Friday, March 16, 2012

Reactive Coping Behaviors

I am currently reading and taking notes on Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen.  The following ideas were taken pretty much directly from her book.

Kids who are adopted (especially internationally) tend to react to their new surroundings in one (or more) of these five ways.  These are coping behaviors.  When a child is stressed out beyond their ability to cope, they turn to these.  Patty Cogen uses great word pictures to help us remember them...

1.  The Warm Rock - The warm rock is withdrawn, falls asleep, shuts down.
2.  The Stunned Rag Doll - This child is withdrawn, and stunned at her losses.
3.  The Dizzy Performer - This is the child who is independent and charming, wants everyone to look at her, but has no behavioral or emotional control.
4.  The Royal Boss - The royal boss is a control freak with no self-control.
5.  The Unwilling Guest - This child feels trapped, angry, and disconnected.

I would have to classify Cupcake as a cross between Dizzy Performer and Royal Boss.  When she first came home, she would literally dance in the center of a crowd and yell, "EVERYBODY!  LOOK AT ME!  LOOK AT ME!!"  She would never stop moving all day long.  And her volume was LOUD!  Charming?  She was a master charmer.  Any ususpecting adult would be putty in her hands.  Was she a control freak?  By all means.  She wanted to orchestrate every moment of the day.  She was going to run this house...and if someone took control from her...LOOK OUT!

These are all great survival skills.  It's a way to get your needs met when you have no one looking out for you. 

Great skills for family life?  Not so much.

I am happy to report that she rarely falls back into her reactive coping behaviors anymore.  However, they are her drug of choice when she feels overwhelmed. 

So, for all you adoptive parents out there?  What about your children?  Are these catagories fairly accurate?  Where do your kids fall?  Did you see this even in your easy-adjustment children?

Blessings to you,


Deb said...

Bug was and is 'warm rock". I am going to have to look for this book. thanks for continuing to share.

love and hugs,

Gina & Tommy said...

I need to get this book too! R was warm rock and Katherine was the stunned rage doll. I am not so sure that R would not revert to this behavior if in stressful situations, such school or anywhere away from me or his dad.

GB's Mom said...

Hope is a cross between Dizzy Performer and Royal Boss, too.