"I have no idea! I didn't do it...''
"How did all the quarters from the coin jar end up in your dresser drawer?"
"I have no idea. Why do you always blame me?"
"Did you spray the axe spray just now (as he is holding the can and you can't see through the air around him)?"
"I don't even know what "axe" spray is? Why do you always blame me?"
This is just one morning of conversation that we have daily with our 12 year old son with FAS/RAD. When he first came to us, this would have escalated into an awful scene leaving us all emotionally defeated before our day even began. But there is hope.
There are times when I think the lying and inability to admit any wrongdoing is getting better, but then as I observe life around here, I realize that we have just learned something that has helped us to survive..we have learned not to take the behaviors personally. When someone lies to you over and over, it is natural to feel hurt, angry and even abused. When after years of that behavior being repeated over and over, you can begin to question your ability to parent this child or any child successfully.
One thing I have learned over the years is to remind myself often that my son is not doing this to drive me crazy. He has organic brain damage and has limited ability to comprehend basic concepts we all take for granted. That is hard for me to comprehend at times especially when our children who have moderate mental disabiliites couldn't lie if they tried! It seem logical that if you can lie you should have enough ability to tell the truth. Yet, another thing we as parents have learned over the years--FAS and RAD do not follow logic. The way you would naturally parent a child needs to be flipped upside down--you need to think in a whole new way as you seek to teach a child what is right and what is wrong. Our goals for the FAS/RAD child may not be to see them graduate from college or become a successful doctor, but that they have the abilities to stay alive in this world without getting themselves killed because of behaviors that make them difficult to be around. We are working toward that and I do have hope that we will get there with time, prayer and an ability to see the future with a spirit of hope.
My son has a beautiful, loving heart. He has a heart for God and wants to please him. He really does. I have to focus on the beauty of the soul that God has given him at times when all I can see is the craziness that alcohol and early neglect has done to his brain structure. I have to hold on to the hope that our faith brings and know that our family was designed by God. During the times that I think someone else would be better equipped to handle the FAS/RAD, I am reminded that each child in our family was meant to be here with these ill-equipped parents and wild bunch of siblings.
I remember the early days, when all I could think was "I used to be a good mom." I did alot of relying on my own skills and the pride I had in my ability to parent. Now, I am thankful for my little challenging child..because he never allows me to rely on myself and my abilities...he drives me to look to God to find the strength to parent. He has taught me so much. I know there are many moms out there who have children with mental health challenges that are thinking that they "used to be good moms" before the challenges were overtaking their lives...take heart and be encouraged. You are a good mom and you can do this. Don't define your self esteem by how your children are doing...look for your worth in some one who will never change and someone who sees you as his precious child...Your heavenly father.
I used to be a good mom..and now I see that I am an even better mom since I gave up trying to do this of my own strength and wisdom.