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Anxiety strategies?!?

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    Anxiety strategies?!?

    My eldest is 7 and doing MP2. She struggles with anxiety and is set to see the pediatric psychology team in February. She hasn’t received any therapy or medication to date. In the meantime, accomplishing her school work continues to be a challenge. She knows all the answers and can do the work but working on the task is very difficult for her.

    What are some anxiety strategies? This mama is tired of saying “write a-l-t-u-s” and none of the strategies I’ve tried seem to be helping.

    Thanks!
    Heidi
    Heidi

    For 2021-22
    dd- 6th
    ds- 3rd
    dd- 1st
    ds- adding smiles and distractions

    #2
    Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

    Originally posted by VAmom View Post
    My eldest is 7 and doing MP2. She struggles with anxiety and is set to see the pediatric psychology team in February. She hasn’t received any therapy or medication to date. In the meantime, accomplishing her school work continues to be a challenge. She knows all the answers and can do the work but working on the task is very difficult for her.

    What are some anxiety strategies? This mama is tired of saying “write a-l-t-u-s” and none of the strategies I’ve tried seem to be helping.

    Thanks!
    Heidi

    I've dealt with anxiety since I was 9 and two of my children deal with it to varying degrees. Because anxiety can manifest in so many different ways, can you tell us more specifically how it's impacting her/her schoolwork?
    Jennifer
    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

    2021-2022
    DS18: Almost done!
    DS17: MP, MPOA
    DS15: MP, MPOA
    DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
    DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
    DD9: SC3
    DD6: MPK

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

      Originally posted by VAmom View Post
      My eldest is 7 and doing MP2. She struggles with anxiety and is set to see the pediatric psychology team in February. She hasn’t received any therapy or medication to date. In the meantime, accomplishing her school work continues to be a challenge. She knows all the answers and can do the work but working on the task is very difficult for her.

      What are some anxiety strategies? This mama is tired of saying “write a-l-t-u-s” and none of the strategies I’ve tried seem to be helping.

      Thanks!
      Heidi
      Hi, Heidi.

      Have you listened to this podcast we recorded earlier in the year about dealing more effectively with a child who struggles with anxious thoughts? We mention some tips & strategies. Currently it is the podcast 4th from the top via the above link.

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

        Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
        I've dealt with anxiety since I was 9 and two of my children deal with it to varying degrees. Because anxiety can manifest in so many different ways, can you tell us more specifically how it's impacting her/her schoolwork?
        Jennifer,

        I was all set to reply and then yesterday school went beautifully for us so I’ve been puzzling over what was different about yesterday than all the other days.

        Our typical challenge is E generally gets out of sorts if anything doesn’t go as expected either in our schedule or in her expectations. Some examples are if I have to answer a phone call during school time (the doctor is about the only one I answer) or if the pattern in the lessons change. Recently, cursive changed from reviewing the letters to forming words and sentences. When there is a change she has an angry outburst and refuses to do her work. Depending on the day, it can take a few minutes to a few hours to get her back on task. In the cursive example, I had warned her that we were nearing the end of the review and would be doing something different.

        She will also avoid doing her work if she sees an opportunity, such as me stepping out of the room to use the restroom or helping another child.

        E has very high expressive language and vocabulary so I asked her what made yesterday different. She said that yesterday’s work felt easier and hoped today would be too. I’m not sure where to go because the work was the same as it always was. She knows almost every answer but hates writing. We are working on pencil grip which I’m hoping will help in the long run.

        The sense of being overwhelmed by a task happens in other areas of her life; for example, room cleaning. In other areas she struggles to accept directions from other people including her dad.

        I’ve tried to teach her how to do deep breathing, I’ve created task charts, and tried to create spaces for her to work with fewer distractions.

        I feel like I’m rambling but I hope this helps clarify. This has been going on for a long time and seems to be getting worse as the workload continues to increase. I love MP, and teaching her. My fear is that in our current state one of us is going to burn out.

        Heidi
        Heidi

        For 2021-22
        dd- 6th
        ds- 3rd
        dd- 1st
        ds- adding smiles and distractions

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

          Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
          Hi, Heidi.

          Have you listened to this podcast we recorded earlier in the year about dealing more effectively with a child who struggles with anxious thoughts? We mention some tips & strategies. Currently it is the podcast 4th from the top via the above link.
          Thank you Cheryl! I tried finding it via the old post but couldn’t see it on the HSLDA website. I will listen to it today while I fold some laundry.

          Heidi
          Heidi

          For 2021-22
          dd- 6th
          ds- 3rd
          dd- 1st
          ds- adding smiles and distractions

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

            Originally posted by VAmom View Post
            Jennifer,

            I was all set to reply and then yesterday school went beautifully for us so I’ve been puzzling over what was different about yesterday than all the other days.

            Our typical challenge is E generally gets out of sorts if anything doesn’t go as expected either in our schedule or in her expectations. Some examples are if I have to answer a phone call during school time (the doctor is about the only one I answer) or if the pattern in the lessons change. Recently, cursive changed from reviewing the letters to forming words and sentences. When there is a change she has an angry outburst and refuses to do her work. Depending on the day, it can take a few minutes to a few hours to get her back on task. In the cursive example, I had warned her that we were nearing the end of the review and would be doing something different.

            She will also avoid doing her work if she sees an opportunity, such as me stepping out of the room to use the restroom or helping another child.

            E has very high expressive language and vocabulary so I asked her what made yesterday different. She said that yesterday’s work felt easier and hoped today would be too. I’m not sure where to go because the work was the same as it always was. She knows almost every answer but hates writing. We are working on pencil grip which I’m hoping will help in the long run.

            The sense of being overwhelmed by a task happens in other areas of her life; for example, room cleaning. In other areas she struggles to accept directions from other people including her dad.

            I’ve tried to teach her how to do deep breathing, I’ve created task charts, and tried to create spaces for her to work with fewer distractions.

            I feel like I’m rambling but I hope this helps clarify. This has been going on for a long time and seems to be getting worse as the workload continues to increase. I love MP, and teaching her. My fear is that in our current state one of us is going to burn out.

            Heidi

            I have to get our school day started (or I'll end up with non-cooperation as well!) but I wanted to tell you that I have two children in particular who have been this way their entire lives. It sounds like your daughter has trouble with what they call "mental flexibility" or "black and white" thinking -- with a dose of distractibility for good measure It can look like anxiety, but anxiety is a symptom not the root.

            I'll share more later, but wanted to let you know that there IS hope. My older child who deals with this has come such a long way. It's something he will always struggle with, but he's made amazing progress the past couple of years. There's a lot that went into that, so I'll share more after school!

            In the meantime, since she's able to articulate her feelings well, dig a little deeper and ask why school was easier yesterday. Their reasons/perceptions can be completely unexpected!
            Jennifer
            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

            2021-2022
            DS18: Almost done!
            DS17: MP, MPOA
            DS15: MP, MPOA
            DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
            DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
            DD9: SC3
            DD6: MPK

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

              Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
              I have to get our school day started (or I'll end up with non-cooperation as well!) but I wanted to tell you that I have two children in particular who have been this way their entire lives. It sounds like your daughter has trouble with what they call "mental flexibility" or "black and white" thinking -- with a dose of distractibility for good measure It can look like anxiety, but anxiety is a symptom not the root.

              I'll share more later, but wanted to let you know that there IS hope. My older child who deals with this has come such a long way. It's something he will always struggle with, but he's made amazing progress the past couple of years. There's a lot that went into that, so I'll share more after school!

              In the meantime, since she's able to articulate her feelings well, dig a little deeper and ask why school was easier yesterday. Their reasons/perceptions can be completely unexpected!
              This is interesting! The developmental ped diagnosed anxiety when she was three. I said that I wanted to try working on things at home and to see if she “out grew” it. Fast forward 4 years later and the problems don’t seem to be going away but getting worse. Some of the other non-school struggles that I shared with the Dr. is she has difficulty taking directions from others (her dad giving directions at bedtime instead of me,) and new people or settings. This definitely gives me some food for thought. *off to Google mental inflexibility*

              Heidi
              Heidi

              For 2021-22
              dd- 6th
              ds- 3rd
              dd- 1st
              ds- adding smiles and distractions

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                She knows all the answers and can do the work but working on the task is very difficult for her....This mama is tired of saying “write a-l-t-u-s” and none of the strategies I’ve tried seem to be helping.
                This sounds like distractibility more than anxiety?

                For example, my DS9 has moderate-severe ADHD and I repeat phrases like "sound out this letter...no, this one here", "yes, that does look like a dragon, but let's answer this math problem...this one right here", "you can draw stick figures after we finish this page" ad nauseam during our school time

                My DD7, on the other hand, has anxiety/perfectionism. For her, our days look like:
                "I can't do this!"
                "You can, just take your time."
                "But I don't know the answers!"
                "That's why we practice."
                " I can't do it!"
                "Let's take one problem at a time."
                We begin working together and, once she gets going, she'll be mad but will finish without much more prompting.

                My son needs me to be his focus coach through the entire assignment. Which one sounds more like your daughter?


                Our typical challenge is E generally gets out of sorts if anything doesn’t go as expected either in our schedule or in her expectations. Some examples are if I have to answer a phone call during school time (the doctor is about the only one I answer) or if the pattern in the lessons change. Recently, cursive changed from reviewing the letters to forming words and sentences. When there is a change she has an angry outburst and refuses to do her work. Depending on the day, it can take a few minutes to a few hours to get her back on task.

                These scream "executive function" to me. Combined with the distractibility, it could be that she's dealing with a form of ADD (there are a few different types). ADD is largely an executive function disorder, although executive function issues can exist without ADD. Sensory issues can also mimic or be combined with ADD and/or anxiety. Anxiety and ADD go hand-in-hand too (that would be one of my other children -- we've got all kinds of fun stuff going on here). This is where your pediatric psychologist comes in. They can help sort out exactly what she's dealing with, whether it's a single thing or a combination of challenges.

                Regardless of the "label" though, there are some things you can do. My DS14 and DD5 both react to change/the unexpected in the way you describe. They will either go into a full out tantrum (my oldest has mostly outgrown that), or completely shut down with their head in their arms. They will refuse to work and there is nothing under the sun that will make them change their mind. And discipline does nothing but make it TEN TIMES WORSE.

                Here are a few tools I pull from to prevent/handle these situations:

                1. I know the common recommendation is to "prepare them beforehand", but there's more to it than that. The time and method of "early warning" has to be just right in order for it to be effective. I have to prepare my two at least 24 hours in advance or I will have serious reactions on my hands. I also have to present it "matter-of-factly"; one iota of "stepping on eggshells" in fear of their reaction and the game is up. Even with significant time and proper presentation, I will usually have some reactions but they are milder and I can give the child space/time to work through it (unless there's a tantrum involved...see below) before they have to be cooperative.

                2. My 5yo has trouble getting started on her lessons, so it's often helpful to start or support with something I know she loves doing. This might be a movement activity from SC1, or sitting on my lap to do her work, or reminding her excitedly that she's able to work in Book D today (since she just finished Book C and Book D was her big goal).

                3. If they shut down, I've found the biggest help is to do nothing. The more you try to convince, cajole or threaten the worse it will get. Some examples:

                This morning, my son was upset about a schedule change so he completely shut down -- right when he was supposed to be studying for math. So I let him sit there while I presented his brother's math lesson. By the time I was ready to teach his lesson, he was good to go.

                If my 5yo shuts down during a lesson, I've found the best thing to do is to tell her "Let me know when you're ready." This doesn't mean that she gets to go play. She has to stay in her seat until she's ready to work again. If she won't stay in her seat, I then place her on my lap. This sometimes leads to an escalation where she starts throwing a fit, but I keep holding and rocking her and she eventually calms down and tells me (or indicates) that she's ready to return to her work.

                4. If they tantrum (hopefully this doesn't happen with your daughter, but if it does): we've had tantrums here that have ranged from stomping feet to throwing belongings to tipping furniture to putting dents in my walls and doors. We make clear that this behavior is unacceptable, but by this point they're completely out of control of their own reactions. For my younger one, we hold/rock. For the older one, I physically contain. For example, something had set him off so he shut down. He then decided that he would start pushing other people's buttons by pushing their book bins into the schoolwork they were trying to do. I moved his chair a few feet away from the school table (with him in it!) and then held the chair with one hand while reaching across the table with my other hand to continue my 7 year old's reading lesson. At one point, I told him half-jokingly that I would sit in his lap if that was what it took to keep him in his seat. This went on for 30 minutes. If I had done anything else though, it would have devolved into complete chaos/anger.

                That being said, IF THEY CROSS THE LINE, and attempt/actually do physically hurt someone or throw something, they are placed on immediate blackout. No toys, books, friends, etc. for a set amount of time, depending on the severity of the action. This works best for my son since he's older. For my daughter, my husband will usually intervene and take her upstairs to her room. He surfs the web on his phone while she calms down, removed from the situation. If my husband isn't home, I continue with the holding/rocking. This has led to some scratch marks and bruises on my arms and legs (she's an intense kid), but it keeps things from escalating further.

                5. If they don't come around: if they refuse to return to their work then they remain on blackout until it's completed (and completed well). This goes for my daughter as well.

                The sense of being overwhelmed by a task happens in other areas of her life; for example, room cleaning. In other areas she struggles to accept directions from other people including her dad.
                This is very common with both EF and ADD. Here are some things that have helped here:

                1. Make sure that no chore takes more than 10 minutes. This time may need to be greater or less for your daughter, but 10 minutes seems to be the timeframe that keeps my kids from feeling overwhelmed. However, this doesn't mean that they only do 10 minutes worth of chores a day!

                2. Chore charts don't work long-term here, so when I'm on top of my game, I just look at what needs to be done and then make a list on the chalkboard. Each item on the list takes no more than 10 minutes. We then divide the list evenly between the kids. Usually they each have two things (older kids are assigned the extra if there's an uneven number). Because each task is no more than 10 minutes (often no more than 5), the kids don't feel overwhelmed. It's also modeling how to break a large task into smaller pieces.

                I have to get to work, but I hope something here helps! Please keep sharing/asking questions!
                Jennifer
                Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                2021-2022
                DS18: Almost done!
                DS17: MP, MPOA
                DS15: MP, MPOA
                DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
                DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
                DD9: SC3
                DD6: MPK

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                  Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
                  This sounds like distractibility more than anxiety?

                  For example, my DS9 has moderate-severe ADHD and I repeat phrases like "sound out this letter...no, this one here", "yes, that does look like a dragon, but let's answer this math problem...this one right here", "you can draw stick figures after we finish this page" ad nauseam during our school time

                  My DD7, on the other hand, has anxiety/perfectionism. For her, our days look like:
                  "I can't do this!"
                  "You can, just take your time."
                  "But I don't know the answers!"
                  "That's why we practice."
                  " I can't do it!"
                  "Let's take one problem at a time."
                  We begin working together and, once she gets going, she'll be mad but will finish without much more prompting.

                  My son needs me to be his focus coach through the entire assignment. Which one sounds more like your daughter?





                  These scream "executive function" to me. Combined with the distractibility, it could be that she's dealing with a form of ADD (there are a few different types). ADD is largely an executive function disorder, although executive function issues can exist without ADD. Sensory issues can also mimic or be combined with ADD and/or anxiety. Anxiety and ADD go hand-in-hand too (that would be one of my other children -- we've got all kinds of fun stuff going on here). This is where your pediatric psychologist comes in. They can help sort out exactly what she's dealing with, whether it's a single thing or a combination of challenges.

                  Regardless of the "label" though, there are some things you can do. My DS14 and DD5 both react to change/the unexpected in the way you describe. They will either go into a full out tantrum (my oldest has mostly outgrown that), or completely shut down with their head in their arms. They will refuse to work and there is nothing under the sun that will make them change their mind. And discipline does nothing but make it TEN TIMES WORSE.

                  Here are a few tools I pull from to prevent/handle these situations:

                  1. I know the common recommendation is to "prepare them beforehand", but there's more to it than that. The time and method of "early warning" has to be just right in order for it to be effective. I have to prepare my two at least 24 hours in advance or I will have serious reactions on my hands. I also have to present it "matter-of-factly"; one iota of "stepping on eggshells" in fear of their reaction and the game is up. Even with significant time and proper presentation, I will usually have some reactions but they are milder and I can give the child space/time to work through it (unless there's a tantrum involved...see below) before they have to be cooperative.

                  2. My 5yo has trouble getting started on her lessons, so it's often helpful to start or support with something I know she loves doing. This might be a movement activity from SC1, or sitting on my lap to do her work, or reminding her excitedly that she's able to work in Book D today (since she just finished Book C and Book D was her big goal).

                  3. If they shut down, I've found the biggest help is to do nothing. The more you try to convince, cajole or threaten the worse it will get. Some examples:

                  This morning, my son was upset about a schedule change so he completely shut down -- right when he was supposed to be studying for math. So I let him sit there while I presented his brother's math lesson. By the time I was ready to teach his lesson, he was good to go.

                  If my 5yo shuts down during a lesson, I've found the best thing to do is to tell her "Let me know when you're ready." This doesn't mean that she gets to go play. She has to stay in her seat until she's ready to work again. If she won't stay in her seat, I then place her on my lap. This sometimes leads to an escalation where she starts throwing a fit, but I keep holding and rocking her and she eventually calms down and tells me (or indicates) that she's ready to return to her work.

                  4. If they tantrum (hopefully this doesn't happen with your daughter, but if it does): we've had tantrums here that have ranged from stomping feet to throwing belongings to tipping furniture to putting dents in my walls and doors. We make clear that this behavior is unacceptable, but by this point they're completely out of control of their own reactions. For my younger one, we hold/rock. For the older one, I physically contain. For example, something had set him off so he shut down. He then decided that he would start pushing other people's buttons by pushing their book bins into the schoolwork they were trying to do. I moved his chair a few feet away from the school table (with him in it!) and then held the chair with one hand while reaching across the table with my other hand to continue my 7 year old's reading lesson. At one point, I told him half-jokingly that I would sit in his lap if that was what it took to keep him in his seat. This went on for 30 minutes. If I had done anything else though, it would have devolved into complete chaos/anger.

                  That being said, IF THEY CROSS THE LINE, and attempt/actually do physically hurt someone or throw something, they are placed on immediate blackout. No toys, books, friends, etc. for a set amount of time, depending on the severity of the action. This works best for my son since he's older. For my daughter, my husband will usually intervene and take her upstairs to her room. He surfs the web on his phone while she calms down, removed from the situation. If my husband isn't home, I continue with the holding/rocking. This has led to some scratch marks and bruises on my arms and legs (she's an intense kid), but it keeps things from escalating further.

                  5. If they don't come around: if they refuse to return to their work then they remain on blackout until it's completed (and completed well). This goes for my daughter as well.



                  This is very common with both EF and ADD. Here are some things that have helped here:

                  1. Make sure that no chore takes more than 10 minutes. This time may need to be greater or less for your daughter, but 10 minutes seems to be the timeframe that keeps my kids from feeling overwhelmed. However, this doesn't mean that they only do 10 minutes worth of chores a day!

                  2. Chore charts don't work long-term here, so when I'm on top of my game, I just look at what needs to be done and then make a list on the chalkboard. Each item on the list takes no more than 10 minutes. We then divide the list evenly between the kids. Usually they each have two things (older kids are assigned the extra if there's an uneven number). Because each task is no more than 10 minutes (often no more than 5), the kids don't feel overwhelmed. It's also modeling how to break a large task into smaller pieces.

                  I have to get to work, but I hope something here helps! Please keep sharing/asking questions!
                  This entire response is gold. I wish I had an hour (or two) to reply. Just wanted to say, “Well done.” *This* was very common at our house up until about a year ago. Now we just struggle with attention, focus, fidgety energy and an occasional sour attitude about school. But that’s all cake compared to the all out war I was engaged in years previous (yikes, that was hard). Now the biggest frustrations are generally the 472 interruptions in our day (aka The Toddler). I’m glad you listed what ADHD was like (Yes, that is a dragon. You can draw stick figures after school.) It gave me food for thought!
                  “If I should fall even a thousand times a day, a thousand times, with peaceful repentance, I will say immediately, Nunc Coepi, ‘Now, I begin.’.”

                  ~Venerable Bruno Lanteri
                  ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                  Boy Wonder 13 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 4/5 + Seton 5
                  Joy Bubble 11 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 4/5 + Seton 5
                  Cuddly Cowboy 9 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 3/4/5 + Seton 4
                  Sassafras 5 ...MPK + Seton K

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                    Jennifer,

                    Thank you so much! It is tremendously helpful to have somebody help talk through all of this. Tonight my husband and I sat down and read through the posts and discussed it.

                    Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
                    This sounds like distractibility more than anxiety?

                    For example, my DS9 has moderate-severe ADHD and I repeat phrases like "sound out this letter...no, this one here", "yes, that does look like a dragon, but let's answer this math problem...this one right here", "you can draw stick figures after we finish this page" ad nauseam during our school time

                    My DD7, on the other hand, has anxiety/perfectionism. For her, our days look like:
                    "I can't do this!"
                    "You can, just take your time."
                    "But I don't know the answers!"
                    "That's why we practice."
                    " I can't do it!"
                    "Let's take one problem at a time."
                    We begin working together and, once she gets going, she'll be mad but will finish without much more prompting.

                    My son needs me to be his focus coach through the entire assignment. Which one sounds more like your daughter?


                    Both of these sound like E.


                    These scream "executive function" to me. Combined with the distractibility, it could be that she's dealing with a form of ADD (there are a few different types). ADD is largely an executive function disorder, although executive function issues can exist without ADD. Sensory issues can also mimic or be combined with ADD and/or anxiety. Anxiety and ADD go hand-in-hand too (that would be one of my other children -- we've got all kinds of fun stuff going on here). This is where your pediatric psychologist comes in. They can help sort out exactly what she's dealing with, whether it's a single thing or a combination of challenges.

                    Regardless of the "label" though, there are some things you can do. My DS14 and DD5 both react to change/the unexpected in the way you describe. They will either go into a full out tantrum (my oldest has mostly outgrown that), or completely shut down with their head in their arms. They will refuse to work and there is nothing under the sun that will make them change their mind. And discipline does nothing but make it TEN TIMES WORSE. This leaves me with a lot of questions about how do you draw the line between the anxiety/ADD symptoms and the disrespectful behavior.

                    Here are a few tools I pull from to prevent/handle these situations:

                    1. I know the common recommendation is to "prepare them beforehand", but there's more to it than that. The time and method of "early warning" has to be just right in order for it to be effective. I have to prepare my two at least 24 hours in advance or I will have serious reactions on my hands. I also have to present it "matter-of-factly"; one iota of "stepping on eggshells" in fear of their reaction and the game is up. Even with significant time and proper presentation, I will usually have some reactions but they are milder and I can give the child space/time to work through it (unless there's a tantrum involved...see below) before they have to be cooperative.

                    Thank you for the reminder of stating it matter of factly. It’s difficult when you are mentally preparing for the wave of emotions.

                    2. My 5yo has trouble getting started on her lessons, so it's often helpful to start or support with something I know she loves doing. This might be a movement activity from SC1, or sitting on my lap to do her work, or reminding her excitedly that she's able to work in Book D today (since she just finished Book C and Book D was her big goal).

                    3. If they shut down, I've found the biggest help is to do nothing. The more you try to convince, cajole or threaten the worse it will get. Some examples:

                    This morning, my son was upset about a schedule change so he completely shut down -- right when he was supposed to be studying for math. So I let him sit there while I presented his brother's math lesson. By the time I was ready to teach his lesson, he was good to go.

                    If my 5yo shuts down during a lesson, I've found the best thing to do is to tell her "Let me know when you're ready." This doesn't mean that she gets to go play. She has to stay in her seat until she's ready to work again. If she won't stay in her seat, I then place her on my lap. This sometimes leads to an escalation where she starts throwing a fit, but I keep holding and rocking her and she eventually calms down and tells me (or indicates) that she's ready to return to her work.

                    4. If they tantrum (hopefully this doesn't happen with your daughter, but if it does): we've had tantrums here that have ranged from stomping feet to throwing belongings to tipping furniture to putting dents in my walls and doors. We make clear that this behavior is unacceptable, but by this point they're completely out of control of their own reactions. For my younger one, we hold/rock. For the older one, I physically contain. For example, something had set him off so he shut down. He then decided that he would start pushing other people's buttons by pushing their book bins into the schoolwork they were trying to do. I moved his chair a few feet away from the school table (with him in it!) and then held the chair with one hand while reaching across the table with my other hand to continue my 7 year old's reading lesson. At one point, I told him half-jokingly that I would sit in his lap if that was what it took to keep him in his seat. This went on for 30 minutes. If I had done anything else though, it would have devolved into complete chaos/anger.

                    We do have the tantrums and it is draining. With her it quickly escalates and thus far I am the only one who seems to be able to help her during them. My son has sensory processing disorder and is set off really easily. With the Christmas season, it seems to be at its height right now.

                    That being said, IF THEY CROSS THE LINE, and attempt/actually do physically hurt someone or throw something, they are placed on immediate blackout. No toys, books, friends, etc. for a set amount of time, depending on the severity of the action. This works best for my son since he's older. For my daughter, my husband will usually intervene and take her upstairs to her room. He surfs the web on his phone while she calms down, removed from the situation. If my husband isn't home, I continue with the holding/rocking. This has led to some scratch marks and bruises on my arms and legs (she's an intense kid), but it keeps things from escalating further.

                    5. If they don't come around: if they refuse to return to their work then they remain on blackout until it's completed (and completed well). This goes for my daughter as well.



                    This is very common with both EF and ADD. Here are some things that have helped here:

                    1. Make sure that no chore takes more than 10 minutes. This time may need to be greater or less for your daughter, but 10 minutes seems to be the timeframe that keeps my kids from feeling overwhelmed. However, this doesn't mean that they only do 10 minutes worth of chores a day! How do you handle school work then?

                    2. Chore charts don't work long-term here, so when I'm on top of my game, I just look at what needs to be done and then make a list on the chalkboard. Each item on the list takes no more than 10 minutes. We then divide the list evenly between the kids. Usually they each have two things (older kids are assigned the extra if there's an uneven number). Because each task is no more than 10 minutes (often no more than 5), the kids don't feel overwhelmed. It's also modeling how to break a large task into smaller pieces.

                    I have to get to work, but I hope something here helps! Please keep sharing/asking questions!
                    I know I have more questions and thoughts but I’m having a hard time putting them on paper. Some of these struggles have been going on for so long that I’m not even sure what is normal. I know that 2nd to 3rd is a big transition and my hope and prayer is to have made some progress so that she can be successful how ever that looks.
                    Heidi

                    For 2021-22
                    dd- 6th
                    ds- 3rd
                    dd- 1st
                    ds- adding smiles and distractions

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                      Hi Heidi,

                      Some thoughts (before I drive four hours with four kids for four days):
                      ETA for Cheryl: Winston just finished Simply Classical Storytime Treasures yesterday. He’s taking Blueberries For Sal with us on our trip so he can read “a bedtime story” to his aunt and uncle. <3

                      1) I’m sorry Christmas has to be the height of challenging behavior. That is so unfortunate. For our part, we are dreading the time off around Christmas. While it is “relaxing” not to have to teach and attend school every day, my oldest devolves in to serious behavioral problems when we are away from our routine for too long. He does beautifully for about three days. Anything longer than a long weekend and I’m just asking for trouble. Which leads me to...

                      2) What’s your daily schedule like? Is it consistent and predictable? Is it posted where your daughter can see what’s coming next? One of the best things I did for our kids was buy a planner for each of them. They can see their entire week’s worth of school on an open page. (This might be overwhelming for your daughter — perhaps just a day by day planner would fit her.)

                      Part of the anxiety my son in particular had was he didn’t know, once school started, what we were going to do that day and how long it was going to take. He felt trapped in uncertainty. And school felt like it would never end because he didn’t know “how long the tunnel was”. To him it just felt scary. Now he has a concrete plan for the day, and he can sometimes choose in which order we complete things. He also knows that when we’re done with our work, we are done for the day. (I also put a “hard stop” on school — we rarely school past 1PM.) This, along with a consistent start, snack, lunch, exercise and quiet time every day, has made a huge — huge! — difference in my son’s behavior. It also just helps everyone else in the house to know what’s going on and to adjust accordingly.

                      We also have a checklist on the fridge for non-school activities and tasks. I, like Jenn, do not generally have chore cards or charts. Those have not been helpful in the past — they honestly just gave me something else to keep up with. We all clean together. Everyone gets a task and we either set the timer or take tasks in shifts. If the entire downstairs needs vacuuming, my son will take the kitchen, hall and dining room; my daughter will take the breakfast area, living room and sun room; my younger son will dust (with a telescopic dusting wand — he loves that thing). We duplicate this as much as we can upstairs. Instead of a timer, you can play energetic or silly songs (think: disco) for a set amount of time (3 songs at 3 minutes or so each = 10 minutes of work). When the music stops, you’re done. (Make sure it is music your children know and like.) If doing chores together on the same floor is something that would ease your daughter’s anxiety, I’d try it. It’s easier for all of us (myself included) to complete our chores when we are all in it together.

                      You are not alone. There are a lot of moms posting (and lurking) here who understand. Big hugs.
                      Last edited by Anita; 12-14-2017, 04:38 AM.
                      “If I should fall even a thousand times a day, a thousand times, with peaceful repentance, I will say immediately, Nunc Coepi, ‘Now, I begin.’.”

                      ~Venerable Bruno Lanteri
                      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                      Boy Wonder 13 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 4/5 + Seton 5
                      Joy Bubble 11 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 4/5 + Seton 5
                      Cuddly Cowboy 9 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 3/4/5 + Seton 4
                      Sassafras 5 ...MPK + Seton K

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                        Originally posted by VAmom View Post
                        Jennifer,

                        Thank you so much! It is tremendously helpful to have somebody help talk through all of this. Tonight my husband and I sat down and read through the posts and discussed it.



                        I know I have more questions and thoughts but I’m having a hard time putting them on paper. Some of these struggles have been going on for so long that I’m not even sure what is normal. I know that 2nd to 3rd is a big transition and my hope and prayer is to have made some progress so that she can be successful how ever that looks.

                        I totally get it -- we've been at this for 14 years and didn't discover what was going on until about 2 years ago.


                        This leaves me with a lot of questions about how do you draw the line between the anxiety/ADD symptoms and the disrespectful behavior.

                        I think this is an on-going struggle for all of us! I like how Cheryl says in her book that, despite her children's sensory needs, she expected them to NOT jump on the furniture at Grandma's house. I think you named the line yourself: when they cease to have respect, we have to help them get back to where they need to be. A few examples:

                        One of my sons has intense auditory-seeking behaviors, while others in our family have nearly as strong auditory-avoidance. Those with avoidance have to realize that sometimes they need to put on headphones so he can reset, and he has to realize that sometimes he needs to wait (which is really hard!) until school is done and then we can turn on some music.

                        My 5 yo daughter's immediate reaction to anything she doesn't like is to start being mean/throwing things (yet she's one of my most compassionate children the rest of the time!). Regardless of the "why" behind it, the behavior is unacceptable, even dangerous, and we have to intervene.

                        I wonder if the root of your question is: HOW do you enact necessary discipline when traditional methods tend to make things far worse? The number one thing is that whatever consequence you use, you have to be in TOTAL control of it. In other words, sending your daughter to sit on the stairs isn't going to happen. It requires her cooperation in order for it to work and cooperation is the last thing she's going to give in these situations. I had to learn this with blackout as well:

                        My son knows that blackout means he doesn't get to do anything except eat, drink, do chores and go to the bathroom. But he would still read books or play with major Lego creations because he knew I wouldn't take them away for fear of breaking them (because of course he would just hold on tighter to them when I tried to take them). Finally, I realized that I was putting toys and library fines over the development of his character. It only took two times, once when I took a huge Lego creation out of his hands (even though it belonged to a sibling and it broke into pieces) and another time when I took a borrowed book out of his hands regardless of the fact that it almost ripped. He now knows that I will not hesitate to enforce blackout and (usually) doesn't hold on tighter if I have to take away a "contraband" item.

                        Likewise, there are in-the-moment times when they become uncooperative. This usually revolves around chores for us. Before resorting to blackout, I give them a set amount of time to make the right choice. The amount of time depends on their overall frame of mind at the time. Sometimes I know they're in a place where ten seconds is enough, other times I know they need ten minutes. But those are hard and fast deadlines. No "but I was about to say yes" or "I said yes [right as you opened your mouth to say "ten"]".

                        A VERY important note though: make sure that they're truly being defiant. You probably have experience with this because of your son's sensory issues. My 5yo struggles with EF and sensory and refused (for weeks!) to put pajamas on at bedtime. It wasn't a hill I felt like dying on, so I let it go; but it bothered my husband so he tried to figure out the why behind it. Turns out she didn't want to put on her pajamas because they were always cold! My husband put them in front of the heater and she was ready for bed in 5 minutes. *facepalm* At the same time, if she had started throwing tantrums or being hurtful/disrespectful we would have addressed that behavior.

                        For schoolwork and time:

                        1. We use Anita's idea of a "drop-dead" time; what we accomplish we accomplish and we pick up where we left off the next day.

                        2. Our first year with MP cores was 2016-2017. Most of that year was spent developing diligence in my older kids (the younger ones were in K). It was a gradual process: I only required writing on items that were going to be on quizzes/tests and I often gave oral pre-quizzes/tests in content subjects. This year they're up to answering all questions, but we still keep vocabulary to what's needed for quiz/test only (that's for my sanity). I prep them for tests with general information, but usually don't do pre-quiz/test -- this all depends on the subject.

                        3. I've had my 5yo at half-pace so far this year. She's ready to start increasing that pace but I'm going to have to take it VERY slowly. When her school workload changes, she starts waking up several times during the night. I've increased her reading practice by one reading. After the first of the year (holidays/summer can be rough here too), I'll increase one page in one subject and let that hold for a few weeks before increasing one page in another subject.

                        4. Day-to-day is all about observation. If I know someone didn't sleep well or is in "that" mode, I will subtly alter the requirements for the day. If they push back and want to do more I will let them (unless I KNOW it's a really bad idea and that saying no is worth the fall out that will result).

                        5. To add to Anita's planner idea: a good friend of mine uses cardstock and a clip to block out the other days on her daughter's curriculum manual and it's really helped her daughter feel less overwhelmed. My boys are between several cores so we use the individual lesson plans and they said they like it because it helps them focus on one subject's assignments at a time.

                        I hope this is concrete enough...so much depends on long-term observations as well as observation of the current moment. Trust me, you'll never be perfect, but you'll get pretty good at it after awhile!

                        ETA: SUPER IMPORTANT -- with NT kids we can say "If you don't choose to obey, this will be the consequence" and they will often then obey. With kids who have EF/ADD, etc., we have to shift our mindset. I often tell my husband that we have to look at a consequence as impacting future behavior because it's not going to make them do what they're supposed to do right now. Obviously, the goal is for them to see the consequence, think it through, and make the right choice but that's the goal; when you start out, it won't be reality for quite awhile and for these particular children it will probably never be reality across the board.
                        Last edited by jen1134; 12-14-2017, 01:22 PM.
                        Jennifer
                        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                        2021-2022
                        DS18: Almost done!
                        DS17: MP, MPOA
                        DS15: MP, MPOA
                        DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
                        DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
                        DD9: SC3
                        DD6: MPK

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                          It's encouraging to know I'm not alone with this craziness.

                          Yesterday, my son became upset that his sister was working through her schoolwork quicker than he was. He was still finishing his math from the previous day. I was working at the elbow with him, so I assigned his sister her more independent things like cursive and spelling. He totally lost it. Ripped up the rug, knocked the heater over, kicked the chair. I stayed calm, mostly because I was so shocked at his abrupt behavior change, and told him to leave the room. He did and slammed the door on the way out.

                          We moved on to singing a Simply Classical C song and he reappeared within moments totally calm and apologetic. I told him he was not invited back and he needed to leave. He was furious I wouldn't listen to his apology or let him sing. He again, lost it; punched his sister, said he hated me, cursed, slammed the door.

                          Do others face this dramatic swing in behavior? He went from calmly working through math to explosive and damaging things to right back to calm to furious again. All within 10 minutes.

                          How long does 'blackout' last? I honestly feel like he could spend the day in his bedroom until his dad comes home from work. But then, being alone for that length of time seems counter productive and almost negligent.

                          He doesn't seem to make the connection that he really hurts people emotionally and we arent ready to accept an apology and move on as if nothing happened within minutes of his egregious behavior.
                          DS12- Simply Classical mash-up of SC Spelling 1, intensive reading remediation, and MPOA 4th grade math.
                          DD10- Classic Core 4th Grade w/ 5th grade literature
                          DD8- Classic Core 2nd Grade

                          We've completed:
                          Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade
                          Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5/6

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                            Originally posted by Colomama View Post
                            It's encouraging to know I'm not alone with this craziness.

                            Yesterday, my son became upset that his sister was working through her schoolwork quicker than he was. He was still finishing his math from the previous day. I was working at the elbow with him, so I assigned his sister her more independent things like cursive and spelling. He totally lost it. Ripped up the rug, knocked the heater over, kicked the chair. I stayed calm, mostly because I was so shocked at his abrupt behavior change, and told him to leave the room. He did and slammed the door on the way out.

                            We moved on to singing a Simply Classical C song and he reappeared within moments totally calm and apologetic. I told him he was not invited back and he needed to leave. He was furious I wouldn't listen to his apology or let him sing. He again, lost it; punched his sister, said he hated me, cursed, slammed the door.

                            Do others face this dramatic swing in behavior? He went from calmly working through math to explosive and damaging things to right back to calm to furious again. All within 10 minutes.

                            How long does 'blackout' last? I honestly feel like he could spend the day in his bedroom until his dad comes home from work. But then, being alone for that length of time seems counter productive and almost negligent.

                            He doesn't seem to make the connection that he really hurts people emotionally and we arent ready to accept an apology and move on as if nothing happened within minutes of his egregious behavior.
                            Wow, Michelle. 😦

                            I almost hate to say this, but no. That doesn’t happen at my house. At the height of my son’s aggressive/belligerent behavior, you could still see it coming. It started small, grew and then grew some more under pressure or requests from us to either comply or calm down. Explosions out of nowhere like the one you described have never happened (to my recollection). Most of our issues were when Winston was functionally non-verbal and his comprehension and reasoning were very low.

                            I’m so sorry, but I’m in agreement with Cheryl here. You might want to look into medication for your son. This sounds more serious than “a phase”. (Sorry, I’m sorry, so sorry. *ducking and hugging you at the same time* I just really want you to have a calm home and a healthy boy.)
                            “If I should fall even a thousand times a day, a thousand times, with peaceful repentance, I will say immediately, Nunc Coepi, ‘Now, I begin.’.”

                            ~Venerable Bruno Lanteri
                            ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                            Boy Wonder 13 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 4/5 + Seton 5
                            Joy Bubble 11 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 4/5 + Seton 5
                            Cuddly Cowboy 9 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 3/4/5 + Seton 4
                            Sassafras 5 ...MPK + Seton K

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                              Originally posted by Colomama View Post
                              It's encouraging to know I'm not alone with this craziness.

                              Yesterday, my son became upset that his sister was working through her schoolwork quicker than he was. He was still finishing his math from the previous day. I was working at the elbow with him, so I assigned his sister her more independent things like cursive and spelling. He totally lost it. Ripped up the rug, knocked the heater over, kicked the chair. I stayed calm, mostly because I was so shocked at his abrupt behavior change, and told him to leave the room. He did and slammed the door on the way out.

                              We moved on to singing a Simply Classical C song and he reappeared within moments totally calm and apologetic. I told him he was not invited back and he needed to leave. He was furious I wouldn't listen to his apology or let him sing. He again, lost it; punched his sister, said he hated me, cursed, slammed the door.

                              Do others face this dramatic swing in behavior? He went from calmly working through math to explosive and damaging things to right back to calm to furious again. All within 10 minutes.

                              How long does 'blackout' last? I honestly feel like he could spend the day in his bedroom until his dad comes home from work. But then, being alone for that length of time seems counter productive and almost negligent.

                              He doesn't seem to make the connection that he really hurts people emotionally and we arent ready to accept an apology and move on as if nothing happened within minutes of his egregious behavior.

                              Yes, we get the swings. My 5yo can be trying to bite/kick me while I hold/rock her, but the second I turn on a calligraphy how-to video, or something else happens that she's interested in, she's (almost) back to normal. A couple of things:

                              1. I agree that this needs more than just behavioral intervention given the extent of the violence.

                              2. I usually apply blackout until the item in question is taken care of i.e., "You are on blackout until your math lesson is done." Again, this doesn't guarantee that the day's math lesson will get done, but it sets precedent and enforces our expectations for his behavior. The lesson will be there tomorrow and he'll still have to complete it. Yesterday, my son wouldn't do his extra study time. Blackout didn't change his mind, but when I headed out to the store later I still told him that I couldn't get the whiteboard he asked for because he was on blackout. I was perfectly nice about it, but it reinforced that I mean what I say. If an older child is violent, we skip blackout and address the behavior in a "traditional" yet appropriate manner. I'm not saying this is the correct approach for every family, but having a more serious, yet appropriate, consequence helps show that actions have degrees of unacceptability, with some having zero-tolerance.

                              3. I've found that kids with EF have a VERY strong sense of justice and they are VERY insecure. This means that they know when their parents, or anyone else, sees them as a bad kid. I can see you bracing, but hear me out...a couple of years ago I came to a very disturbing realization: I resented my son. Our family had been in perpetual chaos since he was 3 and it was directly related to his behavior. Our marriage, his siblings, it had all been adversely affected. But he wouldn't even give me the sign of peace at Mass. He was mad at me and I finally knew why: he knew that I resented him. He knew that we saw him as a problem to be managed. Yes, there were 1,000+ extremely good reasons for this outlook, but it had made him shut down internally. He didn't see any point in trying to better because we were always mad at him and that was just the way it was going to be.

                              It wasn't until I told my son that I resented him and apologized for it (while he shut down and covered his head) that things began to turn around. Not just in our relationship, but in his behavior as well. I told him that I hadn't known how to help him, I hadn't understood what was going on, and so I had felt helpless. I started talking to him at random times, usually on quiet Saturday mornings, saying things like, "I noticed abc when xyz-type thing happens. Why do you think that happens?" I said it with a curious, non-sarcastic, caring-question tone. He usually responded with a shrug and "I don't know", but after a few weeks he started coming to me and saying things like "I think abc happens because of _______." The more he saw that I really cared about him and what he was struggling with, rather than just hearing me say it/research it, the more we became mother and son again. When we finally learned about EF, I explained that to him. I told him it didn't give him a pass, but that it let us know what we were facing -- together. He said it helped a lot to finally know what was going on in his own brain. He had come to believe that he really was just a bad kid.

                              My husband and I also had to change our mindset towards his behavior. We had to stop attributing motives to his actions and saying things like "You did that because of ____" or "You're just saying that so you can get _____".

                              If your son apologizes, even if it's most likely because he wants something, forgive him anyway. Both people have to give something in order to rebuild a relationship, but our kids won't give until they see us do it first. You'll have to go first many times, but it's another form of modeling. As Cheryl Lowe said, "No one realized they could do it until someone did it."
                              Jennifer
                              Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                              2021-2022
                              DS18: Almost done!
                              DS17: MP, MPOA
                              DS15: MP, MPOA
                              DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
                              DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
                              DD9: SC3
                              DD6: MPK

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