If you’ve been a regular reader of these entries, you know the holiday season can be a bumpy ride in my household. The general public puts such fevered attention on family, and when you have adopted daughters that only magnifies their emotions to another level. Low tolerance for anything, easily swayed into depression or aggressive moods, just wanting to get the days over and out so they can feel normal once again.
We’ve had to introduce outside support services for one of our daughters due to her increase in behaviors and general lack of handling even basic daily activities within our household. One moment you can be having a lucid conversation about the day’s events and within 30 seconds if she doesn’t like what you say you watch her face flush with anger and you better be prepared for anything as far as a tantrum.
We started tonight on a basic, detailed step by step plan for how her night and morning would go. She struggled for the first 20 minutes on the plan, but with a little patience and love in the air, she was able to get everything done and off to bed safely without a major meltdown. I think taking her mind off of her immediate displeasure with taking a shower and onto a friendly round of Connect Four made things go smoother. We were able to talk in a non-threatening manner about what troubles her about following these directions and move her forward to what she ultimately wanted- sleeping in her warm bed.
I have to remember that chronological age and emotional age are so different in our house. She bottles up so much stress from her school day that when she comes home, the last thing she wants to handle is another set of demands placed upon her. I think she needs some energy release in the afternoon, but to date we’ve been able to find something that matches up to her wants without taking out a bank loan to pay for it. Walking around parks? Nope. Cheerleading? Sure- but I only want to do it with the biggest and the best team in the city… and you are going to pay for it. Soccer? Tennis? Basketball? That would mean I’d have to play on a …. team!
At this point in time the ball is in her court. We have another meeting scheduled today where the crisis team will assess how she did through the night and if there are changes we need to make to the plan. She’s stated that she needs a break and may be granted one. The thing is, whatever you leave still exists when you come back to it. I think in her mind she believes the further away she is from a particular problem, the quicker it goes away without her having to be a part of the solution.
My wife and I know we have to balance these needs while also taking care of ourselves and our other older daughter, who worries about us more than a teenager should. I’m thankful for the support we will get to guide us through these times, and I’m happy that I have great friends and family who are patient and willing to listen even if they don’t fully get all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle we are experiencing.
I don’t give up on anyone. I’m determined to show her that you can heal, that your past does not dictate your future and everything can change for you in an instant. We just need her to see the opening and be willing to start crawling onward and upward into a different future.
To be continued, thank you for reading and I appreciate all of the kind thoughts through the months of my development of this blog.