Good news from the counselor this week! My daughter is dealing with normal social problems–nothing to do with RAD. Admittedly, they are problems most kids learn to resolve in third grade, but hey, she’s there. That’s a big deal.
Like even those of us that don’t have RAD, my daughter is drawn to friends that treat her the way her parents did. Unfortunately, that’s not a good thing. Her mother especially couldn’t be bothered to consider Kaylyn’s feelings, simply shooed her away most of the time.
My daughter is not interested in the nice (she thinks they’re boring) girls who would be kind and healthy. She is drawn to the ones that use her, or at least don’t care if she gets in trouble doing what they want her to do. Like create a fake Facebook identity so that they can talk to her. One friend begged Kaylyn to talk to her three times before class and Kaylyn was late to class three times, prompting an email from the vice-principal about her tardies. Another friend got mad at her and wouldn’t tell her why. Turns out the friend was mad at Kaylyn because Kaylyn had lost her phone and the friend couldn’t text Kaylyn the way she wanted. The counselor laughed when Kaylyn said she told her friend, “My mom says you’re immature.”
I’m proud of Kaylyn that she’s able to recognize that her so-called friends aren’t treating her very well. That makes her sad and I think that’s great too because it’s real. No cardboard puppet pretending that everything is fine. The counselor is working with Kaylyn on setting healthy boundaries with her friends as a first step. We all hope that as Kaylyn heals, she will naturally be drawn to healthier people. In the meantime, boundaries with unhealthy, or at least selfish, girls is the goal. The counselor told her the next time a friend begs her to talk right before class, say, “That doesn’t work for me. I’ll call you later.”
I’m walking a fine line trying to be her mother and her friend at the same time. My number one job is mother, but I’m trying to show her what real friendship looks like so that she has a model. It all come back to attachment in the end. If she and I can achieve a bonded relationship where she feels comfortable talking to me and telling me her feelings, and I help her and make her feel loved, she knows what to look for in friends. We’ve had a good week at it.
When she comes home from school, we sit on my bed and process her day. That might sound normal to everyone else for but for older adopted kids, and especially my kids, they have never been ready for that. But this week, we turned a corner. I know about the cute new guy who wants to know if she can go out (No!) and about the friend who only talks to Kaylyn when she needs help with homework. I shared some of my own how-awful-it-was-being-fourteen stories. We bonded just like girlfriends! Or mother and daughter. On good days it can be the same thing.