a different perspective

It must be the time of year,but most of the things I am reading (and unfortunately writing) are from a negative perspective. It is true to an extent. Issues surrounding older child adoption can defeat the weak. Trauma,inter-uterine exposure to alcohol and drugs do permanently change the brain’s structure. It is a fact.
What is also a fact, is no one has to stay in that bad place. Just because my sons have limited executive function does not mean they cannot function at all. My expectations of their future may have to be modified somewhat,but that does not mean they cannot have a future worth living. They still have free will. They have the ability to choose to be their best,to rise above their circumstances,to not let their disability define them. I think this is a mistake many of us who parent hurt children make. We allow them to use their past,their differing brain structure, as an excuse to fail. We read the statistics of teens and adults with FAS and give in to them. It isn’t my son’s fault if he rages (then who’s fault is it?). It isn’t my daughter’s fault she is sleeping around and has just given birth to her second child before eighteen.
I don’t buy it.
I sometimes get sucked into the mindset,it is very easy to do.
That does not mean my children will overcome their incredibly rough start in life. It means they are able to if they (and we) are willing to work hard enough.
We have become a society of excuses and entitlement. In the end it simply does not matter why you did what you did. What matters is you did it. The court does not care,your victim and his family does not care, the children born into yet another generation of neglect do not care that your brain is mis-wired or you were abused and neglected for your first ten years of life. At that point it simply does not matter.
We, who are the parents of hurt children owe it to them to make them responsible for their actions. They must not be programed to think FAS is an excuse,even if it is a reason.
Even our children can succeed if we give them the expectation of success. They can also choose not to. But you see, it is then their choice. They are choosing to continue on the legacy of violence and lawlessness.
On the other hand,if all we do is allow their FAS and past abuse to define them,we are taking that choice away from them. We are telling them they are incapable of living well in society. It is never healthy to excuse children’s bad behavior. Look at the neuro-typical children who are incapable of navigating real life because they were never allowed to reap the consequences of their bad choices.It is even more important with our children.
My middle daughter could not read a lick at age ten. At age twelve she was still reading Boxcar Children books with minimal comprehension.I could have given in and told her it wasn’t her fault she couldn’t read. I could have pulled the brain damage card and stop pushing her forward. (and it was pushing some days-it still is). I didn’t and sometime during her twelfth year something clicked into place. She could not only read,but comprehend what she read (at least enough to get by with). you see I never told her she couldn’t. I always told her she would have to work hard to get there,but she was capable of getting there.
My children who witnessed horrors are not abusing their own families. They are working and paying bills and nurturing their own children. Perhaps they would be more successful if their early energy hadn’t gone into healing. I don’t know. I do know they were never allowed to use their trauma as an excuse to traumatize.
We,who parent these children have a huge responsibility. We are not only fighting their past, but for their future.
We cannot make them choose well. Youngest is a good example of that. He is choosing to stay locked in his violence and mistrust. But,he is capable of healing. He is not damned from birth. That makes his choices even more painful for those who love him.
I guess I am tired of the negativity surrounding FAS;including my own. Brains can heal. New pathways can be formed. Old ways of responding to over stimulus can be changed. It is a disability. It will affect their lives until they die. It shouldn’t define who they are,though. It may mean a different future than Johnny down the street. But they wouldn’t have had his future anyway.
It is time for the parents of hurt children to stop making reasons into excuses. They are not the same thing.
I hate the handicaps my children were given through no fault of their own. I hate they have to work so much harder than others just to stay even. Even with all that,they are capable of contributing much.
In the end,it is up to them.


About lenell

Wife to a very patient man and mom to 8 interesting kids via birth,marriage and adoption. Grandma to nearly 5,nearly perfect grandchildren.
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2 Responses to a different perspective

  1. Dad says:

    Well said, dear.

    My lovve to all.

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