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, April 9, 2011

Responses to comments

  • First, I want to apologize to everyone for how the posts are reading. I swear to you I've done everything I can to get this stupid program to put spaces between paragraphs. I've entered multiple spaces (like 10), I've tried typing a period on each line between paragraphs. Nothing works. So thank you for all of you who managed to make it through! I'm going to try bullet pointing and see if that helps.

  • I tried responding to your comments in the comments section, but Blogger ate my comment too! Aargh! So I'm going to give my abbreviated reply here:

  • Miz Kizzle: Does Kitty know anyone who actually had a "super sweet sixteen" party with all the expensive trimmings?

  • No, but apparently she saw that stupid MTV show ("My Super Sweet 16") while in foster care, plus TV shows and movies (like "16 Wishes") and the movie "Bratz." Honestly though I don't think it's about the party itself, because this came up too often in therapy when we were talking about something she didn't want to talk about. Whenever Kitty wants to distract/ dissociate, she asks for something she know she can't have (like, "let's leave right now and go to McD because I'm staaaaarrrrvviinngg!"). This party has been coming up in therapy for months.

  • Tracey: I can't help but think that to some degree if Kitty is being treated like a mental patient she will act like one. I find I have a lot of success with my 14-year-old daughter by reinforcing the idea that she's a "normal" teenager. She's not, of course... she came to me at age 11 with RAD, PTSD, ODD, ADHD, possible Bipolar, and of course a long history of trauma and loss. She was angry and violent and destructive and off in a fantasy world most of the time. She was in a group home and on the verge of being declared unadoptable.

  • I know all kids are different but I can't help but think that learned helplessness is a valid concern here. I praise my daughter for being "normal" and reinforce how far she's come and how proud I am of her and she just beams. She still has her moments, of course, and plenty of them. But we talk about why the behavior occurred and what she could do differently the next time.

  • As for school... My daughter became a zillion times more happy and successful in school when I STOPPED being involved. When I was involved she would leave class (and the building), have tantrums in the classroom, one time she even tried to strangle herself while sitting at her desk. Finally I basically just threw up my hands and told them to deal with it, and oddly enough that has made an enormous difference for everyone. She actually started to realize that it's easier and much more fun to be normal at school.

  • What a coincidence! Kitty also came to us at age 11 and had similar diagnoses, but your daughter's behavior sounds more like Bear. Kitty was angry and destructive early on, but it tended to only come out at home (once she left foster care and moved in with us - before that she acted out everywhere, but was not yet considered unadoptable). She tried to keep the school from seeing it. Bear tried to as well, but had a MUCH harder time accomplishing this until we got his meds correct.

  • I do try to keep school and home separate. Sort of a, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Most of the time it works, but I think there's a big difference between your daughter and my kids - IQ, brain chemistry and the ability to adapt. My kids have low IQs and brain damage that affects their memory and processing. They want to be normal, but it's not that easy. School's focus is on the short-term - academics, behaving in school, and getting the kids to pass to the next grade and graduation. My focus is on the long-term - helping them become happy, healthy, productive citizens able to have relationships and learn what they need to be able to get and to keep a job.

  • **************

  • I feel like such an idiot. I finally got around to reading the side-effects of Proz*c which is Kitty's newest med... and discovered that one of the common side-effects is daytime sleepiness! So maybe Kitty isn't as overwhelmed as we thought. Maybe this isn't a slow recovery. Will alert the pdoc tomorrow.


Sarah said...

My son's psychiatrist SWEARS that prozac is "activating" for most children, and should not be taken at bedtime because it keeps kids awake. We found the opposite to be true-- he takes it at bedtime, sleeps through the night, and there was a HUGE improvement in his depression and anxiety-- so if she takes it in the morning that might be a simple thing to try.

marythemom said...

Thanks Sarah, I'll definitely mention this to our pdoc. I've started reading your blog (in my spare time *grin*) and I'm looking forward to getting to know you better.


Miz Kizzle said...

My daughter just turned seventeen. Thankfully, she didn't fall victim to the Super Sweet Sixteen dreadfulness. Her sixteenth birthday fell during a school trip to Greece and she celebrated at the Acropolis with her classmates. No fancy gowns or stretch limos, thank God.
The over-the-top teen parties seems are a marketing ploy to sell expensive products and services to guilty and competitive parents who fall for the old, "But everybody else is doing it" whine.
"Everybody else" are teen celebs and characters in films. I doubt any of Kitty's friends IRL have super expensive Sweet Sixteen bashes. Can she understand the difference between Hollywood fantasy and reality?

Adelaide Dupont said...

What a wonderful Greek party for your daughter, Miz Kizzle!

The bullet points work very well, except for where the quotes are.

Mary: it was interesting to see your words on the short-term [school] and the long-term [your approach]. It's different from Lawrence B Smith and his Oil on Water which for some years was my guide in regards to school and attachment. He tended to think that school was for the long-term and the extended world (points 1, 3 and 6 of Oil and Water). Teach me to listen to parents and experiences too!

And that focus on the short-term might well play around with the nornmality/sense of reality, because it is in itself an abnormal environment.

marythemom said...

Miz K - I don't know that Kitty does totally "get" the difference between fantasy and reality. She still has "magical thinking" and I think she wants everything to just magically be perfect where "everyone's a pony that eats rainbows and poops butterflies." That and I think sometimes she enjoys focusing on what she can't have so that she can justify feeling miserable or saying that everyone is being mean to her.

Adelaide - School may have been long-term in the past, but we got our son half way through 7th grade and he's a junior in high school now. School is most definitely almost over for him and we need to focus on getting him the job skills he needs for the rest of his life, and less on the parts of an atom or diagramming sentences. Not that those things aren't important, but now we need to prioritize and be realistic.

Mary in TX