Tag Archives: ADD

Dealing with a child with Behavioral Issues. Update. One Year Later

Parenting is an ongoing struggle, isn’t it? I have to say though, that things are much better than they used to be. I think the issues that we deal with now are “normal”.

But something happened over the weekend that I just have to share.

Easter eggs

Easter eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday there was an Easter egg hunt at our church. Littlest Dude was in the oldest age bracket, and this is probably the first, and last year he would be able to participate. His gaze traveled across the gardens, and a smile touched his lips, seeing the multitude of eggs scattered in the grass (4,000 eggs, I was later informed)

They made an announcement for the older kids not to get the eggs in the middle of the field (Since participants ranged from 2 years to 8 years.) I reiterated the request to Littlest Dude. And then they were off!

There is nothing cuter than several hundred kids running through a field trying to find eggs.

I lost sight of Littlest Dude for a few minutes until his red shirt gave him away back in the trees.

Whew!

At least it seemed that he’s left the easy ones for the other kids. The eggs disappeared quickly, and late-comers ran toward the field, hoping to get there share.

Littlest Dude ran by a few times, bag overflowing but determined to find all the well-hidden eggs. Yep. He’s tenacious. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree on that one.

I grimaced as first-time parents strolled lazily toward the event area, obviously clueless that there may not be anything left for their children. Boy, were they about to be in for a bad morning!

People started to leave, and Littlest Dude is still out there running around, having a grand old time.

Then it happened.

He comes strolling back to us, a huge smile coating his adorable little face, WITH ONLY A FEW EGGS IN THE BOTTOM OF HIS BAG.

“Littlest Dude,” I say. “What happened to all your eggs?”

He shrugs. “A lot of kids didn’t find any, and they were sad, so I gave them my eggs.”

Need a tissue? I did.

I hope this warmed you heart as much as it warmed mine.

JenniFer_Eaton__F

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Seeing “Lilo and Stitch” again 11 years later… Through a new set of eyes.

The other day, my husband was scrolling through movies looking for a good family film.  He chose Disney’s Lilo and Stitch. When this movie first came out I remember a coworker saying: “Disney created a character (Lilo) who was mean, nasty and completely unlikable.  A ‘bad’ kid– so he could not enjoy the movie because he disliked her so much.

I saw the movie a few weeks later, and the writer in me recognized that “bad kid” but watched her development into a “better kid” (not a good kid… a better kid)

Watching the movie eleven years and three kids later, I was dumbstruck. The character of Lilo immediately grabbed my attention as so much more than a bad kid.

Lilo was probably one of best-researched Disney characters I have ever seen.

Watching her mouth off at her sister, fighting physically with other kids trying to defend what’s right, having trouble keeping friends, trying desperately to stick to routines, and not listening among a myriad of other traits. Wow.

Lilo has ADHD

She was a classic textbook case of ADHD, and almost everything that happened I could mirror in my own family life.  (Except for the house exploding, thank goodness)  I watched shaking my head, and really feeling for her sister/guardian, Noni as she tried to control the uncontrollable. As she gave in at times just to keep the peace, as she struggled to stop things from happening that she knew were a “trigger”, and as she treasured the few special moments a day when Lilo showed affection.

I found myself wondering if one of the writers had a kid with ADHD to have NAILED the condition so well.  I did a little research, but could not find a mention of the condition in relation to the film.  I found this sad.  Maybe it is because ADHD was not as much in the forefront of pediatric medicine in 2002 as it is nowadays.

What I found encouraging, though, was the very real way the story played out.  (Not the aliens, silly)

Lilo, a kid struggling with her behavior—knowing she is bad but not understanding why—takes  this other “little kid” (Stitch, the alien, who is programmed to do nothing but destroy) under her wing, and tries to help him be a better “person”.

This is so like an ADHD kid.  My “Littlest Dude”, despite his challenges, will always pick out the person “in need” in a crowd, and help to the best of his ability.

Just the other day, he was outside teaching a kid twice his age how to ride a bike.  They were out there for HOURS.  He would not be daunted. Whatever it took, he was going to get that (much older) girl riding her bike.

When I’m sick, he is the child I can trust to be there… to drop everything and take care of me. (Not that the other two don’t help, in case they read this) But the littlest takes the whole situation to heart.

ADHD kids are not monsters.

They may appear that way.

They may destroy things (when they are mad)*

They may punch you in the face (but you probably provoked it)*

They may scream at you (because something is wrong and they feel mistreated)*

But deep inside, they are the cute, cuddly, fluffy version of Stitch.

They don’t want to act out.  They want to help, create,  make friends,  play,  be happy, and be loved by their family like any other kid.

They just need someone to believe in them, and help them control their triggers so they can make the correct choices.

Any kid can be the cute, cuddly version of Stitch.

You just have to believe in them and show them the way.

*Note* ADHD kids truly DO NOT KNOW why they act the way they do.  If you have a kid with behavioral problems, speak to your doctor or look into programs to help control their triggers. Getting help was the best thing I ever did for my family.

 _JenniFer____EatoN

Closing Notes and Final Comments – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Total Transformation #17

I don’t want to go on forever about my kid, so I’m going to close this thread after this post.  So, why did I do this?  Why did I open up my private struggles for all the world to cringe over?

The truth is when some family members started avoiding us, and friends said “don’t come back.”  I started to feel very alone. (Thanks to everyone who DID stand beside us through all of this)

But I knew that I WASN’T alone.  I knew there had to be others out there struggling and having no idea where to turn.

I’m here telling you that you CAN take your life back.  You just need to take that first step, and then dedicate yourself to it.  Yes, I used one particular program.  I’m not telling anyone to go out and buy the Total Transformation.  There are other products out there.  Do your research.  Pick the one that’s right for you.

The big thing is DO SOMETHING NOW.

I can’t believe how quickly things changed.  It was only a few months ago that I was collapsed of the living room carpet sobbing. It seems like a bad dream now.

I’d like to share a picture with you.  This was taken when Littlest Dude was 3.  He doesn’t even look like this anymore.  It’s precious, isn’t it?

Disney Image058

This picture always made my cry, because I remember this day.  I had taken him so my husband and Dude #1 and Dude #2 could enjoy themselves at Disney World.  I sacrificed myself, and I was miserable.

I bribed him to stop and take this picture with me, hoping it would be a wonderful memory.  Instead when I looked at it on my wall, I knew it was a lie.

I don’t look at it as a lie anymore.  I look at this picture with a gleam of hope in my heart.  I actually have REAL moments like this with my child now.  I feel love from him, and that love is returned.

I know we will have ups and downs, but doesn’t every family?

Normal, for the first time is six years, is in reach.

If you have a child with behavioral problems, get help.  It will be the greatest gift you’ll ever give your family.

JenniFer_EatonF

Success! – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Total Transformation #16

Littlest Dude came home the other day with a big surprise.  With a huge smile on his face, he opened up the grand-daddy of “Good Kid” prizes from school… The sticker chart.

Now, this might sound silly, but both his brothers have won the “sticker chart” in the past.  Dude #1 won it twice.  For those of you who are not familiar with this marvel of modern teacher-hood, let me explain…

Each child in the grade is placed on a list on this big poster board.  Every day they are “super good” they get a sticker.  If you make the special list (I think it’s called “Qualified Student” –picked by the principle), you get three stickers for that day.  The first person to get 35 stickers wins.

Littlest Dude Won!  Can you believe it?

Hubbs burst into tears.  I slathered the little guy with hugs and kisses.  There was even a really nice encouraging note attached from his teacher.

We made a super big deal out of it, but we need to be careful, because Middle-Dude said, “You didn’t make this big a deal when I came home with straight “A’s”

Ugh… you can’t win, ya know?

We explained to Middle Dude that his brother was having such trouble, and that this was a HUGE deal. (Hey, it’s a huge deal even if you don’t have ADHD)

(And then I reminded him of that special shopping trip we went on to celebrate his grades… oh how soon they forget)

Anyway… Celebrations are NOT to be thwarted!  I’m off to go hang a sticker chart on Littlest’s wall.

Yay1!JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F

No No NO! I Will NOT let this happen! – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Total Transformation #15

Big scare this week at bedtime as Middle Dude came and told me he was afraid again.  Apparently Littlest Dude threatened him (And I don’t even want to repeat what he said)

And it was over something really dumb.  An accident, and really really minor.

The training whirled around in my head until confusion took over.  I did manage to sit down and talk to Littlest Dude, but I really should have scrambled for my “8 Step” card, because I’m sure I screwed it up.

Ugh.

And the weird thing is, the next day everything was sugar and spice again.  I don’t expect perfection, but after living for a few months without fear, I didn’t like having that in my house again.

A few days later, there have been no more incidents, but Littlest and Middle Dude are fighting a lot.  Littlest is not flying off the handle like he used to, and I am sure to praise him all the time when he’s good, but when he forgets to step back and think over his new bag of tricks… oh, it is just not pleasant.

I have to remember that he is not “fixed”.  The ADHD is still there, and always will be.  I just have to keep coaching him until proper behavior is a “habit”.

We’re almost there, and I will fight tooth and nail to keep going down the right path.

JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F

A mixed week – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Total Transformation #13

Littlest Dude rocked his test scores again this week.  After a little friction with the studying last week, this week we started on Monday, and he knew his stuff by Friday.  It’s all about routine.

Speaking of routine… If you remember, my two youngest like to sleep together.  The new rule is they have to sleep in their own rooms and go to bed without problems the first time we ask on the weekdays.

This week they won (Yay) and I agreed to the slumber party.  Problem is, they wanted to stay up all night.  It was not a pleasant experience for the rest of us.

I discussed with them that I didn’t think it was working, and let THEM tell me why.  I asked how would we know if it is working, they both said “We will go to bed and go to sleep on time on the weekends.”

Okay – That part done.  It went almost text-book, although we’ll have to see how it all pans out.  We are giving them another chance to “Win” the privilege of having slumber parties Friday and Saturday night. I’ll speak to them again about my expectations of those “parties” if they win.  They know they will lose the privilege on Saturday is they act inappropriately (we try not to say bad) on Friday.

Follow-up:  On Monday I got a call from Hubby not long after the kids went to school.  He was very disgusted because he had a very heated argument with Littlest Dude about getting ready for school. I was happy to hear him say “I just undid everything we’ve worked for”.

I told him that we will all experience setbacks (goodness knows I have) and that we need to keep working at it.  We discussed that we will have to “reprogram” Littlest Dude on Sunday nights before he goes to bed to let him know what we are expecting the next day.

Why do we need to do this?  Remember, his wiring is different.  Our older children can understand that things are different on weekends from weekdays.  He needs to be reminded and ready, or his “mind” will still be in weekend mode.

We’re going to try that next week.

Other than that, though, the week was really nice.  My eight year old even had a friend over, and the three of them played wonderfully together.

Not too shabby.

The upturn – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #12

The funniest thing happened this week.  Littlest Dude was preparing to spend the day at a friend’s house.  We sat together and reviewed the lesson on how to not get angry, and what to do if he feels something’s unfair.  We practiced the anger relief method the “help line” coach suggested.  I kissed him on the head, and sent him on his way.

After Daddy picked him up quite a few hours later, they both walked in the door laughing.  Apparently, Littlest Dude’s friend got mad at his sister, and started beating her up and pulling her hair.

Littlest Dude intervened and made him stop.

Did you get that?  Littlest Dude did not jump on the bandwagon with his BEST FRIEND.  He made the right choice, and helped someone, even though it might not make him popular with his friend.

The little boy had to go to his room for a time out, and Littlest Dude played with the sister for a while.

Oh!  I love hearing wonderful things (Less than a month ago he was thrown out of a friend’s house by the father for acting out) What a wonderful change!

*

Last night while I was reading a funny book before bedtime, Littlest Dude got a little excited and kicked me in the kidney.  OUCH.  It knocked the wind right out of me.

“I am such an idiot,” he said, but not at the loud decibel that he normally would have… almost like it was a pre-programmed saying that popped out on his mouth.  He then jumped up and ran out of the room, and came back with an ice pack.

Pretty good problem solving, huh?  Instead of yelling about what he’d done, he found a way to “fix it.”

I used the ice, and continued the story.  Everyone won.

*

The last lesson:  The Workshop DVD.

I must say that I realize we are at a critical juncture right now.  I’m not getting friction from my kid, I’m getting resistance to continue from my husband.  My fear is that if we stop focusing on the program, that everything will slip back to the way it was.  I cannot cave in and allow us to slip up now.

Despite pre-arranging time to do the DVD, and my husband agreeing to do it at an exact time… He forgot and started planning all these other things he wanted to do.  Now watching the DVD was “in the way” of getting things done, and we had a fight about it.  He got really angry when I used the lessons against him “I’m sorry that you made other plans, but this is what we agreed on.”

I must admit, that I fell into my “negotiator” role and agreed to only do part of it, since it was 1.5 hours long.  We watched only the first two lessons.

(And if you read this dear, I love you and I understand that you have so many other responsibilities and you are totally right that there is not enough time in the day to do everything that we need to do… but this is working, right?  Aren’t you glad we kept going?) 

To be honest, the DVD isn’t all that great.  It would not make me want to go to one of the live seminars.  What we both agreed was good about it though, is that it reviewed the lessons in a very high-level way.  What we got the most out of was when we stopped the DVD and said “I tried that and this happened” or “That really worked for me” or “That didn’t work for me”.

I found out that he had been using the program a lot more than I had realized, and where I had trouble with some things, he had success– so we discussed that.  I highly doubt we will finish the DVD this week, but even if we keep our once a week slot and discuss things, I think it will keep us on track.

The Dreaded Parent-Teacher Conference – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #11

Do you love parent teacher conferences?  We used to be bored by them as teacher after teacher raved about our sparkly overachievers.  Now they are a time when we cringe.  So, after eight weeks of our behavioral program, how did it go with Littlest Dude’s teacher?

My husband went to the conference live.  I was on speaker phone.  I cringed when I heard another voice other than my child’s teacher on the other line.  Oh no… the reading teacher.

My cringe soon melted away to tears.

***“He’s like a different kid.  He used to just sit there and look bored, now he is engaged, responsive, and totally into school.  Whatever you guys are doing, it is totally paying off.”***

Neither of them could stop raving about how well he was doing.  His reading is improving, his comprehension is improving, he always raises his hand.  His teacher even described times when she saw him “almost” do something wrong, but she could tell that he was problem solving, and made the right decision.  The relief I felt… you can’t imagine!

So what about the remedial reading? Apparently it is not remedial reading like when I went to school.  This actually is “an opportunity” like they said in the letter.  They hand pick kids for this program who are really engaged to give them a jump start.  It’s like a reading club where they will have fun, play on computers, and not even know that they are advancing.  So exciting!

***“Mommy, did you forget that it was my bedtime?”***

Oh!  And this week he actually said to me:  “Mommy, did you forget that it was my bedtime?”  (He didn’t want to stay up past his bed-time, because that’s not what good boys do)

8:  The Parents Workshop DVD – This is a DVD of a live workshop run by the doctor who created the program.  I’m hoping for some grand enlightenment to keep the system working, because my greatest fear now is things slipping back to the way they were.

The Struggle Continues – Putting the plans into action – Our Journey with the Total Transformation #10

Last week I tried something new to get my youngest and middle child to sleep.  My 9 year old went to bed right away.  My youngest, literally seconds after agreeing to the new incentive, started screaming about it.  I did what I needed to do.  I gave the “good” mark to the older child, and wrote “No” next to my younger child’s name.  The next morning, I received a call at work from my husband… My youngest had checked the chart and saw “no” next to his name.  I explained that this was the “First Time Club” and in order to win, you needed to go to bed the first time asked, no exception.  (This is what he agreed to seconds before flipping out when I let them know it was bedtime)  He was not happy, but the really good thing is he DID NOT FLIP OUT.

Over the weekend, when they would have received the “reward”, there was friction.

“But I was good last night”.

Oh!  It’s so hard when they throw the truth at you.  Deep breath.  “Yes, you were good last night, but you need to go to bed five nights in a row to earn the reward of slumber parties on the weekend.”

Again, the negotiator in me wanted to give in, because he was good… but I stuck to my guns… and neither of us was happy.  Hopefully though, what I just taught him is that I will NOT negotiate and give in if he’s only good one day.  He needs to be good all the time… Let’s see how it goes.

Follow-up;  We received a note from school last night that Littlest Dude has the “opportunity” for remedial reading instruction after school a few days a week.  I’m okay with it.  I’m just sad because I thought he was getting better.  How can a kid that gets 100% on his spelling tests need remedial reading?  I guess I need to find time at night to read to him more. ERGH.  So hard to find enough time to do everything you need to do.

Follow-up#2: Littlest Dude has to sit at the detention table for the rest of the week at lunch because they asked him to sit down three times.  Ugh.  How can you coach your kid when you are not there to use the program with him? (And his teacher is not at lunch either) His Dad did the eight step with him when he got home.  I hope Little Dude understands.

Lesson 7:  How to stop it before it starts:  Yes PLEASE!  I need some wisdom here!

This gives a set of steps and actions to help your child to NOT have a problem.  The scary thing is, this is something I can teach him, and then he has to do it on his own.  I am not always going to be there when a friend is mean to him.  I am not always going to be there when he wants to run in the cafeteria.  This part is HIS.

He was excited to sit down and do this, but by the second question he was over it, and started to act out a bit.  I decided to make it more fun by acting out his most recent “problem” the way it happened first, and then we worked on how he could have managed it better.  We ended up giggling about it, and practicing the “right way” again.  Hopefully, it will work.

It’s up to you now, Littlest Dude.

The inevitable downturn (Ugh) – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #9

Oh, this has not all been a pleasant journey this week.  I sat with my husband for over an hour and a half last night as he vented his frustrations.  This was one of those times where you sit like a good little wife and listen.  Speaking was just not a good idea. He needed to vent.

Where Hubbs agrees that Littlest Dude is leaps and bounds better, things are not perfect yet.  He is still struggling with homework.  Unfortunately, that part is done before I get home, and I don’t want to teach my kids to play first and do homework when Mommy gets home.  We both just believe that doing homework as soon as you get home is a good idea.  But my husband is struggling (rightfully so) with a full time job, and helping the kids with homework, too… so when the kids get home… well, it would be easier if littlest dude would just sit down and do his homework.

The good news is that the fights between the kids have gotten better (at least at night when I am home – Hubbs still moderates a few during the day)  and Littlest Dude always seems excited and energetic about the homework that he sets aside to do with me.

Last night I tried something new that was suggested.  I called the help-line and we modified it together to fit our situation (Problems going to bed)  My youngest said “sure” and he was excited, even drew a picture… but as soon as the picture was done and it was time for bed, the screaming started.  One thing they always stress is that you will experience resistance, and not to give up.

***Small steps.***

I’m honestly just happy that I’m not afraid for myself or my other kids getting physically hurt anymore.

My youngest’s most common saying this week:  “Can I give you a hug/kiss?” (Although I must admit, it is frequently used to get an extra few seconds out of us before going to bed)

Lesson Six: What to do after your child lashes out (Ha!  I wish I had this last night! Boy do we need this one)

At the end of this lesson are cards to cut out to have on hand to help you through the eight step process to follow after a “breakdown”.  I usually skip things like this, but my husband, to my surprise, wanted them.  It ended up being a pretty good idea, because when tempers and emotions are flaring, it’s hard to keep focus.  These cards list the eight steps to get through the problem, and my husband even used it once, and was really glad to have them.  We’ll see how it goes.