LO keeps hitting self destruct button - are we doing everything right?(4 Posts)
Good evening folks
Anyone else had a similar experience? LO is almost 8 and has been with us for 18 months. No major issues raised and effectively it has been a very straight forward adoption aside from the time it took to get the order through. LO rocked the boat when she first arrived but then settled and attached well. We always have regular issues with attitude but on the whole she is generally a very well behaved, bright little girl and we know we are having a huge positive impact on her.
Every now and again she goes through a period (usually lasting 1-2 weeks) where she totally hits the self destruct button at home and at school and she appears to be coming back into this phase again. We usually experience upheaval in September (what parent doesn't) when she starts a new school year. We have a little upheaval around holiday time and return to school after half term. What's frustrating is she is so good for so long then suddenly she will destroy things, hit, kick punch people, disrupt lessons, generally be rude and have a terrible attitude.
She is very honest and will tell us when she gets into bother at school however cannot provide an explanation as to why she does it. She knows its wrong - she has a very clear view of what is right and wrong. She receives the appropriate consequence at home and at school. She knows the teacher and her parents are very much in sync. She was receiving counselling to help her adjust to new family and school through the school which didn't raise any major issues but the counselling was stopped a little early due to funding cuts.
We talk through the issues with her, we are very open about past, present and future. It very much feels like she doesn't think she is allowed to be happy so hits the self destruct button. We talk to her explaining she deserves to be happy and have an amazing life which we want to give her but she has to be well behaved and adhere to rules to learn in life. If she breaks a rule she needs to accept the consequences home and a school. SHe said it is unfair and her life is unfair (it really isn't) and that it is not her fault when she misbehaves.
She asks why I never had a baby. I explain she is my 'baby' and although I didn't give birth to her, God decided we were to be her parents. She is very much like us in looks and personality (in fact we probably couldn't have created a child more like us than she is). She loves it when I say she has daddy's eyes and mammy's hair. She knows it was all meant to be. We even gave her my second name to make her feel like she belongs.
I need some reassurance we are doing everything in our power here and that this is not something that is going to manifest into something massive when she is older.
Or, will every person read this and say - nope she is a kid, despite everything she has gone through, all kids do this and its all part and parcel of life,
I think probably not all kids do this but it doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. If she has had a lot of change in her life/a difficult start it may mean she has difficulties processing big emotions. I'm not an expert but if just keep doing what you are already. Great that you're talking things through. Being involved in sport or a community group can really help teenagers to navigate through that difficult period. Maybe look for a sport that she may take to in a couple of years. Then she can expel all her aggressive into that and have a ready made friendship group too.
I don't know a lot about it, but I suspect this may be quite typical of an adopted child. Friends I know who adopted (and their dc are too young to remember much before) were told that there will be triggers-a piece of music, a word, a smell etc where they may become inconsolable for apparently no reason.
It's happened. I've been there once when it happened. They were all singing a fun song, and suddenly he couldn't cope. It was a simple phase in the song something like "we all must grow up".
When they were younger I think it did result in acting out, violent response. It's a response they don't even understand themselves.
Now they're much older teens and it tends to be much more withdrawal from the situation or tears.
Some of this sounds typical even for a non adopted child! (That is meant to be reassuring btw, not minimising your experience.) My non adopted 8yo is generally happy and well adjusted, but he too will say that his life is unfair and is sometimes unable to provide an explanation for why he has behaved badly. They are still not really in control of their emotions at this age.
It does sound to me as if you’re doing everything right! Don’t expect too much though. You might want to try posting on the adoption board for more advice.
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