IT’S FINE!…And Rewiring The Brain

Well, my dad came and went. AND IT WAS ALL FINE!!!

We’ve also been through a friend of my sisters visiting for a few days while she was working in town AND IT WAS ALL FINE!!!

Next major hurdle; Gord leaves on Monday for almost two weeks and when he returns my Nana will be coming as well for almost two weeks…

But so far IT’S FINE!!!
(thank you for the tips and advice here and on twitter, we’ve been using them!)

It would seem the issue is with brief comings and goings but all of our long-term visiting success is reassuring!

***

Since regrouping after our ADHD as Attachment DHD revelation, we have made some small changes (again) that are making an impact (again).

We have taken back a lot of control from Jonathan; giving him fewer choices over even simple things (what clothes to wear etc) and answering a lot of ‘why’s?’ with simply “I’m the grown up, you’re a kid” in hopes of him starting to figure out that he doesn’t have to worry about grown up things or be responsible for grown up things, something that we have figured out he needs to do to keep himself feeling safe and to be in control.
It’s a tricky thing to balance though – when I ask him to help with jobs around the house I feel like I’m contradicting myself, even though those helping tasks are age appropriate and normal things…

We’ve also been emphasizing super high praise and rewarding (we were already but now we are silly over the top) and very strict rules (we already had those too but too many chances make things too tricky and hard to understand). We now feel like drill sergeants and crazy over the top clowns, but we are seeing small successes…and thinking back from where we started we are doing pretty well thank you very much!!!

One more thing we’ve done, which I think is a little controversial in some circles, is ‘holding’. I had posted a picture a while ago with Jonathan and I rocking, and although he asks sometimes for this at night before bed it is when he is half asleep (he takes melatonin to slow himself down) and also it’s very brief – he often asks after 30 seconds or so to go to bed.
We decided to take control over this too and try to fill in what he missed as a baby. We are starting with a goal of 1 min, and unfortunately 1 min may be aiming to high right now.  Everyday, we cuddle together, which is fine with him initially. We rock and I’ll sing to him. He can tolerate about 20 seconds and then he starts pushing back. He’ll say things like ‘too tight’ and he gets agitated. I hold on, keeping him close to my body (which is really hard to do, the kid is a hulk!) and sing a song quickly or talk quietly to him. When time is up he is usually eager to continue sitting on my lap, although not being held, and to keep singing and have some tickles.
We (Gord has done it a few times too) have done this for almost one week now and there has been one afternoon where the fighting back was significantly less and one where is was a bit less. I think for us, for him, this may be helping in building some trust and re-wiring some of those brain circuits that have faulty wiring;)

We’ve been seeing more regression type behaviours, nothing major but behaviours such as wanting to be picked up more and squishing in on a chair beside one of us and being really close since we started these changes. We see them as a good sign and we will continue on this path until he shows us that it’s not working for him any more.

Sometimes adoption parenting all feels so clinical and calculated…and it certainly sounds like here from what I’ve described here. If we aren’t thinking about control and filling brain gaps and reshaping behaviour then we are thinking about speech and communication. It can be exhausting and overwhelming sometimes. But rest assured we do sometimes let it all go and just have fun and be silly:)

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4 thoughts on “IT’S FINE!…And Rewiring The Brain

  1. Yeay!! My girls don’t do well with too much choice or control either.
    Whilst they crave it, they can’t cope with it. 🙂
    So glad the visits have gone well so far, and well done you for helping your boy through it all 🙂

    • Thanks Claire! Choice, Control and we’re also noticing structure is HUGE! The weekends are far worse that weekdays when we are busy and more ‘scheduled’. What a learning curve this little boy is! Haha.

  2. Certainly sounds extremely exhausting but so commendable that you are trying so hard to find the right techniques for supporting Jonathan. What amazing parents you are. I remember the early days of your brain whirring as you think through every response you give, hoping that it is teaching a new pattern of understanding, behaviour and ultimately rewiring. I think you will eventually hit on what works and it will become a little bit more second nature than the uncomfortable forced feeling you have now. These things become the routine of our lives. The exaggerated smiles and the firm boundaries. I wrote a post a while back called Three Little Things which was all about the tiny things we did in the beginning which made such a big difference might give you some ideas, although I can tell you’re doing a wonderful job already.

    Thank you for being part of our Weekly Adoption Shout Out xxx

    • Thanks for all the lovely compliments!
      Yes, it’s the thinking about every response, all your words, all your actions…it can definitely be tiring. I will check out your post, thank you!
      Exciting news brewing for the Adoption Social…I’m curious to see what unfolds:)

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