Tag Archives: Family

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #4

If you’re interested in what I’m dealing with, and what we’ve experienced thus far, check the posts listed below this article.

We are now officially in week two. We’ve seen excellent results using the “ten tips to help you right now” ideas with the older kids… but my two “A+ over-achievers” aren’t really the problem. (Unless you consider crying over getting a “B” on a test a problem – Ugh they are carbon copies of me, I swear) The older kids blink in surprise, and then react to my new-fangled requests like normal thinking human beings.  The six-year-old, though, rants around my requests, giving just as much a problem as I’ve become accustomed to.

Our son’s most common phrase this week:  “It’s not my fault, it’s yours (or his)”

On the bright side, he did actually finish his homework yesterday without a shouting match.  I’m not sure if that is coincidental or not.

The lesson for this week is called “Why won’t my child listen to me.”

While the first disk explained that my child with behavioral issues does not use the same thought processes that the rest of us do, and assured us that his behavior IS NOT our fault… Disk two left us feeling like it WAS all our fault.  They listed a number of common parenting mistakes … almost all of which either my husband, I, or both of us were guilty of.

Here the anger sets in.  I tried to listen with an open mind, because everything they said made perfect sense.  My husband felt attacked and needed a little convincing.  Hubby admitted to being the textbook speech giver.  The CD said this almost never works.  And for, us, it never ever works… but hubby insists on giving a speech about right and wrong and why doesn’t anyone listen to him, and why is he giving this speech again if no one listens…  In effect, he was making himself feel better, but the kids (and even me, I must admit) were not listening at all.  After much soul-searching, he stamped a “guilty” button on his head, and admitted giving self-righteous speeches doesn’t work, so he shouldn’t even try.

I had to admit that I was the textbook negotiator.  “Can we have five more minutes, Mom, please?  I’ve been good.”  I always cave.  Then it’s five more, and five more.  GUILTY.  I have to set rules and stick to them.

These are just two of the things that we had to curb in our own parenting style.  Believe me, there were many more things, and their reasons why they didn’t work made perfect sense.

So, then, what the heck do we do?  We are still a little frustrated, because our “homework” last week was to consider why our child lashes out, and have a better understanding.  This week is to try not to use these useless parenting ruts that we’ve gotten ourselves into.  But how?  I expect to be using that help line a while lot this week.

We are resisting the urge to skip the “waiting” and move on to the next disk, which looks like it has actual things we can put into practice.  We promised each other that we would do this by the book, and this is what it says to do… wait a week in between … but it’s really hard when you are still living inside a nightmare with no immediate hope of waking up.

The big problem I see is that my little guy firmly believes it is someone else’s fault that he gets angry.  In a way, he’s right.  But the problem is that he does not know how to deal with his anger, so he punches something (or someone) or breaks something that is important to the other person… or even breaking something he treasures himself.  He says he doesn’t know why he does it.  How the heck do you deal with that?  Yeah… I’m calling that help line.

swish swivel squiggle

Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three (This Post) Post #4

JenniFer_EatonF

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #3

If you’d like to be filled in on our journey thus far, please see post #1 and Post #2.  I’m not going to go over this stuff again here. and here is Post #3

Continued from Monday …

Dang guys, once again I am overwhelmed by the support, and all the personal emails–many of which made me cry.  Part of writing these posts is self-motivation to FORCE me to keep going, because I have committed myself.  I really appreciate all the good wishes.

This is what I have learned thus far from disk #1.  My son doesn’t think the way normal people do.  I can’t expect him to be logical.  I can’t expect him to react rationally.  I cannot expect him to act “normal” when he is upset.  He does not have the ability.  In other words… I CANNOT PARENT HIM THE WAY I PARENTED HIS OLDER SIBLINGS.

Is there something wrong with him?  Well, only in that he doesn’t THINK the way most people do.

*** He doesn’t think the way most people do ***

Sounds scary, doesn’t it?  My job is to help him work around this.  I can teach him to be a normal, thinking adult, but if I don’t act now, the chances of it becoming worse are far too high.

Now, I don’t know how to do this yet.  Herein lies our frustration.  Following the course by the letter, we need to do our workbook and let this all sink in before going to lesson two.  BUT WE WANT HELP NOW.

I’m turning again to the CD of “10 things to help you right now” and I am listening to it again.

***Putting the Plan into action***

Last night, my 6 year old punched my 9 year old in the face because it was bedtime.  I called the “help line” and they walked me through what to do.  What I needed to do sounded incredibly stupid.  What I wanted to do was what my parents did – beat me senseless—but I have to realize that my 6 year old is not me.  Returning the anger and spanking will not work with this child. So I sat down and told him everything they said… and he went to bed.

***Problems with the older kids***

Now here is a new problem.  “Mom, you’re just letting him get away with that?”

The older kids felt like I’d done nothing.  I called them aside, and explained “The Total Transformation” to them.  They complained that this isn’t going to be fair to them… that they would be punished for things and their lives would have to change because of the youngest.

I said, “Yes, things will change, but this is what we need to do to get our lives back.”

They were not happy.  They groan when they start acting up and I hit them with one of the “ten things to help you right now” tips… of course, they then immediately cave and do what I want. Crap – if anything I have to say this stuff works with the older kids without a hitch.  The youngest?  He can still tirade through it.

But it’s a new day in the Eaton household.  I’m not really sure what that means.  But I’m convicted to making that true.  Now that I am a little more “educated” and understand more about my son’s challenges, and our challenges as parents to a behaviorally challenged child, at least I am ready to move forward.

At the moment, though… after week one… chaos still ensues.  And something upstairs just broke… and yep, there’s the screaming.  Bedtime is always such a joy… until next time!

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #2

Last week I opened up with some really personal information, and I was encouraged by the outpouring of well-wishes, and emboldened by the number of you who contacted me both publicly and privately about your own personal battles.

Click here to see last week’s post. This is where we are.

My son’s most common phrase:  “I hate you.”

It doesn’t even hurt anymore.  I’ve managed to turn off my emotions.  I wish the rest of the family could.  It’s so hard, and my handling things without emotion just leads to fights between me and my husband, which escalate and draw in the rest of the family in one way or another.  Like I said last week, this is as close to Hell as I ever want to come.

We need to *****

Sorry, I had to mediate the screaming session going on upstairs. (again) and I completely lost my thoughts.

Anyway… We’ve now listened to lesson one “Why is my kid like this?”

Our frustration level with the program is pretty high right now.  We want help, but the first disk is really informational.  I’m trying to be as positive as I can.  I’m trying to keep my husband from throwing it against the wall.

Thinking it over, and remembering a comment from someone last week, the first disk seems a lot like a first professional session with parents.  It is all about assuring the parents that this is not our fault, which was a big concern.  Did we slip on the last one? Was he exposed to too much from his older siblings? Are we too easy on him? Too hard on him?  Why is our parenting working on the older kids and not him?

This is my situation.  I have a 9 year old and a 12 year old who are both off the charts smart.  They come home, throttle through their homework, and anything less than an “A” on a report card is a surprise (That we discuss in a manner of “how can we help with this” rather than being judgmental… we want school to be fun.)

Then we have our youngest, who acts out in school, has seen a counselor for anger, and his recent report card rated him at mid-kindergarten level across the board, and he is in the middle of first grade. I quietly contacted the teacher and asked if he was going to be left back.  This is when our lines of communication opened with her and his reading teacher.  I told them what we were doing, and they were excited and asked how they could help. Hey, I’ll take all the help I can get.

I’m going to cut this post here and continue it on Wednesday, because on finishing it I realized it was way too long.  I’ll start up right where I left off on Wednesday.

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our family’s journey with The Total Transformation program

Hello.  My Name in Jennifer Eaton.  And I have a child with behavioral problems.

Whew!  Getting that off my chest is HUGE.  If you have a child with a behavior disorder, be it ADD, ADHD, or any of the myriad of other things out there, just admitting that there is a problem is a pretty big step in the right direction.

Since my youngest was two, he’s always been “a handful”.  We kept waiting for him to get out of the terrible two’s.  I used to joke about him still being in his terrible two’s at five.

At six, when his “bad” behavior started becoming violent… when his siblings began to get hurt, when he would scream at us and break things if he didn’t get his way…  When I was afraid to sit beside him… when I cringed in fear when my son came near … we realized we had a problem.

We tried everything we could think of.  But it just got worse.

I work full time at an office, and my husband works full time from home.  He gets the worst of it.  Near the “end” I would drive up and sit in the garage for a little while, preparing myself for what I would walk into.  Sometimes I cried before even opening the door.

Our lives had become as close to Hell as I EVER wanted to come.  Our family was being torn apart.  We yelled at all of our children, not just the troubled one.  My husband and I started to fight– and quite honestly only our values kept our marriage together.

One day, my husband left (again) just because he had to get away from the house.  I understood.  I don’t know how he keeps sane… but within half an hour my middle son was bleeding from an altercation with my youngest, and I was sprawled on the livingroom floor uncontrollably sobbing, with my oldest son holding me, himself in tears.

This had become my life.  Lost, alone, and hurting with nowhere to turn.

That night, we contacted a child psychiatrist.  I was horrified, because being medicine-phobic, I didn’t want to pump my son full of drugs, but I had to protect my family, both physically and mentally at that point, because my other children were being harmed emotionally now.

The psychiatrist told us he could have us come in for six sessions at $200 a session, and by the end of the sixth session … are you ready for this … “I will be able to tell you if I can help you or not.”

What????? $1200 just to evaluate him?  Six more weeks of sinking further into Dante’s Inferno, and not even knowing if this is the right course of action?

My husband and I stewed over this for a few more horrible weeks.  When one of my husband’s relatives neglected to invite us to a family party, and we found out it was because of our son, my husband lost it.  Our lives were falling apart, and our family was hanging by a thread.

After much prayer and contemplation, and hearing the radio commercial for the Umteenth time (If that was you, God, sorry I didn’t call the number sooner) I contacted “The Total Transformation”.

I’d hesitated before, because my son was only 3, then 4, then 5, now six.  I still was afraid that he was too young, but someone on the website said it worked for their six year old.

The package has arrived, and it is a workbook and a series of DVDs for a seven week program.  For the price of two visits to the shrink, I have a whole program, and for an additional $50 a month, I have live professional help from 9 AM to 10 PM on weekdays (Which I plan on using a lot)

I listened to the first “Quick help” DVD, and tried out one of the solutions on one of my older kids.  It sounded dumb, even coming out of my mouth, but my son blinked, looked at me for a minute, and then did exactly what I asked him to do.

It was a heck of a surprise!

Now, will it work on the problem child?  Only time will tell.  I’m not expecting a miracle, but I need to do something.  I need to get my family back, and I need to save my son.

If you have a problem child, you are not alone.  You may feel that way, but you are not.

We know this is going to be work.  I’m not expecting a miracle overnight change.  The next seven weeks are probably going to be the hardest weeks of our lives, but if we can get our family back… If we can stop walking on eggshells… if we can stop worrying about our children hurting each other, or breaking things, or even hurting US… wow… taking any one of those things out of our lives would be a step in the right direction.

I’m going to let you know how this works for me, because I KNOW there are others out there in situations like this.  And if a stupid set of DVDs can give you your life back, then DERNIT I want to let you know about it.

I will fill you in as we go along.

Take a deep breath, and pray for us.  We’re gonna need it.

Note:  Other than buying this product, I am in no way connected to the Total Transformation, so if it stinks, I will be a fair judge.  My husband and I have agreed to follow it exactly, and not take any shortcuts.  Trust me… we can’t afford to.  We need this to work.

Jennifer___Eaton

Six Sentence Sunday – Something by me! – Six from Fire in the Woods

For the while now I’ve been too lazy to put out my own stuff featuring other authors for Six Sentence Sunday.

Today, I thought I’d take a random Six from my current baby, “Fire in the Woods”.

I basically opened up the file, dragged the little doo-hicky down about a quarter into the document, and counted down ten lines. So, Bam, this is the six you get.

In this six, my main character, Jess, is describing her father. (Fire in the Woods is told in first person “I” from Jess’s perspective.)

“Well, he doesn’t really laugh much anymore. We used to play a lot together, and now he’s like, all business.” I closed my eyes, taking in the clear forest air. My mind wandered back to my mother’s funeral—Dad sitting on the bench, staring at Mom’s open coffin. “He never cried. He just sat there.”

A Review of Hereafter, from a Writer’s Perspective.

Wow.  It’s been a long time since I started a movie, and my husband and I mutually agreed not to finish it.

“Hereafter” had everything.  It should have been a great movie.  It started off okay.  Was it poor direction?  Poor presentation?  Poor story?  Driving in to work today, I tried to figure it out, to make sure I don’ make the same mistakes in my writing.

“Hereafter” starts with a negative.  Subtitles.  I was okay with it, though.  After a while, however, it got to be too much.  At one point about half way through, my husband started to forward the parts with the subtitles.  Funny thing is, we didn’t miss anything… and I think that’s part of the problem.

Pacing, and false-action beginning.

When I first started writing, I read a blog, and I wish I could remember her name, but she said something that has stuck with me.  “The first chapter is a promise to your reader.”  She went on to say that your first chapter should exemplify what your reader can expect from the rest of it.

“Hereafter” starts with a couple on vacation (speaking French, with subtitles)  They have a beachfront hotel room, and a tsunami hits.  Great heart-pumping beginning. After that, the movie just dies.  Boom.  Dead.  Bury me, please.

We are catapulted away from that scene to Matt Damon’s character, who is a psychic who has stopped using his powers because he wants a normal life.  Okay, that part was fine.

Catapult #2:  We are then slammed to England, where two twin boys are struggling with their mother’s opium dependence.  Huh?  At first we thought it was the same woman from the opening scene, but no… totally different person.

Boomerang:  Now we are in France with the person dealing with the aftermath of surviving a tsunami

Slap:  Back to the USA with Matt Damon, who is getting cooking lessons.  Huh?

***Get on with it!***

After an hour of this, I rolled over, hugged my pillow, and said “wake me up if anything happens”

Now, obviously, I hope, all these people would come together to make a point out of this movie.   However, at that point, I was totally bored out of my mind.

I liked the Matt Damon parts.  They at least had a spark of an interesting plot.  The rest of it seemed like low-budget foreign films (no music in this move at all either, which is really weird.)

Well, I fell asleep.  This morning my husband said, “Do you mind if we just return this and get another movie?”

Normally, I would want to see what happened.  I honestly didn’t care one bit.  “Yeah, send it back.”

***So, What went wrong?***

So what went wrong?  The characters may have been important to the end of the story (I suppose, I didn’t get that far)  But if their stories are boring, do we need to know about them in such detail?

If they all come together, it could have been taken care of better in flashback or dialog right before they all meet.  Tsunami survivor can remember the horrible ordeal, and the person next to them can say “Wow, you sure had a hard time adjusting, didn’t you.”  The kids and their Mom could have been summed up similarly in dialog.

GET ON WITH IT

The point is… GET ON WITH IT.  The story teller lost me.  Completely.  So much so that I didn’t finish.

Look at your novels carefully and decide, honestly, if there is a place where someone might think “Get on with it.”

And watch those false-action beginnings.  I was all ready for a great action flick here.  What I got was a boring melodrama.

When you don’t agree with your child’s teacher.

Why, oh why, are there people in our public school system teaching children how to write that have no idea about basic fictional writing principles?

My son came home the other day with a low grade on a story he had written.  No biggie, I’m not an ogre—until I read her comments, that is.  My husband sat at the head of the table watching me with hands folded.  I think he was waiting for me to blow a fuse… which, admittedly, I did.

My husband said, “I didn’t see anything wrong with it.  I wanted to see what you thought.”

This is the comment.  Hold your breath…

“Don’t use so much dialog in your writing.  Dialog kills a story.”

Okay, so I took a deep breath, and read his story.

He had done a horrible thing.  He had allowed the dialog to tell his story… without a STITCH of show versus tell issues.  It was actually GREAT.  (No explosions, but that’s okay.  He’s the quiet one)

His story was realistic, believable, and perfectly constructed.  Now, I understand that writing is subjective, but to grade him down for writing correctly?  UGHHHH!

My husband raised an eyebrow and said, “I would LOVE for you to go in and talk to her about this.”

Yeah, he would think it was funny if I got taken out of the school in handcuffs.  This teacher is not to fond of my son to begin with (he’s a giggler and she is a drill sergeant)  We’re just biding our time until we can get him out of this class.  My husband had growled his way through a few parent teacher conferences with her already.

So, what did I do?  I explained to my son that he had written it correctly, and sometimes you are going to be judged unfairly.  I told him that I want him to know what is right, but next time give her exactly what she wants to get the grade, but know there is a better way to do it.

(It’s sad to give real-life advice to an eight year old)  I just know that there is no winning with this woman, and she, unfortunately, is in a position to make my little guy miserable for the rest of the school year.  Believe me, if it were the last day of school, she’d totally have gotten a writing lesson from me… I just need to think of what I’m doing to my child as well.

A week later he came home and said, “Mom!  I wrote a really bad story and she loved it!”

I looked at his new story.  It was 100% tell, no feeling, no dimension, flat characterization.  And she wrote “Nicely done.”

I cringed.  “Okay, but you understand that this is NOT the correct way to write, right?”

He laughed.  “Yes Mom.  I tricked her.”

What’s really sad, is the chances are the 23 other kids in the class don’t have a parent who’s an author.  They will all leave this class thinking they are great writers.

And people wonder why there are so many bad manuscripts out there in the pipeline?

“I don’t know why these agents are rejecting me.  Mrs.  So-And-So from third grade said I was a genius.”

Sad, really.

Have you ever been in a situation like this?

Merry Day after Christmas and Happy Boxing Day!

It is the day after Christmas. Time to go crazy returning things for some. For me, it was the day to visit with my family.

Boxing day is always, “Christmas, Take Two” for us, as we spend Christmas with my husband’s family, and Boxing Day with my family. (Although we don’t officially celebrate Boxing Day in the USA)

So, through the flurry of presents, and hugs and frivolity, there were no words of wisdom to be had, other than Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Man, or Woman , or dog (There were four 45 lb+ poodles and an 80 lb golden doodle in the house today. Great fun!)

Summer, Kasha, Chloe (The Silver - Mine), Mitsy (Chloe's Mom Laying), and Kairos (Chloe's Brother)

Regular Monday posts come back next week. (Well, maybe. It’s New Years… We’ll have to see) Now, I’m going to bed to recover.

Hope you had a Blessed Christmas and a very Happy Boxing Day!

The Tooth Fairy

I’d like to take a short breather from the writing world just to talk about something simple.

My eight year old lost his first tooth last night.  Big excitement in the Eaton household as the kids got ready for the arrival of the Tooth Fairy.  My husband went to bed early, and Mommy tucked the kids in, and stayed up late working on her computer, as usual.  No rest for the weary writer, or the mother of excited children.

I was thinking after I finally got to bed last night how good my husband has it, although I don’t think he looks at it that way.  He’s a work from home Dad, which is really really hard.  The great thing is though, that he gets to see the kids in the morning before they go to school.  I miss that.  Especially on mornings like this.

I wouldn’t get to talk to my son when he woke up, or see his excited face when he counted out his coins.   I would miss it, like I missed his first steps.

I did get a little bonus, though.  I stepped out of my room this morning ready to go to work, to find my son cuddled up asleep on the floor in the hallway outside his room.  His right hand was resting on a pile of coins.

I still don’t know why he woke in the middle of the night, or why he was in the hallway.  It bought a smile to my face though.

It’s the little things.   He wasn’t awake, but I got to see him, and I know he was excited.  Mommy really needed that.

Amendment:  Omigosh!  He lost another one at school today!  He looks so goofy!

Reconnecting with What’s Really Important

I am about to embark on a long needed vacation. It’s time to relax, and spend some time with my family.  I can’t wait to see the look on my children’s faces when the plane lifts off the ground, or when they see the sunrise from above the clouds for the first time in their lives.

I can’t wait to bring them somewhere where nature is the attraction, not the technology.  I am looking forward to teaching them about another country, another culture, and how people can be so happy when they have so little from our perspective, yet lead such full lives.

For me, it’s time to dig my toes into the sand, and show my children that there are places in the world where the beaches aren’t polluted, and you don’t have to swim between two poles, and there are no boardwalks or loud arcades to drown out the serenity of nature.

I can’t wait to see the looks on the faces of my children (through snorkel masks) when a school of – fish swim right up to them, or when a crab the size of their arm walks across their path in the middle of the night, or when a peacock knocks on the back door asking for a snack.  I can’t wait for them to taste fruit that has been just picked off a tree, or drink from a coconut that was opened up just for them.

Most of all, I just want to get away from all there is to do in my life.  There is not enough time in our busy lives to enjoy each other, any Mommy working hard on getting published hasn’t helped that.  This next week is about re-bonding with my family.

Ire.  Ya Mon.  No Worries.  Jamaica, bring me back to what’s really important… my family.