Thursday, May 10, 2012

Taming the Materialism Monster in a RADish

For those of you who have fostered or adopted kids, or have had any dealings at all with those with Reactive Attachment Disorder, you'll understand what I mean by taming the material monster in a RADish.

For those of you who don't, I'll try to explain as concisely as I can. When a baby or young child under three is neglected, abused, moved from home to home, or is otherwise unable to form a secure attachment to a caregiver, usually the mother, they cope by either drawing away from relationships or become really clingy. There are different kinds of attachment disorder, anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, or a mixture of swinging from one to the other. There are also degrees of attachment problems. Looking back, our kids have had a lot of problems in this area. Some of the things we saw in our kids were a lack of eye contact, seeing people as objects rather than someone who has feelings and love, ordering others to do what they wanted, crying at places that were "happy places" like parks and stores, friendlier to strangers than to their family, hitting, kicking, and swearing at me but charming around others, and so on. We spent years with a therapist to help them form attachments to me and Hubby. We all worked hard and there has been wonderful progress.

Since my son has healed so much in the nine years we've had him in our home, it kind of hits me unexpectedly when he regresses. I know he's been stressed about the horse class, Ms. D's seizures, the birth family, and Ms. D's birthday next week, so I really should have been more aware of what is going on. Lately he's been trying to order me around more, mostly in the area of getting material things.

A new bike, new shoes, new hat, new ipod, new camera, fast food, Jamba juice, cowboy boots, new shorts, new shirts...and these are all in the past two weeks. He's wanting to go to a store for something every...single...day. He doesn't get all he wants, and what he does get doesn't satisfy. He wants more the next day. Or the next hour. Today he told me I should buy Ms. D the latest ipod for her birthday so he could get her old one. I told him no, I wasn't going to spend $250 dollars on a birthday present. I don't really know how much the latest ipod costs, but I think it's around there. He also said he needed to go to the store, now, to get new shorts because he doesn't have enough. I can count at least five pairs he has off the top of my head. We just bought him a new pair last week. He doesn't need new shorts. He just wants something new to fill a void in his heart. A void he thinks can be filled by materialism, but can only be filled with God's love and the love of his family.

When I told him no, I won't buy anything for him today because I don't want him to become materialistic, he became angry. He still won't let me touch him without a fuss, but he did look in my eyes as he went out to play with his friends. I think he knows that he isn't going anywhere without making eye contact. I'm going to have to figure out how else to tame this materialism monster. I have a lot of attachment tricks up my sleeve! Mr. I is trying to put material stuff between himself and me, but I'm going to figure out how to tame that materialism monster!

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