One thing about having children who have lived a lot of their lives in dysfunction and the foster care system is that they have a skewed version of what the holidays are. You don’t know why and they can’t really tell you why. It’s frustrating to say the least. What we do know is that behavior seems to be the outlet for their holiday anxiety. Unfortunately for us it has been an issue of bad behavior. The time out chair has seen a lot of action lately if you get my drift. Despite my attempts to sit and talk things out in an effort to get some answer as to why the behavior is the way it is, I’ve got nothing. I wish I could understand and help ease whatever it is that is going on in their minds but I can’t. One good motivator is Christmas gifts. You be good, one gift goes under the tree. It has worked a little. In my heart I feel for them because I know that it is a reaction to their past. But on the other hand I am now their parent and I need them to understand that bad behavior is unacceptable and we won’t allow it. I have to be the bad guy and that sucks! They have only been with us for 9 months and I have to continually remind myself of that. At this point we just have to get through the holidays and hopefully next year they will have a better sense that things will be okay for them.
One tough decision my husband and I had to make yesterday was to not give them our big gift. The kids didn’t know but we planned to take them to Disney World for one day this week. After this past week of bad behavior we knew we couldn’t reward them with such a fun opportunity. It wouldn’t be fair to any of us. I’m sad about our decision but I know it is the right one. We could only afford one day anyway so now we have a whole year to save for another day and a hotel room. Plus in one more year I think we will have a little more stability in our family. In my quest to give them memorable experiences this year I think I forgot that having a new family might just be enough experience. I mean a couple of years ago they were living in a tent having never left the town they were born in. Now they are flying on airplanes across the country, seeing the ocean, going on boats, going to amusement parks, experiencing summer camps, and on and on. It’s been an entirely eventful 9 months for them.
Being a parent is hard, no matter who your child is. We have to make tough decisions, enforce rules, be the bad guy, all while making sure they feel secure and loved. A balancing act so many of us put on every day. I hope for the kids’ sake that “Life’s most painful losses can lead to life’s most beautiful findings.” (Rusty Berkus)