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Anxiety strategies?!?

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    #16
    Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

    Originally posted by Colomama View Post
    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.
    This might be a key observation. He may miss the social cues (lower IQ, ASD, immaturity). At some point, "Myself & Others" Books One & Two could be very helpful here.


    And, yes, I am very well-acquainted with the feelings of being strapped into a head-lurching, irrational rollercoaster you never intended to ride!

    A few thoughts:

    1. Cover the Basics -- think "Stabilize."
    -no caffeine ever
    -give a good protein snack every 2-3 hours
    -note and avoid any food sensitivities
    -avoid dyes, artificial everything, highly sugary or processed "food"
    -give daily aerobic exercise in whatever form he is most likely to be reasonably compliant (swimming, brisk walks, sledding/climbing back up those hills over and over)
    -no violent images ever
    -no cursing in tv/movies
    -limit to "G-rated," "E," or none for now
    -good nightly rest
    -schedule time alone in constructive (not punitive) ways to give him and everyone else mental/emotional breaks
    -play soothing music after lunch or before bed

    2. Take Notes
    -note what happens before a meltdown
    (e.g., he is a day behind in his work; his sister is assigned extra to move even further ahead)
    -note what happens before he is remorseful or wants to come back (e.g., others in the family proceed as usual and are enjoying each other, singing a song)

    Try not to interpret for now. Just record. Date all entries with time and duration, because the Dr will (or should) ask you how often these occur and how long they last.

    3. Get Some New Tools
    This child is different, and he knows it. "Normal" parenting is not currently enough for him. Not only is he the only male child, he has struggled with learning, has been evaluated and, possibly, is stretching family finances with his "problems," and he likely feels as out of control as he appears. When my son was in the throes of this, he lamented honestly, "I'm the dump truck of the family."

    Tools-
    Free tips for ODD, bipolar, ASD, and generally out-of-control children & teens:
    EmpoweringParents.com
    Their premise is that not only do our troubled children need to think differently to solve their problems, but we do too. They have many free articles with good strategies and new "tools" for thinking in ways that help break ineffective patterns.

    4. Make Standards Clear and Obvious
    Like Jen, unless you see blatant insincerity and manipulation, I would be inclined to forgive and put on a "We're glad you're back" face. Otherwise he may be confused as to what the standard really is. He is likely rather concrete in his thinking and immature: "I stopped throwing a tantrum, and I apologized. I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do! I don't (can't) ever get this right!!"

    Banishing indefinitely is not a real solution, as you know. You really don't want him merely to "do time" in his bedroom all day, because he then practices little more than "doing time." Instead, when he does exactly what he is supposed to do -- comes back subdued, apologizes, asks to try again -- this is practicing what is right.

    However, I understand too well the mind-spinning rapidity with which this can happen! If it is routinely too quick for everyone's comfort, set a timer for the shortest time in which you can recover.

    Something like this worked well for us: "When you're ready to follow the rules, we would love to have you back with us. But first you will need to cool down. After the timer goes off in ten minutes, you may come back and apologize. We hope to see you then."

    This modeling is important for your girls, so they do not receive implicit encouragement to shun him.

    5. Enjoy Your Girls
    This is hard on his sisters, the bystanders. They may need some "girl time" out of the house as you sort through all of this. Maybe your husband could keep your son one afternoon, so you three girls can go to a bookstore, take a long mountain walk, or do whatever you enjoy together.


    As you do all of this, search through both sides of family history for anyone with dramatic troubles with impulsivity, bipolar, notorious moodiness, destructive rages, or other related difficulties in childhood or in life. The more people you can identify and describe to the evaluator, the faster you can help your son turn this around.



    Eta: Sorry, Heidi! This has turned a different corner. But thanks for original post!
    Last edited by cherylswope; 12-15-2017, 07:13 AM.

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      #17
      Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

      Anita,

      Yes we do have a schedule. I spent the summer asking questions on here and working on our schedule in every way imaginable. We spent a month working on our morning routine and another month on our bedtime routine. Then in August when we began school I launched our daily routine. It is posted and each child has a flip chart that allows them to turn the subject around when they have completed it. I’ve done some very minor tweaking with it but for the most part it has stayed in place. The non-school portions stay in place when we don’t school.

      I like the idea of a hard stop time for school. We haven’t had that in place because E frequently has homework- work that was not completed during the time she was given for that subject. Generally it isn’t completed due to her distractability or her anxiety (the I can’t do this). This leads to school often going much later than either of us would like. When you say that you stop and pick things up the next day, do you school year around?

      In January my son is going to have a 6 week OT intensive. It will be an hour twice a week and the location is about 40 minutes away. This will clearly disrupt our schooling schedule? Any advice on how to handle that?

      Anita and Jen, how do you determine what work to reduce for your children, if any? We currently are already doing fewer math problems, and for reading comprehension questions she doesn’t have to write all of the responses.

      Anita, I’ll be praying for you on your car trip.
      Heidi
      Heidi

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

      Comment


        #18
        Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

        Originally posted by Anita View Post
        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
        Fabulous! I love this.

        Comment


          #19
          Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

          Originally posted by VAmom View Post
          In January my son is going to have a 6 week OT intensive. It will be an hour twice a week and the location is about 40 minutes away. This will clearly disrupt our schooling schedule? Any advice on how to handle that?

          Anita and Jen, how do you determine what work to reduce for your children, if any? We currently are already doing fewer math problems, and for reading comprehension questions she doesn’t have to write all of the responses.

          I know some of the other moms will have great tips for you on schooling during therapy -- we don't receive services (long story) so I wouldn't be much help on that front.

          For the work reduction, it really depends on the child. For the older ones it's easier to make a blanket decision (we only write these types of questions, we don't do quizzes in this subject, etc), but those decisions depend on the child's current struggles, whether those are writing, memory, math facts, comprehension or general overwhelm. If it's generally feeling overwhelmed, I would try taking two days to cover each day in the lesson plans. See how she does with that. If it's too slow, you can try doing 2 plan days over 3 days' time. It will take some tweaking to find the right spot for her. Let her in on the plan though -- let her know that you talked to some other moms who had some ideas about how to help school go better for all of you. My kids are very familiar with "Ms. Cheryl" and "the forum moms" You'll still have some kickback, but in the long run she'll feel like you're both in this together and she'll be more likely to cooperate with the change.
          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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            #20
            Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

            Originally posted by VAmom View Post
            Yes we do have a schedule. I spent the summer asking questions on here and working on our schedule in every way imaginable. We spent a month working on our morning routine and another month on our bedtime routine. Then in August when we began school I launched our daily routine. It is posted and each child has a flip chart that allows them to turn the subject around when they have completed it. I’ve done some very minor tweaking with it but for the most part it has stayed in place. The non-school portions stay in place when we don’t school.

            I like the idea of a hard stop time for school. We haven’t had that in place because E frequently has homework- work that was not completed during the time she was given for that subject. Generally it isn’t completed due to her distractability or her anxiety (the I can’t do this).

            Heidi,

            I've had my mind deep in SC 4 these past few days but am rereading these posts and coming back to your daughter.

            First, YOU are doing everything you can do! Flipcharts, schedules, structure, nurture. It is all there externally for her. Anita & Jen can help you tweak your daily routine and think through other scenarios, but know that you have already made many accommodations.

            Second, related, watch your own eagerness to make things easier for her. As I think I mentioned in the podcast, our tendency to rescue anxious children can make things worse. We give the impression to them that they cannot handle anything! This only makes them more fearful and, eventually, possibly resentful. Be careful not to be anxious about her anxiety. Anxiety is modeled. Moreover, she may begin to manipulate you, even unwittingly, because you become the "only" one who can tell her what to do.

            Third, her externals are in place (schedules, structure), but it is the "internals" that may really be her worst enemy. Whether ADHD, anxiety, EF, or xyz, this is the key: What is she telling herself? If you can uncover her thinking, you may find the root of the troubles.

            Your daughter has two things going for her: her high verbal expressive abilities and her trusting relationship with you! You can help her think this through and talk this through. I suggest working through this inexpensive resource. With easy steps, you are walked through helping your child think through "worst case" scenarios they perseverate on, learning how to think differently (i.e., not with anger, self-pity, or fear) about the minor and major trials she will encounter.


            Her classical education is not her problem, so do not be lured into thinking that a lesser educational approach would fix this or prevent burnout. If anything, a clear-headed cognitive approach to life's problems is inherent in a classical education, and this may save her from herself. As she learns to think well, she can counteract her own anxious, depressive, selfish, or impulsively illogical "negative self-talk."

            Moreover, through arithmetic, geometry, music theory, and astronomy she learns order. Through literature, art, and music, she learns duty, beauty, love, and a turning outside of herself.

            As you continue the discussions on this thread, stay the course educationally. All will work very well together for both you and your daughter, as you learn about all of this.
            Last edited by cherylswope; 12-15-2017, 08:41 AM.

            Comment


              #21
              Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

              Cheryl and all,

              On Friday, amongst the sick children and messy house, I sat down and had myself a good self pity party. Then, I listened to the podcast three times to let the wise words sink in and took some time to bake Christmas cookies and soak in some baking therapy. Now I’m ready to dig back in and move forward.

              Thank you for your help. I know all of you are just as busy as I am and I cannot express how much all of this help means to me. For so long, I kept thinking it wasn’t that bad or if I just kept tweaking it and trying a little harder eventually teaching these kiddos would be easier the way it seems it should be. Everything you said is true. The external pieces are there, MP is the best curriculum I have ever had the pleasure of working with and we need to work on the internal pieces.

              I’ve ordered the book, the psych appt is set for February and we’ll keep on plugging away.
              A couple of questions:
              What are some other good resources for ADD and/or Executive Functioning?
              Should I adapt the curriculum in some way to help build success or lessen the length of the day? If so, what?


              Thank you!
              Heidi
              Heidi

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

              Comment


                #22
                Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                Hi, Heidi.

                You've made some good steps forward -- and some cookies!

                If I were you, I would strive for completing your own personal goals each day. For example, maybe you prioritize reading, spelling, writing, and arithmetic. Continue to allow oral discussion for reading comprehension in literature, if this streamlines your day. If you have time, find some of the read-aloud selections on audio for the 6-week intensive. Use your charts to show "checkmark" completion of the audio read-aloud, so your daughter knows she has accomplished something while traveling to and from the OT appointments. Reread the Simply Classical sections about "portable classical education," and use the waiting-room time for math or phonics flash cards, oral reading practice, or other tasks she can check off her list.

                You will want her to switch roles from "nag" to coach and cheerleader. Help her see how much she is doing in a day, as this will help her see how much she can do in a day. Lead her, if possible, to a place where she is asking for more.

                Consider, as time and finances permit, ruling out any other interfering difficulties: vision, hearing, specific learning disabilities. She may be bright, but something beyond anxiety might be interfering with her learning. It is only fair to her to rule this out. A "red flag" is your son's need for OT. There may some co-existing challenges for her that have not yet been uncovered. If you can find an affordable, thorough neuropsych evaluation for your daughter, this could be extremely helpful to you and to her.

                As for EF, ADHD, etc., here is a thread with some suggested resources. See what you think.

                Before you go to your February appointment, use the Informal Assessment tools in Simply Classical to create a good list of concerns and questions to take with you.

                You're on the right track. Some of this just takes a lot of unpuzzling.

                Comment


                  #23
                  Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                  Hi ladies,

                  I’m back in need of advice and encouragement. My daughter has completely shut down with her school work. The beginning of last week she was a rock star and excelled in everything. Last Wednesday she held it together pretty well, but Thursday she refused to do her work. She went on black out and managed to finish her work with some encouragement and cajoling by bedtime. Thursday night we were hit with an intense wind storm which knocked out power and through Friday and the whole weekend off. We had a sense of normalacy on Sunday and started school back up like normal on Monday. She is continuing to refuse to do her work and has been on black out since Monday. She’ll catch up but not quite finish all of her work. The only subject she is doing is reading, which she chose to work ahead in!?! When I ask for an answer, she knows it but doesn’t want to tell me. She doesn’t seem to know why she’s refusing to do school or she’s not saying. I’m at a loss. She’s lost one activity for the weekend already and knows her play date with her best friend for tomorrow is on the line. She’s supposed to have a 4H speech contest tomorrow night that I’m considering taking away too.

                  The pyschologist we saw after the developmental ped agreed that this could be a combination of anxiety, ADHD and possibly some sensory issues and referred us into the community to work through the different diagnoses. I’m currently looking for the right person. But what should I do now?
                  Last edited by VAmom; 03-08-2018, 11:40 AM.
                  Heidi

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

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                    Hi, Heidi. If it is anxiety rather than ODD-type disobedience, I would hesitate before taking away good social things like 4-H that will work toward social confidence. Success in social outings may breed success and more joy at home.

                    It sounds puzzling. She is only 7.

                    Some questions: What do YOU think is going on with her? What does your husband think? What has helped her through these periods before?

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                      Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
                      Hi, Heidi. If it is anxiety rather than ODD-type disobedience, I would hesitate before taking away good social things like 4-H that will work toward social confidence. Success in social outings may breed success and more joy at home.

                      It sounds puzzling. She is only 7.

                      Some questions: What do YOU think is going on with her? What does your husband think? What has helped her through these periods before?
                      Cheryl,

                      She has not been diagnosed with ODD and I don’t think that is the cause but I am by no means a doctor. Both my husband and I are very puzzled and frustrated. We have family members and friends who tell us that she’s just a typical child and things can’t be that bad because they don’t see these actions. The developmental ped said that it’s anxiety and if therapy doesn’t help within 6 months then we need to consider meds. It has taken 2 months alone to get health insurance on board and find therapists who may be a good fit. I’m not eager to start meds because that seems like a bandaid rather than a solution. When I read about anxiety and it’s symptoms, it seems like there is something more going on (the distractability, energy levels, etc). When we met with the first pyschologist I stated this and presented examples of why. She agreed that it was possible but said that she didn’t know if anxiety was driving the ADHD or ADHD was driving the anxiety and if there was sensory issues mixed in too.

                      While the therapy piece comes together, I have implemented several of the suggestions from this thread and the other ADHD thread that was linked. The daily and weekly schedule, shortening our school day with a set ending time, 15 minutes or less per chore, etc. Those tweaks to our routine have been successful overall.

                      She does well on her schoolwork and I have wondered if she is bored. She memorizes very well. On her tests, she scores 90% or above with only a few exceptions. She loves to read and spends some of her free time doing so. The distractability is always a factor when she is doing her school work but redirection usually works. It is most evident on speed drills and flash cards. She hates writing and will do anything to lessen how much she has to write. We took time over the last few months to work on pencil grip which is now much better. I struggle with how much should I write for her and how much I should make her write. Spelling is her weakest subject because she likes things to follow the rules.

                      Small refusals to do work and small temper tantrums are a part of our normal. They usually only last about a day. Dramatic outbursts like this week happen every couple of months but seemingly come out of nowhere and for no discernible reason and usually last for about a week. During the outburst she will throw her books, be disrespectful to everyone around her, consequences seem pointless, and soothing techniques that usually work don’t seem to help. Hitting others, pulling her hair and biting herself isn’t out of the question either. Yesterday I sent her outside for about 30 minutes, then during quiet time I sat her down next to me on the couch instead of the kitchen table and matter of factly said that we were going to finish her work before quiet time was over. As she worked, I rewarded her with small things (a piece of gum and a chance to play one round of a game.) She finished it well and within the allotted time including the work that had been unfinished from the previous day.

                      I also hesitate to take away social activities like 4H because they are good for her, but I am also at a loss for what to do. Am I communicating the importance of school work and respect of your parents, if you are still allowed to do the fun activities?

                      I’m sorry for the long reply. Writing about this was a little cathartic. Weeks like this always leave me questioning and worrying all the decisions I make.
                      Last edited by VAmom; 03-09-2018, 02:54 PM.
                      Heidi

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

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                        No apology necessary! You are at the very difficult stage of "I know something more is going on, but what??"

                        It is especially hard when people around you do not believe you.

                        Sensory, ADHD, anxiety, self-injury ... has anyone suggested an evaluation for something more (autism? other?) This seems to come and go, and as you said, does not present like ODD.

                        I feel for your daughter! She sounds as plagued by this as you are.

                        I agree that you cannot "cave" and let her have all of her normal fun activities as a reward for refusing to do work. I just wondered if some, like the speech contest at 4-H, might be considered non-negotiable and part of her education.

                        Jen's suggestions regarding EF strategies seemed helpful before, and you mentioned that your daughter has a tendency to be overwhelmed even when cleaning her room. How has she responded to the CBT suggestions in the anxiety resource?

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                          I was wondering if you have her on any supplements/vitamins? I ask, because my 15yo dd struggles with some of the issues your dd presents with and out of desperation, because it took nearly a year to get her into a developmental psychologist for testing, we took the advice of a friend and started her on Omega 3, magnesium, and melatonin. Her behavior went from unpredictable, to stable. She was able to tell us how she was feeling and even told us that she had no idea why she did what she did. It wasn't a cure-all, but it was a true help. She still takes those vitamins, but has also added an ADHD med and one for depression/anxiety which is also helping tremendously. I feel so bad waiting as long as I did to get her help, but we really thought that she would eventually outgrow it, or mature out of it. We are taking a hard look at our other kids and plan to have them tested, one a year until we have them all done. We'd do them all at once, but it's $2000 for each child. sigh.

                          Blessings,
                          Lisa
                          Lisa in Jax
                          Mom to:
                          Allison (28 graduated from homeschool)
                          Jonathan (26 graduated from homeschool)
                          Genevieve (18 graduated from homeschool)
                          Isaac (15 using MP 7)
                          Sophia (13 using MP 5th grade)
                          David (10 using MP 3rd grade)
                          Charlotte (8 might be using MP1 or SC2)
                          Layla (6yo granddaughter using MP 1)

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                            Originally posted by Lisainjax View Post
                            I was wondering if you have her on any supplements/vitamins? I ask, because my 15yo dd struggles with some of the issues your dd presents with and out of desperation, because it took nearly a year to get her into a developmental psychologist for testing, we took the advice of a friend and started her on Omega 3, magnesium, and melatonin. Her behavior went from unpredictable, to stable. She was able to tell us how she was feeling and even told us that she had no idea why she did what she did. It wasn't a cure-all, but it was a true help. She still takes those vitamins, but has also added an ADHD med and one for depression/anxiety which is also helping tremendously. I feel so bad waiting as long as I did to get her help, but we really thought that she would eventually outgrow it, or mature out of it. We are taking a hard look at our other kids and plan to have them tested, one a year until we have them all done. We'd do them all at once, but it's $2000 for each child. sigh.

                            Blessings,
                            Lisa
                            We’ve tried some other diet related things but I haven’t added those supplements. I’ve read about them but haven’t tried them. I will definitely look into it again. She doesn’t like to swallow pills so I’ll have to look for some gummy versions.

                            I too have felt bad that I didn’t get help sooner. A doctor mentioned it when she was almost 4. At the time, I thought it was just an apprehensive stage that she was going through.

                            How did you make the decision to add medication? And what testing are you pursuing?
                            Heidi

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

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                              No, no one has suggested anything more. She sees the developmental ped again in May. This conversation and the conversation with the psychologist will provide some more information.

                              Thank you for the suggestion of considering what activities are a part of her education and what is “just for fun.” Yesterday she had an outburst at children’s church and my husband and I had an opportunity to start talking about what is non-neogitable. I’m also working on a list of positive consequences instead of always taking something away. I’ve only come up with two right now (writing apology notes and chores) but it’s a start.

                              To be honest, we haven’t started the CBT training book. My son just completed a 6 week OT intensive and finding an uninterrupted 30 mins once a week for 2-4 months felt overwhelming. Now that things are little calmer, I can add it in. I reached out to a therapy/learning center to see if it would be a good fit for us and I reread the introduction and chapter 1 last night. Their descriptions of children with anxiety seem so much less than what we have going on here.
                              Heidi

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

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Re: Anxiety strategies?!?

                                Originally posted by VAmom View Post
                                No, no one has suggested anything more. She sees the developmental ped again in May. This conversation and the conversation with the psychologist will provide some more information.

                                Good!

                                Thank you for the suggestion of considering what activities are a part of her education and what is “just for fun.” Yesterday she had an outburst at children’s church and my husband and I had an opportunity to start talking about what is non-neogitable. I’m also working on a list of positive consequences instead of always taking something away. I’ve only come up with two right now (writing apology notes and chores) but it’s a start.

                                Agreed. That's a start.

                                To be honest, we haven’t started the CBT training book. My son just completed a 6 week OT intensive and finding an uninterrupted 30 mins once a week for 2-4 months felt overwhelming. Now that things are little calmer, I can add it in. I reached out to a therapy/learning center to see if it would be a good fit for us and I reread the introduction and chapter 1 last night. Their descriptions of children with anxiety seem so much less than what we have going on here.

                                Interesting! I am curious to hear what you think of the remaining chapters, when time permits.
                                No pressure. We all understand the multi-directional pulls for your time and energy. You're doing good work. You'll have answers and strategies in place before long.

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