Wednesday, February 26, 2014
what they need to hear
Lately, I'm trying to figure out what my kids need to hear, what the ears of their little souls crave, and to give them that. The other day, breakfast conversation suddenly turned to birthparents and wrongs of the past. As the day progressed, I realized my son really needs to know two things right now.
1.) We are not your birthparents. Meaning, we will never become them. We will never do the things they did. We will never lose you.
Adoption books and resources advocate using age-appropriate versions of our children's stories as they grow up. In other words, you will include details and information when your son is 16 that you won't include when he's 4. While I agree with this, I'm also realizing my kids are very smart, they're very fearful, and through therapy we have gone to not-age-appropriate territory because it was needed. So, no, I'm not going to give every detail at this age, but I don't feel comfortable just saying "maybe your birthparents were sick" or "maybe they didn't have enough money to take care of you". Because I don't want my boys' minds to fill with fear every time I have a cold or every time I say we don't have money for that right now. There has to be more explanation than that. Because sometimes I get sick. And sometimes we struggle with money.
My kids need to be clear that we are a forever family, no matter what.
2.) You are not your birthparents. Meaning you will not become them. You are good because God made you good. Sometimes you make bad choices, but YOU ARE GOOD. You will not become a bad guy. You are not destined to follow some genetic footsteps. You WILL do better.
My son struggles with self esteem. When he makes a bad choice, he may, on any given day, begin hitting himself in the head, or wishing he was dead, or deciding he is a bad guy.
He has to know he won't make the same mistakes they did. He is good. No matter what, HE IS GOOD.
So we're trying to say these things over and over right now. We're going to overemphasize how wonderful our children are even if Parents magazine says we're praising them too much! And, heck, we're going to praise ourselves to them. We're going to talk about what good parents we are because I think they need to be reassured of that. They have to have good parents, they can't go through that again. So maybe right now it's my job to let them know, in no uncertain terms, that we are good parents, and that we will always be good parents.
What do your children need to hear today? Maybe it's very simple, maybe very complex, but I think we have to figure it out and give it to them. That's what I'm learning right now.