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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

A Corrupted Comfort Level

23855-254430-largeWe’ve talked before about a “set point”, the level to which an adopted child naturally gravitates.  If he is used to pain, he feels drawn to those activities.  If she is accustomed to chaos or failure, she moves toward those situations.

Today, we are considering comfort levels and the ability to feel at ease.

Some adoptive parents are shocked to learn that their children enjoy eating from garbage cans, love to lie, or cherish running away.  They may have fun hurting a sibling or pet.  It has nothing to do with the new parents’ parenting ability.  It is the child’s comfort level.

It’s what they’re used to.

I recall our daughters being addicted to sugar and salt.  Making our way through the end of the adoption process entailedsugar-salt-l spending several days in Moscow.  Just to keep them under control, I alternated sugar – salt – sugar – salt products on an every other day basis.  Personally, I would have liked to cut them off immediately, since our family doesn’t eat a lot of junk food.  Yet, it was better to slowly taper them off, i.e., let Benedetto deal with it, as well (lol), rather than me, myself, and I, while shuttling to government offices and grocery stores with girls who grabbed anything and everything off the shelves.

I made it into a game.  Here was our shopping list:  could they help me find everything?  At the end of our excursion, if they had not destroyed the supermarket, I would buy them a small bag of chips, or an ice cream.

We started to build up a language of if – then conditional behaviors.  This didn’t work for everything, and their lying continued for years.  thHowever, their comfort level was slowly being shifted.

It was in their best interests to do the right thing.

Still, it would take effort, and their comfort level had been set to the lowest common denominator—less effort on their part meant more comfort on their part.   (And I could argue the same thing from the parents’ point of view, because monitoring them 25/8 was a pain for us, as well.)  Why try?  Just do whatever came naturally, no need for civilized behavior nor listening to adults.  It had always worked in the past.

Why do you think you can tell me what to do?  You could see their minds struggling with such a notion.  Prayer cannot be underestimated during these times.

Has your family adjusted to a new comfort level, where doing the right thing is becoming easier?

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