Thursday, July 18, 2013

Seeking Help

Michelle went to camp with our church.  It was only for a few nights and she was so excited about it.  However, we have been concerned about her since she returned.  I understand that camp with your church should be a very nurturing environment.  I expected the adults to be loving and encouraging.  I also thought that it would be a great time for Michelle to develop some relationships with her peers at church.

Unfortunately that didn't happen.  Michelle came home from church crying, crying for the adults.  A majority of the pictures I have seen from camp are of Michelle with either adults or teens.  I believe I saw one picture of her with her peers.

Michelle's birthday is next week and she wants to have a party.  I have decided that we will not.  She will get dinner, cake and presents on her birthday and then a some point between hers and Anthony's birthday we are going to the water park.  The reason....she only has adults on her invitation list.  When pressed she can come up with names of kids but these aren't real friends.  Anthony doesn't have many friends either.

We now have 12 year old C in the house.  Michelle is by her side constantly.  When C is in the shower Michelle sits and waits for her.  I had to stop Michelle from sitting across from C because Michelle was copying all her eating mannerisms. Michelle has changed all her likes and dislikes to whatever C likes or dislikes.  Even my husband has noticed this and says it looks so unnatural.  Michelle rarely plays with her siblings now.

I can't say that camp caused this issue.  I can only state that this issue has really gotten worse since she went away.  I am struggling with what to do.  I know that Kassi leaving had an impact as well.  I was concerned with that relationship because Kassi had Michelle keep secrets for her.  It was unhealthy.  C should be leaving on Monday so that obsession will be gone but I believe that it will not be the end of the problem.

Michelle used to play with her siblings.  There were typically some issues because Michelle is very controlling.  She can be a bully and tell lies to get others in trouble.  It has been suggested that she doesn't know how to interact with her peers.  Perhaps that is true.

Anyone else have this type of issue?  Any suggestions?  I am seeking help because I see that this problem is affecting Michelle's overall well being. 


  1. some areas have social skills classes, not sure if something like that would help her to interact better with her peers?

  2. It's a tough one. It might be nice if she had a role model only a couple years older than her, but her wanting only older or adult friends is kind of a hard problem. Is she still in dance? I guess chances to be with kids who share an interest would be good if you could explain the situation to the teacher and get them to stay detatched. My problem is that sometimes adults are flattered that a kid will bond to them not realizing just how abnormal it is or that it is only a game to the child. But this sounds a bit different from attachment issues.

  3. You are so wise to now make her world small, and keep it small while she heals. She is shopping for people to bond with that aren't her parents or family members, and she can't learn healthy attachment without you all being her main people. Sounds like, as much as it stinks to have Kassi walking away from the family, that she isn't in a place to help Michelle become healthy and whole, so perhaps, for now, it is for the best. Our 7 year old is much like Michelle, and I can see we have a long, long way to go before she can do camps, overnights, or any extended time away from us. Hang in there!

  4. Not sure that this will help much. When I was in college; my parents adopted 2 boys/brothers ages 4 & 5. Even though the oldest was only a yr older than his brother; he had many issues with the top 3 being lying, stealing food & attachment disorders. John[brother] had a real hard time playing with any kids. From the time we got him till he graduated; he was in his comfort zone with adults and the adults loved him. The 'professionals' told my parents that John had his childhood stolen from him. First 5 years are the most important in forming a child's personality, life, etc. He had to become like a surrogate parent to his younger brother at about age 3. Due to the abuses they were in; he didn't learn how to play or interact. His childhood was spent trying to stay safe, look for food, hide, etc. The youngest brother wasn't this way but tended to disassociate and be 'helpless' wanting others to do things for him. As John grew up and into elementary years; my parents would go round and round with him over playing with kids his own age. Because of his lack of people skills; he tended to 'push' people away from him including family and those he loved. It was as if he had no emotions to LOVE. Truth is; love is what he was looking for and love is what rescued him; but LOVE is what terrified him and it's what he wanted the most. He had so much anger and truly everything he rebelled against was actually what he did want. My parents had to choose their battles wisely. A very hurtful and frustrating thing for my parents was how John had such major attachment issues. It seemed he would bond with a total stranger/adult; but couldn't bond at all with his own family. All of this is a "normal" pattern/response according to psychologists. However; we know that it's not normal for the kingdom of heaven or part of God's plans. Of course; compromise is not a good thing; but at times; they met in the middle. What they realized was that more stress was being added to John when 'forced' to play with other kids. He was in his comfort zone with the adults. Another thing we noticed is that he didn't know how to play; or play very long. It was difficult for him and made him nervous. We had to teach him so slowly and give him ideas and choices for awhile. He struggled greatly with using his imagination. My parents purposefully didn't always allow him to be around adults only; but they began to creatively make ways where there were 'set up' situations. We also learned that he could only play so long with kids until he was 'done'; but as time went on and as he matured so did his skills. By the time he was in late middle school and on into high school; he then learned how to interact with other kids. John is an adult now and always seemed to have some kind of attachment issues but otherwise does pretty well as an adult & living on his own. He had so much anger at our family and bio kids as he grew up too; because he never felt that he 'fit in' to the family. Yet; he and the younger brother were given more and poured into 100% from my parents.

    I know this was long and not sure if any of this would help ya out. I think you are a great mom and I know that the Lord will give you wisdom and revelation as to what steps especially to take with Michelle.