Friday, August 22, 2008

we may have figured out cj's problem! (or how rad kids affect normal ones)

i may have had an epiphany tonight! cj is our first-adopted and is our normal kid. he is naturally very sickeningly sweet. (that's not the problem, i'll get to that eventually). he appreciates the smallest of things (to an annoying level). oh mommy thank you so much for pouring my milk, i just love youuu. that *is* sweet, but trust me, it gets quite annoying when it's about any dumb thing and all day every day. i don't even want to take him to amusement parks and such and pay money because i can get the same reaction if i bake cookies or fold his clothes. he is always happy, thankful, helpful, and just wonderful.
so the problem? he's a total and complete rotten little brat to em and mr! just a pain in the butt trouble-maker, telling on them, yelling at them, taking advantage of them, bossing them around... and i mean beyond the typical "big brother" type stuff. way beyond.
we've written it off to he was just jealous of having to share us since he was an only child for 5 years. then we thought it must be because em and mr get so much more attention (albeit negative attention) because they were so bad at first. then we thought maybe it's this new parenting stuff we're doing because it was different that what we did/do with him. and on and on trying to figure out why such a sweet boy is so mean to a brother and sister he wanted so bad.
so tonight, as i'm thinking about the poop and how hard it is to just embrace mr and ignore the poop because that's what he needs, it hits me! it's SO hard for us as parents to love these two kids because of the LACK of affection and appreciation and well, love. but we understand it (mostly) and we get that their brains do this or don't do that because of fear. we get that because of their history, they don't know how to love. we know that if we work on this list of nurturing activities and train ourselves to react in certain ways that we'll eventually reach these kids and they'll learn what love feels like. they'll learn that it's okay and one day they'll actually GIVE love back. we know that in our heads and that allows us to go ahead and love them and be nice to them despite blank stares, mean statements, or even poop.
but cj is only 8! of course he can't understand all that. so tonight i wondered if he's just so hurt and frustrated because these two don't RETURN the love he gives them! how did i miss that? *i* am hurt and frustrated and *i* think it's totally unfair that my kids don't love me like a "real" mom. i get why they don't, they had a sucky "real" mom, and that lets me get past it and not blame them. but how could cj get past it? i know he dishes out love and is rejected every time. he'll do something thoughtful and get no thanks. he'll try to help and get turned down. he'll try to make a connection and be met with an empty look. he'll try to use logic (to teach, encourage, cheer up) and be frustrated because it never works.
HE has the same feelings as ME, but not the grown up congnitive tools to deal with it. no wonder he's mean! they move in, take his parents, break his toys, hurt his dog, get away with anything, but mostly break his heart. his sweet, compassionate, loving heart. no wonder he's hardened it to them.
i have no idea what to do with that right now. i'm just glad and sad to have realized it. now i need a good cry.


familygregg said...

I really do believe that the one who has suffered MOST in our home is my boy....the older brother also. He is so sensitive and my girlie struggling w/RAD has wounded his heart. It's hard not to be super mad at her when he is bing victimized by her behavior. Ignoring that he has gotten a huge blow of disappointment for 8.5 years now.... rejection etc....will push him away further. We need to address his pain....his wounds and she needs to own what she has done to him by not being the sister he always wished for. He needs to get over his hurts and forgive her. It may come in time. I think only the Lord can soften their hearts.

Protect him fiercly while you are teaching the siblings about love. Mamas protect their babies....even from their other babies.

I am so there with you:)

CJ Merrell said...

Well -- that's Awesome! that you figured out that piece of the puzzle. I've been trying to teach my son some of the BCI stuff to recognize it with other people. We listen to the CD's in the car sometimes, and he actually listens to it. I'm always shocked to hear him say on MY bad days -- "Mommy - I know your stressed out". :O But that's still different than your situation. My son is an only child.

One good thing is you can now really connect with your son in his pain of dealing with the other two siblings.

I always learn something from you.. Thank you for your posts..

Torina said...

I am so glad you wrote about this! That is huge. I haven't looked at my kids sibling relationships through the eyes of the RAD dynamic. But if I did, it would make more sense now. My daughter has very pronounced RAD. My 1st son supposedly has RAD, but shows very few, if any, signs. They don't get along at all. The newest son is a moderate RADish and gets along with both kids great. Hmmmm...thank you.