On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taking a Poll from my readers

Sissy was charming, adorable and sweet on the ride to the hospital with the ambulance staff. She chatted them all up and they laughed and giggled the whole way to the hospital. I know because she was sure to tell me all about it when i got there. The first thing she told me was that the EMS guy said he would give her all of his Harry Potter books, all seven of them, because he was moving and was getting rid of things. In fact, this was just about the first thing she told me the very instant I arrived ... and I was still several feet away from her bed and just barely within hearing range.

yeah, because when I'M in emergency and waiting to see the people I love, that's the first thing on my mind, books. Just so dissociated. ANYWAY.

Yesterday the EMS guy showed up at the house with all seven books. Just like all newbies to psychoses and severe mental health, he was all sad and gloomy for Sissy that she was going through this.

Now, on the outside, sure, i can see that point of view. It IS sad that she was abused. It IS horrible that she has so many organic issues. But living this hell? Knowing she makes these choices? Knowing she's a hoarder that doesn't put anything away correctly and now that's seven books to clutter up her space that I just stripped down as a consequence for her behaviors? Listening to a pathological liar all day long? Despising that she can be kind and obedient for EVERYONE but her family? Hearing her say"well mom, you got what you wanted, I'll be out of your hair for a few days and you won't have to listen to me scream at least for those few days while I'm here." I just want to burn the books, burn them in a colossal bonfire.

And I really wanted to "clue in" the EMS guy, but he was just so nice, damnit.

SO

Since I'll admit that my judgment is wrapped up in my worry and anger, i'm taking a poll. Anonymous commenting has been turned on.

Should I let Sissy have the books?
For those of you that have lived through similar circumstances, I'm particularly interested in whether or not something like a gifting of books made a difference in escalating continued defiance and rage.

28 comments:

Mama Drama Times Two said...

I don't think the books themselves matter - but their symbolism is priceless. Will she read them? (no?) Will they clutter? (yes) Can they be used as a nonverbal reminder of what nice things can happen when you CHOOSE to have appropriate interactions with people (yes) when they sit unread can they be a reminder of how she is unable to follow through on even the things she says she loves to do (yes) and still needs help in most areas of her life (yes). I say keep the books. PROMINENT. VSIBLE. FRONT AND CENTER. But, then again, I'm a book slut.

Cyndi said...

The books are not the issue here. The issue is that she is using people ALL the time and this is not appropriate behavior. I think the books have to go as they score for her in that she then finds once again that she CAN use people and get away with it.

GB's Mom said...

My 2 cents: I would put the books prominently displayed, front and center (high, too). Every time she asked or went to read them, I would tell they were given to a polite, cooperative girl and if you ever see her in your house, you would be happy to give THAT girl the books you have been holding on to for her. That's my story, and I'd stick with it.

Marco said...

I really like GB's suggestion. I have no experience with a similar child, so no new insights. Also ... I think you used her real name in your post ... 'just FYI. Maria

Anonymous said...

For my kid, giving the books wouldn't cause a rage, but telling her I'm not letting her keep them when she's in a fragile mood would cause a rage. So I usually just put these gifts-through-mnaipulation away when she's not noticing, and when she asks one day during a calm/stable mood i tell her i am done arguing with adults who are naive and give in to her tricks [plus its impossible to deal with them all], instead she is my kid and i will hold her accountable. So I tell her I will take away the items gained through manipulation, and she will be consequenced instead of the naive adults from now on.
This has helped a little to reduce them, though not perfect of course. And it saves my sanity from no longer needing to chase down every single adult in her life to warn them and convince them.
Though when I do run into the adults I do still make some comment like "Hmmm this interaction seems really sweet on the surface doesn't it? I used to think so too... but try reading up on attachment disorders or mental illness..."

good luck!

missjenngirl said...

I really like what GB's mom says but I can only imagine the fit that she will have, to be able to see them and not have them. May be a trigger every time she looks at them, and who wants that headache.
My thought is... she is a hoarder... Not just of item but of mental trophies too. My concern is that the books would not remind her of how she should act, but instead how she "got over" on another person, and how much fun she had at the hospital.
I might be inclined to tell her that they were... ill-gotten gains, thus they need to be given away.
Or I may not even tell her that you recieved them. What she doesn't know can't hurt you.
Under No circumstances would I let her get her hands on them, yet.
Otherwise what are the consequences for her actions.
That is just my thoughts, I don't know if I have anything to back it up with other than my special ed background, and being the mom of a very manipulative 13 year old. :-\

J. said...

my gut says not to let her keep them and that she needs to find another person to give them to but then I like Gb's mom's idea as well... I am not sure that would be up to dealing with the fallout out from each time though.

jwg said...

Did I miss a posting? What ride to what hospital. Anyhow, I like GB's Mom"s idea.

Happymom4 aka Hope Anne said...

One thing certain sure in my mind, she does NOT get the books right now. Whether you choose to give them to her unexpectedly when she's being good (without letting her know ahead of time that you have them, as long as you don't have to lie to hide them) or tell her you have them but she can't have them until . . . or have her re-gift them to someone . . . I don't have the answers for sure. PRAY ABOUT IT. I've found with my Radlet that God gives me wisdom above and beyond myself sometimes when I ask--which of course, He promises to do in the Bible. I don't think it's healthy for her to learn that she can get gifts by charming strangers and treating her family like trash.

Linda B said...

DQ would escalate in raging and defiance if the books weren't handed over. She would feel entitled and pissed that we would take something of hers. I would put them away and if she asks tell her she'll have to show you responsible behavior before she can have something a person gifted her. It would open up a whole big fight, but I'll be damned if she is rewarded for manipulating and using her disabilty.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it soooo frustrating that something like a gift a books needs to have a very well thought out plan? I would probably keep them out of sight, and then *if* she asks about them, I would let her know that they are there for her to earn. tangible - 1 hour of socially acceptable behavior earns her 1 hour (?) with one of the books? (the behavior she exhibited to get them is the behavior needed to use them?)

I think I'm a little concerned too, with what 'ideas' she might glean from Harry Potter - maybe she'd start looking for incantations to 'deal' with all of you? Who knows.....

prayed that you'll come up with the right approach - julie

Meg said...

ok, my son is not RAD so I may be overstepping my bounds but my son is bipolar and has a lot of the same behaviors and thought processes and if this was us I would not give her the books. In fact, I would not let her ever see the books. The books aren't the issue. And events, conversations, deals made in an ambulance after you have ransacked your house and family are non-negotiable. They are completely off the table of discussion.

She needs to get stable and learn to act right and you are engaged in a huge power struggle with her when the fact is you have the power. As the parent, you have the power. Period. Her behaviors are not an attack on you personally except in her attempt to push you away and hurt your feelings. But if it were me (and I have had to do this with my own son) push yourself away. Detach. Not that you don't care or don't love her because, of course, you do. But your guilt and love for her is getting in the way. Remove your triggers. Remove your guilt. Remove your thoughts that you are doing the wrong thing. Remove the second guessing. Remove yourself from taking it personally. This is not personal. This is a mentally ill child that needs for you to be in control because she cannot control herself.

If she comes home from the hospital and she can't be safe, she needs to go back to the hospital. If she is raging to the point that your other children are unsafe or animals are unsafe, she needs to go back to the hospital. If she threatens suicide as a manipulation, she needs to go to the hospital. If she wants to be a whore when she grows up, say ok. Take that as a sign that she is unstable and it is her mental illness talking. When unstable, my son wants to be a porn star when he is grown. And he is my bio child and fully attached. It has nothing to do with me or how he was raised.

I'll be praying for you guys.

Debora said...

No! I would say don't give them to her. We've had issues with people giving things to our children...they just don't understand. And early on, too, when we had just gotten home. We still don't really feel like the kids are invested in the family or very bonded to us 14 months in. Also, those books would be a privilege, and you and she both know that she has lost, not earned, priveleges.

In the third paragraph, you used Sissy's real name...

Hugs to you!

Gwenith said...

I generally agree with what everyone else has said about the books.

I just wanted to mention that you used what I assume is Sissy's real name in the paragraph where the EMS guy dropped them off.

Good luck with everything you're going through!!!!

Kristin said...

I love GB's Mom's suggestion. I absolutely 2nd, 3rd or 4th it. *hugs*

Jules said...

HELL NO! I think you should give them to your other kids for putting up with her

Anonymous said...

Yeah....let's give books on witchcraft to a RAD kid.
That aside, I would not give her the books. I would not even let her know you got the books. I love GB's idea, but that would set you up to be the bad guy yet again. Maybe you should take AB and WG in to talk to the docs....let the docs hear from the other kids exactly what they live with everyday.

Jules said...

Interesting that all the comments from the geniuses who think Harry Potter is all about witchcraft are anonymous. Well, no, not so much "interesting" as it is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is gained through manipulation. Donate the books to a worthier cause.

Corey said...

Sounds like a bloggy giveaway!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, you should give them to her.

marythemom said...

I'm in the "do not give them to her" camp. If you think she'll eventually be able to enjoy them in the future then you could let her know that she can earn them. If you don't think she'd enjoy them anyway then you can sell them at a garage sale (or e-bay or craig's list or whatever) and use the proceeds to pay for some of the things she's damaged. Or I like Corey's idea of a blog giveaway or someone else's of donating them to someone who'll appreciate them.

Mary in TX

Bren said...

It does not take a "genius" to figure out Harry Potter is about witchcraft....he is a warlock. He casts spells. He goes to school to learn how to cast spells. Normal children may be able to handle this content appropriately, but traumatized kids may have some problems in this area. It would be a huge concern in my home, with my daughter who experienced real life witchcraft in her early years. This is really not about content though....this could be an Anne of Green Gables series of books and my opinion would be the same. Those books would always be a reminder of her successful manipulation. I would not let her know she even got them. That way in her mind her manipulation did NOT work. Love ya!!! You are in my prayers daily.

Jules said...

Bren, to be honest, I am not a fan of Harry Potter myself and you're right in thinking that it's not a good idea for RAD kids to read them.

However, it makes me very nervous when you consider that being accused of witchcraft is reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials back in 1692, when many community members were tortured and murdered for their supposed association with the devil.

marythemom said...

We have major issues with Harry Potter at our house, but not because of the witchcraft (or wizardry), but because the intensity is apparently overwhelming for my daughter. She related too much to the characters. (Harry Potter is a miserable adopted child that is unwanted by his adopted family and treated horribly - he is sent away to a residential institution where he is looked down on, teased, has to sneak around and trick people who are out to get him, and gets to have revenge on people. The only people who care about him are his friends...

... what's not to like?

That being said, I personally love the books and movies and have read them all. I allow my neurotypical teen to read/watch them with no concerns. My adopted daughter is only allowed to watch the movies with supervision and when she is stable.

Of course this has little if anything to do with whether or not she should be allowed to keep the books. Unless you've already decided to let her keep the books, and then you have to decide if they are appropriate. (Or vice versa if you think they are innappropriate then the whole decision is moot too.)

Tough decision. Hugs and prayers!

Mary in TX

Bren said...

Just my opinion Jules...In my view Harry Potter is a book in which witchcraft (not satanism) is the main focus of content. I am a book LOVER and embrace freedom of speech and print so I would never say Harry Potter books should be banned or burned or any such thing. In context to a RAD child I think they could be quite dangerous.
The Salem Witch Trials were a travisty. Horrific that innocent people were tortured and burned at the stake for something that was not even real. I think Harry Potter, who's author does not even try to hide the fact that spells and sorcery are the main objective of the characters, is a totally different thing. I also do not believe the author should be burned at the stake either. ;) If for some reason my opinion offends you PLEASE forgive me and know it is JUST my opinion...we all have them and I respect yours. <3

Jules said...

No offense taken at all! You're a good egg Bren :) :)

Miz Kizzle said...

I'd put them away and give them to her one at a time when she's being cooperative and pleasant. But then my kids don't have RAD or any other diagnoses so if they were given books I'd hand them over right away. It must suck donkeys to have to weigh every little option to try and ward off disaster instead of just living life with your family.