This is a guest post by author and therapist Ron Nydam (PhD). Ron specializes in helping adoptive family’s develop and connect in a healthy, positive way. His latest book, Wise Adoptive Parenting
, helps families better connect to their children, and adoptees feel heard and understood. You can pick up your very own copy by clicking here
Through all of the trauma education, and attachment strategies we can learn (and certainly benefit from), our connection with our children still comes down to one factor: relationship!
Many parents who are new to the adoption journey wonder what it takes to make good things happen in the development of their children. They may wonder day after day how to find a way to be effective with their children who frustrate their first attempts at helping them manage his or her behavior. Parenting quickly becomes a guessing game as to what might work and might not work when a child’s behavior is out of control, or over the rails in terms of everyday family life.
It’s a big question that many foster and adoptive parents have when it comes to their children- “What do I do with a child who just doesn’t seem to care about anything, or anyone?” On today’s episode of The Honestly Adoption Podcast, Mike and Kristin bring insight to this lingering question.
You’ve probably experienced something similar to this… it’s Christmas morning and the entire family is gathered around the tree to open presents with joy. Except for one child, who has plopped down on the sofa in the other room with her phone, earbuds in, ignoring everyone. She doesn’t care that it’s Christmas (or at least it appears this way). How do you handle this? Listen in as Mike and Kristin give some practical, yet valuable advice…
Often times, when our children are acting out, misbehaving, or out of control, we can fall into the mode of thinking they are just being bad. But there’s way more happening with them than we often understand. How do you gain the right perspective in those heated moments?
I know how this goes for most of you. You’re parenting a child who routinely acts out and sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason (or so it seems). They act like they have no control of their little bodies in public places. They’re aggressive toward other siblings (and it’s usually when you’re driving 75 miles an hour down an expressway). They meltdown over, what seems to be, meaningless things. They pester others in your household until everyone is out of control and severely dis-regulated. You name it!
Our parenting instinct is to comfort, console, and care for our children when they are hurt, or feeling sad. But what do you do when your child pushes you away instead of letting you connect? It’s tricky, but here’s our advice…
I had just finished a stack of paperwork for my sons’ new school. Feeling relieved and a little bit cramped from signing my name a thousand times, I walked the envelopes to the end of our long driveway. (Yes, my kids’ school still uses paper and snail mail…rural living.) My son was pushing himself in the wagon toward the street. I turned just in time to see him veer toward the ledge separating the driveway from the grass. He swerved to the right, tipping himself out of the wagon and onto the hot asphalt. My instinct was to run to him. I spotted Mike at the back porch and could see him jump as fast as I did. We met our son just as he crawled out of the grass. Both of us walked toward him with arms outstretched. Mike said, “Oh no, let me see your arm.” I exclaimed, “You’re bleeding, is anything else hurt?” Our son turned away from us in anger, pushing us aside with his good arm and stomped toward the house. Still worried, we followed trying to offer the help of bandaids and ice packs. That’s when we realized, we were offering a consolation that he was not able to receive.
Maybe your child(ren) don’t have a noticeable special need or an official diagnosis and you’ve been wondering if you are just crazy, or if anyone else understands. When it looks “normal” to everyone outside of the home, the day to day frustrations of dealing with invisible special needs can make foster and adoptive parents feel isolated and judged by those who just don’t get it.
This month, Mike is interviewing Jamie Worley, adoption blogger at seejamieblog.com, which was one of Healthline.com’s 2018 Best Adoption Blogs. Jamie is passionate about encouraging other adoptive families and helping to educate those considering foster care and adoption. Don’t miss this opportunity to be encouraged with some practical steps and words of hope in understanding and dealing with the invisible special needs of adoption.
Parents, we have almost made it through another year of school! Nightly fights over homework. Almost done. School projects completed, even if thrown together the night before. Or 3 days late. And by you only. Too many lunches packed to count. Admittedly, getting less nutritious as the days click away. We’re hitting the home stretch. But with this excitement of spring comes a small amount of stress, because spring season brings…IEP reviews!
I have 4 kids. 3 IEPs. This is no joke, folks. IEPs are no laughing matter. We were part of the fifth largest school district in the nation with very few resources. We almost went to due process in our last full year. You might say, I’m seasoned. Weathered. Or worn.
In the unfortunate situation that your child has to live away from your home in a residential treatment facility, there will likely be a time when he or she transitions back home. But how do you do this as smooth as possible? We’ve walked this road a few times. Here’s what we’ve learned.
It’s important to note, right here from the start, that we believe in the preservation of family. And we believe in permanency. Children need forever homes. If that’s not with biological families, then it’s with healthy foster or adoptive families. Children need permanency in order to form healthy attachments and bonds that will last a lifetime. With that said, we never advocate that a child go into residential treatment unless their behavior or choices have reached a point of being unsafe for them or unsafe for you and the rest of your family.
We are all on a journey to understanding. Rarely does a person step into this journey fully equipped with the knowledge they need to help their kiddos the most. That’s why we grow and learn. But there is one element of understanding that opens up a whole new world when you finally see the full picture.
I will never forget the moment my mind was fully opened to the reality of what our kiddos have gone through and why they do and say the things they do at times.
It was Christmastime, fours years ago. On a cold December night my oldest son, who is diagnosed with Alcohol-Related-Neuro-developmental-Disorder (commonly called ARND, a diagnosis of FASD), was triggered by something. We were popping popcorn, pulling out blankets, and settling down in our family room for a family movie night. For reasons that still remain a mystery, he wasn’t having it. Any of it!