Monday, August 12, 2013

Starting High School

The Princess goes back to school in ten days.  Ten.  1 – 0.  10!  I cannot wait.

She, on the other hand, is as anxious as anxious can be.  Poor thing.  I know in my head what it’s all about.  Starting high school for any neuro-typical kid is hard enough.  Add trauma and developmental / social delays (a.k.a. immaturity beyond the immaturity of a NT kid) and we’re right on the edge around here.

Anyone else in these shoes? 

On one hand I can hardly wait to get her out of here and back in school for 8.5 hours a day.  On the other, I’m anxious for her, too.  And on the third hand (trauma mamas need at least 3 hands), I’m scared to death wondering whether or not she’ll pull some really big and really scary stuff now that she’s getting older.

For now, I’m dealing with a 15-year-old who behaves like she’s four and wants the privileges of a young adult.  She’s stupid lying and giving plenty of bad attitude.  She’s defiant and moody.  She’s a big ol’ pain in the butt.  And before anyone reminds me she’s a teenager, let me remind you she is my SIXTH child.  Plus, I was a challenging 15 year old.  I know how a witchy hormonal teenager behaves.  I know it’s not pretty even for NT kids.  My kid is not an NT kid.  This is different.  I’m not just blowing steam or venting or whatever you want to call it.  I’m writing because this is part of trauma parenting and despite what the Staples commercials say, this isn’t necessarily a trauma parent’s “most wonderful time of the year.”

I’m writing it to remind myself.

I’m writing it because I need to remember there’s more going on than just my kid being a pain in the tushy.

She’s scared and she doesn’t know it.  She can’t identify it. 

She told me the other day, “I’m sorry I acted like that.  I just get so ‘mad’ sometimes and I don’t even know why.”

I know why, baby.  And I am so sorry you went through what you went through.  I will try to remember you’ve been through more than I can even still imagine and I will try to catch myself and control my own triggers.  (It’s no secret that I hate being lied to.)  I will try hard to stop, breathe and relax – like I remind you to do.  I will do that so I can help you stop, breathe and relax.  I will remind you how great you really are and how very far you’ve come.  I will tell you I believe in you and I will pray that I come to mean it in a way I don’t yet fully.  

I will pray that the LORD will bless you and keep you, that He will make His face shine upon you and that He will grant you His peace that passes all understanding, and certainly any understanding I may know.


Courtney said...

I think you guys briefly considered/did homeschooling. Is that an option or is it not the best option right now? Just curious as to how you are deciding as we will be there in a very few short years!

Trauma Mama T said...

Hi Courtney -

I homeschooled my older boys (except for Oldest Son) until they reached high school age. They were raised from the womb and teaching them at home was easy and fun.

Last school year, I did pull The Princess out of middle school and we tried homeschooling. 7th grade was such a hellish year and I wanted her to have some time to mature a bit. She is always drawn to other hurt kids as friends and that has never been a good thing for her.

She did well with homeschooling until about Christmas time when she got lazy with the school work and became more and more defiant with me. I put up with it until March, but enrolled her back in public school for the last nine weeks session. The school didn't like it, but they had to take her. She still did not pay attention to school work and rebelled, but I needed the break. I don't think academically it made much of a difference (though she didn't fail anything and was indeed getting F's at home). Her grades didn't come back up to the straight A's she'd always had. But again, we got a break from one another and I think that was most important.

This summer has been hard. It started when Hubby's dad (Grandpa) died in May and we traveled without kids to the funeral. We left her with her adult brothers. It was not a good week. Things have definitely escalated this year. I just do what I learned worked with Youngest Son when he went through his rough stuff and I pray a lot.

It's not an easy decision. There are pluses and minuses on either side. I just don't have the energy I had when I was younger. But I also think that her being in school will make her sink or swim. I am praying she grows up and has a true heart change like her older brother seems to have done this last year.

Diana said...

I'm definitely in the boat with you. Although my snarky teen it's homegrown, she's still been through a lot. It affects her big time. And yet it's still not the same intensity we have with the boys.

If you ask them, all my kids will tell you they've had a boring summer. I say it's been the best one yet! It's the first summer summer in six years that someone hasn't ended up in extended crisis respite or the psych hospital. It's just been boring. And I am grateful for that! And I'm still very ready for them to go back to school next week!!!

Calla said...

I suppose I'm reading this post from an interesting perspective - I'm a "trauma child" myself, and tomorrow's my first day of school. I'm starting my high school senior year (so both a sigh of relief and a headdesk when I think of college apps).

From this point of view, I can definitely tell you that it's not easy going to school full of "normal kids" especially when you've been labeled "abnormal" all your life. Merited or not, the separation, and occasional (or not so occasional) attempts to make yourself feel normal can be exacerbating. When I was in intense therapy all the time, I often felt like school was a completely different world separate from home because there was this huge part of my life I couldn't share with my friends at school. Making friends was hard enough, and not having a similar life to chat about (normal teenage problems - oh how I ached for them) made me feel left out.

Anyway, I wish her a good time at school, and you a good time at home!

Trauma Mama T said...

Calla - First of all, let me apologize for not seeing your comment sooner. I began a new position recently and have been a bit distracted. I haven't checked on my blog for a few weeks, actually.

I think you are an amazingly brave young person. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. I imagine that my Youngest Son has felt similar things. He doesn't voice much and he's been doing very well for about a year and a half now. But I know he's struggled with the feeling of knowing he has had a life that is very different than "normal" kids.

I am praying tonight that you have a very good senior year! I wish you all the best. TMT

Annie said...

Just enrolled my A in high school. She hasn't even gone to school since the big breakdown at the end of 6th grade, but they still wanted to put her in HS, which I didn't want. I agreed, thinking she'd probably melt down and burn up, and that would be OK because then she'd end up going to the little Christian school I think is best for her. But - I wonder. I was AMAZED at the supports they have in place for her. First of all, THEY suggested a half day, then they got her tested for reading immediately (just because of: a) the ESL background and b) two years "off". That helped them place her in a class where she'll succeed. They introduced her two three different social worker/counselor types - places where she can go to talk, or hide out, or whatever.

I'm so impressed, and begin to believe that it might, actually work out.

I was really surprised at the friendly, welcoming environment, and all the support.

Annie said...

PS - I CANNOT believe that I somehow never got your blog on my dashboard.... I only stumbled on your one post because you linked it to FB!

Trauma Mama T said...

Annie - Sorry I hadn't seen your comments earlier and that it took me a while to get them posted. I am so glad that A had those supports. I hope all is going well with her and that the school is continuing to provide the support she needs to move forward.

Joe Banks said...

I just want to say thank you. I've just recently come across your blog and you've helped me feel normal. While my DD is not adopted, she is my "technically" step-daughter (we don't believe in "Steps") who, I believe has RAD. Her psychiatrist seems to focus on PTSD which I feel like my family as a whole is suffering. But all that aside, thank you. I don't feel like I'm going crazy anymore because of your blog. I hope all is well.

The Mom said...

Hello!!!!! Us out here in blog world are so curious to know how you guys are doing! :) your blog has been so helpful and such a great resource! Thanks! And HOW are y'all?

The Mom said...

Hello!!! Us out here in blog world are so curious to know how you guys are doing! Your blog is such a great resource! Thanks! But HOW are y'all? :)

Trauma Mama T said...

Hi The Mom - You're right. I really do need to get on here and update. I'm not working (except from home) again, so I will try to write an update soon. It was quite the year!

Sorry it took a while to get your comment published. I also haven't checked the administrator settings on the blog for quite a while.

Trauma Mama T said...

Joe Banks - Thanks for your kind words. I hope you'll find a lot of helpful things here. I've learned a lot through the years -- and have re-thought things as I've gone along in this journey.

I apologize for not publishing your comment earlier. As you may have read above, I've been away from the blog for a while -- like almost a year! I have a lot of catching up to do with my readers. I've learned even more this year, plus I have some pretty exciting updates to post about The Princess and Youngest Son.