Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The dusty attachment tool box

The attachment monster is raising its' ugly head again. I became painfully aware over the past few weeks that we have a long ways to go. I think I really thought that if we could just fix her developmental and educational problems, the rest would fall into place. But it seems the more we wake up her brain, the more I am aware that she still has a lot of issues. It has been recommended that we begin talk therapy after she's completed the IM therapy. It's too much to do all at once. It's too overwhelming for all of us.

But I can't stop by help thinking... Why now? It's been two years.

Perhaps I had just put my head in the sand...? Perhaps I was too preoccupied with my own issues to realize that her issues are actually my issues. Perhaps I'm just too damn overwhelmed by the thought of it. Attachment in a pre-teen? It's not like I can carry her around in a sling or do Taming the Tiger with her; she's almost 11 for heaven's sake. I don't mean to whine, but this attachment thing is so much harder with bigger kids. Especially kids who have such memories to compete with. I really hoped it would all just fix itself. I know. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

So what do you do when you realize you put away the attachment books too early? Well, you dust them off and unfortunately, start all over again. You get out your attachment tool box and begin researching again. You educate yourself.

A few weeks ago, I grabbed my Parenting the Hurt Child book, dusted it off, gave myself permission to write in it, highlight in it, sleep with it under my pillow, pray to it, and learn more from it this time around.

I also checked out the book A Safe Place for Caleb for kids. It's an interactive book for kids with issues of attachment, grief and loss, or early trauma. I'm muddling my way through this book as well, as a preview before I jump into it with Jameson.

I did find this advice in the back of the book, and sadly I realize I haven't done a lot of these things. To be perfectly honest, I haven't done most of these things. At least... not very well.

  • First and foremost: take care of yourself.
  • Guard your marriage and relationships with other children.
  • Learn as much as possible about attachment disorders.
  • Acknowledge and grieve your losses.
  • Ask for help.
  • Follow your gut.
  • Pick your battles.
  • Have "No Attachment Disorders" time.
  • Allow "down times" after therapy.
  • See the child beyond the behaviors.
  • Keep a trauma/loss perspective: Don't take it personally.
  • Create a safe home evironment: Act with a plan, avoid sarcasm, squelch rage.

* list taken from A Safe Place for Caleb by Kathleen A. Chara and Paul J. Chara, Jr.



MommyBrec said...

Having a sister with Reactive Attachemt Disorder, I really feel for you! She was 22 before we even found out that she had attachment issues (she had been wrongly diagnosed with everything else under the sun, but no one even THOUGHT of RAD...duh!). Anyway, as a child, I felt very alone and afraid a lot because of her. Now, as an adult, I feel for the pain my parents and especially mt mom endured. I hope that you have or create a support system of people who understand what you are dealing with. Don't allow yourself to be alone with this! It is too much alone!!!!!! For your other kids, too...

I am really impressed with your willingness to step back into learning about attachment issues, reading books, and preparing for more steps ahead. You are an amazing Mom! It is so difficult to parent a child with attachment issues! You are an incredible woman, and your family is blessed to have you as their mother. The rest of your family (husband and other children) are amazing people for living with and loving a child with attachment issues! It is hard work, but your family is so full of love!

I know this post doesn't really go anywhere. I just wanted to share my thoughts. I also wanted you to know you are not alone in dealing with a child with attachment issues. Everyone is rooting for you on those hard days, and we all love Jameson and want her to be able to lead a full, attached life!

Keep posting!


Mama Melissa said...

i'm going to go look these up. thanks for the reminder....

it is a process. dusting yourself off and taking another look at the attachment process is definitely a good thing. :)


waitingarms said...

You are an amazing mom! You keep pickung yourself up, dusting yourself off and continuing to run the race. Your love for your children always shines through and you are your children's best advocate - you will fight for them always.

Praying for your mommy heart for some break through soon.


Denise said...

Praying for you... ohhhh don't I know the road... we are at a calm better place right now, but I know with every step forward... know you aren't walking the attachment road alone...