Today I walked three miles rather than two. I was angry and needed the extra steps and the extra sweat. Truth is, that I have been angry all week. I’ve been mourning and angry and not handling myself well at all. it has been a slow build up of frustration and fear.
On my walk, I wrote an entire blog post describing our many hard days with a kid with attachment issues and the control and manipulative behaviors that go with them. I vented and cried and told you all about the times when I manage to be therapeutic and wise and kind and then about the times I am not therapeutic at all and cry and yell and react. I gave you a list of behavior tactics a kid like ours might use to gain control of his surroundings. I gave you some ways to handle them and a few on how not to handle them.
I came home and watered the garden, did the dishes, ate my breakfast and watched Downton Abbey and decided against actually writing that blog post. I’m far too in-the-mess to write about it the way that I really want to. My emotions are all mangled and twisted in with any bits of good wisdom I might have managed to hold onto.
So, I prayed instead of writing a very passionate and moving post. I prayed for this kid, whos anxiety comes out looking like and feeling like defiance and blatant disrespect. I prayed that we could be what he needs. I prayed that we could remember our training in the heat of the moment and that he would learn to trust us. I prayed that he would believe in and feel the comfort we are trying so hard to give. I prayed that we could love him unconditionally, although imperfect and human, as much like Jesus as possible.
I said yes to God’s good that He is doing here in all of our rooms. I Said No, to all the things that the enemy of all of our souls is trying to do. I decided that I could and would go on loving this kid even if I do not always enjoy him. Even if he is one kid with me and another, very charming and sweet kid with most others. I can (and will) continue to choose to love him and be what he needs using all the tools I can muster. That is the adult thing to do, the Christ-like thing to do. I can choose love with my husband or mother-in-law or brother when we are not seeing eye-to-eye because we are a family and I have committed to them- I can do it here too.
Someday, when my emotions aren’t so thick with frustration from the morning or the week(s) of wrestling with a ten-year-old who has gotten very adept in the use of many survival skills, I will write that post. I will share with wisdom with grace and you’ll feel all the love that I have for this kid because my words won’t be so heavy with the struggle. I promise.
This, however, is not the post that I wrote on my walk- or the one I have promised. This is the post that I needed to write, one of honest frustration felt and real hope clung to because somewhere out there, there is a mother or father who feels like they are going to explode. They feel maneuvered and pushed into a corner or duped and perhaps they don’t know how to share with others what is happening in their home without feeling or fearing that they will look crazy.
Here is the deal mom or dad- you are not crazy! But if you are not careful you will do exactly what this kid is pushing for you to do and is fearful that you will do and you’ll give up on them. Maybe you’ll put up a wall or disengage just keeping people alive without connecting to them. It is even possible that you’ll even leave them. Your need for survival kicking in too.
So, understand this, You are not alone. Many other parents in your shoes UNDERSTAND what you are going through and we are right there with you! Don’t give up on your kid(s) or on your ability to love them or your ability to learn what it is that they need. You can do this. There is help out there.
More great coaching here.
This podcast is great as well.
This group opens twice a year and is $15 dollars a month (or listen to their podcast here) you get access to video training and can chat online with their well-trained people if you need it, or go to their many forums to post questions and get feedback and loads of resources.
And an article for your kid(s) teachers, here. This is a hard road but there is hope. Be Blessed adoptive and foster parents! You can do this! God has got you and you are not alone!