We spent yesterday going to both treatment centers that our daughters currently are living at. It’s interesting to see where both children seem to be at in terms of their development, level of connection and where they want to be in life.
Our oldest daughter hates being in a facility. Wants to be home with us in the worst way. Understands that her issues need to be worked out. She spoke with us about the different stress toys and weighted blankets that seem to make her feel safer when she’s feeling slightly out of sorts. We found a list of items in one of their quiet rooms, so we asked one of the clinicians if it would be acceptable for us to get a copy of the list to institute within our home.
They are working out her medications as well, and she seems to feel like her mind is racing around with thousands of thoughts all at the same time. We can only hope that this good work continues when she’s at home.
Our youngest daughter on the other hand still struggles in having basic conversations with us as parents. I don’t know if there is a specific non-verbal issue or if she just is having an issue decoding all of the information- but it’s as if she doesn’t remember what was previously talked about from a previous phone conversation.
She also made me feel like I’m unsafe by purposely moving closer to my wife during the conversation. So we asked her if she’s upset at us or what her feelings are- and although she says with her words that she knows she will be coming home, her non-verbal cues, tone of voice and actions speak louder in the opposite direction.
I’m patient though. I know that she may be unhappy for awhile- possibly the next 6 years that she’ll have to live with us. I agree with a lot of studies that show that happiness is 50% biology and 50% within our own control from our environment and your own work you put into it. I can only hope this happens for her. We aren’t punishing her- we are giving her the best chance possible to right the wrongs and learn that it’s unacceptable to continue to hit family members when you are stressed out and unable to face your problems.
We just have to keep meeting them where they are at. My wife and I are not angry at the process. They spent years struggling to gain attention and have their basic needs met. So it will take more years to get everything on the right path. Many of the clinicians and therapists are impressed with the fact that we as parents get it. We aren’t making excuses for their behavior, we aren’t enabling them to continue on this destructive path, we do hold them accountable for their actions and there are consequences.
We take things moment by moment, day by day and live with the fact that small changes are great changes in our lives. My daughters will probably thank me a decade or two down the road, and I can accept that. They may never say it at all- but I know within my head and heart I’m doing the best I can to give my daughters a bright future.