Tag Archives: therapuetic parenting

What does Acceptance actually mean?

I blogged about acceptance before, in fact you can read my blog here. That was 2 years ago now. And I think acceptance for me is changing.

Recently I had a break from social media for a few weeks to give myself time and space to think. I wanted to be sure that I am able to manage the girls long term. And I am. I know I am. My lovely GP has been helpful in talking through these issues and making me realise that I am doing a good job and I should stop putting pressure on myself or allowing others to do so. FullSizeRender

Parenting Small can be draining. The older she gets the more pronounced her difficulties seem. She is clingy with an insatiable need to be near me or on me. Her sensory issues, inflexibility, need for control and obsessions all seem to be getting steadily worse. I am accepting that this is just the way she is, and it’s ok for me to find it a little claustrophobic sometimes. I know how to prioritise my girls’ needs and do what is best for them. But I need to do the same for myself too.

But perhaps the biggest part of acceptance for me has to be learning to accept the status quo with my eldest. Many kind adopters have messaged me saying that it is fear that stops Eldest from showing love to me, that it will come in time if I persist with therapeutic parenting, that parenting children with trauma is a long game and if I keep it up eventually there will be a breakthrough. All those things are true for many adopters and many children. All those messages are sent with love, care and a desire to give me hope.

But what if it isn’t true for my family? What if Eldest does not have the ability to develop love or empathy for anyone? What if, in her eyes, people are like are objects or possessions, and she just isn’t able to develop beyond that? And what if she is unable to modify her negative behaviours in any significant way? Then all I am doing is putting pressure on her with my expectations. And pressure on myself too. I believe that is the case for us. There are a few who know us well who think I may be right.

I am still parenting therapeutically. I know we can have happy times, and I can make positive memories for us as a family. But I am no longer waiting for that elusive magical breakthrough with Eldest. I am trying to accept her limitations and love her for who she is and accepting that this is who she will always be.

I’m not there yet on this journey to acceptance but I’m getting there. I feel generally at peace and that can only be a good thing.

 

A confession

I have a confession. I felt I was doing quite well parenting my tricky children. I generally know what Bunny and Kitten need to make things work and I can manage things fairly well on a daily basis. Not well in the conventional sense. I have a horrible feeling that many people would be quite appalled if they lived with us. In fact when I stand back and look at our lives sometimes I’m appalled too. But actually for us, in our 3girlstogether therapeutic bubble, things have been plodding along ok. In fact the second week of the Christmas holidays was our best so far. Fast forward to this week and we have the half term holiday. I was looking forward to it and I know the girls were too.

So my confession is that I got arrogant cocky a bit overconfident.

This week has been pretty dreadful. Bunny has been out of sorts for the whole week.  Alternatively clinging to me and rejecting me, unable to cope with even the simplest activities I have planned. She has spent much of the week shut down unable to speak, generally with a dummy in her mouth for comfort and crying lots. When she is not in this state she has been angry and frustrated with her sister, very demanding and controlling of me.

Kitten has been like Tigger on speed. She has brought forth her most dysregulated out of control behaviours; stimming, bouncing, singing the same 5 notes over and over again for hours on end, jabbering endlessly, unable to settle to anything, controlling, self harming, destructive, angry, oppositional  – the list goes on and on.

And me? I am feeling shell shocked. These behaviours are not new to me but the tricks I have up my sleeve to prevent or reduce them are failing miserably this week. This is where being a single adopter is tough. There’s no-one to turn to who can take some of the burden. I have friends who are adopters and they give me lots of moral support for which I am thankful. I could ring CAHMS for a friendly supportive ear and they will always make time to chat to me. But they won’t suggest anything I’m not already doing. I have to deal with this myself.

Do I sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself? I don’t mean to. The worst thing about this week is that my girls rely on me to keep them regulated, feeling calm, safe and happy. And this week I haven’t been able to do that. So it is my children who are suffering most. I am tough. I will be fine. But my girls….they are waiting for me to help them and this week I’m failing.

So maybe my confession is not that I got overconfident, but that this week I have failed to give my children the help they need. And they deserve more than that don’t they?

The Worry Eater

Both my girls suffer from a lot of anxiety. I am always trying to think of new therapeutic ways to help them. Neither child sleeps well (this is a huge understatement), Bunny suffers from quite severe separation anxiety, nightmares and cries A LOT and Kitten is probably the most anxious person I have ever met – self harming, very hyperigilant, rocking, stimming, nightmares etc etc.

So my mum found this lovely little creature online:

Worry Eater

It’s a Worry Eater; you write your worry on a piece of paper and zip it into her mouth and then the Worry Eater deals with it for you. Isn’t that a lovely idea? Worth a try mainly for Kitten who is a bundle of stress and worries.

So I was explaining this to my girls and suggested we could share her and put our worries in there especially if they felt they couldn’t tell me. Bunny was very enthusiastic. I turned to Kitten ‘What do you think Kitten?’ ‘It’s very cute Mummy but I don’t think I’ll use her. I’m lucky I don’t have any worries.’

Well that has taken the wind out of my sails somewhat. It is all very well to provide the Worry Eater but if Kitten does not have the level of introspection needed then it’s never going to work. Everyone involved in Kitten’s care recognises how anxious she is, but if she herself is unable to recognise even the most minor worry then my Worry Eater will have to go back on the shelf for now.

Back to the drawing board….