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A shout out for support(57 Posts)
Just through day 4 post placement with two kids. Oldest (5) has been so controlling today, some biting too, breaking every boundary and we don't have many! Just offloading. Xxx
Hang in there. You are in for a roller coaster but I am pretty sure it will get better. Our DS was great for the first few months - and then we had a blip. Are you on your own or do you have a partner to help share the burden?
Just take it one day at a time, and try not to be too hard on yourself. We had a horrible start to placement, but it does get better, hang in there,
Hang on in there. Early days.
Try and give controlled chooces, genuine things where you don't mind if they pick choice one or choice two. That may help kids to feel some small degree of control.
All the best.
Just getting to the end of each day is a triumph. You're doing great, and it will get easier, promise.
Don't feel bad about locking yourself in the loo for a minute or two if you need to.
He, he. Going to the loo is my salvation! Thankfully I have a partner to share the load. A slightly more positive day today I think but I'm so tired, I'm not sure! Xxx
Hope you get a decent sleep. Well done on another day!
Oh god, I remember it well.
It's exhausting and terrifying. It'll get easier. Meantime, make sure you get a little bit of time to yourself occasionally and go to bed when LO does if you can.
LO is being controlling because they're scared - if it's this hard for you, imagine how it must be to be them. That's why they're controlling.
(At first, our only rules were about safety (of LO, us, house - we introduced others gradually.)
Good luck and come back here when you need to.
Me again. Another really tough day. Any words of wisdom? Xxx
I can handhold if not actually advise.
I promise you, it gets easier.
Are they in bed? If so, well done, you got to bedtime! If not, how can we help? What's going on?
How old is youngest? Mine were 4 and 2 at placement. I was convinced we'd ruined all our lives, but we haven't.
(If they are in bed, I recommend doing whatever you normally do to relax but on fast forward so you can get to bed early. Also, give up on any notion of housekeeping.)
Also, have you gone from 0-2? That's massive. Don't underestimate how hard it would be for anyone, even an experienced parent, to suddenly have two new walking talking ones to deal with.
None of how you're feeling at all reflects badly on you or means you're failing.
Go to bed if they're in bed! The early days were hands down the hardest, scariest time of my life. It gets better, but it's normal to feel pretty awful so very early into living together. I literally hung on half an hour at a time at first, because looking ahead to a full day was overwhelming.
If you can face it, try for low energy activities that allow your children to operate at a much younger age - they're likely to be regressing while they are scared and unsure. If you can manage stuff that is non-competitive too, so much the better! So play dough, garden chalks, simple blocks, stickers, magic painting with water... If you can do it outside so it doesn't matter about mess/attempts to control through sabotage, a big tray of sand where you hide small cars etc, is a good way to have non-threatening touch, when you both explore under the sand to find the cars and can touch fingers (that idea's stolen from Caroline Archer's book "Parenting the child who hurts")
Dig deep. You will all survive this but it might not feel like it for a while!
Hang on in there! It is truly terrifying and it is totally normal to ask yourself what on earth you have done/why you're doing it/question your abilities/feel like hitting the gin before the sun has crossed the yard arm. But it does improve, really it does. Do you have a copy of the Amber Elliott book 'Why can't my child behave?'? It was a lifesaver for us. As well as explaining what lies behind behaviours, it has some useful tips on how to deal with them. It also has advice on what to avoid, but don't worry about not getting it right!
We also found that using a visual timetable helped, so I'd recommend trying that if you haven't done so already (we searched the internet for images and I think we found some on Twinkl). It removes uncertainty about what's coming next, and that can help with the need to control. Our LO was 5 when she was placed with us a few months ago, and displayed a lot of controlling behaviours. They have diminished a lot, and if they resurface it's usually because LO is unsettled. As you get to know them better, you'll learn what their triggers are.
Ah, I remember the early days with my then 5 year old well! (I'm not an adopter but I have 2 permanent foster children who came to me at 5 and 6 and who now call me Mum) He was so sweet in the first few days and then suddenly a furious temper was unleashed if he couldn't have his own way! He would yell things like 'I hate this house. I'm not staying here. You're horrible!' Looking back I can barely believe it. He is still hard work but he loves us and is absolutely clear that he wants to be with us. Even when we (often!) tell him off. But back then he just wanted to be in control and he hated to be told no.
He would also kick walls and doors, throw things and once tried to hit my husband. But I did really tell him off for that, as well as explaining that in our house nobody hits anyone, and he never tried again. He would scream and cry and yell, and could keep it up for a long time. He also sometimes went the other way and would start hysterically laughing at you when you were trying to get him to stop doing something.
Things got worse, and then they got better. Now he is a loving 7 year old who wouldn't dream of raising his voice at me. I can't remember his last tantrum. Yes he gets a bit whingey and moany, but I imagine all 7 year olds do.
So take heart, it will get better!
Some good ideas upthread. We found talking through the day at breakfast helped settle DD, so she knew what to expect. Any time we were leaving the house we'd say what we were going to do, then "And then we'll come home all together." Also lots of talk about being a forever family.
Do the kids have a pop up tent or somewhere they can each chill out if it's all a bit much?
Do you have photos of them up on the wall?
It really would be more of a worry if there was no acting out at all. They must feel comfortable to a degree to be letting their feelings out.
Hang in there. It will get easier.
The first year or so is now all a blur... I was constantly exhausted... but it does get better! Now I even have the time and energy to browse Mumsnet
Take every opportunity you can to rest and unwind. Create opportunities. break the day up into chunks and focus on getting through that chunk. Look at them while they're asleep looking angelic and allow yourself to enjoy the sight.
hang on in, it will get easier!
Thanks so much for helping us get through this week. Any thoughts on this one. We went swimming today. All good, having a lovely time then, you guessed it, time to get out. Did warn him before we got out, moved towards the steps, did one final bit of fun then carried him out. Went into meltdown, wanted to get back in. In comparison to other meltdowns it wasn't so bad - less violence towards me but still lashing out a bit. A fair bit of swearing. He then bit his arm bands and has punctured them. I probably said something like, "That's sad, now we won't be able to go swimming." His response, "we can buy some new ones." Thoughts? Thank you so much. Xxx
My now 8 year old hated to leave places when he first came to us aged 6. I remember my husband legging it across a park during the first week to reach him before he got to the main road as he was furious that it was home time. And the memorable day I marched them both home from the park due to them punching another boy and swearing at the boy's dad - both of them screaming and shouting all the way. And the tears the first few times we left soft play as he wanted to stay longer.
In my boy's case I always put it down to the fact that these fun experiences were new and so he didn't want to stop them in case they never happened again.
Like you I had to give warnings about when we would be leaving. So at swimming when we got in I would say 'right, we've got in at 3 o clock. Our turn finishes at 4 o clock so that's 60 minutes we've got left in the pool.' Then every 10 minutes I would give an update, then a 5 minute warning then a countdown every minute after that. If I thought a meltdown was likely even after all that I would try and have something else lined up that I knew the child would like for afterwards. Eg. 'We've got 60 minutes in the pool and then we're going home to make a cake....10 minutes now, I'm really looking forward to that cake...1 more minute and then time to make a delicious cake at home.' Etc etc.
With the armbands I would probably introduce pocket money and take him to the shop to buy some new ones with 'his' money in a few days time.
We never have any problems with leaving places now except for the usual moans and groans, or so I thought until the other day when my mum was watching my 2 and they went on a bouncy castle and the 8 year old refused to get off at the end as he didn't believe he'd had a full turn! Little horror! He wouldn't try that with me anymore but thought he'd give it a go while I wasn't around! Luckily my mum is not a pushover and told him he better get off right that instant or he wouldn't be playing at the play park with his brother but would be sitting with her and he came straight off!
Ah, transition points - so often real flash points, and so tough to handle. I really like Kits point above about reminding them what the next activity is, so not just the time countdown but also the "when we get home we can do X" - going to borrow that one! For us, I found I needed to do about a thousand times more repetition and reassurance than I thought (and I was already doing a lot), a picture schedule every day helped, and also very predictable routines.
Re the armbands, I might buy avoid allowing that to become a successful self-sabotage, and try a floatation vest instead or a pool noodle! Then it's a case of "It was hard for you to make good choices last time. I want us to keep having nice times together, so I thought this vest would make it easier for you, etc"
* try to (not "buy")
P.s. Well done on managing a swimming trip this early into placement - I think I was still too freaked out to even go to the shop!
I was going to say that too - it was months before we braved an outing like swimming!
I think 'we can buy new ones' is just an infuriating thing 5yos say - they have literally no concept of money or value or anything.
To be honest, this early into placement, I'd buy new and say nothing more about it (or maybe a 'if anything happens to these we won't be able to come again' because I probably couldn't help myself...). Once everyone's more secure you could make a show of saving up for new ones or needing to wait til the postman brings them or something like that, so it's a 'consequence' for LO (you can't go swimming for week or so because you have no arm bands) without it being a punishment from you (you were naughty so I'm going to not let you swim).
But in all honesty, I'd probably keep your activities much more low key and home based (or local park based) for now too. I'm not sure we left the house in the first fortnight beyond running to the shop!
I also don't agree with the comments about not using arm bands in future, or of commenting on bad choices at this stage. I would probably say you'd like to go swimming with him again, but explain why it caused a problem that he wouldn't get out, give reasons, explain what is expected. Arm bands are needed for safety but also allow the child to move arms and legs to swim and the alternatives - the float or vest - won't be as good afaik. I would just buy new ones this time - unless he didn't want to wear them hence the biting them, in which case maybe let him play without them in his own depth for a while.
If your child is not used to swimming they may get exhausted quickly/be in need of something to eat which means they are more likely to meltdown.
You can think about whether you stayed in too short a time or too long a time.
Before picking him up did you give him quite a number of chances to walk out on his own, and give good solid reasons for why it is time to go, reassure him that you can go swimming again soon, and so on, and finally as a last resort give fair warning that if he continued to ignore you were just going to have to carry him? I wasn't sure from what you'd written.
Most 5 year olds require a fair amount of background management and patience, even those from secure backgrounds.
The fact that there was less violence towards you is fantastic.
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