Although we are not doing 'respite' at this time, I would like to share my perspective and my support in helping your family.
What is Respite?
Respite simply means a break, and just because we need a break from something, does not necessarily mean it is bad. Respite is having a vacation, a weekend, date night without the kids, etc. Those of us with stressful lives need breaks from time to time to regain our strength and hope.
We offer respite care for families struggling with excessive behaviors common with abuse, attachment, attention, self-harming, emotional, and developmental issues. (This list is in no way comprehensive – words do not do our kids justice!) If you have one of these kids, you understand; if you don't, you really won't understand why respite is essential.
We are not a ‘higher level of care’ as licensed professionals, although often we work in conjunction with therapists as part of the family’s therapeutic treatment plan. What we do offer is a safe place where your kids can have their big feelings, without continuing to strain the tense relationships at home. Isn’t it nice, to have a baby sitter that our kids come back from healthier than they went?
A break and someone to talk to, who understands, is vital to our survival. Those of us who live in near-constant stress fall into the pattern of dealing with the emergency at hand (perfectly rational) while pushing aside everything else. The problem is that these emergencies never stop. So over time the other non-emergencies in our lives build and build until they too erupt a crises. In many cases, the child needs respite from the home as much as it needs respite from them. It is emotionally debilitating to have your mistakes constantly in your face; it’s exhausting to have the job of mistake-making. Often respite is the place where the child gives themselves permission to change.Respite Philosophy_____________________________________
We believe that people act the way that they do primarily in a self-preservative struggle to keep themselves safe. To an addict, safe means- another fix, to a teenager, safe means- comfortable, to all of us safe means- we’re doing it right, and don’t need to change. Most of us have a distorted perception of safety – we really do think it is life-or-death if there is (or isn’t) olives on our pizza. We do not argue with this rationale, we show them what is safe, and over time it begins to sink in.
We live outside of town on an acreage and believe that if a child cannot be respectful, responsible, and fun to be around for a small group of safe people within the home, it is dangerous to expand their ‘world’ to all those who are not ‘safe’. A trip to the grocery store is an earned privilege after consistent appropriate behavior at home.
We work with Nancy Thomas (www.attachment.org) and believe that if we work on the attachment issues first, what remains can be managed within the home. With attachment issues, we trust NO ONE, so we won’t ask for help, accept advice, or take our prescriptions.
We work with Susan Scott’s Neurological Reorganization (www.susansbrain.com) which is a process of going back and reorganizing the brain along its own developmental path. This corrects how the brain receives, processes, and sends messages. This program alone can resolve countless behavioral, emotional, and developmental issues (from the inside out). When we feel, think, and perceive our world differently, there becomes a very real option of making positive changes.
We work with Good Samaritan Ministries (www.gsmusa.org) as non-professional counselors. We use counseling techniques to help develop healthy communication, process feelings, and learn boundaries.
In our home, we go by “Mama Christine” and “Mr. Roland”. We model respect in our home. As the children watch they see that important and powerful people respect themselves and others. No one can have too many strong, loving and wise Mamas, and no one can have too much respect. This does not imply that we erase or replace the child’s own mom and dad, but that we rebuild the concept of Mom and Dad as strong enough to keep these kids safe. “Mom” is a title of authority and position that demands respect. The girls must learn to appreciate that they too can achieve the status of Mom, and the boys must learn to respect ALL females.
We do not punish – we use that term to mean forcing the child to feel bad about what they did, (these kids probably did it because they felt bad) punishment just fuels that fire; we correct while emphasizing natural consequences.We emphasize respect, but not by putting kids down – we elevate ourselves to a position of respect. When we are respectable, we create the concept within the child, that they too are worth respect.Short - Term Respite___________________________________
Short-term Respite is anywhere from a few hours to a few nights used as a tool to encourage and motivate children to be aware and responsible for their thoughts, feelings and actions. While they are gone, it is a great time to celebrate those other relationships that take the back burner during the chronic drama. Some families need motivational respite- restitution and less fun than home, others need recreational respite- get the energy out and more activity than home.Long - Term Respite____________________________________
Long-term Respite is a more integral part of a family’s treatment goals. This is a timeframe of more than one month, with distinct goals and guidelines set by a therapist.
We see long-term respite in three distinct and important phases: Disintegration, Grief and Reintegration.
Disintegration is the exhausting process of trying so hard to keep things together, realizing the whole while that we are not being successful. We fear that our best efforts are not meeting these children’s deep needs, and no matter how tight a grip we keep on our family, the pieces keep floating apart. Sometimes we need to release our hands, in order to get a more secure hold. If you are seeking help with these tough issues, you are already Disintegrating!
Grief is the scariest part. What does it mean to let go when we have been killing ourselves trying to hold on? What does it mean to question our tactics, our own needs, our success? What does it mean to question our expectations for this child and our family?
Before a decision to place a child in long-term respite we must deeply search our souls. If we are not convinced that this is the best thing for the child (and those left at home) we will not be able to endure it. While in respite the family must grieve the loss of their hopes, dreams and expectations for the child. (This does not mean that all of our hopes are lost, but that unless we process as loss, and let go of what we expect, we will resist the healing process.)
Reintegration is the rebuilding, putting back together phase. It is exciting, emotional and exhausting. It is our goal to reintroduce you to the child as you may have never seen them before – their beauty, grace, intelligence, compassion, humor, etc. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. When we are fond, and can give and receive love, it is amazingly how much we can endure. When the part of the child that wants their parents gets working they begin to want to please, want to be close, want to be loved.Typical Respite Fees__________________________________________
Fees for respite care (We are not doing respite at this time) are usually between $100-300/day, depending on needs.
For more information, give us a call (503)910-1192, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't hesitate to call if you just need someone to talk to who:
1) knows how to listen, and 2) has an idea what you are going through.
November 11, 2008
Is God Efficient?
Is God efficient? Is God concerned with getting the
most Bang for His Buck? Can we even evaluate His
best, from our viewpoint? If I can discover a ‘best’ way to do things, God
should be able to do so even better...