Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wetting Pants and Sleep-Peeing! HELP! Connections and Solutions for Peeing Issues

By John and Diane.

I was just talking to someone who has a child with ADHD and has been wetting his pants during the day.  (As we know, kids with ADD or ADHD may have wetting issues as discussed in “Why are Her Pants Wet, but Her Bed Isn’t?” or The Link BetweenAttention Deficit, ADHD and Daytime Incontinent Episodes)

They have been trying to work with their son by telling him to go to the bathroom every hour to remind him and then follow up the bathroom visit with some positive reinforcement, “nice job!”  The problem they were running into was that other family members thought that the parents were treating the child like a dog… with the constant reminders to go to the bathroom, which made a difficult toileting situation even more difficult.

As I was talking to the parent, it was clear that reminders needed to happen in order to help the child deal with this wetting issue, so we came up with a solution that allowed the parent to remind the child to use the bathroom in a covert manner that wouldn’t embarrass the child or other family members.  Use a code word.

In this case, the parent would ask the child, “Is the moon out?” which would be the child’s cue to go to the bathroom. This not only solved the issue with the other family members, but made the situation less embarrassing for everyone else involved as well.

It is also important to let the child know that the wetting behavior is not a situation that the child is in alone. There are a lot of kids and parents that are going through the same thing, which helps take the stigma off the issue for the child.  The child must also be aware of his or her responsibility in the behavior though and making them assist with the consequences of pants or bed-wetting is a good way to do this.

If a child is resistive to using the restroom when you remind them, or of following rules as far as restricting beverages before bedtime, having them take care of their own wash is very effective in getting them to cooperate with the behavioral modifications. 

So, if the child refuses to use the bathroom after you ask him to or they told you they didn’t have to, then wet there pants, save there pants and underwear and don’t wash them. Make the child wash them, by hand, so they will learn what you have to go through.  Let them know that if they listen to you when you ask them nicely to use the bathroom and then they have an accident, you will wash their clothes for them and smile while you do it, because they listened to you.  

Peeing In Drawers and Hampers

I had another parent ask me about a son who peed in his dresser drawer and hampers. We determined that this was not intentional peeing, (see: Why is My Foster or Adopted Kid Urinating in The Closet (in a Jar, Towel,Hamper, Soda Can): The Red (or Yellow in this Case) Flag and How to Deal withIt.)

 But that the child was a very heavy sleeper, and actually would sleep walk. And pee!  He would dream he was peeing, and because he was a very heavy sleeper… he would actually sleep walk and pee in his room without waking up.  I have seen this happen with a foster child of mine who would sleepwalk. 

The solution in this case was over-the-counter sleeping pills.  The issue was, that even though the child was sleeping so deeply that he was sleepwalking and peeing, the reason for his deep sleep was because his sleep was irregular. He couldn’t fall asleep easily, and then would get up at a regular time, never really getting enough sleep. I kept his bedtime routine the same and with the use of a mild sleeping pill (with his doctors okay of course) he was able to fall asleep normally and sleep in a normal pattern through the night. He never sleep-walk-pee’d again.

I know that wetting behaviors are a big problem for many parents, foster, adoptive or bio, so I thought revisiting this topic was appropriate.  The use of a code-word to help with daytime reminders for ADD kids and the use of sleeping pills (with doctors approval) for unintentional nighttime sleepwalking peeing is another new solution that you might consider trying if you are having issues with your kids.

Do you have a solution that has worked with you and your kids? Please share!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Exciting News! Foster Parent Rescue on Your Kindle!

Hi Friends,
Exciting news ! Our Foster Parent Rescue blog is now available on your Kindle! Perfect for those of you who are too busy to sit at your computer and read it (that would be all of you!) and want to read it while waiting at the doctors office, at the soccer game or anywhere else you have a few precious moments.  Just 99 c a month.  AWESOME! 
Follow the link to subscribe!

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RAD Kids: Working with Your Support System, Finding the Weak Link and Breaking the Manipulation Cycle

by John and Diane.

Once you have gone through the honeymoon period (Read, “You and Your RAD Kid: The Importance of the Trust Building Honeymoon Period”: June8 2012) and you have built up enough “carrots”; memories and things that he or she likes and reasons that the child will want to stay in your home, you can begin to treat the child like less of a guest in the house and more like a family member. You’ll know when to do this, as the child will ask you to.  Don’t give them that “honor” too soon, make them earn it.

To further build on the trust you have established continue to spend as much time with the child as possible. I spend 24/7 with the child when they first move into the group home because I am retired.  RAD kids or kids with trust disorders need you to be there.  By being there and taking care of their needs you begin to build attachment.

Remember in order to bond with kids with trust disorders, you have to take them back basically to birth, so getting them to the “trust age” of about a 4 or 5 year olds will take 2 or 3 years. If it happens in a year and a half, you are lucky. If they have learning difficulties on top of the trust disorders, it could take longer. Basically, the more complex issues they have, the longer it may take.

Your Support Team

You can’t do this alone. I am part of a home-based team consisting of counselors, caseworkers and a psychiatrist. We all meet on a monthly basis, and communicate on a near daily basis. .  The caseworkers, counselors and I talk daily.

When you sit down with this group you come up with a plan of attack. First we came up with a plan to create and build Situational Trust.  Basically, it means that you, the main caregiver, gains the child’s trust. The child must learn to trust that you make correct decisions on his behalf and generally know what is best for him or her. (See “The RAD Child, Situational Trust and Safety Zones: Part 1.” May 4 2012)

Then, you want to “transfer” that trust to the other members of the team.  You show the child that you trust these people, and therefore you want him or her to as well.

RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) kids will try to manipulate team members and pound wedges between them.  This is typical behavior for RAD kids. So you must protect yourself and share all information about what is going on with the child with team members.   The child does not want you to do this and will get really angry because they are finding that their normal ability to manipulate others won’t work.   You have to work through this with the child and they must know that the team is cohesive. Team members must support one another and the decisions that are made regarding the discipline and allowances for the child.

Sometimes there may be a weak link on the team. You will be able to identify the weak link by seeing who the child wants to talk to or turn to when they are not getting their way.  The weak link might be a teacher, counselor or even a parent, anyone who the child feels they can manipulate or who tends to go off of the agreed upon plan and fold to the child’s demands.  The weak link must be addressed and must agree to hold true to the agreed upon rules for the child. Only by doing this can the child begin to trust all the members of the team.

Addressing the Great Manipulator

RAD kids like to create an imbalance and chaos amongst caregivers and team members. They seek out the strongest member of the team and try to build an alliance. Then they seek out the weakest members and try to manipulate them. They do this to distract you from making them do what they need to do: schoolwork, chores, etc. They would rather make chaos in your life and that makes them feel empowered. They will do this whether you have a team of professionals or your team consists of extended family, teachers and friends.

How to correct the behavior:

When they try to create the wedge, you call them on it immediately.  For example, they may say, "You want me to do this, but Anne says I don’t have to.”

In this example, you would call Anne immediately, in front of the child, to clarify the situation, knowing that the child is lying and trying to manipulate.

The child will see that the group is cohesive and you break down his ability to lie and manipulate the group. RAD kids hate being called on the carpet and being seen as liars.  Eventually, the manipulative behavior will become less frequent and stop.

The key to this working is again, a strong team where everyone is clear on the goals and rules. With this kind of support, great strides can be made to break the RAD cycle of behavior.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

The Big Fear: Is Your Child A Psychopath? (A link)

Hi Friends,
Below is a link to an article from IOL: Lifestyle about identifying factors of early psychopathic behavior in children.  I know this is one of the deepest fears Foster and Adoptive (and maybe all parents of troubled kids) have.. a fear that is maybe never spoken out loud.  The signs are important to watch for though and to be aware of. Most importantly, read the article, it gives hope and practical advice on how consistent rules (like our House Rules) and consequences for bad behavior helps.

Read on...

Is your child a psychopath?

The-Good-Son-movie-poster-moviegoodsIn The Good Son a young boy stays with his aunt and uncle, and befriends his cousin who's the same age. But his cousin begins showing increasing signs of psychotic behavior.
London - When my sons were fighting recently, I had to disarm the five-year-old as he went into battle against his brother wielding a cricket bat.
Like many parents who’ve witnessed their children being spiteful or cruel, I felt an icy chill in the stomach. Most parents want their children to be kind and considerate most, if not all, of the time.
But while nearly all youngsters have aggressive moments, for the vast majority – including mine – those moments pass and five minutes later they’re demonstrating their sweet, kind natures by giving you a spontaneous hug or sneaking the cat a kitty treat.
For a few unlucky parents, that frightening chill never leaves them. Instead, it grows into a gnawing, aching certainty that something is dreadfully wrong.
The problem might show itself in a child’s persistent inability to feel empathy when others are hurt or in pain. It might be the child’s complete lack of remorse for misbehaviour. In the most worrying cases, the child is cruel to other children or animals.
One day these parents will ask themselves a terrifying question: Could my child be a psychopath? And, say experts, the answer could well be yes. For psychologists now believe it is possible to identify psychopathic traits in children as young as three. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why is My Foster or Adopted Kid Urinating in The Closet (in a Jar, Towel, Hamper, Soda Can): The Red (or Yellow in this Case) Flag and How to Deal with It.

By John and Diane

I recently got a message from a parent of a RAD, ADHD adopted child who, although having lived with the family for years, recently began peeing in her room.

Unlike bedwetting, which is unintentional and usually done in a sleep or semi-sleep mode, this behavior was obviously intentional as the urine was “delivered unto” towels, items in the closet and boxes in the child’s room.

This can be troubling behavior for foster and adoptive parents, but it is usually dealt with when the child is first brought into the home. Typically a red flag, this type of behavior is a classic “tell” for a child with some kind of abused background. (Often sexual.) It can also be a reaction to stress or part of a bigger impulse control problem.    The key to figuring out the foundation of the problem is to learn the child’s history and to deal with the underlying problems, should there be some.

Having said that, you do have to deal with the practical matter of urine on your floor, carpet etc.

Although the issue of approving the behavior by giving them a pot or “approved container” to pee in was discussed with the parent that contacted me, my feeling is this:

You are not approving the behavior by providing a place for the child to urinate in, in their room, you are acknowledging that the behavior is happening (which is good, secret behaviors are bad and unproductive) and by providing a solution for the immediate problem (the ruining of your home) you are removing the frustration and anger on your part and giving the child some responsibility for the behavior. 

The child should be given a pot to pee in (go ahead, laugh…) AND they will be responsible for emptying it and cleaning it, as well as any other materials or items that they may have urinated on.  (The same goes for children that are intentionally incontinent of the bowels as well. Be grateful if you only have to deal with urine, I have had to deal with both!) This becomes part of their chores. Of course, also talk about the need for sanitation and sanitary handling of materials and hand washing.

Don’t put a camp toilet or other toilet-looking item in the room, as that would encourage continued use, but a chamber pot or old cooking pot is fine, as it takes care of the problem without retraining the child to pee in the room forever.

This is just a temporary issue, and as you work through the basis of the problem, this will deal with some of the collateral damage.

 Meanwhile, continue the dialog … if it is a result of abuse or stress, the child will begin to open up to you (part of your accepting the behavior is that you are accepting the child and building trust with him or her).  The behavior should diminish as issues are revealed and worked through.

I have had kids come in with this issue, found the basis to be a history of sexual abuse, dealt with it, resolve the issue and then have it reoccur years later.  Usually that tells me that the child is under a new stress or is feeling threatened by another child in the home or at school.  That is why being aware of these red flags is vital to foster and adoptive parents.

In this case, the behavior may be starting because the child is feeling secure and safe in the home after living there for many years. Now that the child’s basic needs of safety and security are met, the child may be able to deal with deeper issues from the past; therefore new behaviors will begin to surface.

Of course, parents should discuss the behaviors with the child’s doctors and caseworkers. 

The advice I give you comes from years of dealing with this exact issue in my own home with kids with trust disorders, ADD, ADHD, Development disabilities, Sexual abuse histories etc. 

If you have experience with this issue and a success story to share, please do! 

Below is a link to more information about wetting behaviors

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Message to Our Friends.... You Can Do It!

I was reminded yesterday about the reason I started this blog. Yes, I wanted to share my techniques, and the lessons I learned about dealing with difficult kids, but also, I wanted other foster and adoptive parents, or parents of tough kids to have a place to go to find support. So, With that said, I say this.

 You are not alone. You will have tough days, days when you want to give up, run and hide, days when you don’t think you can do it… but you can. I know you can.  I find my strength in prayer, and whether you pray or not, I pray for you, and I send my strength and support to you.

You Have Friends here.  You are surrounded by love and support. I understand what you are going through.  I have been there… and so have the other parents that have become friends to us on this page.  For that friendship, I thank you all. 

I don’t have all the answers, but I have God to help me. I believe that. I believe we are raising God’s children, and his hand is in everything we do. 

So, Please. Don’t give up. When things are difficult, take a moment…

If you have issues you’d like us to write about, please comment here or on our Facebook page and we will get right on it.  Our goal is to give you tools, tips and practical advice that will help get your through the day. 

~ John and Diane

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Friday, June 8, 2012

You and Your RAD Kid: The Importance of the Trust-Building- Honeymoon Period

by John and Diane

Working with a child with a trust disorder (also know as Reactive Detachment Disorder, Attachment disorder), whether it is a new foster child or a child you have adopted can be a frustrating and difficult process, especially if you are not mentally prepared for the rejection and manipulation that is RAD.

Building a foundation of trust with your RAD kid at the very beginning of your relationship with him or her is so vital.  There are many techniques and things that you can do to help this process, so I wanted to focus on it here again.

Every time a parent gets a new child, foster or adopted, there is a “honeymoon period.” This is defined as the time when the child is on his best behavior and expectations are lowered so that the child is always successful.  Normally this lasts one or two weeks.  With kids with behavioral issues or trust disorders you are lucky if you get a day of good behavior. 

You have to try to maintain a honeymoon period for the RAD child (at least on your end) as long as possible to build a foundation of information and attachment on which to grow a future successful relationship.

Building this foundation is not a one or two week process. This could be months of building, so a good memory and plenty of patience is required.

Part of building the foundation of trust with your RAD child is functioning in the Jesus Mode I discuss in the blog posting Tantrums and Trust Disorders: Doorways to Better Relationships (March 24, 2012.) 

    Here are some other things you need to do during the Building of Trust Honeymoon Period with your RAD child in order to set the foundation for future success:

·      Treat the RAD kid as if he is a guest, and not a member of the family. He is not expected to do chores, overall the expectations for him are low and privileges are at maximum. (This would be reversed later on when they become members of the family and are self aware enough of their own bad behaviors and the consequences of them.)

·      When you say you are going to do something… do it. No matter how tired you are at the end of the night, or if circumstances have changed, you can never break your promises to the child, no matter how insignificant the promise may seem.  Keep track of the things you have said, and done for him.

·      Keep track of the times the child has said he was going to do something and has broken his promise.  This is important later on. What you want to do is get a lot more of these times in where you followed through with what you said you would do then he does.  Log it in a book if you have to. You won’t use this in an argument now, but later after the honeymoon period. This is important because RAD kids manipulate and lie and you need to have some kind of proof to win an argument and show them that you don’t lie.  Eventually, when you prove this to him over and over again, he will admit that he is the liar, you are not, and his trust in you will develop.  This takes a long time, so keeping a record is important.

·      Avoid frustration and raising your voice to the child. When you are having difficulty, send the child to his room, get a drink of water, pray, whatever. You don’t want to yell or lose your cool. You want to be able to talk to the child and delve into the behaviors and misdeeds so that you can learn about his or her history. (See the Tantrum article)

·      Create fun memories. Don’t worry about doing too much for the child right now.  You do want to spoil him somewhat, and take lots of pictures. Start a photo album. The beginning of the relationship, this honeymoon period where you are building the foundation for the future, should be a fun time, and extend it as long as possible. You want him or her to remember how much fun he had when he came to your home and how much you put up with from him or her later on. You will use this later to show him that you didn’t give up on him, and he will not want to leave your home, …he or she will feel attached. 

·      Get the extended family into the act.  Bring Grandma and Grandpa into the picture as well to help surround the child with a family unit.  Even if the child never had extended family, they are aware in some part of the roles these people play and have a desire for this “normal” family unit. Allow the grandparent to be “fun” and not get involved in correcting behavior. Correction of behaviors with these types of kids doesn’t really happen within the first year, and when it does, it will happen within the home and with the use of the house rules.

I hope this helps gives some of you with children with trust disorders some hope and guidance.  Working with these kids and this issue is extremely difficult and taxing, so always remember to be good to yourself, take breaks when you need to, ask for help and vent to friends. We here at FPR, and all our Friends on FB are always just an email away and want to help if we can. 

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Putting a Bounty on Bad Behavior: Rules and “Reward” Techniques to Deal with Hitting and Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors Amongst Foster Kids

By John and Diane

Kids hit each other whether you like it or not. No matter how watchful you are (and I even have cameras in my home) children eventually strike out at each other in anger or frustration.  This is a situation that I have plenty of experience in dealing with amongst the boys in my foster home.

Because I am a single parent, I developed a “Bounty Technique” that gets the kids involved in policing the behavior amongst them, and appeals to their fundamental desire for…money!

When the hitting behavior starts, of course, you first sit down and review the house rules with the kids.  I talk to the kids about why the hitting happened, and if they have any ideas on how to react in a different way.  Of course, they don’t.  They make excuses, blame the other children, or say that they will do better.  Since there is a No Fighting or Hitting Rule on my posted House Rules list, the hitting action has already brought about a direct consequence to the child- they have lost some of their earned money or are punished with extra chores etc.

When the behavior reoccurs, I begin the “Bounty Technique.”  I explain it to the kids like this:

If your brother or sister hits you, and you don’t hit back, but come and tell me about it right away, I will take $1. Away from the “hitter” and give it to you. (The hittee.)

This does not mean that the “hitter” can now hit the other child “for free” all day long; they pay each time it happens.   Kids really hate to see their brother or sister getting their hard earned money, and the child that gets hit feels a little victorious when the other gets punished for the bad behavior.

Now, the flip side is this: The child that WANTS to hit the other child will begin to stop himself before he hits.

He or she starts to come to the parent to complain about the other child (the would-be hittee) about the behavior that is driving him or her to hit.  This helps the parent identify the triggers for anger in that child, which gives them more opportunities to work through the foster child’s issues.

The “Bounty Technique” goes a step further by getting uninvolved kids in on the act as well.

If two kids fight, but neither tells me about it, that is not a good situation.  I need to know what is going on, and unresolved issues between them can be continued after they go to bed or to school.  If an uninvolved child comes and tells the parent that two other kids are fighting, the child receives $2, one from each of the offenders.

So, kids begin to learn that the only way NOT to lose money is to come to me with their issues before I hear about it from one of the other kids.  If they can tell me what happened, and how they are going to work on stopping it from happening again, they don’t lose money. If it happens again, I get the money!

I know it sounds a little complicated, but its really common sense. Once you do it , it will be second nature to all involved.

A form of this technique also works with kids and reporting inappropriate sexual behavior amongst them. There is a lot more talking and learning going on when issues are reported by any of the kids, and getting them additional help is always the most important end result. 

I think it is vital to the safety and health of a foster home to deal with sexual issues of the kids out in the open. I deal with it bluntly (when age appropriate) and make sure that all the kids are aware of predatory behavior and how important it is to report it to me for the benefit of all the kids, including the actor. All the kids realize that what is said in the home about each other stays in the home; they don’t want their history to be known outside anymore than the other kids, and although some may disagree with this, again, the safety of the kids is the most important thing to me.

The Bounty system works the same way as far as the money transactions go, and I have found that it stops the behavior, at least in my home.

Do you have tips or ideas that have worked for you to stop hitting behaviors in your home? Please share.

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