getting rid of it, except that he got sneakier and stopped doing it in front of adults.  So when we brought baby home, the boys were not allowed near her without very close supervision.  The rest of the time, she was literally “on” me or in an alarmed room.

Middle son fell in love.  He wanted to hold her.  He was gentle.  He wanted to feed her the bottle.  He did an excellent job of holding it just right.  He stroked her head full of long hair (yes at birth she looked like she had hair from one of those troll dolls from the 80s) and spoke gentle words into her ear, whispering, and she’d gaze into his eyes.  He would sit for hours, just holding her carefully, while she slept on his lap.  I was always hovering nearby, waiting for “the moment” when something would happen.  It never happened.  As she grew older, he would willingly play with her.  He taught her to walk.  He would watch Bubble Guppies for hours on end with her if that’s what she wanted to do.  He’d be silly to make her laugh.  He was gentle and kind and loving in a way we’d never seen before.  And Little Miss absolutely adored her big brother, he was her favorite by far, she favored him over Mommy most days.  When he’d come home from school, she’d jump up and down screaming her name for him.  And he’d immediately drop to his knees and hug her.

That year, the year she turned 3, I met with his teacher and learned astonishing news about my middle son.  HE was the one that stood up for the special needs kids in school.  HE was the one that went out of his way to play with them, to understand them, to protect them.  There was a boy in his class with autism and developmental delays that was very rough and physical, and middle son endured it without complaining, questioning, or responding.  He’d simply say, “Gentle, now, be gentle,” just like he did to his baby sister.  And that boy adored him as well.  He was the one that all the little kids knew and adored.  He was their protector, their shield, from mean bigger kids.  He stood up for them on the bus, he stood up for them on the playground.  And he never, ever said a mean word to them.  In 4th grade he had a huge following of kindergarten and first graders, they all knew his name and who he was, they all loved him (much to his embarrassment).  Three years prior I know he would have been the older kid that they would have run from the moment they saw him coming.

He had healed.  A part of him had opened up to love and the ability to give and care, it had healed a part of his heart that had been so closed off for the 5 years prior that we’d known him.  Nothing we’d done had helped, and we tried a lot of things.  But this baby girl, with big brown eyes and crazy hair, had worked her way into his heart and opened it, and caused healing.

A kid I was afraid would be one of those “kids that kill” by age 11 is now the kid that I am proud to say watches out for the little kids in the neighborhood.  Instead of stealing candy from the little kids, he gives his to them.  And we take no credit for that, either.

In that area, he has healed.  I am proud of him.  I am proud to say I’m his mom.  He came out of that dark place and has learned to give and care for littles and those with special needs.  He still has things to work through, but I know he can and will.  I think his baby sister will be his cheerleader through all of it.

If it can happen to me, it can happen to you, too.

Just keep hanging in there.

-realmom

“Everybody always blames MY kid…”

In our neighborhood we have a big 4th of July she-bang so nobody has to drive anywhere, and people invite their family and friends here rather than having to go somewhere else.  Yes, we’re a selfish bunch.  The parents of kids who live here all know each other really well, we know which kids are trouble-makers, and whose cousins to keep an eye out for, etc.  We expect parents to keep an eye on their own kids, there are no babysitting services.  If your kid is obnoxious or a troublemaker, your job is to take care of it, not ours, but if you don’t, we will.  That’s our way to keep it all flowing.  Of course kids are kids, we don’t expect perfection, but usually a stern word or two or a 15 min timeout from the bounce house or slip n slide is enough to shape up most kids.  Most NT kids.

Our kids are special needs, in variety of ways, FASD, attachment issues, sensory issues, impulse control issues.  So let’s just say I spend the day knowing where my kids are and in past years they were required to stay together at all times so it was easier to keep an eye out on them.  I’d enlist someone else to help usually, who understood.  Then as they grew and developed more control, were able to handle more stimulation, eventually one could separate off and only be checked on (every 15 minutes at first), and this year was the first year they were not only allowed to be completely separate from each other, but were not checked on every 15 minutes.  Which was really good, because we have a toddler now, and this is the first year she could walk! LOL  But it was such a good feeling, to know that not only could my boys be within the culdesac, maybe out of sight on the bounce house or the slip n slide, but still within 100 feet of me, and know things were ok.  And if things were not ok, the parents and neighbors would immediately either correct them or report it to us or both (the boys know this too).  It felt good.  It felt…weird.  Normal?  No, because normal isn’t a feeling, it’s not something you notice.  But it was good.  But it’s been years and years of hard work and supervision and missing out on things to get to this point.  It didn’t just “happen”.  We have missed so many events like this over the years, we’ve gone home early, we’ve sat in the car, etc.  We just didn’t “expect” it to happen, they had to be taught, trained, again and again, and we had to give up our freedoms, our fun, to make it happen.  I say all this to preface the story I’m about to tell about the day – to show, that yes, WE understand the nonfun and suckiness of having a special needs child and special events like this.

One of the guests has a child on the spectrum.  We know this child pretty well.  Another invisible special need, looks fine on the outside, has little appropriate social skills, and first line of reaction to any conflict seems to be physical threats or aggression.  We get it.  Been there done that, as they say.  We had a talk with the parents ahead of time asking them to keep a close eye on the child, he is larger and there are lots of little kids, and physically acting out or threatening is not tolerated regardless of disability, parental supervision was required.  Father agreed to supervision all day.  But, that didn’t happen, like other times this family has been around events.  And, there was trouble with little kids and this child, as other times, which were reported to us (as all kid problems were if the parents of the child were either our guests or unknown to the parent witnessing the problem, so we could track down the parents to inform them of serious or what we viewed as serious issues).  Several reports were made about this child being physical, and the parents were informed.  The father came in to complain to his wife, not realizing I was sitting right there.  I listened while he ranted, saying how everyone was picking on his kid but all the kids were being bad, things like that.  Once he finished, and seemed to have it all out, then I spoke up.  I told him that his kid wasn’t being singled out, but if any kids were being out of line, their parents were being contacted.  If he witnessed a kid being out of control or mean or bullying then he needed to let us know and which kid so we could take care of it.  I said I understand that having a special needs kid wasn’t easy and they required more supervision.  He didn’t say much, having inadvertently ranted in front of me.  But later he did rant to my husband as well, and was told the exact same thing.  We were all (people who lived in the neighborhood) making sure that parents who weren’t watching their kids close enough, and kids who were overstimulated, or brats, or whatever the reason – don’t care why – were properly being monitored by their adult in charge so things didn’t go out of control.  It takes a village, right?

Maybe that seems harsh and nazi-ish to some.  Anal retentive.  I don’t know.  I honestly don’t care.  We wanted a safe holiday with fun for all.  Kids get overstimulated.  Kids get out of control.  They get too sugared up, whatever.  Doesn’t make you a bad parent in the moment.  But if you have a special needs kid, you don’t get that kind of freedom where it’s ‘out of character’ for your kid to do these things.  I know a LOT of parents with autistic children, developmentally delayed, emotionally troubled children.  Violent children.  Predatory children.  Children who have killed other children and aren’t even out of primary school.       This is just our life.  We don’t get to do the things that other people do.  Denying this – or ignoring it, and then when other people point out that your child is creating problems and thinking the world is picking on you – is not helping your child.  You are not setting him up for success by letting him/her try to navigate life on their own like that.  We want our kids to win where they can.  If they get too overstimulated at a birthday party, they don’t go.  Maybe a playdate with the child on another day alone would work, with cake and a present.  If your child can’t handle a big event like that with all the action and stimulation, you either don’t go or find a babysitter.  It’s just what we do, as parents, to help our children be successful in life.  I get angry when I see parents who ignore their child’s issues and just expect them to get over it.  I know several parents like that, and I’ve had to back off from being friends, as I watch their children flounder and fail in their environment.  It’s not from lack of knowledge or information, but from selfishness? denial? something in the parent that is not willing to do whatever it takes to see their child succeed in life, to the best of their (the child and the parents’) ability.

There’s no shame in being a special needs parent.  There’s no shame in being a “helicopter parent” when your child has  different needs and needs to be shown how to appropriately interact with other children.  You do what you need to do to help your child learn to navigate this crazy world and this society and to be able to interact appropriately in different situations and succeed.  That might mean teaching them that if they never get used to large crowds, to simply do social things in small groups, and that THAT IS OK!!!  There is nothing wrong with playing up your strengths.

We may not have chosen this life, but our kids sure as hell didn’t either.  We do our best to help them, and hope it’s enough.  Don’t lose track of the goal – self sufficiency, the ability to interact with others, things like that.  We just keep trying.

-hang in there, love, realmom

First Selfie #NAILEDIT

Sometimes it feels like we’ve read all the parenting books on trauma, all the adoption books, watched the videos, spent hours pouring through the websites, talked to other adoptive or trauma parents, talked to professionals, spent what feels like a lifetime of preparation….. and then, an issue arises, and we get a #NAILEDIT (nailed it – which if you aren’t in #speak means big fat failure).  Even if you did everything exactly right, exactly by the book, you may still get a #NAILEDIT on results.  You might begin to turn that failure inward, and feel that you are the problem, that you are the failure, rather than the method.

While it’s possible you misapplied some method, it’s more likely that it takes longer for that method to work with your family/child, or that the particular by-the-book method doesn’t work for your family and needs some personal tweaking.  One size fits all doesn’t even fit most, as we well know, and pretty much doesn’t look good on anybody, and the same goes for these authors and professionals who have “the” answer on how to heal our kids, or at least, get along with them.  The good news is that unless you’ve just brought that kid home, you know your kid, and you should have a pretty good idea by now what will work or what will explode in your face.  You’ve read all the books, or if you haven’t, start reading, and pull the nuggets out of things you think will work for your particular situation, family, parenting style, child, etc.  It’s ok to mix and match.  As long as you’re using well known and respected references and resources, and the methods don’t conflict or contradict, you should be able to experiment and tweak and make it work.

And there’s always the option of sending your kid to the author and let them try “their” way with your kid.  Although, I’ve given that offer out half a dozen times, and never gotten a reply back. Well, if you know so much and you think you have all the answers, then why not prove it? LOL

Hang in there.  You know more than you think you do.  And if you #NAILEDIT, try again or try something else.

-realmom

Here’s looking at you, kid…

Ever see that youtube video of the bike they remade so when you turn the handlebars one way, the bike turns in the other? And nobody could ride it?  Even though intellectually you understood what was going on, your body was so trained to react in one way that your brain couldn’t override it?  When I saw it, I (arrogantly) thought that after a few minutes I would be able to ride that bike.

I’m living a little bit of that right now with this eye thing.  Can’t see out of one eye temporarily, so half the world is blank. But if I turn my head just 2 inches to one side, I get full view of what’s in front of me.  But my body is so trained that even though I keep reminding myself to turn my head a little bit… it’s face meet doorway, head meet hanging planter…  I know, I KNOW if I turn my head, I can see.  But still I can’t do it.

Is this what our kids go through?  They’ve been “trained” that the world acts one way their entire lives.  Then they come into our homes, and we tell them the world works another way.  Intellectually, they can see that maybe yes, it does work that way.  But fighting that first response in nearly impossible to do, at least over a short term basis.  We expect our kids to “see” the truth of what we tell them, have an epiphany of sorts, and understand.  And maybe, intellectually, they do.  But the body is has been trained to react before the brain. It takes a long time to undo that training. If I can’t, a grown adult, in a non stress situation, can’t do something so simple as to turn my head 2 inches when I walk so I don’t run into anything…. how can  a stressed-out, traumatized kid be expected to react with brain first and react differently than how they’ve always reacted to life issues?

Kind of eye opening to me, no pun intended, for my kid.  Maybe he’s not just being stubborn.  Maybe there’s just so much body first reaction that it never gets to his brain.  Maybe we’re missing a step, maybe we just need more time… whatever it is, it might not just be him being oppositional and fighting us.

Food for thought.

-realmom