Sunday, January 17, 2010

Adult Supervision or Not?

If you had many children, some prone to violence, all living together. The ones prone to violence are predictable, they get mad at another child and run to their room to destroy it and later attack their Mom violently and threaten to kill her, if it gets too much to handle all by themselves. You have another child that provokes all the other children because this child is extremely angry at her father and lack of control over her life. This child, every time unsupervised, will do something to another child like stand in front of them and refuse to move so they can see the TV, take their leg braces and refuse to give them back, kick over large dollhouses that younger children are playing behind, or just copy every word they say, including the 2 year old. When the other child gets upset and tells her to stop, she screams as loud as she can IN THEIR FACE to leave her alone. If you know this happens over and over and have warned this child that doing this to certain children, prone to violence against their Mom, might react in a way that really hurts this child and she keeps doing it EVERY CHANCE SHE GETS, is keeping this child supervised by an adult too much to ask? Do you think all the mentally ill children should be in line of sight supervision while the other child is left unattended?

I feel this child is acting dangerous and is trying to get a reaction from the other children and her parents. I fear I won't be able to protect this child from one of my provoked mentally ill children that are known to have impulse control issues. I can just see her blocking the TV (AGAIN!) and my son begging her to move before he hits her with the game controller, knocking her eye out of the socket, and running to his room. She claims her child is not hitting them so it will be his fault if he hits her. Will that really matter if she is blind in one eye? Will it stop her from provoking children? This child does hit my children, almost every day she hurts them physically. She stomps on their feet, refuses to move so they can get out or enter a room (a whole other issue for a few of my children that have been locked in spaces for days) and will even lean into them so they can't pass and them screams they have hurt her when they push through shoving them, or even when she gets mad and out right hits them. Most of my kids aren't regular hitters anymore. My son may smack you once but he doesn't stick around, he runs to his room. I have been warned that if my children hurt her, even if she provokes them like she is known to do, I can be charged with Child Endangerment and my mentally ill child will be locked away in a hospital. All because I knew they were a possible danger to others. It is even possible for DFCS to remove custody of her child from her temporarily, if she fails to protect her from a known danger. To me it's like telling your child, "Don't get hit by a car." and then telling them they have to play in the street. She can not handle being alone with other children, it is a fact. She is not in therapy to deal with her emotions. We know she will do this again within minutes of being alone with one of my children. Scary enough to keep the provoking child with an adult? Seems like a simple answer to me.

Her mother, however, feels I am over reacting. Feels I always over react. Says I think every one has issues. Claims that I forced her child into a hospital 2 months ago and she didn't need it. (Child jumped out a 2 story window and hurt her back. She told her mother and I that when we went to sleep, she was leaving again and refused to stay in the house at 7 yrs old. She was asked repeatedly to commit to stay in the house before the therapist made the decision she had to go to the hospital or we would be endangering her life.) She also wants my children supervised at all times instead of her child because mine are sick and have to be held sometimes. (Hers does, too, but never mind that.) It doesn't matter that my children do not annoy every other child in the house, steal from them, and hurt them. She said her daughter is just a little girl and shouldn't have to watched like that. If any of her reasons were valid, I'd agree. They are not.

I am the first to tell you, some of my children have intense issues, this doesn't make them bad. It also doesn't reflect my parenting. I fear she worries that if she admits her daughter is acting dangerous and needs to be supervised (like I did while she was away for months and abruptly stopped when she took back over parenting her children daily) that says she is a bad mom. I don't think she is bad. I think she is clueless about the big picture. She parents in the right this very moment. She can't see what her actions are doing to them. She doesn't want to say no and I am confident that she didn't until she came here. She feels that because I make my kids do things for themselves, I am lazy. I think it teaches them to do for themselves. She irons their clothes and lets them sleep in her bed (forcing her to sleep on the floor or on the sofa because there isn't room for her) instead of telling them to sleep in their bed and making them mad. She thinks this makes her a good mom because they aren't tantruming that moment and they look nice. Her parenting style is superficial. If they look good, she is a good parent. Don't look inside the house because they are peeing on everything at 4 and almost 7, refusing to eat any fruits or vegetables, having fits in the morning, crying when a drop of water spills on them (literally), and watching TV for hours on end but only when she is around. When she isn't here, they eat what I ask without a fuss, keep dry most of the time, and pretend play most of the day. Her FIL even said the kids are great for him. It is her. I know this would be hard to accept if it was me. Before she came her, her kids were impossible to bring to a public place, she couldn't get them up and ready for school, she couldn't get them to use the restroom without her direct supervision, and they were out of control. It is because of our structure and pressure that they changed. She thinks it is her.

I had to put my foot down, her child has to be around an adult (myself, my DH, or her) during waking hours until she is in therapy and can express her emotions without torturing my children or she needs to find another place to live. I do not think I am being too tough. I have done a lot for her in the 16 months and in the many years I have known her. I have to put the safety of ALL the children ahead of her feelings. I love her and her children. I do not think this is too much to ask since I was doing the same thing for quite some time with little effort. The child was much happier and was able to play with other children without getting in trouble. I feel it is the only option. She felt I was singling out her child and took all 3 and left, never said a word. She called her FIL and he called us. Based on her past choices, I assume she will leave and not call us for many years. It will hurt terribly but it is her choice. I am happy to continue to watch her children for free so she can work. I don't care if she speaks to me or not. I do not wish her harm, I love her, she is my child.


Linda said...

I know you love her. She is your daughter. But you did not raise her. She does not see things the way you do. And if her children are causing so much upheaval, if she is unwilling to do what you are asking, it is your house and she must go.

Yes, I have asked an adult child to move out. It was unpleasant. It left a rift between us for several months. But he's found his way home emotionally. And he's acting like an adult.

I've read your blog for a very long time. One thing that I see is that your heart is huge but it perhaps obscures your vision. Especially around the young women you've taken in. She is not a child. She is an adult. She is a mom. Her job is to raise her children, not throw that onto you, not cause strife and division in your home. And until she understand that you will no longer allow her to manipulate like this, she'll keep doing it.

And sometimes, even though it's painful, it's necessary to do the hard thing.

My heart goes out to you.

FosteringDreams said...

Letting people make decisions that we wish we could change is one of the most difficult things. But, just like you want your younger children to do the things they can for themselves, you can't make these decisions for your older child.

I know you love her and I hope she realizes it despite her current reaction.

MamaKate said...

You did the right thing.

Book Lover said...

No one can hurt your heart like a grown child. I can tell through your blog how much you love her. But she is the mom of her children and now she has earned a skill to support them. She must get out and learn how to be a mom. Your young ones at home need to come first. You've done all you can do for her (and probably more than you should've). Please don't feel any guilt, only satisfaction that you've done all you can.
Prayers and blessings

KIm Chrisman

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