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How soon to mention ....

17 replies

Italiangreyhound · 17/09/2012 03:04

How soon to mention we have had some issues with DDs behaviour? My DD is a wonderful girl and very talented but also gets frustrated so easily and has a real temper and anger issues. She struggles at school with reading and writing and over the last few years her anger seems to have got worse but is only at home with us and close friends and family. At school she is very well behaved and maybe (my opinion) it is the stress of keeping a lid on it at school and struggling with writing and reading that leads to the anger at home Sad.

Over the last couple of years we have sought help from the schools link worker and are trying to help her with her difficult behaviour (e.g. tantrum etc at 8 years old.) - DD, not the school's link worker!

I am just not sure how soon to throw this into the conversation. On the plus side we are used to difficult and challenging behaviour and have not shied away from on it! On the minus side, they might think it is our fault (which I don?t think it is!).

When to bring it up, initial meeting or later??

Thanks a million, anyone, especially if you already had child/ren and issues of this sort.

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Bossybritches22 · 17/09/2012 06:02

Mention to whom?

KatieMorag · 17/09/2012 07:24

I assume you are asking when you should mention it to the social worker? I would suggest fairly early on in the process, certainly before you start a home study

But I guess I'm wondering how that will work out with a much younger, disturbed and traumatised child in the family? One thing you can guarentee is that they will frustrate and wind up your older DD. Any new child is likely to have their own anger issues, and some will also be very frightened of angry and violent behaviour .

I'm not suggesting it's anyone " fault" , BTW, just wondering what kind of child you see fitting into your existing family and how that will change the family dynamic and affect your daughters needs.

Italiangreyhound · 17/09/2012 08:42

Hi Boddybritches.

Yes Katie, to social worker. Thank you for replying.

Our DD is very kind and usually friendly with other kids, especially smaller ones.

She is frustrated and angry with me and DH, as I say I think it is related to school but not sure.

I am hoping we will get help to sort out the problem and help her to process her anger properly. I am sure this will happen before adoption as we are only at the start of the process.

Of course, I want to be up front with social workers but not sure how quickly to talk about DD in depth. DD very much wants us to adopt and is very happy with it. I don't think any child would be frightened or her, I would hope not, but I am aware it could be a problem, one we are working on.

I think my DH and I would like to adopt (if we are fortunate enough to do so) a 3 or 4 year old child who is not too challenged and I would hope we would all fit as family - in time. I feel we have a lot to offer and DD would make a super big sister but she does have some issues and I don't want to try and hide them.

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Bossybritches22 · 17/09/2012 08:57

Right sorry wan't sure what angle we were taking here!

I think you have to be upfront & honest about this so that it shows you are proactive and aware of the implications, if it comes up later in the vetting procedure it might look like you were trying to hide or minimise it.

Could you get DD some child counselling to help deal with her anger issues? Does she share with you what they are?

I think possibly you need to get this sorted a bit more first so that she doesn't feel you are glossing over her issues in favour of her new sibling. (I know you are not but you know how kids think)

Lovesoftplay · 17/09/2012 09:26

Sorry, I thought you meant when to tell your daughter. I had a whole reply typed out and everything :)

I will come back later and post again, gotta go out now x x x

Kewcumber · 17/09/2012 12:18

I'm not the ideal person to advise... but when has that ever stopped me? Most social workers have a set approach to home studies and one of the sections will undoubtedly be how you raise your daughter. I would discuss it at that point myself. Making a point of bringing up earlier would make it seem a bigger issue than you think it is in reality.

You need to be very matter of fact about it, talk about how you have approached the problem and what you are continuing to do about it. The only other point I would raise it (if earlier) is when SW talks to you about what issues an adoptive child might have, you can say... Well things are not always completely straight forward with birth children as DD has issues at the moment around...

You should position it as being a good thing that you have some experience of dealing with difficult behaviour and are not phased by it. Also you can ask SW what their advice would be on preparing your DD for a new sibling. They always like people who ask their advice!

Be prepared that you may find yourself in a position of having to protect your newly adopted child from your existing birth child because I do think that you might be being a little naive in thinking your daughters anger issues won't overflow into a child who challenges her for your attention. What in her (very young) head sounds like a fine idea now, might not seem so fine when you have less time for her.

Italiangreyhound · 17/09/2012 18:09

Hi Bossybritches22 thanks for your reply. I definitely don't want the social worker to think I am glossing over it, good point. I really don't think DD would feel we were glossing over her issues in favour of a sibling, she doesn't really think that way and is very on board with the adoption idea. Yes, counselling is good, we are trying to organise that already, we started at the begining of the school holidays and because of something outside our control it got delayed until now! I am just about to start a course to help me with parenting skills, I've already done some parenting courses so hopefully these will help me. I am not sure ultimately they will be the answer and the counselling, as you point out, could really help more.

KatieMorag* thanks for your reply. I am hoping it will work out but we will be honest about things and if we are not deemed to be a suitable family to adopt then we will not be offered the chance to parent another child (rightly so).

Kew Thanks for your wisdom. Yes, I am sure I may need to protect a newly adopted child from an angry little girl and I know of a friend whose older one reacted badly to a new sibling and kept banging on the window every time she tried to breastfeed him! I hope I am not being too naive but you may have a point. How can I prepare her for all this. We are adopting (we hope) because we think we all want to have this new person in our family. If DD were opposed to it we would not be exploring it. I will try and be matter or fact about it but without minimising it! I am not sure how it is going to work!! But talking to you all has helped so thank you so much.

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Lilka · 17/09/2012 18:34

I agree with Kew. If your child has moderate-severe SN (eg. Low functioning autism) then I would talk with SS very early on, but your DD's issues, I would wait a little longer, till a natural opportunity comes up, probably in the home study. If you specially make a point of it early on, they might get the impression her anger is a more serious issue than it is

There isn't any real way to tell how any child will react to a new one, but I do agree again with Kew that your daughter is likely to find it difficult. Many children, even the most straightforward, find it difficult suddenly sharing mum and dad so she would not be in any way unusual. However I would work on the assumption that she will act differently around a brother/sister than any other child and will in all probably get angry with them at times, even though she doesn't with other kids. Btw, my children are like that with school and home, if they get anxious, upset/scared/angry at school, they often hold it in till home, then let rip.

I do think that you sound like a great mum, and its obvious just reading this forum how much you are reading, asking great questions and preparing for adoption, and hopefully that should come across well when you speak to SS :)

Italiangreyhound · 17/09/2012 20:45

Lilka thanks so much for your kind words. You brought a tear to my eye! DD is a wonderful and loving little girl, she is just also a bag full of energy, very independent and very easily frustrated. Most of the time things are OK/good, just sometimes she has temper tantrums and is difficult. We are talking about this with her (her behaviour/my response/and if we adopt etc) so all along she is part of our thinking about this.

I think you are very wise and I am grateful to have people like you to share with.


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Italiangreyhound · 17/09/2012 23:04

By people like you, I mean all of you. Thanks, feeling more positive than I was now.

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calmlychaotic · 18/09/2012 03:32

No advice as everyone else on here much more experienced than me, just wanted to agree with previous comment that you are asking great questions, obviously putting lots of time and thought into this and I think you'll be a great adoptive parent.

Italiangreyhound · 19/09/2012 00:47

Thanks calmly that is so kind.

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Italiangreyhound · 08/10/2012 00:18

Just wanted to update anyone who had replied to my original post and was even vaguely interested in how things went with our first visit from social worker! Just wanted to say that we had our visit a couple of weeks ago and all went well.

I decided not to make a special point of mentioning the fact that DD can be quite emotional and sometimes gets angry/frustrated. I think I took on board that actually her behaviour and feelings are not that unusual or abnormal, they are not extreme, and she is a normal little girl just processing all the emotions of her age (which people keep telling me can be a difficult age - news to me, I think I thought I was the only one with a troublesome eight year old!) So when I posted before that she had 'anger issues' it really was an exaggeration! I felt on reflection that, although there are times when she has a temper tantrum, she is not actually an angry child. In fact she is a very loving child who sometimes feels quite emotional.

The social worker didn't ask about DD very much, beyond a few comments, and so generally we did not speak about her a great deal at this stage; I am sure this will change and they will ask a lot more later.

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to be very understanding when DD gets upset over anything and have used these as opportunities to talk about how she feels, and I am so pleased that her behaviour has gotten a lot better. I am so glad that I didn't label her ahead of time with any 'issues' and I will be ready to talk about her and any behaviours when they ask.

All the comments people made on the thread above really helped me to work out how I felt and how to talk about DD's behaviour (in general and in relation to having another child in the family).

Also, I am very happy to report that over the last few weeks her behaviour has vastly improved! I've just been trying to use every opportunity when DD does get emotional about things to talk to her about it and try and help her to process how she feels. I've been given a place on a parenting course which looks like a really good course. Even before I started it I was already trying looks of things to try and understand DD's feelings and help her work through things, and I feel sure the course will be very useful too.

So I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for responding.

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Italiangreyhound · 08/10/2012 00:30

trying lots of things not trying looks of things!

PS I have done lots of parenting courses before, that kind of thing just interests me! Even when DD was a baby my DH and I did a parenting course!

If anyone is interested the most recent course is called 'The Family Links Nurturing Programme', and on first inspection it looks very good.

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Italiangreyhound · 08/10/2012 01:08

Oh, just thought of one more thing, the schools link worker has been doing some one to one work with her. So I guess that is a kind of 'counselling'. It's something for her to work on with someone else not me. I just mention it because I was making it sound like I had made a change in her behaviour, where as I think it was a joint effort. She is getting some help at school and I am getting some help too, so when we talk and when things do get frustrating at home, like when I tell her to do stuff and she doesn't do it, then instead of getting angry and cross immediately, we are both able to work it through a bit. It is not fantastic all the time but the good far far outweighs the bad times! A few weeks ago I did feel worried about it and worried how it would all impact on our adoption thoughts. Now things are so much better, and it is total evidence for me that for me asking for some help via the schools link worker, when things were not so good, was really the right thing to do. So something else to tell social worker when she asks!

OK I'll shut up now and go to bed, thanks again for your thoughts and help!

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FamiliesShareGerms · 09/10/2012 22:55

Sorry to come to this a bit late, but I agree that there will be a chunk of the home study devoted to exploring your parenting style and your experiences in raising DD (and any other experience with other children eg family members), and that's the right place to discuss the stuff you've posted here.

I know you've been doing a lot of thinking and preparation for what adoption might mean to your family. I think that you have to assume that there will be some adverse kickback from your DD, it would almost be unnatural if there wasn't. With DS, after about a month he got quite upset, and it took some prodding to get out of him that he was missing not having any time to himself anymore. And we had to deal with an instance of him spitting at a younger child at school at much the same time - ie when the novelty has worn off, and even though he was (and is) sooooo delighted at being a big brother, it does raise all kinds of issues for a very small person to take on board and manage.

We could never have predicted that these were the things we would have to deal with with DS. I think the key thing is that you have to be alert to issues so that you nip them in the bud early and have some strategies for managing them (eg marching DS into school to apologise for the spitting, but also spending lots of time with him to help him articulate how he was feeling).

I haven't (yet!) had to step in and stop DS hurting DD (it's the other way around!), but I confess I have found playing referee one of the biggest changes to our previous one child parenting style, and I'm still learning how to do it well.

Italiangreyhound · 09/10/2012 23:22

Thanks Familiessharegerms. It is great to hear from you. Yes, after 8 years of being parent to one child and longing for another I am realising that there is so much I do love about having one child! I still feel I want another, we have room in our hearts and life; and I want DD to experience being a big sis (as I am!). So we will go ahead if all is approved but I have FINALLY got some of the desperation out of my quest for another child!

DD had her friend here Monday for the whole day (his mum was at work) and there were a few rows (she's sitting too close/he's making an annoying noise etc) and I do now realise some of the challenges of having more than one!

I am looking forward to it with trepidation! I am just so pleased DD and I are back to the closeness we had before. It has been a long time (2 years of extra emotions and occasionally at times rather extream behaviour moods or temper tantrums) and it is so good to see things calm down. Although I used to say it was starting school that started her 'naughty' behaviour I do now feel it is really more like 6-8 that was the problem age! I do hope that things have calmed down now and I realise that had we adopted when DD was 6, as we planned at one time to try and do, that it might have been harder than now! It's ironic I can say that now because I feel things are panning out better. That's not necessary the case for all 6 or 7 year olds but I think it is the case for me.

Thanks for listening.

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