Originally Posted by anjsmama
Wow how bizarre. I've never heard of it. Read through both the adult and child versions... fits me and my DS both to a T. I have always wondered if I'm insanely OCD and passed it on to him too... but it didn't make sense since we don't really have a need for "routine" we just like things a very certain way - no mess, no tags on shirts, nobody touching us (imagine my issues breastfeeding...) , etc etc etc. Will have to read into this some more and mention it to our HCP.
Our son has sensory processing disorder and so does my dh. Occupational therapy was, hands down, the absolute best thing we ever did for our son. He didn't start until he was 5, but then he went from 5-7. It turned him from a scared, anxious child whose issues were getting worse to a cautious, but self-confident child who learned to do a lot of things that I never thought he would. This summer he's 10, and he finally learned to put his head under water in the swimming pool. And he found he liked it. He also learned to dog paddle. Now, for most families, learning to dog paddle at 10 is 'slow'. But my brother NEVER learned to swim as a child (he has the same sensory issues -- poor ds got it from both sides).
I'd highly recommend the books: The Out of Sync Child and Sensational Kids. The Out of Sync Child Has Fun and Raising a Sensory Smart kid have good ideas about how to incorporate sensory activities into your daily lives. Even if you can't get into an OT right away, those activities might help you BOTH. And they'll be just what your son needs to reconnect with you.
*Sigh* ... yes, I realize this must be part of the problem. No, we don't have anyone. We moved here 4 months ago for DH's previous mentioned job and we are just so not settled yet. We haven't even visited churches yet. In fact, I'm typing this in the middle of unpacking/organizing the last bedroom. We don't have friends or family here, although I really am working on the friends thing. I have had a few play dates in the last 3 or 4 weeks, and like I said, I feel like *I* am doing a little bit better. But our family as a whole is struggling.
I see those issues, really, I know we have a ton, ton, ton to work on - it feels like my list NEVER ends. I recently started a regimen for anxiety which is helping some. It's just that I feel - actually, I KNOW, my DS doesn't deserve to take the "brunt" of everything that we're all going through, kwim? But it feels like that's what's happening because well, he's 3. He's loud, and whiny, and it just happens. We're working on getting better in general overall, but I also really want to know what we can do to improve our interactions with DS RIGHT NOW.. to not let him suffer psychologically from all of it, if that makes sense.
I'm sorry you don't have anyone. When I had PPD with my first child, I didn't really have anyone either. We were 1500 miles from family and had just joined a church. I'm going through my 3rd bout of anxiety and depression, and I know how it sucks.
I hear from your posts that you're really overwhelmed and can't figure out how to work on it. I'm there, I know that feeling. So, I'll repeat for you the advice everyone I know has been giving me for the last 2-3 weeks since I had my mental health crash. Ask me in a couple weeks how well they work.
- Take it ONE day at a time. Or one morning. Or one hour. Or 10 minutes. Or 1 minute.
- Get out and WALK each day. I've been walking 2x a day. I can't say that it has cured me, but it has given me a way to decrease my stress levels. Being outside is also good for your children.
- If it's not something that you can fix right now, put it in a 'worry box' and take it out at another time.
- Choose ONE family thing to work on if you must. Maybe this is sleep. (Honestly, separate bedrooms might be the way to go. I suggested the motel thing because that's what a cousin of mine had to do when their special needs son was an infant.) Maybe this is finding a different response to the whines. But choose ONE and work on it for a couple of weeks. Let the other things go.
- Children are resilient. This is hard for me to hear, because the negative thoughts keep telling me that my children shouldn't have to deal with this. But as my sister pointed out to me on the phone yesterday, everyone has stuff that they need to deal with. Keep telling yourself that this is a short term thing. You won't always be like this. Your children are loved, and you're doing the best you can.
My parents went through some very very difficult years (my mother's major depression after death of a 4 family members in an accident, 3 miscarriages, having to take in my 2 teenage uncles, and financial worries because they suddenly increased from 4 to 6 children (and then 7 when I was born).) Things were not rosy. My parents yelled. They spanked my older sibs. (There is some benefit to being the youngest.) There was an incredible amount of stress around the house. They didn't communicate or fight well at times. And you know what? Despite that, we all have good relationships with my parents. Why? Because they did some fundamental things right. They loved us. More importantly, they respected us. We were given age-appropriate responsibilities and freedom. They never judged us based on others' values. They admitted to being human. And I believe they are now truly sorry that they spanked their children. I know from talking to my mom after I had children, the two things she regrets was spanking and letting us CIO.
Things that I'll add to my post from my experience: If you can tolerate them (and you may not be able to with your gut issues), don't be afraid of psychiatric meds. Are they 'natural family living'? No. However, as my sister sternly pointed out to me yesterday, they can be a tool for healing. It is not a sign of failure if you need some therapy with medication. Mental illness is an illness. If you had pneumonia, you'd be OK taking meds. You should give the same weight to your psychological pain. It's REAL pain. And that REAL PAIN can affect your children if it goes untreated for too long.
Second, don't be afraid to apologize to your children. When you screw up royally, tell them. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have yelled at you." "I'm sorry, I should never hit you." Yes, I've had to say both of those things to my children. I'm ashamed of it. Those have been the worst times in my parenting. But apologizing is the one thing my parents could never do. So, I'm modeling for my children what genuine apologies look like. If nothing else, I'm modeling that no human is perfect.
The most helpful thing I've ever learned as a parent (especially after my kids got to be 3 or 4) was to spend twenty to thirty minutes a day playing with my kids where THEY lead the play. That's advice that I got both from Playful Parenting (my all time favorite parenting book) and from the Challenging Child (I've got 2 of those, for different reasons). That time leads to connection. That connection helps you and your child weather other storms. So, for your son, how can you get 20 minutes a day where you sit on the floor and play with him. Note, it might be roughhousing, it might be changing activities every 3 minutes (3 year olds do that), it might be spending 20 minutes pretending to ride the city bus and getting on and off at different 'stops' (yes, I spent about a year doing this!). If both you and your husband could do this 5 days a week, your relationship with your son would be improved. If you can't do 20 then do 10.
Finally, make a list of things that you ARE doing right. When we're in such negative spots, it's hard to see the good. My list for today included some insanely simple things. I made the bed. I did a load of laundry. I made dinner. I went for a walk. I called my parents. It's not a huge project, but it's progress from where I was 2 weeks ago.
For you, I would include in that list: You defused the situation between your son and your husband. You modeled for your son that he does not deserve to be hit. You have made 3-4 playdates! I'm amazed by that. Maybe because I'm an introvert, but I think I made 3-4 playdates for my kids in their entire preschool years! You have breastfed your daughter for 6 months, despite some pretty major sensory issues (my dh can't stand to be touched much; my ds thinks that 'snuggling' involves lying 3 feet away from me on the bed!) You have unpacked all of your new place except one room, with an infant and a 3 year old!
I hope you can get the sleep and the pain figured out. I suspect that when those are more under control, you'll be able to focus on your relationship with your son. Hang in there momma, you're doing some good things!