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Old 05-24-2012, 11:13 AM   #21
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

I would talk with DHS (or CPS or whatever it is called in your state) and see if they have a county mental health program. Sometimes they will offer in-home counseling to help the children "learn" to play appropriately. Some also offer respite programs. Sadly, children who are abused don't understand that behavior was "wrong" especially if it was the only way they got attention in the past. You need to set FIRM rules about swim suit areas and be very business like in putting a child in time out for violating it. (Give NO attention and don't make a fuss. Just a quick "we don't do that... go to time out") To make punishments "fair" use a timer. 1 minute per age of the child.
As far as "food".... I would set up a snack cabinet that the children can reach and keep a fruit bowl in sight. Often children of abuse have food insecurities or flip side don't recognize hunger/full feelings. Try to be very structured about meals. A set breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner times. Don't make meals/snacks about force or attention. Give them all a snack and set a timer. Sometimes letting them pick the snack helps them to eat it. (Example: "We are going to have a banana and a glass of milk for snack. Everyone has 15 minutes. I'm going to set a timer for 15 minutes. If you don't finish we will put your milk in the fridge and you can finish it at lunch time." Don't sit at the table just trying to get anyone to eat. At meals set a timer for 30/45 minutes and "talk" about how everyone's day was and IGNORE the fact that someone is not eating. I know it sounds mean but attention is often the motivation for actions.) There also might be physical reasons for lack of eating, but I'm assuming that you have already talked with a pediatrician about that.
Limit TV. Television (even cartoons) have lots of things that can "trigger" things that we as adults would not consider triggers. Only allow them to watch pre-screened videos.
Don't assume the children know anything. Talk to them about WHY they have to do things. Have a family calendar that tells everyone what they will be doing that day. (Even if they can't read it). EVERY time they go somewhere.... tell them where they are going, what will happen, give them a "task" if possible and POSITIVE expectations of behavior. ("We are going to the grocery store. We will be buying groceries for the week. X ...I'm going to put you in charge of holding the list so I don't loose it. Y... I'm going to put you in charge of picking out 3 different types of fruit for the fruit bowl. { If they pick out kiwi, pineapple, and limes... Go with it! } Now remember in stores, we use our quiet voices because we are inside. We walk and stay close to the cart. Does anyone have any questions?") Every time they go somewhere... includes just going to school.
You will get farther with giving them positive expectations rather than giving them a list of what not to do. Set boundaries. Remember that no matter where you are... You can find a time-out spot. Don't be embarrassed if you have to have a kid sit indian style next to the noodles while shopping for a time out. If you notice another child behaving well at a store or some other place... take a moment to point it out and praise the child to the kids. (Oh look... Did you see that little boy over there? He is being very nice sitting quietly and reading his magazine while he waits for the dentist. He is behaving very well. What do you think about his behavior?)
Reward programs also work well. They get "rewarded" for doing the morning & nightime routine(brushing teeth, shower, getting dressed....my son is 9 so if I have to tell him, he gets no points. With younger kids you might want to not give points if you have to tell them more than once), and chores- Age appropriate chores such as... clearing the table after snack, cleaning room, putting laundry in the hamper, helping with laundry (my son at 3 was putting away his socks, underwear, etc in his drawers),etc. This earns them video time, boardgames, library time, small amount of money, pick out 1 thing at the dollar store, or whatever you think would motivate. you need to have a set amount for each reward. I never deduct points. (It is like a "pay check". You boss doesn't take away pay if you don't show up... you just don't get paid for that day.) At night before bed... we tally all the points for the day on a chart I made. If you don't like charts... a token system works well with poker chips. (Each child should have a different color so nobody is cheating/stealing tokens. )
Your family as a whole may need counseling to deal with all the changes. It is not just the children you brought into your home that need to "adjust". This is effecting everyone.

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Old 05-24-2012, 01:05 PM   #22
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

I have a friend who took some sort of guardianship/custody of her nephew when he was a baby. Then when he was ten they privately adopted him. Because he was not adopted out of the system they got absolutely no state benefits for him, subsidy or medical. They were told at the time that they could put him back into official state custody and then adopt him from the state in order to get those things. But, at the time they thought it would do him more harm mentally/emotionally as he was old enough to understand how custody worked. Now he is a teenager and they desperately need medical benefits for him which he really should be entitled to as he was taken into state custody as an infant because of abuse/neglect. But, because of how the system worked they did not get it. Their current lawyer told them they should never have taken guardianship as it caused them to lose out on those benefits he would have been entitled to had he been adopted from the state. Now, maybe it's too late to change anything in your case. I have no idea. So I don't mean to discourage you. Only to let you know that it can make a huge difference if there is any chance that your legal situation is the same as theirs was. And there is still any way that you can adopt them through the state and keep the subsidy and medical.

Oh, and just as a tiny note; I second the notion that it may be that you might want to just reconsider your ideas about corporal punishment in that there may be exceptions to your general view of it such as abused children. I.e. we also spank sometimes and so do not believe that it is always wrong but also certainly do not believe that it is always right. It is a child and situation specific tool but a child's history and experiences may preclude it from ever being of any benefit and may cause it to be a very damaging tool when otherwise it would not be.
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:15 PM   #23
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

I'm so glad I posted to the forum. You gals are great. I know there's things being said I really don't want to here (Like... reforming these kids will take YEARS), but it's things I NEED to hear.

As far as discipline goes... we tend to be creative. Typically it's warning 1st, then time out (1 minute for each year the kid is old), then either a whippin, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (for mouthing, bad words, etc.), hand spanking (palm up), or loss of priveleges (1 day for each year old they are) And each time they get in trouble - they have to repeat back to me at least once - why they are in trouble, why that's wrong (in most cases), and apologize for their behavior (if necessary, to me, to the other child, adult, etc.).

Last night, Jon was just .... a bit rambunctious. Roughing housing & all. Well... each time he got in trouble, he got 1 fingernail painted hot pink. He had his last day of basketball camp this morning. He ended up with 3 fingernails painted hot pink. The 1st one he tried to wipe off, so it got repainted, and a 2nd added, then he ended up with a 3rd less than half an hour later. Realizing this was serious business, the thought of having to go see his friends with several very noticeable pink nails, straightened that boys behavior right up after that. He was an angel the rest of the evening (5 hours) and on to camp. Nana (my mom) took the polish off before camp tho. But I think it got through to him. He's been crazy good today! But he does keep telling everyone about the nail polish thing like it was funny cuz he was so scared he'd have to see his friends with pink nails. In a way, I'm like... is this too much mentally for the kid? Or is this the kind of thing that will work for him? I think you could beat him to a bloody pulp and he would still act just as rotten, simply because thats what happened in the past. His grandmother was even known to bloody his nose. I've found a discipline book I really like, Creative Correction and alot of our ' creative corrections' stem from ideas in there. Thots?
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:34 PM   #24
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

I have to agree with the PP that I would not use corporal punishment or anything related with food - I absolutely would not do it with a child from their background, especially with the food. Its great you want to be creative, but straightforward are generally better like taking away toys or privileges and making them work for it back. You don't want to create a food aversion with the vinegar and I wouldn't do something like pink nails as they have enough issues and you don't want to add teasing on top of that.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:08 PM   #25
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

I love the pink nail polish! And I absolutely would not have taken it off cuz then he will know that there's no follow through and it won't work at all next time... But, maybe it's ok cuz it was grandma and not you. And we also have Creative Correction! Great book! I read it several years ago when our first was little, and now reading it again out loud to dh.

That you are noticing and taking time to think about how different corrections work on each kid is great! I would think that absolutely would be expected that kids from a background like that would be impervious to physical punishment. But, also kids that have not been abused also vary widely in their response to different consequences. Another really good book is The Five Love Languages for Children by Gary Chapman. This has given us tremendous insight into what makes dd2 tick. An example, dd1's love language is physical touch. She's our oldest and when she was oh two or three we spanked her once for getting out of her toddler bed at night. She was devastated and never did it again. Now, we know that her love language being physical touch, a negative physical touch has a great, huge impact on her. Of course being first time parents all we saw at the time was just spank a kid when necessary and that will be the end of it. Our dd2 - laughed when we spanked her as a toddler/preschooler. She really couldn't have cared less! We have had some frustrating times with her and her ped actually recommended taking her to a developmental ped at her 3 yr old check up. Then we reread the Love Languages (had read the original as newlyweds which was great then, too but were reading the one specific to Children with our small group) and Finally figured out that her love language is words. She is very verbally oriented. And I absolutely am not. This realization has radically impacted our relationship for the positive. Before I would hug her every morning and she would often pull away/resist. I started using words when she woke up along with my hugs - "I'm so happy to see you this morning!" She just lights up! Now to me it's obvious/known by everyone that I'm happy to see my kids every morning and a hug indicates that and it never occurred to me that I needed to vocalize a feeling as basic as that. I could go on and on with changes that have come from actually verbalizing things to her. Yet, I've heard from different sources that it's no good talking things out with a toddler/preschooler. You can talk til you're blue in the face and they are not going to change; it's the consistent consequences that make a difference. With dd2 even at just 3 yrs old just talking to her makes the hugest impact, way beyond sending her to her room, losing privileges, spanking, anything.

So anyway, that got long. But, all kids are different abused or not and taking the time to really ponder each one and strive for individual insights will be of great benefit. I also think it would be really hard to parent a 7 year old boy when you've only go the experience of girls and up to age 4! That might just be me though. I'm only up to age 1 on boys. Let's see, when my nephews were roughhousing, etc. my sister would send them outside to play, have them run in circles around the house, do push ups, etc. Maybe a few more ideas! We have a little trampoline the girls can jump on when they need to get energy out.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:21 PM   #26
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

Quote:
Originally Posted by duck411 View Post
I'm so glad I posted to the forum. You gals are great. I know there's things being said I really don't want to here (Like... reforming these kids will take YEARS), but it's things I NEED to hear.

As far as discipline goes... we tend to be creative. Typically it's warning 1st, then time out (1 minute for each year the kid is old), then either a whippin, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (for mouthing, bad words, etc.), hand spanking (palm up), or loss of priveleges (1 day for each year old they are) And each time they get in trouble - they have to repeat back to me at least once - why they are in trouble, why that's wrong (in most cases), and apologize for their behavior (if necessary, to me, to the other child, adult, etc.).

Last night, Jon was just .... a bit rambunctious. Roughing housing & all. Well... each time he got in trouble, he got 1 fingernail painted hot pink. He had his last day of basketball camp this morning. He ended up with 3 fingernails painted hot pink. The 1st one he tried to wipe off, so it got repainted, and a 2nd added, then he ended up with a 3rd less than half an hour later. Realizing this was serious business, the thought of having to go see his friends with several very noticeable pink nails, straightened that boys behavior right up after that. He was an angel the rest of the evening (5 hours) and on to camp. Nana (my mom) took the polish off before camp tho. But I think it got through to him. He's been crazy good today! But he does keep telling everyone about the nail polish thing like it was funny cuz he was so scared he'd have to see his friends with pink nails. In a way, I'm like... is this too much mentally for the kid? Or is this the kind of thing that will work for him? I think you could beat him to a bloody pulp and he would still act just as rotten, simply because thats what happened in the past. His grandmother was even known to bloody his nose. I've found a discipline book I really like, Creative Correction and alot of our ' creative corrections' stem from ideas in there. Thots?
While I do think that the discipline is creative, I feel like with kids of this type background, absolute consistency and predictability is probably what is needed, so if it were me, I would try and stick with boring old time outs, and/or reward charts. I don't think that creative discipline would help the situation.
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:04 PM   #27
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

I do not agree with spanking, using food nor embarrassing the child as punishment. Warnings and setting clear expectations and consequences are very important. Loss of privilege for that long seems excessive too. Losing something for the day seems more reasonable unless the infraction was severe.
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:24 PM   #28
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

I think the very first step in this is to stop thinking of "your kids" vs. kids you have custody of. Absolutely no judging from me when I say that. I know it can be extremely difficult to switch to that mind set, especially with so much.......strife that these kids bring into your home. I just think/feel/know that itll make such a difference in your life, and theirs once that separation is gone.
If one of your girls had "issues" youd move mountains to help them, and while it would stress you, removing the child from your home wouldnt even be a consideration, kwim?
Im not at all saying that you arent trying to help these kiddos! I promise

I think these kids are still young enough that they can over come the damage, and not cause you too much extra grief after everything is sorted out.

They havent been raised in a nurturing, teaching/learning environment. They only know pain, sexual abuse, and the transient lifestyle. So saying "no", or "stay here" isnt a concept that will come quickly. Unfortunately, damage takes twice as long to undo than it did to do.

I work with adopted foster kiddos. 7 to be exact. Attachment issues run high, as does intense feelings of not being good enough/being bad. I think you need to find a therapist who specializes in attachment issues. Then I would also find a therapist who specializes in sexual abuse. Maybe that will be the same therapist (that would be nice!)
Have you read any of the Love and Logic series? I honestly didnt see a point in it (really, I thought it was a crock of _), but when one of the kids I watch was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, I started seeing home much it applied to her.
Some kids really need to just be told they are loved, they will continue to be loved, and that youre there to guide them with love.

Id also look into getting a behavior coach for the 7yr old.
Maybe some bonding therapy for you and the kids (since you seem to be the one whos doing the parenting.) My boss is currently doing this with her 5yr old who has RAD (whos shes had since she was 6months old!)

I also agree that youve got to find a way to have alone time. 4 kids is a lot. Throw in all these daily issues, and well, thats too much.
Do you guys have a city parks and recreation division? They usually have cheap enrichment programs (sports, karate, dance, art, etc.) Even if you could get all 4 kids enrolled in something at the same time a couple days a week, that would give you a break (and make the 7yr old feel "equal").

Hang in there! You are doing an amazing thing
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:17 AM   #29
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

Our city offers a "Playground Program". It runs most of the summer and is $90 for the entire thing, four hours a day. That is dirt cheap. Now I realize x's 4 it will be $360, but if you can scrape it together...it would give you such a nice break this summer and the kids would love it. Check you recreation center in your town, even surrounding towns and pay the non resident fee.
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:50 AM   #30
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

Consistency is HARD to come by when you've got a husband, MIL, FIL, SIL, Nana, etc.. doing the opposite of anything you'd do... no matter if you talk to them about it til your blue in the face.... MIL's excuse is that it's a grandmother's job to spoil them even when they're being rotten - and I'm like WTF!? Not in this situation IMO. But then she gives me the 'oh they're my family, not yours' speech and says she can do w/e she wants as long as she's willing to keep em for a couple hours to give me a break once every 2-3 weeks. Grrrrr......

I think I really need to get into therapy myself, but have no childcare for all 4 for me to get therapy. I really have very weird wanna keep my distance feelings toward the little girl... I say this sincerely, and truly am not trying to be selfish and feel this way, I REALLY WISH I DID NOT FEEL THIS WAY....And I am OCD/perfectionist and very weird about symmetry and even have some sensory issues myself - so I think some of this plays into my issues with her - its like a big part of me sees her as damaged goods and being a perfectionist and there being no instant fix for her scars, her speech impediment, etc... it's been especially difficult for me to bond with her. I really wish my husband was around more to parent with me, and bond with all of us as a family. It's strange because he's more attached to her, because she is a sweet very loving child, and now a daddy's girl. But I am, and have been for a long time, very attached to Jon, but distant to Ashlyn. I thought I was doing better, and then the whole molestation thing started/come out and I've took 20 steps back without meaning to, but... I just have so many mixed feelings and frustrations about the situation. And I think the fact that her and my DD are sooooo close (3 months apart) in age, makes it even more difficult. My DD is an above average child, writing, reading, etc. And this little girl can only count to 5! And I know it's not her fault, but ... IDK. It helps to talk about it though.

It's very upsetting there I have almost zero resources in our area, without driving an hour in any direction, to help our family through this. And then we couldn't even afford it anyways. It costs us $10 in gas alone just to get the kids to the closest town for a single appt - I'm spending 3x what I use to on gas! So... there went all my extra spending money. Jon was suppose to be going to summer program the whole month of june starting next week, but now we can't send him because the little girl that was part of the abuse towards them will be there... and the birthmom is on her pickup list and tries to show up and see jon, etc. And he was suppose to be part of a behavioral therapy program in july, but now they won't take him because were sending him to a different school in a nother county (we live right on the county line, so we can do either). GRRRRRRRRRRRR...

The therapist sent in our app for Impact services on Ashlyn, but it doesn't offer much in our area. they said they have a program where 1 day a week for 4 hours i can drop ashlyn off to them for therapy. they'll feed her lunch, etc. But i have to participate in the parent workshop a different day of the week, for 2 hours. They will provide childcare during those 2 hours, but only for the child the services are for, sojust ashlyn, not my other 3. So... that won't work. My g-mother can watch my 2, but won't watch the others with them. Understandable, because she's in her 60's and not in great health to chase after them, but I think she's also like semi-afraid of them. lol. After all, the little girl has been known to throw dishes, shred furniture, etc.. yeah - then she doesn't even remember doing it. And will tell you right to your face she didn't do it, even when you sat and watched her and she may have even communicated with you during the incident by eye contact, gesture, or w/e.

On top of all this, I also have arthritis, suffer from frequent tremors, ribs that keep dislodging, & FMS..... and meds and things have been little to no help...... I freak my husband out because most evenings when he gets home, no matter how dirty he is, I just want him to give me a big tight LONG hug.
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