Today I am stuck. It's like writers block or a brain fart around here. We have found ourselves looking at each other, saying "It doesn't matter what we do," with our consequences for Etienne again. I remember an "aha" moment with Molly; she loved being in her room reading, so her consequences (she's seriously had maybe 5 her whole life) were that she couldn't read. Yup, grounded from books. Blake is old school; a spanking and a prayer and he's usually good to go. Zeke has major repentance when we raise our voices at him, so he doesn't require much in the discipline department either.
Every adoptive mom I know struggles with "Is this attachment or is this a strong willed kid?" I'm a big fan of algorithms and I need to figure out how to make one for E. An exact response that is guaranteed to be the right answer. I know, I know an algorithm for any parenting would be fabulous but trust me, parenting a kid with RAD takes the unknown to a whole new level. There hasn't been an "aha" moment or even much trial/error. It's crazy! We can't do the traditional parenting because at Etienne's core is "No one really loves me forever, so I am just going to see what happens if I...." I never ever hesitate to punish my biological kids because I know that there isn't a doubt in their minds that they are my children and I would die for them. But putting a kid who doesn't believe he is loved in a time out corner is just pushing him away from what he needs: more love and more attention. Believe me, it's infuriating and exhausting because time outs are a great way for a parent to catch their breath and get a grip. So, no time outs for E. Spankings are sort of taboo too because we don't know 100% that E wasn't physically abused before he was ours. For awhile losing toys was working but at some point we feel like we are just donating too much and it wasn't fair to the rest of the kids in the house (and we start running low on toys which leads to marker on the piano and holes in the drywall) The one thing Etienne consistently loves is dessert. Except this mama will not make dessert for every meal! Heck, these kids just discovered the joy of Village Inn pie last Friday. I am very aware the disciplining, spankings, time outs, punishments, etc are like sex and politics. You aren't really supposed to talk about them with friends, right? Whatever. There is no shame here.
Ryan, E and I had this really brilliant (so we thought at the time) talk over the weekend:
Mommy: One time, Daddy told me that he really didn't like it that I never put the toothpaste lid back on when I was done using it.
Daddy: It was messy. And gross.
Mommy: So I said 'I'm sorry I did that.' Then what do you think happened?
E: You made bad choices?
Daddy: No! She started putting the lid on.
Mommy: I showed him that I loved him by putting the lid on because I knew it upset him when I didn't.
E (appears to be processing this): And then it wasn't messy? Ok, I will put the toothpaste lid on.
So I am back at the drawing board but at least I have a clean toothpaste drawer.