We're a high-needs family

Yesterday I exchanged texts with a fellow foster-adoptive momma who also has high-needs kiddos; she swore she was going to get a tattoo that reads, "If foster parenting is so much like standard parenting, why haven't you done it? I'm not asking for your pity so stop providing your less than helpful encouragement!" We commiserated together at the insensitive things people have said when trying to use empathy, and mostly it made us laugh and helped us relieve some tension. So today I'm thinking about what parents of high-needs kids need....

It's been a frustrating month for us. Our kids, who have an incredible amount of trauma, seem to be spiraling out of control behaviorally. Four out of five days we get an email about one of our kids' interesting behaviors or to notify us that he/she is in the principal's office. We are reading up like crazy on Reactive Attachment Disorder, but there's only so much we can read in such a scrunched amount of time. By the time we put the kids to bed each night, Nate and I are so tired that all we can do is get ready for bed ourselves and fall asleep. It's exhausting to get an email each day about my kids' bad behavior....it honestly makes me just want to home school the kids, but I know it's not realistic. I would not survive home schooling them both. My relationship with them would not survive. During a few spare moments at work today, I took to Google and searched, "surviving parenting children with behavioral issues" (because I've already eaten my fair share of candy this week and I can't drink beer at work). Surprisingly, there weren't a lot of hits on my first page that related to my search. The best one I found in my thorough, five minute scanning, was one about tips for parenting high-needs babies. While some of it was irrelevant, this tip jumped out at me: "Realize you're also a high-need parent. High-need children and parents need more understanding, more encouragement, more help, and less criticism. In fact, 'high-need' not only describes the child, it describes the relationship between parents and child. 'High-need family' says it all."

I don't share a lot of my kids' issues on this blog or with just anyone, but we are a high-needs family. And I tell 'ya what---it is the hardest damn thing I have ever done. And it's lonely. It's isolating. It feels like failing everyday. Like the tattoo my friend "wants," I don't want pity--but I'd like encouragement (a text/email/phone call to say something kind or let us know you're praying for us), understanding (compassion when we have to bail on events/activities or just when we're in a shitty mood or withholding judgement when our kids do odd/inappropriate things), help (offering to watch our kids for our few hours or bringing us a meal), and less criticism (withholding judgement when we parent a way that might feel odd). I feel like those things might make this high-needs family thing feel easier.

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