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!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lead Balloon

Dang, I had a long post and my computer overheated, shut down, and apparently ate it. *sigh*

Well that went over like a lead balloon.

Gave Bear his FAIR Club assignment the other day. His first comment was, "What's that for?"
I said, "For what happened the other day."
Bear: "I DIDN'T STEAL IT!" I said nothing.
Bear: "I'm just going to throw it away."
Me, calmly: "That's your choice, but I recommend you at least look at it first." (I hoped he'd see the part about getting an MP3 player).
Pause while he skips to the assignment part. "I didn't lie!" I said nothing. "I'm not going to do this!"
Me, calmly: "That's your choice."
Bear: "You can't make me do this! I'm not going to do this."
Me, calmly: "I know. That's your choice."
Bear: "This is too much. You wouldn't make the other kids do this much."
Me, calmly: "That's not true. Bob, has done longer assignments."
Bear: "I'm not going to do this."
Me, calmly: "That's your choice."
Bear: "There's too much Bible stuff in here. I'm not going to do this."
Me, calmly: "That's your choice."

Bear hands me back some pages that hadn't printed well. "These are all messed up."
Me, calmly: "Yes, I know. The first few pages are OK. I just gave them to you so you'd know what they were. I'll get them reprinted and get them to you."


A few days later we went to therapy. Everything was "fine," according to Bear, so we talked about what I wanted to talk about - the fact that Bear was upset about all of this. The therapist asked questions about what happened, and some new elaborations came up. Bear now says his friend gave him the MP3 because he got a new Ipod and didn't need it, but of course Bear still had to account for saying he "traded" MP3s. Bear stated that the boy wanted Bear's MP3 because Bear's MP3 could record and the boy wanted to record his own music... I'm not buying any of this, but my philosophy is not to argue or ask why. Kids like Bear will just lie - that's just what they do. It's my job to love him anyway.


So he's stopped arguing about it, but hasn't touched his assignment. *sigh*


GB's Mom said...

The calm reaction was great! You get around of applause AND an atta boy! The only way I am keeping calm with MK is by saying absolutely nothing. Would you share some calm with me?

marythemom said...

Say it with me. "That's your choice." I learned this from Love and Logic - it's called the broken record. No other response!

This is why I love Love and Logic books - they help me retain my calm. Even if they don't always apply to my kids.

More practice: When when they ask for something like having a girlfriend over,try, "Not right now." Only if they ask why not, would you say, because of what happened last week, or because you're in the FAIR Club, or because I don't want to. Then you disengage and walk away. Don't explain again or get involved in their argument.

Threats always get a, "that's your choice," but sometimes I'll warn them of the consequences of that choice. (ex. "That's your choice, but if you break it you'll have to pay twice the cost of replacing it" or "but I'll have to invoke the 4 foot rule" or "ut I'll have to call the police"... you get the idea). But I only say it once and I try to keep it from being a threat, more of an empathetic reminder.