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, July 31, 2011

Wanna help write a FAIR Club assignment?

I get to come up with 4 FAIR Club assignments! *sigh*

Background Facts:

  • I was at a seminar most of this weekend and Hubby was teaching scuba, so the kids spent all day Saturday with Grandma and Poppy.

  • We got a Clearplay DVD player for Christmas so I've been letting the kids watch PG-13 movies on the Clearplay, but usually only after I've previewed them for disturbing themes (Clearplay doesn't remove violence or basic concepts - so if the whole movie is about sex like "Easy A" then it's not going to be censored and I'm not going to approve it!) plus there are some concepts that I don't think my kids with traumatic history need to be watching- no matter what the rating!).

  • Kitty went to a birthday party, and the other kids were "bored" (which allegedly justifies the following actions somehow).

  • Ponito just got ungrounded for watching rated M for Mature video games at a friend's house last week and is still not allowed to play at the boy's house because this was not his first offense. Only a few weeks before I'd caught them playing this boy's T for Teen game on our Playst*tion. Still not sure how I'm going to handle this.

  • Hubby had supervised Bob and Bear at the movies that night to watch a PG-13 movie (Bear's treat to Bob for her birthday - yes, very sweet, but it also meant he got to go to the movies with his friends).
The Crime:

This weekend, Bear rented a couple of movies, including the PG-13 movie I Am Number 4 (which has been requested before and I said NO) while the Grandparents were still inside the grocery store. He, Bob and Ponito (who is only 12) started watching it at Grandma’s house while Kitty was at a birthday party.

They all know they are not allowed to watch PG-13 movies without Clearplay. Bob and Bear knew I had specifically said no to this movie (primarily because I felt it would trigger Kitty, but also because I saw no redeeming value in it and had heard it was really violent). Ponito may not have known the rating of the movie when he sat down to watch it, but I'm sure he realized it pretty quickly. Grandma asked if they were allowed to watch it when scantily clad women crossed the screen, but the kids ignored her. (We've had a long talk about "lies of omission" since this).

Kitty got home just in time to watch the violent climax of the movie. She was upset that everyone had gotten to watch it (triggering abandonment/ unloved issues because she was excluded) and asked to watch the beginning, but luckily Grandma realized she shouldn't see it. Kitty tattled to me... probably partially because she was angry they got to see the movie without her, but she also tends to tattle anyway, even on herself.

T was a little disturbed by the movie. I'm not sure about Kitty. Bob said she had loud nightmares in which she repeatedly called out "Mom," but that wasn't unusual so Bob insisted it had nothing to do with the movie. Bob also felt that she and Bear shouldn't be held accountable for Kitty's response, because it was "Ponito's fault" for telling her what movie they were watching (she probably would have wandered off when Bear and Bob told her "nothing" when she asked what they were watching- she's not big into watching TV).

Bear and Bob don’t see why they shouldn't be allowed to watch it, and honestly they have some valid points. Bob has read the book, and I've told her that I'll allow her to watch movies she's read... of course after I've previewed the movie to see if it's appropriate, which of course hadn't happened in this case. She knows that we'll let her watch some movies without Clearplay when her siblings aren't around... but it's Summer and that just doesn't happen often. Of course watching it in front of Ponito and Kitty is inexcusable.

Bear is 18 now, and technically doesn't even need my approval to watch rated R movies. The truth is though that I will continue to hold him to this, because I have no idea what triggers him. All I know is there are time when he is more angry and much harder to live with, and most of the time I don't know why because he doesn't open up about what's going on in that head of his. I have to assume sometimes it's because he's triggered by things that are going on around him, including movies.


So I told the kids they were in the FAIR Club and why, and I thought their responses were pretty interesting.

Ponito - accepting. He's been in and out of trouble for similar issues all Summer, so I think he knew he was in trouble and why.

Kitty - wailing, tears and a minor meltdown, but more upset about being in the FAIR Club than why. She tried to argue me into giving her two weeks of grounding instead.

Bear - At first it was just Ponito and Bob in the conversation with Bear in the other room listening, but not participating. After I told Kitty when she wandered through the room, he tried to talk me into letting him take Kitty's punishment so he "didn't have to listen to her wail all week." I let him know that was part of his consequences for his own actions. He joined the conversation at that point, and argued with me a little (although he let Bob do most of the talking), and didn't shut down as much as he usually does (which was pretty impressive). Mostly he wanted me to assign a writing assignment right then, so he could get it over and done with in 20 minutes.

Bob - my little lawyer. She argued culpability on every point. She tried to manipulate and control the assignment. She told me I was wrong and even if I wasn't I should let it go. It was a 1.5 hour conversation in which she inadvertantly helped me flesh out the concerns I want to address in their writing assignments and some possible options.


Bear wanted a group assignment, but I explained that each child was in the FAIR Club for a different reason.

  • Bear as the purchaser of the DVD and technically an adult now was "Contributing to the delinquncy of a minor."

  • Bob by allowing the younger kids to watch and not telling Grandma it was inappropriate was also "Contributing" and lying by omission.

  • Ponito - was a repeat offender of watching media he knew was against the rules.

  • Kitty - watching a movie she knew was against the rules (will also be working in something to help her get insight into her triggers).

So here are some of the suggested topics that might/should be put into the assignments:

  1. 10 creative alternate activities - one claim was that they were watching the movie because they were "bored" (Bob said they should be "creative")

  2. Contributing to the Delinquncy of a Minor (a Class A misdemeanor)

  3. Lying by omission

  4. How can you "undo" it? (Now that the movie has been watched and if someone was traumatized - how can you undo the damage?).

  5. What effects do media have on people? Just because YOU can handle it...

  6. Effects of media

  7. Doing something you know mom disapproves of

  8. Grandma can't trust them to inform her, and follow, the rules

  9. I can't trust them unsupervised and outside the home (Ponito watching M for mature video games)

  10. How would you have handled this situation if YOU were the mom?

  11. What would you do differently if you could see Jesus in the room with you?

  12. What would happen if these rules weren't in place?

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