Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sissy and the Peer Oriented Child

Today was hard. It was hard for me to look at Sissy. I carried physical pain around my entire body and a cold all day that suddenly evaporated by 50% the minute she was in bed tonight and as the mninutes pass, I feel better and better. At the risk of sounding too radical, I will say that the negative feelings she was eminating in the household today were oppressive and dark. I am struggling with the fact that she hurt another child's psyche and made me a participant. My little Blossom doesn't even know enough to express hurt and anger over this, but she is celebrating gleefully that we believe her.

I do not for sure how much each girl participated in the stealing and throwing away of my belongings, but Sissy has admitted to about 85% of it, including drinking some of Jie Jie's Pediasures and eating at least 7 cookies and some granola bars that were all blamed on Blossom. All the missing keys and other small objects, including the remote control for the door alarm, were wrapped in tissue, by Sissy, and thrown away. I also now know that she is the one who stole the thumb drive solely on her own.

The thought of disruption of the adoption of Sissy or any of the girls has never entered my head until today, and only as a wish for an easy and instant way out, not a real plan. I am sickened by the thought that, eventually, I know she would have hurt Jie Jie terribly, after working her down month after month, year after year. I am so thankful for this very painful look into Sissy's current nature.

I am reading Hold On to Your Kids tonight, by, Neufeld and Mate, after starting chapter one just before heading to China to adopt Sissy, and not picking it up again until tonight. This book is most relavent to her because she is completely peer raised. She has never seen or interacted with adults outside their work environment. She's never been inside a home in China. I am going to type in relavent notes to addressing Sissy's difficulties as I read, so I can refer back to them as well as share them with other parents struggling with this same scenario.

"Children are not quite the same as we remember being. They are less likely to take their cues from adults, less afraid of getting into trouble. They also seem less innocent and naive - lacking, it seems, the wide-eyed wonder that leads a child to have excitement for the world, for exploring the wonders of nature or of human creativity."

"They appear to be easily bored when away from each other or not engaged with technology."

"In homes, in schools, in community after community, developing young people have lost their moorings. Many lack self-control and are increasingly prone to alienation, drug use, violence or just a general aimlessness. (this is Sissy, very aimless) They are less teachable and more difficult to manage than their counterparts of even a few decades ago."

"Parenting requires a context to be effective. A child must be receptive if we are to succeed in nurturing, comforting, guiding and directing her."

"There is an indispensable special kind of relationship ... - call it an attachment relationship. If everything unfolds according to design, the attachment will evolve into an emotional closeness and finally a sense of psychological intimacy. Children who lack this kind of connection with those responsible for them are very difficult to parent, or often, even teach. Only the attachment relationship can provide the proper context for childrearing."

Don't we all know this!!! Adoption classes are all about attachment, attachment, attachment. It is soooo crucial!!!

"The secret of parenting is not what a parent does but rather who the parent is to the child."

"For the first time in history young people are turning for instruction, modeling, and guidance not to mothers, fathers, teachers, and other responsible adults but to people whom nature never intended to place in a parenting role - their own peers."

"Absolutely missing in peer relationships are unconditional love and acceptance, the desire to nurture, the ability to extend oneself for the sake of the other, the willingness to sacrifice for the growth and development of the other."

"For children who have replaced adults with their peers, it is enough just to be with each other, even if they are completely off the map. They will not accept direction from adults or ask for guidance." ....."they look like the blind leading the blind, like a school of fish revolving around each other, but they feel just fine."

"The Six Ways of Attaching: Senses - Physical proximity is the goal of the first way of attaching. The child needs to sense the person he is attached to, whether through smell, sight, wound, or touch.

Sameness - ...The child seeks to be like those she feels closets to.

Another means of attaching through sameness is identification. To identify with someone or something is to be one with that person or thing. One's sense of self merges with the object of identification.

Belonging and Loyalty - To be close to someone is to consider that someone one's own. ...loyalty - being faithful and obedient to one's chosen attachment figures."

Significance - ....which means that we feel we matter to somebody.

Feeling - ....warm feelings, loving feelings, affectionate feelings. give one's heart away is to risk it being broken. Some people never develop the capacity to be emotionally open and vulnerable, usually due to early perceptions of rejection and abandonment.

Being Known - To feel close to someone is to be known by them. ....closeness will often be defined by the secrets shared."

"Attachment voids, situations when the child's natural attachments are missing, are dangerous precisely becuase their results are so indiscriminate." (like a duckling imprinting on a tricycle at hatching if no mother duck is around)

"The secret of a parent's power is in the dependence of the child. ... But here is the glitch: being dependent does not guarantee dependence on the appropriate caregivers.

The power to execute our parental responsibilities lies not in the neediness of our children but in their looking to us to be the answer to their needs.

We cannot truly take care of a child who does not count on us to be taken care of, or who depends on us only for food, clothing, shelter and other material concerns. We connot emotionally support a child who is not leaning on us for his psychological needs."

"To be nonadaptive is to fail to adapt when things go wrong and fail to benefit from adversity, to learn from negative consequences. These failures give parents more inappropriate behavior to handle while at the same time limiting their tools for managing the child's conduct."

"Attachment arranges the parent and child heirarchically."

This is a big problem with my girls (Jie Jie is past is now) because they'd never been around adults in a home. They were stunned that I don't go to bed when they do and simply shocked to learn that I even EAT food after they are in bed, often food that they don't get.

"Attachment evokes the parenting instincts, makes the child more endearing, and increases parental tolerance.

Attachment commands the child's attention.

Attachment keeps the child close to the parent.

Attachment creates a model out of the parent.

Attachment designates the parent as the primary cue-giver. One of the fundamental tasks of parenting is to provide direction and guidance to our children. Managing a child who is not following our direction is difficult enough, but trying to control a child under someone else's command is next to impossible. What was meant to replace us is not someone else giving orders, but maturity - that is, a grown-up person's own capacity to make decisions and to choose the best possible course of action for herself.

Attachment makes the child want to be good for the parent." "while it is beneficial for a child to feel bad when anticipating a loss of ocnnection with those who are devoted to hime and his well-being and development, it is crucially important for parents to understand that it is unwise to ever exploit this conscience. We must never intentionally make a child feel bad, guilty, or ashamed in order to get him to be good. Abusing the attachment conscience evokes deep insecurities in the child and may induce him to shut it right down for fear of being hurt. The consequences are not worth any short-term gains in behavioral goals."

I think I failed in this one today...

I love this book. I cannot wait to read more tomorrow...!


Anonymous said...

Again you have garnered my admiration. Your willingness to be transparent in this difficult process is more helpful to others than you will ever know. Even summarizing what you are reading is a work of service to other parents who are struggling. I believe that all three of your girls will eventually develop healthy relationships with you because yu are so focused on doing everything you can to make that happen. And you are not afraid to admit mistakes and try to rectify them. Kudos to you!

Chris said...

I am so thankful you stopped by my blog, so I could get reconnected with yours:)
I am shocked to see 3, but not shocked to read what is going on.
YES< older child adoption is HARD!!!!
thankful you are finding out the truth-praying your can keep on keeping on!!
Don't have time to read far enough back to discover the 3 daughters plan, but will try to stop back in and see how things are progressing.
We can email if you like
my email is on blog!!!
love you

Karen said...

I have to say that I too am extremely thankful that you are being transparent and humble in the process of parenting your daughters. That is something that is absolutely necessary in the adoption community, but has been lacking by so many. I admire your tenacity!!

Anonymous said...

Wow K. Just wow. I'm sure this whole thing has to come as a shock (finding out it was Sissy and not Blossom!)

I'm hoping this is the break through you and your girls need to start to heal and bond.

Have you thought about going to see an attachment therapist not just for Blossom but for both girls?

I know you are busy- you have a daycare and of course, are trying to homeschool your girls as well. So I know it's not just a simple, pack up the kids and go. But it might be helpful to talk to someone who understands.

Forgive yourself, forgive Sissy. I know it's hard. The relationship you have with Jie Jie, you can hopefully now have with Blossom. Sissy can't be too far behind.

You are doing a fantastic job.

Loïse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It's the first time I write a comment on your blog.
I juste want to say THANK YOU for sharing both your happy and bad moments, it's so so helpful for parents adopting/who want to adopt older kids...
I'm sure you have no idea how much you bring to some people when writing your blog.

And... More than everything, I wanted to tell you that you are amazing ! You're doing such a fantastic job !

Sorry if I made some mistakes in my comment, I'm from France... Yes, you're read even there !

kimjax said...

I'm praying for you daily - you're an amazing mom - don't beat yourself up for not being perfect. Your energy and creativity in helping your girls attach is awe inspiring, K, and I know it's God given. Don't grow weary - you WILL reap in time, and remember that so many of us are praying for you daily! Sending love and hugs your way. Kim

Chrissy said...

You have not failed in anything. Reflect on the situation, pray (I know you already are), and use it as a learning experience. Lean on those that support you and believe in how awesome you truly are. Put the girls to bed tonight then spend some quality time with the cats and their comforting, relaxing energy.