Tag Archives: child abuse

Recommendations From the Psychologist

Today the psychologist recommended my Middle Son switch over to Abilify from his Clonidine ER. She wants his dopamine running. She gave me a rule of thumb: if I get one violent incident per month from him then I need to make the change. She agrees with me on removing milk from his diet, she says I am the second parent in as many days to notice a sort of possession upon the reintroduction of milk in a child like him.

During the session my Oldest Child gave us a rundown of exactly what has happened up to this point with the fourth grade bully on the bus. It seems it started out innocently enough, with tickle chases. But Middle Child does not like to be touched without consent, and to him it would have seemed a torture. So he got some revenge. He hit this big fifth grader hard enough to make him cry, so now this big kid is pretty riled up over the embarrassment and trying to ambush Middle Child every chance he gets. Which explains why he threw my son into the bushes.

I think I have the boys convinced that they need to make a peace offering of cookies. I just hope it works, because although I want my son to be happy, I don´t want to move him over the antipsychotic class of meds.

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Middle Son Observes Life

A few days ago my middle son came up to me out of nowhere and said ¨We have had a hard life.¨

I asked him what he meant. He said ¨well, with our dad hitting you all the time.¨

I told him we have a good life now, I gave him a lot of examples. I told him his father didn´t have to be that way, he could have gotten help from doctors.

I told him I should not have stayed one minute when his father started hitting me, but that I knew he could get help and I had hoped he would.

He used to never talk about his father or his feelings or his opinions at all. I hope getting off dairy brings back my little thinker.

I did not remind him that his father used to hit him, too.

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Milk Elimination

So I kept my son off of milk for the most part for about six weeks. This past weekend we reintroduced it. On Monday he kicked a girl on the bus (still counts even if she started it and tried to strangle him) and later that day he punched another little boy in school. Monday night he lied to me about what happened.

Tuesday I finally got the principal on the phone and heard the real story. Tuesday afternoon I had an earnest talk with him about his behaviour, his honesty, and his consequences. He went berserk. He started hitting himself in the head. He talked about wanting to die. He said he would kill himself. He kicked everything around him. He yelled insults at me, called me names, and told me I didn´t love him, and so he didn´t love me. He wouldn´t let me near him for fifteen minutes of this. When I could get by him I held him, I rocked him, I reasoned with him and he came around. He would not use his TheraTapper, and so without his permission I tapped him on the sides of the knees. I got about thirty seconds in before he figured it out and insisted I stop. There was no more fuss after that. I reminded him last night and this morning that his consequences were in place and that the duration would depend on his good behaviour, three days if all went well.

His consequences are no electronics. That´s all. It was for a day, since the school had also given him consequences, but when his fit started, I upped it to three days. Because fits are not allowed. He can earn them back by getting good marks for each school day left this week, which meant he would have it all back on Friday, behaviour permitting.

Tonight when I picked him up he told me he had been good and asked for his privileges. I reminded him it was three days of good behaviour to earn them back and he called me a liar and started kicking my seat, refused to put his seatbelt on, and screamed for all he was worth. He didn´t stop until I threatened to crack an egg on his head and tricked him into thinking I had done so, twice. We made it home, buckled. He was sullen, but he got into the house. He had hit me once in the car so I advised him that he had lost two more days of privileges, and expected good behaviour to earn them back on all five days.

Then he threw a monster fit. I had had enough, so I joined him. Whatever he said, I said, too. I called myself all sorts of names with him. Whatever decibel he went to, I went to as well. Finally he ran into the kitchen and started hitting at me. I held him off with a box of corndogs and when he had rammed his head into that a few times he claimed I hit him with it and really began trying to get at me. So I held him down on the floor and screamed at him that he may not hit me or anyone.

That worked better. Not a technique I like doing, and not recommended. Intimidating children is not how you teach them. I just do not do well with being terrorized. Been there, done that, have PTSD. I don´t use it as an excuse, so he cannot, either. I did the wrong thing. I was worn out and hungry and tired and had just got home from work. I needed a minute to recoup before another fit, and I just did not handle it the way I wanted to. I stopped thinking.

Since he was done I let him up. He went upstairs on my insistence and had a quiet moment. I miss the days where I could roll him in a blanket and carry him to a safe space. He just got too heavy.

I went up and explained to him that he can always be mad at me, and that he can even yell at me, but that his behaviour tonight and yesterday is never going to be acceptable. I asked him if I hit him and he had to admit I did not. I asked him if I had called him a name and he couldn´t think of anything I said that was spiteful to him.

I told him I don´t want to live in a house with all that yelling and meanness. I reminded him that his privileges depend on his behaviour, not on my whim. I had him go over the house rules that are posted on the wall. He pointed out which he violated and which I violated and then I had to forgo dessert, because I did break the rules by yelling. I left his consequences as they stood after that first hit. He has work to do and a weekend to get through.

I never want him to have dairy again. I told him so.

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The Social Worker is Trying to Recruit Me

My son’s social worker has been asking me to join the Local Advisory Council for NAMI (which naturally focuses on child advocacy) for about a year.

Now she has started sending me the minutes.

Just yesterday she sent me the itinerary for the state conference.

The people attending the local meetings are people I would want to work with.

The state conference is mostly about advocating for children and what to do for children in the case of x, y, z. It looks nearly dreamy. Like I could fill up a notebook and gain some confidence.

She is tempting me.

I don’t want to spend even one day away from my kids at a state conference. I don’t want to take two hours off of my work for local advocacy. I want to do it, but I need to work and raise my kids.

I have been doing community advocacy since I was sixteen. I think she is moving in for the kill.

I have great excuses. I just don’t know if I have the strength to resist.

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

My therapist went over the basics of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with me today. She says it entails talking about incidents that cause symptoms. Like discussing the trauma behind my PTSD.

Well, that is not the sort of therapy I want. She damn well knows it.

I don’t want to talk about what happened to me. I rarely do so. I could use the word “never” and be accurate for ninety percent of my history. She mentions that she doesn’t expect me to start from the beginning and tell her everything, but she says that I throw out bits that shock her. Things that I am nonchalant about, like living on the streets as a child, and she has no idea where it comes from. I tell her I can tell her anything about being a kid, anything, it’s wide open, just not about being battered. She told me my walls are up too high. What walls? Sarcasm, sorry. Truthfully I crack jokes all the way through my sessions, she can’t treat me for laughing.

So I gave her one today. One incident that bothers me so much that I cannot forgive it. But it was nothing done to me, it was when I tried to grab my son to keep him from pushing his sister over and instead knocked him down. He was three. I can still see him crying after, in my mind. Middle Child has the worst PTSD of us all and he was barely three when his mother made him fall down. What if the reason he has PTSD is not because of his father’s actions, but because of his mother’s? Because of his mother’s PTSD, or because of this incident? What if I broke my son? What if the years of his mother being hypervigilant, afraid of punishment for laughter or noise or mischief or mess is what has really damaged him? What if it is me, short tempered and shushing and terrified in those first few years, who has broken him? What if it is the fear he drank with my milk, my fear, that poisoned his development?

The therapist asked me how I could think that, when it was the father who was abusive. She used words like accident and dismissed the incident. I told her most fathers are abusive, right? It is what is expected of fathers, that they should hurt their families or their wives. But to be hurt by your mother, that must hurt more than anything. That would be scarring. Fathers who beat and scream at their loved ones are everywhere, as common as pennies. But mothers who hurt their children are rare. She asks me how I know. I tell her to pull up any public conviction record in any community involving violence. I am more than right. It worsens statistically when you look at sexual abuse. Where I used to live there were 246 offenders, and only one was female.

The therapist and I do not agree. She thinks it is a common and forgivable incident, an accident, and I see it as a crime. I chose to try to grab him and I instead knocked him over. I could have let him go and tried to distract him with a noise. I could have done something else instead of reaching for him when I wasn’t sure I could catch him. He never thought his mother would hurt him.

The teacher said he is always happy in class. I try to remember that when I blame myself. I try to remember that he used to have four hour tantrums and now he has at most ten minutes. I remember that he tells me that he loves me, that he is learning what he needs to learn about his emotions lately.

I don’t want to talk about these things. It does not seem to get easier. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I don’t want to remember on purpose when accidentally remembering is so painful, and I don’t want my children to remember, either.

Maybe I might need ACT, but I cannot find any studies on ACT being done with children, never mind young children. I might have to rethink this and perhaps the kids can keep their therapist if we stick with CBT. For that matter, maybe I don’t need ACT. I work and I keep the kids clean and fed and the laundry never overflows the basket. I function. So many with PTSD do not function. I am fine, right?

She said the clinic is undergoing training on CBT for trauma in children right now. She said it requires that they remember. I can’t win for losing.

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Sometimes Plans Can Backfire On You

The skills therapist is mulling over sending my boys to a new hire in his organization, who specializes in trauma. Because she is more familiar with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

They have been seeing him for over a year.

I would hate for them to lose him.

I have asked him to think about teaching them these skills himself.

Tonight Middle Child was tired and became upset over a minor misunderstanding on movie privileges, and I was able to massage it out of him while joking around and telling him stories about when he was a baby.

That was lucky. It doesn’t always work.

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The Updated Plan – going into 2016

Today I met with the social worker, who I requested monitor my oldest child (read: advocate for) as he navigates through the school system and various therapies. It could be that one day I need her for Middle Child, too. I hope not.

I have new plans. I am always planning. So I gave her the new plans while I cooked dinner for the littles.

We are working on ACT therapy (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) this winter, and perhaps for the next year, and I wish someone had told me about this a year or two ago.

We are working on identifying emotion in ourselves and in others. Also walking away from negativity, or taking a moment away to calm ourselves if need be. I am working on this with them, too, but I remind the psychologist, therapist, and psychiatrist of this goal whenever we meet. I probably mentioned this in the last post.

I have enrolled my own therapist to teach me what the children are learning so I can be consistent with their therapist and teach them to apply ACT in their daily lives.

For parenting we are are going to order a book on the Nurtured Heart technique, which I have somehow never heard of until this week. I hope it is something new, rather than an adaption of something I am already doing. Because I want a cure.

The dog. We are eleven months away from losing our spot on the pre-wait wait list. Yes, there is such a thing. I meant to write wait two times. That is the sort of list it is. I am going to negotiate closer to the Day, because I don’t need an Autistic Service Dog to tether my child. I would rather a service dog track him than try to keep him rooted. Because he is almost as tall as me, and that could very well break a dog. So if he were evaluated now he could lose the spot for his size, anyway. Maybe if I explain that I don’t need such a consideration we can stay on longer and get a dog through a reputable organization. Of which there is exactly one in my state. I cannot afford the training if it is out of state.

If I cannot get a service dog I am going to make one. Because if there is one thing I have been very successful at in life it has been training puppies to be very good adult canine citizens. I don’t know how throwing children into dog training will help or harm, but I think for the children it will only help. Maybe we can get involved in the dog world, too, and meet more nice people. I have always used a modified Barbara Woodhouse basic training with great success, and of course I would supplant that at the appropriate age with a professional who can certify in service. I know of two agencies here who do this, and one is highly recommended by a friend. The issue is time commitment. I would have to pay a neighbor to let the dog out during the day until it became old enough to handle a long wait. I could also get a failed service dog and skip the puppy stage, or adopt a well trained adult and hope it catches on. But those last two would result in a therapy dog, rather than a service dog, and that would limit us in where we can take the dog, as it would be a pet. I know I can pay some two bit huckster online and get paperwork and a vest but I am honest and I refuse to do so. If the dog is not qualified for service, I won’t use it for service.

I am beyond frustrated that there are not service dogs available for children with PTSD, as such a dog would be of service to both boys.

For education we are going to work on fostering independence and executive functioning. I think the independence part will come easily, if I can stop myself from buttering everyone’s toast. The executive functioning bit is going to be super tricky. I don’t know how to teach someone to see what they don’t notice. I have one book that has proved useless on this and so I am ordering another in the hope that it has some practical advice.

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