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!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Response to an Anonymous Comment

"How can Kitty even be expected to attach to you when you spend so much time disparaging her? Didn't you once blog that your husband curses at her and calls her names? How is that in any way "theraputic"?
Every idea Kitty has, you shoot down and mock.
You constantly talk about Kitty's mental age but I don't know any actual good parents treat ten year olds the way you treat Kitty, typical or otherwise.
How is what you do attachment parenting?
I've been reading your blog for years and the way you depict it, your home seems quite unsafe for Kitty.
Your depiction makes it seem that you are forcing yourself on her to no avail whatsoever with little to no positive results. Isn't that the definition of insanity?
Your "Fair Club" seems UNfair and not based in any kind of science or reality, especially when it is only used sporadically at your own whim.
People feel sorry for Kitty because like it or not, your description of your parenting appears abusive, infrequent and unsafe.
All I can think is that Kitty must spend much of her life bewildered and frightened, a prisoner of your slap-dash, unbalanced "parenting". Your blog is a testament to that."

Wow, this was a particularly harsh comment.  I will address each part:

"How can Kitty even be expected to attach to you when you spend so much time disparaging her?"
-- I certainly don't spend all my time disparaging her!  This blog is my place to vent. I do speak up if it will effect her future (like choosing classes that won't help her with her future), but other than that I keep my opinions to myself around Kitty.

"Didn't you once blog that your husband curses at her and calls her names? How is that in any way "theraputic"?"
--No, I didn't blog that.  You must be thinking of someone else.  Over the years my husband may have said something not very nice to her a few times, and he's not always totally empathetic, but would never curse at her and call her names!  We rarely curse or call each other names in this household.

"Every idea Kitty has, you shoot down and mock."
-- I do get frustrated with Kitty's unrealistic expectations, and that's what I talk about a lot on here, but if it makes a difference, I don't mock her to her face.

"You constantly talk about Kitty's mental age but I don't know any actual good parents treat ten year olds the way you treat Kitty, typical or otherwise."
-- First of all, Kitty is 10 in a lot of ways, but definitely not in all ways, and one of the most important ways she's different is that she is a "child of trauma."  I try to parent her where she is, and I use the age "10" as a starting point, but the truth is I can never parent her like I would a typical 10yo.  Talking about her emotional age is more about helping me remember that she's not really 18 and remembering to parent her accordingly.
The main thing is therapeutic parenting is very different than "regular" parenting.  It's not intuitive.  I doesn't look like "good parenting,"  It is what my kids need.  Yes, I make mistakes.  There is no Dummy's Guide on how to parent Kitty or kids like her.  If you know of a book or resource that tells me how to be a "good parent" to her then I'd be happy to read it.  I'm doing the best I can.

"How is what you do attachment parenting?"
-- Kitty is attached now, although because of her history probably still "anxiously."  I don't really do attachment parenting anymore, just therapeutic parenting.  If you want a good description of therapeutic parenting check out Christine Moers' DVD - Chaos to Healing:  Therapeutic Parenting 101, Katharine LeslieDaniel Hughes, Denise Best, the Beyond Consequences books

"I've been reading your blog for years and the way you depict it, your home seems quite unsafe for Kitty."
-- I guess I don't express myself in my blog as well as I'd hoped.  My home is not unsafe for Kitty, or any of my children.  If my posts come across that way then it's because I'm not making it clear that most of my blog is venting and letting other parents going through similar issues know that there is no such thing as "perfect parenting" (and to share resources).  If you're really worried then try to comfort yourself with the fact that I have access to amazing, experienced therapeutic parents and lots of resources, and that Kitty (and therefore myself) is under the direct supervision of her therapist, psychiatrist, a special school for emotionally disturbed children...

"Your depiction makes it seem that you are forcing yourself on her to no avail whatsoever with little to no positive results. Isn't that the definition of insanity?"
-- Yes, that is the definition of insanity; however, I believe the only alternative is to give up on her, and I'm not OK with that.  I have to have hope.

"Your "Fair Club" seems UNfair and not based in any kind of science or reality, especially when it is only used sporadically at your own whim."
-- The FAIR Club is a combination of the many different parenting methods I've used and/or read about over the years.  It is designed to be used with both my neurotypical and not neurotypical kids.  It is definitely not perfect and probably time to update it, but I've never found any other discipline method that worked any better.  I've never claimed it would work for every child or parent, and often when people ask me how to use it, after asking lots of questions about their child, most of the time, we find that their child is developmentally too young or don't have the cognitive abilities to be able to use it completely.  Like every other parenting method, I hope that parents take what works for them and leave the rest.
We don't really use the FAIR Club anymore.  Not because it doesn't work, not because it's at my "whim," but because my kids haven't needed it.  Kitty lives a version of it daily because she needs the structure and support.  The other kids, Ponito and Bob rarely require much discipline anymore.  Coincidentally, we actually used the FAIR Club for the first time in years with Ponito earlier this week (post coming).

"People feel sorry for Kitty because like it or not, your description of your parenting appears abusive, infrequent and unsafe.
All I can think is that Kitty must spend much of her life bewildered and frightened, a prisoner of your slap-dash, unbalanced "parenting". Your blog is a testament to that."
-- Kitty came to us "bewildered and frightened" 7 years ago, imprisoned in a scary world she didn't make and had no control over.  Obviously this couldn't have had anything to do with my parenting, since I was not her parent.  Over the years we have worked hard to become the parents Kitty needs and to help her find new ways to cope and trust, and we're working on helping her accept her limitations (denying that she has any means that she feels it's her fault when she fails) and find ways to work around them.
I think the fact that she's attached to us and trusts us to the best of her ability, that she finally has access to and control of her feelings (physical and emotional), has processed some of her trauma, is properly diagnosed and medicated, has been out of the hospital and residential treatment and been stable for almost 2 years, is graduating high school, has maintained a job (even if I don't think it's the right one for her), no longer hates her siblings and grandparents - hasn't called them evil in years, rarely threatens violence or vengeance on others, rarely has meltdowns for that matter - even when asked to do chores which used to be a huge trigger for her!, will accept hugs from me and actually cares how I feel...
          ................ I think all that is a "testament" to my parenting and her hard work.  You can think I'm a bad parent, but you're wrong.
All I can say is that you don't live in my home, and this blog contains only what I intermittently choose to share here (which admittedly hasn't been much lately).  You'll have to take my word for it that I parent to the best of my ability and that's pretty darn good if I do say so myself.  This is not an easy path and Kitty has a LOT of issues that make her very difficult to parent 24/7, but she's come a really long way.  Maybe that's in spite of my parenting, and maybe there is someone out there who could do a better job of it, but I'm Kitty's mom and they aren't here.

"This sounds like a way for you to get your hands on Kitty's SS money.
Honestly, how do you live with yourself?"
Yes, we would be taking the majority of Kitty's SSI money.
1. If we didn't she would lose! her SSI benefits, because she can't accumulate more than a miniscule amount. Rent is a legitimate expense for SSI.
2. We're not rich. I haven't been able to work for many years because the kids need so much supervision, and when Kitty graduates high school she'll need even more supervision, because she won't be working. We need her income to contribute to the family. If/when she moves out either I'll go back to work, or we'll move to a smaller house.
3. We fully intend to save some of this money for her so that eventually she can use it to pay deposits and such if she ends up living on her own, or for "extras" if she ends up living in an assisted living situation.

"How do you live with yourself?" I'm fine with myself, because I know your judgment is inaccurate.


If you want to share your name and share your blog (or write one) about what an amazing parent you are to your kids who I assume are exactly like mine, then I'd be very happy to read it and respect any constructive criticism you may offer; however, until and unless you are walking in my shoes then please don't criticize me or presume to judge what makes me a good or bad parent.

Sincerely,
Mary

13 comments:

Leah said...

A few months ago I read your blog from start to finish and I have a very different take away feeling from your anon comment. My parenting experience is worlds apart but I feel like I can learn from your blog, if not for my parenting specifically, then generally at least. It helps me better understand friends with more challenging situations.

marythemom said...

Thank you, Leah!

susieloulou said...

I think you are a fabulous parent and I would be so proud if I accomplished 1/3 or 1/4 of what you have. How blessed Kitty is to have you!

Anonymous said...

That is hysterical, that you are telling me I have no right to make judgements on your obviously bad "parenting" because I have not volunteered to take hurt children into my home in order to fleece their social security checks.
No. You are right. I am more financially sound and feel no obligation to make my living off the backs of damaged children.

Your blog says much more about you than it does Kitty. It may not be your intention but you do not come off as the hero and champion you think you do. You come off as a mentally unbalanced person forcing yourself on a hurt child and taking her money. I do not blame her one bit for hiding in her room from you. And don't even get me started on your harsh treatment of Bear. That poor kid never had a chance.
Perhaps if you would like to be viewed as the kind, compassionate person you imagine yourself to be, you should take a step back and really analyze the way you portray yourself here on this blog.
You are not coming off as the "good parent" you think you are.

Joy in Belgium said...

I know exactly what world you live in and I know how important it is to have a place to vent. If we(as parents of these kids) didn't vent sometimes we would go crazy! There have been times I have read your blog and thought maybe you were too harsh but then I realize, people think the SAME thing about me and how I parent my daughter. Kids like ours require such a different type of parenting most people just don't get it. I honestly think you are brave for being so open about the struggles of therapeutic parenting and it does help me know I am not the only one out there dealing with these issues.

Anonymous said...

I admit that in the past, I've judged some of the things you've done with your adoptive children, but then I read posts about times where you showed them once again that you loved them very much, in a way that they could understand and fully appreciate. Take the post in which you helped Kitty pick out an outfit for her senior pictures, for example. You helped her pick out clothes and gave her advice, but at the same time were really sensitive to her low self-esteem and worked hard to boost it for her, if only for that short time. I know her moods and feelings quickly change. Keep doing what you're doing, and providing those of us who may not be as familiar with your situation educated about different problems facing children of trauma, so we too can learn better ways to help them, even the ones who may not be ours.

Angel The Alien said...

Is it possible the person who wrote that knows you or knows Kitty and has personal anger towards you? Because to have been reading your blog for years while feeling like this seems somewhat unlikely. When I read a blog I don't like, I just stop reading it!

Helen said...

Very graciously handled, probably a good deal more so than it deserved. I struggle to understand or be compassionate towards those who feel driven to tear others down. Particularly bloggers like yourself who are brave enough and generous enough to honestly share their own experience over years and provide an invaluable resource to others by doing so. I have learned a great deal by reading here, I follow your suggested reading lists with a lot of appreciation and most of all I learn from your willingness to share both what you celebrate and what you need to vent here.

I know it takes many positive comments to outweigh one negative one, so please know how much I appreciate your blog.

Miz Kizzle said...

Maybe you should stop accepting anonymous comments.
It seems like everyone loves to judge and the internet makes it easy for those who are so inclined. I doubt you are making a fortune off your adopted children. In the long run, you"ve probably lost money through taking them on.
Some people are just hateful. Try and let the mean comments go and maybe the troll will slink back under the bridge.

Anon England said...

Perhaps she's not even 10? I mean, yes, I know nothing but I would not parent a typical 10 year old that way... whatever 'typical' means and I am comparing it to a typical 10 year old because I don't know anything else to compare it to.

You don't come off as abusive to me though; just rather ... oddly... strict. Think 'Have you hear of World's Strictest Parents, rather than 'Quick! Call Social Services'.

Could it be a spiky profile thing?

Anonymous said...

Mary- you have given me hope in some very dark times. It saddens me that you had to defend yourself against a cyber bully, especially one who could accuse you of doing this for the money. Anyone who can say that has clearly never lived with a child with severe trauma.

Anonymous said...

I am not the above anonymous. I have always thought of this as a venting blog. Although I may not agree with everything, I have been helped by reading your story. YOU are the parent, and it is apparent that you love your kids very much and are doing everything you can to help them. These kids do require unique parenting techniques. I very much enjoy reading your blog. It does help to know there are others out there going through the same struggles. This is a lonely, misunderstood life, and we are often judged by others who have no experience doing what we do. Until you've lived it, there's no way to understand why we do what we do. It is so much easier to be on the outside looking in passing judgment and expressing opinions than it is to do what we're doing. I truly believe that God has given us the task to raise these kids because He knows that we have what it takes to raise them despite what others say about us.

Keep your head up, Mary. You are doing a good job.

God's grace and peace,
ABS

marythemom said...

Thanks for the bloggy love, guys!

Anon - I still don't know why you think I'm "fleecing their social security checks" (not that they actually get SSI checks yet)? I don't "make my living" off of my children. The income I made before I had to quit my job to take care of Kitty and Bear was supplemental to our household income. After Kitty's graduation, we would survive without the extra $500/mo. from Kitty's income (although as I mentioned - in this edited post, it's in her best interest not to save it), but her life would not be as comfortable.

Truthfully, I would prefer to be able to go back to work, but Kitty needs me home. I see "rent" as fair compensation for meeting her need for extra supervision. If she finds a way to safely move somewhere else, then she'd have to pay for that assistance. Like with Bear I'll happily assist her with case management, but I'd be able to go back to work.

Anon England - thank you for the "spiky profile" definition. I'd never heard of that before.