Posted by: amica | June 4, 2009

Watching with Hope

All three kids left to spend the night with my parents.  I am enjoying the rare occasion that I am alone but as always, seeing their things around the house always makes my heart tug. Funny how that is! M and AE are coming home tomorrow when I get off work and H is staying there to help with a garage sale on Saturday. She is so excited!! Today was the last day couple of hours of school and M graduated from 5th grade. I videoed the ceremony and took pictures of he and his friends. Then we all went to eat a celebratory meal.  After that, I headed to work and the kids were taken to a movie with Mom. M was not in a good mood.  I could see this was bothering my Mom and I could understand.  Most days when M is in a mood, it’s an attitude thing and she felt it would be a difficult day.  She hadn’t said anything but I’ve seen my Mom’s expressions for 33 years so I had an idea what she was thinking.  I pulled her aside to let her know he was sad, he was missing his friends already and I suspected the upcoming change in schedule with summer was causing some grief.  She seemed relieved and responded with a “duh, I should have known that” expression. I think we both were happy in a guarded way.  Maybe his sadness at leaving his friends means his emotional ability is growing. He has moved so many times and has been in a new town/school every year until the past 2 years. He never really showed any emotion about those moves, at least none that I saw. This time is different. I feel bad for him, I know these particular friends made him feel important. They weren’t all good influences and they picked on one another horribly but somehow M was able to find self importance among them.  Also, due to all the problems in the last few months, neither M nor H get to have friend time outside of school. I can’t expect other parents to provide the supervision they need without putting all my kid’s dirty laundry out there and then would they even allow their kids to play with mine?  As far as friends coming here, I am doing good keeping an eye on the three I have so it’s out of the question. So this will be a friendless summer and M knows it which adds to his sadness. When my mom or I briefly tried cheering him up he was disrespectful and angry.  I told him he had a right to feel sad but if he felt he couldn’t communicate respectfully, then he should keep to himself.  I didn’t say this as a punishment and I explained that to him.  I know I want to be alone when upset and maybe that’s what he needed.  He was told he could skip the afternoon of fun if he wanted.  I know that sounds like “If you don’t change your attitude then you don’t need to go have fun” but it wasn’t.  I wanted him to know that what he was feeling was appropriate and if he was having a hard time being around others and wasn’t ready for a “fun” situation, then it was ok and it could be postponed to when he felt better.  He understood and said maybe the movie would lighten his spirits.  He was right.  He called me after and was going on and on about the movie and he was telling me about all my old toys/things they were going through at my Mom’s to sell at the garage sale.  He sounded good. Mom said he did great, was quiet but not rude. I was so proud of them both, Mom for allowing him to have his space and M for having an appropriate emotion for the situation and finding his own way back. I have seen positive changes in him the last week or so.  I can tell he is forcing himself to have more patience with his sisters and although he still has to have his word, it isn’t dripping with hatred.  At the same time, I will say he has been in a bad mood more often. More defensive than normal; I didn’t know that was possible. I had cleaned out his room weeks ago and lessened the amount of clothes both he and H have in their closets to a week’s worth.  I went into his room for my nightly inspection on Monday.  After finding trash sitting outside and all around the trashcan, dirty clothes behind the bookshelf and under the bed and even clean clothes on hangers shoved behind his dresser I sat down and had a chat with him.  I said he was letting me know that there was still too much to handle in his room.  I don’t think the clothes issue is the most important thing to be working on right now so I am going to remove the problem this weekend.  I will remove his clothes and he can help me with putting them away or in the hamper but it won’t be completely his responsibility anymore.  This way we can focus more on the bigger issues. He was upset, told me he was acting like a normal kid and nothing is wrong with him.  Normal moms don’t treat their kids this way, etc. I told him if he really believed this I needed to let him know that there is something wrong, not to hurt him but to explain why I am making these changes and how it is to help him and not hurt him.  He knows this, we’ve discussed it over and over.  I know he doesn’t want the RAD, who does?  He has stated so many times he doesn’t want to get better because it’s too hard. I want to believe it can get better if he tries but is that really true?  I mean, I know it’s possible but to say a definite, I don’t know.  I don’t want to set him up for that but I do tell him things could get more “normal” if he does try. I also know that he, without a doubt, will NOT get better if he doesn’t try and I hate that.  I wish I could wave a magic wand instead of placing the responsibility on him.  He can’t keep up with laundry…how is he going to tackle RAD?

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Responses

  1. You handled this beautifully! Great job Awesome Mom!!!!

  2. Wow a little time to catch your breath! You absolutely did a great job with this situation. Remember it when you feel out of sorts about all this.

  3. I think you are doing the right thing limiting friends. It must be really hard to carry out! But you are right, if they can’t be trusted in their own home, they can’t possibly be trusted in someone elses. Not easy, not easy at all.

  4. My kids were 11 and 13 when they came into my home. Both with RAD. My 11 year old daughter (now 14) is now “anxiously attached.” My super aggressive out of control 13 year old son (almost 16 now) is not “cured” but he is no longer aggressive and is actually making all As in school (before, his PTSD and aggression with students and teachers kept him from being able to focus on school).

    I’m just saying it is not too late. My kids didn’t really want to be healed, but with a great attachment therapist we’re moving forward.

    My 14 year old daughter is also unable to handle keeping her room clean and do laundry either. I have to keep remembering that she is developmentally only 5 or 6 years old. When she is under stress and in fight, flight or freeze mode she isn’t even that old. I really liked the theory behind the book Beyond Consequences. The book itself was kind of annoying, but I took a class in it and it helps me remember that she is scared.

    I was really impressed that you recognized M’s real issue and helped him voice it and find a way to cope with it. You are a great mom!

    Mary in Texas


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