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155 members have voted

  1. 1. What would your 8 year old do if he had to use a red and while stripy towel with a few red flowers for swimming lesson?

    • chuck a big tantrum -flowers are for girls
      17
    • towel with flowers = surfer towel how cool
      8
    • a towel is a towel is a towel- its function is to get me dry, who cares what is on it
      115
    • other
      15


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I think there are several different issues here - New Arrival's behavior with regard to the towel, the OP's reaction to the behavior, and the Case Manager's response.  

 

--I think the CM's response was not particularly supportive or helplful.  What her son would have done is neither here nor there.  She could have gently explained that while the OP's family and community isn't particularly hung up on gender-specificity of utilitarian objects, this child may have legitimate fears of teasing or bullying based on past experiences.  She could have gently explored options for making sure the issue of the towel in particular doesn't happen again (for example, OP, knowing it is an issue for NA, can discreetly double-check that the towel gets dried in future, reminding NA to hang it up if she sees it hasn't been), and more broadly how to gently guide New Arrival towards 1) how to make strong feelings known without tantrums, and 2) how to deal with fear of potential bullying.

 

--I think the OP's reaction is totally normal for a parent who hasn't encountered a child with strong feelings around using items intended (in their view) for the opposite gender.  I don't think she should have seen it coming as the CM implied.  However, now that the OP is aware of the problem, she can be more sensitive to it in the future, with an eye towards gently leading the NA to be more flexible as he learns that he is in a safe space now where he will not be bullied for such things.

 

--I think the NA's behavior has two issues - the fact that he was worried about using the towel, and how he communicated that fact.  Clearly, the NA needs to learn ways to communicate strong fears and concerns without a tantrum.  The OP can begin to explicitly teach these strategies, so that future issues can be identified and worked out gently *before* they escalate to a tantrum.  Note that doesn't mean that NA gets everything he wants.  It is possible to identify and validate a child's feelings, then brainstorm options together and have the child choose the option they feel will be the best under the circumstances.  

 

As to the towel specifically, perhaps some exposure to surf culture, where tropical floral motifs are worn by both males and females, might be helpful to the NA.  

 

I think it's really important to understand that however many WTM kids would not see this as an issue at all, the NA made it clear that, FOR HIM, the issue was real, and important.  That needs to be acknowledged, understood as best as possible, and taken into consideration as much as possible under the circumstances.  This will create a safety and trust that will allow the NA to grow and learn under the OP's loving guidance, which will pave the way towards better behavior and more flexibility in the future.

Well said

 

And hugs OP.  You have taken a lot on.  I admire your courage and tenacity with everything you have dealt with over the past few years.

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update

after all the kerfuffle  including case manager comments etc. today new arrival went to school with wet swimmers and wet towel. I didn't even bother to ring the school to explain myself.  I was so distracted last night because I had heard from the school how new arrival was catching skinks ( lizards) at school, hiding them in his pocket and then mangling and squishing them that I didn't remember to check on if he had hung them up or not until the middle of the night.

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update

after all the kerfuffle  including case manager comments etc. today new arrival went to school with wet swimmers and wet towel. I didn't even bother to ring the school to explain myself.  I was so distracted last night because I had heard from the school how new arrival was catching skinks ( lizards) at school, hiding them in his pocket and then mangling and squishing them that I didn't remember to check on if he had hung them up or not until the middle of the night.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:   This is why I admire those of you who handle middle ages.  I just can't.  I jut can't.

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Someday you will laugh about this.

I very much doubt it.

 it is beyond a laugh. there is no help anywhere.

 

He harms any animal he gets his hand on.

He deliberately does anything possible to everyone upset/ to manipulate others around him or bully

We have just about reached our breaking point

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I very much doubt it.

it is beyond a laugh. there is no help anywhere.

 

He harms any animal he gets his hand on.

He deliberately does anything possible to everyone upset/ to manipulate others around him or bully

We have just about reached our breaking point

I admire you so much because I would have been long past reaching my breaking point. I honestly could not have any person in my home that intentionally harmed animals -- and that's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the problems you're dealing with. I wouldn't have the ability to maintain warm feelings toward this child, even knowing that he had psychological issues. I feel like a terrible person for saying that, but I just couldn't do it.

 

Sending you many hugs. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

 

(Edited for my usual idiotic typos.)

Edited by Catwoman
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I very much doubt it.

it is beyond a laugh. there is no help anywhere.

 

He harms any animal he gets his hand on.

He deliberately does anything possible to everyone upset/ to manipulate others around him or bully

We have just about reached our breaking point

I'm so sorry!
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*My* 8 year old (never been to school and raised not to care) would not have cared. But he also has long hair and despite being a very boyish boy would easily wear his sister's purple and pink rain boots (but that's also his choice, and I wouldn't make him, obviously).

 

*Your* new arrival obviously cared, and cared very much. I've also met quite a few 8 year olds (mostly those who go to school, but maybe it doesn't matter) who would also care quite a lot, and I don't think it is wrong of them to care.

 

If my child cared that much, I'd give him a choice whether to take a damp towel or a "girly" towel. Or thrown the damp towel into the dryer for 10 minutes. I certainly wouldn't force a young child who is just figuring out how the world works, his identity, his place in the society and his family, family and school rules etc use an article of clothing or a towel he felt uncomfortable using in a social situation.

 

I don't think you should be comparing how a typical homeschooled child would've behaved to how your new arrival behaved.

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I admire you so much because I would have been long past reaching my breaking point. I honestly could not have any person in my home that intentionally harmed animals -- and that's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the problems you're dealing with. I wouldn't have the ability to maintain warm feelings toward this child, even knowing that he had psychological issues. I feel like a terrible person for saying that, but I just couldn't do it.

 

Sending you many hugs. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

 

(Edited for my usual idiotic typos.)

Same here, that would just be beyond my ability to cope.

 

Melissa, you are an amazing person and I am ticked off at those caseworkers for being so unhelpful! It seems like they are expecting you to deal with an extremely difficult situation on your own.  :grouphug:  

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It's not our family culture to buy into gender conformity to anywhere near that extent. I mean, my kids wouldn't have cared even if it was a pink Barbie towel. They wouldn't have picked that for themselves, but they would have brought it.

 

I don't know what the rules are for your foster kids, but it seems crazy to think that you're required to give in on something like that. I would have been like, yeah, I'm heavy handed that if you don't take care of your things, then you take what's available. And, really, it's not like you required him to bring a "girly" towel. Anyone who is putting that on that towel is way too concerned with gender conformity. I hope that case manager never ends up with a gender non-conforming kid. Presumably she could do that child actual harm if her views are that strict.

 

This doesn't seem to me to be about gender conformity at all. It is about an emotionally fragile child having a choice in something very  basic and very important to him and having a modicum of control over his life. Educating him on gender neutral towels is not anywhere close to being a priority.

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update

after all the kerfuffle  including case manager comments etc. today new arrival went to school with wet swimmers and wet towel. I didn't even bother to ring the school to explain myself.  I was so distracted last night because I had heard from the school how new arrival was catching skinks ( lizards) at school, hiding them in his pocket and then mangling and squishing them that I didn't remember to check on if he had hung them up or not until the middle of the night.

 

I am so sorry.  You've got a lot on your plate, of which towels are the least of things.  

That said, perhaps wet swimmers and a wet towel is the natural consequence for not hanging them up.  

:grouphug:

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At 8, neither of my sons would have cared, and at least one of them did have swim trunks with those hibiscus on it, although they were black and white. However, DS12 did insist he would not wear the "pink" shirt I bought him for Christmas (it was actually washed/distressed red). However, he did wear a purple and white striped shirt for Easter with a purple tie. (I think because our city's football team colors are Purple/white/black, he does not think purple is feminine. But personally, I did think it was quite far to the Preppy/Yuppie side and only chose it because it was at a second-hand shop for a few dollars and I'm not into spending big bucks for holiday clothes that will get one wear. :)

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This doesn't seem to me to be about gender conformity at all. It is about an emotionally fragile child having a choice in something very  basic and very important to him and having a modicum of control over his life. Educating him on gender neutral towels is not anywhere close to being a priority.

 

I can totally get behind that. I was mostly responding to it as framed in the OP (I honestly haven't been reading this thread much since, but I assume more info has been added). In that, it seemed to me that the case manager absolutely framed it as a gender conformity issue by saying that her kid and any boy that age would have thought that was girly and it was heavy handed to ask a boy to do that. If the OP had said that the case manager told her that having one's own things or having control over the little things were important to this child because of his background, then that would be so completely different. It just didn't sound like that's what she said.

 

ETA: The poll also seems to be asking specifically about the gender conformity aspect of this. I don't think I was reading too much into it that *that* was the question. But reframing it that way is probably better. And, in general, towels aren't parenting (or foster parenting) hills to die on.

Edited by Farrar
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I can totally get behind that. I was mostly responding to it as framed in the OP (I honestly haven't been reading this thread much since, but I assume more info has been added). In that, it seemed to me that the case manager absolutely framed it as a gender conformity issue by saying that her kid and any boy that age would have thought that was girly and it was heavy handed to ask a boy to do that. If the OP had said that the case manager told her that having one's own things or having control over the little things were important to this child because of his background, then that would be so completely different. It just didn't sound like that's what she said.

the bolded was what the case manager said

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Mine might have commented and/or made frowny faces, but not pitched a fit (probably; if so, it wouldn't have been solely the towel).  I also would have made him use it.  I'm the "you'll live" mom.

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I'm praying for you right now. You had a fill plate and then some before his arrival. Does your case worker not know the situation?!

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the bolded was what the case manager said

 

She could be narrow minded. Or she could be awkward at expressing herself while trying to summarize the situation. Or she is used to over-simplifying for clients.

 

I know you are under a tramendous amount of stress and you are facing a situation that I wouldn't even know how to start handling, but I still think the towel incident was heavy-handed, even if the case worker wasn't very eloquent in expressing the reason.

 

I really wish there was more support for you and the NA.

 

:grouphug:

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I asked ds. He's 8. He wouldn't care and I told him that some boys might have a problem with flowers. His response, "what? Why? Flowers are beautiful!" :laugh:  My son is not what I would consider typical, though. Like he will watch shows that others deem girly.

 

I wouldn't be surprised by a strong distaste for the towel in a child this age, either. At ds' last birthday party we had pink and black plasticware. I gave a male child dessert that had a pink fork on the plate and he asked if I could give him black instead.

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I very much doubt it.

 it is beyond a laugh. there is no help anywhere.

 

He harms any animal he gets his hand on.

He deliberately does anything possible to everyone upset/ to manipulate others around him or bully

We have just about reached our breaking point

 

If it's a 100km drive to get a towel, then does that also mean that he's not getting regular therapy for whatever his issues are? Maybe he needs to be in a family in a location with better access to people who can help him.

 

Disregard if I misunderstood. And, of course, :grouphug: . The situation sounds tough.

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I hope things settle down as he gets used to his routine.  This is so hard, I know  :(  I keep hoping it can work so in the end, the brothers can grow up together.  But you are only human, as are your spouse and kids.

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I very much doubt it.

 it is beyond a laugh. there is no help anywhere.

 

He harms any animal he gets his hand on.

He deliberately does anything possible to everyone upset/ to manipulate others around him or bully

We have just about reached our breaking point

 

I can say that I have been there 100%. We didn't have a case worker or state rep because we are a straight guardianship, so I don't know how it works with that part. But as far as the bolded goes...  I lived in those shoes for over 5 years. It can get worse, but maybe it won't for you (it did for us). We are still dealing with the ramifications and still trying to wade through the decisions and mess.  :grouphug:  

 

 

edited: My biggest mistake was overlooking the changes that were occurring in dd. I underestimated the effect that the environment created was having on her. Not saying this is true or will be true for anyone else, just putting it out there to help someone else. Best of wishes to you and all involved.

Edited by jewellsmommy
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I can say that I have been there 100%. We didn't have a case worker or state rep because we are a straight guardianship, so I don't know how it works with that part. But as far as the bolded goes... I lived in those shoes for over 5 years. It can get worse, but maybe it won't for you (it did for us). We are still dealing with the ramifications and still trying to wade through the decisions and mess. :grouphug:

 

 

edited: My biggest mistake was overlooking the changes that were occurring in dd. I underestimated the effect that the environment created was having on her. Not saying this is true or will be true for anyone else, just putting it out there to help someone else. Best of wishes to you and all involved.

Do you have any advice you can offer me. I am already seeing lots of fallout with my other children. We are desperate for advice and help.

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Do you have any advice you can offer me. I am already seeing lots of fallout with my other children. We are desperate for advice and help.

I hope Tammy will have some ideas for you, but if you're already seeing lots of fallout with your other children, are you sure your home is the right place for this boy?

 

I know you feel very sorry for him and want to help him, but please protect your own children first. Perhaps he needs to be in a home where he is the only child. He seems to have so many major issues that I can't imagine how having him in your home long term wouldn't be a tremendous stress and burden on your entire family.

 

I hope I don't sound heartless. I'm just thinking that your own children did nothing to deserve this level of stress in their home, and I'm sure it makes them unhappy seeing you so frustrated and worried all the time.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in my mind, you are a hero for trying to help this child and I will still think you are a hero if you decide it's too much for you and he ends up in a new home. Everyone has their limits, and it sounds as though you may be getting very close to reaching yours.

 

I wish I had some good advice for you, but all I can say is that sometimes things don't work out the way we had hoped they would, and there is no shame in admitting if a situation turns out to be too difficult for your family. :grouphug:

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One other thing -- and please excuse me if I'm totally off base with this, but if this boy is intentionally hurting animals, are you afraid that he might decide to start hurting people as well? I would be fearful for your younger children, and even for you and your older children if this boy becomes violent.

 

Again, I apologize if I'm completely wrong in my assumption that hurting animals may escalate into hurting people. I really don't know it would happen, but it seems like it might.

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Here a kid with a history of hurting animals would probably not be placed with younger children, but he might be placed with older children.  At his age, I would probably say to a caseworker he either needs to be the only child or he needs to be in a group home. Then again, they wouldn't take my advice because I rarely take that age.

 

Middle age kids are difficult. I think they're the hardest age.  I mean, bio kids are hard when hormones start getting into the mess, then there's the swing from toddler to adult in attitudes they do multiple times per day at that age.  It's difficult if you love the child, but start adding behavior and attachment issues into the mix...  I don't know, give me a screaming infant with colic any day of the week.

 

I don't have any advice, but I'll pray for you and your family.

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Here they have a policy for permanent care to never place older children in a family with younger children unless they are related. The they call it uniting siblings and delayed placement or some such niceties. New arrival is full bio sibling to the twins.

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On the towel issue, could you make a routine where when he gets home from school, he immediately hangs up his towel and whatever other things need to be put away, and then he gets a glass of milk with a cookie right after that? With you checking he actually did those things until it's really routine?

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On the towel issue, could you make a routine where when he gets home from school, he immediately hangs up his towel and whatever other things need to be put away, and then he gets a glass of milk with a cookie right after that? With you checking he actually did those things until it's really routine?

We do that exact routine. He has been really good at doing it. He gets a star on his reward chart etc. this particular day he told me he had done it and even got the star for it. I didn't check as I thought he had it down pat, but instead of hanging up the towel he had just chucked it over the railing. After doing this poll and being ticked off by case manager I just send him with a wet towel.

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We do that exact routine. He has been really good at doing it. He gets a star on his reward chart etc. this particular day he told me he had done it and even got the star for it. I didn't check as I thought he had it down pat, but instead of hanging up the towel he had just chucked it over the railing. After doing this poll and being ticked off by case manager I just send him with a wet towel.

 

Okay, so, apparently he continues to need you checking up on him. Annoying, but not a big deal.

 

It's not his fault case manager sucks - she's wrong that every boy would've reacted that way, but it's certainly not rare. Is there any way to get a different case manager? Or to avoid talking to the case manager about things like towels, e.g. talk to a family therapist instead?

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I'm concerned that he is going to undo the progress that your very hard work with the twins has brought about. You guys have proven to be a wonderful home for those little boys, and I can see why they thought it would be good for the older boy as well. But it sounds like he needs intense private attention that you can't give him when you are still working so diligently with the little boys. It doesn't seem fair to you, to him, to the little boys, or to the rest of your family. :sad:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:  

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