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How do you help the gifted child's behavior problems when you don't know what's wrong? - Page 2

post #21 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post
Oh, yes, I forgot about the school snack thing. I came up in arms because the 1st grade teacher was lackadaisical about a snack and I basically said, "If you don't want a screaming lunatic by lunchtime you had better plan a snack time every.single.day." I would insist on a second snack if she needed it--even if you got the doctor involved. If Saturday goes better with snacks in the morning and the afternoon, you may be able to get a dr. order for food!

I'm interested in her boredom with food. Can you find salami without nitrites/preservatives? Would that be an alternative? (probably expensive) ALL of my kids, even not the HSC ones are very picky about food; more like won't move outside their comfort zone.

Is SHE a planner? Could SHE fill out a chart together with you to determine:

a morning (school) snack, lunch, afternoon/after school snack? For the whole week?

Hope this all isn't redundant. You can just ignore these ideas if they aren't useful for you. I hope you can figure it out. The tantrums, meltdowns, and hours of family time used up in conflict are really difficult. I have been there.

Hang in there!
No, not redundant. I do like the idea of giving HER some more control over her choices though.
post #22 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
Well, I'd been thinking about this...

I disagree...slightly.

I don't want to be a play therapist to unearth any great insights. Just use play to communicate feelings, and model good behavior and expectations.

My daughter's neuropsych believed it was well within my jurisdiction to use any and all social stories and props to communicate with her and bring her emotional self-regulation into balance. She specifically told me the more visual the approach the better, since she was more stimulated and attentive to visual tasks.

I thought play therapy did that. Maybe what I'm thinking of is different than what "real" play therapy is meant to do. I did sensory therapy at home...I thought play therapy would be similar. Maybe not.

As far as problem solving goes...I have the Explosive Child/collaborative problem solving information at home. It didn't really appeal to me.

I won't go on a tight schedule. I just refuse to. I was overly controlled by a domineering mother who controlled my every move, every thought, every expression I tried to have. She and the rest of my family gaslighted me into thinking there was something wrong with my reality. I have trouble with the concept of forcing anything on my child...including schedules. I need flexibility and wiggle room or I feel claustrophobic. (I feel anxious just defending my need to have it this way...)

It causes me a great deal of anxiety when things don't go according to the schedule. We have a basic routine though the particulars might change from day to day.

I want to teach my child flexibility, not even more rigidity. The first thing something didn't go to "the plan", daughter would know and I know would fuss about "But you said we would do X...it's on the schedule"...

Hence...I don't do strict schedules. We follow a loose one.

I have accepted these meltdowns are a part of her response. Her meltdowns trigger my PTSD flashbacks - that's a part of MY involuntary response. I need to work on both of these responses - both mine AND hers. I went to therapy for my PTSD...but we didn't get to finish because of the layoff. I still have a ways to go.

I'm thinking aloud here...not really responding to anything you said in particular when I say this next bit...

I think that using a creative/play based emotional teaching approach would work exceptionally much better than a strictly cognitive approach. I want to reach our hearts...not just our brains.

If I don't feel it's working for me, I won't be able to teach it to her.
I want to suggest you read a book called "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence J. Cohen. I had heard of this book for years but never read it, but I just started it this week. It's all about play therapy and playing with your kids and connecting with them! I am still in the beginnings of the book, but it's really resonating with me so far. It seems to have several examples of how things can be turned into playful situations which go well instead turning into power struggles.

I feel like I can relate to much of what you have written about your situation. I am having issues with my 7 year old. And I am also a Highly Sensitive Person with issues (OCD, panic). Lately, I feel like I am just trying to make it from one hour to the next with DD. We homeschool and DD is in therapy for anxiety.

Today was very bad. I know both DD and I need to eat protein, but I can't force her to eat. We've talked about food and how being hungry affects both of us, but in the moment of being hungry, it's all out the window.

I am going to try to talk to her about HALT. I will probably do this in a story. We tell cat stories or stories about our dogs as characters. This is the only way I can connect with DD lately. We each add things into the story, but I can sometimes use one to get to a point I want to address with her in a non-threatening way.

Now that I am reading "Playful Parenting" I am going to try to be more active in playing with her. She usually responds well when DH or I do this, but I hadn't understood so much why. The book explains the why. I am more motivated to try to be playful now that I can understand how it can be helpful beyond just being a distraction or a redirection. I doubt it's a cure-all or anything but we are also seeing a therapist with DD (who sometimes does play therapy along with some CBT) for several anxiety-related issues.

I hope you find some answers and things calm down for you soon.
post #23 of 77
I don't expect you are going to agree but I'm going to be very direct and take from it what you will...

In your response I heard a lot about you. How you feel about schedules. How you feel about routine. How you feel about charting and forms. And, I'm going to say it... Sometimes it sucks but you gotta parent the kid you got not the one that's an easy fit for what is most comfortable with you. Pretty much nothing about the way I parent is the way I expected to parent. A lot of it didn't come easily to me. Some of it was uncomfortable or downright irritating. Much of it was not at all intellectually challenging for me or appealing in the way that spending a lot of time reading about giftedness or focusing on the quest would have been. As a person who likes research it was more appealing to me to read and mull; that's a lot easier than getting in and doing the work, but it is also a lot less effective. I would have loved to teach happy heartwarming lessons with puppets, but my child did better with creating charts. I don't like living with a tight routine and schedule; it is not at all me, but I had to acknowledge that for a child who was born without good natural rhythms it was vital. Ultimately it makes your life easier if you don't try to make your child fit the categories that are easiest for you.

Uncontrolled anxiety feels absolutely awful to live with. It is a terrible thing for a child. Sometimes dealing with that that means making some significant changes. The child you are describing is absolutely the child that Ross Greene writes about. While you could make his system really complicated it ultimately boils down to three categories of problems, choosing to focus on a few and working on collaborative problem solving. It works for a lot of families and a lot of kids.

As far as playing, of course it is a great idea and along the way it certainly can mature a child and help them develop socially. I was taking it as a given that most people already engaged in this kind of play, but if that's not a part of her life sure it would be great to add that. I don't think studying the art of play is any substitute for offering a child predictability of a schedules and teaching problem solving skills.
post #24 of 77
Thread Starter 
Roar -

I understand. I do.

I could very easily make a schedule (and I have made beautiful ones in the past), but I guarantee it will only be a guideline, NOT something they'll be able to follow to a T. If we happen to fall into adhering to the times...I will be majorly delighted, but I won't lose sleep if they don't. My SIL has her daughter on a strict time schedule and her daughter is NOT performing up to SIL's excpetations. I believe she has it so that the child pees and poops according to schedule (okay that's stretching it a bit...but SIL gets majorly upset when things happen to knock her daughter's schedule off). Her daughter is MORE stubborn against her mother than even my daughter was without one.

We have a loosely predictable schedule (wake up, dress, eat, brush teeth/hair, school and afterschool activities, play for 1/2 hour, homework, play, dinner, more play, bath if bath night, reading, bed) but there is no way we can tie it to a strict time schedule.

The reality is that she's dead to the world in the mornings. She sometimes wakes up on her own by 6:30, but sometimes we have to physically pick her up out of her top bunk and put her on the couch to finish waking up otherwise she's a bear if we force her to. Yelling about it is fruitless if she's in "dead to the world" mode. She will not move. Literally, sometimes I have to shake her to make sure she's breathing.

In this regard...she is just like me. I hate mornings. I am groggy and slow in the mornings too until I get my coffee. I have a diagnosed hypothyroid condition which does play a role in this inability to get moving in the morning.

She probably could use with about 1 or 2 hours more sleep a night. That's one thing dh and I are going to try to implement.

We have natural rhythms...but it is opposite to the rest of the world. The world as it is now is NOT meant for night owls, but early birds. My oldest daughter, an early bird, wakes up voluntarily EVERY day at 6 am without fail. She prefers to be up and reading a book or watching a bit of TV.

Eating breakfast (or lunch or dinner), the girls dilly dally. The girls talk, goof off, get up to go potty (usually at the same time then fight over the only toilet like they did this morning). A ten minute breakfast turns into 15 or 20 minutes. But if I cut off their eating before they are done, it will set them up to fail later in the day. And before you ask, we do bark orders at them to get back to eating. There have been times when I shoveled food into my daughters mouth if she was particularly fussy. Ask me how many mornings she tells me, "Mommy my tummy hurts. I can't eat any more".

When I was in elementary school, it didn't start until 9 am and we got out at 3:30 - a more natural thing for children. Their school is 8:10 in the mornings and they get out at 2:30. Do you know the reason for the time change? So that parents can get to work on time. It has NOTHING to do with what's good for the children but what works better for the PARENTS.

Do you see where I'm getting with this?

And Roar - I'm not picking on YOU with this next bit. I promise you I'm not.

We are institutionalizing children and expecting them to get ready for the grown up world starting at kindergarten.

Our society, with it's rigid rules and expectations, it's industrial model of education and work, and turning childhood activities into a production line is TOXIC to human development. And then we wonder why are kids are anxious. We expect them to act like grownups before they are ready.

Sure kids can thrive in that situation because it's conditioned into them at early ages because we want to turn them into good little drones...I mean citizens.

You must get them to conform and it all starts with the schedule (which is best implemented from birth).

Okay rant over.

But...given the fact that I have to get my kids to conform to society's schedule, and not be able to follow our own natural biorhythms and the girls make it very difficult, that makes me grumpy and frustrated. Not at THEM.

I am grumpy and frustrated at the fact that I have to send them to school in the first place.

I would homeschool them if I had a bigger house to have a dedicated homeschool room and I knew they would have more space not to get in each others way.

But I don't, and I can't. So I have to learn how to work with what we've got. And yes, I am highly resistant to it. I refuse to completely assimilate. Perhaps my daughter is more like me than I thought. Hmmm, I should be proud she's not caving in instantly to my demands, not frustrated.

Anyway...I do appreciate your input. Please don't think I'm really arguing with YOU, I'm not.

I've been given some things to think about.

I will create a basic written schedule list. I will post it in the dining room and on the Refrigerator. I will encourage the girls to keep to the schedule, but I'm not going to punish them if they don't (and I'm not saying that you even suggested that).

I will, with dh's help, think about other improvements that have been suggested.
post #25 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
As far as playing, of course it is a great idea and along the way it certainly can mature a child and help them develop socially. I was taking it as a given that most people already engaged in this kind of play, but if that's not a part of her life sure it would be great to add that. I don't think studying the art of play is any substitute for offering a child predictability of a schedules and teaching problem solving skills.
Um...the playing/play therapy WAS to help teach problem solving skills.

We HAVE talked about problem solving skills using picture books and social stories. It goes in one ear and out the other.

I have my problem solving binder we go through, with social stories in it, but it is limited because it doesn't apply specifically to HER situations, with HER sisters.

We have not PRACTICED scenarios using those problem solving skills.

THAT'S what I think the play 'therapy' would help. I'm talking about role playing, building scenarios in which she can act out with her toys the good choices.

My therapist, for couple's therapy gave us dialogue sheets to practice effective communication. We needed to act out and practice how we would respond to each other, because simply telling us only went through one ear and out the other.

We need to come up with things like that for the kids and actually PRACTICE it.

She needs practice with dealing with frustration. She's come a long way, but she's been through a setback.
post #26 of 77
Thread Starter 
I wanted to add...

What is very helpful to me about the collaborative problem solving website was the video collection.

I'm not wondering if I could find more videos about it in action. It helps me to see it acted out, rather than read about it in a book.
post #27 of 77
FWIW, I put off play therapy (with a licensed therapist) for years for many reasons. My 8yo DS is now in play therapy once a week (we started in August) and his transformation is unbelievable.

I tried play therapy techniques at home but I didn't see the results we are seeing now. There is something to be said for having a neutral third party lead the play in a neutral space. She has taken us out of home and school (where there is some baggage from years of struggling) and put us in a space where we... play. We play new, silly, unfamiliar games. We don't talk. We don't reason. We don't dwell. We just play together, like little kids, once a week for 45 minutes (and we end the session with my son curlds up like an infant in my lap, me rocking him like a baby, and it is a re-parenting of sorts -- how she gets him here is always amazing to me -- it is something he would never, ever have let me do before).

Things aren't perfect, but for a few days after play therapy he is simply more... balanced. Less intense. Easier to talk to and reason with. Like it organizes his brain and his emotions.

So, just putting that out there. Finding a good play therapist might be worth a shot. I'm kicking myself for not doing it earlier.
post #28 of 77
Thread Starter 
Did you miss the part where dh got laid off?

I WOULD do play therapy...SHOULD HAVE DONE it before but really had not thought of it...

....if I didn't have to worry about what's going to happen when dh's severance runs out.

so, yeah...

it's in the plan for the future...when one of us is employed again.
post #29 of 77
No, I did not miss it, yikes...

The clinic we go to is for low-income families on a sliding scale, $5 per visit usually, sometimes free. Kids on CHIP go for free.

Sorry, no offense meant.
post #30 of 77
Thread Starter 
No...no offense taken.

I had NO idea that 'sliding scale' play therapy would even be available. I am so used to therapies being like $150 a session...

Hmmm...now I'll be sure to ask the school social worker if she knows anything like that around here.

update...

I left a message with her because I have NO idea where we would go to find something like that.
post #31 of 77
Hey Miss Info,

My dd1 is my sensitive/anxious one. She's also not a creature of schedule, nor am I, but i thought the Explosive Child book and Collaborative Problem Solving system were spot on for a lot of our issues. I'm not actually sure where you or Roar are getting schedules from that book. I didn't get that at all. What I got was: empathize briefly, name the problem, and invite the child to find a mutually agreeable solution. This can all be written down, but it can be done verbally on the fly when you need to get out the door to school and your child is in a puddle because she can't find her favorite shirt. My girls both really respond to it all being written down ala "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen..." Writing it down seems to let the child know that you're taking their concerns seriously, plus my kids love to come up with silly "solutions".

Anyway, for my dd1 it really does help to connect with empathy and a hug. I don't over-empathize, though. I do acknowledge her issue, but sometimes I kinda have to tell her to try to brush it off (suck it up), when it's not something major. She's the kinda kid who when she was younger might need a bandaid and lots of kisses for a scratch that didn't even bleed, y'know? So, I'm careful to acknowledge and empahtize, but not overdo it. She can spiral down into an emotional puddle pretty quickly if I let her.

Food is very important for her, too. We don't talk about how she needs it, though, as that makes it too much like pointing out a flaw, but I will talk about how I get cranky if I don't have enough to eat, or how grandma said the same thing about herself (which is true, btw) and how I think that's common for most people and all the while I'm putting out some snacks that I know the kids like, but I don't tell her I won't talk to her until she eats something. Lots of times I will put out something not so healthy like organic cheese puffs, but also put out some peanut butter crackers or cheese sticks or fruit and nuts. The cheesy poofs sort of prime the pump and then they'll go on to eat the good stuff, too. My dd1 is 9.5 now, though, and has become more self aware of the hungry=cranky equation.

Regarding the scheduling thing. Too strict of a schedule makes my dd1's anxiety much worse. She's a dawdler and dawdle dawdle dawdles and then gets anxious that she's been bad and made us late. She really needs a tremendous amount of unstructured downtime that is unscheduled. We've had to skip some afterschool activities that I would really like her to be able to do (kids yoga — great for creating calm) because while we could sqeeeeeze it in she already had dance later that day and it was just too much for her. She's very creative and thankfully her little sis likes to play those kinds of games and do art, too. She has a very artistic personality and needs to make as many of her own decisions as possible. To me, that's what Collaborative Problem Solving/The Explosive Child approach is all about. I always ask dd1 her ideas if I possibly can and don't impose mine on her if I can avoid it. We work together to find solutions when there's a problem if we can. She's always going to have these anxious tendencies, but my hope for her is that she can continue to learn coping skills so that when the panic/anxiety does hit she can talk herself down.

hth
post #32 of 77
Thread Starter 
Actually, Beanma

That really does help. I think the brainstorming is tremendously helpful and seeing how CPS is working out in customizable ways.

This thread has really got me thinking about tweaking things and thinking about the "logjams" in our day that causes stress on all of us. Even to the point of figuring out a "take a number" dealie for bathroom usage. The first one done with breakfast gets the bathroom first kind of thing.

This also has gotten me thinking about empathy and being heard. Neither I, nor dh felt heard as a child. We have trouble hearing our children's needs too. It ends up no one gets heard and we all get frustrated.

It's good to know the empathy part doesn't have to be a big production. It's not that I don't feel empathy for my child. I just have trouble with how to express it. I feel bad but there is sometimes little time to waste when we have to get out the door, you know?

Re: the food talk... yes, it would be better to phrase it in terms of how it affects ME, rather than her.

And I thought for the morning...perhaps I ought to see if I can't get her to drink a little juice to get her moving. We've tended to get them to eat whole fruits and veggies and don't do juice much. But in this case, it might help get her going like coffee gets me going.
post #33 of 77
Thread Starter 
I forgot about this caregiver handout for CPS I found a while back.

http://www.highplainpto.org/caregiverhandout.pdf

I guess it's time to revisit it and give this shortened version to dh to help get him up on the same page with me.
post #34 of 77
Beanma, that was a great post and reflects a lot of what we've learned/do here.

MissInformation, to use sensory language re schedules: your DD is demonstrating dysregulation and may need external supports to bring her into/maintain/increase regulation. The idea of a schedule is not about controlling her, or giving into "the man," but rather acknowledges that your child has a more difficult time than typical in keeping her sensory system and emotions balanced. While helping her to learn self-management and self-regulation strategies, you help her by providing predictability and fewer unexpected events that she has to manage (or not manage) through. Anxiety and sensory are really pretty chicken and the egg IME, so dealing with the sensory stuff (ie minimizing the unexpected) can help with the anxiety by not generating it.

I HATE schedules. I have a need for a fair amount of novelty and actually like getting lost as I always learn something unexpected. It's really hard for me to maintain schedules as it's really counter-intuitive to me. But the choice I face is suck it up and deal with the schedule and fewer meltdowns and thus kids with increased self-esteem and happiness, or I can fly by the seat of my pants while trying to get a kid off the ceiling.

Our schedule is loose. The kids actually love it when I post the week's schedule on Sunday night for the following week, which is really just broad strokes. They like understanding that on Tuesday they have this extra-curricular, and on Wednesday they can have a friend over. We do it together, and they decide which days they're going to do their chores etc.

You say she seems fine at school - that may be from a desire to fit in, and could be that it's predictable.

I have to go, but wanted to remember to include that we wake DD up every morning with a protein shake with a straw - she literally props herself up and sucks it back, then starts moving for the day. If we don't do this, the morning is impossible and we're late.
post #35 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post

THAT'S what I think the play 'therapy' would help. I'm talking about role playing, building scenarios in which she can act out with her toys the good choices.

.
I really don't see that as at all like play therapy. If anything the goal of play therapy is more about giving kids a safe space to act out "bad" choices.

As your daughter is bright and has been raised in a house where she's been exposed to information including the names of emotions, etc. it may well not be an informational problem. In other words, she may be able to identify perfectly well what the "good" choices are. Demonstrating the "good" choices through play may just further highlight for her that she's failing. Rather than lack of information the problem may be more one of lack of mature emotional and sensory regulation, lack of impulse control and/or and lack of problem solving skills.
post #36 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

MissInformation, to use sensory language re schedules: your DD is demonstrating dysregulation and may need external supports to bring her into/maintain/increase regulation. The idea of a schedule is not about controlling her, or giving into "the man," but rather acknowledges that your child has a more difficult time than typical in keeping her sensory system and emotions balanced. While helping her to learn self-management and self-regulation strategies, you help her by providing predictability and fewer unexpected events that she has to manage (or not manage) through. Anxiety and sensory are really pretty chicken and the egg IME, so dealing with the sensory stuff (ie minimizing the unexpected) can help with the anxiety by not generating it.
Yes, exactly. You saved me so much time typing and said it better than I would have. The bottom line is that she feels bad right now. The fact she is losing it over little stuff and that she is hard to wake up - those are huge flags that she's not well regulated. The point of schedules is not to impose some type of military order on things to validate "the man". It is to help your kid have a fighting chance to feel better. It is simplifies their lives and sets them up for success.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
I HATE schedules. I have a need for a fair amount of novelty and actually like getting lost as I always learn something unexpected. It's really hard for me to maintain schedules as it's really counter-intuitive to me. But the choice I face is suck it up and deal with the schedule and fewer meltdowns and thus kids with increased self-esteem and happiness, or I can fly by the seat of my pants while trying to get a kid off the ceiling.
Right there with you. It was really hard for me at first, but in time I saw again and again the value in it. As the kids get older it becomes much easier because they mature and become more flexible AND they become better able to understand what they need and take care of it without an adult. Around ages 3-7 our schedule was really not loose. We ultimately figured out we had quite a narrow window for bedtime. Earlier and he wasn't tired, and even worse later and he was overtired which would play out in a second wind that never ended well. It seemed crazy to me that the window could be that narrow, but in reality it was. I'd much rather live by a schedule that isn't natural feeling for me and have a happy kid, than have my freewheeling life and be dealing with crying jags or an anxious kid the next day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
You say she seems fine at school - that may be from a desire to fit in, and could be that it's predictable. .
Another really good observation. Sometimes unregulated kids do a lot better in more structured predictable environments.
post #37 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
I'm not actually sure where you or Roar are getting schedules from that book.
Those were two separate points. A schedule and routine is important for dysregulated kids. And, check out Greene for how to work on problem solving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
Regarding the scheduling thing. Too strict of a schedule makes my dd1's anxiety much worse. She's a dawdler and dawdle dawdle dawdles and then gets anxious that she's been bad and made us late. She really needs a tremendous amount of unstructured downtime that is unscheduled.
Maybe the word schedule means different things to different people. For me part of the purpose of a schedule is to avoid being rushed and to make sure there is time for play, chilling, exercise, eating, sleep. Knowing the importance of all of these things and building a schedule means avoiding adding on extra time consuming stuff that isn't necessary to feel good. The schedule prioritizes what is most important instead of by chance seeing what happens and hoping the kid can roll with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
We work together to find solutions when there's a problem if we can. She's always going to have these anxious tendencies, but my hope for her is that she can continue to learn coping skills so that when the panic/anxiety does hit she can talk herself down.

hth
That's a great approach. It has worked very well here too.
post #38 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
My SIL has her daughter on a strict time schedule and her daughter is NOT performing up to SIL's excpetations. I believe she has it so that the child pees and poops according to schedule (okay that's stretching it a bit...but SIL gets majorly upset when things happen to knock her daughter's schedule off). Her daughter is MORE stubborn against her mother than even my daughter was without one.

.
Yeah, I'm not sure how productive this is. Kids are all different and it isn't a contest.

What I can say is that my sensory unregulated, anxious child felt like crap without a schedule. Waking up cranky and out of sorts wasn't fun to anyone. Getting overtired and ending the day in tears wasn't fun. Crying over minuscule slights because he hasn't had enough protein wasn't fun. He was an entirely different person with a strong schedule and routine and readily identified the ways in which it made him feel better. Sure, probably even at his best he didn't feel as good at my SIL's son who has the happy luck to be born with an easy disposition and the ability to roll with pretty much everything. That doesn't take away from the value of a schedule.
post #39 of 77

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Edited by quaz - 5/25/11 at 10:42am
post #40 of 77
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