Ugh! Renting was supposed to be helpful!!!

We chose to rent as opposed to mortgage, prior to adoption, as we weren’t sure what the children’s needs were going to be and whether we would need to move etc. But also because, although it would add financial pressure… it would take the stress out of problems “it’s someone else’s responsibility”. Not to disrespect the house, but you know… if the boiler breaks, I call someone, I don’t need to concern myself with who’s the best person to fix, whether it’s a good enough price etc. etc. I can just concentrate on the children. And that would be that.

Or so we thought.

We were in our previous house for 5+ years, through a family friend who just paid an insurance to get all the work done, and anything they had to do they just got on with. So we thought, when we moved, we should go through an agency as hen they would be on top of things too. But nope.

The day we got our keys we were told “oh, by the way, this isn’t working but don’t worry, we’ll get it fixed.” Well time passed, we had a to unpack, go to a wedding and such. And suddenly I realised 3 months had passed and the job hadn’t been done. Well… it’s almost 7 months to the day since we moved in and the job (which was half started just before Christmas), has finally been completed.

The agency, naturally, are trying to rid themselves of all blame of it taking so long. What they aren’t understanding is I am a reasonable person. A simple acceptance that they made mistake, an apology and assurances that they will do better in future and I would have been happy and ready to get on with my tenancy in peace. But there have been several other problems too. Not least them going back to the landlord and saying I have lied about several things I have told him.

Are they failing to grasp the concept that I am the customer, and they have told me these things and therefore I know the truth? And therefore calling me a liar is very unlikely to make us want to renew the tenancy, let alone recommend that others have their custom.

In fact, I am on the verge of speaking to the Letting Agent Redress Scheme because frankly, it’s not right and nor should they do this to other people. They basically think it’s acceptable to wind the landlord up to the point of him coming to our door (unannounced) all confrontational. Pretty sure that, in itself, breaks the tenancy agreement.

Anyhow, the kids were here when he turned up, and that’s why I have been absent. They heard it all. Cue self harm, anxiety, sleeplessness and meltdowns.

I have had enough of being stuck under someone else’s rules and restrictions. We aren’t allowed to even put pictures/posters up, get a pet or even add a splash of colour/put up border or anything for the children. And yet, we are allowed to be called liars, not have work done in a reasonable time frame and be talked down to at our own “home”. We will move when this tenancy is up, and by the time the lease is up on our next tenancy, I will have a mortgage underway.

When I get an idea in my head, I am one determined little beast, so watch this happen! hehe


Parenting a self harming child

It’s hard to think that a child as young as 4 or 5 could be so ashamed of themselves (their actions, or even their identity) that they’d physcially harm themselves. But, it really does happen. And it really is hard to witness.

I don’t want to sit here and tell people how to deal with things, ’cause frankly, situations like this are all very individual… but I can say that what the person needs to feel is acceptance and not more shame. I have had input from various places, professionals included, that have stated that I need to make the child understands their behaviour is “wrong” and “naughty”. Surely, harm born of shame shouldn’t be shamed in such a way???

Well, I don’t care about what your training and qualifications are… that’s not for us, and it isn’t going to work here. Instead, we have greatly reduced the behaviour by identfying anxiety tiggers, and where possible removing them. That’s not to say we avoid things as such, but we do it on our terms, like going to the supermarket when everyone is at work/school. Also, by noticing times when anxiety will be higher and ensuring that, during these times, there’s a higher level of affectionate input, reassurance and comfort (and being extra vigilant).

Doesn’t solve it, but greatly reduces the frequency, and we are finding that with reduced frequency we also get reduced severity. That means that the child doesn’t feel shame as often (about these actions) which can quickly, and very easily, move toward becoming a downward spiral of self harming behaviour. And when situations do arise, it’s not met with anger, it’s met with acceptance. “Ok, Mumma can see you are struggling here, let me help. I am not cross with you, I am not upset with you. I love you and I want to help you if you will let me…” and then it goes from there.

We try to always (if feasible) get them into the bath. Warm water for comfort, familiar smells that we know they find comforting. Foaming bath soap that clings to them and stimulates feelings of gentle touch even after the hands have rubbed it on. Using a cup to gently rinse off the foam. Swaddling them like a baby in a soft fluffly towel after the bath, and cuddling and rocking them. Showing love and nurture, and overwhelming the body with feelings of gentle touch and nurture. Hopefully this need to hurt when feeling shamed can be associated with feeling nurture and comfort,,, and eventually the hurting part can fizzle out.

They are very much babies in older children’s bodies, handling adult level emotions without the world understanding, or emotional skills to process it properly. Sometimes not even the verbal skills. So how can we tell them they are wrong in their actions, they don’t even understand what they are doing? All they understand is this feeling (shame) is overwhelming them, and it’s horrible, and it’s making them feel horrible and they want it to go away. When this feeling has been treated with anger, or violence, by adults in the past then in their heads it’s the right thing to do… respond with anger or violence to themselves.

As a parent, who loves the child that’s so visibly torn, it’s draining to witness and be privvy to. But as the parent, how you suffer in this scenario is unimportant. As the parent, your pain at seeing your child hurt has to be pushed aside and filed under “to deal with later”. You have to be there how they need you, for however long. But as a supportive figure. Not authoritative. Not shaming.