Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Love the Mama

It is beginning to feel like a long time ago when we were in Attachment Therapy. The kids were raging due to the fear of growing closer. Some of their behaviors included:

Spitting all over the flower
Wiping their nose pickin's on the walls
Ripping sheet rock off their bedroom walls
Peeing in their rooms
kicking apart bedroom furniture
screaming hateful things at me
Kicking the back of my car seat while driving so hard I would have to stop because I'd fly forward
half opening car doors while we were moving
incessant nonsense chatter
endless unrelated questions

Those are the ones that come to the top of my head. It was a tough time. That makes me smile because there are no words to describe it. "tough time" sounds like maybe dealing with one of those things. It was a nightmare. Yesterday Peggy Sue, who is a very experienced mom who knows her stuff, commented on their refusal to answer questions about homework.

So today is Love the Mama day.

First of all, are you taking care of yourself? Are you getting time away, focusing on other parts of your life (RAD cannot be the center), spending time with your spouse, and just plain old having fun? If not, it is time to start. I know it is hard. Who can you leave them with? We used foster parents in our church for respite. They are about the only ones trained to handle this kind of behavior. Plus the chances are the kids are going to do that for them anyway. They save it for you....which takes me back to taking care of the caregiver.

Here are a few other things that helped me:

Keep school a school issue. You cannot make a child "behave" at school. Let them handle it. The further you remove yourself from that situation the more calm you will feel. Don't let the school throw it in your lap. If they try meet it with "Thanks for letting me know. How do you plan on handling it?"

Homework: We set a 1 hour a night homework time as Taz got older. That is too much for early elementary. We had a small desk in the corner of the kitchen eating area. He had to take out his books and sit there one hour each night. If he said he had no homework he could sit there and read or draw but it was "Homework" time. This was while I was preparing dinner so I was right there. He liked that I was there but not so close as to bug him. I told him homework was his job. He could do it or not.I told him that many people choose to complete his grade in a year but if he decided to do it in 2 we would support the decision. It never happened.

Chores: No nagging. We ate dinner at 5:30. If I noticed wasn't doing them I'd say "Dinner is at 5:30. You may eat with us or eat later but your chores have to be done first. You can decide when you want to do them." One time we all sat down to eat. He walked in a pretended not to remember. I said "You may eat when your chores are done." He joined us before the meal was over.

A lot of this is Love & Logic stuff. I'm a believer.  It is Foster Cline's book. He also has a website with a lot of great articles.

Here is his Page of free resources.

Have a healing day. Don't keep doing the same things if they aren't working. It is hard to switch because we want to teach them. If it doesn't work. Quit doing it and try something else. There ARE things that work with traumatized kids. The acception to that would be empathy, structure, loving appropriate touch, and fun times. All kids deserve those things.

Never, never, never quit.

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