I joined the The Caregivers Network when my mom was slowly dying from Alzheimer's. I still subscribe to their newsletter and I received this valuable and relatable piece the other day. "Don't give advice to a drowning person" was the title of a blog by Susan Macauley and said, in part, "It’s clear to me that a lot of the advice offered to dementia care partners is given by people who have never cared with/for someone who lives with dementia and/or who don’t appreciate the challenges care partners face. If they did, they wouldn’t make some of the suggestions they do."
Isn't this totally true of those of us who live with children and youth who engage in chronic conflict? If we even dare to risk telling the truth about the struggles we face we are so often told to take another course in early neglect & abuse because somehow the reason we can't manage our child is because we don't know enough neuroscience; or, to get counselling (whatever that means); or, to be more patient; or, ...or....or....yup, I still hear about other therapists giving suggestions about sticker charts and contracts.
We often feel like we're drowning while we try to keep ourselves and our family afloat despite the crashing waves of our youth's rage that drag us back under time and again. If we say we that nothing is working then either the service providers give up on us because they know that if had only followed their brilliant instructions then everything would be peachy; or, in some locations, the child protection services charge on in. Rarely, so very rarely, do they ask us what we need. And even less often, is what we need provided.
Many of you have mentioned that we need organized and appropriately trained respite and we need effective strategies for managing (not changing or resolving) rages. However, it isn't enough that we talk to each other about that - we need to saying this to the adoption industry as well. The people who have influence over the training of social workers and counsellors need to hear us.
To that end, I invite you to start speaking up. Church? Adoption support group? Social workers meeting? Agency meetings? Parent panel at major conferences? If you're attending a conference then don't be afraid to button down some of the speakers and tell them you need more help than another workshop on how to talk to teens, or another attachment workshop. You probably know more about this than most presenters because most of them aren't parents of children like ours so don't feel shy - speak up. Give witness to your reality!
We don't need advice, we don't need support, we need action.
And, in the meantime - have your best day possible.