Yesterday, when I picked the girls up from daycare, I asked Miss Serious how her day was. She said "Great!" And proceeded to tell me that her mommy had picked her up from school and taken her to grandma's house and they had all had a fun day.
Now, of course her mom doesn't know where she goes to school and is not allowed to pick her up there. But she said it with such conviction, I almost believed her. I told her I didn't think it was true, and that I was going to ask her sister (who she claimed was on this little adventure) and her teacher (who obviously would not have let them go with their biomom, who is not on their approved list of caregivers). Everyone else said of course that hadn't happened, and she was exposed in the lie.
I knelt down and told her I understood that she wished Mommy had come, but that Mommy could not come to school and get her. I didn't punish her for lying, we just moved on in life.
But...what should I do with that? I know it is her most fervent wish in life to just GO TO MOMMY. She will explain to me exactly what subways we need to ride and everything. We talked about it at night and she understands that she is just not allowed to go to mommy right now. I reminded her that it is not her fault and that neither I nor mommy made this rule.
But what should I do if she keeps up with these fantasies? It doesn't feel right to punish it - she can't really help what she's hoping for. She has been with us for 8 months and continues to be extremely focused on that idea - go to mommy. But it overwhelms her and depresses her, and I would like to support her in trying to develop some coping strategies for these thoughts.
I've asked for therapy, but they won't give it until she's 4. Right now we usually just talk about Mommy or spell her name or something and that helps a little. But what else can I do?
L used to do that but his weren't current. He would say his bio mom had taken him on vacations. I would let it slide but when he was in 5th grade, the school social woker talked to him about it.
She's too little to know truth from fantasy/lie. You did the right thing by saying you know she wishes it could happen. I would keep addressing it that same way. "I bet you wish that really happened. I bet that would have been more fun than just school. What did you do at school?". Just kind of redirect her.
We had a child who was the same way. Our LW was astonished at how obsessed he was about reuniting with his family b/c kids that young usually cry and miss their bios, but also assimilate and accept the foster placement as their family within a few months. (IDK if that's really true, just what she said in her experience....)
Do you have/can you get a picture of bio mom to keep in her room? Then she can see her and "talk to" her when she misses her and maybe that will help channel some of that energy away from the story telling. Other than that, I have no suggestions. I think the way you handled it was perfect.
My advice is a little different... I would ask her to tell me more, not going along but let it be known that it didn't happen, but letting her talk about it.
Maybe you can invite yourself in on one of the adventures, saying, "how fun, if I could come I would bring cotton candy for everyone. What color would you have liked?"
She needs to know its ok to talk about her bmom. It should be ok. And if her two worlds can collide, you and bmom, then it may make her feel a little more at peace with the situation. She can have both you and her, she doesn't have to pick which one she loves because she can love you both.
Also, maybe ask her to tell you more about her mom... Her favorite memory of her, favorite thing to do, fav color... Make drawings for bmom with her, and I agree with having a pic.
I know how hard it is to have them put bmom on a pedestal, but this internal conflict isn't about Fd blocking you out, but keeping bmom in the best way she knows how.
Of course, this is all a non-expert opinion! Lol. Good luck with whatever you do though, it not easy to know the best way about things. I hope you find something that works!
GreenRoomMama
My advice is a little different... I would ask her to tell me more, not going along but let it be known that it didn't happen, but letting her talk about it.
Maybe you can invite yourself in on one of the adventures, saying, "how fun, if I could come I would bring cotton candy for everyone. What color would you have liked?"
She needs to know its ok to talk about her bmom. It should be ok. And if her two worlds can collide, you and bmom, then it may make her feel a little more at peace with the situation. She can have both you and her, she doesn't have to pick which one she loves because she can love you both.
Thank you. This is very helpful and I will try it. We do tell stories together a lot, and she likes that. But this is a new lighter way to talk about Mommy and I think she would like it and benefit from it. I think you're right, she really struggles to integrate her worlds (there's not only me and mommy, there's also grandma, who is sometimes adversarial w. their mom), and some narrative play with that might give her some relief.
I know this isn't about her shutting me out, it doesn't bother me, other than that it upsets me because she is clearly hurting. This child is in constant pain about missing her mom, and the number of visits they have keeps them bonded but also keeps the pain fresh. Her sister is less bonded to mom, but also just less sensitive, it's interesting to see how different children respond so differently to their circumstances. I just want to help her work through it.
Thanks for the comments and suggestions!
My daughter was a little bit older but what we did was....
a} encourage and allow her to do activities that she did with bioMom.....one was crazy snacks...cleaning out the fridge and mixing up all the leftover jars into "recipes"
b} drew pictures and wrote down the stories of her "fantasies"
c} called her fantasies "heartwishes"....it wasn't true but was what she wished from her heart - you could make a very special WISHBOOK decorated and write or draw her heartwishes in it
d} we did a project with therapist that she still looks at to this day....you could modify it with pictures or write out the words for her......it went like this
we listed all the special people in her life, birthparents,grandparents, foster sibs, bio sibs, adopted sibs, Aparents.....she listed a few words {you could cut out or draw a picture} about how each person made her feel or what she liked about them
put each person randomly all over a large paper/foamcore, take a red or pink construction paper and lay it over the first, cutting little flaps to lift for each person then decorated with feather boa around the entire edge of the heart {sparkles or whatever she likes} and hang on wall within her reach to lift flaps whenever she needs to
sm