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, January 2, 2016

"Adult" Boarder vs Family Girl

Trying something new. Had relatives coming in so I asked all the kids to help me get the house ready. Bob,  19yo daughter home from college, helped a lot. Ponito, 16yo son, helped some. Kitty did about 3 things (like "clean the tiny half bath" - which to her apparently meant shaking out the rug and sweeping a little in the middle of the room). I had to finish cleaning it.

When the relatives got here, she took off. She was gone for 3 days. I didn't even know she was back home, until I was telling the other kids we were going to eat lunch out with my sister and her kids. She started to get up to get ready to go, but I told her she wasn't invited. I've decided she doesn't get to pick and choose which family members she hangs out with or what activities she participates in (like eating out).

There will always be food for her of course, but she will no longer be eating out with us. She wants to be treated like an adult boarder instead of a family member, then that's what she'll get. A long time ago, I went to a seminar and the presenter (Katharine Leslie) talked about the Basic Package vs Luxury Package.   I decided this is what I'm going to do. {This is not the first time I made this decision, but the last time, we and the therapist decided it wasn't in Kitty's best interest yet.}

No more chasing her down to do family chores and no more family activities. She doesn't want to be a family girl. So be it.

She told me today that she wants to go Vegan (I predict that will last about 18 hours once she tastes the food and feels any deprivation - food is a trauma trigger for her). I told her she can use part of her food allowance to pay for any specialty items - up to $25/month. I see no reason to spend a fortune on food no one else will eat.

I had given her until the 1st of the year to clean her disgusting room or I'd clean it for her (strip it down to something she can handle). Then I'd start weekly inspections (like they do at Bob's dorm) with a fine if it's dirty. I will clean it tomorrow with or without her help, preferably without.

I was dreading this cleaning the room thing, but I woke up with a great idea. Trading Spaces. 48 hours to convert her room to a more "grown up" version. For Christmas, I got her a "big girl bed" (queen size) with more sophisticated bedding. I'll paint the walls the same neutral color as the rest of the house (we're planning on selling the house in the next couple of years), but we can have fun with the rest.
Before

Follow-up: As expected, Kitty was unable to do the clean up on her own and kept refusing my help. One day as she was walking out to hang out with a friend, I informed her I was working on her room today as it was convenient for me then. It went from this to THIS in 4 hours. I put all non-trash items in her closet and told her we would go through them together - knowing this would be hard, I let her put me off for 2 days. 
After

I posted the AFTER pictures on FaceBook and tagged Kitty. All her friends saw what a good job I did and told her how awesome it looked and how sweet it was of me to do that for her. That way she couldn't get away with blaming me and complaining to all her friends about how mean I was.

Here's what happened next.


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 "The Basic Package" Accommodation.

Provide a "structure and rehabilitation" environment (vs. "love and affection" environment).
Meet the child's basic needs for food, shelter and warmth.
Provide affection in response to the child's demonstration of affection, but only if it's appropriate.
Draw attention to the "giving and taking" that is part of every interaction.
Give and allow consequences that will evoke caring behaviors.
Katharine suggests no chores or family expectations until your child is part of your family. Even the names "Mom" and "Dad" are nicknames that grow out of love and can wait until later to be used.

"The Luxury Package" Accommodation

Basic package plus "family perks"

All things that children don't need but come out of the goodness of a parent's heart (ex. extra-curricular activities, chauffeur services, vacations, parties, dinners out).
To qualify for this package a child has to mutually satisfy parental needs in some ways, most of the time.

Earning the Luxury Package

A child can "upgrade" by performing certain family-friendly behaviors.

1 comment:

Steph B said...

Looks great! You did a beautiful job.