All the appointments have been similar recently. With Mr. T and I there has been a lot of strategy talk concerning ISPs and communication with the foster care provider and the SW. For the boys the same goals (ask & listen) are gone over. The same discussions (birth story, emotions and behavior) are repeated.
This week was different...
Actually over the past few weeks there has been a disintegration in waiting-room behavior. Therapy begins with "Family therapy" which takes place between the AT and the parents. The children's choices and behaviors are discussed before AT brings them in and begins to work with them (in our presence). This places us in the therapy room for 4-5 hours and the boys in the waiting room, just outside the door, for 4-5 hours. They are able to control their behavior, they have done so before. They are even encouraged to bring things to do with their time. They have, however, chosen the Lord Of The Flies way of life.
We began therapy with a summarizing of what we and AT had each heard concerning the ISP for placement. (which was that they can't find time to do it before school begins). We discussed the behavior of each child.
AT again reassuring us that Ebear is probably behaving as a normal teen and we are reacting to triggers every time he strays off the rigid path. In other words... Mom, Dad, Relax! ;o)
Middle-One is stressed because there is no placement date yet and no support or communication from the FCP so he has a foot in each camp and is being pulled like a wishbone. This results in freakishly controlling behaviors. Our instruction from AT is to remain in control at all times. If Middle refuses to quit arguing or follow instruction and follows me with the intent to keep poking and prodding until I explode, then I should not react by answering or responding to him but should instead provide some type of consequence. This consequence can be anything I choose...just so long as *I* choose it. Some suggestions were... to just hug and love on Middle and have him come sit with me, so pull him in when he is trying to make me push him away. Another is to just silently go to his room and take something... anything at all, doesn't matter what. Then encourage him to think and figure out why. I could also give him a chain-analysis sheet to complete to help him figure out why (he is not likely to actually do that LOL). And another is just do something off the wall... Mr. T suggested an Irish jig.... I'm liking that idea more and more. When in doubt, dance!
Bright-Eyes is living out of a duffel bag. Hasn't run, but wants us all to know that he can and will whenever he feels like it. He is in his "You can't make me" stance (rather unpleasant when we can't "make him" take a shower). AT told us to take his duffel bag and all of his clothes. *sigh* There are times when my heart just aches for this child and all he has been through, but those times are decreasing and being replaced with the desire to just get in his face and tell him to cut it out already and stop being a prima-dona!!!!!
Soon after we all began to talk, the noise level in the waiting-room began to rise. We were hearing things thrown and people slapped. Lots of arguing and some outrageously loud laughing. Mr T went out there the first time... I went out the second time. The third time AT asked if she could address the issue and let them have it!... didn't stop them.
We brought Bright-Eyes in and began working with him. During that time we had to continue addressing the older two (now this a a HEALING 16 y/o and a 14 y/o...so we aren't talking about toddlers! There were things thrown, a ball bouncing, wrestling, laughing, arguing...... At one point when we had corrected them again, Ebear got on board but Middle began playing with all the toys... LOUDLY!!!!!! AT corrected him AGAIN!
As you can imagine, it was ridiculously tiring and unproductive.
We took a lunch break. During this time Mr. T and I had the boys clean up the TRASHED waiting room. We passed out sandwiches, crackers and fruit and of course Middle wanted something different and wanted to sit with his feet stretched into the path of traffic. Sad... we are so hard on him. Feeding him food that he likes and expecting him to not trip others. It's hard being him.
When it was time to resume Middle feigned sleep (guess all that rough-housing and exaggerated play, wore him out). LOL. He stretched out on the couch (we have told him not to do this) he closed his eyes and pretended not to know that AT was back and it was his turn... ok, so be it... AT called the other two boys in to the therapy room and closed the door.
We had a rather enjoyable family session without Middle, for about an hour. AT talked with the other boys about how each of them was doing and how they perceived the behavior of each brother. Ebear really opened up and shared some deep feelings... He has come so far. At one point Middle knocked on the door to see what was going on and AT opened the door and told him that we were busy and closed the door. ...... Sometimes therapy is too enjoyable. ;o)
AT observed that the four of us, together, were loving and supportive and enjoyed each other's company. We talked about the difference in dynamics with and without Middle. We do hope he will choose to be a part of us... one day.
When we were finished AT advised everyone to not get pulled in if Middle decided to be angry at having missed his session but to remind him that he chose to miss it. He never did show any concern about it one way or the other.