Tag Archives: Child

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

A mixed week – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Total Transformation #14

I took a scary step this week, but one that I wasn’t afraid of doing at all.  I cancelled my Parental Help Line.  This was my life-line to a specialist for one-on-one help when I didn’t know what to do.  I really didn’t need them anymore.

I told them “I have a new kid”, and I do.

I hope that I am not jinxing myself, but I can’t really justify the expense anymore.  I honestly only needed it for the first few weeks.  Once the program started kicking in, things started to change so fast that I rarely needed help.

Yesterday my husband called me at work frustrated because Littlest Dude would not listen to direction with his homework.  He said he finally just told him what to do and walked away.  When I got home, Littlest Dude had at least finished his homework, but he forgot a few periods at the ends of his sentences. Not too shabby.  We then sat together while he read a book to me, and we started studying for his Friday tests (Starting to study of Monday worked last week, so that’s our new norm).

Overall, he seemed fine for me.  (We’ll have to work on him being good for Daddy too)

Then Littlest Dude helped me make dinner.  I coated the chicken with egg, and he held the bag and then shook the breadcrumbs on the chicken.  Once it was in the oven, he asked if I wanted to work out… so he, 12-year-old Dude and I had a workout before dinner.  It was a really nice night. I will admit that he did push for an extra story at bedtime, and I caved.  I love that he’s being good, but I need to realize that he’s now using “good” to manipulate me into a later bedtime again.  I need to stick to the schedule so I have time for myself after I tuck him in.

Now that my nights are better, I need to try to help the days with my husband to be better.  Hubbs acknowledges that work is extremely stressful, and he’s not always in the greatest frame of mind to deal with Littlest Dude.  I can understand that – but part of the training is controlling YOURSELF in a bad situation, because kids with behavioral challenges take their triggers from you.

I have to admit that this is REALLY HARD – especially when you are faced with “outside” challenges that are out of your control.

Just something more to work on.

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 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.

Go Littlest Dude! Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: the Total Transformation #8

First of all, I posted something last Wednesday.  If you missed the miracle, please go back and read it.

Before starting lesson five, I need to tell you something. Last week’s miracle was just the beginning. On Friday, my youngest came home with his test scores… 87%, 100%, and 105% (nailed that extra credit question)   Way to go littlest Dude!

There was also a note from the teacher about how horrendous the class was all week.  I flipped over the “Weekly behavior score” sheet, and saw that for the last few weeks he’d received a “1” meaning perfect (where he’d scored in the “bad” 2’s and 3’s normally.)  I asked him if there was trouble in class, and he said, “Yes, everyone was bad but me. I’m a good boy now.”

Hmmm…

I contacted the teacher, who confirmed that he was quiet and polite the entire week while the rest of the class acted inappropriately.  Go Littlest Dude again!

Every day this week, I came home to a quiet house.  My children all came and hugged me at the door, and my husband was smiling.  No chaos. No screaming. (For the most part) Is this what a normal house is like?  I’m not sure, but I like it.

My son’s most common sayings this week:  “Excuse me Mommy”; “Please, Mommy”; and “Yes, Mommy.”  (Wow)

I think now is the most critical time.  It feels like we have our life back, but once in a while I feel a slight push from my littlest (I’m sure he doesn’t even realize that he is doing it) but he is trying to re-gain control. (Like trying to negotiate that bed time again.) I need to be resolved.  So does my husband.  We need to be careful not to slip back into our old back habits just because things are getting better.

I’m also finding it a little hard to get my husband to sit down and listen to the CDs for an hour a week.  I use the “10 tips” on him:  “I’m sorry you’re tired, but this is the time we agreed to listen to the Total Transformation.”  His eyes narrow.  He knows I’m right.  I’m inclined to stop as well, but we need to finish the program.  It’s working, and I want to know everything I need to know to keep it going in the right direction.

Lesson Five: Understanding Faulty Thinking

This lesson is all about how pre-conceived notions and reactions by both the parent and child can undermine everything that you do.  Faulty thinking is when we “decide” our kids have done something wrong before we have all the facts.  This is one of those annoying lessons that let you know you are doing something wrong, but don’t really tell you what to do about it.  The “Homework” is to make notes of times when we see faulty thinking.  I guess the idea is that recognizing it will keep you from doing it.

Onward and Upward.

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Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three Post #4

Week Four Post #5

Week Five  Post #6 and Post #7

Week Six (this week) Post #8

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #7

I just experienced a miracle – right in my own home.

I know it’s not Tuesday, and I usually don’t post at all on Wednesdays, but I needed to share this.

We just went through a very common occurrence in our household. Yes, it involved screaming, but what was different, is how it played out.  It was nothing less than a miracle.

My Nine-year-old came home from school today with a toy he received for something outstanding he’d done in class.  He was quite tickled with the prize, and loved the new toy.

My youngest loved the new toy too, and they both were playing nicely with it.  (Yes, a recipe for disaster, but I can’t not let them play together, can I?)

Anyway, long story short, my nine-year-old suddenly shrieks “He broke it!” and the tears started to flow.  I run to the scene of the crime, to see my youngest staring at the mess he’d made.  I could tell by the look on his face that he was stunned.  He had no intention of breaking the toy.

I immediately tried to defuse the impending breakdown by saying “I don’t think he did that on purpose.”

As I tried to calm the older child down, my youngest grabbed his head and started screaming and running up and down the hallway upstairs howling at the top of his lungs.

I had no idea what to do about that, so I consoled the older boy, saying that I didn’t think his brother meant to break it, and told him that his brother would buy him a new one.  He was sad, but okay with that.  I asked him for the wrapper so I could figure out where it came from, and while he was doing that, I reached for the phone to call the “help line” to find out what to do about the meltdown upstairs.

That’s when the miracle happened.  I suddenly realized it was quiet, and then I heard murmurings from the front hallway.  I peeked around the corner to see my sons hugging, and the older boy saying.  “I understand, and thanks.”

I watched as my youngest walked away.  My nine-year-old approached me, wiping a tear from his eye, and said, “He gave me his harmonica.”

My jaw hit the floor as he held up the little purple instrument.  You need to understand that the harmonica is so important to my youngest that it might as well be plated in gold.  That was HIS recent present from school for being good.  He SLEPT WITH THE DERN THING!

I said, “[Dude] do you realize how huge that was? He loves that thing.”

He nodded.  “Yeah, Mom. He also said he was really sorry.”

Do you wanna read that again?  I do.

“He also said he was really sorry.”

My youngest slunk in the other door, and I showered him with hugs, and made sure he knew what a great job he’d done.

If you have a “normal” child you might not understand this… but this little boy with extreme problem-solving abilities just stopped freaking out on his own, and problem-solved that his brother was very sad, and found a way to cheer his brother up… as well as agreeing to replace the broken toy.

Unbelievable. I feel like God has reached out and touched my house.

Did you hear that sniff?  Yeah, I’m crying right now.

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Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three Post #4

Week Four Post #5

Week Five  Post #6 and Post #7

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #6

Deep breath.  It’s going to be a bumpy week.  This week is an overview of concepts of behavior management.

My Son’s most common saying:  “It’s too hard”

OMIGOSH.  I just found out something that I think I already knew.  My kid is super-smart.  It makes sense.  His brothers are super smart.  So what’s the problem?  His brain works faster than he can “compute”  Ugh…. I wish I could explain it, but it took me an hour to understand myself.

So… something gets him angry.  His brain gets that anger trigger so quickly that it can’t hop the hurdle to “I should calm down before I do something dumb and get in trouble”  Instead, he just lashes out.  He doesn’t have the “problem solving skills” to get past the anger.  No, that still doesn’t explain it…

Let’s try another way.  He sits down to do his homework.  He argues with us for 30 minutes because he doesn’t want to do it.  When we actually do it, it only takes ten minutes.  He doesn’t understand what a normal person understands… that you do the homework – just get through it– and then you can do the fun stuff.  His mind just hits a road block.  He doesn’t have the problem solving skills to get from point A to point B.

This is also the reason he’s had trouble learning to read.  Learning to read is a problem.  You get past the problem with practice.  He couldn’t process the idea of “practice.”  He couldn’t get past the point of “I can’t read”

So what do you do about it?  We need to stop coddling him.  “I’m sorry that you don’t like homework, but that is what we need to do now.”  Period.  End of conversation.  No arguments.

This is a biggie that my husband and I need to deal with.  Don’t invite an argument.  It’s hard.  Really hard.  As a parent, I want to explain myself.  I can’t with him.

It feels mean when I do this, and it has to be done properly (they explain how in the program and workbook)

I feel a little like a loaded weapon.  The program says to expect resistance, and after the first night I dang well got resisted.  They said to stick with it.  Change will happen fast.  I can only hope.  There was a whole lot of screaming when they went to bed tonight (At the correct time, without negotiating.)

I feel like a totalitarian dictator, really I do.  But this is the hard part I expected — the time when the parents take back the household.  It’s kind of like war, isn’t it?

This is not easy.  But each step to “understanding” I believe is helping me to cope with how to solve issues as they arise.

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Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three Post #4

Week Four Post #5

Week Five (This week) Post #6

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #5

Lesson Three:  Breakthrough

Finally!  A list of things we can try!

It you like to see how we got here, or exactly what we are dealing with, please see the links to previous posts below.

My Child’s most common saying this week.  “I’m Sooorrreeeeeeey” (I’m sorry said sarcastically so you know without a doubt that he doesn’t mean it)

I’m not going to say that any bells went off listening to this tape.  I’m feeling a little friction from the husband who doesn’t think it is fair that he has to change the way he wants to parent.  But I reminded him that before we started we promised each other that we’d do everything they say.

This is hard stuff, I admit it.  It goes against so much that we “believe in” as parents.  We need to find a balance between what has worked with the two older kids, and what we need to do now to SAVE our youngest child, and our family.  Again, this is not easy, and my husband and I have to keep reminding ourselves when we slip up.

*******News Flash*******

I just deleted everything I originally wrote, because I need to tell you something.

I received an email from my son’s teacher this week… “We are so pleased with [your son’s] progress.  He has been listening attentively in class, his work is improving, and we have seen him even helping out other students when they had a problem.”

Huh?  Do you have the right kid?  I was floored.

The next day, he came home with this big poster of something they had worked on in class together.  He told me that his teacher gave it to him as a prize for giving so many great answers for the project.  He proudly hung it in his room, and I “caught” him staring at it tonight with a big smile on his face.

He feels accomplished.  He has been recognized… and I think he likes it.

****So, what did we do?****

My husband and I discussed it, and we’re not even sure.  Maybe it’s a little of everything.  Maybe it’s our attitudes, or the couple of times we have challenged him with the ideas from the “ten things” CD that we started out with.

We still have HUGE problems at home, but knowing school is improving is such a huge “light at the end of the tunnel” – you can’t even imagine how excited we are!

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Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three  Post #4

Week Four (This Post) Post #5

JenniFer_EatonF

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