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!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's all about Bear

Still struggling with what to do about Bear.

Public Speaking - Bear met with one person about speaking. This person was a youth minister who has only lived here one week. His wife was in foster care, and his brother bipolar. In other words he "got' what Bear was talking about, but it didn't seem to give Bear what he wanted/needed. Bear talked to the minister, but didn't make a connection. I suspect it's because the minister didn't fawn over Bear and feed into the poor little me routine. I've heard nothing from Bear about public speaking since.

Bear gets a job? - We often go to a neighborhood thrift shop that's owned by a real character and his wife. This guy could be described as rough around the edges, REALLY rough. He likes to flirt with me and tease the kids. He knows I'm not tolerant of cussing around the kids and that I'm uber protective, and he mostly respects that (with a lot of teasing), but he's not above going against my wishes if he thinks I'm wrong. In other words he'd cuss around Bear, give him caffeine and candy, possibly pay him for work without telling me.... A couple of weeks ago, the guy offered Bear a job doing lawn work, but I said no. Then Grandma arranged for Bob to work folding and putting clothes away for a day and get school clothes in exchange. It went fine, and Bob chose appropriate outfits.

Then Bear was offered work outside, in the Texas heat, cleaning out a storage unit. He claims he's talked the guy into giving him $100. We've had this conversation before so he plans to give all the money to me to pay off the last of the Zune, and apply the rest toward the lawnmower repair bill ($100). I've been worried about what to do when he pays off the Zune because we don't exactly have the cash to buy a $100 MP3, but this would solve that problem. I fussed at Bear for saying he'd do it without checking with me first, but I'm thinking I might allow it. I'm making him wait until tomorrow to find out though (it would start at 10am).

Double agent - Hubby and I talked about whether or not Bear should still be so distant and obviously PTSDing (what?! it can to be a verb!). Anyway, you know me and analogies. I came up with a new one that I think helped Hubby understand why Bear is still acting as though he's under the same stress as he would be in a war zone, even though we've removed most of the chaos wherever possible. Hubby was questioning whether or not Bear was faking it or maybe this was just habit. I suggested it's like being an undercover agent during war time. You might not be surrounded by bombs, and everyone around you is going through life as usual, but you have to constantly be hypervigilant and aware. Bear's perception of what's going on is totally different from everyone else and the stress is never ending.


Hubby and I talked about what to do with Bear this year. I think we have 3 options:

  1. Status quo - keep Bear under fairly close supervision, but still allowing him to do all the family stuff. (Basically, keep up the Mexican standoff and continue to let him treat the women and kids as though it's OK to snap at us and be grumpy). *This one makes me unhappy because I think it keeps everyone miserable - including Bear, and it means we're giving up hope that anything will improve because we're not doing anything differently.*

  2. Normal teenager - basically give him a clean slate and let him easily earn all the "normal" teenage stuff. This seems to be the option of choice of the caseworkers, school and therapists. *Sometimes feels like Hubby thinks this way too, but as an option this one bothers Hubby the most. He feels this should be earned. Plus it would require us to trust Bear at home alone and in other ways that we don't feel comfortable with.*

  3. Attachment to Commitment - basically commit to Katharine Leslie, and if we can afford it do some consulting with her. Put Bear on notice that if he wants to do family stuff, then he has to be part of the family. Step up therapy, step up everyones' commitment and dedication.

I think Hubby and I are leaning toward option 3, especially after Hubby saw how Bear talks to me (Hubby's home this weekend instead of working), but Hubby wants to wait until next weekend when we meet with Bear's therapist to put this all on the table. In the meantime I need to work out what this would look like.

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