Nine year old Winnie’s behaviour is becoming increasingly challenging and extremely difficult to manage. Despite years of support and trying every strategy in the book, nothing seems to help. Having learning difficulties on top of everything else she has been through, means she doesn’t have the ability to process anything that has happened to her and probably never will!
Winnie doesn’t know why she refuses to do anything she is told. She doesn’t know why she destroys everything in sight, smashes windows, bites through electric cables, runs away and tries to jump off cliffs. She doesn’t know why she wets the bed on a nightly basis and shouts obscenities at us for hours on end when we issue a simple request such as, “clean your teeth”.
But unfortunately this type of behaviour has become relentless. We are locked in to a control battle and her constant defiance means she has to be watched every minute of every day and often the night, to ensure she is safe and that those around her are safe. You literally cannot turn your back. Just last week she smashed an ornament in a shop and cut her face within just a few seconds of me turning around to look at something.
Recently school made the mistake of reducing her levels of adult supervision, despite us advising otherwise! It resulted in a three day exclusion. Her anxiety levels were so high, she attacked two children and three teachers wielding a pencil and scissors.
It is exhausting! We are desperately in need of a break. We desperately need to be able to spend some quality, stress free time with our other children and each other!
And that is what we are going to do this weekend thanks to my lovely cousin, who is having Winnie for four days while we all go to a festival. It is a festival that we go to every year and this will be the first time in seven years Winnie has not come with us.
Don’t get me wrong I am really looking forward to a break, being able to relax and enjoy my other children and everything the festival has to offer. But I’m also feeling desperately guilty, worried and sad.
Guilty that my cousin is having to arrange her weekend around us. Worried that Winnie will ruin my cousin’s weekend (My cousin reassures me she won’t). And above all sad that Winnie won’t be with us. This is not how it should be!
I would love nothing more than to take Winnie to the festival with us and have fun. But we know from years of experience that this would not be the case. However hard we wish, this isn’t going to change. This is our life now and we need to do whatever is necessary to manage life with Winnie and keep our family together. So if that means the occasional break to regroup and recharge our batteries, then that is what we have to do. We are in the lucky position of having an amazing support network that means we are able to do this. Without it, life would be very different! And for that we are very, very grateful!!!