Thursday, September 15, 2016

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child

"It takes a village to raise a child"
                               - African proverb

  This proverb is especially true for those children who have special needs, particularly when those needs involve attachment issues. I remember quaking in my shoes at the thought of sending B to Kindergarten. He was a pro at manipulation and the majority of people fell for his tricks. God answered our prayers and blessed him with a teacher who went above and beyond the call of duty to make the school year a success.

  Joseph may have brain damage but he can sniff out people who are "sympathetic to his case," a mile away. A child with attachment disorder will put up a fake front to manipulate people. Since he is familiar with this type of actions, he can pick it out when someone is using it on him. For instance, Joseph stays with us when we are away so we can help him stay regulated. From time to time we get into a situation where someone misunderstands this and feels sorry for Joseph. They often pay special attention to him and Joseph knows this. He doesn't know how to handle the situation and as a result acts out. When we sit down with him and try to figure out what is causing the latest round of behaviors, it usually boils down to, "_______ was being fake and it gave me big feelings."

  Children with attachment disorder/ FASD need firm boundaries and routines if they are going to succeed. Sometimes some of these boundaries appear pretty extreme or unnecessary, or those in charge of the child feel uneasy requiring them to toe the line. When this happens the child may do well for awhile but when he is back with his parents, it all falls apart.

 Saying things like, "You have a good mom/dad."

"Your parents will keep you safe."

"Your mom and dad love you, why don't you ask them for a hug," when a child comes and asks you to hold them or tries to snuggle beside you.

If the child shows you something from his lunch that he really likes you can say, "Your mom knows what you like and packed it just for you, how special!"

Children with attachment disorder crave love and attention but feel it is too risky to get it from their parents since that would mean relying on mom and dad. If they can get it from others with whom they have no emotional connection, they will. One way of encouraging a bond between parent and child is to have the child receive good things only from their parent. If you want to give the child a gift or treat, give it to mom or dad to hand to the child. 

We have been blessed with a village of supportive people and for that, we are deeply grateful. Parenting children with attachment issues is a tough but rewarding calling, without the prayers and support of you all it would be so much more difficult!


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Picture   Friendship Friday
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