All posts tagged siblings

Siblings & Trauma by Force Four Coaching

Published May 21, 2015 by thefamilyof5

Parenting a traumatised child is incredibly hard. Parenting two or more is practically impossible – whether it’s only one of them who has significant trauma or if it’s all of them. It can result in issues that can be painful, exhausting and guilt-inducing, and decisions that are emotionally agonising.

This is a really great article. I found it to be very validating. Big girl is really struggling right now and meeting her extreme needs as well as the ever increasing needs of her sisters is hard, too hard. I feel like I’m failing. This article helped me today. I’m not alone. I’m not a failure. I’m doing the best I can. It’s not my fault.


Half Term (Part 2)

Published April 19, 2015 by thefamilyof5

Half Term Part 2 is over, I feel really very sad about sending them back to school tomorrow. We’ve had an amazing time, the transformation in the girls has been remarkable, especially middle girl, she’s surprised me the most!

So, here’s how our final week went.

Sunday, it rained, a lot, so we went with my sister to see Cinderella at the cinema, in hindsight it probably wasn’t the best choice of films. All 3 girls found the ‘dying mother’ bit too much to handle. They’ve lost so much already in their little lives that any kind of loss overwhelms them. Baby girl found it particularly difficult but was able to talk about it straight away unlike her sisters her pondered the story line over night and eventually told me about how sad it had made them feel the following morning. After our movie we enjoyed a lovely meal, the girls were very impressed that they got to take home the funky straws from Bella Pasta.



Monday we had plans to meet in the park with a friend of mine and her 2 adopted children. The girls enjoyed a great time scooting and chatting with them and they all even had a game of ‘tag’ afterwards whilst us mom’s sat chatting and slowly freezing to death, it wasn’t as warm as we’d hoped!

Tuesday we were expecting a dishwasher repair man between 10am and 2pm. So we snuck out for a cheeky McDonald’s breakfast first thing and then the girls played in the garden, it was a gorgeous sunny warm day. Baby girl even set up (a very easy) crazy golf course! PS dishwasher repair man couldn’t fix it so he said we could have a new one!


Wednesday was set to be warm, and it didn’t disappoint! The morning was spent doing crafty stuff, mostly painting!


When Daddy got home from work we dusted off the BBQ and enjoyed the first family BBQ of the year, fizzy pop and everything! Baby girl, sipping her drink through her new funky straw, said ‘mommy this Orange is fizzy and its tickling my tongue’ .


The tickly tongue comment gave me an idea. I gave them some popping candy after our BBQ, their first ever experience of it! I wish I could show you their faces, or even the video I have of them with it crackling in their mouths. Needless to say it was a new experience for them, and a fun one at that! Oh how we laughed!


Thursday was a tad cooler so we warmed ourselves up with an ‘Unlimited Breakfast’ at our local Brewers Fayre pub, it really is a favorite of the girls. Then home for play. Middle girl and Big girl opted for crafty type play whilst baby girl decided to get out the water play, she really does like ‘water play’. Later on we added some ‘Gelli Baff’ to the water and they all enjoyed playing (big girl said it was gross and chose to watch) with the yukky sludge.


Friday was sunny but cool so we made plans to meet some of my family and spent a couple of hours in the park, a quick lunch in the Harvester before heading to the shops to do what girls do best ‘Shop’.

Saturday was spent at home again waiting for the new dishwasher to arrive. We decided to have a BBQ for tea but hadn’t taken in to account that once the sun left our garden around tea time, it was going to be quite chilly. So we wrapped up warm and soldiered on eating our burgers and sausages whilst shivering and wiping dripping noses! yum! We managed to keep ourselves warm laughing!


On Monday a lovely couple in the park had asked when the children went back to school. This was enough to plant a seed for my girls, school was officially back on their radars. Thursday, at breakfast, the lovely manager in the pub asked the girls how they were spending the last 2 days of holidays. I’d say that’s when it really hit home. The ‘I don’t want to go back to school’ started, sleep deteriorated and their irritability returned. On a positive note they were all able to talk to me about how they were feeling, even Middle girl, and she never tells me anything, ever!

Today we’ve encouraged the girls to play separately, and I know this may sound like an odd tactic given how well they’ve played together this half term. You see today their anxiety levels were at an all time high, Big girl’s voice was so high pitched only dogs could hear it, Baby girl was clingy and controlling and Middle girl seemed to be ‘disappearing’ again. Id imagine many people that have adopted siblings will understand what I mean by a ‘Trauma Bond’, but for those of you who don’t, I’ll try and explain. The girls share an intricate bond which was formed during a traumatic time in their lives meaning they ‘feel’ each others negative emotions and have the ability to ‘re-traumatize’ each other in times of heightened anxiety. So today we decided to try and prevent as much upset as possible by encouraging them to enjoy their own space and activities.

We did break up the day with lunch at a local world buffet, they even had a chocolate fountain, Baby girl thought she’d died and gone to heaven! In the car talk of school raised its ugly head again with all 3 declaring they didn’t want to go and wanted to be ‘home schooled’ instead like our friends children. It was quite a moment as Middle girl has NEVER once indicated that she doesn’t like school, in fact she’s often been the one to tell me she’d rather be at school than at home. But, she doesn’t always say what she means, or mean what she says, so I’ve never been sure of how she really felt about school, her anger tells me she hates it but her words say she likes it!? So when Middle girl declared she didn’t want to go back to school I pointed out that she’d always told me she likes school. Her reply, ‘I like being with my family’. This is a really big thing, she’s always been so angry that I genuinely thought she hated us all! I’m not kidding!

Tonight before bed we’ve had strops, sulks and tears. I don’t think it will be long before the anger and tantrums and bickering return. The next half term is in sight but its only one week long, I’m not sure that’s long enough. This school holiday was 2 weeks long yet it took Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday for them to ‘come down’ from the hype of school. Given that the build up started around Thursday of this week I’d say that leaves us with Tuesday and Wednesday of the next half term as possible ‘good’ days! I really wish school didn’t have such an impact, or that I could pin point and fix whatever the issue is!

Baby girl had a good idea tonight, she suggested I have an invisibility button installed so I could go to school with her! I think its a brilliant idea!

I’ve linked this post up with #WASO over at The Adoption Social



Mommy’s Hug Jar

Published November 11, 2014 by thefamilyof5

The trouble with 3 very needy children is that there is never enough of me or enough time to give them all what they need. In fact it feels like the more I give the more they demand, it never seems to be enough.

I went on a lottery funded workshop recently about ‘Supporting Siblings’, the focus of the day was how best to meet the needs of siblings of a child with special needs. This is a little bit more tricky for me due to all 3 of my children having special needs. However I did take away something useful which I was able to adapt to suit our family.

A suggestion was made that we try out a ‘special time’ jar. A jar or box that contains a selection of short activities that take no more than 10 minutes, things like read a book, watch them dance or sing a song, paint their nails, watch TV together etc things like that. This would enable the sibling to let their parent know that they were feeling left out or feeling lonely and needed some attention.

I really liked this idea but the more and more I thought about it, the more I realised that It just wouldn’t work here. The minute 1 daughter bought me her box of activities the other 2 would decide they also needed my time turning 10 minutes in to 30 minutes, and you might not think that 30 minutes sounds like much but that would be 10 minutes of me trying desperately to give a child 1:1 whilst her 2 siblings do all they can to get my attention on to them. It would also mean that it would be in constant use, a race to get to the jar, a competition to see who can use the jar the most, an argument over who’s had the most turns. A headache for mommy!

So I started thinking about how I could adapt this to suit us. Giving the girls 1:1 time is pretty much impossible, even when Daddy is home we’re still out numbered. So I decided it needed to be more manageable, less likely to create competitiveness and more likely to keep us all happy! So that left me with a Jar of Hugs!

I like the idea of a jar with an endless supply of mommy hugs, big girl and middle girl are less into hugs (unlike baby girl who would hug me all day), so it has the potential to encourage them both to become more tactile in a fun way. It also means that even if they all decide they want the jar at the same time, we can still have a ‘group hug’! It gives me the freedom of being able to say ‘mommy needs a hug’ so I can also show them that mommy’s need hugs too, in which case Daddy can step in if none of them oblige! And more importantly, it gives them the opportunity to get my attention in an appropriate way!

So here it is, my mornings creation, an empty jar filled with left over valentines confetti and decorated with stickers from their craft box! I never claimed to be creative! 🙂  Wish me luck!


We all have needs.

Published February 11, 2014 by thefamilyof5

I was chatting to a good friend of mine the other day and she commented on how I seem to write a lot more about baby girl than I do middle girl and big girl. She has a good point, I do.

I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I favor baby girl and that’s why I write about her the most, its really quite simply that baby girl gives me more to write about.

Her expressive speech is more advanced than middle girl and big girls so she is able to tell me or show me what she needs more easily. She expresses her emotions, albeit very dramatically most of the time, so I mostly know what she’s feeling. When she is ill, she tells me. When she is hungry, she tells me. When she is feeling insecure she clings to me, when she is feeling defiant she pushes me away. When her food tastes bad she refuses to eat it. When her clothes feel itchy she tells me. When her shoes feel too tight she tells me. When a noise hurts her hears, she shows me. When she needs me, I know.

Big girl and middle girl never need me, or so THEY believe. They’re never ill, they never have hurts that need plasters, or sad times that need cuddles, or worries they need to talk about. They don’t tell me about their day and their struggles, they don’t tell me when they’re hungry or when they don’t like their dinner. They will wear the itchy clothes without question, they wont tell me their shoes give them blisters or that their pants are too small. They never ask for anything. They never let me know they need me.

Its really hard being middle girl and big girls mom. I have to guess at a lot of things and try and proactively meet a need before I notice its gone unmet, because with each need I miss, a little more trust is lost. I have to watch them closely and try and read their subtle signals. I have to guess their needs whilst my own mothering needs go unmet.

Its in some ways harder to be a mom to baby girl. She pushes and pulls so much it can be emotionally exhausting and draining. With baby girl though my efforts are rewarded because she meets MY needs by letting me know that she needs me and allowing me to be her mom.

All parents have needs, we all have a need to be loved and needed by our children. Its innate and natural. We want to feel ‘needed’ by our children. Anything less is babysitting.

I know all my girls need me, and I intern need them.
I love all my girls equally and treat them equally and fairly.
But for now, only one of those girls meets my needs as a mother.
So I guess because I know her the most, that’s why I write about her the most.

(please be gentle with me, I’m not sure I’ve explained this in the best way, but I’m hoping you will all see where I’m coming from)

I’ve linked this post up with this weeks #WASO over at The Adoption Social

A place for ‘Stuff’ at last!

Published January 11, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Those of you that have followed for a while will know that things were very tough here with baby girl and middle girl sharing a bedroom (those that haven’t been following can click the links below to catch up), we tried everything we could to get them to sleep in the same room but it was not to be. We found our selves at the end of our tether and not knowing what else to do. So we resulted to ‘Plan P’ as we called it and moved middle girl in to our room. Little did we know that a year later she’d still be there.

After lots of tears, lots of heart ache and lots, no millions, of phone calls we finally got some help from the placing authority with a little nudge from Sir Martin Narey, our Knight in Shinning Armour.The placing authority agreed to help us extend our home to have an additional bedroom. We’d been saved.

It took several months for the paper work to be drawn up, you know those solicitors, they like to drag their feet don’t they. Any way, almost a year after middle girl first moved in to our bedroom, in September 2013 our builder arrived and work began. It was the most stressful 12 weeks of my life I can tell you, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a bit of a clean freak, I hate dirt and mess. Fortunately for us, me, we had a good builder, actually he and his team were fantastic and did their best to keep the mess to a minimum.


The girls coped surprisingly well too, there was lots of dust, things looked different, smelt different and felt different and then there was all the new faces, the strange and sometimes very loud noises, but they, well we, coped. It was so worth it. 10 days before Christmas the build was complete and we moved the girls in to their rooms, yes you read correctly, I did say 10 days, and yes I have twice as much grey hair as a result.


I cant tell you the difference its made to our lives. The girls now each have their own spaces, somewhere they can be alone, somewhere they can relax, somewhere they can breath. They’re no longer sharing wardrobes, they’re no longer keeping each other, or better still me, awake at night. They’ve been able to personalise their own rooms and make them their own. They’ve got their ‘stuff’ where they want it and they love it!

But most of all, Baby girl and Middle girl have some space between them, and in this space I intend to grow a bond. Not the traumatic and resentful one they currently have, but a loving bond, a bond that will see them through the tough times ahead.


We’ve been very lucky to get this help, and the magnitude of this luck has not been lost on us. We are and will continually be eternally grateful for all the help we’ve received.

I’ve linked this post up with this weeks #WASO over at the Adoption Social

The trouble with 3

Published November 7, 2013 by thefamilyof5

The trouble with 3 is that someone always gets left out!

I have only 2 hands that can be held. 

1 feels rejected.


I have only 2 sides to sit beside.

1 feels frustrated.


I have only 2 knees on which to sit.

1 feels left out.


None of this is acceptable for my girls, the rejection they feel is amplified by their insecurities and lack of self worth. Its potentially very damaging.

3 attention demanding, competitive children don’t leave any space for 1:1 time, even reading a book with one is usually too much of an ask with some sort of problem requiring my immediate attention, thus taking me away from someone else. There is no sibling loyalty or compassion when it comes to attention, it’s every man (girl) for themselves, at any cost.

My girls ALL need ALL of me and anything less is never enough.

Considering cloning myself.

images (7) 

The trouble with 3, is that there is only 1 of me.

The Supermarket Challenge

Published March 30, 2013 by thefamilyof5

A conversation that took place today whilst trying to attempt a trip to Sainsburys………

Me: right let’s go, can you carry the bag for me please baby girl
Big girl: do we need 2 bags?
Me: no one will be fine.

*we get in the car

Baby girl: can we get a trolley?
Me: yes a small one
Baby girl: but I wanted to sit in it *sulks
Big girl: can I get the trolley cause she’s carrying the bag, its fair then
Me: yes ok
Baby girl: I didn’t want the bag *sulks
Big girl: can I push the trolley
Me: no I’ll push the trolley
Big girl: oh I thought I could push it *sulks
Baby girl: if we get some shopping can I put it in the trolley
Me: yes you can help me
Big girl: we could take it in turns so its fair
Me: yes ok
Baby girl: can I give the shopping to the lady?
Me: yes you can help me
Big girl: can I put the shopping in the bag?
Me: yes you can help me
Big girl: if we need bread can I choose it?
Me: we don’t need bread
Baby girl: we might need cake?
Me: we don’t need cake
Big girl: can I carry your bag?
Me: no I’ll carry it because it has money inside
Baby girl: can I carry the keys

Me: *insert therapeutic reply (what I said certainly wasn’t therapeutic)

* we arrived at Sainsburys

The conversation continued along the same lines with lots of ‘can we get’ ‘I like’ and ‘those look yummy’ etc.

Next time, I’m going alone! I only needed Cream Eggs!

%d bloggers like this: