Thursday, November 15, 2007

Question for Professionals from a Parent

We arew parents of a 2 year 4 month old girl and have been her parents since day 2. She had drugs in her system at birth. The questions we have for you are:

She hit's us, our dog and other children. Except in a day care which she goes to once a week and she has friends there. Later on we have started her in a parent/toddler class once a week and she has been hiiting the children two or three times, and this week twice in a day. She does not know the children or parents in the parent-toddler class, as well as she does in the days care. The teacher in the daycare is much ore interactive and nurturing than in the parent-toddler class.

The problem has existed for quite awhile, at least since last summer. In the past we would grab her arms and scold her. More recently, we have timed her out, but nothing seems to work. Maybe she is trying to be friendly and doesn't knwo how. Her teacher in her parent-toddler class wants to send her home now, after one hit, to which I objected. I would like to move her but want to give the teacher a chance to work something out--I feel that she doesn't want to work with our child, or is it school policy that she send her home? I talked to the vice pricipal and she said she was surprised that this teacher wanted to send Savannah h ome when she was such a proponent of positive discipline.

Do you have any suggestions?

Savannah is quite verbal.

The other question involves my saying to my child that her behavior is "bad" and I may have said that she was bad when I was scolding her. I regret this because now she says mommy/daddy is bad, the dog is bad, and when asked if she is bad she says yes (although I don't really think she knows what bad is, she has picked up on my inflection and stern demeanor). What can I do now? We have been telling her that she is a good girl at every oopportunity we have.



Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

The coordinator of an adoption preservation program responds:

I wonder if this little girl has sensory integration issues. I would suggest having an O.T. evaluation done. If she was prenataly exposed she may
also have some of that lack of cause and effect thinking going on.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

I would send her to daycare more often and stop the parent\toddler class because it is obvious that the teacher doesn’t handle the situation as well at the daycare person. Ask the daycare person what she does when the problems arises. If it doesn’t arise, pay attention to the structure of the daycare and the environment. All toddlers go through a hitting stage, but when kids are hitting on a regular basis, they know they can. A good example is a 2 year old I worked with…..she would snap her teeth at the foster mother, but she would never bite her. On her first visit with her adoptive family, the whole family had bite marks on them. Knowing the 2 families, the reason it happened is that Maria didn’t look at her adoptive family as an authority figure or someone in control of the situation. When she went through her hitting stage, the foster mother would see it coming, and verbally redirect her. Sometimes Maria would smile, and put her hand down, but other times she would hit. If she hit, the foster mother would hold her arms down. It made Maria mad, but when the foster mother finally let go of her arms, she didn’t hit again. Maria was a drug baby too and very strong willed.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Michael states:

What to do now?

In response to Steven’s post concerning how to best help his daughter, I have a few thoughts of how they may resume forward movement based upon the information at hand.

First, I salute Steven’s introspective admission that as parents we do play a role in how our children learn to respond to the world around them. This is a very difficult first step as we’d rather pinpoint the concern in others and the need for change in others rather than taking a moment to consider our own need for change. So, keep up the good work, Steven, by considering thoughtfully, even with the assistance of a clinician, how modeling behavior may play a powerful role in learned behavior of children.

Secondly, due to your daughter’s prenatal drug exposure there’s the strong likelihood that impairment of traditional cause and effect thinking
has occurred. This can be a complicated foray into traditional early childhood development, so I’d recommend seeking further clinical help through a licensed counselor who feels equipped and skilled to assess developmental needs and impairment in children. Seeking additional help and counsel should be viewed as a strength and is integral to
understanding your child’s needs, then how to treat it.

And finally, I encourage you to take the next steps with the school by arranging a “parent / teacher” meeting. The school personnel should be a strong ally to the family … you and the child. When parents and teachers are effectively partnering with each other they are, truly, capable of moving mountains. Consider how you can strengthen the relationship with the school as you need each other to ultimately help your daughter.

So, what to do now? You’re on the right track, Steven! To regain forward movement continue to
consider your modeling influences, continue to seek help and and an assessment through a licensed clinician, and continue to build a vital, effective partnership with the school. In time, I’m
confident your forward movement will pick up momentum!

Michael Yates

8:33 AM  
Blogger FatcatPaulanne said...

I don't think it's all that abnormal for a 2 year old to hit. Mine all did it at some point and they are all biological and not drug exposed. I would just grab their hands gently and say "we don't hit" and usually followed it by "we love." and give them a hug. They all stopped hitting.

I do think that all adopted kids should have some counseling to deal with their loss and it would be a good idea for you all to go maybe in the future when she's a little older.

6:22 AM  

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