It certainly makes sense to me that a grown up would need to be with him outside! I bet this part is going to be the hardest. If he was neglected and/or mom was too lenient all the time, learning that there is going to be limits is going to be hard work for him. But so needed!
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Transition Problems - Page 2post #21 of 775/5/12 at 11:01ampost #22 of 775/8/12 at 1:07pmThread Starterpost #23 of 775/8/12 at 5:49pm
Is he dry at night? My boys were four in Jan and in Feb, and they have to wear a diaper at night, plus with my one i usually change him before i go to bed (they go at maybe 9, and i might go at 3 am) as well because if i dont he will usually soak through to the bed. I just love getting peed on. (not) My other one will stay dryer (and actually had two mornings this week where he woke up dry) but will sometimes wet the sheet as well, this is even WITH a diaper on. I can't imagine they will be nighttime trained anytime soon.
So, that being said....do you get a sense he is peeing on your floors on purpose or is it he is just getting busy (one of mine will sit and play and pee all over himself rather than tear himself away from the fun, then he wont even tell me he did it!) ...is it he's not fully awake, or is there some sneakiness involved?
Its hard, because usually when i have issues with my daughter, people with similar age kids (but who arent traumatized or foster/adopted) will say "oh my kid does that too!" or "oh thats totally normal for the age!" (for kids to be sassy, or forgetful, or whine, or be messy or *whatever*)....the thing is....its really hard to hear "oh its normal" if your gut is telling you its NOT. Sometimes i'll vent about my daughter on facebook or wherever and get wellmeaning people offering advice, and while im not offended (these are my friends after all) its hard to explain how its different with these kids.
So....its hard to tell if his issues are age-typical given his background/prior environment, if some of it is that he's a boy and you have girls and sometimes the energy is different, or he is older than your kids and that in and of itself can present issues since you havent parented that age before OR if the kid might have some serious emotional issues brewing. I mean, i can totally see how my daughter would have behaved similarly at age 4.
Its possible some of this can be explained by his prior environment....was he afraid to wake up a parent in the morning because they would get mad about that? was it an environment where urine on the floor was no big deal (maybe the kids often would just pee wherever, maybe animals in the house if any would too?) Is he just trying to piss you off/stress you out? Before i adopted i might have said that wouldnt be the case but now im the mom of a master manipulator and liar so...yknow i tend to steer toward the negative when discussing kid behaviors.
If your stepson DOES have emotional issues like attachment issues or oppositional issues or ADHD (or god forbid something like fetal alcohol issues)...it might get worse before it gets better though many of his behaviors will likely improve with consistency and structure and just being very clear and firm with him. But if he has underlying issues those then may become more apparent (for example once we got my daughters ADHD under control through medication, her attachment issues and learning issues became more apparent) ....and if that is the case then what i would say to you is to prepare for a long haul....get as much help as you can with therapy/school/whatever...and realize that the bmom had four years to screw this kid up, it might take that long or longer to heal him.post #24 of 775/9/12 at 5:15pmThread Starterpost #25 of 775/10/12 at 1:49pm
I wonder if you could contact the Early Childhood Cooperative in your area- they work thru programs like head start and PreK to test at risk kids and coordinate services. I wonder if this would be a place to start and get some help for him and your family.
It is hard to be a child and be neglected and then taken from the only family you have known- even if there was mistreatment and try to acclimate to a new family and new way of life- He is reacting to drastic change. When our custody situation changed with my exhusband my daughter began to not make it to the bathroom in time and would pee on herself standing in the bathroom. It was very strange- but we worked through it- she was 4 at the time. Regression is to be expected during a major change or traumatic event in a child's life. I hope you can find some tools to learn how to help him through this! I will do a quick google search and see if I can find any articles about this.post #26 of 775/10/12 at 5:51pmThread Starterpost #27 of 775/10/12 at 8:33pm
Girl he's lucky you havent started drinking wine for breakfast! Smoking isnt great but whatever helps get you through the day i say go for it...now is probably not the time to cut back ;)
I know that kids react to change differently and i know that he's probably frustrated and scared and unsure of what is happening. But i still think he needs to be evaluated just to make sure there isnt something else accounting for his behavior. 4 is kind of a hard age, you arent a baby anymore but you're not really a big kid either. He may need some kind of therapy or something to help him explore his emotions in a safe way. If i were you i'd forget about asking him the "why" of anything (why are you sad/mad/disrespectful right now) because he isnt going to probably have the words to express why he is REALLY mad. I mean...he could "not like" your husband for all sorts of valid (in his head) reasons that are impossible for him to express.
While he's having visits with his bmom its just going to be awful during and after. There isnt any way around that. Its almost always awful or has a negative effect on behavior. Our visits used to be on Thursday late evenings and it really just destroyed any hope of normalcy on thursdays for us. The long drive up there and back, the constant stream of junk food and candy fed to him (he was younger than 2 at the time), the confusion (he's all content and settled with us then has to be reminded he has this other family....) the stress, the weird uncomfortable agency full of strangers.....its just pretty awful all around.post #28 of 775/10/12 at 9:08pmpost #29 of 775/11/12 at 9:26amThread Starterpost #30 of 775/11/12 at 12:11pmQuote:Originally Posted by BrascosPrincess
after the visits are normally the worst, after i get him back to being a happy normal kid again, it's thursday again and he has to go back, it seems like it's a cycle I can't get out of. Normally his visits are thursday afternoon from 1:30-3:30 or 1:00-3:00. So he no more than gets off head start bus, gets in car to go, gets home is crying upset and stuff, then i have to try to cook dinner around this, and get my other children ready for dinner, get them all fed, bathed, try to get him to go to sleep to, yes my husband helps but 2 people is just not enough hands for all that going on. We cheated this time for dinner, I talked him into ordering us a pizza :) I love delivery saves so much time, stress, love it. I had a parent teacher conference yesterday with head start, but they said he has been acting like nothing ever happened as far as transitions and everything, he is still a happy normal kid there, so That's a plus too, I think.lol.
My ds has transition issues too - for a few days before visitation with his dad things get MAJORLY wonky, and then it takes time to get him back into the swing of things when he gets back. I feel for you, I really do. It's hard stuff. It is a cycle, but take comfort in the fact that he feels safe enough around you to act up. It's not very comforting, I know (I cringe whenever someone says that to me!) but its true. He's getting comfortable, which means you get the hard part of the job.
Something that helps my ds after visitation (which is longer than your ds, and the circumstances are different - so YMMV) is for me to get as much done before he comes home as possible, and then pay positive attention to him for a while. Just the 2 of us, no cleaning, no cooking, just playing, reading, chasing, cuddling, whatever he wants to do. If he's sad I validate his feelings, if he's happy I reflect that, if he misbehaves I set the limit and respond the way I normally do, but then forget it right away. I know you have 3 other children, but if your DH could spend some time with him, or watch the others while you do - it might help. Even just an hour might help.post #31 of 775/12/12 at 10:17am
my heart goes out to you, you have so much on your plate right now! are you guys able to hire a young teenager to come in and be a mother's helper? there are often kids in the homeschooling community would are available (cheap!) to come over and play with your kids and/or do a little light housework to help you out... or someone could come over after school for that always crazy 3 pm - dinner time period -- kids are often REALLY needy when coming in to a new family, and the more positive attention you can give him, the better... it doesn't mean you need to ignore your other kids, but you and your dh have a lot of lost time to make up for with your son, and while discipline and respect are important, fun and love and bonding and sympathy are going to go a lot further at this point... a great adoption related book that I'd highly recommend is 'the connected child' -- attachment based, which you're already doing with your first kids, but helpful strategies and most importantly, it has a lot of great insight into what your son is feeling, and better ways to view his behavior... hang in there, it will get better!!!!
I wrote this reply before I saw the 2nd page of this conversation, so I'll post it anyway..
it's the little, constant, all day long things that can drive you the craziest! ;-) my two adopted kiddos also always feel they have to ask me a million times to get them things that I am clearly in the process of getting them, lol... kids who have experienced neglect, trauma, abuse will always feel more insecure, and it takes a long time to get over that feeling. I try to be patient, but I lose it occasionally too, or just take on a snappier tone than I need to. I make up for it with extra hugs and love, and I try to be as patient as I can with their wounded little souls... it's hard though. the more you read about it, the more you talk to other moms about it, the better it is, so keep doing that! I also have learned not to worry too much about "things getting worse if we don't nip them in the bud" because children get MORE mature as they grow, not less mature, and their behavior will, in the absence of continued abuse, mental health issues, etc, get better, not worse. I don't ever ignore problem behaviors (and I'm a bit more "strict" with my two youngest/adopted kids) and I agree with calm, rational discipline as soon as the offense occurs, every single time. I don't always DO that, of course, lol...
kids are also really naturally curious about each other's bodies, and I would let him watch diaper changes, but talk about not touching each other's genitals -- if he's curious, it's a good time to talk about appropriate behavior, etc.... when we adopted our kids, they were 3.5 years and 17 months old, and I knew that kids from orphanages often do a lot of genital play with each other, so I watched them like a hawk for many months -- not because I think my son is a sexual predator, but it's important to watch for signs, and monitor them so they don't have the opportunity... so I'd keep an eye on him, if you suspect possible abuse, but don't assume he's going to grow up sexually deviant, and allow for his normal curiosity -- help him feel good about his body, being respectful of other people's bodies, etc.... and counseling can never hurt.
hugs!post #32 of 775/12/12 at 10:23am
also, the peeing thing... try NOT to react to that, as hard as it is. It sounds like the first time he was too sleepy to understand your directions to go to the bathroom, and maybe he now uses that tool, because he knows it bothers you, to bother you when he's feeling vulnerable, like after visits with his foster family... you might just have to get him up and carry him to the toilet (or have your husband do it if he's home at the time, even if it's when he's normally sleeping -- he can get up for 5 minutes to take his son to the bathroom that's part of parenting ;-)) -- even if you think he SHOULD be able to go to the bathroom by himself, regression is normal, and kids often want us to do things for them that they are capable of doing themselves, and it's all part of bonding. don't make too big a deal of "accidents" just clean him up and move on. I know it's hard, but the more he feels he can use it as a weapon against you, the worse it will be.... parenting traumatized children is entirely different than parenting other children, and you have to take a different approach... I'm glad you posted this in the adoption forum, as it's pretty much the same as adopting, even though he is your husband's biological son...
HUGS!!!!post #33 of 775/12/12 at 11:41amThread Starterpost #34 of 775/13/12 at 5:07pmThread Starterpost #35 of 775/13/12 at 5:56pmpost #36 of 775/13/12 at 7:26pmThread Starterpost #37 of 775/14/12 at 5:39amQuote:Originally Posted by BrascosPrincess
the problem with him undoing his pants, is that I have 2 little girls that were running around Sorry but I feel that is inappropriate and they don't need to see that also and I don't feel that they need to be exposed to him dropping his pants, like he was getting ready to do, . and no they were not tight on his belly I made sure of that when I put them on him this morning, and I have to wait until tomorrow morning to make calls for counceling, as today is sunday nowhere is open. He leaves the room when I change my daughter's diapers, and when it comes time for his bath my daughters stay out in our living room with my husband, he gets dried off and dressed in the bathroom and so do they. I can't be right on top of them every second of the day and him trying to drop his pants in front of six people at my mother in laws, how am i supposed to know he's not doing that kind of things in front of my girl's when I have my dog out? sorry if it sounds way overprotective but you better believe I am going to do whatever it takes to prevent anything happening to my kids. Not saying he would, but I don't know if anything like that has happened to him or if he would try to mimic it on someone else. Not taking the chance. Taking the chance isn't worth it. And believe me I can't wait for the counceling stuff to start only problem is I don't know if I can start him in it without medical insurance because his mom still hasn't given us his birth certificate and social security card to get him insurance. So as of right now until I can give the insurance company those things he doesn't have any.
Do you know what types of abuse he experienced? It is very possible that this was innocent, but you do need to know if he experienced sexual abuse. (FWIW my ds loves being naked, and really does not like getting dressed when we are at home. If we have guests, he's pretty likely to run around naked - and if he uses the bathroom at a friends house, he's pretty likely to stay naked as long as he can get away with it). I do think counseling is a good idea, but I also think that this is not a reason to panic - maybe he was hot and thought taking his clothes off would help him cool down?
As for the medical insurance, does he still have a social worker? Talk to her about that if he does. Also, your DH should be able to get his Birth Certificate from the state records if he is listed or has proof of paternity, and he should also be able to get his SS# from the SS Office.post #38 of 775/14/12 at 10:56am
my son at 4 and my daughter at 2 took baths together. I don't think I am alone here on this. I don't know why he was unbuttoning his pants. Did you ask him nicely what he was doing? He is 4 years old I would think he could talk about this or maybe with his father? You can explain to him that in your house you keep your clothes on at all times unless you are bathing and changing and that takes place in the bedroom if those are the rules at your house.
It seems very much to me that you perceive him as an intruder in your home and that he is a threat to your biological daughters safety in some way. At this point you have not shared anything that really shows him being anything other then a little boy going through a transition into another family that he does not know the people or the rules and ways of the home which most likely differ from what he has been in up to this point.
I strongly encourage you to contact the social worker on his case and explain to her what you are seeing and your fears and maybe she can help point you in the right direction of who to contact. I do not see anything you have described as being predatory at all. Not one thing. He is a little boy and I highly doubt he is looking at your daughters or at the diaper changes as anything other then normal curiousity- or wanting to be with you.
Please think of the ramifications on this child of you putting these labels on him- that you have no proof of... and really not any evidence of abnormal behavior.post #39 of 775/14/12 at 11:02amQuote:Originally Posted by BrascosPrincess
. sorry if it sounds way overprotective but you better believe I am going to do whatever it takes to prevent anything happening to my kids. Not saying he would, but I don't know if anything like that has happened to him or if he would try to mimic it on someone else. Not taking the chance. Taking the chance isn't worth it.
I thought when you took him into your home based upon your desire to adopt him potentially you were going to be treating him as one of your kids? He is a boy- he is not a predator and nothing you have posted leads me to believe he is acting abnormally.
If you are serious that you are going to do whatever it takes to prevent anything happening to one your kids- should he not be included in this and you would be taking steps to make sure you were not damaging him emotionally and mentally by treating him as a predator in his own home .....
The behaviors you are describing are normal little boy behavior. And there is not a need to watch him like a hawk at this point I don't think.
What is your husband saying about this?
Just because his mom was abusive or neglectful or on drugs does not mean he was sexually abused and even if he was sexually abused does not mean he will be acting out with your daughters.
I was hoping once he was in your care he would have found a safe place where he could be loved. It seems more to me like you are treating him as a threat to your nuclear family. These are issues you need to face or admit to yourself this is not a good situation for you or for the little boy.
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