So excited to have found somewhere to vent.....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Needingaboost, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. Needingaboost

    Needingaboost New Member

    Oh my, I have been stressed out and am technically friendless. My husband isn't interested in hearing about my everyday struggles with my difficult child (which by the way, what exactly does that stand for?) so I am glad to found a site where others can relate but I can remain anonymous.
    In May my husband found a job 6 hours away and because I was in nursing school (and had worked so hard to get in) we decided I would stay back until I finish and we would let the children do another year at their current school. We were fortunate enough to have my mother in law move in with us to help us.
    My husband and our difficult child were much closer than she was with me. She is manipulative, lies, steals and I didn't think it was cute (not that the husband did but he didn't see as much of it as I did). As soon as he left, the monsterness came out even more. Typical ODD stuff, refusing to do simple things asked, lying, stealing, yelling "I don't care" when I try implement punishments. Almost a straight A student at school but this semester she began stealing at school and got caught 3 times. Stealing simple things such as switching out sandwiches from a lunch box, stealing a trinket from a teachers' treasure box. I am 100% convinced it was because she knew that I would be the one called and I would have to pick her up. Just another way to get at me. I set up an "intervention" with the school resource officer and I think that worked. It wasn't that she was scared of jail but when they told her that she would be expelled if she continued this behavior, I explained to her that the alternative school is a one room shack with K-5 graders. They don't break for PE, art, music, non of that stuff she enjoys so much. Not sure if it was 100% true but wanted to make it seem as terrible as it could be. That seemed to keep her from touching other peoples property. That and the principal requires that I escort her to the office each morning where a teacher will come and pick her up once the bell rings. So, I think there have been limited opportunities for her thievery but also, I think my description of the alternative school did it too.
    Now I am having it out with my mother in law. She defends the difficult child to no end. About two weeks ago she called my husband "on me" and told him that we need to put our difficult child back up for adoption because I don't provide a loving home. She doesn't know that I know but I am so hurt over it. How could she say that and doesn't she know the ramifications would be terrible. Our difficult child is on her second adoption. The first one failed because the adoptive mother couldn't handle her anymore, she was diagnosed with some debilitating disease but the difficult child behaviors were atrocious. difficult child used to run from her house, kick her, scream her head off. Although her behavior has been terrible, she has never ran away or even looked like she was going to raise a hand to me or my husband.
    The mother in law isn't looking at the big picture. My feelings are so hurt still, I can't seem to get past it.
    I finally found what has worked as far as what our difficult child values. We tried sentences, spankings, (I even slapped her twice), grounding for eternity, pulling from soccer team, taken everything out of her room. I even gave all of her toys away to the goodwill. What the child hates the most is going to bed early, specifically without dinner. After 2.5 years I finally figured this one out. (by the way, she doesn't pull half the stuff she pulls with me, with my husband).
    ....oh my, didn't realize my post was so long. Much more to tell but wanted to share my joy of finding somewhere where support can be had.
    Thank you in advance.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Does she have a diagnosis. of attachment disorder? Do you know a lot about her early years? I have adopted older kids...they come with major issues. Is she in therapy?
  3. Needingaboost

    Needingaboost New Member

    No other diagnoses except ODD. I know that she was adopted at age 2 by the woman who fostered her since day 21. Nothing seems exceptional about her childhood. Her bio mom has many many issues, drug related, sexual abuse, and I believe I saw BiPolar in the mix. I think her issues revolve around a maternal figure. I think she is upset (whether it be consciously or subconsciously) that two maternal figures basically threw in the towel on her and I am getting the wrath from that. She hasn't had a father figure since we adopted her, her previous adopted mother was a single woman.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm going to give you a link to attachment disorder. No offense, I hope, but I can't believe you don't think her childhood has not been crazy. It has been filled with chaos and has been awful. It would almost be impossible for this child not to have attachment issues. She isn't bad, she is a product of her seriously horrible background. Think about it...this child has more going on than just ODD.

    This girl has been tossed around like a hot potato and has had to adjust to three different mother figures and three families and has been given up twice. I think in my opinion you expect too much for a child with her background. She is not seeing a counselor? She has not seen a psychiatrist? in my opinion she needs to be evaluated...she is probably more damaged than you think. It is best to get a professional involved, hopefully one who is schooled in children who have suffered many attachment breaks. You can not do this without specialized help, nor should you try to. It is a hard journey. Anyhooooooooo, here is the link:

    Attachment Disorder, Attachment Therapy - What is Attachment Disorder?

    I wish you luck. It will not be an easy road, but you can help her. However, you have to admit that her childhood was exceptionally hurtful and that she needs A LOT of help or she is bound to get worse. It's up to you, but she needs tons of help.
  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I agree with MWM. My difficult child 1 has abandonment issues pertaining to men (LONG story). When he gets upset, he (I know it's subconsciously) does things to try to push me away too. All I can do is reassure him that no matter what he does, I am not going anywhere and that I love him no matter what he does. He can be very hateful towards me and say extremely mean things and in extreme cases physically pushes me. He is so insecure about being loveable that when things are bad for him, he is convinced that I will ship him off or something.

    Imagine that x100 because it has REALLY happened twice already. She bonded with husband because she's never been "hurt" by a male before. She takes stuff out on you because, with husband gone, somewhere inside she's convinced history will repeat itself yet again. It's better to be the one to push people away than be taken by surprise and be "dumped". She desperately needs counseling, individual and with you. She needs a lot of reassurance from you. She is in survival mode. She may even be thinking that if YOU can't handle her, she'll get to go live with husband. Regardless of the reasons, punishing her for acting the way she does without addressing the underlying causes is only going to make things worse. You need to try doing the opposite of what you're doing for now. See if reassuring and teaching helps since punishments don't.

    {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}} to you both. You have a long road ahead but there IS light at the end of the tunnel if you go down the right one.
  6. Bless your heart! You will find many caring people on this site and I am grateful you have found us!
    You are a very admirable woman - to be going to nursing school and pursuing your dreams, but also to provide a home and love to older children! (Our son came into our home at Age 3 and it's been a DOOZY!) You are a courageous woman to make a home for this girl who has already gone through 1 adoption. Yes, she has gone through a lot. It's hard to truly understand what deep (and perhaps under the surface) feelings of rejection these kids must feel.

    I feel for you in your stress with your mother in law Aw man, I'd say, kick her out, but you need her there to complete your nursing! I hope that you 2 can work things out. My mom has Alzheimer's now, but when she was not as sick and I would go home to visit with-my difficult child (which means, Gift from God) and she would start disciplining him with me - - or we would clash, it would be quite stressful. You are under a huge amount of stress. That's tough that your husband isn't around right now. (I went back & did my Master's a few years back and I was taking care of our son alone for several months of that, as my husband was away - AGH!!)

    Keeping you in thought and prayer. Keep us posted
    and I hope she will open up her heart to you. I know, it's so hard to be patient when they do all that crazy stuff. My difficult child has issues with-stealing and a whole host of stuff (yes, the defiance, etc). SO TOUGH.

    Glad you are here. :)
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi, first, if you put your cursor on words acronyms that have underlines, you will see a definition. difficult child = gift from god (lol, get it???)

    Second, HI and welcome to our corner of the world. The club no one wants to need to join, but thank heaven it is here.

    I have an adopted son with attachment issues too. Any child who has a break from their primary caregiver (usually the mother) and has inconsistent caregiving from birth through age three (which is whenwe learn the trust cycle and develop human bonds, well really starting in utero) is at risk for attachment disorder. Especially if they were in neglectful or abusive settings OR if they were born to loving parents but either the parents or the baby had a medical condition which caused pain that could not be relieved. Many drug dependent babies go thru terrible pain and the adults taking care of them can try but they suffer. (normally, baby cries, adult responds and baby develops internal trust knowing that they are cared for and helped). If you have had any other children, you know they become upset at a very early age if someone other than mommy takes them (sometimes daddy and close relatives/friends can but mommy is primary usually--this is not sexest, this is because of nursing and the fact that the mom was pregnant). A dad can certainly be the primay one too.

    so if there are attachment issues, the child tends to do it much more to the mom, others see the mom as being angry but it is really FROM the situation, the child can be sweet and charming to others and while hugging the mom pinch or squeeze or wreck things etc. Things that really hurt mom. IT often tears parents apart because the other parent doesn't see it but in the end that hurts the child because they are too in control and that is the problem. they learned early on they can only depend on themselves (not consciously) so they do whatever they can to survive, and what they really need is to be told by everyone that no matter what, everyone is on the same page, that she can relax, it is out of her hands....YOU will together be making decisions for her. Little by little she can get more control.

    It is a hard road and very few, especially in the schools or relatives can really understand this challenge. People think if they were adopted young then they "dont remember" but any bio parent will tell you that they know their child at birth. They know when they were most active, if noise affected them and they can see that the baby turns to their voices from day one.

    Here is a site that has a support forum like this, I used to started with kids adopted from China but now includes ALL kids who have attachment challenges from any situation. Even just illness or injury in early development. follow instructions on this site to join the yahoo group that is connected to this. But stay here too, there are several of us. This site has a little different tone and while some things can be tough to hear, I have been here enough months now to tell you that ALL of the thoughts and support come from genuine caring and wanting to help.

    There could be other things going on, but I really think you will be shocked when you read about attachment disorder! It is a spectrum (mild attachment challenges to full blown Reactive Attachment Disorder (and even Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is on a spectrum, not all kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) are sociopaths, many just can't trust or bond well but have productive lives). If she is neurologically now wired differently she will need a very different kind of therapy than regular psychology services. Please get some books on adopting the hurt child, adopting the toddler, (I know, but SHE was a toddler when it happened) and look at attach china. Nancy Thomas is a therapeutic foster mom who takes kids with attachment challenges. She has some really out of the box ideas for helping in the home and at school. Now, some of the things were not at all appropriate for me but she has great material to help understand how this happened. She has a cd series called the broken bond which is very good.

    Of course if you are not ready to explore this, I understand, it is overwhelming, but at this point I think you will find that you will have relief because as MWM and I both saw quickly you are hitting some very very common issues with these kids. I am sorry for her, she does not know why she feels this way. You could not possibly have known either. It is one of the least trained on and supported areas in adoption. Really, you will be shocked at the similarities in stories with some of the kids on the attach china site. I was there when they started, haven't been there for years so I am hoping it has not changed too much, but I feel confident you will find others who have therapy ideas.

    Feel free to ask more questions and to vent all you want. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. My son still has some very clear attachment challenges, but he is bonded and we have done a lot of work to get there (he has tons of medical issues too and autism so we have a LONG road for life). Dont worry about mother in law, she could not possibly understand the depth of this. It is NOT you. But, you CAN make a difference. It sometimes means parenting from a whole different perspective and you may also need to develop what people here call rhino skin...because people will buy into her stories of how terrible you are. You and hubby need to get on the same page and it WILL help.

    the book called The Explosive Child can help too, this is for any child who is a true challenge to parent and does not respond to traditional parenting techniques. There are other companion books.

    Well, I've gone on too much, just really feel for you.... I get it that this is tough and mother in law is SOOO wrong, another disruption will do her in. Still if you ever need to place her in a setting where the pressure to bond is less, you are still the mom and that is very different than disrupting the adoption. many families here have had their kids in hospital or residential settings, even group homes, etc. It just depends on how she needs to bond. She is still young enough that you can put her in therapy. This kidn of therapy is always done WITH t he parent/parents. To get a therapist who separates you for most of the sessions (there may be a little bit of it but not much)means that they dont understand the core issue. The work has to be done with you together so that the child does not again get the impression she can tell the therapist one thing and drive a wedge between adults. Follow the guidelines on the attachment disorder websites.

    All that said, I am not an attachment disorder expert, just have done a bunch of work with it, lots of research. The history and behaviors fit this BUT we are not there, we dont see you or her so it is really only an educated guess. Obviously not a diagnosis.

    Love and Hugs, Buddy
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    One thing to start.... for kids with attachment challenges...

    Instead of doing time out.... you do TIME IN. the child needs to sit near you, needs your supervision, to help you do things etc.

    There is a whole host of things that are very different in this kind of parenting.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well put, Buddy -

    That's the counter-intuitive part of dealing with attachment... the parent has to make attachment-building THE top priority - not that other stuff isn't dealt with, but the manner in which that is done is crucial. Great example with the "time in".
  10. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Just wanted to say welcome
  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Welcome ~ you've found a soft place to land. The parents here will offer much wisdom & a shoulder to cry on.

    Consider looking into attachment issues/disorder. You're descriptions of your difficult child (gift from God - the child who brought you here) on spot on.

    Again welcome.
  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! Glad you found us.

    Your state that 'nothing seems exceptional about her childhood' is just incorrect. I am sorry, I do not mean to be offensive if that is. But, you are wrong. Being adopted in itself is exceptional. A few of the others that have adopted children said it best above, but I have been here for a long time and I know that adopted kids are troubled - even if they do not show it for years. Even if it is not violent of obvious that they are troubled. They are. Their brith mother rejected them. I know that you probably have thought you could love that issue away. But, you can not.

    So, take the others posters advice and read up on Attachment Disorders. And yes, it is common for difficult children to be worse with one parent.

    Oh and difficult child = Gift from God. You can hover over any acronym and it will give you the description.
  13. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Welcome to the board. You will find support and advice here that you will not be able to fine anywhere else. All of the parents here have "been there". e get it.

    I don't know alot about adopted children, but it sounds like her childhood was not what we could consider "normal". She was given up by her birth mother, was raised by a foster mother, who adopted her and eventually gave up on her. So, she's known two mother who basically dumped her because they would not or could not care for her. That's something that most kids don't go through. At least none of the kids that I know, anyway.

    In some ways your difficult child is like my difficult child. Mine does not pull nearly as much on my husband as he does with me. I think alot of it has to do with the fact that I am the primary caregiver. I'm a stay at home mom and husband works, sometimes really long hours. If he's angry or annoyed about something, I'm the only one that he can target (he targets his younger brother, too). No one here has recommended "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. I would get that book and give it a read. I realize that with nursing school it's probably hard to find time to read things other than your nursing books, but I would try to get this one in. There are alot of good ideas and suggestions in there that may help you.

    As for your mother in law, I have nothing good to say. For her to suggest that you give your daughter up for adoption again is hurtful to you, and would competely wreck your daughter. That would be yet another mother who gave up and threw her back into the system and it would catastrophic for her. mother in law has no clue what it's like to have to mother a difficult child and until she has walked a mile in your shoes she needs to keep her opinions to herself.

    Is there any way that difficult child could go and live with your husband? Do the kids get to see their father on the weekends, or does he stay where he is when he's got some days off. I think that the kids need their father, even if it's just for a few days a month. difficult child could look at his leaving for his new job and just another person who walked away from her because they didn't want to care for her.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    ((((((((((hugs)))))))))) and Welcome! the others have given great ideas and comments. I honestly think you are dealing with attachment issues even if the docs you have seen haven't seen it. Logically thinking, there HAVE to be attachment problems for a child who had an adoption break up.

    Your mother in law isn't difficult child's target and likely has been manipulated by difficult child to think hwat she thinks. One of the hallmarks of attachment issues is manipulation that goes WAY beyond the ordinary. It is a survival skill for an attachment disordered child.

    PLEASE read up and look for help wth the attachment problems. Try talking or maybe writing a letter to your mother in law about the problems and how you are hurt by her suggestion and how you need her to work WITH you to provide a level of consistency to HELP difficult child. Ask her to think about how it would damage difficult child to have an adoption break up - and then to realize that having a 2nd adoption end would make things at least a million times worse.

    This is an awesome board, and you will find a LOT of support and ideas here.
  15. Needingaboost

    Needingaboost New Member

    Thanks for the responses.
    When I said "nothing seems exceptional about her childhood" I was referring to incidences of sexual abuse, physical abuse, other trauma NOT related to her adoptions. I was spinning off of the question about what other diagnoses she has. She was seeing a therapist when we adopted her but was released from that therapist. After my husband left, I put her in therapy again. Initially the therapist did individual therapy and it was me who suggested family counseling. I knew that our relationship needed to be worked on. The therapist though the difficult child had ADD, which I struggled with because of her great grades at school and her ability to sit still and make friendship bracelets for hours, but I went with the professional. At the psychiatrist appointment is when we got the official diagnosis of ODD. She did about 8 individual sessions and we did about 4 family sessions. I was quite discouraged because the family therapy consisted of playing uno and the like. I was ready to get down to the nitty gritty. Ironically her medicaid changed and our private insurance doesn't cover therapy sessions. So as of this second, we are not in therapy.
    I appreciate all of the suggestions for books and research on attachment disorders. I will be sure to look into those soon.
    **The husband comes home about once a month for a weekend. He came for an extended time during Thanksgiving and will come again for an extended time for Christmas. I don't want her to go there ahead of schedule. Many reasons, one being the fact that the world will hold her accountable (they don't care about her past) and if she acts out and I send her there, she will get the idea that she can act out and get out of things. She hasn't requested to go there. All of the children know they are going there in June. Now, if the mother in law continues and she leaves (or gets put out), that may have to be an option because of my scheduling.
    Buddy....I really appreciate your post about TIME IN. I am only human and my feelings get hurt too. It is difficult for me to spend time with her after the yelling and screaming and blaming me for everything under the sun but I know that is important. Your post reminded me of that. Thank you.