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Melissa in Australia

Advice sought on punishment for child

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Are they sensory seekers?  The constant tussling makes me think so. There are some processing issues that respond well to brushing therapy and gentle joint compressions. Lots of swinging helps, maybe weighted vests and blankets. Perhaps physical and occupational therapy? Can you have them do heavy work? Carrying items- buckets of water to the sand box, moving little chairs etc.   You need help and support; you're taking on something very big and very important.  Impulsivity in children is so difficult. And dangerous.

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OP, When you post here about your foster twins, be sure to find out whether the people making replies understand things like RAD. I never did until another hiver posted a bit a few years ago about her child who has severe RAD (I forgot her name...she used to post a lot, but isn't here anymore.)

 

A lot of people will give you sincere advice about dealing with difficult children, but they do not understand in the slightest what the twins' issues are. They will accidentally give you poor advice. Find foster/adoption sites to ask questions. Pamela knows what she's talking about, but a few of the posts on here are not accurate. I can tell by reading them that they think they're helping but honestly don't understand the issue.

 

I know I don't understand the issue, so I'm not going to give any advice other than to be sure you take advice from someone who does know.

:iagree:

I believe you are thinking of Denise (not her full screen name, as I can't remember it completely). Like you, it was because of her posts that I even learned about RAD.

 

OP, I have absolutely no advice for you, so all I can offer are hugs. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:  

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:iagree:

I believe you are thinking of Denise (not her full screen name, as I can't remember it completely). Like you, it was because of her posts that I even learned about RAD.

 

OP, I have absolutely no advice for you, so all I can offer are hugs. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:  

Denisemomof4

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So, in other words, no punishment whatsoever. There aren't any other fair punishments for four year olds except the ones you can't do. Good luck.

I read this not as sarcastic but factual. That does not mean, of course, that she can't address negative behaviors. Sitting in a chair to calm down is not a punishment but can be very effective in helping kids develop self-regulation. We used to call it the screaming chair in our house. Once calm for two minutes, the child could continue with life. In fact, I think I spent some time myself on the screaming chair just to work on my own feelings. I did not scream, though.

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OP, When you post here about your foster twins, be sure to find out whether the people making replies understand things like RAD. I never did until another hiver posted a bit a few years ago about her child who has severe RAD (I forgot her name...she used to post a lot, but isn't here anymore.)

 

A lot of people will give you sincere advice about dealing with difficult children, but they do not understand in the slightest what the twins' issues are. They will accidentally give you poor advice. Find foster/adoption sites to ask questions. Pamela knows what she's talking about, but a few of the posts on here are not accurate. I can tell by reading them that they think they're helping but honestly don't understand the issue.

 

I know I don't understand the issue, so I'm not going to give any advice other than to be sure you take advice from someone who does know.

:iagree:

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I don't have experience with twins or RAD but it sounds like you are doing great and making huge strides. It sounds like given more time in a safe and loving environment, these boys are going to do well.

 

In the meantime, maybe 3 minutes in the chair isn't long enough. 3 minutes isn't really long enough for my two year old to realize he is receiving a consequence for something he has done to hurt someone else. Between 5 and 10 minutes seems to work better with him. I'm not sure if a longer break would work in your situation though, just an idea.

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So, in other words, no punishment whatsoever. There aren't any other fair punishments for four year olds except the ones you can't do. Good luck.

What are you trying to say here? That you think it appropriate to punish four-year olds with developmental delays, attachment issues, and a history of trauma? I do hope I'm misreading your post.

 

Melissa, I have no experience with these sorts of things, so all I can offer is :grouphug: for you and your little ones. I hope you can find some helpful strategies soon. :)

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So, in other words, no punishment whatsoever. There aren't any other fair punishments for four year olds except the ones you can't do. Good luck.

Punishments won't help this situation and may in fact make things worse. You can't punish the trauma and developmental issues out of these kids. The OP needs support, love and encouragement.

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I read this not as sarcastic but factual. That does not mean, of course, that she can't address negative behaviors. Sitting in a chair to calm down is not a punishment but can be very effective in helping kids develop self-regulation. We used to call it the screaming chair in our house. Once calm for two minutes, the child could continue with life. In fact, I think I spent some time myself on the screaming chair just to work on my own feelings. I did not scream, though.

But the punishments that aren't available to the OP are all things that could very well make this situation go from bad to worse. Spanking, leaving them alone in a room etc aren't the best course of action with kids from this background. It is beyond sarcastic, really bordering on cruel, for Luanne to insinuate that anything hat might work or is age appropriate is off limits. No, fortunately that stuff is off limits largely because it's a really bad idea for kids like this.

 

The OP has taken on an enormous task. Huge. I think that she has the right ideas but this is a stressful time. When she posts about it, people should really be kind first, second and third thing and try to avoid being sarcastic and rude.

 

I would hope that Australia would offer home visits for therapists and other professionals to help the OP. Also, adoptive moms of twins with attachment and development issues would ideally have respite care resources and the like available to her. I hope that she can get some serious help here. It's not an easy task at all. Obviously, I have no clue what is available in AUS but I do encourage the OP to reach out and ask for any and all help she may be eligible to recieve.

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thank you so much everyone for all your support and advice. I will look through some of the blogs, references and other suggestions over the next few weeks. you guys are a wealth of information.

 

 The kids do have an Occupational therapist and Speech therapist visit weekly.

 

They have also a whole panel of workers of varying description that just love reports and sending me out to all sorts of specialists all very long distances from where I live.

 

I will not be on for the rest of the day as I am now about to depart for a 3 hour drive in each direction to see a developmental Optometrist for twin 2 - It will be a complete waste of time like the last appointment with the same specialist- but when DHS says jump you ask how high and do the long drives. I hate driving and it will be in very heavy rain. My area is expected to have something between  90-170 mm of rain today.

 

 

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thank you so much everyone for all your support and advice. I will look through some of the blogs, references and other suggestions over the next few weeks. you guys are a wealth of information.

 

 The kids do have an Occupational therapist and Speech therapist visit weekly.

 

They have also a whole panel of workers of varying description that just love reports and sending me out to all sorts of specialists all very long distances from where I live.

 

I will not be on for the rest of the day as I am now about to depart for a 3 hour drive in each direction to see a developmental Optometrist for twin 2 - It will be a complete waste of time like the last appointment with the same specialist- but when DHS says jump you ask how high and do the long drives. I hate driving and it will be in very heavy rain. My area is expected to have something between  90-170 mm of rain today.

 

 

What is your actual official situation with DHS right now? Foster Parents? A preliminary adoption placement that is not yet final? A reunification plan?

 

The hoops are really tough, I know. I've been there.

 

At the same time, it sounds like the DHS is offering help, and maybe you could get more help that is what you need if you ask: like a behavioral / attachment type therapist who could also come to you so you do not need to drive.  It is hard to imagine that that would be any less important than an OT, SLP or developmental optometrist.

 

 

Is there even a single DHS worker on your twins' team that you can talk to and get more of the help you/the twins need?  My own experience with DHS was that despite the hoops and official requirements, most if not all of the individual people I dealt with were truly very committed to helping a placement work out and doing what they could to facilitate that.  

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Pronghorn, I did cuddle time daily with my oldest son and have suggested it to MANY parents over the years.  We did three or four 20-30 minute time periods through the day.  It seems to ground them a bit.  Now, my whole life has become a "time-in" which is a less intense form, I think.  

 

Melissa, theraplay is good stuff, especially for during this cuddle time.  Also, on my blog I write about Family Nurture Group which is great because it sets the tone for the family, teaches life skills, is fun, etc.  I have some videos I plan to get up there "soon" (since I have surgery tomorrow and a ton of paperwork that was due three days ago, it isn't likely to be this week).  Have you seen anything about "yes day"?  We did just a couple hours and it was AWESOME.  My kids were asking to do chores and I *had* to say yes!  LOL  

 

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thank you so much everyone for all your support and advice. I will look through some of the blogs, references and other suggestions over the next few weeks. you guys are a wealth of information.

 

The kids do have an Occupational therapist and Speech therapist visit weekly.

 

They have also a whole panel of workers of varying description that just love reports and sending me out to all sorts of specialists all very long distances from where I live.

 

I will not be on for the rest of the day as I am now about to depart for a 3 hour drive in each direction to see a developmental Optometrist for twin 2 - It will be a complete waste of time like the last appointment with the same specialist- but when DHS says jump you ask how high and do the long drives. I hate driving and it will be in very heavy rain. My area is expected to have something between 90-170 mm of rain today.

I'm sorry you have a rough afternoon ahead of you. The nice thing about visiting a gazillion specialists is then, the next time you're asked, you can check that box off and not get sent again ;)

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I'm sorry you have a rough afternoon ahead of you. The nice thing about visiting a gazillion specialists is then, the next time you're asked, you can check that box off and not get sent again ;)

 

 

It doesn't always work that way. Sometimes they want you to do it again. Or do 2 contrary things at the same time.

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It doesn't always work that way. Sometimes they want you to do it again. Or do 2 contrary things at the same time.

Well now that would make me want to punch people.

 

Seriously though, if it doesn't yield answers I hope it gets a few boxes checked in their treatment and makes identifying the issues at hand just a little easier. Drive safe in the rain!

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Well now that would make me want to punch people.

 

Seriously though, if it doesn't yield answers I hope it gets a few boxes checked in their treatment and makes identifying the issues at hand just a little easier. Drive safe in the rain!

 

 

Yes. Ideally it will help with that.  Some of us on Learning Challenges probably wish that we had a DHS to supply us with a developmental optometrist evaluation.

 

But it does sound stressful to do this so far away, in rain, and with 2 possibly acting out little twins in tow.

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Denisemomof4

 

Thanks, Jean. It was bothering me all day that I couldn't remember her screen name. I remembered all but the number!

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Sounds like a very difficult situation.  I don't think "punishment" is going to do anything for you.  I would try to keep things as "normal" as possible while providing fewer opportunities for them to do harm.  As far as possible, for now, I would lock up anything you care about that they could hurt.  I'd try to have at least one pleasant room (e.g. play room) "twin-proofed" so they could enjoy themselves for an extended time period without doing any harm.  I'd give them something simple to do along side of you when you have a chore to do (or must leave their presence e.g. for a bathroom break).  I'd give them some "work" to do if they do something destructive, and I'd try "early bed time" for general foolishness.  (Possibly more sleep would help in general.)  Have you looked into the possibility that they are sensitive to certain foods or sensory stimulation?

 

This may sound a little crazy, but what about one of those doors that can be opened on top while the bottom half is locked?  Would that be considered "locking them up" if that was the door to their play room?

 

Meanwhile, since it sounds like they crave the ability to control / manipulate, make sure they have the frequent opportunity to do just that with building / art materials, play doh, cookie dough, etc.

 

Good luck!

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What is your actual official situation with DHS right now? Foster Parents? A preliminary adoption placement that is not yet final? A reunification plan?

 

 

Permanent care placement-  it takes 2 years to go through. Very similar to you foster to adopt that you have in America, but in Australia you cannot get adoption unless birth parents sign away rights.

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Hi Melissa, 
 
 
 
Since you are planning to be the twins' forever family, and since DHS involvement is not about to be over anytime soon, I strongly, strongly, strongly suggest that you get the book Beyond Time Out that I sent you a link about.  (There have been more than one with that title, but I linked the one I meant.)
 
It is the only thing that I know of that will be likely to offer a real solution, that will not violate DHS rules, and will also not leave you with a couple of boys who will get bigger and older and more able to cause trouble--and to laugh about your inability to stop it.
 
You may have to tweak a few things to fit what you and they need, but the general principles are things I would expect to be very helpful to you and offer a middle path that is neither mean (and unhelpful), nor ineffective.
 
My personal experience having done foster parenting, and having adopted out of that, is that it is also an approach that facilitates rather than harms bonding and attachment and helps the children feel secure.
 
 
It was a general approach approved of by my, IMO, very excellent attachment therapist. I modified a few things so as not to trigger a child's PTSD or similar reasons.
 

 

 

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Just thought I would give an update.

 

 

 

Twins started seeing a psychologist today to assist us with their serious Reactive Attachment Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress. Unfortunately the Psychologist is 100 km each way. But he so kindly fitted us into his very busy schedule  and will see the twins fortnightly for just about the rest of the year. The good news is that he feels that the twins will be able to overcome their RAD but it will take a lot of time and work. He also said that some of the strategies we have trialed are terrific and will assist us in trialing other strategies ( cause quite frankly DH and I have run out of strategies)

 

 

I really really appreciated all the suggestions and readings that everyone posted. Unfortunately I have not had time yet to read any of the readings but I do hope to some time in the near future.

 

 

 

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I know that this probably resulted in the death of a beloved bird and I'm really sorry.  But if we step back for a moment, honestly, poking a bird with a stick is EXACTLY what two foolish little five year olds do.  It may have even, very delightfully, made a squawk.  :(  Which then just kind of cheers them on.

 

The best thing one can do, the ONLY thing really, is to keep them super-glued to you and keep an eye out for potential issues - correcting BEFORE the behaviour.  Many kiddos, like dogs, feel rewarded if they get to complete whatever deed they are doing - so it's worthy of the punishment.  Double because your hands are tied and you can't really punish.  So the best thing you can do is keep them busy doing whatever you're doing and keep them near you.  That's super hard - moreso when it's doubled.  But I don't see an alternative.

 

I do know the Raising Godly Tomatoes site has helped many mamas that must discipline exactly like you are talking about - without much ability to punish but must rely solely on proactive (before wrong-doing) teaching/training techniques rather than reactive (reacting AFTER the fact) punishment techniques.

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I know that this probably resulted in the death of a beloved bird and I'm really sorry.  But if we step back for a moment, honestly, poking a bird with a stick is EXACTLY what two foolish little five year olds do.  It may have even, very delightfully, made a squawk.   :(  Which then just kind of cheers them on.

 

The best thing one can do, the ONLY thing really, is to keep them super-glued to you and keep an eye out for potential issues - correcting BEFORE the behaviour.  Many kiddos, like dogs, feel rewarded if they get to complete whatever deed they are doing - so it's worthy of the punishment.  Double because your hands are tied and you can't really punish.  So the best thing you can do is keep them busy doing whatever you're doing and keep them near you.  That's super hard - moreso when it's doubled.  But I don't see an alternative.

 

I do know the Raising Godly Tomatoes site has helped many mamas that must discipline exactly like you are talking about - without much ability to punish but must rely solely on proactive (before wrong-doing) teaching/training techniques rather than reactive (reacting AFTER the fact) punishment techniques.

NO It isn't really about the bird at all. that was just one of the events amongst many. Both boys have been diagnosed with serious Reactive Attachment Disorder. They are rapidly becoming more and more defiant ( whatever you want to call it) And need urgent help. With one screaming for in excess of 2 hours a day and the other self harming and throwing rolling tantrums I cannot have them attached to me all day -  I need other strategies. That is why we have sought out professional help.

 

 We already do HUGE amount of proactive teaching/ training. Things that work with NORMAL CHILDREN only have minimal success with these boys because they are EXTREEMLY traumatized.

 

I know you are really only trying to offer helpful advice, and I should just smile and say thanks and move on, but I don't think you realize exactly what we are doing and what we are dealing with here.

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Melissa, I have no experience with RAD or PTSD and I wouldn't try to offer you any advice because having read past threads about parents dealing with those conditions, I realize they are way beyond anything I would know how to treat, but I wanted to send you lots of hugs and let you know that we are all here for you whenever you need to vent or talk. :grouphug:

 

I know this is going to be a long road for you, and I wish you lots of patience and strength as you work through it with your kids.

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Melissa, I have no experience with RAD or PTSD and I wouldn't try to offer you any advice because having read past threads about parents dealing with those conditions, I realize they are way beyond anything I would know how to treat, but I wanted to send you lots of hugs and let you know that we are all here for you whenever you need to vent or talk. :grouphug:

 

I know this is going to be a long road for you, and I wish you lots of patience and strength as you work through it with your kids.

thank you

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NO It isn't really about the bird at all. that was just one of the events amongst many. Both boys have been diagnosed with serious Reactive Attachment Disorder. They are rapidly becoming more and more defiant ( whatever you want to call it) And need urgent help. With one screaming for in excess of 2 hours a day and the other self harming and throwing rolling tantrums I cannot have them attached to me all day -  I need other strategies. That is why we have sought out professional help.

 

 We already do HUGE amount of proactive teaching/ training. Things that work with NORMAL CHILDREN only have minimal success with these boys because they are EXTREEMLY traumatized.

 

I know you are really only trying to offer helpful advice, and I should just smile and say thanks and move on, but I don't think you realize exactly what we are doing and what we are dealing with here.

 

 

No, I think you're right.  I read your first post and didn't read the long thread yesterday.  My apologies.  

 

I will say that I believe they need to be attached to a "supervisor" all day - as is evident even more by the fact that they have serious issues.  Every awful thing they pull that they get to follow all the way through only will reinforce that behaviour.  But I also understand that that task is so big, so overwhelming, that it can't be you 24/7.

 

So my question becomes - do you have respite?  Has the state supplied you with respite care? Do you have a support system for YOU in place for this?  Because this is a lot at you all the time.

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I am glad you are getting help. The road will be long and incredibly hard, but when you start seeing progress, it will be very satisfying. If you want good support, you might try joining the attach-china yahoo group. It was started by parents who adopted from China but has participants who did other types of adoption too. It is not as active as it used to be because most of the children are now doing well. The parents there have lots of experience with the things you are dealing with.

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So my question becomes - do you have respite?  Has the state supplied you with respite care? Do you have a support system for YOU in place for this?  Because this is a lot at you all the time.

 

My respite is that I go to work one day a week and teach 23 grade 2 students. :coolgleamA:

 

Dh and I are sharing the full time  care of the twins, and ds11 has become their main therapist. They are only left unsupervised for a few moments any day.

 

Twins are not allowed to go into respite as it will interfere in the attachment process.

 

they are calming down a huge amount. but it is a slow progress and a huge amount of work. They are really lots of the time ordinary, cute kids.

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