Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sometimes i Forget

I didn't sleep well last night. I woke up to go to the bathroom and had a brief conversation with Salinda who was nasty and rude and then I couldn't go back to sleep. I woke up too early and had one of my personal mini anxiety attacks that I inherited from my mother and then got up to go to the Y with Kari.

After my workout though i felt much better, so even though i will be tired later today, I feel energized. On the way out of the Y I was explaining that the best moments of my day were at that very moment -- the hour between when I finish working out and when the kids get up. I always feel so good during those times. I need to not forget how good I feel after I exercise so that I'll be motivated to keep doing it.

Salinda's therapist is convinced that she is very attachment disordered that I may get nothing at all from her over the next few years. If this is the case, it is certainly something we never would have guessed when she was younger as she appeared to be very attached to us. When the teenage years hit, she completely lost it. John was the same way ... and people thought it was attachment issues ... but i'm not sure that was it. He hit age 11 and it went downhill for years, but he always acted as though he had some attachment to us. Maybe it was just manipulation. Who knows.

The Adoption Counselor attended a seminar with Russell Barkley (authority on ADHD) and had this to say

Another interesting thing he said was that genetics take over by adolescence, and that parenting doesn’t have any influence on teens and also that that parenting has no impact on adhd related behaviours at any point in life.. . Despite his being very negative about the impact of parenting he had a phrase which I loved. He said *parents are not the engineers, parents are the shephards*. In other words, we aren’t the creators of the children or their behaviours, but we are their guides. And, as he said, shephards get to pick the pastures.

While I hate to admit that he might be right, I am realizing that parenting does have very little influence on teens. The key, as I mention often when I speak to parents, is surviving them -- as controlling or changing them is impossible without their cooperation. Emotionally handling the frustration of children who are NOT going to be changing any time soon but refuse to do what is best for them is very difficult. Watching Salinda, for example, refuse to do her online school work and insist on failing some classes when she is very bright is beyond annoying. I can barely stand to be in the house when she is refusing to comply. Her life is pathetic and she won't do anything about it nor will she let me do anything to help her.

I know that Cindy totally gets what I'm saying -- that horribly trapped feeling you have stuck in a house with someone who is completely refusing to do what they need to do. It sucks the life out of you. At least in my case I can go to the coffee shop and escape.

Today I will make a feeble attempt to connect with her -- and go through the whole thing one more time, giving her a little lecture on how to treat people, seeing if she can grasp it this time but if not, at least making me feel like I've put forth some effort. Maybe in listening to her I'll gain some insight into what might work. But I won't order much. Sometimes she's so mean to me that my stomach is in knots and I can't eat.

Oh the joys....


debbie said...

that is an extremely interesting statement about the teen years. genetics over parenting. i am going to think about that all day. i am not sure i totally agree, but i certainly think it is a valid remark. if so, kind of shoots down all adoptive parents, doesn't it? hmmmmm. as far as the attachment issue, i do believe that most children who come into care other than very young infants, are definitely going to have an attachment issue, how could they not? the key is, can they overcome that and attach again. i have a friend who adopted one of her girls at 3 years of age, the girl had been in an excelent foster home from birth on and my friend had contact with her as the foster mom knew she was not going to adopt her. however, she is several years older now and in a great adoptive home, but clearly has a degree of attachment disorder. attachment is actually about trust. whatever their beginnings were, there was "trust" in their life. it was their life. again, i think it is about hoping they have the skills to trust again. and you are there, every day trying so hard to help your daughter do that.

r. said...

I remember you writing at one point, back when all the stuff with the car theft was going on, that one of the people from the probation department (I think?) had commented to you, "And your younger children will act this way too, because they're watching and learning."

Given that you don't think Salinda showed signs of attachment disorder before, do you think that maybe it's a "catching" disease? I'm being a bit facetious, I don't actually think attachment disorder itself is learned by watching one's older brother, but do you think it's possible that she's acting attachment disordered because that's what her model of teenage behavior is?

I'm not sure that possibility is any less depressing than the model that completely discounts nurture (in the teen years at least), especially considering that you have several more children coming along the line, but it's just something I wonder about.