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Repost: Dana Martin/ UnNanny Consultation


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#1 LMV

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 01:18 PM

I originally posted the passage below on the foster parent discussion group a few weeks ago. I didn't receive any input (probably because no one in the discussion group had experience with this which I sort of expected when I did post it) so I am now reposting this to a wider audience in case anyone has any experience or insight.

5/17/2013
I can't say that our CP/FS caseworkers don't keep up with new therapies and options coming out. In general this is good and overall we have had a lot of support over the years. However, sometimes I do feel like they hear about something and are just determined to suggest it even if it might not be the best option. I should also say that we have never been forced or really even strongly pushed to go with something that wasn't evidence based if we were uncomfortable so I really can't complain.

As you know our youngest foster daughter has really been struggling. Her caseworker was here yesterday and we were discussing everything and she said well maybe it's time for a consultation with the UnNanny. I will admit that I initially really wasn't sure what she was talking about. She explained a little and Evan and I did some reading last night. I realized I had come across her name before in the context of radical unschooling (which we aren't doing---we have let our kids have some input into what they want to learn and have let them discover what learning methods work best for them but we do this from a pretty traditional framework and we still provide some guidance and direction as they go). Last night I was kind of well that's nice and it may work great for the Martins and other families but that isn't really what we're looking for.

Then today I spent another fun day working a lovely EM shift and had several "this is really risky but we can do this or we can do nothing and they will likely die in that case" type conversations with family/patients. So when I was driving home this afternoon I felt like maybe we are really approaching that with our foster daughter. We've tried so much and we're really not getting anywhere. So, maybe we shouldn't dismiss this out of hand.

So, if anyone has done this or has a good understanding of the Martin model for attachment parenting I'd love to hear from you. We did watch one of her videos yesterday evening and it really kind of seemed like she was basically just encouraging parents to let their kids do whatever they wanted in the moment and I suppose in general my husband and I feel that kids need limits and guidance and that is why they are given parents. We tend to favor natural consequences approaches, we really focus a lot on listening to (and hearing) our children, and we explain the why behind our decisions whenever possible. As they get older we give them escalating decision making power and allow them age/developmental stage appropriate autonomy. Long term I don't see letting our kids eat entire boxes of cookies at a sitting (one of the corrective moments in the video we watched) or life without limits and consequences but I suppose I wonder if this approach might work to shatter the shell and then we could pick up the pieces from there. I think if we were trying to do this we would only employ this approach with this one child (which might go against Ms. Martin's philosophy) and I'm not really sure how that would work. Perhaps surprisingly I'm not really concerned about the unfairness contentions of us doing this with only her both because our other kids are either young enough that they are working on mommy and daddy trust or are mature enough to understand that we are just trying to give everyone what they need.

Any thoughts or ideas?


#2 I.Dup.

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 01:51 PM

I saw the Martins on WifeSwap, and I am somewhat familiar with their website. Their older children did not know how to read (their 11yo or 12yo couldn't even read the buttons on the dishwasher), their 13yo or 14yo boy went around without a shirt on and was extremely rude and obnoxious, it was quite a mess IMO. They def. did not paint unschooling in a good light.

#3 LMV

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 01:56 PM

I saw the Martins on WifeSwap, and I am somewhat familiar with their website. Their older children did not know how to read (their 11yo or 12yo couldn't even read the buttons on the dishwasher), their 13yo or 14yo boy went around without a shirt on and was extremely rude and obnoxious, it was quite a mess IMO. They def. did not paint unschooling in a good light.

What is WifeSwap?

#4 I.Dup.

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:05 PM

What is WifeSwap?


Just a TV show they were on. 2 women from very different lifestyles "swap" places for 2 weeks, raise each other's kids for those 2 weeks, etc. She swapped places with a very disciplined, strict mom.

#5 Sassenach

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:11 PM

What is WifeSwap?


A tv show where the moms switch lives for 2 weeks. I think it showed the emotional connection between them and their kids in a good light (especially juxtaposed against the other mom, who was a psycho), but overall did not give a good impression of unschooling.

#6 LMV

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:12 PM

Just a TV show they were on. 2 women from very different lifestyles "swap" places for 2 weeks, raise each other's kids for those 2 weeks, etc. She swapped places with a very disciplined, strict mom.


I can't see us doing that. I think it would be a little traumatic for our children and I already indulge a little mommy guilt when I'm away from home to work an overnight physician shift in the ED. I can't imagine leaving our seven month old for two weeks.

From what we understand with UnNanny Consultation she comes to our house for two days and just advises us. Prior to this child coming into our lives I couldn't imagine us doing this but we really need to do something and I don't want to dismiss anything prematurely.

#7 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:17 PM

I would not take anything from the Martins seriously or consider getting parenting "help" from them. Does that answer the question you were asking? They are neither good examples of AP nor good examples of unschooling.

#8 Sassenach

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:23 PM

I know you don't want to just dismiss anything off hand, but it seems like there are better, more qualified resources for attachment help/counseling than this family. Watch the Wifeswap episode on Youtube and ask yourself if you can imagine living like that. Are these parents that you would revere in real life? I'm frankly shocked that a caseworker would make this recommendation. Also, I don't think it's possible to live like this with just 1 child. You're talking about a radical shift in the way your whole family functions.

#9 LMV

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:34 PM

I know you don't want to just dismiss anything off hand, but it seems like there are better, more qualified resources for attachment help/counseling than this family. Watch the Wifeswap episode on Youtube and ask yourself if you can imagine living like that. Are these parents that you would revere in real life? I'm frankly shocked that a caseworker would make this recommendation. Also, I don't think it's possible to live like this with just 1 child. You're talking about a radical shift in the way your whole family functions.


We've been trying with theraplay (with a therapist who will come to our home so it is one less place we need to drag her) but are really getting nowhere. We have a child who exists but really doesn't seem alive at all. It is quite heartbreaking (and I am well aware that it has to be ten times worse for her than it is for us). I'll try to find this show you're all mentioning and see if I can watch it with my husband tonight after at least our younger children are in bed. Thanks!

#10 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:37 PM

I think you likely need to seek resources for RAD and attachment therapy, which is quite different than attachment parenting.

#11 Slartibartfast

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:49 PM

I would not seek assistance from people who didn't bother teaching their twelve year olds how to read.

This is a classical homeschooling board which is very different (opposite) from radical unschooling, you may receive more positive responses if you sought out a forum which catered to radical unschoolers.

I am surprised a caseworker would recommend them. That is bizarre.

#12 LMV

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:53 PM

I think you likely need to seek resources for RAD and attachment therapy, which is quite different than attachment parenting.


I think some of our natural parenting leanings are in the direction of attachment facilitating strategies. Some more of this is probably born out of our backgrounds. I grew up with a foster brother who is the coolest uncle my kids could have. Then I ended up marrying a man who was raising his son after his wife's death so I navigated that whole bonding and growing (and not stepping on the piece of his little heart that would always belong to mommy) experience. We've had handfuls of foster children come into our lives some who we have been step on their path towards healing and others who have grown into our family. At the same time some of the attachment therapy stuff seems a bit over the top, scary, and frankly abusive.

Neither of the two child psychiatrists who have seen this child feel this is RAD. Both pretty much think this is grief and depression and both are challenging because she just turned five and there is a lot she doesn't fully understand and can't express well. We don't really disagree with their assessment.

#13 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 03:00 PM

I tend toward attachment parenting, especially where little kids are concerned. But, I would call what the Martins do something more like unparenting. There are several foster and adoptive parents on the board who have experience with various types of issues. I don't think you are going to get good responses about the Martins. But, if you have specific issues that you want to PM somebody about, then one of our many foster/adoptive parents might be able to help you find some appropriate resources.

#14 LMV

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 03:01 PM

I would not seek assistance from people who didn't bother teaching their twelve year olds how to read.

This is a classical homeschooling board which is very different (opposite) from radical unschooling, you may receive more positive responses if you sought out a forum which catered to radical unschoolers.


I'll be honest and say I'm not sure we have taught any of our children to read. Of course with the exception of this child we also haven't had a child who got past age four without picking up reading (and then we have guided from there). I'll also be honest and say that right now teaching her to read is low on our priority list. It is probably also futile until we get past all of the other issues. That said, I don't foresee us being ok with her getting to age twelve as a nonreader unless it is just not possibly in the cards for her. I find that unlikely as her older sister is bright and was fluently reading novels when we originally met her when she was seven. Honestly, I suspect that if we can address all of the other issues this child will start reading on her own (and if she doesn't then we'll certainly work on that) and we can help her progress from there.

I'm really not looking for a positive (or a negative) response per se. I was really looking for input and experiences from others. So I thank you, and others who have shared, for yours.

#15 Slartibartfast

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 03:44 PM

I'll be honest and say I'm not sure we have taught any of our children to read. Of course with the exception of this child we also haven't had a child who got past age four without picking up reading (and then we have guided from there). I'll also be honest and say that right now teaching her to read is low on our priority list. It is probably also futile until we get past all of the other issues. That said, I don't foresee us being ok with her getting to age twelve as a nonreader unless it is just not possibly in the cards for her. I find that unlikely as her older sister is bright and was fluently reading novels when we originally met her when she was seven. Honestly, I suspect that if we can address all of the other issues this child will start reading on her own (and if she doesn't then we'll certainly work on that) and we can help her progress from there.

I'm really not looking for a positive (or a negative) response per se. I was really looking for input and experiences from others. So I thank you, and others who have shared, for yours.



I think radical unschooling suits some families well. I have known an unschooler personally whose child's education was exceptional and something anyone of us would take pride in.

However I don't think it suits all families well. If a child is teaching themselves to read and then being guided through then that would be an indicator that it was working to me.

#16 Jvander

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 03:45 PM

Karyn Purvis' work might be a help to you in this situation. Whether your foster daughter has RAD or not, Dr. Purvis addresses the concerns of trauma and grief and how those affect attachment and behavior. Her focus is to help the child heal toward being connected with her family. In " The Connected Child" she gives explanations of psychology and brain chemistry theories that help a parent understand the child's behaviors. She also gives practical tips on how to build a loving relationship while remaining in charge as a gentle, encouraging authority.

From your post it sounds like this method might fit your parenting better than the one you mentioned.

She very well may not have RAD, but it sounds like her grief is preventing her from forming new, healthy relationships and that is an an attachment issue. Also, I know foster parents often do not receive a full history on their children and she might have experienced a trauma of which you are unaware. I hope you have a breakthrough soon and your relationship grows steadily toward a warm and healthy one. You sound like a loving mom searching for answers in a complicated situation. May God bless you as you continue.

P.S. I apologize of this is a repeat of knowledge you already have.

#17 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 03:45 PM

Have you listened to Susan's lectures on reading and phonics?

#18 LMV

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 10:01 PM

Karyn Purvis' work might be a help to you in this situation. Whether your foster daughter has RAD or not, Dr. Purvis addresses the concerns of trauma and grief and how those affect attachment and behavior. Her focus is to help the child heal toward being connected with her family. In " The Connected Child" she gives explanations of psychology and brain chemistry theories that help a parent understand the child's behaviors. She also gives practical tips on how to build a loving relationship while remaining in charge as a gentle, encouraging authority.

From your post it sounds like this method might fit your parenting better than the one you mentioned.

She very well may not have RAD, but it sounds like her grief is preventing her from forming new, healthy relationships and that is an an attachment issue. Also, I know foster parents often do not receive a full history on their children and she might have experienced a trauma of which you are unaware. I hope you have a breakthrough soon and your relationship grows steadily toward a warm and healthy one. You sound like a loving mom searching for answers in a complicated situation. May God bless you as you continue.

P.S. I apologize of this is a repeat of knowledge you already have.


We're familiar with Karyn Purvis and we have both read The Connected Child and we use a lot of her stuff in our daily parenting journey. She has had some trauma (she was on the run with her foster parents for three months and we really don't know what happened during that period). At some point she may also need to TF-CBT but she is nowhere near ready to benefit from that at this point and she may not need it later who knows.

Thanks!

#19 LMV

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 10:39 PM

Have you listened to Susan's lectures on reading and phonics?


No, however, she does talk quite a bit about reading in the preschool chapter of her book. Going by her standards I suppose we do "teach" our children to read but honestly I can't imagine not actively reading to our children from shortly after birth on. Sure it's great for promoting reading readiness but it is also just part of parenting and bonding. I've recently reread this portion of her book because we may need to try to homeschool kindergarten with this child (our preference honestly would be to take this next year to just focus on healing and not worry about formal academics but we'll see what we can get the team to agree to) and I suppose we're doing all of the reading readiness activities but she really isn't demonstrating readiness. I presume that is because of everything else that is going on.

#20 LibraryLover

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 09:54 AM

I cannot believe the Martins were on WifeSwap and this is the first I'm hearing about it!

 

 I see no reason to not try a more relaxed and accepting approach to parenting. Maybe changing it up a bit can help. You never know what might help.



#21 LibraryLover

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 10:22 AM

I'm on my phone and am having a difficult time typing without errors. Sorry.

#22 I.Dup.

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 12:36 PM

I agree that I would rather have Dayna as a mother. Totally. But I was completely disgusted by her oldest child, sorry. No manners, obnoxious, dirty, just gross.

#23 LibraryLover

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 12:44 AM

I agree that I would rather have Dayna as a mother. Totally. But I was completely disgusted by her oldest child, sorry. No manners, obnoxious, dirty, just gross.


Really?

I finally saw the episode. I thought he was fine. (I thought all of children in both families were as well -- It seemed to me that all of the children are loved.) To all her scolding and disrespect, he said only 'damn''.

I thought he was very controlled, given that the visiting mother did not seem respectful of the Martin family. If ABC edited fairly, the youngest 2 looked on the verge of tears in every clip. Also, the child who 'can't read' the dishwasher is shown reading and typing on her phone and computer.

I do think that an African-American mother probably feels far more determined to help her children succeed in our society than a white mother might (that the white mother is a spokesperson for RU is a bit juicier, yes). A black teen male with piercings is typically going to be on police radar more than a young white male. Lamb may believe ever her highly/traditionally educated urban southern CA AA male teen is going to be judged far more harshly in the world/on 'the streets' than an unschooling white boy from rural NH will.

Now that I've seen the episode, I don't think it made any sense to pit these two families (or any families) against each other like that. The white woman rescue bothers me from an embedded racist /cultural standpoint. I also didn't think other teens should have been on camera criticizing Lamb, as it doesn't contribute to helping the family grow closer.

#24 67_others

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 06:51 AM

I saw the Martins on WifeSwap, and I am somewhat familiar with their website. Their older children did not know how to read (their 11yo or 12yo couldn't even read the buttons on the dishwasher), their 13yo or 14yo boy went around without a shirt on and was extremely rude and obnoxious, it was quite a mess IMO. They def. did not paint unschooling in a good light.


I wouldn't base my opinion on anyone on the way a show like WifeSwap chose to portray them.

On the other hand, I don't have too high of an opinion on anyone, especially someone who's living an alternative life style, who would expose their children on a reality TV, knowing how heavily and unfavourable it could be edited.

#25 NotSoObvious

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 07:27 AM

Honestly I would have walked away from that conversation with your caseworker thinking she ws a complete nut.

I think you should be following your daighter's therapist's advice, not her caseworker's. if she doesn't have a therapist, that's where you need to start.

#26 67_others

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:17 PM

I also wanted to clarify that we have strong unschooling tendencies, especially with my oldest. I'm not against unschooling--it works wonderfully for my oldest, and I really enjoy how flexible and unique one's learning path might be.

When I first heard about Dana I was excited. She seemed like such a strong role model. Then she went on (I think) Dr. Phil's show, and I thought she was being naive. She said she wanted to make unschooling more mainstream, and wanted people to understand what it was. Well, it didn't work out because of how the show was edited. Now I don't think she's naive, if she keeps on doing those show. I believe she'd doing more harm than good by exposing her children this way. I now think that she all along wanted to create a business out of it. She started un-nannying when her own children were quite young. I'd never, ever assume any authority in unschooling until my children are grown. Unschooling a 4 year old is too darn easy, it is just called parenting. When it really gets challenging when your child is 12 or 13 and everybody wants to measure them against the public school standard.

So even though I love the ideas that she's advocating for, I wouldn't trust this particular person to have any trustworthy judgement.

#27 LibraryLover

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:40 PM

Lots of homeschooling mothers /parents/ work/ travel, and they don't always bring their kids along.

Not agreeing with RU or military style parenting is one thing, criticizing a parent for leaving a child with the other parent is something else.

#28 MamaBee2013

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 02:18 AM

Perhaps people outside of the Unschooling community don't know this, but Dayna Martin has been exposed as a fraud and is in the midst of an ongoing scandal.  Many people have come out to speak about their negative experience with Dayna as the Unnanny and Unschool leader, there is also more coming out about how Dayna, her character, mental state, lies and substance abuse.  It's just not good.. not good for her family, herself and the overall unschooling/homeschool community.  Best to stay away.  I am shocked a caseworker even recommended her.  Just because a person has great marketing.. it doesn't mean they should be trusted with advising your family. 

 



#29 WishboneDawn

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 10:00 AM

Perhaps people outside of the Unschooling community don't know this, but Dayna Martin has been exposed as a fraud and is in the midst of an ongoing scandal. Many people have come out to speak about their negative experience with Dayna as the Unnanny and Unschool leader, there is also more coming out about how Dayna, her character, mental state, lies and substance abuse. It's just not good.. not good for her family, herself and the overall unschooling/homeschool community. Best to stay away. I am shocked a caseworker even recommended her. Just because a person has great marketing.. it doesn't mean they should be trusted with advising your family.


I know nothing about Dayna Martin but I've got to say that when someone who has only just registered uses their very first post to make some very serious and completely unsupported accusations about another person, I'm not going to be terribly impressed.

This could be an honest warning I suppose. I issued a few warnings on various homeschooling forums a few years ago about the sketchy Mimi Rothschild. But I also supplied links to reputable sources that gave people information so they could evaluate my claim.

I'd you're not willing too do that, then you're simply engaging in gossip and character assassination.

#30 67_others

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 10:16 AM

I know nothing about Dayna Martin but I've got to say that when someone who has only just registered uses their very first post to make some very serious and completely unsupported accusations about another person, I'm not going to be terribly impressed.

This could be an honest warning I suppose. I issued a few warnings on various homeschooling forums a few years ago about the sketchy Mimi Rothschild. But I also supplied links to reputable sources that gave people information so they could evaluate my claim.

I'd you're not willing too do that, then you're simply engaging in gossip and character assassination.


ITA.

#31 calandalsmom

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 01:42 PM

I met Martin at the unschooler get away. My friend saw her fly into a bizarre noisy fury at her children then several years ago. That she maintained the facade all this time baffles me and says a lot about the insular unschooling community.

#32 calandalsmom

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 01:45 PM

Also Marin had deactivated Facebook recently. There were 2 blogs about her recent behavior and a response on Martin's blog which acknowledged the alcohol use and the sexual acting out. Along with some claims of illness. Obviously she is indeed ill. Addiction and perhaps serious mental health problems.

#33 calandalsmom

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 01:47 PM

http://unschoolingth...rumble.html?m=1

Also google rumblings of a magickal housewife for an employee's story of her dealings with Martin.

#34 67_others

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 11:20 AM

Well, I just spent several hours reading through blog posts and comments, and it does seem like something is rotten...

I could never trust Dayna, for two reasons: 1. She presented herself as a radical unschooling guru when her children were very young. As an unschooler with young children, I just knew she simply didn't have enough experience to teach anyone anything. 2. It was very obvious to most in the unschooling community that by putting herself on Dr. Phil early on she wasn't doing the "movement" any favours.

However the extremes described on the blogs seem almost too implausible. They are describing a severely mentally ill person. On the other hand, when several years ago all the ... hit the fan about yet another self-proclaimed and self-published and self-Ph.D.-awarded guru of attachment parenting, it seemed pretty unbelievable as well.

#35 Corraleno

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 01:07 PM

I read some of it, too, and I found the descriptions of her behavior quite believable, because I watched a friend and co-worker go through the same thing, and the behavior patterns were almost identical. My friend was always prone to exaggeration, and fond of "appropriating" other people's ideas and work as her own, but she was also smart, funny, talented, and really good at her job. I chalked up her insecurity and constant need for praise and attention to her really awful childhood. Then she started drinking heavily, and, over a period of about 5 years, I watched her totally ruin her life through alcoholism, drugs, and paranoia.

 

She destroyed her marriage with constant lies, as well as really inappropriate flirting and sexually acting out (including with co-workers, with her friends' boyfriends/husbands, etc). She cut off every friend who tried to help her — one day she would be sobbing that you were her best friend, the only person in the world who truly understood her, the only one she could trust; the next day, having dared to suggest she needed help (other than "helping" her get drugs), you were part of the great conspiracy to ruin her life and she would do everything possible to get revenge. She was an expert at keeping friends apart, telling each one "secrets" and making them swear not to tell anyone because her other friends had betrayed her and couldn't be trusted. Of course, the real reason was that as soon as they compared notes, they would realize that she was lying to all of them.

 

The lies, paranoia, and increasingly erratic behavior eventually destroyed her career.  She tried rehab twice (as a condition of keeping her job) — both times she left within a couple of days because the other patients "were total losers" and she wasn't like that. She lost her marriage, job, home, all her friends, and custody of her child. It was incredibly sad, but you really can't help someone who not only won't accept help, but who sets out to destroy anyone who suggests she needs it.

 

If even one-tenth of what's been written about Dayna Martin is true, I feel incredibly sorry for her kids.  :(

 

Jackie



#36 67_others

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 01:59 PM

I wish there was more information. The person who started the blog reported some of her own reactions that I found deeply inadequate. The same applies to the second person who hired Dayna for her unnanny services. Nothing major, but I keep thinking, are all of those people for real? Maybe they were just so blinded by Dayna and that's why their reactions look odd from the outside.

It seems that there's way more than meets the eye.

#37 LMV

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 02:35 PM

I glanced at the blog link but quickly felt like I was reading something that was really none of my business and stopped.  If Mrs. Martin is struggling with substance abuse issues and or domestic violence issues then I truly hope that she finds the support and treatment resources she needs.  I especially hope that her children have a safe place to go as she and her husband work through these issues if that is possible.  Not knowing her personally, I don’t think I am entitled to know details of her behaviors and I suppose I do question why someone would feel the need to share such a detailed account online.  

We will not be seeking help from Mrs. Martin, however, we had made this decision about six weeks prior to these latest string of posts.  Prior to posting my original thread we had watched a video of an UnNanny encounter and questioned if  some of our overall values and parenting approaches were disparate enough that Mrs. Martin wouldn’t be the best parenting mentor for us.  On this thread people did direct us to the Wife Swap episode and we did reluctantly watch that.  From the show (which we fully recognize was likely heavily edited and sadly very exploitive of several of the minor children involved) we were more convinced that our families were different enough that this would not be a good fit.  We dismissed the UnNanny suggestion in early June and attempted to move forward.

Initially our gains were quite minimal but the child psychiatrist encouraged us to give the medicine a little more time to work and to try to be patient.  We did occasionally see a few brief glimmers of some connection but it was never sustained.  At the end of June she got really sick and was admitted for IV antibiotics.  During that admission she clung to whichever parent was staying with her.  We had to do some alternating as we both had some non negotiable work commitments and we have six other children still at home, two who are younger than she is.  Fortunately most of my husband’s family lives here and were able to help out with our other kids some as well.  

When the fever broke she really was a different child.  It was obvious she was feeling better which was great.  She also started talking which is something she really did not do before [she would answer questions and respond if we initiated conversation usually in the past but she never spoke to us completely of her own accord].  The pediatrics unit has two very cool playrooms [one complete with a wall size fish tank and really large colorful fish, and another that has a pretty elaborate jungle gym with a pit] and she spent a large chunk of one day (while, yes, I was working another ED shift) dragging my husband back and forth so she could explore.  

We were cautiously optimistic when we brought her home with a PICC line to complete another week of antibiotics at home but for the most part the positive changes persisted.  She was even upset that she couldn't go in the pool the first week home because of her PICC line.  She handled that though and fell in love with the cool outdoor playset we have.  The morning we went to get her PICC line out I took her bathing suit shopping afterward and she chose three suits she wanted and we happily bought them.  [We have a pool at home and the kids are in it basically any day the weather is appropriate so I usually consider they need at least three or four suits anyway.]

She continues to do quite well now.  We still have some worse days where she does withdraw a little or get sad for awhile but these are moments that she comes back from not life as normal which they were two months ago.  Withdrawing seems to be less of an issue now and she is starting to actually share with us that she is sad or upset and will let us or her older sister comfort her.  She is also slowly building a relationship with her non biological siblings.  She plays well with our three year old with or without a few similarly aged kids in the neighborhood.  She is starting to form some connections with the other children as well.  We’re continuing with theraplay and finally starting to scratch the surface, we hope.  
 



#38 67_others

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:19 PM

I glanced at the blog link but quickly felt like I was reading something that was really none of my business and stopped.  If Mrs. Martin is struggling with substance abuse issues and or domestic violence issues then I truly hope that she finds the support and treatment resources she needs.  I especially hope that her children have a safe place to go as she and her husband work through these issues if that is possible.  Not knowing her personally, I don’t think I am entitled to know details of her behaviors and I suppose I do question why someone would feel the need to share such a detailed account online.  

We will not be seeking help from Mrs. Martin, however, we had made this decision about six weeks prior to these latest string of posts.  Prior to posting my original thread we had watched a video of an UnNanny encounter and questioned if  some of our overall values and parenting approaches were disparate enough that Mrs. Martin wouldn’t be the best parenting mentor for us.  On this thread people did direct us to the Wife Swap episode and we did reluctantly watch that.  From the show (which we fully recognize was likely heavily edited and sadly very exploitive of several of the minor children involved) we were more convinced that our families were different enough that this would not be a good fit.  We dismissed the UnNanny suggestion in early June and attempted to move forward.

Initially our gains were quite minimal but the child psychiatrist encouraged us to give the medicine a little more time to work and to try to be patient.  We did occasionally see a few brief glimmers of some connection but it was never sustained.  At the end of June she got really sick and was admitted for IV antibiotics.  During that admission she clung to whichever parent was staying with her.  We had to do some alternating as we both had some non negotiable work commitments and we have six other children still at home, two who are younger than she is.  Fortunately most of my husband’s family lives here and were able to help out with our other kids some as well.  

When the fever broke she really was a different child.  It was obvious she was feeling better which was great.  She also started talking which is something she really did not do before [she would answer questions and respond if we initiated conversation usually in the past but she never spoke to us completely of her own accord].  The pediatrics unit has two very cool playrooms [one complete with a wall size fish tank and really large colorful fish, and another that has a pretty elaborate jungle gym with a pit] and she spent a large chunk of one day (while, yes, I was working another ED shift) dragging my husband back and forth so she could explore.  

We were cautiously optimistic when we brought her home with a PICC line to complete another week of antibiotics at home but for the most part the positive changes persisted.  She was even upset that she couldn't go in the pool the first week home because of her PICC line.  She handled that though and fell in love with the cool outdoor playset we have.  The morning we went to get her PICC line out I took her bathing suit shopping afterward and she chose three suits she wanted and we happily bought them.  [We have a pool at home and the kids are in it basically any day the weather is appropriate so I usually consider they need at least three or four suits anyway.]

She continues to do quite well now.  We still have some worse days where she does withdraw a little or get sad for awhile but these are moments that she comes back from not life as normal which they were two months ago.  Withdrawing seems to be less of an issue now and she is starting to actually share with us that she is sad or upset and will let us or her older sister comfort her.  She is also slowly building a relationship with her non biological siblings.  She plays well with our three year old with or without a few similarly aged kids in the neighborhood.  She is starting to form some connections with the other children as well.  We’re continuing with theraplay and finally starting to scratch the surface, we hope.


I'm so glad to hear a positive update about your DD! How wonderful.

I'm not sure I agree about the need to keep information about Dayna Martin private. She is a public figure who charges a lot of money for her consultations and who has what seems like a cult-ish following. I've noticed long time ago that criticism isn't well tolerated in unschooling groups, especially in radical unschooling. If there's indeed a big problem with Martin's behaviour, then only something drastic, as that blog, would be able to shake the followers awake.

On the other hand, her (Dayna's)blog and articles seems to be so sane and grounded.

This is just so strange. I hope she gets help, and that her children are well cared for and safe.

#39 LucyStoner

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 04:36 PM

Glad to read a good update.

I have a general distrust of anyone styling themselves a guru (who is not actually a religious teacher from India) and of people willing to go on reality TV, especially when it involves their children.

#40 Mommy22alyns

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 04:46 PM

Where can you see that episode of Wife Swap?  I can't seem to find it.



#41 LibraryLover

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 05:13 PM

?

 



#42 calandalsmom

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 10:01 PM

Martin acknowledged the blogs on her own tho those posts are now gone.

It's not at all unbelievable behavior to anyone familiar with addiction and mental illness. Sadly.

#43 calandalsmom

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 06:55 AM

I dont think its at all weird of a first post.  Dayna Martin is a hot mess amd it should be told to anyone who has a nutso caseworker who thinks otherwise.



#44 Pamela H in Texas

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 08:18 AM

Unschooling does not appear to work with RAD kids

 

 Though I could see how that would be the case, I have to say that most people on the group I'm on, most with kids with attachment issues of some level or another, many with RAD, go this direction.  I would guess that it probably is no worse for many kids who *wouldn't* do school otherwise.

 

We are considerably more relaxed than I planned to be because of my children's attachment issues.  Their need for structure is outweighed by their need not to be criticized by me.  So we use a lot of technology, interest based learning, natural learning, etc.  We push only when we feel it is necessary which is pretty limited considering the oldest is 7.

 

Anyway, I had a few other thoughts and some info I wanted to look up before I shared more.  It might take a little time :)

 

How long have you had kiddo?



#45 LibraryLover

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 08:22 PM

What a sad story. I have heard less-than -stellar stories about other AP ' gurus'.

Where is Holt when you need him? He was a 'traditional' intellectual, and a musician. He told people to unschool, but he never told anyone not to educate their kids.

#46 LibraryLover

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 08:28 PM

I wish there was more information. The person who started the blog reported some of her own reactions that I found deeply inadequate. The same applies to the second person who hired Dayna for her unnanny services. Nothing major, but I keep thinking, are all of those people for real? Maybe they were just so blinded by Dayna and that's why their reactions look odd from the outside.

It seems that there's way more than meets the eye.


I wonder.

#47 67_others

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 08:32 PM

What a sad story.  I have heard less-than -stellar stories about other hs gurus. 
 
Where is Holt when you need him?  He was a 'traditional' intellectual, and a  musician. He told people to unschool, but he never told anyone not to educate their kids.



I looked up the definitions of the word "Educate" and no, I don't think John Halt would tell anyone to "educate" their children based on those definitions.

But really, your comment rubbed me the wrong way. I don't know any unschoolers who do not facilitate their children's learning to the best of their abilities. Your comment only reinforces the usual misconceptions and prejudice, and I'm surprised by it coming from you.

#48 Pamela H in Texas

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:24 PM

LMV,  I really want to encourage you to remember that this child has had some REAL trauma.  Can you even imagine?!  And then there are the things you don't know.  One thing I learned during my children's first parent's TPR hearing was how seven months was NOTHING.  Now, I regularly forget that.  But there will be ongoing issues for a REALLY long time.   And yet, my kids are doing AMAZINGLY in a LOT of ways.  

 

Yesterday, I texted a friend, "27 freaking months and the kid still doesn't believe I'm going to feed ____ (him/her) even the moment I am fixing food!"  Nevermind that we have fed the children 4-6 times daily for over two years. 

 

You've had the child only several months, right?  I'm trying to remember based on when the family was on the run with her.  I was talking to someone tonight about my son. At the fosterhome just before ours, my kids were being spanked regularly, especially the one.  The reason more him was because he wouldn't calm down in bed and go to sleep.  If you told him to close his eyes, they fluttered open and shut faster than I can make mine do (and he'd do it so long as he TRIED to obey).  We, of course, noticed that he simply *couldn't* do it.  He couldn't lie still because he might....what?  we don't know.  He couldn't shut his eyes.  He simply couldn't.  NOT ONCE.  So this wasn't a choice.  This was where he was.  Here is is 27 months later and he can "pretend to be asleep" like a champ (the rule is that you are sleeping or pretending to be asleep when the clock is blue).  I wish I could say everything has worked out as well. 

 

I'm sure you have your own things.  We have many many many many many more.  Some are success stories.  Some are not.  Some may never be.  

 

I would like to say I'm a good balance.  I make a LOT of mistakes, but....  We run a pretty tight ship.  I really think that helps A LOT.  From there, we make firm boundaries.  I like to say they are soft brick walls.  You can bash into them all you want and it won't HURT you; but it ain't gonna move either.  Usually though, by telling kids what TO do, usually with limited choices, they find it easier to succeed.  Then we focus on empathy, nurturing, helping, teamwork. But I'm far from perfect and have used punishment as well as made plenty of mistakes with my children.

I simply do not believe in un-parenting or non-coercive parenting.  I believe children are given to adults for a reason.  And I believe that the creator has commissioned parents to actively parent day and night, everywhere.  I do think we should try to use empathy, kindness, teaching, and guidance.  I think if we work WITH our kids, we can minimize the use of punishment and maximize children's good choices as well as self-esteem, confidence, thinking skills, etc.  

 

Anyway, I do want to encourage you to not parent in fear.  Don't change styles and such based on "what will she do at 15?"  Instead, remember that regulation begets regulation. Accept where she is and simply meet her there.  The better you handle things the better she will IN TIME.  And it may be a GREAT DEAL of time.

 

I really think there needs to be better support for us mamas who are wanting to help our littles heal.  We need to know we're not alone. We need encouragement to accept and give it more time (which is so incredibly hard when we just want to help).   



#49 LibraryLover

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 03:20 PM

I can see how my comment could rub someone the wrong way, and I agree Holt would not support 'educate' in the dictionary sense of the word. You are right.



#50 LMV

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 09:11 PM

She has been with us full time since February 2013.  I originally met her in September 2011 when her sister was staying with us for a medical respite that got extended and she came to our house to visit her sister.  She was at our house for similar reasons a few more times over the year that followed and actually seemed like a happy little girl.  The withdrawn and miserable little person who came to us in February 2013 was much different.  She is definitely much better now.  [The child psychiatrist thinks the Prozac finally kicked---he may be right.]

It is interesting that people mention that unschooling doesn’t work with kids with RAD.  From what I understand I do think that kids with RAD do need limits and boundaries (even though it seems they will try to trample them) and I think they probably do better with structure and consistency (although I get the impression that for many kids who have never had that it may be a bit of an adjustment process and some of these kids do not transition well).  On the other hand I know that some people have spoken out against sending kids with RAD to school because it just sets up much triangulation between the parents and the school as the child plays both ends against the middle.  Parents have also reporting feeling that because their child’s diagnosis is not understood the school/teacher undermines their relationship with the child further.  I’ve also read posts from parents who do send their RAD children to school because “they just can’t battle with them over school in addition to ’everything else’” or because “it is eight hours of guaranteed respite”.  My heart really does go out to parents who are in a situation where they have far less than ideal support and what I hear in the latter statement is desperation much more than a lack of caring.   

We really don’t think this child has/had RAD.  I’m not saying that she is securely attached to us because we don’t think she is at this point.  Of course she hasn’t even been in our home consistently yet for quite six months so it is probably a little early to expect that for any child.  In her case the depression was so overpowering that she couldn’t even begin to connect with us.  We’ve seen a lot of improvement in that area in the last month.  I do think that on some level the consistent love, care, and concern we have shown her over the past six months has been received and noticed on some level even if she couldn’t fully process it or return it.  I think that is why she has really gained a lot of ground in her relationship with us over the past month.  I realize that some parents of kids with RAD would argue this was just a honeymoon phase and perhaps it is but we’re going to try to be a little optimistic and just keep moving forward.  The connections she does make appear genuine, although insecure and not completely linear.  Given her history that makes sense to us.  

With this new development we’re trying to figure out what to do about school.  Originally we were going to home school kindergarten because we didn’t think there was any way she could function in school.  Now I really think most days she could.  We still have some rougher moments.  Last Friday I woke her up for breakfast and it was almost like we were back to how things were a few months ago.  I got her ready for the day, we had breakfast as a family, she let me hold her and cuddle her for a little bit after kitchen cleanup and then I really had to leave to work a physician ED shift.  So I handed her to my husband who let her build a blanket and stuffed animal cave on the couch in his office and she slept while our other two little ones played on his office floor while he worked on some contracts.  When he was taking a break for snack and potty breaks for our daughters he woke her up and she ate her snack without assistance (which would not have happened a few months ago) and she went outside with them to play.  My husband says she wasn’t really thrilled about playing and mostly just sat on one of the swings more than really swinging but she did get a little more into things after awhile.  (In the past if he was taking the other girls outside to play he would have been leaving her inside to sleep in whatever room our oldest was working on schoolwork or possibly letting her sleep on patio furniture one of the benches in our garden.)  By the time I came home she was mostly back to her new baseline and she even told me that when she is sad she likes to sleep because it is better than feeling sad.  

All in all even the rougher moments are better than where she was a few months ago and they are episodic much more than all encompassing.  The child psychiatrist originally wanted to wait three months before he adjusted the Prozac dose and we’re there now so I guess that will be something else to discuss at her follow up appointment next week.  Given what has happened over the past month I think we would probably lean towards holding out at the current dose for a little longer and see if she can get a little more mileage out of this if we just give it some time.  We think a lot of the depression is/was reactive so we may also see some benefit from the theraplay which she is finally able to participate in.  My concern is that she is still so young and if we increase the dose we may be more likely to run into side effects.  If we’re still seeing a lot of residual problems after another month or so we will need to rethink this and if the psychiatrist advises something different then we will certainly consider that as well.  
 




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