That is not to say that you don't show your children kindness, you do, you just keep the expectations and consequences. They have to know what to expect. We love our children, we hold our children, we cuddle, we support.
When you also have a child with attachment issues then you have the extra challenge of having a child who transforms into a loving child to others. They never see the tantrums and acting out, they don't realize that they are being manipulated. Others see this lovely, sweet child who has strict, mean parents.
Lately my biggest problems have been at church. Actually, it has been one main person who has been around my children and now believes that she is an expert. Sunday she undermined my authority and tried to make my "poor, pitiful" child happy. My little Emma has taken to "being sad" when she goes to class. Funny, she is perfectly happy before and after we take her there. She has found that by acting sad she can get extra attention and treats. Maybe that doesn't sound so bad, but it is manipulating, especially when she has been banned from treats for the day for behavior issues. When she walks out of class with a grin because she "got away with something" then we have an issue.
The following is part of my facebook conversation (with last names removed) from Sunday. I was frustrated and venting. I don't always vent in facebook, but sometimes it is where I can get support. The people who responded are for the most part adoptive or foster parents.
For the record, I am a terrible responder through email but do great on messaging! (Theresa, I am still waiting for you to get connected on facebook.)
Why would I post this? This issue is not limited to me. If you are looking to foster, be aware that there are some people out there that assume that you are doing it for the money (hahahaha) or for some other motive. There are some people that can't believe that you would do this for the child, that you could love a child who is "not your own". Of course, they may just be the people who allow their kids to run wild in the restaurants.
Guess what?! My child has been in 7 different homes in less then 3 years. She has an attachment disorder. I am going weekly to Parent Child Interaction Therapy and doing in home therapy daily. When I set rules and boundaries they need to be followed. My child is a great manipulator. She can lie as easily as talk. She is a pro at what she does. Heads up, she will be sitting with us at church from now on so that we can work on attachment.Like · · 20 hours
Terry That's so sad so many homes. Are you adopting her?20 hours ago via Mobile · Like.
Linda - Felicia in the long run all of this will be worth it , but right now you are probably wondering , will it ! It is so sad that these children have learned so many bad actions at such an early age and it`s so difficult for them to unlearn .I envy you for your patience and I praise you for the willingness to take on the task of helping the child instead of following the other foster parents actions and sending her on ! My thoughts and prayers go out for you and the rest of your family.20 hours ago · Like · 1.
Felicia - Yes, we are the second adoptive placement. The first one lasted 3 weeks.20 hours ago · Like.
Felicia - Linda, my biggest problem right now is others judging us because we are so strict. We are dealing with kids with ODD, anxiety disorders, bipolar, attachment disorders, epilepsy, ADHD, FAS....and those are the ones we know about. We have to be consistent. We have to be in charge. It is not abuse. It is a calling we have undertaken and those that do not deal with these issues every day have no clue. It is easy to judge....not so easy to offer help.20 hours ago · Like · 4.
Linda - I understand exactly where you are coming from !No it isn`t abuse ,its putting some consistency in these children's lives where there was none before . All of our children come to us with problems , some are just worse than others . Its really stressful helping them and it takes a toll on all of our family . Its easy to talk when you don`t know what you`re talking about. Yes , this is what we choose to do , but it sure would be nice to have a kind word or a helping hand instead of criticizing !20 hours ago · Unlike · 2.
Kathy - I understand. I've been there!!!!! People saying we just didn't know how to parent, the child was so sweet for them, it must be us. They never know how badly the child was playing them.19 hours ago · Unlike · 2.
Misty - I know exactly how you feel! I teach Sunday school in a small church...we have toddlers-through 5th grade (that's how small). My kids are 1/2 the class too. I have a RAD/ADHD/FASD/ODD/and 3 other dx's . She knows what buttons to push and it drives me insane. She is very manipulative and it actually looks "sweet". So I look like the over bearing, overly strict, meanest parent on earth type person. It doesn't help when she actually runs to another adult dodging me and says "awww, awww" when I'm next to her or reach for her to move her over. It drives me insane. We just had that this morning. I was ready to walk out and take her home.17 hours ago · Unlike · 2.
Dianne - I know the feeling. We are having a tough time with A. He's such a pretty face that no one sees that they aren't helping by the “he's so sweet with me thing”.16 hours ago via Mobile · Unlike · 3.
Jenette - AMEN to all of these comments!! I am stunned at how many heartless people are out there!! I have been getting the whole "Why" question about adopting our kids from one neighbor. Along with comments to the effect of I should send them back! And on the flipside, I have had several people think I am way too strict with my kids! So I know exactly what you're saying. The strict comments are usually from my family. But, I just keep thinking about the fact that us foster parents are TRAINED parents!! Not perfect parent, by any means, but we have been specially trained to deal with the type of problems our children have. If only ALL people were required to take parenting classes!! Maybe there wouldn't be so many unruly kids out there!!12 hours ago · Like.
Linda - You are so right Jenette , we have had and continue to have, training in how to better deal with our children . And no , it doesn`t make us perfect parents, but it does prepare us( somewhat ) for some of the problems we will be facing .I`ve been a foster parent for 14 years and I`m still learning how to deal with some of these children . As for sending our children back , that’s plain stupidity , would they send a biological child away ? I love my 2 adopted children as much as I love my 2 biological children and the other adoptive parents I know feel the same. When anyone starts bad mouthing foster and adoptive parents it really gets me all riled up !12 hours ago · Like.
Jenette - yeah...me too!! I love my kids and couldn't imagine life without them!! They FEEL like they are a part of me. Since I don't have birth children, I don't know if it feels any different. But I can't imagine loving a child any more than I love the ones I have. My only regret is having to keep a shield up when you first get them until it is clear that they will be yours. I would love to be free to love a child the moment he/she is in your arms and know they are yours forever. But that was not God's plan. I had snide comments from a relative (well, my cousin's inlaws. not really my relative) because I corrected Nate for throwing a ball in the living room after I specifically told him NOT to TWICE!! It irritated me, but oh well, my kids are mostly pretty well behaved and that makes me proud! I don't care if people think I'm mean. They can ask my kids what they think of me. My kids LOVE me!! So I can't be too bad!! LOL12 hours ago · Like · 1.
Felicia - I love facebook, I now know that I am not the only person out there dealing with the "mean parent" issue!12 hours ago · Like · 2.
Jenette - Nope!! All of the really good parents are viewed as the "mean parents". LOL!! I don't know some of your other friends, but I believe that you, me and Linda have very similar parenting styles!! But guess what! Our kids are all doing great in spite of their problems!! (or is it "despite"? well, you know what I mean!)11 hours ago · Unlike · 2.