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 26, 2008

Kitty Meltdown

Kitty reminds me of a Chow I used to own (Chows only have 2 people in their life one person who is master that they obey and one playmate - everyone else does not exist - and they do not play with master or obey the playmate).

Kitty has certain people she Obeys (me and Hubby) - she'll whine, complain, tattle, and meltdown, but she'll do what we tell her to, if we insist - this was a long time coming by the way! She does trust us a little, but only allows hugs and affection on her terms. This is why I think of her as a cat!

She has certain people she idolizes - (Mrs M. our neighbor who is also her teacher at the private school; Aunt Christy who she wants as her mom because she "gives her kids thirty dollars a week in allowance for doing nothing Mom!"; Aunt Tammy a family friend who she wants as a mom because she isn't very strict with her son who is Ponito's age) - basically people who rarely tell her what to do and are very sweet about it if they do ask. She'll do almost anything for these people - even clean! She particularly likes to show them affection -especially in front of me - very pointedly letting me know she won't hug me, she'd rather hug them.

She has people she HATES (Grandma who Kitty insists favors Ponito because he's the baby and is always "yelling" at Kitty - FYI, for Kitty, any criticism or lack of praise is yelling; Mrs. P at school who Kitty says is alway yelling at her and telling her she's doing her work wrong; and anyone who is not currently her BFF - kids fall on and off her pedestal faster than Bear goes through Kleenex girls (that's another story!). Kitty's siblings are often members of this group.

There is really no one else in Kitty's life - everyone fits in one of these categories. She is a very passionate child.

It helps for me to remember that because of the past trauma she is emotionally only about 6 years old. If she is worked up about something - even younger. I think in some ways both she and Bear understand that they are different, and accept it. Most 15 year olds would not expect to have as much restriction on thier life as ours do (they are not even allowed to cross the street, they can only watch G rated shows for the most part, they can't have friends over without direct supervision, they can't go anywhere without adult supervision - and adults are Hubby and I and sometimes Grandma, not other people's parents). Our children rarely even complain about it. Truthfully I think they feel safer because of it. It can make parenting two totally healthy, "normal" kids like Bob and Ponito more challenging though. They end up with much more restriction and consequences then they probably should. All in the interest of keeping it "fair." Not that my kids would EVER say the word "FAIR" - thanks to the FAIR Club (I'll tell you about that some other time!).

This morning Kitty was exhausted and mad because we made her get up early even though she's not going to school yet. I knew we were going to have trouble because today was her first day at Grandma's house with Bob, doing their schoolwork.

Before therapy she got into trouble for tattling on Ponito's behavior while Grandma was supervising. Hubby came down on her kind of hard because she was being particularly obnoxious and justifying it by saying she was protecting Bob (who at 5'7" and 167lbs is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, especially from her little brother.) All the way to therapy I heard about how mean Grandma is and how much Grandma hates Kitty. What can you say besides, "No, Grandma doesn't hate you. Why do you think she might have said that? What were you doing at the time?" Of course all I hear is Kitty's side, to be honest though Grandma has gotten pretty tired of dealing with Kitty, and probably is a little hypercritical.
In therapy we watched a video on EMDR, but didn't have time to actually try it yet. I can't wait! The therapist got to see Kitty in all her oppositional defiant disorder glory for the second session in a row (last week Kitty insisted she was starving and ended up eating grass and chewing on her own arm). This is not her attachment therapist, who we love, this is a therapist who specializes in trauma work. I could see the therapist getting a little tired of Kitty's attitude too. At one point she asked Kitty, "Do you realize how many times you've asked for something? I'm going to keep track in my mind of the number of times you ask for Mom to give you something." Kitty was supposed to be talking about things that made her happy in her childhood. During the prior 2 minute conversation she asked -
1. "Can I go to the public highschool?" - she's in 7th grade and knows I think she does better in private school.
2. "Can you please get me the Jonas Brothers CD? Why don't you like them? I'm going to ask Aunt Christie to give it to me."
3. "Can I have a pizza?" This was random and what prompted the therapist to comment on the questioning.
I commented on the fact that all the questions had one thing in common. They were all questions she knew I would answer NO to.
We see the psychiatrist tomorrow and I think we are going to request another med increase for Kitty. The mood swings are getting wilder, and the therapist warned us to expect behavior issues to increase as we start this type of therapy.
Better get some sleep,


Lisa said...

Hi Squeaker!
I'm going to send the seminar page to CJ too. Maybe y'all could hook up there.

Perspective RAD said...

Welcome to the blogger world.. It has helped me alot.. Looking forward to reading your blog.. fellow Texan!

Emma said...

Glad to see you've finally started a blog! I look forward to reading more about your family's adventures.