12 yr old w/major attitude
Hello,
I have a 12 year old adopted daughter that we fostered for six months and then adopted last Nov. So it's been about 8 months. We are constantly fighting or arguing about stupid stuff. She blows up over the littlest thing. It frustrates me because she doesn't act like this towards my husband. She does what she is told when it's coming from him. We are going to counseling but she doesn't listen as soon as we get home she is right back at it again and I try to talk to her about it she says things like "whatever" and "stop talking". Last night was a breaking point for me. I am beginning to have serious doubts about whether or not I am the best person to be raising her. I wonder if she would be better off without me. I can't stand being around her. I am very guilty and depressed about the feelings I have. I know they are wrong, I know my responses are wrong, but I feel so out of control. My husband will always back up my decisions when it comes to discipline and consequences but he does not step in when we are arguing or she is being disrespectful. He is WAY to laid back about the whole thing and I fear that this will only continue to escalate if I can't get him to start taking this seriously now and helping me. I am tired of all the classes and books and counseling sessions and after all that nothing is working. I feel like I am doing all this stuff by myself and it's all my problem.
You may want to cross-post this thread over on the Special Needs board because a lot of the moms there are dealing with the same behavior you are in their foster-to-adopt kiddos. I'm sure that some of them will reach out to you once they see your thread.

Do you know anything about reactive attachment disorder (RAD)? Kids who are affected by RAD often get along great with their dads but don't bond with their moms. A lot of the parents on the Special Needs board have experience with attachment therapy, which you may want to learn more about.
This is predictable, actually, it happens so commonly. Read up about RAD -- probably what you're dealing with. The goal of a RAD child is to separate each member of the family from each other, and each member from their own sanity. It's a *mistaken* goal, but it's their goal, and they are so INSANELY great at that, that no one would believe it unless they'd lived it. There ARE counselors who understand and can help. One of the very most common things is that the children direct their anger more towards the mom than dad, thus dad thinks the child is OK, mom doesn't.

If you feel like you're under attack, it's because you are. Please understand, your feelings are NORMAL. I lived with a similar child, but much younger, so easier, for 18 months. My advantage was being single: no one to "triangulate". I spent hours on the phone with friends spewing about how he had infuriated me. I blew my stack at him more than once though I tried *never* to do that. I remember crying in despair, thinking, "Will I be trapped in this house with a crazy person for the rest of my life?"

Normal counselors will be NO use to you. None, zip, zero. So unless your counselor is top tier on attachment and adoption, your journey there is as pointless as it feels to you. Burn the money instead, save the commute. (Said to make you smile. But seriously, fire them. If you aren't 200% convinced that the wonderful progress in your home is due to this counselor... I'm betting not... then fire them.)

Read:
Don't Touch My Heart: Healing the Pain of an Unattached Child.
On Amazon for 1 cent. Have hubby read it, so he gets it. Short. Paints picture of the child early on.

Call ask the people from DDPI for recommendations near you for a counselor. They get it. They have helped people to heal similar children. Dan Hughes, Arthur Becker-W, and others. Read around here. Call them. Get counseling from them over the phone for YOU if that's the only counseling you can access. Understand that parents have driven 4 hours each way to find adequate counseling for a child like this -- it's that difficult to live with them and begin to heal them.
[url=http://www.center4familydevelop.com/]Attachment Disorder Therapy - Center for Family Development[/url]
[url=http://www.dyadicdevelopmentalpsychotherapy.org/]Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Institute[/url]
[url=http://www.dyadicdevelopmentalpsychotherapy.org/links.html]Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Institute[/url]

See if you can watch a video here, Brian Post:
[url=http://www.postinstitute.com/]Reactive Attachment Disorder & Defiance in Adopted & Foster Kids[/url]

Heather Forbes:
[url=http://www.beyondconsequences.com/]Heather T. Forbes, LCSW[/url]
Listen: [url=http://beyondconsequences.com/asktheexpert/becker-weidman/]Ask the Expert Series[/url]
Listen to both interviews with Dr. Ronald Federici:
[url=http://www.asktheexpertinterviews.com/]Ask the Expert Series[/url]
and maybe the rest at that link. Know that all these people *get* what trauma does to children, and are working to help them heal.

You will find your life in this book, absolutely get and read:
Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children by Daniel A. Hughes. It's not clinical, he tells a story of a deeply troubled child. He's founder of DDPI.

Early on I read Kate Cairns. Really helped me:
Attachment, Trauma and Resilience. You'll see echoes of your life in that book also.

Karyn Purvis gets it: [url=http://www.child.tcu.edu/facultystaff.asp]TCU Institute of Child Development[/url]
Her book is good: The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family
And Raven is right, just cut and paste this into one of the Special Needs forums:
[url]http://forums.adoption.com/special-needs-attachment/[/url]
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