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Showing posts with the label advice

Widening our vocabulary (or, The Great Attachment Swindle, part 2)

In part 1, I wrote about why attachment may not be the big deal it can sometimes be presented as, certainly in adoption circles. I definitely don't think we should be ignoring it completely, but I do think we should use vocabulary that is more specific to the problems our children may be facing, and that help us to move forward.

I ended the last post talking about trauma; below are some more suggestions for different ways of thinking about the common issues our children face.

Shame

Shame is something that is talked about a lot, particularly in relation to education, reward charts, etc. Nicola Marshall from BraveHeart Education has written a lovely blog about it, and why children can find it hard to move on from that intense feeling of shame.

If you want to go a bit further in to the science, we can have a look at Kohlberg's stages of Moral Development. (Disclaimer - theory, theory, theory. Even with the supporting research, it is never going to be a perfect answer, only a theor…

Attachment may not be the massive deal we all think it is...

I am aware that in the circles I move in this will be a contentious post, but I'm hoping that people can read it with an open mind... here we go:

I wrote a post about attachment some time ago, mainly because I was fed up with the massive mis-appropriation of the term, and the lack of understanding surrounding it. Unfortunately this sort of stuff is still being pedalled, so it's worth having a quick recap with some of the key points of what attachment is, and what it is not.

Attachment is a descriptive term which denotes a dependant relationship, i.e. the relationship a child has with a care-giver. Attachment is not a term for the relationship you have with your partner. (I have heard of people being given 'attachment questionnaires' by Social Workers to determine what their attachment relationship with their partner is like. While this may be useful on some levels to reflect on the relationship you have with your partner, and while yes, there is a school of thought tha…

I went on a course...

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As some of you might know, yesterday I went on a course, which was about some of the Big Stuff that we are having to deal with. Although some people reading this will know more details, I'm not comfortable with being quite so blatant about the Stuff in this post, because really, it's Tickle's Stuff, not mine. So, for the purposes of this blog post, the course was about how children are affected by significant trauma, and what parents can do to help.

I was pretty anxious about it beforehand; I didn't really know what to expect, and was worried that I'd find it difficult and emotional. However, I found the day as a whole to be a really positive experience, and I came away with a lot of stuff whirling around in my head which I'm going to try and sort out in to a post here. Advance warning - it might end up quite long!

We started off talking quite generally about trauma, and what the word means. Apparently it comes from the Greek word literally meaning 'wound&#…

10 things I wish I had known at the start of the adoption process

I'm in a reflective mood today. I've found myself recently thinking back to what I was like at the start of the adoption process, and mulling over what advice I would give to myself. Here's what I reckon:

1. Be prepared to take AT LEAST a year off work. Seriously. No really. Trust me.

2. Adoption is a hugely emotional journey, and each stage more so than the last. The run up to approval can be harrowing, the wait during matching is unbearable, and then actually having a child placed with you is like living with a small Dementor who feeds off your energy. (Love him, obviously, but still...)

3. Read (1) again, and then (2) again, until you believe (1). My biggest regret is pressuring myself to go back to work too soon, even though I am freelance and hardly do any actual work at all. Some days even daytime TV is too demanding for my poor addled brain.

4. Love for birth children and love for adopted children feels pretty much the same. The only difference is that there is a ga…

Managing emotions - mine, this time

I have been inspired to write this post (when I really should be doing other things) by an impending Twitter chat this evening on 'Controlling your emotions'. Here's the blog post providing the background, from Special Needs Teaching Ideas. Personally, I prefer 'managing' when it comes to emotions, as controlling - to me - implies restricting; if I am having to control myself, I feel like I am on the edge of *not* being in control, and I don't like to be that way when dealing with children, particularly traumatised ones. However, if I am managing my emotions, I am proactively taking steps to ensure I protect myself emotionally when dealing with difficult situations. [Edit - I think this post has now changed it's title from controlling to managing..!]

Anyway... I am spectacularly bad at anything that requires me to be sat at my computer at a specific time of the evening, so, given that I am more than likely to miss this Twitter chat, I thought I would get so…

Attachment

Bit of a departure from my usual style of blog today, to talk about one of my pet topics...

'Attachment' is a really fashionable word at the moment, and it's bandied around a lot in the adoption world. As a Psychology graduate with some post-grad experience as a Research Assistant in Developmental Psychology, attachment is one of my favourite topics; unfortunately during my adoption journey I've encountered a lot of mis-use of the term, and it's been winding me up. I have actually heard Social Workers dismiss attachment theory as something akin to 'pop psychology'; something they *have* to teach in the preparation groups but which isn't actually that useful in real life.

For my own satisfaction (mainly just to see if I can), and for anyone like my Husband who has been baffled by all of this seemingly-important-but-definitely-not-making-any-sense information, I'm going to try to explain attachment theory, and – more importantly – how it's relevan…

Biological children do that too, you know...

I love my friends. Really I do. I am totally blessed to have made friends with some truly awesome people throughout my life, and thanks to the invention of social media, have been able to easily keep in touch with them even when our lives have diverged and we no longer see each other regularly. I have been truly touched by the amount of support I've had during this process, not just from the people I interact with regularly but also from friends who I haven't seen in years.

One thing that I find most difficult though, is that despite how awesome my friends are, occasionally one of them will offer the comment that I'm sure all adopters will be only too familiar with: "Biological children do that as well, you know..."

Now, I *know* that they mean this in the best possible way. (Not everyone who says this does, granted, but my friends are FAB.) They are trying to reassure me, in my time of need, that Tickle's behaviour is perfectly normal, and I shouldn't wo…

Don't want to say I told you so...

OK, I admit it. That's a lie. I absolutely want to say I told you so.

I'm a bit frustrated this evening, as I've just got back from Tickle's first session at gymnastics club. I know the club pretty well, as it's the one Fairy has been going to for years, and last week I had a really long chat with one of the owners, explaining our situation, saying that Tickle was keen to join, but that he would need 1:1 support to be able to fully access the activities and also to keep him focused, feeling secure, and behaving properly. Tickle gets DLA (Disability Living Allowance) because of his learning needs, so I offered to pay for an extra coach so that he could have someone with him at all times - plus me on the sidelines for backup and reassurance. Yes, yes, this was all fine, I was told. We have loads of coaches on a Friday, so why not come along for the first week and see how he gets on, and if we need to hire someone else we will do, but I'm sure he'll be fine. (…

Biting

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One week ago, Tickle bit me for the first time. Not a playful little nip, or just worrying my clothes, but hard enough to graze the skin (through my clothes) and leave a full set of teeth marks on my stomach. The photo on the right (below) was taken two days later - the bruise is still there today.


At the time it was a massive shock - it hurt *so much* - and Husband immediately went in to overprotective mode, ordered me out of the room, and did the whole of bedtime himself while I sat in our bedroom and cried. It's a funny thing to talk about, as I know that some people would be horrified, but for some adopters this sort of thing occurs multiple times in a day, and they have a great many more bruises and sets of teeth marks than I do. However, it's not much use doing comparisons to others; it was painful and shocking, and I hadn't expected it - I've been hurt by Tickle before, but not any more than I frequently do to myself bumping in to things, and there was never any…