I'm sure you "know" this intellectually, but I also know how hard it is to fight the instinct/wish...
Please keep in mind that you cannot ever "fix" what happened up until this point. You can give him a new foundation to move forward, in time you will help him process, you will build new memories and experiences together...but you're not going to change the past, and you're not going to be able to fix what happened to him. It really sucks. It's easy to feel guilty or frustrated because you are trying so hard to do corrective things that "aren't working", but in many ways that's going to be like beating your head against a brick wall. Useless and painful and damaging to *you*.
Right now you are laying a new foundation over uneven ground (his past). Probably there are going to be ripple effects for a long while, and maybe forever. Try to look at this time as not so much making up for or correcting the past but establishing a new, stable connection with him. You are doing this, your hubby is doing this, you as a couple is doing is, your kids collective and individually are too, as well as the whole family unit. That's a lot of pieces, and development is going to be uneven. If you're looking at his behavior now to indicate how effective your efforts are, you're probably going to be disappointed; it's going to take him a while to truly respond, but that isn't because of you! I think the best think you can do is be stable, be loving, do the best you can, call in help, expect that things will be difficult for awhile.
Tiffani mentioned how to get a copy of the BC (as long as your DH is listed on there--I'm really sorry but I don't remember if he is or not, I think you mentioned something about that in another thread). In some areas you can even request a copy of a BC online and pay for it online. Look up the vital records department in the state your DSS was born. You might be able to fax them a copy of the custody/paternity stuff too, if your DH is not on the certificate and they need proof. Same thing with the SS dept (though dealing with social security can be a full time job in and of itself). I think it might be worth it to start investigating how to do that on your own, so you're not waiting on a social worker--it just adds yet another layer of bureaucracy (and I'm sure you're feeling up to your eyeballs in it right now) and waiting on yet another person. To get the certified copies will take some time--I lost the BCs for my boys awhile ago, and it was easy to fill out the forms online and pay online but it took about 3 weeks to get the official copy in the mail.
our adopted son tells us he hates us all the time. he says "I'll kill you" or "I'm going to punch you in the face!" but he doesn't mean it...
Heck, my biological son does this. He hasn't experienced any traumas like neglect or being taken away from his birthparents, but he's had other traumas stemming from his disability and since he's a kid, he boils over periodically and takes it out on the rest of the family.
We don't tolerate it, but we also try to remember that it's not really about us. It's about other pain that we didn't cause and can't heal.
I didn't mean fix his past or what happened to him up until this point. That's what I meant was laying a new foundation on top of an uneven and very unstable past. I didn't word that right up above. I know there are going to be ripple effects for a very long time, but it is really hard to watch the happy sweet innocent little boy come out and really open up to me and lay out all of his fears and things and have a huge breakthrough last night, only to turn around today and it seems like that breakthrough went right out the window. I feel like it doesn't matter how many huge breakthroughs we have it's not ever going to be enough.
That is a possibility. Probably a small one, but that is a real potential. I think that is one of the things that can really suck in parenting in general (and especially when there are traumatized children involved)--really, you do not know when it's been "enough". It is hard to watch. Harder to think about and worry over. But even non-traumatized kids often seem to take 1 step forward 10 steps back sometimes if they're in a difficult stage. You just have to keep doing what you know to be your best, which I know that you are willing and able to do, and are doing right now.
I don't think it is babying him at all to be aware and concerned for his needs and being creative in your approach with him by using techniques outlined by professionals who work with kids who have experienced trauma.
He is not the same as your other kids and may need different tactics to get the same results. My two kids - are two different people and they take two different ways of dealing with. My daughter I can say go to your room and clean it up and she goes into her room and puts everything under her bed.
So with her- I have to tell her more in detail how to do that.
My son- he is very detailed oriented and so he can do it on his own. My daughter needs more guidance. Maybe time ins would be of benefit to all the kids. And I don't think it would hurt to explain to your dd's that you are going to try some different things and see if he responds to them so everyone can have a happier life them included. How would this make them jealous?
Have you checked in the step parent blended family forum? I wonder if they would have some advice to you.
I know with my son- he can be fine one minute and fly off the handle the next!
I am glad you are working on getting him into counseling. Have you located a counselor in your area who works with traumatized kids? I wonder if you can use his medical card still if he had one thru his mom? at least get the appointment set up- it can sometimes take a long time- and maybe you can call them and talk to them and see what they reccommend?
And I do need to point out- this is not long at all at this point- it has been a little over three weeks.... this can go on- for years.
I encourage you to go read some adoptive foster mom blogs and what the go thru with their kids.
then maybe you need to rethink your plan of discipline to meet the needs of all your kids him included?
They are not old enough to understand you are in charge and you are making the choice on how to deal with each child? You would be teaching them compassion, empathy, love, kindness, patience, ability to be flexible. ... not just who is the boss. What are your goals in what you teach your kids?
I get that you are overwhelmed- but so is this little boy who has been entrusted in your care. Please please try to put yourself in his shoes and try to look at the world thru his little eyes.
As someone else mentioned, he hasnt been with you long. No time at all really. As i think i already posted my daughter has been with us almost TWO YEARS and in many ways, she hasnt improved at all in her level of attachment. Right now, your stepson is in crisis mode. YOU as the adult know he is safe with you, you will take care of him, that you are helping him....but HE has no way of knowing that at his age and in his situation. I *know* its hard (im living it, trust me) but if possible you need to not invest so much in "why isnt he getting better!" or worrying about having a breakthrough then going back a step....it may take months or years for him to settle in. And frankly he is probably just trying to survive til he can go back to his mom....not that that would be a good place for him but kids often prefer what they know.
If there is any way for you to get ahold of a Love and Logic book, or a book called Parenting the Hurt Child, it may help you in choosing your battles. I get that you say you cant treat your children differently but look at it this way. If your husband really hurt himself and was laid up on the couch in terrible terrible pain, and he lashed out at you when you offered him something...maybe he snapped harshly or something....would you cut him some slack? you'd know that wasnt really HIM, that it was the pain talking. Or a woman in labor might be quite mean to her partner but she doesnt REALLY mean it...she's acting out of pain or fear. You cant "not" discipline him or let him get away with bad behavior...he needs to know what the rules are...BUT i think what was meant by a "time in" is not babying him...but rather not excluding him or punishing him, as that may not help improve the behavior.
Its hard because you have so many little ones and so you are probably often just trying to get through the day with everyone in one piece...but i might suggest something like: "Dear stepson, thats the second time you've hit little sister today (or snatched a toy or shouted or whatever)....i think you are telling me you arent ready to play nicely, so now you must sit next to me and color while i wash dishes." Basically give him structured stuff to do within your line of sight and hopefully reduce the amount of free play he is given which he is demonstrating he can't handle. i KNOW that would be hard to do....but just giving him time outs will probably not help either. And will just frustrate you.
Also...try not to put the kid in the position of feeling backed into bad behavior. Its hard for me to remember if im repeating myself (its a long thread!) but...i know sometimes when i suspect my daughter has told a lie, i'll ask her if something is true ("Did you take that?")...she has demonstrated that she lies, so why put her in the position of telling ANOTHER lie. I tell myself i'm giving her the opportunity to tell the truth...but she so rarely does. It would be better for me to say "if you know where that is, put it back please" or some such thing. If you (general you) know that your child steals, dont leave stuff out for them to take. That sort of thing.
So when i read that you asked him what was wrong, and he said nothing, then you pressed him and then he lashed out rudely, then you had to put him in a time out for bad behavior....its like a really negative spiral to try to avoid. I think i probably posted about this upthread but im too lazy to go look. sorry!
have you tried verbalizing for him...he's little and probably has so many mad feelings inside of him, about his situation, its sooo much easier to take it out on little sister or snatch her toy than to be able to express how mad he is at his mother, his father, the boyfriend, DHS, being taken away etc. So you might have to do a lot of "i know you feel frustrated, instead of this do that" or "its hard being a little boy with such big mad feelings inside, maybe xyz would help..." or even "its hard getting three new brothers/sisters all at once isnt it? thats a lot! its hard for your sisters to suddenly have a big brother too!" just kind of acknowledging that those feelings are ok.
Also if you're finding he's going into time out a lot, you might have to come up with like two or three things that time out is for...like maybe hitting or something severe like that. And let the rest go or not punish for it. Like, dont send the kid to time out for saying "I hate you!" (not sure if i read that you do or not, cant remember)....just say "oh it sounds like you are really mad at me right now! its ok to feel angry with me, but in this home we dont tell people we hate them because thats mean" or "oh you sounds really mad at me! You didnt like it when i told you you had to share that toy, did you!"
Just trying to throw out helpful suggestions so take what you can use and disregard the rest. Believe me....i KNOW how hard it is to raise a traumatized kid, im living it, and i am not even taking my own advice at this point, im just keeping my head above water trying not to drown.
Brascos- what was said that upset you?
Maybe you would get more of what you are looking for if you went over to the step parent blended family forum? I don't know- I am re reading this and aside from a few things I have said- which I apologized for- everyone is trying to be very helpful to you and this little boy.
Unfortunately, when you post on the internet, it's out there for good. Something to think about when you post to virtual strangers.
I hope your family gets the help and counseling that you all need.
You can try to delete your posts, but you can't delete people's memory of what they've read. You have been quoted and discussed both here and possibly at other websites.
I am really worried about this little boy's well-being. I am hoping and praying that he finds a stable and supportive place to live; whether that is with your husband and you, with other relatives, or in a loving foster home.
hugs... it's hard, but you have a very steep learning curve ahead of you, and everyone here is trying to help you. I didn't get a chance to read the posts you deleted, but I do hope you're learning something about parenting adopted children along the way, because it is different, and you didn't exactly set out to adopt, but that's the situation you're in...
It also occurred to me how hard this situation must be for you in terms of your relationship with your husband, and trying to be everything for everyone. I get the sense that it is very hard for you to ever admit that anything is wrong, that you've made mistakes, or that you need help -- I'm the same way, though I'm learning my limits more and more all the time... it's wonderful to vent, but you have to also be willing to listen to the advice people give you, to learn from others who have walked this road -- you're very young, and you're dealing with SO MUCH right now. I worry that you want to be a perfect mom, a perfect wife, and a perfect new mom to this little boy, and those are all unattainable goals... I might be reading into this, and I apologize if I am, but I know that *I* was that way when I was your age, and I'm seeing it in your defensiveness. It's ok to want to learn from other people, you don't have to have all the answers -- no adoptive parent, or step-parent on the planet can do it without help -- I'm 100% serious, it's incredibly difficult to blend families and to parent traumatized children, and you're doing both at once. again, I didn't read the posts you deleted, so I don't know if you addressed this, but you guys really need to get into counseling, I think you'll feel like a huge weight is taken off you once you start going to someone you like... ask your social worker about possible classes and/or free counseling....
We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.
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