October GRG Connections
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Issue 16 Volume 16
No More Dinosaurs
By Godefrieda Alfred, a Palm Springs, FL Grandmother
The first time DCF placed Skylar, my granddaughter; with me she was 6½ weeks old and stayed with me until she was 13 months old. DCF then placed Skylar with her birth parents (my only child, my son) and her birth mother (his girlfriend). 6 months later when Skylar was 19 months old, DCF placed her with me again. During the 6 months away from my care, she saw and heard violence and yelling. Skylar’s birth mother had been incarcerated many times for domestic abuse assault, and being under the influence of drugs.
When Skylar came back at 19 months old, she would wake up 4 or more times in the night screaming and crying at the top of her lungs for 10 minutes or more. Her body would go stiff and she wouldn’t let me hold her. Shortly after, she was tested and I found out she was developmentally delayed with speech, caused most likely by neglect and the violence she had seen and heard.
One month after getting out of jail in July 2008 the birth mother returned to Ohio to live and left my son and Skylar. With the recession, my son lost his job. The birth mother was calling him 10 to 15 times a day telling him he was doing a lousy job raising Skylar. Overwhelmed, on September 9, 2008 my son choose to end his life, five days before Skylar turned 2 on September 14.
Skylar’s birth mother asked if she could come for 3 days for my son’s funeral. Well she did come but she didn’t go back until the pill mill closed in November 2011. The first year with Skylar’s birth mother was hell. Remember I was also grieving the death of my son. DCF was saying I was too old to keep Skylar permanently and my husband almost died 3 times from illness during this same time. Skylar’s birth mother would come in late at night and under the influence of drugs. She would be yelling and throwing things. She would grab my phone so I couldn’t call the police but the neighbor would.
There was a no trespassing order put on her and DCF for the last 3 months before the court date took over visitation. During that time, the birth mother’s new boyfriend came to my home in the middle of the night, pushed my front door in and grabbed Skylar out of my arms and took off with her. Luckily the police found them in an hour and she was returned to me. After that when she was 3, I got permanent guardianship of her. The judge did grant the birth mother supervised visitation at the Palm Beach Court House. The birth mother stopped coming to the supervised visitations in May 2010.
At 3 ½ years old, Skylar’s therapist told me she suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Now that she was not talking to and not seeing her birth mother, she would only wake up once a night about 4 o’clock in the morning and come looking for me. Skylar told me she would wake up every night because she dreamed dinosaurs would take her away from me. She had this dream every night until we moved into our new home with a big back yard May 2012 to be in a better school district.
Guess what? What I didn’t know that the greatest gift we would get when we moved into the new house is that Skylar’s nightmares of dinosaurs coming to take her away left too. She now sleeps through the night because she feels safe and there are no bad memories here to trigger her PTSD.
P.S. I sleep through the night now too!
What is the difference between discipline and punishment? They seemed like one and the same in my family! The only real method of discipline is to give a memorable punishment!
That way you know the child will remember what they did wrong and not do it again! Easy discipline (if there is such a thing) gives your child the idea you don’t mean business. If you don’t show your child you mean business the child will not take you serious. I am so tired of these parents who are afraid of disciplining in fear that they will hurt their child emotionally. I say stand up to your child and show them who the boss is.
No nonsense in Delray Beach
Dear No Nonsense,
There is a big difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline teaches and guides a child-a valuable, instructional skill-while teaching him how to make positive choices.
Punishment can be considered hurtful. Humiliating a child by hitting, name-calling, threatening, ignoring and yelling are just a few types of punishment which can cause emotional, psychological and physical pain.
Punishing a child in these ways can teach the child that it is ok to hit another. It is ok to threaten others who are weak. It is ok to yell at others. Punishment teaches a child to do the same to others that is done to them.
The goal of discipline is to help the child develop self-control by providing age-appropriate choices and opportunities for him to practice the acceptable behavior you are looking for.
Parents should ask themselves, “What kinds of choices do I want my children to make when I am not around?”
Please join a GRandS workshop to learn more about discipline, punishment, choices and consequences for children of all ages.
Call to find a GRandS workshop in your area. 561-233-1739 or 561-233 1780
Helping Children Cope with Fears and Anxiety at Halloween Time
October can be a frightening month for young children, especially if they have or are living through a traumatic experience. The Halloween tradition of trick or treating, Halloween movies, creepy commercials, scary costumes and haunted house decorations can make young children fearful and anxious. Take their fears seriously! Look for signs of an overwhelmed child-acting out, overexcited, scared or even clingy. Unusual behavior around this time can inform you whether or not your child may feel worried about something. If you sense any of these behaviors, ask him what he might be worried or frightened about.
Don’t try to talk your child out of his fears or worries. Acknowledging his fears shows him you are concerned about the way he feels and his safety. Let him know it is normal to be nervous and excited around this time of year.
Allow him to decide how much he wishes to participate in Halloween. First, try trick or treating at a neighbor’s where he feels comfortable and knows the surroundings. Family games, activities and safe costumes can help your child enjoy Halloween as a creative and fun time.
– Young children and being scared at Halloween: The Grandmothers
For more information on Children’s behavior join a GRandS Workshop. Call 561-233-1742 to find one near you.