Predictably Unpredictable

Over the last few weeks I’ve come to realise that our life now can only be described as ‘predictably unpredictable’ 

The last few weeks in our family have been so up & down that sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going. One thing I do know however, is that we never know what to expect from the day ahead when we wake up

I know that life with children (particularly toddlers) is unpredictable at the best of times, but I know that life with adopted children is even more unpredictable, as I’m slowly discovering for myself.

Each day when we wake up, we’re never quite sure what to expect for the day ahead. Some days are calm and we can get through without any (or minimal) tantrums. Other days are not so calm and we have lots of screaming, crying and tantrums as well as quite physical behaviour (hitting, kicking, biting, spitting). I find these days exhausting and draining, so can only imagine how much more traumatic they are for my little one. I wish I could do more to help her with her anxiety and distress, but sometimes I do the same things each day & yet she behaves so differently so I’m at a bit of a loss.

We try to manage this challenging behaviour as therapeutically as possible, and include lots of praise and encouragement. However, we’re finding it hard to try to distinguish what may be trauma/adoption related and what may be typical toddler behaviour (not listening, defiance, tantrums when not getting what she wants) as we know that these need to be managed differently.  We do tend to assume trauma and have been trying to identify the underlying cause of the behaviour, but we find that we tend to overanalyse everything, and then I think I forget to actually just stop and enjoy the precious little girl I have. My confidence and self esteem are so up and down, it’s such an emotional rollercoaster. What we are experiencing is actually quite low level compared to some of what I read, so I do worry how I’ll cope if things get harder as she grows up. However, I know that she is my daughter and I’ll try everything and anything to help her.

What has been really helpful is twitter and reading other people’s blogs as they give such good ideas to help their children. What they say makes sense and it helps me to know that what we’re experiencing is not unusual (in the adoption world) The adoption training tells you all about the type of children you might adopt and what behaviours they might have, but I don’t really recall much about how to parent these children. I now realise that we were quite unprepared, and we’re doing some very urgent catch-up. We’ve found that some very basic theraplay techniques may be helping, and assuming that she may have missed out on some of the baby developmental stages, so making sure we do lots of basic nurturing. We try to remember that she is (most of the time) probably not being deliberately naughty or difficult, and try to respond to her patiently and calmly. This, like all parents we don’t always manage, but we do try hard to.

After a weekend like we’ve had in which she has not tried to hit or kick me once and has not had a tantrum with me, I hope that we are getting it right and my confidence takes a little soar. However, I have no idea what tomorrow (or tonight, praying for sleep) will bring. Here’s to another week of unpredictability and learning to embrace and try to enjoy it……….


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