It’s a question we face every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas: How can we navigate the sensory overload of this season with our children? We’ve discovered a few keys…
The malls are decorated with garland, bows, and lighted wreaths suspended in mid-air between stores and shops. Display windows have followed suit with decorative frosting in the corners and mannequins dressed in cold-weather attire. Starbucks debuted their red holiday cups, and radio stations are beginning to play Christmas music on loop. There’s no doubt about it — the holidays are here.
What do you do when the child you love, parent, and pour tons of time into, continues to push you away and look for approval from everyone else besides the mother who never leaves? It’s difficult and defeating, but there is hope!
Recently I had one of those rare, peaceful days of TOGETHERNESS in parenting a teenage girl. I decided to spend the afternoon working from home. My daughter and I sat at the dining room table quietly working on our computers. We took a break and played in the backyard with our dogs and chickens, fixed a snack and even agreed on what type of music to listen to. The day continued on with an unexpected joy as we made dinner together, then prepared to go dress shopping for an upcoming formal dance she was attending. In the car, we sang along with the radio and laughed together. We hiked around the mall until our feet were aching. We finally selected the perfect dress. As we walked to the cash register side by side, my eyes welled up with tears as I marveled over the young lady my daughter has become. My heart inflated with the feeling of love and togetherness of this day.
Attachment disorder is one of the hardest, loneliest, and defeating aspects of parenting children from traumatic pasts. If you’re anything like us, you struggle to not take the words and actions of your child personally. So, how do you find light at the end of a very dark and long tunnel?
It IS personal. That’s the trouble with Attachment disorder. It is the opposite of the parental connectedness that we all desire with our children. Children attach through constantly having their needs met. When this attachment doesn’t happen during a child’s first few years, it can take a lifetime to recover the loss. As adoptive parents this is where we find ourselves with many of our children.