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Monday, February 25, 2013

Questions and Answers

 At the end of both sessions that I taught over the weekend, I wanted to leave room for questions.
I am so GLAD that I did, because it helped me to think about those questions and also gave me a pulse for what is going on in other homes.

All of the questions were really great!  The ones that stuck out most, I would like to answer here.
There wasn't time for in depth answers or insights in just a few minutes time.

Question 1:

When parenting your adopted child, (according to emotional age or with great tenderness)  how does that go, when you have biological children in the home, who might say, "You never would have let me get away with that!)  ? 

Answer 1:  First off, you really CANNOT parent your children differently, as in having two different systems in your home.  Tenderness and unconditional love should be in place for all children.  When correcting a child, it should be private.  We do NOT discuss with one child, our discipline of another child and vice versa.  We ask our children to trust us, that we know what is best. 

If you are a family who has used physical punishment with your bio children, it may be a good idea to learn a different way BEFORE you bring your new children home.   I highly recommend the book "Heartfelt Discipline" by Clay Clarkson.  The newest version just came out this month. I do not know if it is being offered on Amazon yet, but you can get it from Whole Heart Ministries. 

I would also recommend that bio children or other children who may have been adopted and are already in the home,  feel like they are on the SAME team, BEFORE bringing home your new one. This is a FAMILY effort.  Explaining to them what to expect would be very helpful!


Question 2:

My 4 year old daughter, whom we are adopting through the foster care system has started to act out at school, and is hitting others. She is also having more meltdowns, but has not hit us at home.
What can we do?

Answer 2:

I would try to find out WHY the behavior is happening first.  Is she being bullied, or is she the bully?
Does she have a significant Anniversary time going on, that you may not know about? I would research that. 
Telling a child who hits, not to hit, is NOT enough!  They need to have tools given to them in order to change their behavior.
When our 3rd son Joseph was in kindergarten, he had a few issues with keeping his hands to himself.
His teacher and I discussed what we could do to help him and came up with a plan that we hoped would work for him. 
At home, I told him it was not ok to hit anybody when playing, even if HE was just playing or felt overwhelmed.   If he felt like he was going to hit somebody, he should put his hands in his pockets and then go and stand by his teacher RIGHT AWAY!  That would let his teacher know that he was struggling about about to hit.  She would then help him with whatever problem he had.
This method worked on the VERY FIRST DAY and we never had another hitting incident in school!

Question 3:
What about when you KNOW your child is manipulating you? (This was a little girl of 18 months)
Answer 3:
I do not think an 18 month old understands the complexities of manipulation.  They DO want what they want, and at this age, redirection is the best plan.
If they are wanting something they cannot have, you simply say, "not now" or "No" but let's do this!
And redirect them.
We cannot allow children to control us, but at the same time, we need to give our children what they need! They need those little love cups ALL filled up! When the love cup is full, manipulation goes away.


Question 4:
How do you keep out negative influences with your children as they are growing up and beginning to use more and more hand held divices like cell phones, facebook, computer, etc.

Answer 4:
That is the QUESTION  of the century for ALL parents for ALL children!
I would say it is impossible to keep bad influences away... so what we need to do is teach our children DISCERNMENT and SELF DISCIPLINE....  They need to learn the importance of responsible phone use, computer use, texting or Facebook.  Too much too soon is not a good idea. 
We keep our computer in the family room where everybody sees it. 
We have all passwords in a sealed envelope so if we ever felt the need to "snoop", we have the passwords.  No passwords? No computer. Period.
We have not come across the issue of somebody refusing a password though.
Our girls are not yet on facebook, but that is most likely coming soon.
They do not have phones either. They borrow ours if needed.
Teaching our children about the dangers of computer is very important, and not using it for internet is perfectly ok!  Especially for a child struggling with what they might find on there.



Question 5:
What about when your children come home and you didn't want "special needs" but when you get home, you find out they are both effected by FASD?

First off, EXPECT that your children will be Special Needs.  But when you are taken by surprise, as in this case, remember that many parents who give birth to children are surprised by "special needs".... Children are born with all kinds of syndromes or  diseases.  Parents are called to love their children.  Accept the children you have, and you may find a HUGE BLESSING in those special needs.  Learn how to parent a child who has FASD if what you are doing now isn't working.
Our children teach us more about life, and more about ourselves than I ever thought possible.
There is nothing that can be done to change what has happened.... but the direction you go from here, can decide if you are going to succeed or continue to feel angry.

6 comments:

Aus said...

Christie - can't comment strongly enought about question #4. I run a high tech crime unit, and have since "before high speed internet" existed. The risks to your child on-line are "off the wall" real - and present in your home, I know, our team has rescued literally a hundred or more - and I suffer for those that we know we'll never find.

hugs - aus and co.

Alysa said...

I just love your posts! I am also a big fan of getting to the root of problems, rather than punishing the "symptoms". I'm sure some people might think I take it to the extreme because I don't really believe in punishments at all! :)

NoMatterWhatMom said...

I appreciate your answer to Question #5. Their is a grieving process involved in adoption when you face the difference between the childen you imagined and the children you actually have adopted. It is important to recognize it and do what is necessary to move on because the children you actually have need you to love, accept, and parent THEM in the ways that THEY need to be parented--NOW. I struggled with the grief while making huge changes in the way I'd been raised to parent in order to try to meet our adopted children's many "special" needs. The feeling of being cheated by the "system" is one I can't afford to nurse.

Christie Minich said...

NoMatterWhatMom,
Thank you for replying to this....
I feel passionate on this subject... our 2nd son was born prematurely, and at 16 days old has a massive hemmhorrage to the brain. This was such a shock to see our baby boy in such a condition. We were told by doctors, to "put him in a home" and move on. He was a "devastated baby"....
Of course we did not CHOOSE to do this, but you are correct, there IS a grieving process....there are questions..Even my own mother asked me, "Are you sure you ate right?" Which was crushing.
I felt terrible guilt that I could not keep him safe in the womb longer. And then, I went through the feelings of questioning and wondering WHY?
It is a WASTE.OF.TIME!
We LOVED him from day one and decided to focus our energies on parenting and helping our precious son!
He prepared the way for what we do today with our daughters! And now I know WHY we were BLESSED to have a special needs child. We had another special needs child in Joseph, who was hyperactive and had many issues due to being left in the hospital and then me going INTO the hospital for 2 months. He reacted very negatively to my absence.
Again, more guilt!
But HE helped prepare us for what we do today!

One need look no further than the mirror to know that perfection does NOT exist. :)
So glad that you figured out that you do not have time to mess around for ONE minute with being angry or resentful.
They NEED us and THEY NEED US NOW!
And the blessings are HUGE!

Annie said...

What beautiful answers!

You are so right about #5....I am forever hearing adoptive parents feeling as though they got "cheated". It breaks my heart...working with so many families, as I do, I see MANY biological children with serious learning disabilities, and even emotional impairments, that leave their loving parents completely befuddled. Everyone wants to find a "reason" for such things. Someone to blame. I always feel a little ashamed that as an adoptive parent I am given a bit of a "pass" on some things, when I see bio parents take the full brunt of people's displeasure when children have issues.

Also, love your response regarding manipulation (an 18 month old?) Anyway, I think it was either Heather Forbes or Karyn Purvis who points out that we ALL manipulate and respond to manipulation, if we want to look at it that way. Most of us are "manipulated" by our employers into going to work when they offer that paycheck. Perhaps our spouses "manipulate" us into making their favorite foods (even when we don't like them) by effusive praise. That's what people DO...and whether these human interactions are seen negatively as "manipulation" is so often in the eye of the beholder.

Annie said...

What beautiful answers!

You are so right about #5....I am forever hearing adoptive parents feeling as though they got "cheated". It breaks my heart...working with so many families, as I do, I see MANY biological children with serious learning disabilities, and even emotional impairments, that leave their loving parents completely befuddled. Everyone wants to find a "reason" for such things. Someone to blame. I always feel a little ashamed that as an adoptive parent I am given a bit of a "pass" on some things, when I see bio parents take the full brunt of people's displeasure when children have issues.

Also, love your response regarding manipulation (an 18 month old?) Anyway, I think it was either Heather Forbes or Karyn Purvis who points out that we ALL manipulate and respond to manipulation, if we want to look at it that way. Most of us are "manipulated" by our employers into going to work when they offer that paycheck. Perhaps our spouses "manipulate" us into making their favorite foods (even when we don't like them) by effusive praise. That's what people DO...and whether these human interactions are seen negatively as "manipulation" is so often in the eye of the beholder.

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