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!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Survival Advice

Read! Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control helped me understand why my kids act the way they do and be a little more empathetic when I felt like screaming at them. I love everything by Katharine Leslie (you can search my blog to see more about her). If you (or anyone else) wants it, I can e-mail you a document I’ve compiled with reviews of a lot of books and methods regarding adoption, discipline, psychiatric diagnoses….

Simplify! We stripped our kids rooms, broke all tasks down into simple steps given a little bit at a time, and reduced expectations to be more developmentally appropriate (I’d expect a 16 yr old to do their own laundry, but my "developmentally only 6" yr old has difficulty putting it away).

Empathize. This is hard, but try to remember your kid has been through a lot, and even though your child may have lived with you 8 years, he learned a lot of ways to handle the trauma during those early years and probably feels as though it could happen again at any minute. It’s like growing up in a warzone. In addition to trauma and diagnoses, there's often other issues going on too. A fight with a friend, feeling overwhelmed and unsafe in the cafeteria... Plus, if the child is 9 and up, he or she might be starting puberty (trauma can trigger early onset). All those lovely hormones rushing through the body.

Take care of yourself! This is probably the hardest of all. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made and move on. Focus on the present and the positive. Laugh!! Find support groups. Have a date night at least once a month. Bubble baths, read a good book that has nothing to do with kids and issues, eat better, get enough sleep, exercise… yea, yea I know this is hard (I was up till almost 3 last night and for breakfast I had a pound of strawberries with chocolate chips), but it is important to try!

Remember you are not alone!!!