This little boy's neglect was severe; therefore, his needs are intense and his behaviors are extreme. He has been with us almost a month and I need ideas to help me bond with him. I think that in order for him to attach to us, I have to try to fall in love with him first. Frankly, I'm having a hard time even liking him right now because of his behaviors. We are his second placement; his first guardian intended to adopt, but realized he was too difficult to handle. Intellectually I know none of this is his fault. His behaviors are symptoms of what he suffered the first 2 years of his life. But I still feel negatively toward him when he bites me, hits the baby on the head, and throws things at us.
Honestly, I dread him waking up in the morning. I am eager for naptime every day and feel I'm walking on pins and needles hoping his tantrums won't be too bad. He requires constant supervision. He eats all sorts of inappropriate things (even burrs from outdoors!) and my other children are at risk of being injured if I even go to the bathroom alone. I feel this will all get better someday, but it's stressful in the meantime. Probably 90% of the problem is his severe language delay which leaves him frustrated when we don't understand his needs. (He is already doing better and we're working aggressively to help him.)
I guess I just need ideas of things to do or mindsets to adopt that will help me intentionally begin to bond with him. Part of reducing the stress, I think, is getting him to attach to us and trust us. I feel like crap that he can probably pick up my negative vibes sometimes. I need to start the process toward attachment.
I've done a few things already. He came to us from a heavy smoker's home and I can't stand the odor, so I washed everything. That actually helped me feel more positively toward him. I donated all his clothes that just aren't something I would choose for my kids (I jokingly called it redneck baby couture). I've noticed that I find him cuter when I put certain outfits on him, so I do that. When he exhibits an unappealing behavior, I'm trying to sort out what is a 2-year-old (emptying the bookshelves onto the floor) and what is unique to him (literally eating the books, and I don't mean gnawing or taking a bite -- I mean consuming books). This helps me stress less about the typical toddler behavior.
It seems like just when things feel better, he exhibits a behavior that is truly disturbing. I don't even want to say what some of them are. When it is directed at a member oof our family my loving feelings backslide.
Thanks for listening. Please help me bond!