“Forget them all. Come with me where you’ll never have to worry about grown up things again.” -Peter Pan
Everyone knows the story of Peter Pan. I think our family has three or four different movie versions. We have three teens in our house all at once right now. One has ADD, another has reactive attachment disorder, and another just got a shiny new driver’s license. We’re battling Peter and his shadow ever day. Responsibility and accountability are constant woes.
Tyler has reactive attachment disorder, anger issues, depression, and either bipolar disorder or ADHD…we’re not sure. We’ve tried many things for him. In the process, we’ve spend tens of thousands of dollars beyond what our insurance company covers. We haven’t gone on a family vacation, our home is in desperate need of repair and maintenance, and we don’t have college funds for our kids.
“Off we skip like the most heartless things in the world, which is what children are, but so attractive; and we have an entirely selfish time, and then we have need of special attention and we nobly return for it, confident that we shall be rewarded instead of punished.” – Peter Pan
All three of our teens were adopted. Tyler suffered the most abuse and neglect. He’s total living proof of the psychological damage that can happen during infancy and toddlerhood. His view of the world around him and the way he processes it is twisted. His temper is quick as a switch and then he runs away.
Recently, Tyler pried the alarm off of his bedroom window and lept…from the second floor (see picture above). We didn’t find him until the next day, wandering through the park.
“Give him back.”
Many well meaning doctors, therapists, friends and family members have said, “Give him up. Give him back. Send him away.”
Tyler is also kind, selfless, caring, thoughtful, and vulnerable. He presents as a tough guy while in actuality he’s very overwhelmed by the world. His reactive attachment disorder causes him to seem as though he doesn’t need parents. However, he always wants to know where I am and sometimes follows me around the house like a puppy.
We deal with him a day at a time and purposely don’t discuss anything with him that’s more than one to two days ahead. We keep him close and keep activities close, only within family, school and church. We have him four more years until he turns 18 and we can only hope his improvement continues. We hope he has a future like anyone would want for their son – college, marriage, family – but we really don’t know.
Tyler’s improvement is two steps forward and one step back.We can only take a deep breath and try to prepare for whatever the day brings.
Learn more about the dynamics of attachment disorder and how to cope as a parent. Visit our video page and invite Forrest to speak to your parent group or organization.