Thursday, February 11, 2010

My son is an evil genius

So one the issues that I have with DS2 is his determined obstinance. He wants control of all parts of his life even if the control hurts him in the long run. But I must say that today's example of this control was genius and glaringly shows where public school, and frankly adults in general, sometimes mis-fire in their plans to control kids' behaviors.

So once again we headed to school. Once again, he didn't grab a coat. He did have a fleece pullover but no jacket. I expressed my continued frustration about this to which he responded, "Don't worry. I have it all worked out. I don't have to go out for recess."

I thought for a moment not sure how to respond. I could tell that there was more to this story.

"The cover to my Social Studies book cover is ripped and so I don't have to go outside until it is repaired. I have it all worked out."

Hmmmm! I guess the school got him ; ) Can't do what he doesn't want to do until he fixes what he distroyed. I'm thinking that it will be fixed just about when the first tulip peeks through the ground.

I couldn't help but chuckle. He is an expert in using our own logical powers against us. I did go on to talk about how his master plan may backfire, but he doesn't yet have the forethought to see the downside. He did agree to bring the book home to be recovered, but I'm not sure how long that will last.

If you use the Dr. Phil phrase, "How did this behavior work for you?" I think the answer would be "very well" which I don't think is exactly what the school was going for when they imposed this rule.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I love you / I hate you

The best advice that I have had as a foster parent of a child with RAD is "don't take it personally". At first I thought this was just bunk and was frustrated by the simplistic answer and yet now I run this phrase through my head daily. Our days can go from so much fun and laughter to silly conversations where he claims he doesn't care about anything.

The other day, we saw a commercial for Anthony Hopkins Wolfman movie. He thought it looked fantastic and thought we should all go see it. While I would agree that like all of Anthony Hopkins work it looks like a great movie, I don't think it looks appropriate for an 11 year old. So I said that this would not be on our viewing schedule to which he responded, "I will be seeing it."

"DS2, do we have to go through it again? The movie is R rated. We are not going to see R rated movies. (as you can tell this has been a common point of conversation)"

"Well, I will be seeing it. I didn't say that I would see it with you." He glared at me. "I get to choose my families and I will just choose a family who will let me."

I knew he didn't really mean it, but it surely doesn't make the words hurt any less. My biological kids sat there stunned. I took a breathe and replied, "You are right. You get to choose your families, but I hope that you wouldn't make the choice over something as silly as a movie. You may get to choose your families, but I have an obligation to be the best mother possible for you and I don't think an R rated movie that looks that scary is appropriate for an 11 year old."

He rolled his eyes.

These little power struggles can take such a toll on your psyche. I know that RAD makes it hard for him to attach to others, but hurtful words like that make it hard for the rest of us to attach. We think we are going along fine and becoming a family and then he expresses that none of it matters to him. It can be so frustrating and it is then that I hear that echo, "Don't take it personally."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wondering about the Foster Care System

My DS2 has been bringing the most interesting things to my attention. I think so many of us think that foster care moves children from difficult home situations to more stable situations that allow them to heal and move on. My DS2 has had more placements than most children and thus has seen more than perhaps the average child. He was placed with the state when he was only months old and then adopted for a few years before he was 10, but that too was also disrupted. But as he opens up and shares his past, he knows things that I would not expect a child of his age to know and doesn't know things that he should.

He doesn't know what the small intestine are, but can shoot with a pool stick behind his back.

He doesn't know who Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States, is, but can name the major games of the city he was last placed in.

He didn't know that Hawaii was created by volcanoes, but he knows what a quarter slot is.

All these little tidbits were picked up not in the abusive homes but in foster care. What does this say about our foster care system? These children who are already fragile because of the horrors they have been through aren't treated like the precious gems of our society, but instead are put in homes that are questionable on their own. Why do you think so many families which have better circumstances don't consider foster care? How do you think we can fix this? If families from lesser circumstances wish to foster, how do we support them so that things like "jacking" bikes are not a part of these children's lives?

We as a society will pay later if we don't pay now and the cost will be much, much higher. DS2 cannot even visualize a future for himself and yet he knows what it means to be recruited by a gang. I can see and I continue to pray that his eyes are opened to a more productive future each day that we spend together. I hope that he begins to see how his actions affect not just him but all of society, but I wonder about the children that are now placed in the homes which he has left. Are they experiencing the same learning that he did? Do you have the power to change this? Would you be willing to step out of your comfort to make a change? Speak out for those that have no voice and don't even realize they need one. Consider being a foster parent yourself or a mentor. Perhaps you can be a CASA representative. Perhaps you could support someone else in being a foster parent. As the PSA says, "you don't have to be perfect, to make a change in a child's life."