Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More Birth Mom Excuses

Once upon a time, Joci didn't like when I told her it was too late to start a movie and informed me--hands on hips--that her birth mother said it was okay.

It was precocious and surprising and a little bit funny.

The "my birth mom says I can" hasn't stopped at all. That phrase comes out of Joci's mouth at least two times a night.

Once, she used God as an excuse. "God says I can."

I know she's just finding ways to control her chaotic little world and get whatever it is she wants at the moment. She isn't trying to be cruel. And it doesn't hurt my feelings that she is using the idea of her birth mom in this way. Mostly, I just struggle with how to deal with the sassing. I have protocol for other sassing...but I've been afraid to use it with her "birth mom" sassing because I don't want Joci to associate talking about her birth mom with unpleasant consequences and I don't want to disrespect Joci's birth mom.

I very much want Joci to feel free to talk about her birth parents. I want to encourage questions and discussions and thoughts and feelings, no matter what they are. The last thing I want is for her to feel ashamed about her questions and feelings. I do not want her to hide that from me because she is afraid of hurting me.

So I haven't done much about her "birth mom" comments. But they are getting more frequent--probably because I let her get away with them.

I asked my husband tonight what we should do. He is a counselor and has far better ideas about communication than I do. We decided to have a talk with her about it. She is three and understands more than we often give her credit for. So we did our best to explain how we love her birth parents very much and she can always talk about them but she can no longer use them for sassing me.

I *think* it went well.

I'll let you know how it goes.


Jewls said...

I know I shouldn't chuckle because karma says Z will start doing this to me soon, but it is kind of funny!

Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy said...

I would think this is a wonderful opportunity to have her birthmother explain to her that she backs up YOUR rules.

Delana said...

I can relate well to "my birth mother said" or even my birth mother gave me this or that. Both not possible for my daughter to know as she was just an infant when she went into a hospital with cancer and then an orphanage. It helped my daughter when (at other times than when she was using that against me)we could look at babies and talk about what they can understand and not understand. Then, when she would say those birth mother statements, I could ask her how her baby self could have known that. It took time, but did begin to work. One she often said was at the grocery store: "My birth mom let me eat this." I would say: "You drank milk and ate mushy rice, like most babies do." Another thing that worked well was having her dictate to me "letters to her birthmom" in a journal. I would gently say: "Why don't you tell me about it in a letter to your birth mom." Then, after she expressed herself I could refocus her to: "This is how I/we do things." Meltdowns and tantrums were frequent in the first year and got less and less with time. Kathy Lancaster in her book "Keys to Parenting the adopted child" talks about the year for year adjustment.
By the way, I enjoyed reading the interview about your family.

Alexis Belcher said...

I would think it is comparable to my kids saying "grandma lets me do... ". Or "grandma lets me have...". We always get those after seeing grandparents. My response is "well grandma is not here". Or "grandma is not in charge". Or "when we visit grandma you get to do that, but now we are home". That usualy stops them from using it as an excuse to get what they want. I dont think that changes their feelings about grandma or discourages them from talking or asking questions. But i understand if you feel it is different. I hope talking works. Joci seems very bright.


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