Monday, October 20, 2008

Moving Toward Recovery II

The first lesson from this seminar I attended was on having our children realize they are grieving. Bear and I have been talking about it every now and then over the last week. He is having a lot of trouble letting himself feel the grief. He is stuck. You cannot unstick a person who is not grieving their loss but have to wait for them. Tough for us. Tough for him. I also had him read my poem to me and he has been explosive since. Yesterday he smashed a plastic bowl of popcorn on the driveway while screaming "I hate you mom." Free little show for the neighbors. He covers his fear and sadness with anger. Anger makes him feel strong. Fear and sadness make him feel vulnerable and weak.

I am going to go ahead and start moving through the steps. I just took some time with the first one. I don't know about you but I really wanted to spend some time working with Bear on that first step. The next step is working through the pain and the grief. That may actually be what Bear is trying to do. When people are stuck in grief it can show up through physical pains. It can also show up through acting out for our kids. They have to allow themselves to feel the pain of grief. Any of us who have gone through the grieving process know how painful that is. There are some people who just cannot face that kind of pain. Whatever method they use to avoid feeling the pain just draws the grieving process out. Our kids use a variety of methods. If you are unfamiliar read the list of symptoms to the right.

It is easy for those of us around the child with RAD to become angry ourselves. We become angry with them, the birthmother, social services, and if we are honest, sometimes, God. We then do not feel safe and secure ourselves. When our own fears grow in intensity we also hinder the process of healing for our child.

Think about times when you are grieving. How difficult is it for you to make wise life changing decisions? Near impossible. So it is true of our kids. They can't make wise decisions while they are stuck in grieving either. They do not see how they have contributed to their troubles.

So. Task two is to feel the pain, feel the sadness. The child has to acknowledge he had a loss in step one. Step two is too start feeling it. Once again this involves talking about it often. Talk privately with your child about how sad it is. Talk through the experience of their losses yourself and just have them sit and listen. Talk about how much they are hurting and how sad they are. You may get them to go there. You may have to have the conversation over and over. Grieving is tough work.


Social Worker Gal said...

In my line of work, I have seen that we get so frustrated when kids don’t make the right decision, and we don’t step back and realize that they are going through so much pain and suffering that they simply can’t make good decisions. This has given me some great things to pass on to the people I work with!

Unspeakable Joy said...

boy i wish either of mine would be sad! we're still working on it. hard to imagine after 2 years and both being so young, but there's just nothing there yet. no anger, nothing, just apathy. we'll keep working though!