Friday, September 24, 2010

Personalized Parenting

I have 5 kids. 5 personalities. 5 precious souls. Over the years one line I became very tired of was "Does your child have any social activities?" Yes. My 3 emotionally healthy children had what I felt was a healthy balance of activities including church activities, soccer, dance, swim team, swim lessons depending on the person and the age. We tried every activity known to mankind for my two with RAD. They were kicked off, got in fights, bullied other kids, broke was horrible. I finally thought. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Just because other people think my kids need to be in these things does that mean it is what they need right now?  It really gave them many many opportunities to fail. To alienate other kids and adults. It was truly horrible.

But they have come so far. Taz is actually taking Mixed Martial Arts. Yes. You heard me. It is perfect for him at this time in his life. I watched for the last 5 minutes. I only worried a tiny bit when I dropped him off about whether he was holding it together in class. He fit in perfectly. It gives him the rough physical activity he craves. He gets to learn to be aggressive in a good way.  Would I EVER have a kid with RAD try this? NOOOO!!!!! Eight years ago he would have seen it as a chance to kick the you know what out of every kid in the class + the teacher. Is Teddy in this class. Uh Uh. No. He is still too angry. He has his art anyway. His art is still showing a lot of deep anguish.  Good self expression. A little scary to look at. Plus we are working with Vocational Rehabilitation on job skills. Good organization!

My point today yourself...if social activities are too hard for you child then wait until they do some healing. Don't cave in to what others tell you. Trust your gut mama.


Becky said...

Thank you for this post, it really comforts me to know someone understands.

BeckyJoie said...

I agree also. We are making progress in that area in our home too. For a long time, socialization was all negative for both of my kids but now they are each able to handle different levels of socialization. People looking in from the outside will always have opinions and not everyone's opinions are the same so trying to please people is not even possible. It's good that you are focused on your own children's needs and not the needs/ideas of others who wish they could help but really don't understand. I always tell myself in consolation, "They may be wrong but they mean well. At least it shows they care."

Anonymous said...

So very true, even with emotionally healthy kids. You need to do what is right for your family.

Brenda said...


I do so agree with understanding why people express concerns. I used to be the Queen of snappy comebacks until I realized that people really often are trying to be nice. I now try to look at the intent with which the comment was made. If they persist a simple "All kids are different and I have to do what I think is best for each one." My job is not to make them understand, because maybe they can't or won't. But I can still be kind.

marythemom said...

We have to look at each child as an individual, but also the family as a whole and that is hard for caseworkers and therapists and school staff and all the other people involved in each of my children's lives separately to understand.

Yes, I could probably allow my RAD child to do a lot more activities, but since he requires line of sight supervision that means the other kids would have to lose out. It's hard to balance everyone's needs while Hubby and I working full-time jobs (and other jobs).

How do you deal with people who think you're not doing enough for a specific child? Most people it's none of their business, but some of my kids have caseworkers, therapists, and special education administrators that I'm to some extent accountable to.

Mary in TX

Brenda said...

Mary the Mom,

I think the explanation you gave is a great one. I would also explain that your child is emotionally fragile and that what they need right now is time to be with family and feel safe. As they heal you will let them venture out into more activities but that you value their emotional health to much to put them in situations where they feel unsafe. You also have to believe in wha you are doing enough to ask those professionals to trust your judgment and to know you have your child's best intersst at heart as well as those of the rest of your family. You are right that having a family plays into it. Everyone deserves to have their needs met, including the mother. There is great value in teaching a child that they cannot be in a certain activity because we have to consider the needs as a family, not just individuals.

Emma said...

We unfortunately have had to cut all activities for our RAD kid right now. It was just too much and you never knew what was coming next. Keeping her and others safe was mostimportant. maybe we will try again next year. Check out my blog

Erika said...

Mine had a rough time on a drama team and gymnastics, but is brilliant on swim team. Sometimes we take a hiatus for 2-3 weeks to get grounded and connected, but otherwise it's magical. In my view, her success has absolutely everything to do with the coach. If I could design a therapeutic coach for her, he would be it. I will make as many decisions as possible based on the adult in charge.