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How do you help the gifted child's behavior problems when you don't know what's wrong? - Page 3

post #41 of 77
Thread Starter 
This is the first year they were ALL in school at the same start time and end time.

There was insanity to keep track of last year with half day school for her and 2 hour school for my preschooler. The year before that was even more nuts with her having preschool 5 days a week but some times it was just the morning, sometimes it was morning and afternoon at 2 different preschools. I would have gone absolutely bonkers writing the schedule down. I had it worked out in my head and we lived with it.

This year would probably be better for at least listing what we do.

Wake
Eat breakfast
Dress
Brush Teeth/Hair/Get ready to go to school
School/afterschool program if they have one.
Snack and relax (sometimes with TV or just free play)
Homework
Play
Wash up/set table
Dinner
Clean up
Bath if bath night. Play if not.
Stories
Get Ready for Bed
Bedtime

We generally follow this already...but I don't stress if there's delays in the afternoon.

However, I can think of one thing that prevents me from tying this to Time.

I would have trouble keeping dinner to a specific time...because sometimes (rarely) I can get it started by 4, but sometimes I don't get it started til 5:00 - because, like today, I pick them up from school at 4:05 so I don't bother starting dinner until 4:30 or 5:00, which throws the rest of the night off. Every once in a while, we all goof off (or go to the library, bookstore, park etc) after school and dinner doesn't on the table until 6:00. In that event...the girls have a grazing meal - I'll give them their fruits/vegetables while they wait for the main dish to be ready.

However, this doesn't address ANY of the logistical problems we have the one bathroom/tiny house situation. The only room with mirrors they can see into is the bathroom behind the door.

One person has to poop. 2 line up to use the bathroom. Or have to brush their teeth/hair. The one on the toilet NEEDS privacy, understandably so.

None of them wake up and use the toilet upon waking to pee. They seem to all wait until I have to use it, then I have three girls saying, "my turn".

I guess what I'm saying is that unless I give them a specific slot on the schedule...there are some annoyances that aren't fixable.

There are reasons why kids get along better in school - above and beyond the predictability of the routine. 1) they aren't related to the teacher or each other (usually) 2) they don't have to share their personal belongings. 3) they have more than one toilet and sink. 4) Its embarrassing to be singled out for trouble, so my very aware of the school rules but self-conscious child would NEVER want to be publicly embarrassed so she follows the rules.

She follows the rules all day long...holds in any frustrations she might have (and, I'd forgotten about her being disappointed about not being able to check out a book she'd wanted to read because it was a second grade book before...). She comes home and unloads as she needs to, and it's not always pretty.

I don't see HOW a mere schedule helps that.

Learning how to deal with disappointment would. Having a safe place to vent frustrations and yes, anger too (because HAPPY is NOT the ONLY ACCEPTABLE emotion...though I wish I could hold us all to that.).

So...you see. Collaborative Problem solving...Yes. HALT. Yes.

Scheduling? Meh. My bets are still with having a safe place to act out frustration and general anger would be better. Because you know what...other people have made ME frustrated and angry too and having a schedule doesn't help resolve MY issues.

Having a safe place to cry and be upset and angry does.
post #42 of 77
Regarding the schedule thing for us I'd liken it to list-making. I have a friend who loves to make lists. They keep her focused and organized and she reports she gets a little thrill from marking things off her list. For me lists feel like a big black cloud hanging over my head of all the things I have to do. I avoid them at all costs. I keep a mental list, but a paper or electronic "to do" list frequently just freaks me out. I often don't even grocery shop with a list, though sometimes I do jot one down.

I think my dd1 is more like me than like my friend, but I freely acknowledge that there are many folks—both grown-ups and kids— for whom list-making and scheduling work really well and help them feel more in control and together rather than oppressed and anxious like I feel.

So, I think scheduling/list-making/charts would be worth looking at in case you have a kid who does well with structure and feels more in-control and less anxious with a schedule/list/chart, but one size does not fit all and you might end up with a kid like me and my dd1 who feels more anxious with that kind of structure. Like all of parenting you just have to kind of feel your way.
post #43 of 77
I've got a lot of thoughts, which may or may not end up organized:

Sleep
My first thought when I read your original post was: SLEEP! Is this child getting enough sleep? She sounds like my dd when she doesn't get enough sleep. And because dd has an older brother, and the family sometimes has evening activities (ds soccer MW, dd gymnastics M evening 7-8, mom and dad various volunteer things), our bedtime sometimes is too late.

Honestly, I'd work on this (and food) before anything else.

Play Therapy
I would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the book "Playful Parenting" it has so many good points that I think you could easily put to use. It's not play therapy, per se, but it is using play to work with your kids.

Two major things from that book strike me as being useful for your situation:
1. Try to find time every day where you can connect 1-1 with your child. Logistically, I don't know how to do that with 3 kids at the ages your kids are at. But, this might be where your dh can really step up now that he's been laid off. Maybe you can divide and conquer so that each child gets some focused time with one or the other of you nearly every day. (Every day is impossible, IME.)

2. During the 1-1 play time, your CHILD leads the play. YOU do not lead the play. This is different from what I'm hearing you say. The beauty of this is that you do not need to learn to play, you need to do what they tell you to do. And then to quote a cliche "fake it until you make it".

I can't tell you how important this sort of play has been for my kids. I joke with my friends that ds is his own best therapist! But it's crucial that they lead the play and you take a secondary role.

When ds was in 1st grade, it meant that I spent more time than I care to admit playing 'school'. Ds needed to come home and recreate his school day. He'd come home, write down the 'lesson plan' and he'd be the teacher and I'd be the student. It was really important to him that I do things "right". I had to go outside for recess until he blew the whistle. I had to do the written work. He asked me to make mistakes so that he could correct them. Sometimes I misbehaved and got sent to the "Thinking Room".

Through this, I could see that he was really working out what it meant to be in charge, what it meant to make mistakes and to misbehave.

For the record, the child has never been sent to the Thinking Room. When I shared with his 4th grade teacher this week that one of my "goals" for him is to get sent to the Thinking Room for talking too much, she laughed and said "I don't think it's going to happen in elementary school!" BUT in 1st grade, ds was intensely worried about that. Playing it out helped him get over his fear. It was just this year, in 4th grade, that he could DESCRIBE that fear for me. He said just before school started "I remember in 1st grade, we were all so worried about getting sent to the Thinking Room. It was a really big deal.)

(I actually did up a book about his playing school because he spent so much time on it: http://www.web.pdx.edu/~dbls/TommyPl...ol1stGrade.pdf)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
She specifically told me the more visual the approach the better, since she was more stimulated and attentive to visual tasks.
Have you tried a feeling thermometer with her? I did a quick google search and came up with this: http://www.cognitivetherapyforkids.c...hermometer.pdf

Maybe your dh and your dd can make one that meets her needs.

Schedules
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
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.
I hear your aversion to schedules, but as others have pointed out, it's about her needs, not yours.

And I have found that my child with the least internal regulation needs the most external structure or she melts down. Ds actually does not an external schedule. The child is entirely regular, down to the fact that I could predict the time he would have a bowel movement! Dd is very irregular in her schedule and gets overwhelmed if I don't help. In order to take advantage of flexibility, dd first needs underlying consistency. FWIW, it sounds like you have that, but maybe it needs to be more overt.

The other piece that I'd note for you is that children with SPD are delayed in the self-regulatory skills. They rely on us to help co-regulate them. Dd and I had a blow up last night that would have been completely avoidable if I had been able to regulate myself. But I was exhausted and stressed. Not a great combo.Since your regulation is a little iffy right now, maybe this is also something that your dh can help with.

Food
As someone who loses it when I get hungry, I have several thoughts. The first is that you need to prevent this as much as you can. I can't tell you the number of arguments I've had with dh when I've been hungry. .

The thing is, that when I'm hungry, I don't notice that I'm getting touchier and snippy. When dh points it out, my response is usually something like "WHAT DO YOU MEAN I'M BEING UNREASONABLE?! I'M PERFECTLY REASONABLE RIGHT NOW." Of course, after I've eaten, I realize that perhaps I was a little unreasonable. It only took dh 10-15 years of marriage to realize that sometimes he just needs to shut up until I've eaten.

Lunch: ds never eats much for lunch either and I think it's because of the sensory overload of the lunchroom. He just can't do it. I swear Nutella by the spoonful is the only thing keeping the child alive.

Snacks: Don't forget about varying the texture as well as the taste and the protein content. Will she eat pepperjack cheese? Blue cheese? Almonds? Pretzels dipped in cheese sauce?

Snacks 2: Bring a snack in the car. Give it to all your kids. If it's the only thing there and they're not doing anything but riding in the car, they're more likely to eat it. Then when she gets home, she will have enough energy to make a choice for a second snack.

Juice: Yes! I have a friend whose daughter has reactive hypoglycemia (to the point of getting stomach cramps when she doesn't eat, and then she can't eat, leading to a vicious cycle..). Juice in the AM is key to getting her to function upon rising.

Breakfast: How long a drive is it to school? Could you bring it in the car if they're not done in time? That's what we did last year with dd. It just wasn't worth the fight. PB&J made a decent breakfast.

Bathroom
Since the bathroom seems to be a source of stress, just let me share that I grew up in a family of 5 kids with one bathroom. We learned to share. We brushed our teeth together. It was very common for someone to come in and use the toilet while someone else was taking a shower/bath. If someone else needed to brush their teeth while you were on the toilet, you only got so much 'alone time'. We survived. So, maybe that can change?

Other

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
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.
Yes, so I would recommend doing some thinking/recording about the things that seem to bring out your dd's anxiety. Is it unpredictability? Then a schedule might be a good idea. Is it something else?

I might also recommend Stanley Greenspan's "The Challenging Child" -- it has some practical advice and problem solving ideas, but is really focused on connection. (It makes a nice pair with Playful Parenting.) Maybe if the Explosive Child doesn't work for you, this one might.
post #44 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post

I would have trouble keeping dinner to a specific time...because sometimes (rarely) I can get it started by 4, but sometimes I don't get it started til 5:00 - because, like today, I pick them up from school at 4:05 so I don't bother starting dinner until 4:30 or 5:00, which throws the rest of the night off. .
For me this is a good example of how a schedule worked well for us in the younger years. The schedule acknowledged a kid who was not well regulated was not going to do well if dinner was late. Instead of letting the rest of the night be off, why not plan ahead? If I knew we were going to be late, I'd plan something simple and have options that could be reheated from the weekend or be largely prepared the night before or the morning before. This wasn't what I wanted to do, but it has over time developed into a habit that has been really helpful as the teenage years involve a lot more running around to afterschool and evening activities and advance planning avoids reliance on take out (unhealthy and expensive). Getting into the habit of always having some kind of blood sugar boosting snack option at school pick up and always having blood sugar regulating snacks (like nuts) available can help avoid some meltdowns too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
However, this doesn't address ANY of the logistical problems we have the one bathroom/tiny house situation. The only room with mirrors they can see into is the bathroom behind the door.
I'd bet many of us growing up lived in families with many people and one bathroom. It is better than the way most of the people on the planet live. I don't believe there is anything inherent in the human condition that causes people to live in a state of anxiety if they only have one bathroom. If the issue is hairbrushing get another mirror for another room; that's not complicated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
There are reasons why kids get along better in school - above and beyond the predictability of the routine. 1) they aren't related to the teacher or each other (usually) 2) they don't have to share their personal belongings. 3) they have more than one toilet and sink. 4) Its embarrassing to be singled out for trouble, so my very aware of the school rules but self-conscious child would NEVER want to be publicly embarrassed so she follows the rules.
At some point I guess you can come up with all sorts of reasons why nothing can possibly work, but it might be worth recognizing that sort of thinking may reflect thinking errors associated with anxiety. Yes, school and home aren't the same, but you can benefit from looking at what works and taking the parts you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
She follows the rules all day long...holds in any frustrations she might have (and, I'd forgotten about her being disappointed about not being able to check out a book she'd wanted to read because it was a second grade book before...). She comes home and unloads as she needs to, and it's not always pretty.
I think the unloading on mom idea is a convenient one because it doesn't dictate making any actual changes. It make mom feel like the hero/martyr and it necessitates no actual responsibility taking. I am not dismissing it can happen that kids are tired and unhappy after a difficult day. However taking for a minute that it is true that her life at school is hell and she's filled with terrible emotions causing her to be in bad shape at home, I'd say the best thing you can do in that situation is to make home a soft landing place by lowering as much stress as possible and for not well regulated kids a schedule often removes a lot of stress and anxiety.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
other people have made ME frustrated and angry too and having a schedule doesn't help resolve MY issues.
.
??? You are an adult. Presumably you have a much better developed sensory system than a child with sensory integration problems. Also, presumably you have a lot more control over your world than a child does. I would also expect you have a better developed understanding of the role of hunger and food choices in behavior. The schedule isn't about you, because you aren't the child with regulation problems. The purpose is not to eliminate having normal emotions like anger or frustration. The purpose is to give her a fighting chance to be able to be in the condition to develop emotional regulation where she can experience these feelings without melting down.
post #45 of 77
On the unloading when she gets home idea, Anthony Wolfe talks about this in his books. They're really fun quick reads and I've garnered some good nuggets from them. Might be worth checking out at the library. I've read "Mom, Jason's Breathing On Me!" and thought he really captured a lot of sibling issues. One of his big points is don't take sides and call out a particular child unless that child is actually doing harm to his/her sibling, as in going to require first aid! Instead intervene with something like, "Girls, please stop bickering and see if you can work this out." Obviously if one child is really being picked on mercilessly by her sister you need to monitor it and make sure it stops, but if you can avoid calling out one child by name then you have a better chance to avoid the whole competing for Mom's attention behavior. I'm not explaining it nearly as well as he did (he's the author after all), but maybe you get the idea.

Anyway, he does touch on how we revert to our "baby" selves when we come home and let down our guard. I think it's definitely worth checking out at the library if not buying.
post #46 of 77
Lots of great thoughts here, and I just wanted to share one tiny additional tidbit from us. You mentioned that there were no issues at school, but in your first post you also mentioned that this is the first year that she is attending school all day.

I found this to be an incredibly critical point for my DD with similar personality traits. She is currently the same age as your DD, a first grader, and we ran into this issue when she was younger. It was the transition from preschool to pre-K. Same school. Same kids. There were a number of other important differences, but the biggest change was that transition to a full day program.

It was the worst year of her life. It was so bad that I finally pulled her out in March. I should have pulled her out sooner. It was also when I finally put pieces of her puzzle together and found this forum, etc.

I was sure we needed a therapist. I even researched therapists and screened a few. I never found one that felt like the right fit.

In parallel to all this, we just kept her at home and then decided we would just homeschool. It's been about 18 months now since we took her out, and she is a completely different child.

We did no therapeutic interventions at all. We basically just pulled her back home with us and gave her a safe place again. She is not the anxious kid that she once was. She is truly a totally different kid. Much of it is probably maturity but I also really think it had a lot to do with her not really being ready for those full days.

I'm not at all suggesting that this is the answer to your particular situation. It sounds like you have more than enough going on than to decide to homeschool her. But, perhaps the impact on the full day of school might be impacting her more than is obvious. It was not at all obvious to me right away that it was a serious problem.

Good luck!
Holli
post #47 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
For me this is a good example of how a schedule worked well for us in the younger years. The schedule acknowledged a kid who was not well regulated was not going to do well if dinner was late. Instead of letting the rest of the night be off, why not plan ahead? If I knew we were going to be late, I'd plan something simple and have options that could be reheated from the weekend or be largely prepared the night before or the morning before. This wasn't what I wanted to do, but it has over time developed into a habit that has been really helpful as the teenage years involve a lot more running around to afterschool and evening activities and advance planning avoids reliance on take out (unhealthy and expensive). Getting into the habit of always having some kind of blood sugar boosting snack option at school pick up and always having blood sugar regulating snacks (like nuts) available can help avoid some meltdowns too.



I'd bet many of us growing up lived in families with many people and one bathroom. It is better than the way most of the people on the planet live. I don't believe there is anything inherent in the human condition that causes people to live in a state of anxiety if they only have one bathroom. If the issue is hairbrushing get another mirror for another room; that's not complicated.



At some point I guess you can come up with all sorts of reasons why nothing can possibly work, but it might be worth recognizing that sort of thinking may reflect thinking errors associated with anxiety. Yes, school and home aren't the same, but you can benefit from looking at what works and taking the parts you can.



I think the unloading on mom idea is a convenient one because it doesn't dictate making any actual changes. It make mom feel like the hero/martyr and it necessitates no actual responsibility taking. I am not dismissing it can happen that kids are tired and unhappy after a difficult day. However taking for a minute that it is true that her life at school is hell and she's filled with terrible emotions causing her to be in bad shape at home, I'd say the best thing you can do in that situation is to make home a soft landing place by lowering as much stress as possible and for not well regulated kids a schedule often removes a lot of stress and anxiety.



??? You are an adult. Presumably you have a much better developed sensory system than a child with sensory integration problems. Also, presumably you have a lot more control over your world than a child does. I would also expect you have a better developed understanding of the role of hunger and food choices in behavior. The schedule isn't about you, because you aren't the child with regulation problems. The purpose is not to eliminate having normal emotions like anger or frustration. The purpose is to give her a fighting chance to be able to be in the condition to develop emotional regulation where she can experience these feelings without melting down.
Wow...okay. You have a lot of judgmental thinking here.

I'm pretty much done discussing things with you. Definitely not going to waste my time.

You clearly have no idea what PTSD caused from child abuse and emotional neglect can do to a person.

I do, as does my therapist who I can no longer afford to see, as does the 2 books on PTSD and the 3 books on brain development and attachment theory on my bookshelf.

A person with PTSD caused by years of psychological and sometimes physical abuse and extreme emotional neglect has the same emotional regulation problems as a child with SPD.

Please do not respond to this post anymore. You are judgmental, completely missing the points I'm trying to make, and overall just not listening to me.
post #48 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
On the unloading when she gets home idea, Anthony Wolfe talks about this in his books. They're really fun quick reads and I've garnered some good nuggets from them. Might be worth checking out at the library. I've read "Mom, Jason's Breathing On Me!" and thought he really captured a lot of sibling issues. One of his big points is don't take sides and call out a particular child unless that child is actually doing harm to his/her sibling, as in going to require first aid! Instead intervene with something like, "Girls, please stop bickering and see if you can work this out." Obviously if one child is really being picked on mercilessly by her sister you need to monitor it and make sure it stops, but if you can avoid calling out one child by name then you have a better chance to avoid the whole competing for Mom's attention behavior. I'm not explaining it nearly as well as he did (he's the author after all), but maybe you get the idea.

Anyway, he does touch on how we revert to our "baby" selves when we come home and let down our guard. I think it's definitely worth checking out at the library if not buying.
Thanks for the information. I'll see if my library has that book.

I want to make it clear that my daughter is not a monster to her sisters. I would never let my daughters pick on each other mercilessly. My eldest sister chased me around the house with a kitchen knife and hit and scratched me and pulled my hair any time she could. I don't let my daughters abuse each other.

It's more the annoying..."mom, her foot is touching me kind of thing", or walking past each other uncarefully so someone gets bumped, and yes, bickering.

She's had a better day today. No major issues.
post #49 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marimami View Post
Lots of great thoughts here, and I just wanted to share one tiny additional tidbit from us. You mentioned that there were no issues at school, but in your first post you also mentioned that this is the first year that she is attending school all day.

I found this to be an incredibly critical point for my DD with similar personality traits. She is currently the same age as your DD, a first grader, and we ran into this issue when she was younger. It was the transition from preschool to pre-K. Same school. Same kids. There were a number of other important differences, but the biggest change was that transition to a full day program.

It was the worst year of her life. It was so bad that I finally pulled her out in March. I should have pulled her out sooner. It was also when I finally put pieces of her puzzle together and found this forum, etc.

I was sure we needed a therapist. I even researched therapists and screened a few. I never found one that felt like the right fit.

In parallel to all this, we just kept her at home and then decided we would just homeschool. It's been about 18 months now since we took her out, and she is a completely different child.

We did no therapeutic interventions at all. We basically just pulled her back home with us and gave her a safe place again. She is not the anxious kid that she once was. She is truly a totally different kid. Much of it is probably maturity but I also really think it had a lot to do with her not really being ready for those full days.

I'm not at all suggesting that this is the answer to your particular situation. It sounds like you have more than enough going on than to decide to homeschool her. But, perhaps the impact on the full day of school might be impacting her more than is obvious. It was not at all obvious to me right away that it was a serious problem.

Good luck!
Holli
No...it's a great suggestion.

It's not the right time for it. For many factors.

For now, having her in school is valuable experience for her. She loves school, loves her friends and teachers.

She was doing fine in school, and not really so bad at home, it's only been 2 months since school started, most of it has been better than in years past. I just wanted help because she in the two weeks or so...seemed a little worse. I hadn't been sure why.

Something had been going off a little. The upset about the news of dh's layoff made me wonder if that played a factor...or his stress about work in general. His stress from work was making him more easily irritated until he went on Xanax...and recently Zoloft (about a week before he got laid off).

Her issues are probably less about school situations...than it is about family stress. having her home might be a hoot and a holler for a while. I could see one of us getting bored with it (she's a novelty seeker, like me).
post #50 of 77
Sorry my advice wasn't helpful, it was delivered with the best of intent. If you have not already done so I would encourage you to talk with your therapist about the possibility of continuing to see you on a sliding scale basis or referring you to someone who can do so. I would hope that somebody will give you permission to recognize when you are suffering from extreme emotional regulation problems that becoming a therapist to your child is perhaps not a realistic expectation (not that it should be for any parent). Life is hard enough when we focus on the parts we can control without giving equal energy to the lesser things in life (like who can use the bathroom mirror). I hope you can get to a better place soon.
post #51 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
Sorry my advice wasn't helpful, it was delivered with the best of intent. If you have not already done so I would encourage you to talk with your therapist about the possibility of continuing to see you on a sliding scale basis or referring you to someone who can do so. I would hope that somebody will give you permission to recognize when you are suffering from extreme emotional regulation problems that becoming a therapist to your child is perhaps not a realistic expectation (not that it should be for any parent). Life is hard enough when we focus on the parts we can control without giving equal energy to the lesser things in life (like who can use the bathroom mirror). I hope you can get to a better place soon.
Um...actually, I'm learning MORE about what I need from self-help books psychologists write than my therapist ever could teach me and more quickly than in the 50 minute sessions I got once a week. She's learning MORE from me from the resources I find on attachment theory and PSTD I read on the internet than I EVER learned from HER. She always took down the names of the book titles and links I find so SHE can learn something new.

So, just because I don't have a degree in psychology, doesn't mean I can't be in a position to help myself OR my family.

Thanks.
post #52 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
So, just because I don't have a degree in psychology, doesn't mean I can't be in a position to help myself OR my family.
My concern wasn't your ability to research or acquire information as clearly it is well developed. Rather I was concerned about whether adding therapist to your child the list of your responsibilities when you are suffering from PTSD and emotional regulation problems is a healthy choice or a way for you to heal. I see a lot of downsides for any parent in that situation and as you pointed out you are in a much more vulnerable position emotionally than most parents. Helping another person develop emotional regulation when you struggle with the same thing seems a dicey proposition. Much like parents with math anxiety may find the most effective approach is to hire a tutor rather than trying to coach their child through algebra themselves.

I wish you healing. And, just for the record, I wouldn't assume if someone disagrees with you it because they don't understand PTSD. Not everyone posts their medical history.
post #53 of 77
Hmmm. I have always found Roar very insightful, and sometimes uncomfortably insightful. Quoting Roar,
Quote:
At some point I guess you can come up with all sorts of reasons why nothing can possibly work, but it might be worth recognizing that sort of thinking may reflect thinking errors associated with anxiety.
This stuff is really hard. I find living in my own complicated head, and then dealing with my two intense, high OE kids can be very stressful. I can find myself in very stuck thinking, just like my kids. It's a complicated quagmire of my anxiety setting them off, their behaviour/volume/intensity/anxiety setting me off. I sometimes deal with controlling my own anxiety/OEs/intensity through sheer force of bloody minded will because that's the deal I signed on for, and I've learned that I can really make it worse based on what I do. It's easy to get stuck in negative thought patterns, behaviour patterns, reactions.

There's a whole lot of really great advice in this thread, and I think Lynne added a lot.

SCHEDULES: DH works rotating shifts - try creating continuity in that. The schedule we work off is not based on time, it's based on letting the kids know what they can expect that week/day. Having lists in the morning avoids forgetting things (anxiety-provoking) and reduces stress by removing some of the need to plan in the moment. Here's our morning schedule:
wake up (DD gets a protein shake)
dress, teeth, face, hair
ensure bag packed and then TV can be on until set time related to leaving on time
breakfast eaten while watching TV and can be finished in car (I used to not allow TV in am, but we've found it settles them)
shoes, coat, bags, go

I have also set deadlines for things to get out the door on time, which we worked out together. At one point there were arrow stickers on the clock - be dressed and downstairs by xx time, leave by this time. They needed the visual, and we have a clock in the upstairs and downstairs halls. This way they can check their progress against the timeline, which we worked backwards together (to leave by this time, we need this done by this time etc).

Afterschool can look different every day, but they're given the broad strokes in advance. It always includes being greeted with a snack, and they understand the shape of the afternoon/evening.

I think of it this way. Sensory dysregulation triggers fight/flight mode. I can take basic precautions to prevent their systems going on high alert about normal, everyday, in my control things. Then they're only left to deal with the unexpected. Being anxious and overwhelmed is exhausting and some simple strategies can attempt to minimize this.

SUPPLEMENTS
Have you tried omegas or other supplements?

SLEEP
Is she getting enough, quality sleep?

PLAY THERAPY
This is partly driven by my professional POV and partly by my perspective as the parent of a 2E kid, but why therapize it? Read Cohen, read something like The Five Love Languages of Children, read How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and then connect playfully with your girls on a regular basis. Ask them open ended questions about their lives, about books you read together, about what they observed among their peers that day. When meltdowns happen, debrief outside of the moment about what happened and what strategies they could use next time in a kind, connected way. Be their coach, their guide, their playmate, their cheerleader.

Play therapy is an actual form of therapy, and different modes of it can be used to address different issues. Both of our children have periodically seen a certified, highly capable art and play therapist who uses CBT and other forms of therapy. It's been invaluable for my children, but it's been something they needed to do with someone other than their parent who was highly skilled and did not have the loaded relationship that we have with them. Some uncomfortable things about our kids' understanding of their world came out of therapy sessions, which were invaluable but they never would have expressed it to us directly at their tender ages.

My other point re "therapizing" it is that DS has seen various specialists and therapists and part of his self-concept includes that he has SNs and that he's different. Because of funding issues, we've had to do some stuff ourselves, or support what they're doing at school at home. He can smell me trying to technique him at this point, and I don't think it's helped our relationship. We went past the tipping point from parenting to therapying and he rejected it for a while. He's now at a point of maturity that we co-plan our remediation strategies, but he still gets his back up periodically.

I hope you'll accept my post as it's intended - supportive and hopefully helpful. I regularly struggle with feeling like I don't have a freaking clue what I'm doing because my kids continue to struggle, and at 11 DD still melts down periodically. But then I reflect and realize that their trajectories are positive and they're basically happy. The effort is sure worth it.
post #54 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
Um...actually, I'm learning MORE about what I need from self-help books psychologists write than my therapist ever could teach me and more quickly than in the 50 minute sessions I got once a week. She's learning MORE from me from the resources I find on attachment theory and PSTD I read on the internet than I EVER learned from HER. She always took down the names of the book titles and links I find so SHE can learn something new.

So, just because I don't have a degree in psychology, doesn't mean I can't be in a position to help myself OR my family.

Thanks.
Part of what I do professionally is evaluating efficacy of approaches in human services. Not all therapists are created equal, and if your past therapist wasn't helping you then they weren't the right therapist for you and your individual concerns. IME, a smallish percentage of the total number of therapists are remarkably skilled, and it's worth it to look for someone who is exceptional and fits you. If you have ongoing PTSD challenges and are being regularly and frequently triggered, I hope you'll find a new therapist when your resources allow. You deserve to find relief.
post #55 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
My concern wasn't your ability to research or acquire information as clearly it is well developed. Rather I was concerned about whether adding therapist to your child the list of your responsibilities when you are suffering from PTSD and emotional regulation problems is a healthy choice or a way for you to heal. I see a lot of downsides for any parent in that situation and as you pointed out you are in a much more vulnerable position emotionally than most parents. Helping another person develop emotional regulation when you struggle with the same thing seems a dicey proposition. Much like parents with math anxiety may find the most effective approach is to hire a tutor rather than trying to coach their child through algebra themselves.

I wish you healing. And, just for the record, I wouldn't assume if someone disagrees with you it because they don't understand PTSD. Not everyone posts their medical history.
I can assure you, things will be fine.
post #56 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
Part of what I do professionally is evaluating efficacy of approaches in human services. Not all therapists are created equal, and if your past therapist wasn't helping you then they weren't the right therapist for you and your individual concerns. IME, a smallish percentage of the total number of therapists are remarkably skilled, and it's worth it to look for someone who is exceptional and fits you. If you have ongoing PTSD challenges and are being regularly and frequently triggered, I hope you'll find a new therapist when your resources allow. You deserve to find relief.
She was helping me by being a validating voice to what I discover. She had her Ph.D. and she had 12 years of therapy under her belt. She was also a mother and older than I was.

She is exactly what I needed.

She was person-centered, warm, empathetic, teaching me mindfulness meditation practices and completely cooperating in my quest to know more about myself.

She wasn't incompetent. She was a partner in my healing, not the director of it. She and I just enjoyed the exchange of ideas...

Quite honestly, if I wasn't given equal footing with the therapist, it probably would not go over so well. I do not trust authority blindly.
post #57 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
Hmmm. I have always found Roar very insightful, and sometimes uncomfortably insightful. Quoting Roar,


This stuff is really hard. I find living in my own complicated head, and then dealing with my two intense, high OE kids can be very stressful. I can find myself in very stuck thinking, just like my kids. It's a complicated quagmire of my anxiety setting them off, their behaviour/volume/intensity/anxiety setting me off. I sometimes deal with controlling my own anxiety/OEs/intensity through sheer force of bloody minded will because that's the deal I signed on for, and I've learned that I can really make it worse based on what I do. It's easy to get stuck in negative thought patterns, behaviour patterns, reactions.

There's a whole lot of really great advice in this thread, and I think Lynne added a lot.

SCHEDULES: DH works rotating shifts - try creating continuity in that. The schedule we work off is not based on time, it's based on letting the kids know what they can expect that week/day. Having lists in the morning avoids forgetting things (anxiety-provoking) and reduces stress by removing some of the need to plan in the moment. Here's our morning schedule:
wake up (DD gets a protein shake)
dress, teeth, face, hair
ensure bag packed and then TV can be on until set time related to leaving on time
breakfast eaten while watching TV and can be finished in car (I used to not allow TV in am, but we've found it settles them)
shoes, coat, bags, go

I have also set deadlines for things to get out the door on time, which we worked out together. At one point there were arrow stickers on the clock - be dressed and downstairs by xx time, leave by this time. They needed the visual, and we have a clock in the upstairs and downstairs halls. This way they can check their progress against the timeline, which we worked backwards together (to leave by this time, we need this done by this time etc).

Afterschool can look different every day, but they're given the broad strokes in advance. It always includes being greeted with a snack, and they understand the shape of the afternoon/evening.

I think of it this way. Sensory dysregulation triggers fight/flight mode. I can take basic precautions to prevent their systems going on high alert about normal, everyday, in my control things. Then they're only left to deal with the unexpected. Being anxious and overwhelmed is exhausting and some simple strategies can attempt to minimize this.

SUPPLEMENTS
Have you tried omegas or other supplements?

SLEEP
Is she getting enough, quality sleep?

PLAY THERAPY
This is partly driven by my professional POV and partly by my perspective as the parent of a 2E kid, but why therapize it? Read Cohen, read something like The Five Love Languages of Children, read How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and then connect playfully with your girls on a regular basis. Ask them open ended questions about their lives, about books you read together, about what they observed among their peers that day. When meltdowns happen, debrief outside of the moment about what happened and what strategies they could use next time in a kind, connected way. Be their coach, their guide, their playmate, their cheerleader.

Play therapy is an actual form of therapy, and different modes of it can be used to address different issues. Both of our children have periodically seen a certified, highly capable art and play therapist who uses CBT and other forms of therapy. It's been invaluable for my children, but it's been something they needed to do with someone other than their parent who was highly skilled and did not have the loaded relationship that we have with them. Some uncomfortable things about our kids' understanding of their world came out of therapy sessions, which were invaluable but they never would have expressed it to us directly at their tender ages.

My other point re "therapizing" it is that DS has seen various specialists and therapists and part of his self-concept includes that he has SNs and that he's different. Because of funding issues, we've had to do some stuff ourselves, or support what they're doing at school at home. He can smell me trying to technique him at this point, and I don't think it's helped our relationship. We went past the tipping point from parenting to therapying and he rejected it for a while. He's now at a point of maturity that we co-plan our remediation strategies, but he still gets his back up periodically.

I hope you'll accept my post as it's intended - supportive and hopefully helpful. I regularly struggle with feeling like I don't have a freaking clue what I'm doing because my kids continue to struggle, and at 11 DD still melts down periodically. But then I reflect and realize that their trajectories are positive and they're basically happy. The effort is sure worth it.
Thank you. Yes, I do appreciate your post and thoughts.

No, I haven't tried Omegas in pill form, though I try to incorporate flax seed oil in recipes, and I use those eggs that have extra Omega 3s.

I need to find a cal/mag supplement for children.

I just wanted to share something...I am reading a new book, The Emotionally Absent Mother. It was recently published. I started reading it last night.

I have not had a internal model of what a Good Mother is supposed to do. One of the things it said was these 10 Basic Good Mother messages a good mother provides her children.

"I'm glad that you're here.
I see you
You are special to me.
I respect you.
I love you.
Your needs are important to me. You can turn to me for help.
I am here for you. I'll make time for you.
I'll keep you safe.
You can rest in me.
I enjoy you. You brighten my heart."

I didn't get those messages when I was a child. Turn every one of those into the negative version, and that is the messages I got.

I don't need a whole lot of fancy therapy to fix me. I just need a clear cut working model of what is enough for them.

I also read that there was research conducted to indicate that in order for children to feel successfully nourished, "a mother does not need to be attuned and available to her child 100 percent of the time. It suggests that what is needed is to be in sync (defined as a harmonious state together, with the mother attuned to the child) 30 percent of the time". If I have this right, that stat comes from Diana Fosha's "The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change".

I think, the simple fact that I am taking an earnest, honest look at my failures to be fully present emotionally for my children, and seeking proper models and advice, I think I can safely cut out the expensive therapy.

Let's talk about modulation, can we? And how a MOTHER/Mother-figure helps do this.

"Mother modulates a child's distress through a process more recently called limbic resonance or limbic regulation. In limbic regulation, one person's emotional brain entrains another's, whose emotional brain shifts to match the first person's. All mammals have this capacity, and it is thought to be a major mechanism through which an infant or young child's inner state is directly modulated by Mother. Just by gazing into the child's eyes, the mother communicates brain to brain with her child, bringing the child's limbic system into coherence with hers. (This is helpful when Mother is in a positive, regulated state but not when fussy and upset herself.)"

Oh, now THAT is earth-shattering to me. And no, even IF my therapist told me that...it would probably go in through one in and out the other. No, not on purpose...I just would need to see it in print...think about it...internalize it.

My books ALL say that working through this stuff on my own is NOT completely stupid or a waste of time. You don't need a therapist to heal. You need the context of a loving and supportive friendship with someone in order to explore your stuff with.

I have a friend who serves this role in my life. Between that person, the books, and what I have gotten from my therapist in the 3 months I've worked with her is more than I had in the previous 6 years.

I'm not completely out of touch here in thinking that I can grow, change and learn to respond more appropriately in times of my children's distress.

Now, this stuff might be no-brainers for the rest of the people here. I don't know.

I know I have to re-mother myself while I mother my children. It's NOT impossible. It's NOT dangerous to do so.

And, ultimately, it will work.
post #58 of 77
I'm a little lost in this thread.

Back to the dinner problem -- get a crock pot (or use the one you already have). As my kids got older and their lives (and therefore my life) got more complex, this was the only way to have dinner at a consistant time. Use your calander and plan the meals for the week based on what else is going on each day (I do this on sunday). Some days are just crock pot days.
post #59 of 77

deleted


Edited by quaz - 5/25/11 at 10:43am
post #60 of 77
You raise a really important point about the child helping to craft and self monitor the schedule. In the younger years we often made "routine charts". It was a collaborative thing - let's think of all of the parts of the bedtime routine, let's write out the names of or draw pictures of each step, what order do we want to do those things in?, glue them on the chart, decorate it, post it in your room. Just the process of making the chart helps the kid begin to think in organized steps and teaches them this life skill that EVERYBODY needs to have no matter how freeflowing or creative you are. We always included happy stuff on the chart (singing, books, hugs). Very quickly with seeing it represented visually our son was able to see if he spent less time with pjs, cleaning, etc. that there would be more time for fun stuff like stories.

For unregulated anxious people it helps lower anxiety to be able to look at a bigger problem or task and begin to break it down into parts. That is part of learning to be a problem solver. Having the routine spelled out can give the kid the sense of accomplishment of being more able to have control and work through it on their own. It also takes the parent more out of the nagging role. Instead of "I've already asked you twice, go put on our socks" it is "what's next on your chart?" Jane Nelsen of Positive Discipline describes this as "let the routine be the boss." Waldorf talks about daily rhythms and routines. It doesn't matter what you call it, but it can be a powerful thing.
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