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!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Letter to Kitty's school

Hi guys,

I wanted to check in with you regarding Kitty and our concerns about what appears to be a major increase in her stress over the last few weeks. I wonder if there might be some sort of increase in the usual drama at school causing this, and I would appreciate any insight. She has begun calling home even more frequently with stomach aches, headaches and various other psychosomatic ailments. At home she is easily upset and increasingly prone to meltdowns. I’m worried that she is heading toward another emotional break requiring psychiatric hospitalization.

Kitty has always had issues with the emotional drama at school. She has admitted she’s a pretty big gossip, and apparently has a need for all her friends to feel sorry for her and believe that we (her parents) are mean and overly controlling. Her world is very black and white. Kitty has talked a lot about S_____, a junior boy in which she is interested, that is depressed and into cutting. Kitty is very empathetic and has mentioned that she is negatively influenced by his depressed outlook.

I also want to mention the issues we’re dealing with at school regarding Kitty’s siblings. Last week Kitty walked into the cafeteria, and in front of everyone, pointed at her sister and loudly announced, “ there’s the backpack breaker.” (At home, Kitty had put her backpack in a room Bob, her sister, was cleaning. Bob tossed it in another room and a plastic piece on the back pack broke, making one of the straps not work. Kitty wanted Bob punished for the damage, but we determined it was an accident and partially Kitty’s fault so we did not give Bob any consequences. This caused a major meltdown at home.) Kitty’s outburst in the cafeteria really upset and embarrassed Bob of course. When my husband confronted Kitty about it, Kitty claimed it was intended as a joke, but she admitted that her tone of voice was serious, not joking. Bear, Kitty’s older brother, and Kitty seem to be attracted to the same type of kids (ones with big issues!). Kitty’s gossip about Bear is creating even more drama than already exists (yes, we realize he’s just as big a gossip as she).

Honestly I don’t know what to do. Kitty’s issues seemed to be getting reinforced and worsened by allowing this to continue. I need your input and suggestions.

Some possible options:
• Social skills classes?
• Look into a different type of school for Kitty? Charter?
• Call an ARD and get the team to brainstorm options, if not for now, then for next school year.
• Is this something that should/could be covered by a school Behavior Intervention Plan? I don’t feel that her current BIP restricting her visits to the nurse (while necessary) is addressing her issues. {Making Kitty rate her pain on a scale of 1 to 5 is her only BIP - but the teachers have stated they don't use it}
• Continue to ignore it and focus on keeping her regulated.

We’ve talked about giving her homework so that next year she can try inclusion classes. Obviously this hasn’t been happening, but she’s not dealing well with what she has, so I have to admit I’m not terribly upset about this. Still this is something we need to address eventually as I’m sure it causes her anxiety. She is making good grades, but I’ve noticed that the area she’s having problems in is missing assignments. Usually she does the work, but has trouble getting it turned in.

Obviously we are addressing this at home and are working with Kitty’s therapist, but I feel Kitty needs more support. I look forward to hearing from you about this.

Mary Themom cell ###-####


elizabeth said...

real name alert at the bottom??

marythemom said...



RADMomINohio said...

Wow, you were not kidding about Penelope and Kitty being similar. Now, Penelope's grades are not that great but from what I'm hearing that is the only big difference.
I hate that feeling of when you feel your child is headed to the psychiatric hospital again. You just want to do everything you can to stop it. To me it definitely sounds like Kitty isn't feeling safe at school. The psychosomatic ailments are a diversion/avoidance technique to get sympathy. Similar to how she wants her friends to feel sorry for her. Penelope is EXACTLY the same. And she picks girls that want to make her their pet project - NOT good. I used to get a lot of calls from Penelope at school because of this ailment or that problem. I pointed out to her teachers that last year, Penelope had a "safe place" to go when she felt overwhelmed or unsafe to calm down and regulate herself. She doesn't have that this year because her Intervention Specialist doesn't have her own classroom. After figuring out a new "safe place" and limiting her ability to call me requiring her to depend on them to help her, she started feeling safer and her ailments began to improve.
The other thing that could help - maybe in lieu of a social class, is a Problem Solving Grid. I will put it on my blog. I love it because, one - it makes the child own their problem, two - it's kind of a consequence to have to sit down and fill it out with her teacher without being a direct punishment, and three - it shows the child that they do actually know the right thing to do but made a bad choice which builds confidence.
Oh, also the missed assignment thing. That is EXACTLY like Penelope too! We brainstormed that one during our last "team" meeting and figured out it is all about that black and white thinking. It's all done and/or perfect or it isn't going to be turned in. It's turned in on time or not at all. Her teacher had to go through her binder and pull out all these missing assignments that were for the most part completed but just not turned in and it helped her grade go up.