The other day while having a conversation about the usual, Hanna, I was asked "how did you guys parent this kid without support"? It was not pretty, in fact for nearly 3 years every single day, it seemed was a battle. Mom and Dad were trying to keep things consistent, realistic, creating boundaries, and trying to keep everyone safe. The people who were supposed to be helping us to do this were being manipulated, ripped off, lied to, conned, and used. The kid was totally out of control, getting to do whatever she wanted to do, regressing significantly, attempting to destroy our family, and mainly in full blown RAD mode all the time.
During that time it felt as if no matter what we did or how we did it it was not going to work and it wasn`t because as soon as she left the house the kid was free to undo whatever had been done. We banged our heads on so many brick walls and maneuvered our way through so many obstacle courses it was ridiculous. This is when families give up on these kids because they are neither getting anywhere with the kid or the establishment. The parents are seen as the problem and you know there is only so much of that a person can take before they really do become what they are perceived to be, the problem. This is when moms and dads begin to disagree, when siblings get hurt (both physically and emotionally), this is when you go to bed exhausted, yet you can`t sleep because your brain is rethinking the events of yesterday while trying to figure out what to do about tomorrow. Living like this is just plain awful and I never want to go there again!!
Now we have the school, including teachers, paras, and social worker working with us. We have PCAs who are well trained and consistent. We have older siblings in agreement with Mom and Dad. We have a Grandma who gets it. We have friends who really do understand. We have a team that works together. There are times when the kid still tries to manipulate, lie, etc, but most of the time she gets caught and is held responsible for her behavior. There are times when the best plans do not work. There are times when we run out of ideas. The behaviors will never go away. The kid will always have an attachment disorder, but with a team working together we do have consistent boundaries, simple expectations, and a lot less behavior craziness.
Of course not everyone is on board. We just keep working on that. Of course there is a need for more PCA/respite staff (since this is a 24/7 job). They are out there somewhere and we will find them, too. Being seen as a part of the solution rather then the crazy mom makes my life doable. This is still very hard work, but it can be done if we all do it together. I don`t really know how we survived without our support system, but we did. We will still find ourselves frustrated at times in this journey, but as long as we communicate (that is a must), keep things simple and consistent, create appropriate boundaries and continue to care about the kid whatever happens will be okay. Even though the kid will not agree now, we can hope that she will some day appreciate the stable community, friends, and family she has. It takes an incredible amount of effort from the entire team to provide that for her. I just keep reminding myself that she is worth it.