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, October 20, 2009

Getting the angries out

In the van on the way home from picking up Bear after school, Grandma asked Bob to fix the phone numbers in Grandma's new phone. Bob finished it, and then teased Ponito by saying it was her own phone. When Grandma heard that she immediately held out her hand for the return of the phone. Bob did give it back.

Grandma realized she needed a couple more numbers fixed in the phone so she handed it back again, but Ponito was faster than Bob (Kitty and Bear were in the back seat). Bob tried to get the phone and then tried to tell him she was the only one who knew how to do it, but Ponito wouldn't hand it over and said he wanted to figure out how to do it.

At this point we were home and everyone but Bob and Ponito were carrying things in. Apparently Bob snatched the phone from Ponito so Ponito kicked her.

All the kids want their own cell phone, added to the fact that Bob is incredibly competitive. She later admitted that she wanted there to be things that only she could do.

Bob was definitely not blameless, but Ponito had crossed a line so I sent him straight to a time out in his room. As he has repeatedly in the last few weeks that we've been dealing with his angry behaviors, he slammed the door (repeatedly) and there were many loud crashes. This time there was no broken mirror or ripped off shutters though. After his 10 minute time out (I know he's a little old for timeouts, but he needed the break. Luckily he's a biokid so I don't have to worry about attachment issues!) I went in to talk to him.

Long conversation. He felt his sister "deserved" to be hit. He's got a lot of angry feelings that keep boiling over. It is sooo nice to be able to address this kind of stuff with a "neurotypical" kid who is aware of his feelings and body and understands consequences and conscience.

I actually talked to him about id and ego! The id is the toddler part of your body that wants to do what it wants. The ego is his conscience (Ponito supplied the word!), the boss of the id, that doesn't let the id do things that aren't right. I asked Ponito what happened to his ego. He said he guessed his ego was on vacation!

Ponito said he is angry all the time. I asked Ponito why he didn't hit anybody at school (thinking that I would point out that his ego was working at school). He said it was because he knew if he kicked his teacher like he wanted to that he would be suspended. Say what?! Why do you want to kick your teacher? What's going on? And Ponito said ....nothing. *sigh*

So now I'm getting a little freaked. Is there something seriously wrong? Is he depressed? Is he sick? Is someone hurting him? Is he having trouble at school? Is there something I don't know about? Ponito is not answering my questions. He's not talking to me. He's watching the clock and giving me ultimatums ("We're going to be done in 4 minutes or I'm out of here!"). He threatens to hurt himself and he is not able to tell me that he won't hurt someone else (in fact he threatens anyone who gets on his bad side), so I inform him I'm establishing the "4 foot rule." I can't trust him to stay safe or not hurt someone else.

Meanwhile he's throwing stuffed animals and hitting the wall with his fist, and that got me thinking. What if he needs to get some of this anger out (safely). So we talked about hitting pillows, screaming cusswords in his pillow, hitting the punching bag (which he reminded me was currently on the floor because the chain holding it was breaking), so I suggested kicking the punching bag. I suggested he draw a picture of his sister and put it on the punching bag thinking it might help him calm a little to draw it. He's having none of it.

Finally he gets up and asks me if I have an old shirt I don't want anymore. Say what?! I mention the Goodwill pile in my room. He wants to know if he can have the shirt of Bob's that I disapproved of last week so he can tear it up. Nope that shirt got torn when I tried to take it out of Bob's room last week (that was an argument you're glad you missed!). Bob is a horrible packrat so none of her clothes are in the Goodwill pile.

Ponito tries to destroy a pair of nylon sweatpants, but they're too strong for him. I point out a pair of jeans with a big hole in the knee (probably shouldn't have been in the Goodwill pile anyway). He grabs and tears the knee the rest of the way, but can't do any more damage. Finally with a pair of scissors to get holes started, he manages to completely shred the jeans and completely change his attitude.

He's talking, laughing, smiling... the tension is gone. We talk about ways to handle this in the future. He asks for a pile of jeans. *grin* I suggest some less destructive choices (after all those clothes are going for a good cause).

We talk about physical activities really helping him, and decide he can run around in the back yard (not the front until he's safe to play with his friends). Counting to 10 (and if that doesn't work counting to 10 again!). I told him I used to write in my journal when I was mad at my sister - all sorts of mean things. One time I wrote down every cussword I knew, just to see how many I knew. We decided he could do that or he could close his eyes and recite them in his head (instead of letting them out of his mouth - yes, I know this violates the premise of the No Cussing Club, but it's better than kicking his sister right?!). We talked about writing a letter to the person we're mad at about how mad we are - and then tearing it up.

Afterward he gave me a hug and bounced downstairs - everything is back to normal.

Please Lord don't let this be hormones! I don't think I'll survive another one right now!

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