Monday, January 5, 2009

I Am So Frustrated!

Sometimes living with a special needs child is so hard! My Goldilocks (8) has broken thousands of items since she walked through our door 6 years ago. Of course, I know that things are not as important as relationships and children. However, I am so tired of the constant destruction. It is very important to me to be a good steward to the Earth, to recycle and reuse, and not to waste. So I guess that's why her destructiveness pushes my buttons of frustration.

The "experts" go around and around on why she breaks so much. It's the FASD or the RAD or the ODD -- or maybe she's just rough on stuff. I don't really care what is the reason. I  just wish I knew how to stop the breakage. Since Christmas day, she has broken 2/3 of her gifts.  Interestingly, she has not broken the gifts given from three friends, only gifts given by family members, even though the gifts from family members were exactly what she wanted and seemed delighted to receive. Hmm... me thinks I see a bit of RAD here. Today, she damaged her sister's Christmas doll carriage. Fortunately, it might be repairable. 

I feel bad that Goldilocks' room looks worse than the other children's. That is because she loves to tear up paper and throw it about the room. She has a room with lots of windows and has destroyed all the shades, so they are torn. We can't afford to replace them just to have her tear them again. I'm concerned that her self-esteem is damaged by having a room that looks so bad, yet she tears up books and destroys her favorite things every single day. There is hardly anything nice in her room. She really is a little fashionista, yet she purposely rubs mud into her clothing because "it's fun". So it is even hard to keep her looking dressed as neatly as the other children.

So what do you do with a child like this? Do you throw everything away that is damaged, even though she seems upset about it having been broken? She will have hardly anything left in her room if I do. Do you have a repair time where she has to fix/maintain everything several times a week? I am leaning towards this option, but I am not sure it is worth my effort. Goldilocks is not a gentle child. She is rough on everything, and I am not completely sure how much of it is within her control. I'd really like some advice. 

For example, just the way she eats a peanut butter sandwich makes it get all over her face, even her hair and eyebrows. She colors with a crayon more like a 2 year old would than an 8 year old. If she is left unattended with a bottle of shampoo for a minute, it will all be gone. 

We had six casualties today...three items that were so far gone they needed to go in the trash. I hate the waste of it all. As you can see, I am one frustrated Mommy tonight. Oh well, my rant is over and it feels better to get it out here than rant at my dd. 

On the upside, school is going well. I have a really fun post about our Ancient Egypt project coming up soon.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Oh Dawn!!

    I will pray for you!! I wish I had some guidance or encouraging words, but I feel to do so without having walked through your shoes would just not be good. Its easy to offer advise, but even easier and more dedicated for me to offer you prayers!!

    May your school days continue to go well!!


    Michelle in Japan

  2. Oh Dawn, I hear your frustration, I'm sorry. Do you have times in the day that you encourage lots of physical activity? I have a child that has 'issues' and I make them do lots of jumping jacks and exercise to tire them out a bit. I also spend time 'brushing' them and giving lots of firm massages. It helps tremendously with destructive behaviour. We are also firm believers in 'privileges are earned' and 'with responsibility comes privileges'. If the one child doesn't behave responsibly (regardless of if they are in control of it or not) they don't get the privileges. It is hard for the child who is different but sadly it is a consequence of what their biological parent did :(

    I can encourage you - it DOES get better!!

  3. {{{Dawn}}} I'm so sorry. I can so understand. My dd can be the same way, though not to the same extreme. I hoped it would get better with age. Is it or isn't it? I'm not sure. I can really relate to the torn paper. We have tons of it in our home, particularly in dd's bedroom. Another example...I made a really cute bedskirt for her a few years ago, with a netting overlay on top of dark purple fabric. Inside the netting I put huge colorful daisies. She has this thing about cutting the netting, taking out the daisies, pulling them apart, and then "redecorating". sigh If you want to e-mail me privately, you may. I won't claim to have answers. You have already made a few suggestions, both of which I do. Sometimes, what is a mom to do? We can't control everything, as much as we want to make things wonderful for our special needs kids. Sometimes we have to make choices that we can live with, based on everything. Then we turn to the Lord for strength to get through each day. I could go on and on and on about things I worry about with my dd. She has really impressed me in some areas, yet in others....

    One thing I have always aimed for with my kids, is the simpler the better. This is sort of a special needs doctrine that has been driven in to me. Then the outside family have to override that with "junk" that ruins the simplicity. I try to accomadate this, but it's not to the kids' benefit. I could go on and on, but I think I've taken up enough of your space!



  4. What you wrote is a text book example of one of my kiddos. He will most certainly destroy something he has begged for. His room..ripped everything, cut up clothing, broken, etc.. He was diagnosed with ptsd, rad, and adhd. What do I do?? First of all write down what was bought/destroyed and how. document behaviours so that if you are ever questioned as to why she has so much less you can present the reason in writing. Believe me, this is a must. It is also helpful to show to a therapist who may be needed later. Second, when she breaks a toy on purpose (oops, it was an accident!) take it away and tell her "we don't keep broken toys". As far as her room...remove whatever is ruined, of course make sure she has adequate bedding, a special snuggle toy, etc.. Document why you removed the curtains, etc.. Document what day the wall paper was ripped off. This is most certainly RAD and a reflection of how she fills junk. I don't know her past but IM me if you want. We bend over backwards to finally make him/her happy..

    On a positive kiddo is turning 13 on Friday and he has FINALLY started taking care of some of his belongings. yeah!! The destructivness has improved greatly but it wasn't without a lot of frustation and time.


  5. Carol/threelittleladiesJanuary 10, 2009 at 2:21 PM

    I can imagine the frustration that must be. I will pray that the Lord will give you wisdom in this area and grace and patience too.