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, August 10, 2010

Chameleoning


On Sunday, CASA (advocates for kids in foster care) gave a presentation to Bear’s Sunday School class. There were several video clips of kids in foster care whose lives were affected by CASA volunteers. One was a 15 yr old who got into drugs, gangs, stealing… mom kicked him out because he was out of control and he was homeless for awhile. Then he got into foster care right out of juvie. His new foster parents were strict and had him under very close supervision (searched him and his room daily). The kid stated he felt like he was being treated like a criminal, and the CASA worker agreed with him and got him into a new foster home. Needless to say I cringed when I heard the story because it made it sound like the foster parents were horrible for doing what we basically do to keep Bear safe (although we don’t search him daily).

Anyway, Bear apparently broke down and cried and had to be comforted. He got a lot of supportive back patting and sympathy and told his sob story (well a variation of it). He then decided to tell his story/testimony to the youth group during the next hour which got him a LOT of praise and support. He rambled for about 20 minutes (disjointed, contradicting himself, with very little point), but didn’t break down.

I found out about his presentation so was there. He decided to call me up to the front, I guess so I could affirm his story. He hugged me and told me he loved me, but it was all for the audience. When I said something (I quietly asked him, “What do you want them {the audience} to do?) to help him focus his presentation a little, he bit my head off, but quietly so no one else heard.

After the presentation the CASA worker asked him to give a presentation to the CASA board on Monday night. Which he did. It was moving and he did a good job. He told everyone that he wants to be an underwater welder for a few years to earn enough money to open an orphanage.

Now he’s obsessed with giving speeches about being in foster care. He apparently is loving the attention and is chameleoning (I know that’s not a word, but he’s adapting, changing and even obsessing a little on this new role).

He's constantly asking for help for advice about getting in front of an audience - especially of kids. I suggested finding an organization (like CASA) that he can work with. Instead he has chosen to do it all by himself. On the one hand I'm impressed, he's got the phone book out and introducing himself,

"Hi, my name is Bear _____, and I'm starting public speaking about helping kids in foster care and I was wondering if I could talk about foster care to see if I could help get support for places like CASA, and possibly get kids to know more about it. I wanted to see if I could come and talk there."

On the other hand I know it's going to be me dragging him around to any talks he manages to get organized. I'm OK with public speaking, but time wise....

I don't want to mess with this!! *pout*

4 comments:

GB's Mom said...

I wouldn't want to either :(

Purplewalls said...

I'd be worried about him making and a$$ of himeself and embarrassing me. Tell him you'll support him as long as he puts together an organized presentation, with a set format. You want to see an outline, or at least a list of talking points. Remind him that his audience will be more interested in him if he does a good job, which includes ordering his thoughts in logical sequence.

And then hold your breath and hope he'll get bored with this like he does most everything else he does... or that it's exactly the cure you've been waiting for.

Lisa said...

Yeah, what Purplewalls said.

I would be pretty leary of this new venture. I have a few kids who love, love, love an audience and this would just empower them to be foolish. I could see the "testimony" changing and becoming more and more pitiful based on the audiences reactions.

Sorry to be so cynical about YOUR child, I think the cynicism I've developed over my own is rubbing off on my interactions with everyone (who'd have seen that coming? lol).

marythemom said...

Purplewalls - I'm not worried about him embarassing me, but your suggestions for making him provide an organized presentation, are good advice.

Still not another word about giving presentations. Yea!

Lisa - feel free to be cynical about my child, but I don't think it's cynicism if it's true.

Mary in TX