Announcement

Collapse

Disclaimer - Read This First

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about medical and educational conditions and treatments. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

The educational and medical information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Cheryl Swope, M.Ed. and Memoria Press make no representations or warranties in relation to the information on this website.

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or individualized advice from any other professional healthcare or educational provider. If you think you or your child may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention.

You should never delay seeking medical or educational advice, disregard medical or educational advice, or discontinue medical or educational treatment because of any information on this website.
See more
See less

Anxiety strategies?!?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • VAmom
    replied
    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, 03:54 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • cherylswope
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • VAmom
    replied
    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, 12:40 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • cherylswope
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • VAmom
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • cherylswope
    replied
    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, 09:41 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • jen1134
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • cherylswope
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • VAmom
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • cherylswope
    replied
    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, 08:13 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • jen1134
    replied
    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."

    Leave a comment:


  • Anita
    replied
    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.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Colomama
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • jen1134
    replied
    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, 02:22 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Anita
    replied
    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, 05:38 AM.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X