Archive | November, 2015

Are we nearly there yet?

21 Nov

After 5 years, it feels like this therapeutic parenting lark may finally be starting to filter through.

It isn’t easy and I am still guilty of wandering from the gold-paved path. It’s a very conscious way of parenting and is the antithesis of my instinctive style.

This mindful approach sends streams of information to my head that make it explode. It gets messy in there. It means I can think no further ahead than the next small chunk of time. It means I have to forego my morning crankiness and my grumbling of succinct greetings. It means I have to inhale caffeine at some ungodly hour just to muster up the strength to tackle the potential shiz that may be thrown at me.

But, as with any …erm…hobby, practice makes perfect!

I am far from perfecting this method of parenting but with each day I am finding that it is becoming less of an uphill struggle and more a series of small climbs. I am seeing the benefits and – dare I say – getting a glimpse of the rewards.

For those who don’t know what therapeutic parenting is: In a very teeny-tiny nutshell – it’s a nurturing approach that involves routine and firm boundaries imbued with empathy and compassion. It involves recognising and understanding the root causes of behaviours.

Though, mostly, it does feel like there’s a fine line between being a concerned, supportive parent and being a downright sucker.

Our children are often seen as “naughty”. They lie, manipulate, refuse to do as they are told, adopt a rude tone and appear controlling. Even when tackled and even if the child appears to grasp the “rules” of the house/school, they will often repeat their behaviours time and time again. They often have little or no understanding of cause and effect. But the roots lie buried in their traumatic early years.

Standard behaviour systems simply don’t work with our children. And certainly “shaming” techniques and removing privileges only serve to compound their feelings of shame and lack of self-worth, sending them into an enduring cycle of chaotic behaviour.

On Thursday morning, Pickle left the house just ahead of me. He swung his leg back to kick a twig on the floor and inadvertently wellied me in my bony shin. I bent down to grab my shin, making no sound, conscious that any rebuke would have a detrimental effect on his mood. But it seemed that even the innocent motion of bending down to nurse the throb was enough to reinforce any embarrassment, shame or whatever it was he was feeling at that moment.

Quick to explain that it was an accident, I reached out to place a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

Too late.

He was salivating with spite towards me, screaming that I shouldn’t have been behind him. The now blazing ball of fire thumped the car – and himself – and shot out a rapid and repetitive barrage of “I wish I was dead”.

No amount of cajoling, bargaining or distracting has an effect at this stage. The only tactic is to ignore and carry on with mock cheerfulness, knowing that any verbal intervention will simply serve to contribute to one almighty backdraught.  I have to allow his fiery plumes to die down on their own so that he can regain control.

However – abandoning my querulous self-pitying – I have to admit that his bend-it-like-Beckham moment with its sweltering consequences has been the only lemon that he has thrown at us this week.

We have had a curiously level-tempered seven days.

I am wary of projecting these words on-screen as, no doubt, they will jump out and bite my (unfeasibly small – ahem!) tushy in the coming days.

Maybe it’s a blip, maybe we really are becoming more focused in our parenting approach, maybe – just maybe – we are inching forward again.

It’s a fragment of hope and I’m clinging to it for the sake of my crumbling sanity.

Hope

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Pickle’s Profound Philosophy (3)

17 Nov

Today, Pickle’s teacher asked the children what was special about each of their families.

Pickle apparently responded with:

“My family gave up their time to adopt me. Without them, I would have nobody to love….and nobody to talk and laugh with!

Whoa, he kills me!!

At least, I’m disguising my floundering parenting skills well!

 

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Antsy? Not ‘Arf!

12 Nov

No one person’s problems are any greater or lesser than our own, since fundamentally everything is relative!

My ‘tough shit’ is written here….in this little padded cell in cyberspace that I’ve claimed for myself, yet share publicly. This space is my psychiatrist’s couch. It’s where I lie; it’s where I spew guff; it’s where I whingebag my way through life; it’s my space to say what I like when I like and drink as much virtual gin (my new tipple of choice: Brockman’s Gin – Try it!!) as I like without having to suffer the intoxicating after-effects.

Right now, I am feeling frustrated. We’ve hit somewhat of an impasse in the Permanently Pickled Household. And I’m buggered if I know which way to turn.

 

Actually, to be honest, I’m feeling downright fecked off, Dr. T’internoob!

I lay awake last night pondering the TAC meeting that we had a couple of months ago. Going over what was said, what wasn’t said. Going over how I personally felt in the meeting.

Feeling the defensiveness and sensitivity rising up and overwhelming me and having to bottle it up while the professionals battled over who has more experience, who can blind who with their semantics, and who has the busier diary! And all I wanted to scream was this is a child, a child who doesn’t understand compliance once his mist descends, a child who will not conform to the ideals of your theory books!

Listen to me! But I stayed quiet for fear of being the inflexible, irate and witless harpy that I invariably am these days.

I listened to them preach to me about healthy eating, exercise, and yes….rewards and consequences (was that an audible scoff from the adoption community??). I was asked about my parenting and about how we are helping to control Pickle’s weight.

Seriously!?!

I. Am. Frustrated. I have been festering on this for weeks.

Can you tell, I’m frustrated?

We had a brilliant summer in terms of Pickle’s behaviour this year. Given the huge changes that took place prior to the summer and during this summer, this was somewhat of an achievement.

Grandma passed away after a long illness. He was a rock. As ever, we were unable to predict his exact response. But this time he shone. Or had we raised our game of patience? Probably both.

Prior to the end of the last school term, Pickle was removed from his ‘mainstream’ class and placed unofficially in the Moderate Learning Difficulties division. Unofficially because he doesn’t have an EHCP. He has taken the non-existent 11th place in a class of 10!

I will be completely candid. On being notified of Pickle’s move to the MLD division, I was beyond gutted! I broke my heart crying and felt like I had let him down. There is no doubt that there is an underlying capability that will allow him to do well in mainstream education. But his hypersensitivity and hypervigilance make it difficult for him to concentrate, to relax, to function, to co-exist with others without eagle-eyed adults pre-empting his every move.

He is followed around the playground!! This week he attempted to escape the playground. As would I if I were faced with such totalitarian constraints.

Not long before his transition to the MLD I had been posting about how well he was doing. So well in fact that the TAC team had decided to cut back on the meetings. We were spending our time discussing his achievements as opposed to any negative issues.

So what happened? I have my theories, I know my child. I had a plethora of information in my head that helps me understand what is going on for him. I have the supportive words of many other adopters, carers and birth parents going through similar issues. But to lambast at this stage is not going to move things forward.

Over the summer, we had our first meeting with CAMHS and Pickle has subsequently undergone the QB test for ADHD. We still don’t have the results!

 

We have purported referrals for speech and language, the educational psychologist, and occupational health.

 

He has seen a physiotherapist for his gait, though we have had no feedback from her supposed visit to school, of which the school have no record.

 

I am still awaiting the minutes from the TAC meeting. As well as the TAC plan and its concomitant timescales.

 

I’m sure you get the general gist of how I’m feeling!!! And, to boot…I’m at an age when you really shouldn’t be messing with my tolerance levels. Even my see-sawing hormones are frantically trying to escape my crabby body.

 

So here I sit, weltering in my cul-de-sac, with my Brockman’s gin and current malignant loathing of the system, planning which of my prey to attack first!

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