I am hoping this type of counseling will continue to grow and be offered in more cities for foster, adoptive, and even blended families. We drive almost two hours total, to spend about an hour, but it is worth it. As a busy family, who would normally only see a pediatrician once per year, our kiddos’ doctors may be the biggest influence
(other than teachers, who are not generally trained in this area- which I am working on). I am hoping doctors will begin to make this referral! Let’s be proactive instead of reactive; mental health is just as important as physical.
Though I was resistant to send *little man, he has his own therapist (and for other reasons), I ultimately didn’t have a choice. The therapist and agency drug their feet for months on approving us (they wanted to just approve *little man, while I wanted the big boys to get support and learn how to be patient and lovingly accept their new brother). Finally, they said they would see the three boys individually and work with them altogether during some sessions. Though things didn’t originally go as I requested, it seems like it will continue to be a great experience for all.
The therapist is working on getting the big boys used to the fact that they can share hard feelings independently, and she started working on communication with all three. They have learned through playing games, they have to share feelings, communicate, and pay attention to tone of voice. It has also brought up the fact that *little man becomes agitated, flustered, and does not listen when he is frustrated. It presents itself as ADD, but is his response to anxiety. This is a great heads up for our upcoming Kindergarten school year. Last week, she took a teachable moment and ran with it. She explained to *little man that he could have done a better job building and would not have been as frustrated during the game, if he would have asked questions.
This type of communication training is quickly becoming my passion as an educator and a mom, due to the fact: the recent school-aged generations have increasing difficulty with verbal communication. It seems like we are living in a world where negative feelings are shunned and envy is on the rise.
In rereading The Connected Child for my parent coaching classes, I am finding “new” tidbits that are a great communication reminder in our busy world:
— eye contact (as the author describes, driving our kids around to all their events and activities does not count as bonding because they look are looking at the back of our head)
— stay close even during time-outs (adult body language is interpreted easily by kids)
— avoid open-ended questions (build trust and stay in control)
— give simple choices (love this example: “would you like an apple or banana with your chicken soup for lunch today?” NOT: “what do you feel like having for lunch today?”)
— clear instructions (it seems that my boys need eye contact for this as well 🙂
Other updates: No word on final adoption. *Little man will be registered for Kindergarten at my school. Staying asleep is an issue; he is making up false reasons for being scared, then ultimately admitting he just doesn’t want to be alone. Bio family vs. foster family talks are hard. Family trip #3 is coming up, so consider this a picture overload warning. And—anyone willing/able to come give C$ a puberty talk? #notready
I love my family; but, we are in the midst of hard. Thank goodness for summer! I love taking pictures, so don’t let it fool you. We are learning, crying, not sleeping, getting annoyed, but loving, communicating and growing.