Tower of Babel

We have all the support we can get for Hope. There are six professionals- one shrink, 2 therapists, 3 workers- and none of them agree on how to help Hope, much less on what the next step should be. I interact with each of these people and I am unable to keep who said what straight. I have tried to pin them down via email summaries, but two of them flat out refuse to do emails.

Hope has still not been alone with me since the end of August. I have not been attacked. Most people are thrilled at this huge progress. It doesn’t excite me. I AM happy my body is healing and I have been able to have some mother-daughter interactions with her. But the core problem is there. Nobody has even tried to work on Hope’s physical aggression. One worker hands her ultimatums, another worker reasons with her,and the third worker believes that at almost seven, Hope is too young to deal with these issues and I have to work on letting what happens on one day flow through me and start fresh the next day.

I am close to overwhelmed again. I see my own therapist tomorrow.

8 thoughts on “Tower of Babel

  1. I agree that everyone needs grace and should start fresh daily. I don’t think that she will be able to work through the aggression without major healing and perhaps eliminating the possibility of her harming you is a step toward that. Of course, what do I know? I have not even seen her in action. I am sorry you are overwhelmed. When I get majorly overwhelmed I try to remind myself that Dustin doesn’t have anywhere near the copping ability I have and if I feel this way, imagine how he is feeling! It may not make it easier to deal with, but gives me some perspective.

  2. Continue to keep yourself safe! And let all those folks work whatever healing they can offer on your daughter, whether there’s a grand plan or not! Though my youngest daughter’s behaviors are quite different than Hope’s, I’m going through a somewhat similar situation with lots of helping professionals, no one being clear about what their treatment approach is, and mostly people not sure what will work—or when—for my daughter’s healing. However, having those professionals make and keep their commitment to working with my daughter on a regular basis has been life-changing for us as a family. We are covered from head to toe in services, and that’s *almost* enough. I think, in our case, that it doesn’t matter all that much whether any one of us has the right answer or that we all agree, but that we’re all working together on the general direction of eliminating the destructive/aggressive behaviors, helping my daughter develop coping and social skills, and relieving the awful stress in the family that has resulted from her joining it. We had an In-Home Therapist at the house Monday, 6:30 to 8-ish, Wednesday, 6:30 to 8-ish. We have outpatient mother/daughter therapy on Tuesday, 5-6 pm. Our Intensive Foster Care social worker is here at the house every Friday, 3:30 to 5-ish. The DCF social worker is here once a month for an hour. The lawyer is here every 2 months for about an hour. We see the psychiatrist about once every 2 months for half an hour. And then, believe it or not, I count on the solidarity of seeing the pediatrician, dentist, orthodontist, etc. And let’s not forget the daily school hours—and contact with teachers, guidance counselor, adjustment counselor, special ed teacher, and inclusion paraprofessionals. Of course, it doesn’t always exactly feel like solidarity when everyone has a different perspective on what my daughter needs (from me, in particular) or gives me the side eye about something I’m doing or not doing with her. But the sheer number of witnessing adults is enormously grounding for me, and I know that there’s a lid on the behaviors that she’ll direct at me with all those folks around. And despite the fact that we don’t all agree on what will work, we’re all generally working on a pro-social direction for her. And, it seems, slowly, slowly, slowly to be making an impact. Of course, the nightly Risperdal helps a lot, as does the morning ADHD med—as well as my own anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds, and my own therapy. Peace to you, my friend. I believe, with all my heart, that safety comes first, and is the core of healing. So, please don’t discount the strides you’re making with your daughter in not being alone with her and not giving her the opportunity to hurt you. That’s not nothing—not by a long shot. Love to you all.

  3. I wouldn’t trust anyone who “doesn’t do emails.” It indicates the person doesn’t want to go on the record about his/her opinions or recommendations.
    As for Hope being too young to deal with her physical aggression, that’s just wrong. Dealing with it now before she reaches puberty is vital, IMHO. And as you know, girls today are reaching puberty as young as ten.
    She’s already beating the heck out of you. What happens when she’s 60 pounds heavier and two feet taller?

  4. Honestly, the safety of YOU and the rest of your family is of utmost importance at this moment. No one can ever say you didn’t do everything in your power to help Hope heal and become a participating member of your household. That said, what every single person involved in her plan should be in agreement with is that Hope needs to do the work. Everyone is evaluating every word, action and lack of reaction this child is displaying. You are all knocking yourselves out trying to find the key to unlock the sad, traumatized little girl from her self-imposed hell. No matter what you see on the outside, you have to imagine how much worse it is inside that brain of hers. Meds might take the edge off some of her symptoms/aggression and I encourage you to continue that approach because lets face it, if she cannot control her behaviors in public, she is going to alienate more and more people outside of your family and honestly, the whole “start fresh each day” thing sounds real good, but how realistic is it? It’s like doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result (i.e. crazytown). You could be the most loving, patient, therapeutic person in the universe, but if every single look of love or kind word was met with a snarl and a punch in the face, you’d learn too not to poke the bear. The more people witnessing and documenting her behaviors, the better. It may not bring any additional services to light, but it sure would prove how much work you are doing. Hope doesn’t sound like she’s interested in changing right now. Things don’t seem to be “bad enough” for her to change what she’s doing to do.

  5. So, the two who refuse to email means that they don’t want to work as a team. They don’t want to be held accountable for their decisions. It cannot help anyone.
    For me, they don’t worth any trust at all : you cannot trust a therapist who does not want to be held accountable for her decisions.

    The third who says that Hope is too young to deal with her physical aggression goes against any recognized guidelines. So that therapist cannot worth your trust.

    What I perceive is that you have to waste plenty energy with unhelpful professionals. In the meantime, who suffers ? You and Hope, of course.
    Those “professionals” speak from their throne, but they don’t do any bit of work.
    I am nearly sure that they don’t know what walking in your shoes mean, yet they consider they know everything.
    It cannot help anyone in your family.

    If it is possible, I think that you mustn’t stick yourself with unhelpful therapists for Hope. They waste your time, your energy and it does not do anything neither for hope, nor for you.

    You pay them, you are their client. So, if you pay them for no result or for only BS, think that you are not married with them.
    Firing them won’t harm, because those two prolong your damage and your suffering by not giving any help.

    You have the right to fire them if they don’t help and don’t want to be held accountable for their decision.

    You are the person who lives with Hope 24/7 a day, those two don’t. You have the right to find helpful professionals for Hope and if a therapist does not help, there is nothing wrong firing him/her.

  6. Unfortunately, after having had my own child hospitalized this past summer, I doubt the care will be any different at RTC. They treat all kinds of disorders at places like that and so very often, they treat them with sticker charts and star points. If they can fake it long enough to get a sticker, the institutions deem them to be just fine. They either send them home, or if it isn’t safe for everyone in the family for that child to be there, they involve Child Protective Services, which rarely ever benefits. MUCH to my chagrin, and I could go on for hours on this one, so very often the CPS workers have the least experience and training, but yet they have authority and they’re dealing with the most difficult cases. Almost guaranteed, the problems will be made worse for the child (and possibly for the family as well) if CPS is involved.

    Are there medications on board? Risperdal, as others have mentioned, can really help with aggression. It’s been a God-send at my house!

    What I’m really happy to hear is that you’re also seeking help for yourself. That is one of the most powerful things any of us can do to help our families heal and cope with the stress of what we’re living with.

  7. Just have to chime in that although my child’s issues are different from yours in some ways, our experience with RTC has been pretty positive and while they may not always “get it” about everything, and obviously do use some behavioral management techniques that aren’t the best for kids with attachment-related issues, the clinician is pretty decent and the social skills and other skills he’s learning in groups and in day-to-day interaction with peers are really helping him a heck of a lot. I don’t think he is fooling them just by getting points or whatever. They can see (and hear from us based on weekend visit experiences) that he still has struggles. In our case, they won’t send the child home until they’ve successfully done a whole heck of a lot of weekend (and longer vacation) home visits, so we are trying to trust that with 5 months already having passed, he will hopefully not be sent back to us in an extremely unstable state. I hope the same is true where you are – I know there are always pressures with insurance to cut the visit shorter but hopefully because of the level of Hope’s behaviors (even if she shows them more at home than at RTC – which is typical) will make them hesitant to return her home until it’s very clear that she’s safe.

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