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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Kitten has not been with us for long only 6 weeks and she is only 2yrs old
Things are going really well and she appears to have claimed us well and we totally love and adore her however...........
for the last 10 days she has steped up the attention seeking behaviour to a new level
I am at home with her 24 hours a day and have really tried to follow all the advice in regard to attachment and so she has had loads of contact/play/singing/1 to 1
I admit that at times I have struggled with this but I have kept going
I have mixed her with a few friends and a small number of our family but have funneled all care to myself or my hubby. All of this has been done with sw's support if not recomendation
All was well but now if I do not give her 100% attention all the time she will force this! Hair pulling/biting/throwing food/drink if I do not watch her like a hawk/throwing herself around if I am talking to someone like a health visitor or on the phone/constant calls of mummy/high pitched screams if hubby tries to distract her and then she will only calm when I hold her/demands for Mr Tumble/food/drink and more
She was placed with amazing fc at birth and they did an amazing job. They have quite a large family and so there was always children around to play with. I know the fc did everything she could to encourage attatchment and so I think lots of 1 to 1.
Since this has happened I have had her on lock down and kept stimulation to a minimun but it seems to be getting worse
She really does not seem to be unhappy. It really feels more like she is saying "you are my mummy and it is your job to serve me!"
I am really struggling. I feel like I must be doing something wrong and I just dont know what I should be doing! I read post saying I should be understanding she needs me. I see that I should distract rather than give attention but I am confused.
Sorry for such a long messy post but I would love some advice I feel like I am falling apart and so so exhausted
 

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it sounds like you are really worn and tired so first a big ^hugme^
did anything happen 10 days ago that might have unsettled her and triggered this behaviour?
it sounds a bit to me like she is testing you..now the honeymoon is over, kind of do you really still love me new mummy, let me just test you out and see if i can REALLY trust you...
i think you are doing the right thing by keeping her close and keeping things quiet..however intense it seems. this is when your support network needs pulling in..get people to do you some dinner.. and do some chores for you so at least you havent go to worry about those things..perhaps they can come in for an hour while you and DD are out of the house if thats better for DD..

another thought.. perhaps your new lock down regime might be a bit tooooo intense for her? maybe gentle things out of the house would be ok..walk in the woods,picking up treasures, dolly out in the pram?

is she up for cuddles and closeness? if not perhaps the sw can suggest some theraplay exercises you could do..or maybe google for some :-\  off the top of my head i can think of massaging hands/feet, talking all the while 'up this finger, down the other, this finger is loooong,round and round etc' or else doing it watching tv if this helps keep her still/quiet/less intense

struggling to think of more things..but i dont think this is unusual and i dont think you are doing anything wrong..be gentle on yourself and get that support network doing their job for you!!

kj x
 

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I agree completely with Keemjay, this sort of thing is so intense and draining so try and get some support so that you can recharge your batteries.  Do not think that it is something that you are doing wrong, you are not doing anything wrong.  It is not always easy to work out other people's motives after years let alone 6 weeks.  The main thing to remember is that the problem is not you it is the feelings that she is struggling with.

She is obviously pushing the boundaries to test you, as Keemjay has said can you think of something that may have triggered her to start testing you now?  Although you say that she does not seem to be unhappy quite often fear is the emotion that triggers this type of behaviour.  She is only little and she has not been with you for long and perhaps she is only just beginning to understand that she is not going back to her foster carers and wonder what the future holds.  I'm sure you have told her you love her and will always look after her but she is obviously going to wonder if that is true and she is forcing you to prove it.

A common suggested approach is Dan Hughes PACE approach, (forgive me if you are already familiar with it) Patience, Acceptance, Curiosity, Empathy.  In other words try and be patient, accept that there is something that she is feeling that is triggering the behaviour, try and be curious as to what that feeling is and empathise with her regarding that feeling.  Eg, "Kitten you must be feeling really bad to hit me like that, is it because you think that Mummy might leave you, that must be really scary but it's not going to happen why don't I sit you at the table to do some colouring while I empty the dishwasher" 

You are obviously better educated than I was when my son was 2, I didn't even think about attachment techniques and used the Supernanny approach which was a big mistake.  I've learnt from my mistakes but I sometimes still struggle with the patience bit especially first thing (I'm not a morning person)  ;D .

I can recommend Margot Sunderland's "Science of Parenting" and Ross Greene's "The Explosive Child" if you want further tips.

It is not going to be easy because she is so young and won't even understand the feelings that are triggering her behaviour.  Be strong and hang in there, you and she will both come through this.

Take care  ^hugme^
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
she absolutely loves to be held/cuddled by me and is very affectionate although not so much with hubby, that being said she will sit on his lap and let him massage her with oils. This is surprising as the fc's said that she didnt like to be held when it comes to comfort....

the only thing that has really happened is that the fc's sent her a card with there photo's on

we do go through her life history photos and she has got a photo of the fc family in her room but this was new

she did seem to be confused about it and would mention it lot's

Maybe??????
 

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it could be that, esp as she mentioned it a lot..you will perhaps never know...
for now perhaps dont do so much of the life story book..unless she seems to want to..by all means keep a pic of the FC up..but maybe all the rest is too much for her just now..6 weeks is really really early days still..it feels like a long time but it really isnt...

kj x
 

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^hugme^ ^hugme^

You sound worn out.  I remember the early weeks of both my placements well, and I wonder how I ever got through them.  :( 

Dino is 2, and although he's been with us over 18 months now, he displays a lot of the same behaviours that Kitten seems to have.  Much of it could just be down to her age - she's moved at a difficult age in terms of exerting independence as well as dealing with the attachment stuff.

Make sure you get out lots -lock down in the house would drive me mad and it's good to have a run about and work off some energy.

I too would avoid the life story work at the moment - Cookie is 4 and only now beginning to have some understanding.  If you made an intro book I'd just use that just now.

These days will pass  ^hugme^ ^hugme^

Bx
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I dont formally do life history work but the fc put together 8 folders full of stuff that is upstairs in the office and when kitten goes upstairs to see daddy working she will get them out to leaf through

I will put them away for now though so thanks xxx
 

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Hugs to you and sorry to hear that you are feeling the strain of it all.  ^hugme^  I agree with the others that the "honeymoon" period is over and she is testing you.  All children go through this, adopted or not but it is perhaps more enhanced with adopted children, depending on the child's history of course. 

Personally I would ignore the bad behaviour when it occurs and walk out the room until she has stopped, then I would go back in the room and carry on as though nothing happened.  She will come to you for a hug and I would then hug her and if she wants to talk about it I would but not unless she mentions it first.  I used to do this with my son but sometimes he would scream and rush outside to follow me if he was in a state, so I would sit on the stairs quietly and he would come and hug me or sit beside me.  When he had calmed down we would have a hug and go back in to the living room and carry on as before. 

This behaviour will pass as all things do - this is just a stage, an  upsetting, adjusting stage but just a phase.  Just keep calm and show  her that you love her and she will be fine in time, although it might take a few months.

I would start to go out and about a bit now as children need routine and other children to play with I feel.  I think bonding and attachment are strengthened by seeing that it is safe to be out and about with Mummy and that Mummy is always there to help.

Please don't feel you have to give in to her overwhelming demands as you need a bit of space yourself as you are not super mum.  If she is with Daddy but cries for you, walk out the room and leave her with Daddy saying something like "Daddy loves you very much and he wants to share you with me so I will be back later as it is Daddy's turn to hug his special girl."  When she screams or cries when you are on the phone, walk in to another room to talk.  If she follows you, sit down and pull her on to your lap.  If she still cries and shrieks and tries to pull the phone out of your hands, I would buy a playpen for future situations like this and put her in it and then go out of the room and finish your call.  I found the playpen invaluable for situations like this.  Of course, always hug her afterwards and tell her you love her but sometimes Mummy needs to talk to people on the phone and needs quiet to listen so you thought that kitten would like to play with some of her toys in the playpen because they were feeling lonely and sad and needed a lovely hug and now Mummy and kitten are having a lovely hug as well.

I wouldn't show her the fc files.  Keep them away from her for now.  As someone else said, they don't understand their life story stuff aged 2.  As she is used to leafing through the files, I would copy a couple of the sheets and let her "play" with them in a file.

My son is only just grasping  his life story a bit and he is 4.  He still finds it hard to understand that he did not grow in my tummy and only yesterday asked where were his photos of when he was a little baby.  We only have the odd one or two that fc gave us, despite her having him from day 2 but they are not on view as they are in his life story book and I don't like to remove them.  Keep meaning to get them copied and put them out but they give me a pang when I look at them as I missed seeing him at this age and I feel sad about that. 

Hope I have helped a little .....  ^hugme^ again
 

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Hi,

I can just echo that it is hard.  There is a book called "i love you rituals" by Becky Bailey that is based upon theraplay and has activities in it based upon the principles which may give you ideas/suggestions.

I cant add any more than the others- that it is still really early and this is unbelievably hard on you and you need lots of patience and you need time out in order to manage it all in the best way!

Hewson
 

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Hi, hope things are getting along a bit easier for you now, it sounds very tough for you.

My little bean moved in 10 or 11 weeks ago now so the feeling of early placement is still very fresh with me. He is only 1 years old so a fair bit younger than your little one, but when he moved in he would have periods of being very unsettled, attention-draining, and VERY clingy. I still find it quite a challenge as I still can't make phone calls or even text when he is awake, and normal things like leaving the room (even leaving him with Daddy), and cooking is a challenge some days as he hates for me to have my attention else where. I know he is at a different stage of development to yours, but I felt for you when I read your post.

Everyones advice sounds very sensible and helpful.  Can I put alternative idea in?  Under "normal" circumstances I would agree that trying to adjust her to the idea that she can't ALWAYS have your attention is very sensible and necessary, however (and this is just a thought and could be completely wrong!) maybe perhaps it is too early to be attempting that stage in your relationship with her. I only say this as I read something helpful about adopting ltoddlers which I thought made a lot of sense, they bascially explained that although every child goes through a sepearation anxiety stage, for adopted little ones it is made more intense - in separation anxiety, even in "birth families"  the childs worst fear is that the people they love and trust will vanish and leave them. This means that for adopted children their worst fear has already happened - at the very least their foster carers have vanished. Perhaps at the moment your little one is terrified that you wil vanish too (more scared than a child in "normal" families that they were born into) because of this maybe its a bit soon to do much walking away and training her to know you have to sometimes go. My instinct is that at the moment she needs lots of reassurance (sounds like you've been giving her this of course!!)  6 or 7 weeks is such early days though I appreciate it feels like forevever - I feel like have had our little bean for ever and when I look back at the previous weeks at some of the challenges we've had I can see that it is such early days in parenting terms.

With my little one I just decided the only way to deal with it was to give him the attention he needed - masses of one on one time, cuddles, if he was clingy and I couldn't put him down than I just didn't attempt it and carried him round on my hip. I saved all phone calls for his nap times, and when cooking put him in the high chair in the kitchen with me so he could see me.  I just wanted him to know that he can depend on me.

I thought he'd never give me space, but now he is a lot more secure and I am beginning to move on to trying to get him used to the idea that I have to go out sometimes and leave him with daddy. I know your little one is older than mine so in theory should be at a stage of beginning to be weaned off so much attention, but I have read that children often regress backwards to an earlier stage of emotional development when they first move placement, so maybe she has emotionally gone back to a stage of a smaller child/baby, and soon with lots of love and pateince she will catch up again.

IS your social worker nice and approachable? If so I would definitely chat to her/him. They are there to be supportive to you now, and their priority is that you and LO do well and have the support you need.

If you are interested in reading, the books I have that have been really helpful are:

"Real Parents, Real Children" by Holly van Gulden  - this is quite theoretical but the reason I like it is it explains what normal emotional development for a child is at each stage, and then seperately explains how that can be affected by adoption, and has suggestions for handling behaviour. I don't find it too "scary".

"Parenting the CHild that Hurts - Tiddlers and Toddlers" by Caroline Archer. This is fab, its the only adoption book I've found that actually gives you practical ideas for activities and pro-active action to help build attachment or handle challenges. You know how on your prep course they tell you over and over about attachment problems but don't tell you what to do about it? Wel this book actually has sensible practical suggestions!

Another reference which is not adoption related but is very relevant for adoption is the books by Dr Sears. He advocates "attachment parenting" for all parents, not specifically adoption. The idea being that you should never feel guilty for giving your baby or young child the attention they need - the more attention they get the more the secure they will be and the more they will become confident enough to want to be independent. When I read it I felt such a relief as I was worried about "spoiling" my little one, but reading his stuff made me feel like I had permission to love my little one and do what felt instinctive, eg giving him attention!

Sorry for the really long post, and I really hope that I haven't just made things more confusing for you, or offended anyone in anyway. I hope that its just useful sometimes to have another idea, and I won't be offended in the slightest if you think "what the hell do you know!""!!!!  I really appreciate that I don't have the full picture and everyones situation and children are different.

Wishing huge luck and positive vibes and all the very best for the coming weeks managing you little one.

E xx
 
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