Every year for the last five years, the world falls out from under my family in mid-April—and my middle son always seems to be the one in the middle of it all. We would frequently wonder if it was because April was the month he came to live with us; we may never be certain. But, regardless of the cause, the second week of April has proven to be very difficult in our adopted son’s life.
Although the specific issues and details were different each year, his self-destructive behavior led to many heartbreaking nights at home. My husband and I would be beside ourselves, wondering what to do. Things would happen in school, or while out with his friends, that were dangerous or possibly life-threatening; we were constantly on edge with worry about our son’s future.
Yet, no matter what was happening, we approached each of these situations with the recognition that there were lessons we needed to teach, and he needed to learn. But, we weren’t always sure how to get through to him.
Our older, biological son had never looked for trouble and didn’t fight with us. Parenting him seemed easy; I had never looked for help around discipline issues before because it was never needed. With our middle son, life changed: we were facing many scary and uncertain situations. When I was introduced to The Total Transformation, it saved my life. The 1-on-1 Coaching Line helped me through many, many tough nights. I spent countless hours on the phone with them, crying on my bathroom floor, searching for answers.
Slowly the answers started to come; and with the help of the 1-on-1 Coaching Line and The Total Transformation, I found the empowerment I needed to get through. I learned techniques for teaching my son right from wrong; how he could stand tall and be proud of himself; what trust is and how you earn it; and how others should treat your trust. And I took hold of something that I heard from them over and over again: that your child needs to learn that they are responsible for their actions and their school work. The outside world expects you to learn and take responsibility for your actions. And I learned the importance of reinforcing values and consequences.
WOW! These are all difficult lessons that we parents, adoptive or not, spend endless hours trying to instill in our children. Even though my husband and I sometimes doubted if the lessons we attempted to impart were being absorbed, we tried our best to be consistent in the limits we were communicating to our son.
I’m happy to share that this year has been different. Yes, once again, the world fell out from under us. This time, though, my son wasn’t right in the epicenter. I was extremely proud to see everything he has been taught about what a friend truly should be has actually clicked in his head. When a moment like this hits, when it all comes together, we get to see and feel the impact of all our hard work. I must admit it truly feels wonderful: HE GOT IT!
I have been told several times over the years to trust that my children are listening, and I am pleased to see it has finally come true. Therefore, if you are reading this and wondering if your words are getting through, trust me, they are.
Keep saying what your child needs to hear. One day, they will see the world through your eyes and understand. Remember, when it comes to learning the true meaning of the life lessons that are put before them, you are your child’s best teacher.
All the best in your journey.
Regina Radomski lives with her husband, and their three children live in Northern New Jersey.