Role models

Can anyone help today’s poster? This adoptive mum is asking for advice…

I have 2 children – a son and a daughter.
My daughter has no known issues and is meeting all her milestones appropriately.
My son, who is older and not biologically related to his sister is another matter. He has attachment difficulties and sensory processing disorder. He suffers hugely from anxiety, and he manages this through attempts to control everything. My son also gets angry very easily, and lives his life in a hypervigilant state. We are having therapy and feel able (currently) to manageProblem our son’s issues.

But, I am concerned that our daughter will see that it’s normal for boys (and therefore men) to behave as her brother does. When he is having a meltdown, we usually remove our daughter for her safety. This of course means she doesn’t see the eventual calming and resolution – just the fists flying.

What is this teaching her about men? Sadly in her school class she also encounters this as there are several children with additional needs, although of course there are many more that don’t. As much as I want to teach her about being accepting towards other people’s needs, I don’t want to teach her to accept violence directed at her.
I’m not sure how to approach this with her without putting ideas into her young head. Or am I worrying over nothing?

2 thoughts on “Role models

  1. Rebecca thomas

    It’s good to question this and be curious about her behaviour. I think it’s all about speaking to her about the impact childhood trauma has had upon him and that this isn’t “normal”. Your husband, according to some research, will be the biggest influence on her , so seeing him and you react in a calm way shows a clear alternative reaction. “Daddy dates” can also help give positive time with a calm role model. Many children grow up with siblings who are very different to themselves through personality or because of additional needs and don’t end up acting the same. Children do mimic each other but through continual dialogue you will demonstrate to her what is acceptable. If you are worried it might be worth investing in play dates etc with boys her age that can also show another way. As she gets older you will be able to have deeper conversations about his behaviour and the causes of it. If anything she has the potential to be a more tolerant, understanding and gracious young woman.

  2. adoptive mum

    Thanks for your post. I really feel for you and understand the dilemma. We are in a very similar situation. My older son has FASD, and sounds very similar to your son, esp. the anger outbursts. He has poor impulse control, ADD, and as a result emotional and behavioural problems. He is on a medication called risperidone, which we are using as a last resort, as he is so violent and as he grew bigger we became much more worried about serious injuries to himself or others. I am only saying this because with some children with this profile, a medication that controls emotional arousal is the only measure that is effective enough so we can continue to raise him at home. Therapy can help with the secondary effects, but not with the original brain damage caused by alcohol exposure in utero. This was something that was really hard for us to accept, and is still hugely painful for us.

    We also have a younger son (3), who doesn’t have any known conditions, and sadly he sometimes copies his older brother, as younger children do. We also remove him from the room, but the outbursts are very scary for him. One thing I do with him is talk to him when he is removed to another room and explain that his older brother is upset but that his behaviour is not acceptable or normal! So we try to help him make sense of it within his 3 year old world.

    I wish I had more/ better ideas to offer – and I will follow the comments with the hope that other people may! Good luck to you and your family.


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