Well, my youngest got the boot camp experience today. We woke up and explained to her in no uncertain terms that she would have to show us over the next couple of days that she wanted to be a healthy, contributing and productive part of our family. Otherwise more structure would come into play from outside sources.
So far on day one, she had a couple of minor flare ups but overall kept her attitude in control. We channeled her energy into a cleaning session and also had more positive discussion regarding what she would like to see within the family. We included our older daughter in the mix and are planning out more of our nights so that we can be together- sans television watching or sitting in front of our computer screens. I believe the children need us for guidance, for structure, for security and to help them through the good times as well as the tough times.
Earlier in the week I had the chance to have a brief discussion with the psychiatrist both of my daughters see. He noted that even in adopted families the children often take on the personality traits of the forever parents. As different as their lives were before they came to live with us, the more we are able to function as a family in such a short period of time.
I remember one key concept I read in Will Bowen’s Complaint Free Relationships that I have worked on applying with my children. There’s no sense in arguing reality. Everyone sees life through their own mirror. You are wasting valuable time if you feel the need to be right over what you see, rather than just understanding that everyone has their own individual perception of reality.
As my daughters are healing, strange words and concepts will come out of their mouths. They have to learn and feel their way through the bumps and highways of life. We can’t protect everything they do and say. We only hope to guide them on the right path. We hope that they come to us when they feel like there’s a safe place they need to go to.
In order to bring about change, it has to come from within. You wish you could bottle up the “aha” moments and savor them when they are most needed again. We are all hopeful that our youngest daughter’s rocky days are nearing their end, but even if they aren’t we will make sure that she has the best support system in place. She may buck at therapy and feel that all of the outside people we are bringing in are not improving her world, but I think in the long run she will be very thankful for the thousands of opportunities she has had to live the good life.
Tomorrow will be another day, hopefully a stronger day than the last. As long as I make both of my daughters feel special, feel loved, and feel important, the rest will take care of itself. My wife and I are a strong team, united to a cause to produce adults who can stand proud in this world and ready to handle anything that comes their way.