end of my rope with newly Dx'd ADHD & suspected more.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 11-20-2012, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my 9 year old son was recenttly diagnosed with ADHD & I suspect Aspergers & possibly SPD/ODD, maybe bipolar?, from what I've been reading. I need some advice! I'm seriously afraid I'm going to hurt him. I unschool with him, my step kids (we have full custody, 8&10) and my 3.5 year old & 12 month old at home. I'm under very high stress with them & my hubby right now & I'm also figuring out that I'm ADD with major anxiety & mood issues....

 

DS9 is rarely doing the things he needs to be. We use a popsicle stick system with everything they need to do on its own stick, then the stick gets put into a cup when the task has been completed. All very basic things-- get dressed, eat breakfast, wipe table, turn off bathroom nightlight. He constantly says he has done things that he has not. He doesn't seem to understand fact vs fiction. I have been yelling, screaming at him. I know he doesn't get it but I keep it up. My heart is breaking, but I keep getting in his face & telling him he's doing things wrong & that his behavior is unacceptable. He cries, sobs,yells uncontrollably when he doesn;t get his way. He purposfully blows boogers out of his nose to show how upset he it. it's so gross!! He tells me I'm mean & that he hates me. He says that he wants me out of the house & doesn't want to see me again. I try to explain the position that we are in is because of descicions that he has made (ususally knowing that they were not ideal in the first place). and if I touch him at all he screams that I'm hurting him. That sometimes goes along with him hitting himself.

 

yesterday the big issue was that he was actually done with what he needed to do & wanted video games. the other kids were playing really well, so I didn't want the tv on (tv on = everyone flocks to see what is on it), so I offered him a handheld system (DS if it matters) to play any of 40+ games we have. He wanted to play an Xbox game and refused the DS. He started to cry & yell about how he wanted that specific game. I repeated over and over to him that he could play the DS now & possibly the Xbox later or could just wait a while & definately play the xbox later if he could find something to do right now or ever go sit for a few minutes until it was time that the tv could go on. he stayed loud for an hour & a half. 

 

today we had en epic battle over Legos. All this battling makes me crazy. I love that my kids have opinions, wants, needs, desires, etc, but (and I may be a control freak here, but I know that I have control issues lol) there are times when they have to do as they are told. there are five of them and one of me. hubby works third shift, so I"m it 80% of the time.

 

IDK where else I'm goign with this. feels good to get it out. tips, advice, etc is welcomed!! oh & DS9 is currently on Adderall & Clonidine at night, but I'm giving him some Clonidine during the day to help with uncontrollable body movements. Ridilin made him really angry. clonidine by itself was amazing but he was falling asleep all day, even in the middle of a busy mall & in homeschool gym class. Guanficince didn't do much at all.

 

please excuse my typos. I'm tired & my 12 mo old is helping me type....


April ... wife to Logan since 12/21/08, momma to Revi 10/30/03 & Wrenna 03/27/09, other-momma to Zoe 10/14/02 & Xander 08/17/04.... still figuring out how to blend a family!
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#2 of 11 Old 11-20-2012, 07:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by revizmomma View Post

my 9 year old son was recenttly diagnosed with ADHD & I suspect Aspergers & possibly SPD/ODD, maybe bipolar?, from what I've been reading. I need some advice! I'm seriously afraid I'm going to hurt him. I unschool with him, my step kids (we have full custody, 8&10) and my 3.5 year old & 12 month old at home. I'm under very high stress with them & my hubby right now & I'm also figuring out that I'm ADD with major anxiety & mood issues....

 

DS9 is rarely doing the things he needs to be. We use a popsicle stick system with everything they need to do on its own stick, then the stick gets put into a cup when the task has been completed. All very basic things-- get dressed, eat breakfast, wipe table, turn off bathroom nightlight. He constantly says he has done things that he has not. He doesn't seem to understand fact vs fiction. I have been yelling, screaming at him. I know he doesn't get it but I keep it up. My heart is breaking, but I keep getting in his face & telling him he's doing things wrong & that his behavior is unacceptable. He cries, sobs,yells uncontrollably when he doesn;t get his way. He purposfully blows boogers out of his nose to show how upset he it. it's so gross!! He tells me I'm mean & that he hates me. He says that he wants me out of the house & doesn't want to see me again. I try to explain the position that we are in is because of descicions that he has made (ususally knowing that they were not ideal in the first place). and if I touch him at all he screams that I'm hurting him. That sometimes goes along with him hitting himself.

 

yesterday the big issue was that he was actually done with what he needed to do & wanted video games. the other kids were playing really well, so I didn't want the tv on (tv on = everyone flocks to see what is on it), so I offered him a handheld system (DS if it matters) to play any of 40+ games we have. He wanted to play an Xbox game and refused the DS. He started to cry & yell about how he wanted that specific game. I repeated over and over to him that he could play the DS now & possibly the Xbox later or could just wait a while & definately play the xbox later if he could find something to do right now or ever go sit for a few minutes until it was time that the tv could go on. he stayed loud for an hour & a half. 

 

today we had en epic battle over Legos. All this battling makes me crazy. I love that my kids have opinions, wants, needs, desires, etc, but (and I may be a control freak here, but I know that I have control issues lol) there are times when they have to do as they are told. there are five of them and one of me. hubby works third shift, so I"m it 80% of the time.

 

IDK where else I'm goign with this. feels good to get it out. tips, advice, etc is welcomed!! oh & DS9 is currently on Adderall & Clonidine at night, but I'm giving him some Clonidine during the day to help with uncontrollable body movements. Ridilin made him really angry. clonidine by itself was amazing but he was falling asleep all day, even in the middle of a busy mall & in homeschool gym class. Guanficince didn't do much at all.

 

please excuse my typos. I'm tired & my 12 mo old is helping me type....

 

My friend had the same issue with her son at around that age, similar diagnoses as well her biggest help was a good child councilor. it was costly but made a world of difference for her since they are trained to deal with kids that are having problems.

 

Other then that i have nothing to tell you as i haven't dealt with it myself i just know part of how she dealt with it (i'm not living near her anymore and have no way to contact her to get more info. - the fun of moving 24 hours away from my hometown) 

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#3 of 11 Old 11-20-2012, 07:46 PM
 
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I dont have too much advice for you but wanted to throw out a little something that has helped us a bit (my daughter has ADHD, PTSD, attachment issues, possible fetal alcohol stuff, learning disabilities on and on)...

 

when she starts to throw a fit about something i make the consequences short and sweet. For example today she had a math worksheet from school with nine problems on it. She said the teacher said they only had to do six of the problems. She has problems with truthfulness and on at least one occasion swore the teacher said only to do "x" many problems, but the sheet was returned with those she didnt complete marked "incorrect"/unfinished. I checked her planner and there was no mention of "only 6" only that the worksheet was assigned. I told her she needed to do them all, and she went from happy to sobbing, snot, the whole deal. All because i asked her to complete three extra division problems. I told her that if she grasps the material three extra should be no big deal, and if she has trouble with the material, well the extra practice will do her good! more sobbing and snot.

 

So i told her that if she didnt stop, she would earn herself MORE homework. She KNOWS i will follow through. When she first moved in with me at age 8 (she's adopted) she would do the begging thing for example i'd say "kids we're leaving the park in five minutes" she would immediately start to beg "pleeeeeease can we stay longer!!!!" I gave her the choice: We leave in five minutes as i said, or we leave now. Usually she would take the better option of five minutes but if she continued to beg, we leave now. A few times of that and she got the point.

 

So, for example with your son and him wanting the xbox and you suggesting the ds....i would say "you can play the DS or nothing. those are your two available options. If you throw a fit about those options, then you automatically lose videogame privileges. Whats your choice?" He may freak out about that. I know how that is. For several months my daughter wasnt medicated at all (she currently takes focalin xr for adhd) and her tantrums were horrible and out of control. Luckily she wasnt super mouthy and never violent, but she could dissolve into a half hour screaming fit because i required her to hang up a basket of clean laundry or finish her homework. The medication helped tremendously but was not a cure all. Are you sure your son has found the right combo of meds? its possible tweaking them might help.

 

I've had to change the kind of parent i am after my daughter moved in...i used to be very unschooly (with my oldest), egalitarian, my oldest and i were close, like friends, he didnt have chores or "requirements" or punishments or anything like that. my daughter does MUCH better with fairly firm guidelines and expectations with clearcut consequences for not following my directions. She does NOT do well with a more laid back parenting technique....i was very loose with her when she came and she pushed as much as she could. She really thought she could do what she wanted. I would have done better to be more firm right away. This is NOT in my nature AT ALL so it was a learning process for me.

 

In addition to my 10 yr old i have two 4 yr olds and it just makes it that much harder. Trying to meet the needs of little ones while she is throwing a fit or instigating chaos is not fun.
 


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#4 of 11 Old 11-20-2012, 08:20 PM
 
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How long has he been on the current meds? I ask because you mentioned he was just recently diagnosed. It often takes a few tries to find the best meds for a kid. (Then they grow or change and it all needs to be redone, but that is a whole different posteyesroll.gif). I am curious about Adderol being given at night - that sounds unusual to me, but it is not really my field.

 

Are you getting any sort of therapeutic intervention? It sounds like you could use some support - parenting groups can be a lifesaver! Is there a NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness , www.nami.org ) in your area? They teach a free class called NAMI Basics about raising high needs kids. They also sometimes sponsor support groups. Do you have access to an occupational therapist? Even without a specific diagnosis, they can help with sensory issues and make behavioral suggestions.

 

Are you familiar with the book, The Explosive Child, by Ross Greene? (readily available on Amazon, but I can't post a link - sorry) For me, it helped me to see my son's meltdowns as lacking executive skills, rather than intentional defiance. I didn't have much need for the scripted "techniques" at the end, but the philosophy meshes well with unschooling attitudes. The story you told of yesterday, when he finished what he had to do, then expected the specific video game, sounded like a clear example of his inflexibility (flexibility is a learned executive brain function), not defiance, control, or other misbehavior. I recommend this book highly for its perspective that kids do well if they can, and that unmet needs are the cause of many if not most explosions.

 

 

 

I imagine you will get some more specific suggestions from the wise mamas around here. In the meantime, hug2.gif.


Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#5 of 11 Old 11-20-2012, 08:44 PM
 
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That sounds really hard.  All of the diagnoses under consideration have executive functioning issues, which means he probably can't do better just now.  Executive functioning refers to:

 

 

Quote:
Executive functions is an umbrella term for cognitive processes that regulate, control, and manage other cognitive processes,[1] such as planning,working memoryattention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, mental flexibility, task switching,[2] and initiation and monitoring of actions. (wikipedia)

 

EF skills can be taught (every kid is taught them by parents/mentors/educators, some kids just need more explicit coaching).  Kids with EF issues need to be scaffolded (provided the supports they need to be successful).  He may not be ready yet for the popsicle stick because he can't plan his way through the task, or initiate the action, or switch from what he was doing to what is expected.  And he may not by lying - he may have meant to but got sidetracked (hello ADHD), or he may not actually understand or remember the requirement.

 

I think the best thing is to start from the belief that he's doing the best he can.  Most kids want to be connected and appreciated by their parents, and don't deliberately get themselves into situations where they're bound to get yelled at.   When my kids were younger I would remind myself, when I wanted to pull my hair out in exasperation, that they were doing the best they could.  That belief helped me to take a deep breath and find my patience.  I had to lend them my EF skills on a regular basis, while modelling and coaching them in how to do it themselves.  It can be very tiring and demoralizing to have to break down everything for them and provide lots of support, strategies and encouragement, and it can be hard to not fall for "at this age he should be able to." 

 

I hope this doesn't offend, but I think unschooling is really the wrong approach for a child with significant EF issues.  I have read extensively on homeschooling/unschooling, and homeschooled both kids for a few years.  Kids with EF challenges need lots of structure, and generally are not going to be consistently successful at initiating or maintaining self-directed learning.  Kids with EF challenges generally thrive in structured environments with predictability.  I was very convinced that self-directed and child-led would be the hallmarks of my parenting strategies and educational approaches.  Didn't work for my son with EF challenges, which was initially confusing to me because when he's interested he's extremely self-directed and is very out of the box - but he loves the structure and predictability of school.  School is not perfect by any means with him, but the structure is a highlight to him.  Structure = predictability = security, and for kids with those kinds of diagnoses they often feel insecure due to their heightened sensitivity and poor self-regulation.  Anxiety diagnoses are frequently a secondary diagnosis to the ones you listed in your OP.

 

I agree with Queen Jane re choices.  The choice is not DS or Xbox, the choice is DS or nothing/going to a quiet spot and reading.  Repeat.  It will feel like it takes forever, but he will eventually come to know that you are consistent and can be relied upon to be predictable (which = security, so his internal alarm bells don't need to go off and lead to out of control behaviour).  

 

Some good books:

 

Smart but Scattered (EF)

The Explosive Child (parenting strategies)

 

With his med regimen, what other supports are you receiving?


Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#6 of 11 Old 11-20-2012, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Queenjane, when she has her fits what do you & the rest of the family do? I'm at a loss for that... Do I send him to his room? Do I sit with him? (taht doesn't work for me, because I continue to get frustrated with him) Do we let him be & move to a different area of the house? he gets loud & it seems like he wants everyone to know how mad he is & we all have to suffer along with him.

 

mamarhu, you've hit the nail on the head. he is 100% unflexible. i see examples of it daily. he cannot let his 3 year old sister go first, knowing full well that it'll make everyone's day soooo much easier. if his brother breaks the rules or does soemthing he doesn't like he picks at him until he gets hit by the impulsive DSS8 (who I suspect has some auditory processing delays & because of bio-mommy issues, is emotionally stuck at around 4)

 

joensally, I use unschool as the HS term taht best fits our family, but we are not true unschoolers (not trying to defend, but moreso explain) three days of our week are super structured with two of them having classes in co-ops & the other just full with "Fun Club", awanas & sometimes 4H. I definately overbooked us this year & will not do that again. ever. we are fairly busy & the holdays will give us a much needed break to possibly help see where I can fix some things....

 

 

 

the adderall is new this week, but the tantrums I was describing are not new & have not organically changed. when he was so sedated on the Clonidine only he didn't have them, but I think he just didn't have the energy to object...


April ... wife to Logan since 12/21/08, momma to Revi 10/30/03 & Wrenna 03/27/09, other-momma to Zoe 10/14/02 & Xander 08/17/04.... still figuring out how to blend a family!
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#7 of 11 Old 11-21-2012, 09:21 AM
 
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Legos kids tend to be right-brained learners, who:

-  Learn best when they see and experience information

 

-  Respond far better to non-verbal communications

 

-  Respond poorly to angry parents or teachers

 

-  Work for rewards -- that do not have to be significant

 

-  Work well with visual checklists

 

-  Need to have things modeled for them

 

-  Need mutlisensory teachers who are empathetic to their needs

 

The key is to stay calm, be visual and reward the right behavior

 

For more information visit right-brained programs for right-brained learners at 3D Learner
 

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#8 of 11 Old 11-21-2012, 10:56 AM
 
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I noticed in the original post that you get in his face and yell at him. That means you are modelling the behavior you dislike. As the other poster said, you need to be calm. The popsicle stick method can help with that, as well. There are certain things he does or doesn't do. Have a cup for jobs not done and lied about, tantrums for not getting his way (new sticks would be needed for 'not allowed to ...'), and the like. Then when he misbehaves, you can put a stick in the "naughty" cup, which should be kept out of reach, then focus on staying calm *without* attempting to discipline him until tempers have cooled a bit. Delaying punishments, lectures, etc worked well for my son. When they're toddlers they need immediate redirection and explaination. When they're older, some kids get the anger fires fueled by immediate discipline. If you need an outlet for your anger or frustration, find something that would be ok for him to do, too. One possibility is scribble with crayons as hard as you can. That way you'd be modeling something he can imitate.
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#9 of 11 Old 11-21-2012, 04:12 PM
 
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Hi Revizmomma,

I read that he has recently been diagnosed with ADHD. Please don't read about all of the other diagnoses out there or you will be convinced he has them all. smile.gif I say this for a few reasons: I am a school nurse, and when diagnoses get into the school everyone ends up knowing about them, and 'labels stick'. You will protect him by not talking about any diagnoses a professional gives him, except for when you need it by way of explanation. Although we can be convinced our kids are demons, they rarely are. ADHD makes life quite difficult for those who have it; that's more than enough.

How does he do with learning? Is he at grade level? Has he just started the meds? It takes a while to titer them to get the right fit. Please be careful with changing the clonidine dose; it slows the child's heartbeat!

Behavioral psychologists encourage parents to 'reward the good behaviors', and place less focus on the bad. A child with ADHD will be having such a chore in life to accomplish the 'good ones', and you want to applaud him and reward him however you've set it up in advance. I know you said he wanted to watch tv, but you didn't want to disrupt the other kids? If you told him he could pick the reward you absolutely must stick by it! It doesn't mean he needs to disrupt the others right that minute, but you could tell him he will be able to do it 'in an hour', or 'tomorrow after school', or whatever the case is.

I see you are home-schooling your kids. Maybe you could consider placing them in public school, at least for a while? It sounds like you need a break, you say you are stressed, and yelling at kids is rarely productive. The schools must make accomodations for children with special needs, which your son is. Having 2 children under 5 years at home is a lot for anyone and when you add a child with special needs it can push you to the breaking point. We will all do things we can't imagine, when pushed hard and far enough. Don't let yourself get to that place. Take care of yourself! Put your older kids in school (where there will be a team of adults around each child, in addition to socializing with others), and allow yourself the time to be home with your little ones. They need a happy, health mommy to come out happy and healthy themselves, and I'm sure you want the best for all of your children.

Please, please take care of yourself so you can be the best mom for your kids!
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#10 of 11 Old 11-22-2012, 06:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by revizmomma View Post

Queenjane, when she has her fits what do you & the rest of the family do? I'm at a loss for that... Do I send him to his room? Do I sit with him? (taht doesn't work for me, because I continue to get frustrated with him) Do we let him be & move to a different area of the house? he gets loud & it seems like he wants everyone to know how mad he is & we all have to suffer along with him.

 

I've handled her tantrums many different ways. Sometimes i'd tell her she wasnt loud enough, or wasnt doing it right..."here let me show you how it SHOULD be done!!" then i'd get on the floor and kick and scream. winky.gif  For awhile she would have to stand facing a wall if she got out of control....like when we'd be doing homework and she wanted to start the sobbing, snot, hysterical stuff i'd have her stand up and stare at the wall til she got herself under control. She *hated* staring at the wall so that usually worked. Often if i gave her a task and she started in, i would up the consequences until she stopped....once she actually lost a school field trip because she was flipping out over homework. (First she was grounded for the day, then the weekend, then the week, then the field trip....she had every opportunity to stop.)

 

I understand that feeling of thinking you might actually hurt the kid...i TOTALLY GET being driven that crazy by your child, so i feel you. The right med made all the difference for us, but her emotional issues still make her hard to live with. Thankfully the tantrums have been greatly reduced by Focalin XR.

 

Normally i am NOT this punative as a parent. Until she actually moved in at age 8, i thought i'd homeschool her (we did preplacement visits for two months and i knew her for the entire year prior when my other son--her bio sib-- was having agency visits with their birthmom) as i did my oldest son. With my oldest we were total radical unschoolers. But i NEEDED to send her to school for my own sanity and because i didnt feel like i could meet her needs with her emotional issues and learning disabilities. Honestly i did NOT want the outcome of her education to be solely on me. And i needed that break from her for several hours a day. I think she might learn more with the individual attention that i could provide if we HS'd (she really needs info repeated over and over until it sticks, far more than the time they spend on it in school. ) I only say this to give you "permission" to send your kid to school if think you might need to do that....its not a failure on your part if you cant meet all of his needs at this point. It is what it is. My daughter would NOT do well with an unstructured lifestyle...even though that is how we live i've had to change things up for her. At a recent parent teacher conference i realized her teacher is kind of a laid back disorganized person. I had to tell her how my daughter will respond much better to "If you do A then B will happen." and then FOLLOW THROUGH...even if it means she's "the mean teacher" everyone will be happier in the long run. I call my daughter "Little MIss Give-an-Inch-Take-A-Mile" because if you let up....she thinks she can push more.

 

For awhile we were seeing an attachment/trauma therapist who advocated the ideas in the book Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control by Heather Forbes. The book talks about the brain's response to trauma and it made a lot of sense....much of my daughter's reactions that i tend to view as manipulation or defiance are actually her trauma-induced responses...her brain thinks she is in danger, and she freezes. It all made sense but its just really hard for me to be calm and "respond with love" instead of frustration.


Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
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#11 of 11 Old 11-23-2012, 06:13 PM
 
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I found the "Positive Discipline" series worked for us with tantrums where every other book was either geared for mainstream kids (and was laughable to think it would work on mine) or for RAD kids (which was not this child--although I seriously considered it at one point).  You might want to look into that one. I'm actually going back to re-read it since it's been a few years already.

 

Mine carries ADHD & Asperger's dx's but we also suspected bipolar.  In the end, there was a SIGNIFICANT sugar-insulin imbalance problem.  I don't think we'd have ever considered but I have one that went undiagnosed until my 30s and you can trace the physical symptoms at least 17 years back--and then I considered my son's behavior being similar to mine as a child and experimented rearranging his food for better blood sugar balancing.  It helped.  It didn't fix everything, but it absolutely helped.  We're now working on zinc supplements and they seem to have instantly helped (kids with all kinds of disorders in this domain are apparently zinc deficient).  We shall see--it's only been a few days, but it's been awesome.  I'm hoping it's not a fluke.

 

Also, I just want to echo the poster who talked about exec function skills and the book "Smart But Scattered".  This was also a HUGE help for mine.  We also, sadly, had to take a more structured approach with homeschooling.  We have to do "studies" every morning and it's gotten to the point where I can't even put mine in a class one morning/week or it completely throws us off.  There have to be more "on" days than "off".  We don't do a ton of "sit down at a desk work" but we do have a structured routine--does that make sense?  We cover the subjects he is somewhat motivated for except for science (this is my own struggle--he's a hella-science kid and I'm just at a loss for feeding that at the moment).  So sitting him down to this routine isn't agony because it's stuff he enjoys.  We start with a walk (gonna be hard in the cold because we're all sissies that way), handwriting (yup--he wants it), then math (he loves math) and foreign language (computer-based).  Then we move to reading history stories together (we're very Charlotte Mason-y).

 

He didn't always want this stuff, btw.  We had some really long discussions (well, as long as I can actually have with him) and landed on this.  There are times when he doesn't feel like it and I push, but this is only after seeing him fully motivated and engaged for this stuff and he's not completed them.

 

Oh, and we were way overscheduled a few years ago.  I allowed a well-meaning, fellow homeschooling friend to "bully" me into believing we needed more downtime.  Well, my household promptly fell apart.  In retrospect, we needed the schedule to keep us functional.  So maybe your overscheduling was serving some purpose for you, too?

 

We have had tantrums that have made me sure that the neighbors were going to call CPS, so I feel your pain.  :/


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