“I‘m sorry, please forgive me.”
These are words most of us have a difficult time saying. For a child with attachment issues, the concept of guilt or sympathy for one wronged may be totally foreign.
“….many children who have experienced neglect, abuse and abandonment have not yet developed an internalized set of values by which they judge themselves and others. They are not able to receive and experience empathy- not can they develop insight- so they tend to project blame onto others and onto objects. They blame their adoptive parents for causing their anger, and they blame toys for breaking.”-Parenting the Hurt Child
Adoptive parents receive the blugeon of anger daily- pounding them into the abyss of depression if we are not careful. It’s a difficult position to be in. This long-awaited, God-given, adopted child who desperately needs to connect, attach to mommy and daddy spews venom. How do we respond?
My step-father used to tell us girls that we needed to be more ‘thick skinned’. He was right.
All children have trouble discriminating between need and want.
- A child wants ice cream, but he needs a nap
- A child wants to play a video game, but he needs to go outside and play
- A child wants to control the environment around him, but he needs someone else to be in control
Dare to parent!
Dare to set aside feelings.
Dare to have a thick skin so the child can develop an ability to say, “I’m sorry.”
Yesterday, our power went off in the morning and with frigid temperatures outside, I decided to drive to daughter Amerey’s home to do our schooling and wait it out. My youngest son complained more that a dozen times once we were seated at her dining room table. “this is stupid, I can’t do math. You know I can’t do math at someone else’s house. We shouldn’t have school……”
My response? “I didn’t ask you. WE are doing our math. We are doing school even if you say it is stupid.”
Amerey intervened to no avail, everyone in turmoil. I’m sure if given the option, his siblings would have cast him into the cold to let him weep and gnash his teeth. They wanted to enjoy the day, hot coffee and homemade fresh waffles made by older sister.
I pulled on my thick skin suit and made the appropriate corrections. How do you connect with a porcupine? When you get close to one, a quill punctures. That is where the thick skin comes in. Unattached children feel they must maintain control in any situation and often accomplish it by upsetting everyone in their vicinity even when the outing is a treat. He feels uncomfortable and the only comfort mode he owns is survival-control mode.
When do you connect with a child like this? There is no perfect time. If I wait for the perfect conditions, I never will. You know what else I did yesterday? I made sure he still had his fresh homemade chocolate chip waffle and a hot cup of coffee. I helped him with his math. Even though, he did not apologize to me or his siblings at the moment, connections were being made. Connections can be made in times of trial if the parent refuses to give in to anger. He may not say anything about the day at sister’s for weeks or months, but I know from past experience, he will not remember his tantrum. He will remember going to big sister’s, eating yummy waffles, drinking coffee-black like big bro and riding along to pick his brother-in-law up from work.
I posted this scripture on my fridge. (My kids laugh at me because our home is getting posty-noted to life!)
“He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favorable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”- Ecclesiastes 11:4
I can’t wait for my child’s conditions to be favorable. I cannot rely on his cloudy countenance to determine whether to act or not. I must sow now when the conditions are not favorable- so he can reap later.
I heard youngest son loitering around in the kitchen when he should have been in bed last night. I went down to round him up. He said, “Mom, I had to apologize to ——- for the way I acted today.” Smile. An apology. A year ago there would have been none. Don’t give up. Sow now! Reap later!
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