State of the art parenting techniques are now coming out of the child trauma therapy field. These newer methods provide instruction for family dance that are out of this world.
Family Life Isn’t Always Flawless, but It’s a Dance we Master a Day at a Time
Family building in our home has been an adventure with many facets and angles. With three biological sons before we started adopting, some of our experiences could not have been more every-day. Special Needs adoption was our first foray into the “unknown” and it didn’t go how we thought it would. While we thought we were doing something for someone who couldn’t do anything for us, we couldn’t have been more naïve. Jack has Down syndrome and he’s twenty, now. No one has brought more heart into our family than he has. We went to Russia to adopt daughters because we thought we had our hands full and had decided not to go the special needs route again. That erroneous thought process brought two more children with intellectual disabilities into our home. While we try to be honest with family difficulties in our blog about Reactive Attachment Disorder, our Facebook pictures show a beautiful family dance. Believe me… there are a lot of moments that will never be Facebook-worthy.
Our family dance has been a life in an amusement park, though some of the rides are wild enough to maim and kill.
Some of our family experiences are extreme. Mental illness is something we deal with on a daily basis. There have been suicide attempts. Assault, at one time, was constant. Abuse delivered by a sibling was common. No one performed well in situations when those issues were the family dance of the day. But we learned. We taught. We helped each other. And when such challenges return, (though not nearly as often as they used to) we can perform the steps to that family dance reasonably well. It hasn’t been all bad. Between my parents and their children, me and my children, family members have resided in nine different countries on four different continents. While we have visited a child behind bars, members of our family have stood to receive international business awards. Our family dance has been a life in an amusement park, though some of the rides are wild enough to maim and kill. We have lived the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
Dealing with a snotty little action was so easy it was almost fun. It was just one simple step in the family dance.
Because of the extremes we live in our family, we have been very fortunate to receive insight that would not have been apparent in a normal course of family life. When celebrations, failures, achievements, catastrophes and emotions are grand in scale, they are blown up as if looking at life under a microscope. There is so much to observe. Minute details that may have been overlooked become clear. And the things we learn on a grand scale completely apply to non-extraordinary parts of our lives. Recently one of my daughters had done something that landed her in trouble with my wife. It wasn’t anything big. It was a snotty little thing you would expect from any thirteen-year-old girl. I kept my composure as Amy scolded and meted out punishment. As soon as my daughter was out of earshot, I began to laugh. When my wife turned to me, demanding to know what was so funny, I almost couldn’t contain myself. “Nothing is funny,” I said. “It’s just so fun to have a normal problem with a child.” Dealing with a snotty little action was so easy it was almost fun. It was just one simple step in the family dance.
These newer methods are providing instruction for family dance that are out of this world.
Delving into psychology and reading stacks of books on how to parent the most difficult of children has taught us parenting skills that are just good parenting skills whether or not children come from trauma. I wouldn’t have said that ten years ago. Explorer ways of dealing with children who suffered from attachment disorders were mean. It was believed early on that “mean methods” were the only way to have success with these children. But pioneers of therapy designed to help those who experienced childhood trauma are top notch parenting methods even for children who are the easiest to raise. From Bruce D. Perry, Ph.D. who loves to get on the floor and color with troubled kids, to Dr. Karyn Purvis who concerns herself with “what happened” to children: rather than “what’s wrong with them,” the state of the art parenting techniques are now coming out of the child trauma therapy field. These newer methods are providing instruction for family dance that are out of this world.
Our family dance floor is a busy one and we try to not bump into each other too much, though such occurrences are inevitable.
We have learned in our home that family is family. It doesn’t matter if lots of people know who we are. We’re a family like any other family. My kids don’t care if I’ve been successful in business… I’m still “so embarrassing.” But if one of the siblings is incarcerated, “she’s our sister and you’d better watch what you say, because you don’t know what she’s been through.” Our family dance floor is a busy one and we try to not bump into each other too much, though such occurrences are inevitable. Between stepping on toes, we try to learn new moves, we share what we have learned and we celebrate a job bagging groceries at the Food Town as much as we do a double major in business degrees gained in four and a half years while working full time.
Welcome to a blog about our everyday family dance.
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