World Book Day

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World Book Day

I’m sitting here in my rocking chair with a hot cup of tea listening to the wind howl around the yard, my laptop is on, yes you guessed it, my lap, and I’m thinking about what I want to say this morning.

It’s my favorite place in the house if I’m honest, its where I will settle down to read or if I just need some quiet time after a crazy hectic day.

Today is world book day,(in The UK & Ireland)  I would not have known this had I not gone on to facebook.

The USA World Book Day is (according to google  April 23rd)

It got me thinking as I saw all my friends in The UK posting photos of their younger children in costumes to celebrate World Book Day at school, how blessed I’ve been where my children and reading is concerned.

When I first came into their lives neither had ever stepped foot inside a library, I was horrified they were 3 and 5.

It took a few months before we got there, but I can remember their faces when we first walked in, Sheer delight and wonder is the only way I can describe it.

From that moment on I have had Book Lovers.

I used reading as a way to calm and sooth fragile minds

If they were having a rough day I would grab a book and either pull them on my knee or settle them on their beds and read to them, as they got older I would tell them pick a book and go read in your favorite place for ten minutes, it always seemed to calm them and gave them the time they needed to gather themselves back up, I guess you could say it was a form of time-out but without the loneliness that time-out brings ( not a big fan of time out and it certainly doesn’t work with RAD kids)

I recommend it, not only does it give the child time to think it also gives them a skill

It sounds crazy, time to think while reading, but if you think about reading do you stop thinking? I don’t and I know they don’t either.

Once they had had the space they needed I would ask them about what they had read or when they were younger what pictures had they looked at, it was and still is a great tool in communicating with my children.

Today some ten years on I have amazing readers

My daughter can devours books like she is eating Mac n Cheese, sometimes going through 6-10 books a week, I have caught her reading at some very strange hours under her bed covers with a flash light just because she must finish that chapter after lights out has been and gone.

My son reads but not as much as his sister, the genre has to float his boat. But his love of books has come in a different form for him, he has for the last 6 months been volunteering at our local library, for two hours a week, why?

Because he says he loves how it feels when he walks into a library, it says it reminds him of the early days when we were first becoming a family. Which touches my heart because that tells me he has happy memories of those times.

This morning I asked them what they were both reading right now (I don’t keep track they are old enough I feel to pick a good book that is age appropriate)

My daughter tells me she has started Harry Potter (she was never really into it before, as she found the movies a bit scary, her words not mine)

My Son is reading The Bane Chronicles from the Mortal Instruments series

I am reading (for the second time) Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children, based on a story about a girl called Katie, her caseworker, her primary foster parents and her therapist. fictional characters but real events, experiences, relationships, behaviors that do occur with RAD children.

My husband … good question I have no idea but I can guess it’s something with a fantasy theme.

So, World Book Day

What are you reading?

 

Wanting To Make a Difference

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Take My Hand 

Sunday morning isn’t always Mommy time but when it is I’m so grateful.

Dad will take the kids food shopping and I get to just spend a few hours to myself doing whatever pleases me.

I must say this isn’t always a productive few hours sometimes I go back to bed and sleep a while longer. Then there are times I’m totally productive and get stuff done that maybe I wouldn’t get done if they were around me.

This Sunday I did nothing, well not strictly true I sat and cried, no sorry let me rephrase that I sobbed.

For years, Tumblr has been one of my favorite platforms for blogging, it’s such a creative space with some amazing people. It’s not for everyone but if you love the non-traditional then you will love Tumblr. This Sunday I hopped over to Tumblr to catch up with some of my favorite bloggers and as I sipped my black tea with honey I browsed, then I went to the search bar (which isn’t my normal) and typed in Reactive Attachment Disorder.

I really didn’t expect to find anything of interest or find anything that I didn’t already know.

What I did find was heart breaking, traditionally Tumblr is a more teen young adult platform, people say its full of hipsters and wannabees, personally I disagree but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

My searched revealed to me the heart break of teens and young adults people dealing with RAD, and it would seem they feel very much alone.

In one post a young girl talks about how there is no information on this mental illness where teens and young adults are concerned, that all she ever finds is information on how parents can help young children. Another post was about support groups, how they are purely for parents and she states “Sadly, a lot of the chats were mostly parents complaining about and asking for help to deal with their “problem” child.”

I hate to think they feel so alone out there, I wonder what help they are getting and if they are getting help in what shape or form, are they in families that understand them.

I have this intense feeling of gathering them all up and pulling them into me because I hate the suffering that comes with RAD.

Then I look at my two teens and wonder what they are going through in their heads, are they coming to me when things get to hard and do I recognize when they are having a hard time or am I just brushing it off as Teen Brain.

Am I as the primary care-giving do my job correctly.

And then I cry because I don’t want another child to go through this, I don’t want another child to get to be a young adult and still be suffering so badly.

They call me a fixer, I want to fix everything that is wrong in someone’s life, I know this is not possible, but the urge to do so is there.

So, what do I do

Do I create an online support group and gather all these teens together and let them talk,?

Do I gather the parents who have experience in RAD up and say “Hey we need to be doing more these kids are suffering and it is our job to make it right?”

Do I start a group to mentor young mothers on how the raise their babies so RAD doesn’t develop?

I truly believe that Me and You are one step away from making a difference in a young person’s life, one step away from a success story and one step away from helping someone heal from their trauma.

We just need to get up and do it, be brave and reach out.

Just last night I watched a short video that inspired me even more so to get something done….

Josh Shipp was just one of those kids I talk about …. A success story all because of one person who saw him as an opportunity and not a problem

Every Kid is ONE Caring Adult Away from Being a Success Story

 

 

 

Playing the Victim

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I was once set a meme on facebook that said

Some days it feels a little bit more like Hostage Negotiating with a band of drunken Bi-Polar Pirates than actual parenting

I laughed hard and agreed, liked the post that had been put on my wall and I walked away.

Later, that day I suddenly started to feel like a victim of parenting, yes, a victim …. Crazy, right?

It seems ridiculous typing this out.

Where was my normal parenting experience, why was I the one dealing with schools, doctors and other people’s judgement when it was clearly not my doing, I had in no shape or formed created this but here I was dealing with everything.

I wanted rainbows and sunny smiles but instead I got lies, stealing, punches, kicks, destruction and verbal abuse.

The crazy did not feel normal, and someone needed to take responsibility for the crazy in my life.

I would blame myself for their bad behavior, I would blame myself for their destruction of their own property and others property.

I would blame myself for their defiance of me and wonder why others couldn’t see it.

Then when they did behave badly at school or out in public I would also take on that responsibility.

I punished myself when I lost my temper, going nose to nose with a child screaming my lungs out, I told myself I was a bad mom that they would be better off without me. It scared me that I was capable of so much rage and anger.

I felt like I was the person who was putting everyone else’s mistakes right

I once verbally spoke out to a friend that I truly believed that in the small hours of the night they would get up and decide who was going to play bad child and who was going the play good child, that they purposely went out of their way to ruin a perfectly good day.

Sometimes you must break the cycle of self-criticism  , and it can take all sorts of situation to bring you to that point for me it was my oldest screaming at me that I was no better than her. It took me a few minutes to realize who her was but when the penny did drop I understood who he meant – Bio mom

That stopped me in my tracks, I didn’t know her really our only encounters where when I would either hand the kids of to her on a Friday or in some cases tell her the oldest didn’t want to go with her and I wouldn’t be making him, yes, I did that on many occasions, but that is a subject for another time.

So, who she was as a “mother” I had no idea, but what I did know was I didn’t want to be that person he saw her as.

My thinking had to change and it needed to change quick ……

I didn’t want to sit on the steps of the deck outside at night and cry

I wanted to stop hiding in the bathroom wishing the whole world would just be quiet

I defiantly wanted to stop moaning to my husband when he got home at night that HIS kids where monsters and he needed to deal with it.

And the shame needed to go away and the temper

Time to stop being the victim

I needed to look at them as children who were hurting, traumatized and feeling alone and I needed to see myself as the person who was going to love them through it all.

I couldn’t fix all their problems in a day but I could manage to make their day a little brighter just by realizing I wasn’t the victim here

I told myself repeatedly (until I believed it) this didn’t happen to me it happened to them, they were the ones hurting and I blaming myself, feeling sorry for myself and raging all over the place wasn’t helping … time to step up and be the adult.

Easier said than done, I know

The hardest bit is feeling like you are being the parent and she (bio mom) is getting to be the Disney mom.

Can you relate?

Maybe you can maybe just as a step mom with children who don’t display any problems. Maybe as a mom who is raising her birth children you can relate.

Or as a foster parent with a child with RAD or other attachment issues you can relate.

I think we all can relate … I’m not a special case, I’m just one case among many who has felt like a victim on this road of rising children in whatever shape of precious form they come in

We are not alone, there are others out there that feel like I do and how you do. It’s just not all of us say it, we don’t admit to it for the fear of being judged and shamed for not being the prefect parent.

And if you are by any chance the prefect parent could you please give the rest of us some advice on how you manage it all. I know I for one would love to hear from you.

So, to all the imperfect, amazingly flawed, beautifully inappropriate, angry stomping victims, who can confess to being out of control mother’s, I applauded you and salute you ….

You are my super hero’s

Grace makes beauty

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The song “Grace “by U2 always comes to mind when I think about how I’ve raised these two children.

Grace finds beauty

In everything

And I have, they are beautiful in every sense of the definition, but they have had and still have their ugly days, ugly minutes, ugly seconds, weeks and months.

Then you must add into to their lives teen brain and hormones. So, at any given point you just don’t know if its RAD or teen brain, someone will abruptly erupt and you are left wondering where this is going and where will it end.

My first instinct is to sigh, then my second is to step in, then I normally step out because there is this thing called conflict resolution, and we all need to learn it.

So, whether they are fighting with each other or fighting with themselves or just fighting with an object or me or their dad I feel it’s important to step back and watch (bit hard to do if they are fighting with me but I try to keep my mouth shut if that’s possible)

Conflict Resolution is a skill, it’s not something that comes naturally to anyone and certainly not a child or teen with RAD … and not someone with teen brain and RAD, cause teen brain is just as ugly as RAD most of the time.

Even I’ve had to learn conflict resolution, which wasn’t easy cause I’m a self-opinionated woman at the best of times, so even I have my ugly moments and can act like a child if something doesn’t suit me or please me or just racks me off in general, so if I at my age struggle with this then how in the word am I to teach it to children/teens who have RAD.

I’m not, …. because it’s something you learn yourself with a little bit of guidance ….. once a suggestion has been made … or its just comes naturally because your brilliant. We are not all brilliant so hence we need guidance.

They say it’s an “ability to successfully resolve conflict depending on your ability” … sounds like a contradiction of terms to me.

So, when I say it’s something you learn yourself, it really is. Think about it, think about the guidance you had as a child …..

“Walk away”

“Go play with someone else”

“Count to Ten”

“Use your words, not your actions”

“Take turns sharing”

So, what is guidance, its ideas planted in your mind as a way to deal with something or someone you don’t like.

I read a good post about this last year,This post is so helpful and I think even if you don’t have kids you should read it because the inner child in most of us still needs a little bit of guidance in the times we live in.

5 Steps to Help Kids Resolve Conflicts

So, we have all used these pointers at some time or they have been used on us.

Do they work? For the most part, they are good guidance tools for any parent, teacher, child worker with a child who is NOT displaying RAD symptoms, that’s right I said NOT because sadly these don’t work with RAD kids and don’t be fooled into thinking they do.

I tried them all, none worked and every time I tried them I wondered why they didn’t work. Then it came to me (after some time that is, wish it had been over night but sadly it wasn’t) they have no consequences to their behavior even though consequences where set up they didn’t matter

You can’t say to a RAD kid

“Did you…?” “Why did you…?” “What could you have done differently?” “Do you remember…?” “What did you say?”

Nine out of ten times they will reply with “I don’t know” or they will compose an eloquent answer that means nothing at all and won’t make any sense to you in the slightest … it will just be plan ugly and you will be left there wondering what your come back should be. There is no come back they just won the battle of conflict resolution their way.

Now you are wondering so what should you say?

Well that is a good question, and if I’m honest (which I am) it took me a long time to get this right, I would reach for the 5 steps before reaching for the RAD steps. It took me a long time to work out that what I was doing or how I was doing it wasn’t the right way and this was with guidance from a therapist, seriously the penny took a long time to drop with me, and I’m a fairly intelligent person, but RAD has a way of making you stumble when you need to be standing up right.

Let’s go to the steps…. And I’m not going to fully explain them because this blog post would go on for days if I did

Belief vs truth – Explaining the difference is helpful

Challenging beliefs – Rather than challenging the belief directly which to be honest is rarely effective ask the child to flip the belief into its opposite then speak it out

Choice – Choice is an idea that is very often absent with RAD children’s thinking.It needs to be and must be pointed out that we all have choices good and bad.

Consequences – To our choices and actions, clear structure more so then the average child, They will often see the consequence as a way to humiliate them because of the lack of trust they have towards adults, which will then result in sabotage of performance or compliance, the main point is that you should not give up with setting consequences because without that mechanism in their lives that are going to be RAD adults and that can lead again to all sorts of problems.

There is loads of other steps you can take … but I would be here all day

And like I’ve stated before I’m not expert I’m just a mom who has raised RAD kids to teens and I’m still learning to.

So if you or someone you know if struggling with RAD or had a recent diagnosis I’d recommend a book to you to read or pass along. It is called “When Love Is Not Enough: A Guide To Parenting Children With RAD

Nancy Thomas the author is an amazing lady and her books and website have been my savior for so long now I feel I have her on speed dial… well at least her website is and her facebook page.

Well sorry that was just a long post but it felt good to write it all down….

grace really does make beauty out of ugly things