Learning about learning

The boys came to us at age 5&6 with ‘instruction manuals’ and lots of (sometimes contradicting) info on them about their abilities, life skills and personalities. As we became parents overnight we had to learn that there is a natural time to learn certain skills ( and I am glad I didn’t have to do potty training, skipped teething, learning to walk or speak…etc).

We were constantly finding gaps in their ‘natural development’ and we found ourselves filling these gaps as and when we discovered them, not when they are expected to be learnt! We taught them how to shower themselves, how to change your bedding if you wet the bed at night and they learnt it’s no big deal if you wet, we are not going to get upset with you or hit you!

Learning about learning by Feelingmumyet is about separating the developmental delays, attachment disorder and life lessons we all need to learn.

One knew how to ride a bike and has good balancing skills, the other had a bike but had no balancing skills so once he fell off and now he hated bikes. Same with climbing up to trees or to a monkey bar; since with us he conquered his fear of hight – how glad I was I could witness his face beaming with joy when he climbed up the climbing wall the first time! How proud he was! πŸ™‚

Due to their massive neglect and trauma and attachment disorder it was hard to know what life skills they have mastered already and what not. Lately 7 had all these meltdowns related to separation anxiety and his misplaced shame (thinking he is soo bad his mother didn’t want him). Lately we have a new issue, which is related to learning to listen to somebody who tells you something different than what you feel like doing. It took us a couple of weeks to figure it out that it is not the ‘same old same old defiance or lack of trust due to his attachment disorder’ we have seen before. It IS a new gap we have discovered in his socialisation skills!

I would imagine it is connected to learning to trust your parents or perhaps I should say for a child with healthy, safe and time appropriate development it is a given? Β I don’t know, this is my first time being a mother to any child, biological or not. But looking at our friends with smaller children I noticed that some of them already mastered this skill, some were still learning it, but most of them had some understanding of the reasons behind mummy’s ‘don’t do it because it will hurt you’ warnings. They more or less got the idea that there is a GOOD reason why the warning has been given to them. Did they still continue? Sure, but that was due to their personalities, may it be adventurous, experimental or just willingly testing boundaries.

My 7 year old somehow navigated his short life without this particular life lesson until now. It is very possible due to his many other ‘issues’ this one got overlooked. Or maybe the professionals knew about this gap, but felt there were more pressing problems to tackle first. It’s also a possibility that until now he didn’t feel safe to ‘let it all out’. Either way, we finally recognised what it is so now we can teach him.

How do you learn to accept suggestions?

For me and my intellectual brain I need to know first who is the person giving me the advice. What are their ‘credentials’. Have they experienced it personally? Do they have a masters degree on the subject? Are they older and therefore wiser than me? (this is a cultural thing, if you don’t share it, never mind). Secondly I want to know why are they giving me this information. What do they know that I don’t? What would happen if I don’t follow it? Yes, I know my rebellious side coming up… πŸ™‚

It so happened that we went out for a family breakfast. Daddy told them not to eat too many ‘freebies’ as the main food is about to come. Did they listen? 8 did, 7 was convinced he can eat a whole lot more so he disregarded daddy. Full English breakfast arrives, 7 ate a couple of bites and declared himself full. Daddy didn’t even have to say a word, 7 knew! He should have listened! He should have done the clever thing and follow the advice. He chose not to and now he finds himself in this odd predicament. We weren’t angry with him at all, but we knew he was very cross with himself. Of course he said nothing, but his faulty internal processes went into overdrive and he started throwing food, jumping up and down on his chair and doing all the ‘naughty’ things. Hubby grabbed him in a super tight bear hug and held him for quite a while.

An hour later we went to get him new shoes (his last pair of new trainers lasted a month and it wasn’t for the poor, cheap quality, but that’s a different story). He was bored so he started throwing shoes off the racks. I told him why it was a bad idea (‘you might hit somebody accidentally’) and what will happen if he continues. Naturally he didn’t listen and didn’t stop until he was told some of the consequences that might follow. He was about to stop, but before he did he accidentally bumped into another shopper and knocked down a display unit. Again, his faulty internal processes kicked in and he was extremely ashamed of his actions. Until recently we would just tell him off, grab him and keep him close until we leave the shop. His mind is already in overdrive he didn’t know how to break the cycle and how to get out of those big feelings so his behaviour got worse by the second.

We just about paid and got back to the car. 2 minutes into the car ride out of nowhere he said: ‘Mummy, daddy, I am sorry for my poor behaviour in the shop. I should have listened to you.’ And Bad Mother reacted without missing a beat: ‘Yes, you should have!’. Good Daddy jumped in with ‘Thank you for saying that. You are forgiven!’ And then the most amazing thing happened. 7 informed us with a wonderful and happy smile that ‘it wasn’t that hard at all!’

Suddenly we realised that he has learnt another lesson(s)!

  1. Saying sorry is an excellent way to kill those big feelings!
  2. Listening to your parents is (sometimes) a good idea!
  3. You don’t need to feel ashamed for not listening.
  4. You CAN break the cycle!

A successful day in Parentville.

Learning about learning by Feelingmumyet is about separating the developmental delays, attachment disorder and life lessons we all need to learn.

42 thoughts on “Learning about learning

  1. Karen Dennis says:

    Congratulations on adopting your children it sounds like you are making fantastic parents, we have friends who have gone down the same route to obtain a family #thatfridaylinky@_karendennis


  2. thetaleofmummyhood says:

    That’s amazing! It’s so nice to hear you’ve had a positive outcome, all the hard work you’re both putting in sounds like it’s making a huge difference to those boys. Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx


  3. Ordinary Hopes says:

    I am in tears reading this. You are a fabulous family and together you will work all these things out. xxx #KCACOLS


  4. Nicola says:

    It sounds like you’re doing a pretty awesome job! The best way for children to learn is for them to experience things even when those things are not always great! #KCACOLS


    • feelingmumyet says:

      Yes, for him especially saying sorry was really the hardest thing ever! He still has a long way to go, but boy, he has come far already! πŸ™‚ thanks for reading and commenting!


  5. Daydreamer mum says:

    This does sound like a successful day!!! Learning that your parents don’t advise you to not do things just cos they want to spoil all your fun but because of the consequences is a hard lesson to learn !! #BlogCrush


  6. mackenzieglanville says:

    I am so glad he came to this on his own, being a parent is hard and you are doing so amazing. We need so much patience and love an you sure have that. What a happy ending xx #blogcrush


    • feelingmumyet says:

      Thank you! I think that’s the only way for them to truly learn a lesson, is if they come to the solution on their own instead of me telling him! He is still so far behind, but he is making massive steps in teh right direction! thanks for reading and commenting!


  7. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... says:

    Giving children enough space to make mistakes and learn from them is one of the difficult lessons that parents have to learn #triumphanttales


  8. JakiJellz says:

    You are doing such an incredible thing. Good days in Parentville are the best aren’t they?! Thanks for joining us at #TriumphantTales – hope to see you again Tuesday! πŸ™‚


  9. wendy says:

    Sounds like you are doing an amazing job to me! It must be so difficult for you as parents and your boys at times but I bet you are all learning new things together xx #blogcrush


  10. Peachy says:

    I have no experience raising children in this age group but what you are describing sounds fairly typical for a toddler. The inability to properly express emotions. The assertion of independence through ignoring the advice of parents. That’s an everyday thing in our lives. The main difference is that yours have a much better grasp of language than mine. I’m sure that with your guidance they will get through this and it certainly seems like you are well on your way. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.


    • feelingmumyet says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Yes, it is quite common for Looked After Children to have a much younger emotional age than their biological age. In a sense it is easier to talk to them due to their more developed language skills, but it is also much harder to re-wire their brain and re-train their reactions.


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