Sunday, January 25, 2009

Working on trust

(trŭst) Pronunciation Key n.
Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.

Cooper has been very defiant lately - in the last 3 weeks or so.
Sometimes, when something doesn't go his way, he has a mini-meltdown. I know this is a typical 3 year old behaviour but it's also typical older child adoption behaviour.

As a toddler, he has to 'test' us constantly to prove to himself that the rules are still there.
As an adoptee, he needs to know that he can trust us to ALWAYS follow through with the consequences that we impose, hence the trust title.
If he refuses to put on his socks (like this morning) we impose a consequence of: If you refuse, you will not be able to wear 'big orange' (his absolute favorite UT hoodie). If you do not put your socks on, you will not go to the mall park. He did refuse, cried, screamed, had a tantrum with kicking, slamming doors and the works...all because we asked him to put his socks on.
He did end up putting on his socks but did not get to wear 'big orange'.
So we followed through, we went to the mall park but he did not wear his beloved 'big orange'. Of course, at the mall there was another meltdown, but that's for another story!

I guess the premise of me writing this is to say that we know that he does not completely trust us yet so he puts us through LOTS of tests.

We have to be diligent and follow through with any consequences we impose because in his mind, what if we don't always follow through? Then maybe one day we won't follow through and pick him up from school. And in his mind, we may not always mean it when we say I love you...
It's exhausting at times but the most important thing to realize is that if we continue to be effective and attentive parents, this too shall pass and he'll eventually be a secure, confident, trusting young man.
I'll leave you with a picture of the kids 6 months ago when we first met them, and a picture from yesterday... They grow up way too fast!
July 2008
January 2009


Chris said...

I've been follwing your blog since you mentioned on the AAI yahoo group that you are in Houston as well.

Both of your kids are oh so cute! Kara always has the same cute little smile.

We have the same melt down issues with our son, although they have gotten fewer and are very often diffused with humor.

Carey and Norman said...

Isn't it funny how they must test us? I thought the paperwork was enough to prove that we were fit to be their parents....Ha. I guess we have many years of tests to prove our worth. I think what you are seeing is perfectly normal. It makes parenting hard, but we know it is best in the end. Glad you are doing well!!

Troy and Rachel said...

Test, test, test. I tell you sometimes I think they are smarter than us!! It is exhausting, but also very rewarding. I had a lady in a pharmacy store come up to me after making Daniel sit in time out at the pharmacy chair and she said "You'll never regret doing that." That reminded me that we are all doing the right thing.

Susan said...

The kids are so cute, I love how they are always holding hands.

Artem went through that phase as well. 'Bout drove me to drink but thankfully he's over it...for now.

Mama Sarah said...

Such wonderful children, congrats. Oh yeah the testing!! :) Even in Russia my son Sasha would ask every question twice (to everyone) just to make sure he got the same answer every time. He is such a cutie that way. One of things I figured out early on is that whatever I pick a response to a behavior it needs to be the same response every time. Let me tell you - I pick those lines in the sand very carefully. Have a wonderful week!

Susan said...

We're experiencing the same with our two kids. It's never a dull moment. It's amazing what motivators Jello (him) and a hair bow (her, obviously) can be!

Susan in cold and snowy Michigan