It’s not just a moving goalpost – it changes shape all the time too.
That’s what my husband said about triggers, after we talked about how Mini’s triggers not only vary depending on his mood, but they can change too – what would cause a meltdown one minute, doesn’t five minutes later.
This got me thinking about the different strategies and techniques we employ to deal with Mini’s behaviours. Our CAMHS therapist reminds me frequently that adoptive parents need lots of tricks up their sleeves because just like triggers, sometimes a technique will have an effect, sometimes it won’t.
I’ve shared some of our techniques on various pages of this blog. Sometimes I’ve been absolutely certain that something is working, and at the time, couldn’t imagine it ever changing because it was great, then a few months later, I’ve had to stop that technique because it simply didn’t work anymore…Mini had gotten used to it, and it’s effectiveness had vanished. Other times I’ve been a little reserved about trying something new because I don’t want to constantly experiment on Mini, until we know more about what’s behind his issues. I don’t want to damage him more. And I’ve also been wary about re-trying things we’ve done in the past…they didn’t work then, so why would they now?
I’m quite an analytical person, and I like to understand why Mini behaves as he does, then I criticize myself, my actions and my mistakes. I’m learning to be more reflective so I can make those mistakes work for me and Mini.
Over the last 6 months I’ve learnt that I need to be more adaptable and quicker-thinking. I’ve also learnt that although Mini loves routine, thrives on it even, sometimes I need to give responses that aren’t routine, and are not expected. I need to throw him some curveballs sometimes. These curveballs make him think; make him stop in his tracks. Sometimes, this means trying something new or something that I’ve tried before.
So from now on, I’m not going to shy away from new techniques, or old ones for that matter. I’m gonna store ‘em up, keep ‘em on my subs bench and pick and choose what I use, and when. Those goalposts might move and change, but I’m gonna have the right goalie to put in place.
All the while remembering to PACE myself…Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, Empathy.