So, let's share tips, experiences, strategies, and commiserate as needed! Oh, and let's be gentle with each other. It has been my experience that sometimes the best way to help with attachment stuff is counterintuitive to what I, and a "AP" parent lean towards doing. The best example I can give is that when Isaac needs to stay with others (daycare, school) and he cries, the absolute least stressful way to accomplish this is to take him in quickly, have a quick hug and kiss, and pass him off where upon he will cry horribly. I then have to leave immediately. If I stay and try reassure him, the more I do, the more hysterical he gets. The anticipation of the separation is so much worse, if I leave he will calm in seconds. I stay and he works up, it can take an hour, frequently results in a violent meltdown (hitting, screaming, throwing chairs or anything he can grab), and he cannot be calmed he has to work through it. But if I leave quickly, he can be reassured by the teacher, a quick snuggle, and he's off and fine.
In our case, my daughter has awful impulsivity. And due to her attachment issues, the impulse is toward hurtful behavior. She has this desire to be mean, to hit, to break the possessions of others, to dominate attention. BUT on ADHD meds, she is able to control this impulses and be a loveable little girl. The difference is amazing.
The worst behavior we see is when she perceives herself to be in trouble. Then, all bets ore off. She will smash anything she can reach and hurt anyone who is near her. But on medication, we see almost none of this.
We started meds when my baby was born and my adopted daughter was almost four. I started to have anxiety that she would hurt the baby. After two close calls, we decided to try meds.
I really hope that we can get this figured out for him. The SpEd qualification is to do to OT eval, mainly, and to have the LSSP/ behavior specialists do some classroom observations. Everything else they could do, they are. But those fall under related services...
Wow Carrie, your boys go to a great school
Dd is 7 1/2. She still has very hard days when she acts much younger. We were just thinking life was golden, but she had a bad morning yesterday. But still nothing like the out of control behavior we saw before. It has been a very long and difficult road, but we finally feel good about the direction we are headed as a family. And all thanks to meds, I never would have though! I guess our hard work gets some credit too
A few other thins I have been thinking about...siblings. This is very hard for my adopted daughter's siblings. They are often the victim of her negative attention seeking/mean behavior. Sometimes she is outright aggressive, but more often she "accidentally" kicks over their blocks or detroys the puzzle they are working on. Her impulse seems to be to stop happy play.
We can never let the kids act silly. Once silliness starts, dd will hurt someone
And just in general, we are exhausted and quick to get angry with all three kids. We just have no patience left...
Nothing to add but support! Right now we're going along okay, but it wouldn't surprise me in the future if dd was diagnosed with some extra needs. Especially as school gets more academic. I just want to cheer you ladies on...our oldest child has a lot of needs and difficult behaviors, and I know what a grind it can be to find *just* the right balance for your child and your family. It's hard work.
I'm not around very much any more, but I didn't want to let your post go by without responding. Our daughter is just about 8 now. Ages 4-5 were the WORST so far for her attachment issues coming up. She doesn't have the ADHD issues that your son has (thankfully) but we had the gamut of difficult behavior otherwise related to attachment and grief. It seemed like things would never ever get better, and we were so worn down by it all. The most frustrating thing was that we would do all of the things that good parents are "supposed" to do, and that could be expected to work reasonably well with a typical child, and they had NO effect on her when she was stuck in this state.
But here we are, and some fabulous therapeutic intervention later, she's doing much better. I know this probably isn't possible for you, but we were able to connect with her birth mother and travel to visit her, which also helped tremendously. And I think age helped a little bit too - she is able to express her feelings more verbally and less by destroying things, hitting, kicking, biting, etc. It's not all roses and sunshine - tonight, we were talking about our friend who's having a baby, and all of the sudden, she lost it for a bit - but she's so much happier in general.
It really helped us to name what was going on, and to not take it personally or as a comment on our parenting. We were (and are) great parents - but we have a child with trauma/loss/grief/attachment challenges due to her early circumstances. I wish you all the best; if I could do one thing differently, I would have tried harder to find more support for myself in real life. It was so isolating and I really felt that no one understood what we were going through.
Take good care -
We are getting back to normal here, overall. Isaac's behavior continues to not be great at school-he has hit and/or thrown stuff everyday since back at school:( fairly decent behavior at daycare and home, though.
I'm really glad some of y'all with older kids and adult adoptees have chimed in. I do find it easier to deal with having some labels and terms. Our school initially thought "bad parenting related/overly permissive" and did not bring it to the attention of the principal/sped director. Teacher was good even before then, but just didnt really "get it". All academic, not real life awareness. So being able to have terms and theories with solid backing makes me feel better. and I'm glad to know there's light at the end of the tunnel lol
Siblings-it's really hard on my other 2 boys sometimes. I feel like they have, and continue to, give-up a lot. The trade off is that they are incredibly empathetic and aware of others, and never assume a "bad motive". So if they see a kid crying at the store, they figure bad day rather than bad kid, and have even been known to volunteer to parents "my brother does that, too" lol. We do not do much out as a family-it's just too hard to be successful rather than frustrated. But, we have managed 2 movies as a family since starting the meds!!
More to say, but afraid will get munched again, so will be back later.
I think early experiences could easily lead to kids having self-regulation issues-- I've often wondered if the issues we see in dd are due to heredity, fetal environment/exposure, or just the fact of her first nine months being so far outside the norm of most babies. It's probably some combination of all three, and the fact that (I suspect) dd is just one of those kids that was more severely affected by changes in caregivers.
My oldest ds has autism and has spent the last three years with 25 hours a week of 1-on-1 therapy. ABA, but play-based. It's been phenomenal for him-- I'm so glad we went for it.
Good news about the brushing!! I hope you've found a new strategy!
ROM, can we chat about ABA sometime? I have access to a ABA program here that goes into homes, schools, TX visits to be comprehensive. Isaac has ADHD dx so would qualify (and they are trying to build up rapport with our program lol). Trying to access at the right time.
My partner is a pediatric OT, specializing in sensory integration treatment. She sees a lot of adopted kids in her practice, for what that's worth. If your son truly has sensory issues, then you will see a remarkable change once you're addressing them. The great thing is that the interventions are relatively easy, drug-free, and usually pretty fun for the kids. The clients who have the best success, according to her, are the ones who do exactly what you're doing: following through at home and school, sticking to the program, incorporating a good sensory diet.
I'm most of all glad that you've found something to give you some hope.
Diane, thanks for the encouragement:) I am finding encouragement as we untangle the pieces, and figure out how to approach everything. I talked with the principal/Sped director for a long time, and she really wants to find a way to help him succeed.
We found out he is going to qualify for sped, under pragmatics. Which will let us do an OT eval, and completely work on sensory pkg and approach to him. And the contract school OT, just happens to be my coworker, so I am going to share our Montessori experiences and observations lol.
Hopefully this isnt too "off topic" for this thread but Mom31...can you tell me how these issues have affected your ability to parent your own children? (if they have)...i worry about my daughter's ability to mother as an adult. Esp because of her attachment issues and also because of her lack of understanding of cause/effect and her need for concrete one-step directions. Maybe some of that will improve with time. Did you get therapy for attachment disorder? (if you dont mind sharing. if you do, i understand!)
. Sadly yes- my attatchment disorder very much affects my parenting.... but i do parent my two kids and I do love my kids to death. I do go to therapy sometimes tho not currently working with a therapist.
I find myself zoning out alot- and things like glitter being spilled all over the house simply because I was not paying attention.
I find it hard to be close to my kids- like truly feel anything- so I numb out- that s not to say I don't express love to them cause I do- I sleep with them I breastfed them for years we cuddle and snuggle and hug.... but there is a huge disconnect that is hard to describe.
I will try to think this out more clearly- but thats my initial thoughts.
Oh the ADHD- well that tends to mean my house is very messy and my amom comes once a month to help me stay on top of it. :) bmom comes but does not help to much as she is disabled and just comes one time a year :)
I have a hard time keeping up with appointments- remembering them, scheduling them... etc. I miss things. I forget to check backpacks. Sometimes I forget to fix lunch on the weekends till they ask.
I just find I have to work around it all and do the best I can. I am also a single mom on top of it- so that is hard since I have no one to lean on- all family is at the minimum 6 hours away.
I talked to another adoptee by phone recently and she talked about the same thing- the feelings are too overwhelming.
I also found that once I had my second child- a girl- my adoption issues became more important to me- getting to the root and searching etc. Which has been good for me in long run.
But alas- am I answering your question??? lol. My mind is generally all over the place.
HOWEVER- I did not find out about any of this till I was an adult- so your dd's may be able to learn skills now to help them- I am learning skills now to cope and it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks so to speak- I know what works- picking up a book and zoning out....
Ask away- I really like the dialogue and think its great you ask. I am by no means an expert on anything- I just know what I know from what I lived.
Just in the past few years have I been able to have close friends and close adult relationships. Usually if I have a friend I think they are mad at me all the time and going to leave me.... now I tell my friends- It is VERY important to me that if I have upset you you tell me right away- you have to agree to this- or I will ask you all the time if you are mad at me. I ask quite a bit less once this "pact" is made. I found something that worked- I also find the older I get people are a little more understanding of issues.
I tend to push people away- I do the testing out stuff- I am sure you have read about.... I am always waiting for people to leave me= so I generally pick people less likely to leave me- I shoot for the dirt so to speak.... not the moon...., am way to giving to the people in my life,
It's like I am so so so so so so so raw that I can't handle being around people sometimes- it's like sandpaper on a sunburn.
This does carry over to my kids- I am way to easy on them cause I don't want them to be mad at me.... always worried people will be mad at me- change their minds etc.
BTW- I was adopted at less then 2 weeks old.
I hope I was not too honest with what I said- and it was easy enough to comprehend. I think getting help for your kids now to develop skills with these types of issues which is what you are doing will help them immensely!!!
Mom31, I think it's awesome that you can and are willing to share your experiences.
RAISING ABEL is the story of 18 years raising a severely traumatized child. It's authored under my pen name, Carolyn Nash and can be found on Amazon.
mom21, thanks for sharing your experiences! Honesty is great--
queencarr, of course we can chat about ABA! I'm no expert, but I like how it's been used with ds. :)