This was written as a rant, after an episode. It was not a horrible episode, though it was headed that way. I was the mom who stepped down from the bleachers and walked over to the bench to do what was needed. As an introvert, it takes a lot for me to do that. I am trying to step back more and let my kids learn on their own, though watching other adults fail, then get mad at my kids for said adults lack of observation, usually gets me over my introverted tendencies.
Parenting is an adventure. You are given responsibility of a crew with the goal if getting from point A to point Infinity. The catch, your crew were not given the choice of joining, and they do not always want to be there. You gave to somehow convince them to follow you.
This wonderful opportunity for personal growth is made all the more adventurous when you add in kids from hard places. Their brains are wired differently. That is a fact, not just a saying. Trauma of any kind changes you, some more severely than others. Ever heard of PTSD?
The minds of children are especially prone to neuroligical changes that can not be undone. The first 2 years of your life contain over 80% of your brain development. Whether those years contained time in an ICU, surrounded by beeping machines and people you did not know, all the while not being held or touched enough; chronic sickness, resulting in going to the doctor a lot; stress in your parents’ lives resulting in less attention given to you; lots of yelling, fights, or even frequent moves; being in foster care or even private adoption (loss of main caregiver); not to mention drugs, abuse, and chronic neglect (not enough food, ignored, needs not met, etc.); trauma has a huge impact on the brain’s wiring.
In a neurotyipical child cause and effect are learned at a normal rate. Things ARE eventually learned. However, those from hard places (histories involving trauma) have trouble with this connection. Studies show they are more likely to have ADD/ADHD, impulsiveness, end up in prison or be arrested, unemployed, drop out of school, etc.
And here is what gets me, all the effort to get foster parents, to promote adoption from foster care … I have yet to hear anything aimed at teachers, coaches, employers saying, “When you are in a place to influence these kids, here is what you will most likely see ….. and here is how to handle it …. ”
Not that people purposefully set out to keep these kids on a path to failure, they truly do not realize their brains process data and situations differently. And that makes me so sad. And mad. To the point of tears, which means I am beyond yelling mad. It means I have to be hyper-vigilant around certain adults to make sure they do not cause my (young) kids to completely escalate and explode. Again, they are not doing it on purpose. The methods they use, the way they respond works very well with their neurotyipical child. It does the exact opposite for mine. Trust me, I tried and thought I was going crazy when it did not work.
In these situations I resemble an Army Apache helicopter parent. My scopes are set, ready to step in at any moment. However, it is usually to remove my child from the situation, rather than tell you that “little Johnny can’t help himself”. Then we go off to a safe place while I spend the next 30 minutes to an hour undoing what just took the other adult under 5 minutes to create. Better for me to do that than let it escalate and have to spend a whole day ‘fixing’ it.
I am a big believer in self-control, personal responsibility, manners, and growing into a responsible, independent adult. We are working on it. Doing better. Still a long way to go. So, while I understand most other kids that age can handle this situation without reacting this way, mine can’t. So, please, just do not make it worse. Act like an adult and think, do not react off the cuff, it will do wonders for modeling it for my child.