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Melissa in Australia

Advice sought on punishment for child

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Hi everyone. I am having some difficulty with coming up with an acceptable punishment for the twins. I have constraints put on me because I do not have Guardianship ( DHS has) and they come from a very troubled past- so no physical punishment and no punishment that involves them being put somewhere like a bedroom (no time out), no punishment that could be misinterpreted by the child as a rejection etc....

 

At the moment what I am doing is I have a chair that I put near me and they have to sit on it for 3 minutes. I have a 3 minute eggtimer that they can watch to see when their time is up. they use this chair for things like trying to smash windows, slamming their brother's head in the door on purpose and throwing sand in to the other twins eyes on purpose ( a deliberate and ongoing occurrence). I need some sort of punishment for really big misdemeanors. like today... the twins have been told a million time to not whack the cockatiel cage with sticks. All sticks have been removed, whacking the birds resulted in sitting on the chair, they have been spoken to kindly, and sternly etc. today I was trying to fix the washing machine ( outside laundry with the cockatiel cage just outside the laundry door) the twins were right behind me. twin 2 said look at the bird being silly. I glanced over and saw the bird lying on its back slowly turning in a circle. I managed to flip it over and it crawled up to its perch. I spoke to the twins in a kind but firm manner and asked them if they had done anything to the bird. no response. I said that the bird looks hurt and if it is hit with a stick or banged it will hurt the bird. as I did not see any stick around and didn't hear any noise I could not be positive that either of the twins had done anything. I went to the house and washed my hands and heard a banging sound- look out the window and twin one has the broom handle in the cage and has pushed the cockatiel up against the back of the cage. I think the bird is going to die. it is now sort of half laying half sitting on the bottom of its cage. the bird belongs to ds19, he loves that bird, and has had it since he was 5 years old. AGH! Twin 1 has spent 3 minutes on the chair, while he was on the chair he chucked his regular tantrum but once off he thought the whole thing a joke.

 

 

It is behaviour like this that I need a punishment for. 3 minutes on a chair isn't doing anything at all. The bird has been temporarily moved to the shed. But there are other similar things happening that cannot be removed, shifted, changed etc.

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they have just turned 4. They do not care for rewards or removing things, it doesn't matter to them at all -

 

they have been living  with me for just under 6 months and prior to that in foster care for over 2 years.

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Or a chore? My kids behave better when they know there are dirty toilets that need to be scrubbed and mom's just waiting for someone to misbehave.

they are a little bit young/ incapable for a chore yet- though the one that scribbled all over the TV, coffee table, rocking chair and recliner with a marker had to rub over it with a cloth ( not that it came off) unfortunately he thought that a treat

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They sound like quite a lively bunch... Maybe tomato staking? It sounds like they get in the most trouble when they are not supervised. Maybe assigned one person to always be by their sides? Hour long shifts?

Sorry, mama. It sounds rough.

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they are a little bit young/ incapable for a chore yet- though the one that scribbled all over the TV, coffee table, rocking chair and recliner with a marker had to rub over it with a cloth ( not that it came off) unfortunately he thought that a treat

Yeah, 4 is pretty young for that kind of punishment.

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Well - I don't agree with much else on the website that supports this method or the book....   but this one part I would go for in this circumstance - I think you will need to 'Tomato Stake' them - they can't be anywhere but with you.  Not out of sight.  I've never done this - but I can't think of an alternative right now.  I'm not sure what a parent is supposed to do about going to the bathroom, etc though.

 

 

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I think at that age constant supervision will be best deterrent.

Constant supervision is great in theory, but in reality there are two of them and one of me. Everyone else that lives here is either at work or away with DH camping for the week. I have to do some things like fix the washing machine ( why did it have to break this week) or go to the toilet  or even take the other twin to the toilet which leaves one momentarily unsupervised.

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I think I would have to focus on getting to the root cause of the aggression.  This doesn't seem like behavior you can punish your way out of.  Do they/you have a professional counselor who is working on this sort of behavior?  Harming pets deliberately is worrisome, to say the least.

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I am honestly really troubled by this. I don't think it's a punishment issue. I hope they're receiving intensive specialized therapy. The only practical thing I can suggest is to echo the recommendations for constant supervision. The children must be in front of you at all times. I don't believe you can fix this by punishing. I believe it has to be addressed through other means which I think are beyond the scope of 'average' parenting.

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I don't think he completely understands that he was harming or possibly  killing the bird.  More probably he is challenging me- to see how far he can go in this relatively new placement and what will I do if he breaks the rules - at least that is what  I have been told in regards to other incidents.

 

 

Root cause of aggressing is known-  they have  been in foster care for over 2 years, - and before that had a very troubled past.

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I am honestly really troubled by this. I don't think it's a punishment issue. I hope they're receiving intensive specialized therapy. The only practical thing I can suggest is to echo the recommendations for constant supervision. The children must be in front of you at all times. I don't believe you can fix this by punishing. I believe it has to be addressed through other means which I think are beyond the scope of 'average' parenting.

 

 

that is what I am finding- they are beyond my scope of normal parenting. I am afraid that I am finding it hard to remain calm.

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I agree this is beyond typical behaviors. Are they in counseling? Have you researched attachment disorders? The bird might need to live in a spot inaccessible to them. Sounds like they are targeting something that is weaker than they are and something you care about.

 

I have had over 100 foster kids and I would be pushing for specialized therapy for them...not just run of the mill type, and any assistance you can get the workers to get you.

 

You might just have to keep them both close at all times...even taking both to the bathroom with you when one needs to go if you are alone.

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OP, please research attachment theory. This is not a punishment issue. These children have a damaged ability to attach and trust. Typical parenting approaches are not appropriate or effective. Do not leave them alone with pets. Period. Constant supervision. This is not a behavioral issue and you cannot treat it as such.

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OP, please research attachment theory. This is not a punishment issue. These children have a damaged ability to attach and trust. Typical parenting approaches are not appropriate or effective. Do not leave them alone with pets. Period. Constant supervision. This is not a behavioral issue and you cannot treat it as such.

:iagree:

 

Are they in specialized counseling/therapy?

 

Any chance of hiring help at least a couple of days a week to give you a break and keep them carefully watched?

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This sounds extremely troubling both in terms of violence toward animals and violence toward each other.

 

I think you need some professional input.

 

Maybe they need to be placed separately where both can be supervised at all times.

 

Before I got into being a foster parent and adopting my son, I found learning about things like RAD and other extreme problems that children can have when they have not had secure attachments was helpful.  There was a wonderful Yahoo group as I recall, but I cannot remember its name right now.  I don't know if it even still exists, but you might try searching for RAD on yahoo groups.

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I would probably put one of those harness things on each of them and tie them too me 100% of the time.  Hurting an animal is very, very serious.  I would FLIP if a child hurt an animal, especially one that belongs to another child. 

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I am really, really hesitant to post this.  Please, no rotten tomatoes, but have you ever thought about investigating "holding time"?  I don't know if it fits your parameters or not--it is not physical punishment, but it is physical.  I used it several times with my adopted child when she was about 18 months old and exhibiting oh, I can't even remember what behaviors, but something that made me think she wasn't attaching.  It produced miraculous results in our case.  It would be difficult to do with one without someone there to watch the other twin, though.  It may have fallen out of favor with adopted kids since then; I haven't kept up since we're so far past those early stages (she is 15 now and solidly attached).

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they have just turned 4. They do not care for rewards or removing things, it doesn't matter to them at all -

 

they have been living  with me for just under 6 months and prior to that in foster care for over 2 years.

I think you have to quit thinking in terms of them being four and quit thinking in terms of punishment. Some people say when a new child comes to your home, count that as the day they were born. In that system, you are dealing with six-month-old kids with amazing motor skills for their age (and past trauma that may have included physical violence). Punishment will probably only make things worse. (I have had a child like this, so I know what I am speaking of.) What is going on inside them is way way stronger than any punishment you could possibly give. Rewards probably won't work either. In my child's case, even rewards generally made things dramatically worse.

 

I agree with the kids being with you every single moment. Everyone can go to the bathroom together, unless there is some prohibition to that due to custody issues and/or past sexual abuse. If that is the case, you probably need to hire help for the near term so that someone can watch the kids when you cannot. If you cannot hire help, look for volunteer help, e.g. post it in a church bulletin and get a volunteer mother's helper. I would also suggest an alarm on their bedroom door so they cannot wander and get into trouble at night. That may sound extreme, but this is a safety issue. Also, go through the house with a fine tooth comb and get rid of anything you can imagine could be hurtful or lock it up. Then assume that you have, of course, missed something.

 

I would also suggest professional advice on how to help the children deal with past trauma and any problems that may be happening in the attachment process. These are not kids that can be shaped by punishment. They need to be parented from the inside out. Another good thing would be to have formal nurturing time for each child. (Again, you may need to get help.) Each child could have a set period of time in which you hold them and give them attention. You can have special toys or books for this time. You can play eye contact games or food games, "play baby" (perhaps even feed with a bottle), sing special little love songs. Anything to help them feel the strength of your love.

 

I wish you well. This would be hard with one and is probably five times as hard with two. You probably really need to find someone to help you. You probably can't do this alone.

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.

 

Maybe they need to be placed separately where both can be supervised at all times.

Oh that would be so cruel.  they have already lost their parents, their foster parents, their siblings . the ONLY constant they have had in their entire life in EACH OTHER. one frets when the other is asleep and out of sight.

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I would probably put one of those harness things on each of them and tie them too me 100% of the time. Hurting an animal is very, very serious. I would FLIP if a child hurt an animal, especially one that belongs to another child.

OP cannot flip out on two traumatized foster kids. If Op cannot manage the behaviors and special needs, then this is not the right placement.

 

OP, you need professional help. I implore you not to continue on as you have. Call your caseworker and get a referral to a therapist who specializes in kids in foster care. Continuing on as though these children are in need of punishment is very damaging to them.

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I am really, really hesitant to post this.  Please, no rotten tomatoes, but have you ever thought about investigating "holding time"?  I don't know if it fits your parameters or not--it is not physical punishment, but it is physical.  I used it several times with my adopted child when she was about 18 months old and exhibiting oh, I can't even remember what behaviors, but something that made me think she wasn't attaching.  It produced miraculous results in our case.  It would be difficult to do with one without someone there to watch the other twin, though.  It may have fallen out of favor with adopted kids since then; I haven't kept up since we're so far past those early stages (she is 15 now and solidly attached).

I am doing something similar- deep pressure theory, rolling them up in a towel and doing a chopping motion on four sides of the body. it works really really well with twin 1 for self harming tantrums  but does nothing for twin 2. It isn't a punishment though- but rather a therapy to help them gain control of themselves when they have lost control- not something I do for when they have done an misdemeanor .

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I am doing something similar- deep pressure theory, rolling them up in a towel and doing a chopping motion on four sides of the body. it works really really well with twin 1 for self harming tantrums but does nothing for twin 2. It isn't a punishment though- but rather a therapy to help them gain control of themselves when they have lost control- not something I do for when they have done an misdemeanor .

Just to clarify--holding time is not a punishment, either. It is to promote attachment, the lack of which gives rise to all manner of troubling symptoms.

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OP cannot flip out on two traumatized foster kids. If Op cannot manage the behaviors and special needs, then this is not the right placement.

 

OP, you need professional help. I implore you not to continue on as you have. Call your caseworker and get a referral to a therapist who specializes in kids in foster care. Continuing on as though these children are in need of punishment is very damaging to them.

sorry I am not sure if you were addressing me or not. I didn't flip out at the child at all. rather I put him on the chair for 3 minutes and after that played a game of connect 4  (  just slotting the pieces) and after the rest of the morning was done, with me right beside them playing with them taking to them etc etc. and they went down for a little nap I came on here to try to find  suggestions for consequences for inappropriate actions.

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sorry I am not sure if you were addressing me or not. I didn't flip out at the child at all. rather I put him on the chair for 3 minutes and after that played a game of connect 4 ( just slotting the pieces) and after the rest of the morning was done, with me right beside them playing with them taking to them etc etc. and they went down for a little nap I came on here to try to find suggestions for consequences for inappropriate actions.

No, I was addressing the poster I quoted, not you.

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I am really, really hesitant to post this.  Please, no rotten tomatoes, but have you ever thought about investigating "holding time"?  I don't know if it fits your parameters or not--it is not physical punishment, but it is physical.  I used it several times with my adopted child when she was about 18 months old and exhibiting oh, I can't even remember what behaviors, but something that made me think she wasn't attaching.  It produced miraculous results in our case.  It would be difficult to do with one without someone there to watch the other twin, though.  It may have fallen out of favor with adopted kids since then; I haven't kept up since we're so far past those early stages (she is 15 now and solidly attached).

Holding time has fallen out of favor since then. It is a great technique (made my daughter feel much much much more secure for a while) but considered very controversial. If you want to know about it read the book Holding Time by Martha Welch (could be slightly different title or author). A lot of people I respect would say that you should not do holding time except under the direction of a professional. Ten years ago there was a therapist who would come to homes and provide holding time help and advice. I cannot, unfortunately, remember his name.

 

You could look into therapies that are more in vogue. There is neurofeedback, neuro-reorganization, and probably many more. The difficulty is that it is hard or impossible to get insurance to pay for it.

 

The yahoo group someone may have referred to is attach-china. They also have a website attach-china.org that links to the yahoo group. You do not have to have adopted from China to be part of the group. There is another group that is more active these days and has a lot of parents experienced with very difficult kids. I cannot at the moment remember the name. But if you joined the attach-china group you could ask about other groups and someone would tell you. Oh, it might be ATN for attachment trauma network.

 

Get support as soon as you can, online and in real life. This is going to be very very difficult.

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I think you have to quit thinking in terms of them being four and quit thinking in terms of punishment. Some people say when a new child comes to your home, count that as the day they were born. In that system, you are dealing with six-month-old kids with amazing motor skills for their age (and past trauma that may have included physical violence). Punishment will probably only make things worse. (I have had a child like this, so I know what I am speaking of.) What is going on inside them is way way stronger than any punishment you could possibly give. Rewards probably won't work either. In my child's case, even rewards generally made things dramatically worse.

 

I agree with the kids being with you every single moment. Everyone can go to the bathroom together, unless there is some prohibition to that due to custody issues and/or past sexual abuse. If that is the case, you probably need to hire help for the near term so that someone can watch the kids when you cannot. If you cannot hire help, look for volunteer help, e.g. post it in a church bulletin and get a volunteer mother's helper. I would also suggest an alarm on their bedroom door so they cannot wander and get into trouble at night. That may sound extreme, but this is a safety issue. Also, go through the house with a fine tooth comb and get rid of anything you can imagine could be hurtful or lock it up. Then assume that you have, of course, missed something.

 

I would also suggest professional advice on how to help the children deal with past trauma and any problems that may be happening in the attachment process. These are not kids that can be shaped by punishment. They need to be parented from the inside out. Another good thing would be to have formal nurturing time for each child. (Again, you may need to get help.) Each child could have a set period of time in which you hold them and give them attention. You can have special toys or books for this time. You can play eye contact games or food games, "play baby" (perhaps even feed with a bottle), sing special little love songs. Anything to help them feel the strength of your love.

 

I wish you well. This would be hard with one and is probably five times as hard with two. You probably really need to find someone to help you. You probably can't do this alone.

I think you  are getting the wrong view of them . They are not that bad. they sleep all night, etc beautifully and on the whole are pretty good. I cannot hire help or have a volunteer watch them > I cannot put them into the care of anyone apart from DH, myself the other children who live here or my mother- this is part of the process to get attachment happening.

 

They cannot go into the bathroom with me while I am going to the toilet.

 

I have been advised to have very firm rules with them on what is allowed and not allowed- and appropriate consequences for inappropriate behaviour,  as this will make them feel safe. not punishing ( or as you would prefer having negative  consequences for inappropriate actions) will be very detrimental to them.

I al also very aware of nurturing time etc and we do LOTS of that. I have extensive experience with children and have had extensive training on dealing with children coming out of foster care- sigh!

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There are some very good book suggestions at the attach-china.org address. I know you probably can't imagine having time to read, but you either need a fast course from a therapist or you need to acquire more knowledge yourself. Better yet, both. It is hard to know if a therapist is good or not unless you have a personal recommendation from someone with similar kids or have educated yourself. There are bad therapists out there who will tell you that you just need to be more patient etc or who will even blame their issues on you, although you were not present for most of their lives. Run from such therapists and find someone who can be empathetic with you and the kids and give you concrete advice on what you should do to help them heal from the past.

 

Just to give you hope, my girl is an amazing, wonderful teen, wise beyond her years, well-attached, everything I would want in a daughter and more. You can make progress, but I believe that will require a lot of help.

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they have just turned 4. They do not care for rewards or removing things, it doesn't matter to them at all -

 

they have been living with me for just under 6 months and prior to that in foster care for over 2 years.

At four? I'd be tomato staking by having them right next to your working alongside you, and losing free playtime. Alternately, if they're being violent, I'd be holding them still on my lap until they were calm and willing to go back to the activity properly. If they misbehaved again they'd go right back up on my lap or alongside me. Rinse, repeat.

 

I wish there was a better way, but with the constraints against you by lacking guardianship this seems the most effective and you're gently training them, not giving any impression of distaste or rejection.

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...they use this chair for things like trying to smash windows, slamming their brother's head in the door on purpose and throwing sand in to the other twins eyes on purpose ( a deliberate and ongoing occurrence). ...

 

 

This sounds serious, and like something that could result in serious disability, even brain damage or blindness.  Are you exaggerating it?

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pronghorn we have already made more progress than the professionals thought possible in such a  short time. one twin would scream for 6 hours a day- he now only screams for 1 1/2 -2 hours a day) one would self harm several tiems a day - now it is only once a week or less and only while throwing a tantrum- both of them had a vocab of less than 50 words, they can now hold conversations- one was not even walking. progress is being made very rapidly, very rapidly.

 therapists do not exist in my area and already we are doing a major trip every week  or so to see one specialist or another ( traveling 100's of km)

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that is what I am finding- they are beyond my scope of normal parenting. I am afraid that I am finding it hard to remain calm.

I have a hard time with that even with my own kids, who have no challenges like attachment issues to contend with!

 

Sometimes I have to put the kiddos in a safe place and excuse myself for a few minutes to pray and regroup. Or you could pull a Susanna Wesley and put your apron over your head to indicate you need a quiet moment :)

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pronghorn we have already made more progress than the professionals thought possible in such a  short time. one twin would scream for 6 hours a day- he now only screams for 1 1/2 -2 hours a day) one would self harm several tiems a day - now it is only once a week or less and only while throwing a tantrum- both of them had a vocab of less than 50 words, they can now hold conversations- one was not even walking. progress is being made very rapidly, very rapidly.

 therapists do not exist in my area and already we are doing a major trip every week  or so to see one specialist or another ( traveling 100's of km)

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

You are between a rock and a hard place.  I commend you for working so hard to help.  

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This sounds serious, and like something that could result in serious disability, even brain damage or blindness.  Are you exaggerating it?

no- one throws sand in the other's eyes at least every second day. they the 3 minutes on the chair plus not allowed down to the sandpit for a length of time is having an effect though-

 

I have twin brothers, it is within the range of normal for twins to harm the other one when the get mad- their case manager agrees  that it is within the realms of normal 3-4 year old behaviour.

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You can not do this "alone" and without specialized help, support, and suggestions.

 

RAD is some jacked up, serious stuff.

 

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I think you  are getting the wrong view of them . They are not that bad. they sleep all night, etc beautifully and on the whole are pretty good. I cannot hire help or have a volunteer watch them > I cannot put them into the care of anyone apart from DH, myself the other children who live here or my mother- this is part of the process to get attachment happening.

 

They cannot go into the bathroom with me while I am going to the toilet.

 

I have been advised to have very firm rules with them on what is allowed and not allowed- and appropriate consequences for inappropriate behaviour,  as this will make them feel safe. not punishing ( or as you would prefer having negative  consequences for inappropriate actions) will be very detrimental to them.

I al also very aware of nurturing time etc and we do LOTS of that. I have extensive experience with children and have had extensive training on dealing with children coming out of foster care- sigh!

I am sorry if I have the wrong idea. You did mention punishment, though. And then you seemed to say consequences did not have an impact on them. I also was not suggesting you put them in the care of someone other than you. I was suggesting that you have someone watch them while you are in the bathroom. They could call you if any actual care was required. That would hurt the attachment process less than the children hurting pets.

 

I did not mean to make you sigh or to insult your nurturing skills. I know you have enough on your plate without an insult or guilt trip from me. You can certainly ignore any advice I gave that was not pertinent. I was just speaking from my experience with my child and the things that helped. She was not that bad either. She never hurt a pet, although she did have problems with sleep and self-regulation and attachment. My advice is just be sure you are getting good advice that leads to progress. There is a lot of bad advice out there. Or good advice that perhaps will not work for your particular kids.

 

I wish you well. And I know that your kids are much-loved, wonderful kids. But they certainly have had to deal with a lot. In my opinion, you can't have too much support.

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I am doing something similar- deep pressure theory, rolling them up in a towel and doing a chopping motion on four sides of the body. it works really really well with twin 1 for self harming tantrums but does nothing for twin 2. It isn't a punishment though- but rather a therapy to help them gain control of themselves when they have lost control- not something I do for when they have done an misdemeanor .

That is great! And honestly between supervision and redirection, I'd definitely view their challenges as a lack of control needing a similar securing response. I think these are probably facets of the same root issue of attachment and it may be that you can handle them the same. When they have disobeyed or done something inappropriate, clearly explaining the problem and separating them from the situation, along with cuddling/holding them to 'reset' the situation and calm everyone down seems like a good solution. It might not be as effective as other forms of correction and teaching, but it sounds like what they need.

 

I imagine this is extremely difficult for your. I'll be praying you find the right solution to help them and keep order and peace in your home :)

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sorry I am not sure if you were addressing me or not. I didn't flip out at the child at all. rather I put him on the chair for 3 minutes and after that played a game of connect 4 ( just slotting the pieces) and after the rest of the morning was done, with me right beside them playing with them taking to them etc etc. and they went down for a little nap I came on here to try to find suggestions for consequences for inappropriate actions.

I missed this. Melissa, I know this is hard but I honestly think you handled that situation wonderfully. Don't be too hard on yourself, it takes time with little ones coming in from traumatic situations.

 

Separating him, playing a game, and keeping him close by was great. Really.

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OP, this is a very difficult situation, and it seems that you have not been provided adequate support and preparation.

 

Get rid of the sand box for now since it is an ongoing problem. They are not able to manage their interactions with sand well at this time. Think along the line of eliminating things that are an ongoing problem rather than constantly setting them up to need chair time outs. You are asking them to change their behavior, but it is not effective so eliminate the sand.

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Constant supervision is great in theory, but in reality there are two of them and one of me. Everyone else that lives here is either at work or away with DH camping for the week. I have to do some things like fix the washing machine ( why did it have to break this week) or go to the toilet or even take the other twin to the toilet which leaves one momentarily unsupervised.

On one hand, I can certainly understand needing to get away. But I am troubled that everyone left you for a week. Because you are still in the 'creating attachment' stage where only a few people can be trusted with these children, it seems like both parents may need to be on board to commit fully to this for a period. A night out with the guys? Definitely! A week camping? Kind of rubs me the wrong way under the circumstances. I wonder if the boys struggle with that.

 

Apart from that, I am not sure what to say. It sounds like you have made great progress with these children, and that they are doing well, all things considered. So perhaps in the big picture, what you are doing is working okay, but there are still really bad days/moments. I commend you for trying to follow all the guidelines you social workers have provided. You are dealing with hard things, and it sounds like you are doing it with a great deal of patience and love.

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pronghorn we have already made more progress than the professionals thought possible in such a  short time. one twin would scream for 6 hours a day- he now only screams for 1 1/2 -2 hours a day) one would self harm several tiems a day - now it is only once a week or less and only while throwing a tantrum- both of them had a vocab of less than 50 words, they can now hold conversations- one was not even walking. progress is being made very rapidly, very rapidly.

 therapists do not exist in my area and already we are doing a major trip every week  or so to see one specialist or another ( traveling 100's of km)

It sounds like you have had some wonderful successes with your kids! That is a really good sign.

 

You can still access online help, even if there are absolutely no therapists in your area. You can also sometimes get phone support from a therapist. The road is likely to be very long with many setbacks. It is helpful even to talk with another parent who understands.

 

Do you hold your kids when they scream or self-harm? That is the idea behind the Holding Time technique that someone mentioned. Eventually, my daughter would throw herself into my arms when she felt herself beginning to fall apart.

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Jeez, I wouldn't advise trying for separate placement of twins.  That they still have each other is a blessing (and I am not religious!).

 

I agree that this is probably an issue where their behavior cannot be assessed as a typical 3/4 year old level.  You might treat them more or less as twin 1/2 year olds.  This means not being alone with other babies, or family pets, or other vulnerable things/creatures.  They just don't have the emotional maturity for it yet, right?

 

Let the bird go free :)

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the sandpit is absolutely essential in their therapy for their gross and fine motor skills. They have made so much progress in these areas once we built the sandpit and it was with the direction of their Occupational Therapist.

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On one hand, I can certainly understand needing to get away. But I am troubled that everyone left you for a week. Because you are still in the 'creating attachment' stage where only a few people can be trusted with these children, it seems like both parents may need to be on board to commit fully to this for a period. A night out with the guys? Definitely! A week camping? Kind of rubs me the wrong way under the circumstances. I wonder if the boys struggle with that.

 

Apart from that, I am not sure what to say. It sounds like you have made great progress with these children, and that they are doing well, all things considered. So perhaps in the big picture, what you are doing is working okay, but there are still really bad days/moments. I commend you for trying to follow all the guidelines you social workers have provided. You are dealing with hard things, and it sounds like you are doing it with a great deal of patience and love.

ds11 and dd15 absolutely needed the special time with DH- it hasn't been easy for them all the time with the twins especial with some of the traumatized behaviour and they have been absolutely marvelous support- including coming with me on public transport to Melbourne  a 6 hour trip in each direction- to assist me with the twins while traveling.

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the sandpit is absolutely essential in their therapy for their gross and fine motor skills. They have made so much progress in these areas once we built the sandpit and it was with the direction of their Occupational Therapist.

I understand the therapeutic value of a sand tray, but if they are constantly throwing sand in each other's eyes and sitting in time out, no benefit is being realized. I would suggest one at a time in the sand box with close supervision.

 

I'm not sure my suggestions are helpful, OP, so I will probably stop here. I wish you the best.

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