I can't believe it was June when I first wrote about coming to terms with and learning about attachment disorders in my blog. Three months on there have been good times and bad. I thought it might be useful to write down all the boundaries that we put in place and where we are up to with them now.
1. Not leaving to walk to school until 25 minutes before school starts (it's a good 20 minutes walk away).
2. Being home 25 minutes after school has finished.
3. Not watching any programmes on television made for viewing after 8pm.
4. Suspending her facebook account.
5. Not being allowed to stay in the house either by herself or with the younger two, for any amount of time.
6. Not being allowed to spend any time in her bedroom except for when with friends or doing music practise (which we can hear downstairs!).
7. Not attending any afterschool clubs because of the time curfew.
8. Only attending existing evening clubs where we know the leaders and take and fetch her.
9. No having her computer (which has no internet access anyway) upstairs to watch DVD's on.
10. No taking the dog for a walk by herself.
11. No walking to or from friends houses by herself.
12. No access to her mobile phone.
I am sure there may have been some other things! What a huge list! The more difficult ones, were the ones where she was no longer able to do things her 10 year old cousin was still allowed to do.
The good news is we have not had any major attention seeking behaviour (which was escalating before the new rules) since we started. There have been times of really pushing the boundaries, when she has conveniently forgotten that certain things are out of bounds but has persistantly kept asking to do them and stropping when not allowed.
Now I am not putting the improvements all down to us and our boundaries! It is also very interesting to note that we (or her) have had no contact with her father during this time. The school summer holidays were hard work, we relaxed some of the rules, we allowed her to start walking the dog and she was allowed to play out on our street with neighbours children without being supervised.
One aspect that seemed to go down with less fuss than anything else was the not being able to spend time in her room alone. There have been very few times when we have had to remind her about this one and the self-harming behaviour has not been happening at all. We had also done a huge clearout of her belongings with her permission. She has actually expressed how much more she likes her room now it has not much in it - no reminders - are her words. I'm not exactly sure what the reminders were but she seems happy not to have them around her.
Now that the new school term has started more relaxing of rules is also taking place, we have removed the ban on watching TV programmes made for after 8pm viewing, though are watching the progammes she does watch with her. She has already stayed behind at school on one occassion for a one off activity and we are considering allowing her to start a new weekly afterschool club. She has been allowed to stay home alone for short periods of time, though always without any prior notice from us. She has asked for her mobile phone back, which we have given her though it has to live in the kitchen in a stand unless she is going out with it (it has remained in the kitchen in the stand for the last two weeks!) Just this evening she has asked when she can go back to her facebook account, we have agreed to consider giving it back to her at 1/2 term (end of October) dependent on how she copes up until then.
Her therapy sessions have lessened to approximately once a month and I now always go in with her. Her therapist can see a big change in eye contact, tone of voice and body language. I find the sessions very hard going, especially when I have been feeling quite low anyway, I am being given the strength to persevere though. She seems to be quite enthusiastic about having a positive start to being in Year 9 at school and has been getting on with homework with minimum fuss.
We have turned a corner, there are plenty more to come, as with everybody we do not know what tomorrow will bring, and to be honest I'm quite relieved by that most of the time!
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