This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Meltdown by Kitty

Kitty has been defiant at home, but usually staying fairly calm - as long as no one makes any demands of her. Every time she is asked to pick up after herself, do her chores, or is denied anything... she has been claiming that she is picked on and no one loves her. She gets defiant and wants to leave.

Monday night before Hubby and I got home, we had been warned by Grandma (our afterschool care) that Kitty had refused to do her chores (again), and that the other kids hadn't done all of theirs (each child has 3 chores to do daily -it's different each day). Kitty's chores on Monday were to pick up her room, wash dishes and make sure the cats had water in their dishes (they already did).

When we got home, I fussed at all the kids about the incomplete and sloppy chores and reminded them that we had company coming in the next couple of weeks - including my youngest's birthday party. I deliberately did not single Kitty out, but Kitty does not handle criticism well and still got overwhelmed. I then sent them to do their chores and asked them all to do a little bit extra.

Kitty was required to take a cup and bowl out of the playroom (that weren't hers) and put them in the sink. I swear that's all! Even my 9 year old had more to do.

As usual Kitty started claiming that we didn't love her, that she hated being part of our family. I tried reassuring her - it got worse. I tried just letting her vent - she got worse. I gently redirected her to her tasks and pointed out how easy they were (Kitty's room is pretty bare so it was mostly dirty clothes on her floor - all she had to do was put them in a basket) - she got worse.

Doing dishes is Kitty's least favorite chore. I was cooking dinner next to her as she complained and finally claimed she had a cut on her finger (and therefore couldn't do dishes).

Hubby tried to look at it and she refused - and refused to do any more dishes. I left the room to help another child and when I came back she was sitting on the floor of the kitchen, yelling at Hubby, and claiming she would never do dishes again -and never eat again (so she wouldn't make any dirty dishes). The "cut" on her finger was impossible to see. She kept escalating, even though we calmly tried to redirect her.

Then she threatened to hurt herself and blame us. When I told her we wouldn't let her hurt herself, she threatened to hurt herself at school (and blame it on us). I calmly informed her that she had made this threat so many times that no one would believe her (I meant that no one would believe we did it because they know we never would and that she has often threatened to blame us before- reported by us every time for this reason!). She apparently thought I meant no one would believe she was hurt. She said, "I'm going to really burn myself then." She stood up and ran for the boiling water on the gas stove. I quickly stepped in front of her. I am quite frankly not sure whether she would have done anything.

As Hubby loosely held her to keep her away from the flames she began kicking at him and getting out of control. He attempted to hook his leg around hers to stop the kicking and she struggled, knocking him off balance. They ended up on the floor (he was able to keep from landing on her). She started biting and screaming and threatening to run away.

I decided that to keep her safe we would most likely need to keep her under direct parental supervision (4 foot rule - we've used before). I removed her shoes in case she decided to run. It was almost bedtime so I decided to remove all her shoes and street clothes so we would be able to let her sleep in her own room (left her PJs of course). She was distracted by what I was up to (she could hear me and wanted to know what I was doing), and was able to calm down. Hubby followed her upstairs while I finished making dinner and washing her sheets since I'd discovered she had no clean ones - apparently she's been wetting the bed more lately.

Within about 20 minutes she calmed down and apologized to us both. She finished the dishes, ate dinner, took her meds and went to sleep. We directly supervised her until she fell asleep (I made her bed for her). We have told her that she would likely not be going to school tomorrow (Tuesday), but discussed it and decided to take her to school anyway (big client meeting and we knew she is still in a honeymoon period at school and would be "fine." She REALLY wants to go to school, and is willing to be more compliant if she knows it is at stake.

So as planned we let her know in the morning that we were allowing her to go to school, but would be having a meeting with the school. What happens in Vegas does NOT stay in Vegas. The school said they wanted us to continue to bring her so they could see what she was like "in action." As expected, she was fine in school, but at least they know a little more about what she is like at home, and are less likely to think I'm an over-reacting, over-protective freak.

During Kitty's therapy session tonight we tried to talk about the incident, but she became extremely agitated and repeatedly and determinedly changed the subject.

We've tried sending her to a psychiatric hospital and found that to make things worse because she enjoys it and finds it a great escape from her chores and family. I worry that she is going to continue to escalate because she feels that if she throws a fit she can get out of doing things she doesn't want to do. When that doesn't work, then she'll throw a bigger fit. Scary!

And of course, all this is "MY" fault, because I "pushed" her. Something else to work on - my frustration and insistence on chore completion, does NOT justify meltdowns. *sigh*


Lisa said...

Hoping today is a better day for all of us!

J. said...

we had one of those nights here last night as well - hang in there

Laurie~Let's Knit It said...

(((HUG))) You are an awesome mom!!! I hope you and your hubby will reap the blessings of your persistence soon.