So there is a new weekly link up on The Adoption Social, it’s called The Things We Do. It’s an opportunity for us to share those small or big things that we’ve found help support and make life within our adoptive families easier. When I sat to think of some of the things we do in our family, I found my mind drawing a blank at first. I know there are lots of things we’ve done in the past, and still do today, but because many of them are now sewn into the fabric of our family life, it’s hard to identify them as special or even different to what everyone does.
I thought a lot about this whilst out on my run the other morning, and I’ve now mentally made a note of a few to share over the weeks. I thought I’d start however with something that we did for the first time just the other day. We’ve only done it once, and so I actually have no idea yet if it will work so well next time, but instinct tells me that it was a good move and we should try it again.
We’ve been receiving some support from something our local authority call a Multi Agency Team. I won’t go into the ins and outs of what they have (or haven’t) done for us, but the lady who’s been our support worker kindly offered to take the children for a half day outing, just before Christmas. The event came and went and until the beginning of this week I had received no comment or feedback on how it had gone. The children had just said they’d had a good time. So it was with some dismay I discovered that, in our workers opinion, the children had behaved very poorly. Fighting, not listening and answering back is what she told me, “welcome to my world” is what I felt like replying. Anyway it is to be discussed at a meeting next week and that will be another blog post entirely.
I relayed this information to my husband and we decided to have a talk with the children about it. Now often a family conversation will happen around our circular kitchen table but, for whatever reason, we invited the children to come to the lounge to talk. They sat on the sofa and Mr H and I sat on a banquet stool we have in front of it. This meant we were all at a similar level and there was openness between us. We shared with the children, what we had been told and asked them to talk to us about how they felt they had behaved. Now I know that our children find this difficult to do, but from behind cushions we got a confirmation that there had been some fighting and yes they had been told off.
With cushions still clutched to their faces, I reached across and reassuringly rubbed their feet, and thanked them for their honesty. As we talked a little more, the cushions gradually came down and then to finish off we all had hugs. Everyone then returned to whatever it was they were doing before and no heaviness or anxiety seemed to hang in the air.
What I realised, on reflection, was that this less formal and physically more open arena for family discussion, no table between us, had allowed our conversation to be less stressful for all involved. Mr H and I had taken a less authoritarian and disciplinary approach, as the setting had induced a more relaxed style in both of us. The removal of the barrier of the table between us, had allowed the children to see the open posture we both adopted and they therefore more willingly accepted the discussion and what we were saying. The lack of barrier also made it easier for us to physically reassure them throughout and encouraged the hugs we had at the end.
It ‘s a reminder for me that when addressing our children, a physical openness in our stance and being physically at the same level, so as to not appear domineering, is really important. Very often, with small children and toddlers, we kneel or come down to them to communicate but, it’s easy to forget, as they get older to do the same.
So the things we do for us this week is a fresh approach to family talks, instead of the table we shall try the sofa.
As I said this is a post written for a new link up on The Adoption Social called The Things We Do, click on the badge to find out more and read more post.