When your Child is a Hoarder

Adoption

BE isn’t really a hoarder, but she does show a lot of interest in trash. She always wants to pick up things that she finds lying around, such as a broken crayon in her school hallway, or a cracked cell phone case in the grass. In her recent newsletter, Heather Forbes answers a reader’s question about why her adopted daughter hoards, or collects things. She explains:

“It could be that your daughter’s resistance to throwing things away is representative of her perception of not feeling valued and worthy. This resistance is perhaps a way to recreate a new experience for herself.”

Her solution is a real challenge for me. Both my kids, but BE especially, seem to have an unusual addiction to sweets and even having them in the house can causeĀ a real problem. I think that for my kids, this addiction and the hoarding come from the same place. Here’s what Heather said:

“By accepting her desire to have these items and by working with her on this issue, you are giving her the message that she is valuable, that her ideas are worthy, and that she is lovable — the core issues that are behind this behavior to begin with!”

This is really tough because I want to be in control. I just need to work on accepting my kids where they are. I’ve come a long way, but there’s still a lot of work to do!

Check out Heather’s newsletter on her Web site.

Sharing trauma stories

Adoption

I’ve shared many times that I get nervous when I think about explaining all the details of BC’s early life to him. So far he understands that he’s adopted and that his first mom and dad couldn’t take care of him. But I know a time will come when he (and BE) will want specifics. In her recent e-newsletter, Heather Forbes answered a similar question from a reader. The question was, “How do you give a narrative to a child that suffered neglect as an infant during the first three months of his life, especially when I don’t know the details.”

Heather responds, “The actual details of the story are not important, and in fact, should not be the focus …. The important factors are your tone of voice, facial expressions, posture, and tempo of movement and speech.”

She goes onto explain why sharing this story with a child is important. “The paradox is that in order to move forward, it takes going backwards, seeing the fullness of the trauma and experiencing it at all levels.”

Read more from Heather at http://www.beyondconsequences.com/.

I get scared when you yell

Adoption

One thing I really like about BCLC is that much of it is about improving yourself as opposed to always trying to change your kids.

Another aspect that I’ve come to accept as true for me, is that there are really only two primary emotions – love and fear. So when I get angry because the kids are yelling, it is really fear that is being triggered.

I’ve been working on combining these two concepts, by identifying when I feel afraid/nervous and then trying to do better the next time. I’m also really conscious about being a good example for the kids. So, recently I completely over-reacted when the kids were fighting. After I calmed down, I talked to BE and confessed, “I get scared when you yell,” and I apologized for losing my temper. And, of course we talked about the importance of using our inside voices. don’t know if it meant anything to her, but I’ll keep working on it.

Good enough parenting

Adoption

It’s clear that I’m not perfect and probably no one is more aware of this than me. Yes, it’s true, I tend to be very hard on myself. But, there’s good news for me and all the other imperfect parents out there.

A while back, BCLC therapist RB recommended a book called “Inside I’m Hurting” by Louise Michelle Bomber. The book is meant for educators, but RB mentioned it in regards to our kids’ struggles with school. I’m not finished with the book yet, but I wanted to share the “good news” separate from my forthcoming book review.

As the author writes, “A parent or carer doesn’t have to be perfect, but needs to provide ‘good enough’ care … ‘Good enough’ care means that the caregiver is able to attune to, attend to and satisfy the basic needs of a child adequately and more than adequately, the majority of the time.”

Now, I don’t want to use this to encourage mediocrity, but simply to encourage myself and other parents that our everyday mistakes are not devastating (even if it might seem that way). According to this author, what our attachment-challenged children need is “good enough” parenting, not “perfect” parenting.