Parents of children with attachment issues often need to hear this reminder: Your child's attachment issues are not a direct reflection of you, your parenting, or any type of lack or failure on your part.
hurting people hurt people.
As parents, we accept the beautiful, tremendous responsibility of taking care of our children. Often, we see our children mirror our own behaviors - both positive and negative. Pride comes easily when our child is excelling! Likewise, when our child is struggling, our default is often to place the blame on ourselves.
As parents of children with attachment issues, the every day struggle can leave us questioning and doubting our ability to parent. If we were blatantly honest, there are days we wonder if we are cut out for this at all --- days when we wonder if somehow we've done more harm than good.
The reality is, our children are hurting. We can know this, but struggle to remember that the hurt they are inflicting is not something we have caused, but rather a reflection of the brokenness of their heart. When we can recall the truth that hurting people hurt people, we can face these every day struggles with compassion instead of exasperation.
the struggle is real.
Our family spent the past two weeks on vacation. We had an incredible time visiting family that lives in another part of the country. Along the way, we explored new places, learned new things, and had an absolute blast.
During our trip, we also saw the effects of dysregulation - full throttle. For those new to the foster/adoption scene, dysregulation often occurs for kiddos from hard places when their schedules, routines, or surroundings change.
Our vacation, while full of fun memory-making opportunities, also meant we were away from home, meeting new people, eating different food, staying up later, and not abiding by a routine. We anticipated these things, and prepared as best we could, but still faced some behaviors and situations that left kids - and even mom - in tears.
We have been home for four days and are still working on getting kiddos (and dare I say, even mom!) regulated again. At a kids' event at our church this weekend, we had a signature attachment-related issue. Our kiddo was angry at mom because his choice had gotten him in trouble. He expressed his anger by throwing something at me. A nearby adult rushed up, scooped up the thrown item, and handed it to my son, reassuring him it was okay that he had 'dropped' it. Our son smiled brightly at the stranger, but once they walked away his finger dug into my arm and he glared at me, seething with anger. Another adult approached, asked why he was so upset and suggested I go get him a water ice to cheer him up.
This is the reality for kiddos who have lived with uncertainty. This is life with a child with attachment issues every day. They battle the ones closest to them because they are hurting inside - and because they are afraid of being hurt again.
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the truth of God's promises.
As challenging and painful and exhausting as it can all be, we have the promise of a gracious, loving Savior Whose mercies are new every morning! We have the moment-by-moment opportunity to recall what the real root of these attachment issues is: pain. And when we identify the root cause, it frees us from the lie that we are to blame. It frees us from the condemnation that sucks our compassion dry. It frees us from the fear that we are failing our children. It frees us to pray for our children, to extend grace to them and to us, and to rest in the truth that Jesus is sufficient and His grace will carry each of us through.
The following passages offer promises from the Word of God. Three of them are taken from Romans 8, which is incredible in it's entirety! I have included shorter excerpts that have been powerful encouragement to my soul on days when I am weary and struggling to remember it is not all my fault.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Isaiah 26:3 NLT
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Romans 8:1&2 NLT
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Romans 8:26-28 NLT
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
Romans 8:31-39 NLT
Are you walking through a season of struggle with attachment issues? Have you found specific scriptures to be encouraging in this area? How do you combat the lie that you are responsible for your child's difficulty with attachment?
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 7! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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