Friday, October 12, 2012

When "Outsiders" Don't Get it...

What do you do when the rest of the world sees you as something you are not?  Your structure, your discipline, your therapeutic parenting become something they judge, because they don't understand.

We have therapists for our children, we practice unique coping mechanisms to help them deal with their feelings... Sometimes these things when witnessed seem well odd.  Especially, our Permissible Fits (basically, when the kids are having a rough time coping, we allow them to tantrum).  Scream, Stomp their feet, Jump up and Down, Cry, Yell.. get the feelings out.  At times, they can be hesitant and need encouragement... so one way to do it is to coax them by betting they can be louder than me.  And sure enough it works.. granted walking into the middle of this as a "Muggle" you would see a crazy lady and a child tantruming.

The question, I pose is how to get the "Muggles" to maybe not understand these unique parenting methods or coping skills, but to not pass judgment on their either.  I find that I am anger at the judgments made and the comments I've heard.  My children THRIVE on structure.  The structure they receive is from positive reinforcement for their "good" choices, follow through on promises, and even knowing that if they make the wrong choice there will be a consequence.

We employ Love & Logic and Bryan Post's methods, because each method works well only on one child.. we seem to always be trying new tactics to help them and ourselves.  Our goal is for them to have stability - stability they didn't receive in their early years, love - unconditional love, not love when a parent is feeling unloved, and success - complete and total success in all that they choose to do or be.

If only those "Muggles" could see just what we do and give for our children, the nights we have internal conflict over whether or not we handled a situation sufficiently.  The moments in therapy when the child confesses something so heart wrenching you later sit down and cry in silence for them.

So, if you have any techniques, pamphlets or advice I'd love to hear it... because right now I am at the point where I feel like the only thing I can do is turn the other cheek.


  1. I love the use of Muggles! We have two adoptive children - adopted at 5 and 6 - and we were told/readied for 'challenges'. Challenges?? Mount Everest sized-problems is what we say in plain English. Our adoptive children too prefer structure; if they don't have it (say, at a friend's house ) for an afternoon they become almost 'feral' in behaviour and start making strange giggling noises - then we know a big tantrum - for whatever reason - is on it's way. We help build the structure as protection, security and guidance for them and other mums 'at the school gates' (we all know the type) almost tut tut when I'm stricter with my children. I always want to say, 'hey you, if I'm not, do you fancy coming round to clean up my daughter's pee later' when - she inevitably does a dirty protest - if there is not structure! Deep breaths, smile, and walk on. Some now know our children are special but even they (and I include my siblings-in-law in this) don't get it. They are what we call in the UK 'dribbling liberals' (we're liberal politically too ) but we have to be stricter - there is no alternative. Our children look so angelic too and if I had a £ for every time someone said 'they couldn't possibly be naughty as they are so pretty', I'd be as rich as HM The Queen now!

  2. Have you considered, really and truly considered, that it might just be YOUR parenting methods?

    If all doctors, therapists, friends and family members - people who care about you and genuinely want the best for you -- have kindly, gently suggested your methods are bonkers... Well, maybe they are. People have raised kids for millions of years -- your "therapeutic parenting" techniques are unproven and generally not supported by any kind of licensed professional. It could be that it's new and hasn't quite made it into the literature yet, or just plain non-successful.

    Your kid is a unique snowflake? No abused/traumatized kid has ever learned to cope using methods not from self-proclaimed traumaama and controversial unlicensed therapists like Mr Post?

    Ps its also possible that you're a take take taker... Self proclaimed trauma mamas often are, as they're convinced their kid and thus their life is soooooooi much harder than everyone else's... and they (and their famiky) are entitled to endless, non-reciprocal grace. Read: I'm willing to be you really truly feel you are entitled to 100% effort/support from friends and family WITHOUT being required to reciprocate EVER, ie return calls, reciprocate invitations, not cancel at the last minute, cut everyone out of yiur life who refuses to follow your uber-detailed instructions regarding your kid (heaven help the carpool mom who is 10 min late picking up your kid but it's okay for you to bail on your turn to carpool with no notice as your traumatized lil darling cannot possibly leave the house cuz you allow her to rage.

  3. Katie, I hear your reply, and I would LOVE to know what part of the trauma spectrum you/your children are? Adoptive parent, friend of one, etc.?

    Therapeutic approaches are in the eye of the beholder. I don't personally allow any level of disrespect, rudeness, physical aggression... But some parents do. My therapeutic methods are seeing past my daughters (two of them) behavior to the emotion and treating the emotion, not the behavior.

    Two years post placement and my kids are pretty normal for their age. Most things are age appropriate. That doesn't mean I could/would expect all of my friends' children to be in the same place as my girls. Trauma kids are like a snowflake... No child is the same, the time/place/circumstance of their trauma all contribute to the various ways we as parents deal with it. We don't know all of the pieces to their puzzle as a birth parent might. We know only what they say, others say, court documents say, much of what may be inaccurate.

    I'd love to know what role you play in a traumatized child's life!


Feel free to leave comments and suggestions. We all love to learn!