This is something that seems to be getting to not only me, but other adopters (and birth parents) at the moment. And I've written about it before here, but it's getting worse...much worse. Is it the time of year? Is it the up/down weather? Who knows, but one thing is for certain, Mini is pretty damn good at defiance, and regardless of situation, parent involved, time of day and any number of other factors, he will use his (already pretty powerful) lungs to pronounce an enormous 'NO!'.
He has a number of ways at expressing this negative, always shouted, and always said with venom & vitriol and often the words are spat out:
I will not.
You can't make me.
I don't want tooooo.
I. AM. NOT. GOING. TO.
I've told you before, I'M NOT DOING THAT!
He also uses distraction, avoidance and bargaining too -
I'm just.... scratching my nose/stroking this teddy bear/having a think...
What about doing x,y,z first?
Did you see what Dollop did?
*Pretends not to hear*
*Coughs over everything asked/said*
*Runs away and hides*
And to top off these refusals, often they are accompanied by a slap, smack, whack, or scratch. This non-compliance always feels like a battle of wills or a control issue. Mini always seems so manipulative when he's like this, and there's almost a glint in his eye. He most definitely smiles and celebrates if he feels he's 'won' a battle of defiance.
It's even comical sometimes - the amount of ways he tries to avoid doing something or defy us. The funniest times are when he doesn't think about what he's saying no to - he's just in a no mood... e.g Would you like chocolate icecream with chocolate sauce and sprinkles for breakfast? NO! or If you get dressed now we can go to the park. YOU CAN'T MAKE ME.
But actually it isn't funny. It's just bloody hard work. Can you imagine any other relationship where it would be acceptable to constantly be told 'no'? Work? With your other half? It is utterly demoralising and exhausting for me and the NC.
I know that lots of birth children are like this too. But I feel quite strongly that there's a difference, at least between Mini and his non-adopted peers. All children say no sometimes, of course they do. (We're going through the terrible two's with Dollop right now, 'No' is a favourite of hers too at the moment!). But with Mini it seems uncontrollable, he cannot stop himself from refusing or arguing. He just will not comply with things - even things that suit or benefit him.He's not just saying the word for the sake of it, he absolutely will not do x,y,z and nothing ain't gonna make him either!
What concerns me is that he's not like this at school. He's not like this at Nanna and Grandad's either. It's just with us. He doesn't limit it to home and is quite happy to defy us whilst out and about, but only us.
It's hard to know whether he is like this because of his past; his trauma and anxieties. Or is he just stubborn? Does he have a mental health issue?
I'm running out of ideas. Our post adoption social worker has suggested a possible cause is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (his suggestion is based on assessments we've already undertaken which various people have reviewed, and is something that we've actually thought about before, and others who know Mini and some who don't have also suggested it). The same social worker tells us that Theraplay will help. We're still on the waiting list (and have been since May). But right now, at the start of the summer holidays, with the prospect of another 6 weeks - 6 WHOLE WEEKS!!! - like this, I am filled with dread. And I'm trying to keep a number of bargaining, coercing and negotiating tools up my sleeve, and ways of asking Mini to do something without actually asking him. Can I do it for 6 loooooooong weeks? I bloody well hope so else we're all in trouble.