Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Rolling Dice

 Life is a roll of the dice. As far as I can tell, there are very few guaranteed outcomes. You wake up each day (hopefully), and see where things take you. I've considered myself lucky that even when life has taken me to awful places I never wanted to go, I've had the practical, physical, mental, and emotional resources to deal with it.

Procreation is also a roll of the dice. Will it work? If it does, what will be the status of any offspring produced? Who will they be and what will they be capable of? A’s story is his to share, but as I’ve mentioned here, being his parent, and trying to be a good parent, has challenged me. I’m not sure I have the right resources to deal with the challenge. And I don’t know where to go next.

I’ve searched for and found professionals. The first play therapist we found was a bad fit. She decided that the root of A’s behavior issues was the sleep training that we did at age 1. She also told A that the play therapy room was a safe space and “you can do anything you want to do in here.” Then she got quite upset when A filled a play tea kettle with sand from the sand table and poured it into a bin of musical instruments. She got even more upset when he did it again after she told him not to. I’m not sure how someone with 30 years of play therapy experience was surprised by a 3 year old pouring sand into containers after first being told that he can do anything he wants to, and then being told that he can’t do THAT, but she was. We mutually agreed to stop seeing each other after a few months.

The second play therapist uses PCIT, and that seems a better fit. He’s a licensed psychologist with 25+ years in the school systems before moving to private practice. He spent the first ~5 months working on how DH and I interact with A, essentially making sure we weren’t the root of the issues. That’s good, because for all I knew, we were the root of the issues! Therapist seems to be satisfied now that our interactions should be facilitating desired behavior, and yet, no improvements are happening. 

A month or two ago, A got frustrated during a session and threw the game the therapist was trying to play with him across the room. A threw it after repeatedly telling the therapist that he didn’t want to play any more, so he was clearly verbalizing his wants. Throwing was a normal reaction for A when forced to do something he doesn’t want to do. I think the moment a dozen ‘fishing for feelings’ game pieces went flying across the room was the moment when the therapist really understood that the behaviors I’ve been describing are beyond normal 4 year old boy behaviors. 

I expressed my concern to the therapist that it’s been months of sessions and months of me implementing the ‘homework’ and yet no improvement in behavior. Therapist acknowledged my frustration. He also acknowledged that usually he doesn’t have such a hard time connecting with kids as he’s having with A. Great. My kid is extra broken. 

We’ve also done months of OT, but OT, while extremely helpful, has taken us as far as we can go. You can equip a child and their family with endless tools, but until the child and family use them, there’s not much more you can do. 

So I rolled the dice and this awesome kid came up, but he’s hard. He snuggles, and cuddles, and giggles, and he’s curious, and amazing, and funny. He loves his dad and his stuffed puppy and sloth. I think he loves me and his sisters most of the time. He’s creative and he’s got so much potential it’s unbelievable. But he’s hard and I don’t have the right resources yet to help him with that hard, and I’m not sure where else to go to find the right resources.

1 comment:

  1. Oh gosh. I wish I could help! I've worked with kids for 25 years, specializing in kids with undesirable behaviors. If you want to brainstorm with a stranger (me), please send me an email. Of course, I'm sure you have a lot of support and adding one more person to the mix may not interest you at all. If anything, I can listen to and validate your feelings without judgement. Parents love their kids. That is never in question. But, dang, some kids and their behaviors are such a puzzle! infertilephoenix at gmail dot com