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Control and Insecurity

When a child is trying to take control of things, it is most likely that they are feeling quite out of control inside.
We had a scenario play out in our family over the last couple of days that I’d like to share.
Sweetie #4, was wanting to get new shorts for her exercise class.
We agreed another pair of comfortable shorts would be a good idea, but we also didn’t want those shorts to be too short!
We looked over a couple of days and didn’t really find anything.
Sweetie 4 was asking again about shorts, but seemed a lot more “vigilant” about it.
When we got to the store, it was not enjoyable. She was anxiously walking ahead of us, instead of staying with us. She was back to asking for things. Everything she saw; chocolate, candy, clothing, snacks and more, were met with, “Oh mama! Can we get these or this?”
It seemed out of the ordinary as she hadn’t done that in 2 years!  I knew something else was going on in her heart.

When we finally got around to looking at shorts, she became dysregulated, as we looked because there weren’t any shorts she could wear to P.E. that she liked that were also worthy of wearing.
Why do girls’ shorts have to be so stinking short???

So, I gently said, “We’ll look at another store later.”
This got her even more dysregulated and she even suggested we go back to a different store and get a pair of pants that she claimed 30 minutes before she didn’t like!

Then I KNEW something was wrong.

By the time we got home, she was upset and really didn’t seem to know why.
We went in my room to talk and the tears started to flow.  “Mama, I don’t think you want to get anything for me.”

“Why do you think that?  Didn’t we get a couple of things for you?”
“Yes, but we didn’t get the shorts I want.”

It was at that time that I wanted to address the real issue.
“Sweetie, do mom and dad provide for all of your needs?”
“Have you gone without food ever?”
“Have you had to be cold because you had no covers or a coat?”
“Have you had to go naked because you didn’t have clothing to wear?”
Her answers were, “No mom.”
“Then, do you trust mom and dad, that we can provide what you need at the right time?”
“Can you trust us to make sure you get the proper shorts?”

“Yes mom.”

And then, some things came flooding out.  She was worried about being cared for.
You see, when a child has experienced great neglect as she has, sometimes the urge to “control” comes out and they start making sure things are going to be ok.  They are no longer resting in our safe and secure love, but taking the reigns to make sure things are provided.
In doing that, they get scared, and feel upset, because it isn’t what things are supposed to be like.  Having that control is not fun.  It puts them back in a place where they HAD to  make hard choices.
During our talk, I simply took control back. 🙂
“How about if you let mama and daddy provide for your needs. You can rest and not worry any more.”
“You need to let yourself be a kid again.  OK?”

“Ok mom.” 🙂

“Now let me see your beautiful eyes.  There’s my girl! Glad to have you back!”
And then there was a peaceful smile. 🙂

2 Responses to Control and Insecurity

  1. Aus says:

    Outstanding!! We have been having some of those issues more strongly with our youngest – 3rd adopted – strongly enough that we have sought assistance from a wonderful counselor who is also a multi international adoptive mom – she “get’s it”. Anyway – after a session with her my Bride stopped at a discount store on the way home to stock up on the lunch for school stuff etc – and he as doing the exact same thing – I want this and get me that – and becoming more and more disregulated by the minute. Nearly done and in the check out line he “hit the wall” (he’s 5) – and as luck would have it some understanding people (including the clerk) pitched in to help her finish. But his comments to her included all the adopted kids “stab in the heart type” things like “I want a new mommy” and “you aren’t my mommy” stuff.

    But – loving him through it and simply sitting in the car holding him finally got him to the calm “I love you mommy” place again before the drive home.

    My point is – and maybe one of the things that should be included in the “pre-adoptive parent training” – when ever it happens you just have to stop and meet the child where they are – even if it means sitting down in the store or the car or where ever with the child until their needs are met (all of that age specific to the child – the older they are the longer you can wait to meet that need – maybe in the bedroom at home or where ever!)

    well done – and hugs – aus

    • ChristieM says:

      Yes, meeting the child’s need is how to bring them back to regulation!
      I read an article yesterday that was based upon typical life within a family where a little one had a meltdown and people did not help the poor mother. Instead they judged her as she was trying to help her son. (she was not ignoring him)

      The author of the article wrote that people forget what it is like to have a young child in a store with all the advertising aimed at him so he WILL have a fit and his parents give him what the advertiser’s desire!

      It is so annoying to be in a store, especially at the check out counter. It can be overwhelming for little ones anyway, but add trauma issues and you have a very stress filled time.

Comments warmly welcomed!

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