Most of the behaviors kiddo had, we understood what the need was and it was pretty easy to address. There are a few things that have annoyed me for the whole time she's been here though that haven't made much progress at all.
- a messy room, not just messy, but insanely messy
- not taking care of things at times or losing them
- the tantrums over homework and not turning in assignments at school
I read something this week though that triggered me to realize I haven't really explored this enough or fully understood it.
Messy room--my initial thought was she was protecting herself so she could hear if somebody tried to enter her room
Not taking care of things or losing them--I thought she was overwhelmed because she has everything she needs and most of what she wants now and at one time didn't even have all she needed
homework--for some reason, I assumed it was a trigger and something had happened regarding bad grades or something and she wasn't sharing
Some of these may very well be the case, but as I was reading this week, I realized it really may go much deeper than that.
My husband came from a similar background and made a comment recently about how he always assumed he'd never live to graduate high school because he'd end up killed by abuse before then. Even THEN it didn't click. It should have though.
Her messy room is a visual sign of the chaos that is still in her. She lived in chaos and became comfortable with it. When she didn't have the chaotic stuff going on here and she's cherished, it became comfortable to turn her room into a chaotic mess to get away to.
Our first family vacation, kiddo had the biggest meltdown and asked us to send her back to residential. After proding and digging into what was really going on, she broke down in tears and said it was overwhelming for us to have that much fun and spoil her so much, that she didn't deserve it. She's gotten tons better and we've had lots of good memories, but she's not taking care of her things to the best of her abilities partially because she still feels undeserving of what she has.
School--well, she still needs to realize that she has a future. She needs to realize there is life later, that she will grow up and she can succeed. She can be a success story and break the cycle. Both birth parents didn't graaduate high school. One is drawing disability, the other is working in fast food.
With a little work, we can help her realize she can and WILL break the cycle, that her future isn't defined by her past.
As she continues to grow, heal and mature, I hope she chooses her future and realizes she has the power to choose actions and impact that future.
I have full confidence she will. She's our smart girl and has come so far. We need to realize we still have to help her and work on those needs behind her behaviors, but that she can and will grow up to be the happy and healthy young lady we dream of her being.