Thanks to both of you.
I wouldn't say I have a philosophy or ideals or anything. I parent as though they are people, I respect them and I treat them as I would anyone I care about. When I've tried formulas, it doesn't work. I found that there are certain authors or philosophies I resonate with, but it isn't about what suits my children, it is about what makes sense to me. I can't abide punishment because it makes no sense. I don't reward because it makes no sense. I don't do these things to my husband or my mother, and I couldn't do them to my children. I mentioned those authors because they are most like me. I don't believe any philosophy fits any child completely... but I do believe that every child fits being respected and simply treated like any other person, not like a dog that needs training. I find all training or behaviour focused approaches to be disrespectful of any person, whether adult or child. I believe all behaviour has an underlying emotion or issue... it's just applying it takes much more time and energy than I have. I wouldn't get anything else done, as DS is so tightly wound.
A large part of the problem might be that I am not in the mix enough. They go out on the trampoline for instance and I should be near them to guide them but I'm usually upstairs doing dishes or something. I find I can't do it all, esp with a house with stairs that makes getting to them every single time difficult (added to clarify, my stairs are on the OUTSIDE of the house, if I am inside, I am "upstairs" I cannot chain them inside, nor would I want to). Good questions though, and I could probably answer them by listing them:
I have a LOT of questions - how is their sleep
Excellent. My son still cosleeps but he is solid all night. My daughter has her own room and has mentioned waking in the middle of the night recently but then I woke her early for a couple of days and reset her body clock, and she slept through again.
Excellent. They eat a ton of raw food. They prefer it. They eat some cooked food, but they just want simple stuff. My son only finished bfing a few months ago. If I cook, they are less likely to eat. Recently DS got worse for two days (hence coming back to this thread!) and I couldn't figure the cause. I then noticed a juice I bought had preservatives in it and he had just drunk the whole lot over a period of 24 hours. I am very careful about that kind of thing but I messed up that time because it was fresh squeezed orange juice with pulp so I was fooled. Today he was better. As their diet is so good, I believe small things like that are more easily noticed in them.
how much time do they get outside to be kind of "wild" and get all the energy out?
Outside every day, but I'm not sure anywhere is appropriate for the kind of screaming my son does. The neighbours have actually yelled over the fence several times. One of them asked me if he was autistic.
When my daughter was at school, yes. Not so much anymore. I would like my son to have his own "space", like DD does. I think it is time for him to have a place to retreat to. We don't have a third room spare, but I am considering some kind of corner for him, that will be only his. Actually, that is an idea I got out of a book, so I guess now and again I take some ideas like that. My days with him while DD was at school were easier.
Does your daughter regularly get to go somewhere and be with other kids (classes, clubs, anything)?
We are part of a couple of homeschooling groups. Twice a week we are social. It is smoothing out now, it took a while to get a social situation working. I think she needs to have friends over more often.
No. I have to interrupt their play to get them to do anything with me.
Do you have things set up for them to do at the same time, but not necessarily together?
As a homeschooler, I find this a tough challenge. I need more one on one time with DD but DS is difficult to occupy. Once he can use a computer mouse it will be easier but at the moment, I feel like I get a whole lot of nothing achieved most days.
When she takes things from him, do you call her on it calmly and make her return it?
Yes. Although, I see perhaps 10% of them. - (bolded and enlarged only to clarify that my kids do everything together, and I do not sit and stare at them all day. I assume I only see some of the good and bad exchanges between them. I catch my daughter take something from my son, or my son snatch from her, and I think well, if I didn't just look over there then, I would have missed that because neither of them said a thing. So yes, I see perhaps 10% of the times something is taken from one of them by the other.)
When he hits his sister, what do you do?
I hold DD and sympathise and if she is upset, I offer to fix it in some way. I have done various things like ask DS to fix it, and he will then kiss her, say sorry or get her a bandaid or just say no and walk away. I don't force that, I just ask if he would like to make amends. I have also asked him why he did it... he doesn't seem to understand the question. So I help him with words (frustrated? Can't get the words you need? etc) I tell him it hurts to be hit, and it isn't ok to hit her. I offer for him to get "feelings out" and 50% of the time he takes me up on it and has a cry or scream on my lap, or just sits and looks at me or tries to play it out - I make hand puppets and they play out the scene. I find after a session like that, he is great for the rest of the day, so I try to initiate those but it doesn't always happen.
Have you given her words to use instead of just a big screaming reaction?
Yes, but he doesn't listen. This whole defiance thing I was warned about is really strong in this boy. She needs to act. Your advice about her walking away is probably the best thing for her as listening is not his strong suit. Or, perhaps he listens but he does not like to do anything she asks, in fact, if she says "don't touch your nose", he touches his nose. He really does NOT get negation. Come to think of it, I should help her formulate her sentences in the positive the way I learned to, and avoid the word "don't", because he only hears the rest of the sentence ("don't put toilet rolls in the toilet" to him means "put ALL the toilet rolls into the toilet", for instance). He actually used to come to me really happy and say, "MAMA! I put the toilet rolls in the toilet!" as though I asked him to... he seemed so confused and devastated when I wasn't happy and told him "Please, DON'T put the toilet rolls in the toilet, it is making mama sad." but he would do it anyway (if he got a hold of one, as we ended up hiding them)... it is mind boggling, and I struggled to find a way to phrase it. I ended up saying, "leave the toilet rolls on the holder". He hasn't done it since.
Have you told her to say NO, you can not hit me and walk away?
As a matter of fact I really stressed this point tonight at dinner. I told her that she can't "forget" anymore, as she is being tormented and she can't just accept that (to be clear I meant she shouldn't accept that). If she decides it isn't a big deal, whatever he is doing, then fine... but if she finds what he is doing to be stressful, she needs to tell him and then walk away. I really think if she can remember to do that he won't risk pushing her away like he does now. I made it a big point, in an effort to not only restate my support for her but to encourage her to use her personal power.
Essentially, if I am right there, at all times, things are ok. If I can step in at all issues, things are ok. Perhaps I'm expecting too much to think they can play together alone yet?
Natalie, may I ask what the diagnosis was? What is the treatment, or steps, that you do now?