Tag Archives: Parenting

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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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 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.

swish swivel squiggle

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

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?

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.