Our daughter has multiple diagnoses, FAS, ADHD, probable PTSD, early trauma, Hashimoto’s Disease are the current ones. She’s outgrown CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech–hard to understand her speak), FTT (failure to thrive–she was the size of a thin American 4 month old at adoption…she was 25 months old), and a few more. Our son seems to be headed for another diagnosis now. He also had early trauma (orphanage life) and has ADHD. Yes, our house can be very lively, very loud!
One of the things that happens with my kids is that they ‘hold it together’ in school, at church, at most social events until we get home. Then it all breaks loose. It’s usually not screaming rages anymore, it’s more like a building anger. If I give them time to ‘decompress’ before asking questions or requiring homework to be finished, things usually go better. The anger that used to be directed at me is now usually directed at each other–mean words, slaps, kicks, punches when I’m not watching, hurting the animals in little ways: a small pinch, an ear tug, pulling a paw a bit too hard.
Lately, we have not been taking our daughter back to church for middle school group time. This was a choice I made because of a number of issues. While she would have a GREAT time there, there are hundreds of kids and she’s among the smallest. Three times, she had the wires knocked off her braces while kids were trying to grab candy that was thrown. (I don’t think anyone should need a mouth guard for youth group time! LOL!) She doesn’t understand the messages. She loves the music and the social aspect but the messages are way over her level. Lastly, the fallout at home became extreme. She wouldn’t go to bed, she was too hyped up. She would stay awake till midnight and be angry the next morning when I got her up for school. It just wasn’t worth it.
We run into similar problems going on vacation. If we stay with relatives, both kids will act pretty good for the 3-7 days we are there. Usually around day 3, we have building anger and nerves. By day 5 or 6, I’m spending lots of ‘time in’ with them. (Time out means they are alone in a room & who knows what they’ll do–rip things to shreds, hurt themselves, even worse?) I usually dread vacation times because I know I will be “ON” 24/7 for the next ‘x’ number of days. I am thankful for their medication but that only goes so far. They certainly don’t become zombies on it!
When we have ‘time in’, I try to remember to pray aloud with the kids. To ask God to forgive me for being harsh and help me have a loving spirit. I also mention the reason for the ‘time in’. Parents of ‘typical’ kids might say this happens with all kids. I know it does, just not to the extent, the constant extent it does here. Parenting 2 kids is hard, parenting 2 kids with multiple needs multiplies everything.
I am thankful for friends who cheer me on from near and far. Social media has helped with support groups, so I know I’m not going crazy. (or not completely so–just a little off kilter!) I am thankful for God putting these people in my life. I am thankful I know Jesus and I can pray to Him ALL THE TIME. I am thankful for seeing the small miracles everyday. I am thankful God gave me a husband to balance out my wacko moods when things get to me.
Fallout is hard. VERY, VERY hard. Teachers don’t understand how the perfectly great kids at school could go home and ‘flip out’. Church leaders don’t understand how having a fun time can cause problems at home. It’s very real. We make choices to keep schedules and routines so we don’t get very much fallout at home. If I tell you we can’t make it to a function, please be kind. We aren’t shunning you, we are trying to manage our kids and our home life.
For now, we need a calm, scheduled routine. Maybe someday my kids will be able to go to fun youth group meetings, come home and just talk about it, not try to hurt the animals and stay up till midnight. Thank you for understanding our choices.