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Old 04-12-2006, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am really, really leery of meds, too. I know that they help many, many children with psychological issues. But personally, I was really worried about seeing someone b/c I just knew that somewhere along the line they would reccommend meds. In fact, the first guy, when going over the potential outcomes/diagnoses, and treatment with us for Bears, he mentioned that "we've found that kids like Bears respond very well to small amounts of meds". Which is true for many kids with ADD/ADHD. (I should reiterate here that we don't even know that this is his issue, but that it is one of the things that's been brought up).

About the tics--my friend's son-the doc told them that meds could help, but that in 80% of these cases of ISD (ideopathic seizure dis-which is, I guess, what the ticking is), it goes away on it's own. So it was up to them to go the meds route or not.

Also, original psych explained some of this neuro stuff to me in an interesting way. Said that these aren't just behavioral issues-and if they have a neurological basis, they can be treated. He said that with ADD/ADHD and associated things, these kids experience a "storm" in that part of the brain. And they can't control it. And it makes them feel outta control. Then, they act out in an effort to try to manage what's happening involuntarily in their brain.

I know that much of this probably doesn't pertain to your dd, but just rambling here.

they're calling me ....gtg.
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Old 04-13-2006, 12:55 AM
 
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Ok- I am going to give my positive med speech. I want to start by saying that meds are scary and unpredictable and not well researched. And I have to add that Nate won't take any now that he is an adult, even though even he agrees that they would likely help.

Ok- these are biological illnesses. The brain is responding in an unnatural way. Storms and tics are not behavioral, they are neurological. We don't know much about the brain. Meds can sometimes feel like setting the house on fire because your feet are cold. But they do work. They work wonders for some kids. They save lifes. They save parents. They are often the best thing we have even as bad as they are.

I once saw a little girl, who was about 9. She was so shy in my office that she hid behind the couch and wouldn't talk to me at all. Her little sister who was 7 did all the talking. They looked so similar but were worlds apart in temperment. This mom had done therapy and parenting work and nothing was working. Her kid was just anxious and timid. I reluctantly recommended a short trial of a low dose of Welbutrin. A month later this kid came into my office smiling and telling me stories and thanking me. Her life was dramatically improved in one month. She could tell me that now she enjoyed school and liked her friends. She even rode in a parade and waved to all the people. Her mother was close to tears. Even the 7 year old thanked me.

They aren't all like that but there are more than I can count. Sorry ladies, but I have more positive than negative stories. I have lots of reluctance and fears but I also have some stories that look like voodoo. Just keep an open mind. There may be kids whose parents medicate them too easily but I have never met one. I only see parents that reluctantly give into the idea that there is something seriously wrong medically with their child.

I honor your choices. I completely get your fears. But I have to tell you where I stand... meds are scary but... don't lock the door on them.

Maureen
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Old 04-13-2006, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maureen-I really like and respect what you say about meds. I also want to go on record here (someone's keeping a record here, right?) to say that pharmaceuticals have helped many, many people I know and love. My sister has battled depression for most of her life, and it took her years to start on a medication. She takes a low dose of an anti-depressant and I feel that it has changed her life in the past 10 years. I also have a dear friend whose dd is our god-daughter. She has many issues, one of which was/is OCD and anxiety. She is 13 and her mother believes that helping her with medication has changed all of their lives. I have many more stories like this, but I wanted to say it out loud, so-to-speak. Meds DO in fact change and SAVE lives. I know it.

That said, I think the fear may come b/c when talking about our kids were all, well, anxious about everything. And hesitant. B/c it's not us we're medicating, it's them. I remember my sister saying that she finally realized that if she had diabetes, she'd take insulin. And something was going on in her brain that affected her life on a daily basis, and taking something helped heal that. It worked. There's just so much more to worry about with kids, it seems, and meds.

We still have so much stigma attached to anything doing with our emotions being out of whack or our brains. We have come a loooooong way, but need to do so much more. Maureen-Thanks again for sharing your stories of your son's challenges and your professional experience.
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Old 04-13-2006, 12:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sledg
Also, Bearsmama, it's interesting what you said about all these things originating in the same area of the brain. That makes sense, in a way I can't articulate right now. And it makes sense that this is why it's so difficult to diagnose these things. A similar idea was actually tossed around a bit in a thread here about mothering highly sensitive children, wondering if a lot of the labels tossed around there (SID, highly sensitive, adhd) are all actually just different ways of looking at the same thing. Interesting.
I think there's something to this. As I've said before, my boys (the twins) are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to some sensitivity issues and then there are the times they cross paths. To get away from talking about Cole for a moment, Cyrus is highly sensitive. I think I even posted in that thread on mothering highly sensitive kids about Cy. A great example of typical incidents here occured yesterday afternoon on the ride home from school. Cole is singing, as loud as he can I think, and Cyrus has his fingers in his ears and is crying. So I'm attempting to get Cole to stop (which requires being louder than him) and say "Buddy, please stop singing. It's upsetting Cy.", he says "Oh but why?!" so I reply, "Because you're being too loud and loud hurts our ears". Y'know what he says to me?? "But I like loud!". And it's true, the more obnoxious and boisterous he can be, the happier he is. Cy is of course, content with all quiet activites.

So I bring that up because having two kids at different ends of the spectrum allows me to see where they overlap and exactly what the similarities are. Especially because Cole appears to be "under" sensitive when in reality, it's quite a mix. Ok, so this in turn leads me to something else... I have no idea where I read this and I've searches many times for it again, but after I had the boys and the struggles were becoming obvious to me, I ran across an article talking about the effect of pregnancy on the baby. This article talked about how once a child is born, it's body will attempt to maintain the same hormone and/or stress levels it had in utero. In other words, if you were stressed or really hormonal that it would show up again in the child. Now for me, this is entirely right on the money. I was a nut case with the twins. I mainly remember this article b/c when my DH read it he was like "see, I told you it was your fault!" But anyway, I thought I'd mention it. I'll keep looking for the actual article.


About meds ... yes, I'm resistant. I was REALLY resistant when my doc pulled the blood pressure med on me to help Cole sleep. I don't wanna play with his blood pressure. I know their are benefits to meds, my mother will never be unable to live without her anti-depressants and it's been a blessing to have them. But, I really want to exhaust all alternatives before I go that route. Kinda like when I had high blood pressure at age 23, I found a way to control it without meds. My mom had the opportunity to control her diabetes without meds, first. I just don't want to take the easy out even if that's where I end up.


Now I'm off to look for Mary Kurcinka's book on sleep! LOL
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Old 04-13-2006, 01:13 PM
 
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I thank you for sharing your positive stories of medications, Maureen. It really is helpful to hear something positive about medications, and to hear your professional experiences. I do realize that medications help a great many people. I do give my children medications for illnesses when they need them. I'm just cautious when it comes to my kids, meds are not the first thing I think of trying-because as Bearsmama said, it's my kids I'm making a decision for, not myself. And because just in general I think it's important for anyone to be cautious about medications. I just think of meds as a last resort, they are not out of the realm of possibility. There just way over there at the far corner of the realm. Other things to do before we get there, and hopefully we won't have to get there at all.

I have seen medications save people-I have family members whose lives are so much better with antidepressants, and I benefitted from them myself once. And that is mysterious and amazing. I've also seen them do mysterious and scary things-like when I took (over the counter) Claritin for 3 days and ended up so depressed I thought my kids would be better off without me and couldn't stop crying and became paranoid about all the everyday household items/activities that could hurt my kids. It came on fast, it was scary, I saw a psychiatrist. I also stopped taking the Claritin, on instinct, though I was so foggy and weird that I didn't remember that I took it or stopped taking it until it had started leaving my system enough, a few days later, that I was more myself again and feeling good. Then I remembered, and it was the only new thing in my life that could explain how it came out of the blue and then disappeared. The timing fit the known half-life of the medication in the body. And when it was all gone, I was fine. All this happened in a week. The psychiatrist agreed with me that it was likely the Claritin when I followed up with him, said he had a patient become severely depressed after taking antibiotics. I even followed up for several weeks with another counselor whom I had seen before, just to make sure I was okay for my kids' sake. The whole thing was weird. And very frightening.

And yet medications do save lives and families. They have their place. I just take them very, very seriously.

Off to pick up my son at preschool. Busy day ahead.

Oh, and thank you to Bearsmama for sharing with your last several posts and to emblmrgrl for your last post too. I could go on and on in response if I had more time today.
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Old 04-13-2006, 11:08 PM
 
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One more thing and then I will back off my med push- I worry a great deal that mother guilt interferes with kids getting appropriate treatment. We put too much pressure on parents and especially mothers to heal neurobiology which I just don't think is fair.

Ok- you all know I am not pushing meds. I want everyone to try lots of things first... and second... and well you all know.

Maureen

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Old 04-14-2006, 10:19 AM
 
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I worry a great deal that mother guilt interferes with kids getting appropriate treatment. We put too much pressure on parents and especially mothers to heal neurobiology which I just don't think is fair.
Maureen, that is really a good point. Thank you. So much. You have no idea how helpful that is to me this morning.
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Old 04-14-2006, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One more thing and then I will back off my med push- I worry a great deal that mother guilt interferes with kids getting appropriate treatment. We put too much pressure on parents and especially mothers to heal neurobiology which I just don't think is fair.
Maureen
I really, really agree with this. And I have to say, and this is no slam against men, but IME it is almost ALWAYS the mother who is the one pushing for answers, and making the ultimate decisions about treatment/medication. This is just what I know to be true in my life and with my IRL friends and acquaintances. And I have a really INvolved and Evolved DH. But STILL I have been the one to pursue things with Bears, to push things, not to mention the appointment making, scheduling, etc. It's just what we do, I think. Okay, I'm ready for some slams if that sounds sexist, but it's just what I believe is the truth in many relationships.

We had a really loooooooong, tiring, but very, very, fun day with the kids. DH took the day off today and we had a ball. Thinking of you, sledg. Keep us posted.
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Old 04-14-2006, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And another thing: Is there such a thing as FATHER guilt? Huh? If so, I wanna see it.
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Old 04-15-2006, 06:20 PM
 
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And another thing: Is there such a thing as FATHER guilt? Huh? If so, I wanna see it.
Yeah, I think they do.

Not the same way that mothers have it, but fathers are still parents. They want to do right by their children just as much as moms do.
I think guilt is a small part of learning the parent. We are bound to make mistakes and even though we need to be forgiving of ourselves for that, it's hard to escape guilt totally.

Now my case is a bit extreme, but I'm sure other dads might have similar feelings.

My DH is military and has been deployed for some months now. He's been deployed before but this was the first time deployed since we've had dd. He is so very attached to her and I had a feeling it was going to be difficult for him.
Sure enough, it is SO much harder than he thought. He misses her (and me) so much. It breaks his heart that he has missed so many months of watching her grow. He is seriously considering getting out of the military when his time is up because he doesn't ever want to be away from us again.

I see him feeling conflicted about work in general, though. There are some jobs that he would like to have, but he feels that they wouldn't provide for us as well as other jobs. He has this guilt that says "I need to provide for my family and provide well" that conflicts with "But I want to be a very involved dad and be home with my child grow too."

I have tried to encourage him. I would rather see him take a job he love --less hours, even if it means a paycut, we will manage. It's just as important for dad to be happy, as well as mom.
But he is stuck in that "But I need to be the provider" because he wants me to be able to be the SAHM.

So lots of guilt there sadly, <sigh>.

But I'm sure we can work on it.

Loon , dh , dd , and twins ds1 dd2 **Thoughts become things. - Mike Dooley**
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Old 04-15-2006, 07:22 PM
 
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And another thing: Is there such a thing as FATHER guilt? Huh? If so, I wanna see it.
Yeah, I do think there is father guilt but that, like loon said, it's different. I see my dh's father guilt a lot lately. He gets frustrated, he yells, then he goes in the other room to cool off, then says things like "I try, and then [whatever], then I yell, then I feel like a bad father." He so wants to be a good dad, a gentle dad, to build a close relationship with is kids. Like me, he doesn't always know how to do that, and like me he falls short of his ideals sometimes and feels badly about that. I think that men don't really call it guilt, and they don't wallow in it in the same way moms do, and they don't talk about it as much (in general. my dh talks about it openly but not as much as I talk about it). But also, I think, men seem to be a little more...searching for a word here...carefree? about parenting-it's not all life and death and deadly serious and stuff to worry about much of the time. My dh and the men he knows who are fathers just don't tend to have that angst, not to the same degree anyway. I think that angst is a huge part of mother guilt.

And I do agree that it seems to be mothers who really do the lion's share of researching and advocating and seeking help and following through on getting that help and making appointments and so on. But a secret I know about why I do more of it than my dh....he thinks I know more about it, that I'm smarter about it, I read faster and enjoy reading, I've studied child development in school. He's not as confident about it (so there you go, he's not as confident about parenting as I just said he is). I think men are also generally less likely to seek out help, and I think that's societal conditioning.

Thanks for the hug, Bearsmama. I'm really feeling kind of overwhelmed and relieved at the same time now that we've actually decided it is time to seek help. Now the long road getting there, it doesn't seem like it's going to be quick and easy (and it is definitely not going to be inexpensive). If only I had a fairy godmother!
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Old 04-15-2006, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Loon & sledg-I know, I know. I was being a bit sarcastic with the dad/father guilt comments. You know, I know that DH has moments when he feels guilty, etc. But I think what sledg says is true: the wallowing is different. The level of guilt, the mulling it over. I think in *general* we women tend to wallow a little longer, think things over a little more thoroughly, try to come up with next steps, etc. I find, however, that DH puts his "bad" feelngs into action a bit better than me. Okay, a lot better than me. Like, if he feels guilt, he actually changes the pattern that made him feel guilty. Or at least tries to. He may be a quicker learner than me.

Gtg. Made #1 mistake about 1/2 hour ago: Let the kids "help" me with some baking. I love to bake, and this is one of my passions. So, I really, really enjoy it when they're asleep. That way, there are only one set of hands in the buttercream.

Happy Easter, Passover, and Happy Spring to all my mamas. More when I can.
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Old 04-15-2006, 10:03 PM
 
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Sledg,

I am not reading all the time, but I saw the posts regarding your daughter's facial tics and I wanted to send my support about how scary and out of control this must feel for you all. I know that I have a need to understand what is happening with our son's life and heath, and I like things to be settled. Well, as "settled" as life ever is with him, lol. (We are currently experiencing an unsettled time, with necessary oral surgery for a tooth extraction, caps, fillings, etc. And I am beside myself with wanting *control*!!) As you may recall, I am an experienced critical care nurse and now embrace non-invasive homeopathic therapies for our family. So, the idea of stepping into the medical paradigm is frightening to me (HUGE understatement).

I also have a twitching eye which is worse without enough rest or due to increaded stress. However, it has been addressed with classical homeopathy. I wanted to share some possible options to consider in addition to homeopathy; which I highly recommend. It addresses the mind/body/experience in a holistic manner and strengthens the immune system by helping the body heal itself.

It sounds like your daughter may have a Bell's Palsy or Tourette's Syndrome. Here is a link about alternative care: http://www.latitudes.org/articles/le...s_families.htm

Two things which have helped our son with sleep issues are Omega 3 fatty acids (we takes a cod liver oil which is strawberry flavored and he loves it, believe it or not.) And also Melatonin for sleep. If you would like more information, please let me know. Dietary issues are paramount in our home, especially artificial colors, flavors and *preservatives* (TBHQ, nitrates, nitrites and calcium propinate, are the worst). We also avoid high salicylate loading (which are naturally occuring aspirin type chemicals in many fruits). And of course, dairy, casein and whey. Soy and goat's protein are also issues for him. As is wheat, which affects our son's sleep. Less so on the these proteins now that he is five and has avoided them and is on homeopathy.

Also, high fructose corn syrup is eliminated from our home. This is especially hard initially, but wow! what a difference in the peace in our home.

I need to go do dinner. I just wanted to hold a big X up in front of the medical establishment door, lol and suggest some alternative paths. I have heard that chiro or accupuncture helps with Bell's Palsy too.

Fondly, Pat

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Old 04-15-2006, 11:46 PM
 
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Bearsmama, I got your sarcasm. I agree with you. Hope you made something wonderful with the buttercream!

Pat, thank you. Here's what I'm looking at right now: chiropractic, flower essences (there's actually a practitioner nearby that does flower essences and focuses specifically on troubled children), the feingold diet (we have been only partially good at following this in the past, eliminating dairy (and other foods, possibly, still looking at elimination diets-again, we've done it before but probably not as strictly or for as long as we should have, and we didn't keep as careful track of it all as we could have), eliminating corn syrup and other additives not specifically addressed with the feingold diet. I am awaiting the arrival of the book "Tics and Tourettes" by the person from the latitudes website-sounds promising. For behavioral/tantrum issues we are planning to follow the plan in The Explosive Child (which, btw, is really about teaching problem-solving and flexibility through finding doable, reasonable and mutually satisfactory solutions to reduce conflict...). There is a homeopath in not-completely-unreasonable range who also does some other alternative treatments, and is also a medical doctor (though very non-western in practice).

So, long story short, at this point I am looking into new pediatricians-specifically one we used to see but who left our current practice-and looking into western medicine as the least urgent issue. But frankly, one that I think is worth consulting-maybe because we are just so exhausted. I have a cautious relationship with mainstream doctors. Dh is also much more comfortable pursuing alternative/holistic routes. Dd's "issues" are now a big stress on our family, but they are also I think not so super urgent that we can't take the time to pursue more natural solutions for awhile before rushing headlong into western medicine.

Didn't realize how crunchy I'd become till this all came up, and how much faith I have in the human body I have and how much I believe all the artificial crap in our environment affects us, and how little trust and faith I have in western, mainstream doctors.
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Old 04-16-2006, 12:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have some time now, the kids are asleep.

Loon, first I want to say that I fear that I was not being as understanding or compassionate about those daddies that HAVE to be away from their kids. Sorry if I seemed flip in my replies.

And scuba-You're reminding me of a few things. Sledg-My friend who's son I was referring to earlier in my posts has found a LOT of great information through the website scuba mentions: latitudes.org. In fact, the more I read about your DD and scuba's son the more I realize that my dear friend's son's issues are very, very similar. My friend has met with the a wonderful psychologist whose associated with that website (female, I forget her name), and they have a f/u appointment with her in a few weeks. My friend feels the same way about getting involved with the medical world to help her son. And Latitudes has given her hope that there are other alternatives.

And to scuba and sledg, again many hugs to both of you.
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Old 04-16-2006, 02:16 AM
 
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Loon, first I want to say that I fear that I was not being as understanding or compassionate about those daddies that HAVE to be away from their kids. Sorry if I seemed flip in my replies.
No apologies needed. We tend to view the world through the lens of our own experiences. Nothing wrong with that. I don't think you were being flip.

I totally got the sarcasm, too, because I've felt it many times. I know Dh has guilt, it just doesn't seem as consuming as mine. Like your dh, he's better at changing patterns.
So I wanna know, how can I be more relaxed about it like he is? Can I have daddy guilt instead of mommy guilt?

When I'm worrying about dd, Dh will be the one to more quickly point out the positive and say "look, she's happy, she's doing great."
And I tend to too quickly dismiss that and think "Yes, but I can do BETTER." I focus too much on what I'm not doing. I suppose I could be more positive: start with what am I doing right and do more of it and then expand on it. I'm soooo hard on myself. Hard to change the pattern.
And I think many mothers do that to themselves.

Happy Holidays, mamas!

Loon , dh , dd , and twins ds1 dd2 **Thoughts become things. - Mike Dooley**
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:29 AM
 
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I was going to spend hours and hours researching GD threads here but decided I would start with my most respected experts... thats you mommies.

I want a short introduction to GD or no time outs or something like that to share with the group that I am speaking to next week. I mainly want to challenge them to consider that taking advice from "experts" is a bit dangerous, as they just keep changing their minds. Time outs were all the rage 10 years ago and now are passe... honestly I don't think psychologists know a darn thing about parenting... they certainly don't learn much about it in school and what they do learn is likely very old.

So- any ideas or suggestion?

Maureen
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:37 AM
 
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Check out "The Natural Child Project" by Jan Hunt. She has articles by many of the most respectful parenting advocates. Here is one by Marshall Rosenburg of CNVC. http://www.naturalchild.com/marshall_rosenberg/rcc.html

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Old 04-22-2006, 02:26 PM
 
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Maureen, the only bit of organized thought I can contribute is this: I have read literally dozens of parenting books filled with advice about what causes behavior and how to respond to behavior and how to eliminate behavior and nothing, nothing was helpful until very recently-after I took a lengthy break from reading parenting books. Why? Because when I was doing all that reading I was neglecting something very important: I wasn't listening to my children, and I wasn't listening to myself. And I didn't really start getting anywhere until I asked myself "when was the last time I did anything for no reason at all? Never. When was the last time I did something because I am evil and enjoy causing others pain? Never. So why do I do things?" And once I looked at my own reasons, I discovered that knowing my reasons led to the most helpful solution. And I knew then that it was the same with my children. My children do things for a reason, and I can't address the behavior properly without listening to my child and paying close attention so that I understand the reason (or likely reason, sometimes it's not easy to get to the bottom of something). And kids have feelings that need to be addressed, and for that there is no formula. There is only listening and responding, finding the ways of communicating that work for me and my child. When I listened, I realized that things like time-out were not only not helping at all (b/c they weren't addressing the reason for the behavior), but they were also getting in the way of communication with my children-focusing too much on some magic way of eliminating behaviors without addressing the whole child (and the parent, too-it takes two to tango), and this was hurting my child (and me, and our relationship). The only people who knew enough about any given situation to find a helpful solution were me and my child (or whomever is involved).

Okay, that's vague and probably not very helpful to you. That "Natural Child Project" website has some great articles.

The books that have lately actually been helpful are those which help me learn better communication skills which in turn lead to better connection with my child, as well as those which have spurred me to learn to be more aware of my own inner landscape and how it affects my relationship with others and with life/the world in general. Also, that sleep book by Mary Kurcinka is very interesting-yet another possible reason for certain as-yet-unexplained behaviors.

ETA that the reason it took me dozens of books to figure this out is not that I'm particularly dense or that the books were all bad (many of them were quite good), but that I was clinging (without really being aware of it) to some assumptions about children and parenting that prevented me from reaching this understanding. And you know, as chaotic as I probably sound here when I post about my dd our lives and my mothering behavior and my relationships with my children have improved dramatically since reaching this understanding. And it's not the end of growing, I'm still learning and I'm sure my understanding will continue to change with time.
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Old 04-28-2006, 10:21 AM
 
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Hello dear mommas...

I have been reading lots of parenting advice and realize just how we all got so messed up. The Natural Parenting Project seems great but really if you read the articles they are all full of mother guilt. There is one about the importance of mothers and then goes right into psychopaths... clearly if you don't do a good job your kid turns out to be a psychopath and if we had more good mothers, we would have fewer psychopaths.... I don't really disagree with this but why is this how we lead when we talk about mothers? The article about why time outs don't work, which I have used and is closest to my own parenting philosophy blew me away when I re-read it. It says over and over again that if you just attend to your child's needs and feelings, you shouldn't need "discipline". As we all know- attending to your child's needs and feelings is very important. No arguement there. But really- how are we supposed to figure out just what our kids needs and feelings are?

This past week I had PMs which hasn't seemed to go away as it should have. I think that I am touched out and emotionally over-extended. I am just a fuss. So... what do I need? I haven't a clue. I have the power to change just about anything in my life. I have the resources to get myself anything that would make me feel better. And I am still a fuss. If I were a 4 year old- I think I would be a real handful right now. Nothing makes me feel better. My husband has given up trying to offer suggestions. I'm sure it isn't anything serious and am sure it will pass. One lovely mom friend suggested I might be peri-menopausal... boy does that improve me mood. I refuse to consider that I could be menopausal and nursing at the same time!

It really isn't about me. It is about how our kids must feel internally. How are we supposed to parent kids whose moods, whose needs are almost impossible to figure out? Sure when they are infants we learn to feed them, hold them, change thier pants... but sometimes they just scream and there is nothing you can do. When the same feeling shows up at 4, we see naughty behavior and feel the need to "DO" something. We have to teach them that certain behaviors are not acceptable.

Ok- so I printed out over 100 pages of this thread. I am certain that whatever is here is what is missing out there. I have to figure out how to give a 90 minute speech to 30 moms of mentally ill kids that will somehow offer them a new perspective on their parenting. I want them to see that loving them is their first and primary responsibility and that loving them is sometimes tough. I want them to throw out "psychology" and look at spirituality and healing. I want them to know that they are doing miracle work. I want them to be able to stand up to the school and mental health professionals and the other parents in the neighborhood and say "I am doing an amazing job loving this human being" even if their child looks like a spoiled brat or a budding psychopath. Think I can do that in 90 minutes? Should I have slides and handouts? I really wish Nate would do this with me. If he could get up in front of these moms and tell them that he is a wonderful healthy human being who was crazy as hell 10 years ago maybe it would help. But I guess this is my job.

Thanks to all of you for your support. You will be with me this weekend as I write this and certainly when I present. And then maybe my mood will improve. I guess I just feel really sad that being a mom is such a twisted calling.

Maureen
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Old 04-28-2006, 11:08 AM
 
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Maureen, I hear what you are saying about the challenges of identifying our own needs and feelings. Personally, I have come to believe that this is a culturally induced handicap, not an inherent one. I believe that we are systematically *taught*, as a society to ignore, disregard, dismiss, suppress and escape our needs and feelings. We don't even have a interpersonal lexicon for expressing our frustrations beyond the global 'anger' of offense and defensive. I know I certainly was punished for expressing my needs and feelings as a child. "Back talk" is a common dismissal of a child's experience and emotions.

I also no longer buy into the fault/blame matrix that our culture imposes on children as soon as they do start talking back. I don't filter our son's needs and feelings through this authoritarian and conditional paradigm. I believe this is the key to him continuing to develop an awareness and *regard* for his own needs and feelings. By honoring both my needs and feelings, I am learning that they are legitimate. I see that at almost 5, our son is much MORE adept at self-awareness and self-expression of his needs and feelings than I, at almost 44. So, I don't equate my inability, or underdeveloped ability of self-awareness as a predictor of his own (un)awareness of his feelings and needs. I perceive that he is internalizing his own self-awareness with my (mostly consistent) support and (budding) self-modelling.

Neither do I apply the fault/blame matrix to myself in my role as his mother, as I model self-awareness and self-care. I am sometimes more, and sometimes much less effective than he, or I, need. However, I don't blame myself (nor my parents) when I am not a perfect role model of self-awareness, self-control and self-expression. I have moved away from the deficit focus of *lack*, toward *abilities*. I understand my limitations and abilities due to my childhood models. It just is what it is. I honestly have come to believe that there is no utility of blame or regret for the past. The book "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hanh really helped me to recognize and understand the effects of my upbringing on my present. But, mostly it helped to liberate me from my past also. So, I don't believe that our son will be imprisoned by his upbringing any more than I am. Mindfulness of the present moment has been the key to releasing the past blame, and future what if's. Our culture doesn't model this *living in the present moment*. We are conditioned to a fear-based paradigm. Fear of regrets and fear of blame.

Instead, embracing both myself as imperfect, and our son as imperfect, has empowered us to accept ourselves without blame. And as I have learned to do this for him, I am learning to do it for myself. How fortunate is he that he has this unconditional acceptance in the present? I am learning to give it to myself too.

Anne Ohman has an article called "I AM WHAT I AM". I believe it expresses the "lesson" that you want to impart: http://www.livingjoyfully.ca/anneo/I_Am_What_I_Am.htm

I see Motherhood as a gift of growing self-awareness. My own. I don't see it as a calling, rather an interdependent and synergistic relationship where we both are nurtured toward our best selves. There is an old German saying "our children teach us what we most need to learn".

Best wishes, Pat

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Old 04-28-2006, 12:09 PM
 
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The Natural Parenting Project seems great but really if you read the articles they are all full of mother guilt.
Agreed. There's information of value (to me) there, but you have to wade past the guilt first. Which I guess makes it less helpful than it really could be.

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Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
The article about why time outs don't work, which I have used and is closest to my own parenting philosophy blew me away when I re-read it. It says over and over again that if you just attend to your child's needs and feelings, you shouldn't need "discipline".
In theory, this is great-it makes sense. But there are times, as you said, when it's just not that easy. And anyway, regardless of how good one is at attending to the needs and feelings of one's children, they will do things that are inappropriate and one will still need to respond to those things in a helpful and effective way-and isn't that still "discipline" of some sort? I mean, discipline is not limited to consequences or rewards but is includes all the teaching and role-modeling and communication-right? Though maybe they don't mean to imply that it will be easy, but just that consequences and rewards aren't necessary b/c addressing the reasons for the behavior is enough. I'll have to re-read that, it's been awhile. I find that most books and articles tend to make it sound like if you just do it right, parenting will be easy-and that is so untrue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
This past week I had PMs which hasn't seemed to go away as it should have. I think that I am touched out and emotionally over-extended. I am just a fuss. So... what do I need? I haven't a clue. I have the power to change just about anything in my life. I have the resources to get myself anything that would make me feel better. And I am still a fuss.
BTDT.

You know, I just remembered where some of the "missing links" wrt parenting came from for me. These won't help you get ready this weekend, but you might enjoy them in the future. One book you might enjoy is There's Nothing Wrong With You by Cheri Huber, which is basically about how the way we were raised instills in us the sense that there is something wrong with us-that this is where a lot of guilt comes from, and we can learn to let go of it. The other is Time Out for Parents: A Guide to Compassionate Parenting by Cheri Huber. The idea in this book is basically that in times of conflict it's helpful to reflect on (and get in touch with) what's going on inside of us parents-to see the guilt, the assumptions, our physical feelings, our emotions, etc. and to see how those affect how we're responding to our kids. Not in the spirit of inducing guilt, but in the spirit of loving and caring for yourself 1) because you are a valuable human being who needs to be cared for and 2) because this in turn frees you care for your kids compassionately and effectively. I also love Non Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg (not a guilt-inducing book): all people have needs, people need to feel heard before they can listen, that misbehavior is an expression of need, that communication is not necessarily easy but we can learn to communicate better with our kids and with everyone else. There's a website, www.cnvc.org (Center for Non Violent Communication) with a couple of articles about parenting specifically.

I can also tell you that some of the assumptions I clung to, of which I was only dimly aware, were: that children (all people, really) will automatically choose the more undesireable/inappropriate/bad behaviors unless we somehow make them choose otherwise via consequences/intimidation/rewards/etc.; that the role of parent is to control childrens' behavior; that parents have done something wrong if their child misbehaves; that giving a child (or adult) a compassionate, loving response after an undesireable behavior will cause them to engage in that behavior more (as opposed to being exactly the balm that is needed to help them learn). These are really terribly guilt inducing assumptions, and they are so deeply ingrained in our culture. We are, as a culture, so hung up on fixing people and fixing situations, fixing ourselves...fixing as a means to happiness. It's normal in our culture to even try to fix tiny babies, to make them sleep through the night at young ages for example, because we think that's how it should be and how it is must be changed. We desire control, too, because we feel fear about not being in control and we cannot often tolerate fear. We, as a culture, must always find someone to blame when things go "wrong", it's rampant. To just accept life as it is, people as they are, is often seen as weakness-as just lying down and taking it like just so much doormat. We so often, as a culture, aren't aware that the key to happiness lies within-and only within. We focus, as a culture, on behaviors rather than on whole people, feelings and all. And sure, there has been a lot more I've had to confront and heal and accept within myself in order to grow as a parent.

I guess I've found that finding the path to being the parent I want to be has had a lot more to do with my own inner growth than with anything else. Learning new ways of interacting with my kids, without the goal being to get my kids to do what I want but instead to connect with and understand and communicate with them, is equally important. Awareness of the model my own behaviors is for my kids is important. Hugely important.

I hope you find what you need for your presentation, and that it liberates someone from their guilt for at least a little while.
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Old 04-29-2006, 01:37 PM
 
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Hi all. I want to think out loud a little, and share these interesting things.

First, the most amazing thing has happened twice now. My challenging kiddo, who always freaks and gets defensive and nasty when she even accidentally does something that results in someone being hurt or upset, has now twice spontaneously and sincerely said "I'm sorry".....and demonstrated feeling badly about it by crying. No screaming, no nastiness....just her sweet self showing her remorse/empathy, asking for a hug, crying a bit then moving on. It's amazing.

Second, we moved all the kids to their own beds and we are all so much more pleasant to be around. We are getting not just more sleep, but better sleep. I was dragging dd1 and dd2 out of bed in the mornings, but these last few days they've actually not only woken on their own at a good-for-our-schedule time but they've gotten out of bed with smiles.

Third, I realized in going over all my memories and notes and whatnot that the poop hits the fan with dd1 every February-March. Since 2003. So what is it? March is her half-birthday-in some circles considered a difficult time developmentally. February-March is when winter is coming to an end, and we've all been cooped up a lot and are drained and ready for spring (especially me). February-March is when we tend to get sick. March is when we tend to experience the first of seasonal allergies. March is the anniversary of moving to this home, which was tough on dd but may have nothing to do with anything. It's just weird that it gets so bad every February-March.

Fourth, we have been off of dairy, food dyes and certain preservatives for a week. For a week the kids have been in their own beds, in bed earlier, and getting more and better sleep. ETA that also for a week we've all been getting excercise outdoors first thing in the morning, and spending more time outside in the afternoon. For a week I've been feeling less tired b/c I sleep better with them all in their own beds, and I have more energy to parent these kids calmly and well. And for these last several days dd1 has not been screaming at people, she has not been hitting, she has been sad a lot but not for as long and inconsolably, and she has been talking about feelings like she never has before. Her only difficult periods (which have been so much less difficult than usual) have come when she has been overly hungry, on a couple of mornings when we didn't get breakfast in her fast enough. It is so clear this week how much hunger and being tired affect her, as these are the times when she has difficulty and she is actually saying that she's tired or she's hungry (not just freaking out). She has been helpful and cooperative much more than usual. She has been having fewer tics. Maybe it's all coincidence and this is some kind of freaky honeymoon phase. I don't care. I'll take it.
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Old 05-01-2006, 02:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maureen Just read through your post, and I just want to offer support and love. I have lots more to say (as always, right?), but I want to thoroughly read the follow-up posts/replies from some wise mamas.

More later...
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Old 05-01-2006, 02:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay everyone, I just got done reading sledg's and scuba's responses to Maureen and I am BLOWN away. These words couldn't come at a better time for me, too. Thank you, thank you. More to say tomorrow...
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Old 05-01-2006, 01:37 PM
 
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Just popping in for a second to say hi ... we're in a good spot for the time being so I'm trying to enjoy it!

I'm still reading along though. And as always, there's some good stuff here, so I'm taking it all in. I'm working on me right now, I guess, too ... trying to learn to let things go quickly. Whatever it is, it's working at the moment.
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Old 05-01-2006, 07:45 PM
 
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Just wanted to update: I've spoken with the ped. and the ped. has recommended a visit to a neurologist. So the next step is to call the neuro. and make an appt. I feel like "finally, some confirmation that something is possibly really going on with dd."

ETA: we see the neuro in a few weeks, at the end of June.
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Old 05-06-2006, 11:39 AM
 
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Ok- I had a great time at the conference and wanted to share all this wonderful information with you all. Not sure I can give you two days worth of training in one posting but maybe just the highlights.

My presentation went well. I think the moms felt really supported and encouraged. The analogy was that I really opened a can of worms. So- we kept laughting about me walking around opening cans of worms, and not knowing what to do with them. I always have more questions than answers. The fact that a psychologist could have so much trouble getting help for her kids is sad but at least it helps them to see that their just aren't a lot of answers to be found out there. We really don't know a lot about helping kids who have serious neurological struggles.

On the other hand, there was some really great stuff on how to impact kids from a neurological perspective. Charlie Applestein spoke- he wrote "No Such Thing as a Bad Kid" and works with really tough kids. He uses a lot of "raps"- patterned saying that get into a kids psyche. Things like- Rude is Crude- Dude, Let it go- Joe, Hocus, pocus, focus, Don't poke- its no joke.

These by being repetitious and rhymic work fast on the brain. I have to give it some thought but I think we need to write some for mom frustration and anger as well.

Lots of the presentations were on states of activation- that kids are missing the abilitity to their feelings and sensations and our jobs is to help them develop these. The problem is that kids with huge sensory or emotional dysregulation issues need us as their teachers to be able to stay in a low state of activation (calm and thinking) when they go crazy. I think that we just need to see our kids as needing super moms- they just can't manage the regular stuff like losing your patience or having a rough day. They need us at our best way more than most kids. It is hugely challenging but it isn't that we have failed and made them this way- it is that their needs are higher than most and need more from us.

One psychiatist talked about how hard it is to parent a child whose needs are so intense that it always appears that they must be being neglected. No matter how much you give the child, it just isn't enough. They are starving for attention. I could certainly relate to that.

A lot of what we are doing with our kids, using humor and distraction, letting go of many power struggles were all very supported by the neurological research. Lots of power struggles actually develop the brain to be withdrawing and critical. Huma and distraction is a way of switching their brain to a different level of activation so that they can make choices. Getting out of their fear center and into their thinking brain actually does change brain development. I think much of what our instincts are telling us is based on our own sense of how to calm and heal.

One presenter talked about how the church has always used ritual, candles, music, incense and meditation for healing and those are the things we are coming to late in therapy. Those things actually get past the thinking brain to the more primal, instinctive part of the brain where our fears and anger lie.

One techique that would be really powerful to try with your kids is narrative therapy. For you highly verbal, English majors who want to over talk everything... you know who you (we) are... this is a way of talking that gets to the subconcious. IT is just creating stories about your child, but hiding your child in an animal. So one mom wrote a story about her son as a dragon who breathed fire when he was mad but got really small when he was scared. You actually start the story with some idea of the lesson you want to create. This is just what the parables in the bible are, right? But the most powerful stories are one you co-create with your kids. You help them write their own stories, create their own solutions. There was a mom sharing her stories whose 6 year old was adopted at 2 after being abused and neglected and has fetal alcohol effects. They created a family of racoons who had four girls and then got pregnant and had a boy and the momma drank and did drugs while she was pregnant. She only took the story so far, as he got uncomfortable, they left it alone but he kept coming back to it. Finally he said to her- this is my story isn't it? Did my mom do drugs when she was pregnant? Why would she do that? Then they got to have a discussion about this and continue to write the story of how his life is turning out. It puts the struggles one step out from "the truth" and because storytelling is so powerful, it impacts on a very different level than talking about the problem does. Kids are great at this stuff.

The other thing that they are using a lot with kids is sensory work. The same little boy has a calming box that he takes to school that has things that he knows helps him calm down. For him it is sensory stuff, like textiles and dot-to-dots and silly putty. If his teacher sees him getting stressed, she asks him if he want to get his calm box and he spends about 10 minutes on the quiet mat calming himself. He hasn't needed it much lately at school so he told him mom he was missing it and could he have one at home.

I'm sure there are more wonderful things I could share. Mostly I wanted to let you all know that my batteries are recharged and I do believe advances are being made on how to help kids brains change.

This thread has been quiet. I always hope that means everyone is doing very well this week.

I have to say I printed and read almost 100 pages of this thread and if you have some time, I would really suggest you go back and see where things were oh so long ago. There is some amazingly powerful stuff here.

I have used sledg's "parent as a rock" analogy a few times and shared it with the group at the conference.... when I publish it, I will need your real name to give you credit. I felt really bad quoting you without giving you credit. I am serious about publishing this. There is nothing as real and honest and fresh out there as this thread.

More later- Maureen

Maureen
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Old 05-08-2006, 12:55 PM
 
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Lots of the presentations were on states of activation- that kids are missing the abilitity to their feelings and sensations and our jobs is to help them develop these. The problem is that kids with huge sensory or emotional dysregulation issues need us as their teachers to be able to stay in a low state of activation (calm and thinking) when they go crazy. I think that we just need to see our kids as needing super moms- they just can't manage the regular stuff like losing your patience or having a rough day. They need us at our best way more than most kids. It is hugely challenging but it isn't that we have failed and made them this way- it is that their needs are higher than most and need more from us.
This reminds me of one author who said that as parents of children with these difficulties, we have to act as our child's "surrogate frontal lobe."

I went to my first ever training workshop on Non Violent Communication. I learned a lot. This is a great communication tool for me to practice using, because it requires paying attention-to really being present and being honest and attending to what's going on within the people with whom I'm interacting (my kids, mostly). The focus is on "quality of connection among people that supports getting needs met through natural giving."

So using my new understanding of this method of communication, I want to share my feelings with you today.

Maureen, when I read your last post I felt grateful because all of what you shared met my need for learning. I also felt appreciative because your willingness to share and the gift of your time met my needs for connection and support. I felt happy as well, because I had been hoping that your presentation went well and wished for you to be happy. I felt admiration because I value the work that you do, and hope that someday I have the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of others as you do. I felt pleased when I read that you used my rock analogy, because my need to contribute was met.

To all the wonderful people who have participated in this thread: I feel grateful and peaceful each time I read your words and participate in this thread with you, because doing so meets my needs for connection, support, contribution, learning, growth, and confirmation that indeed mothering is hard work (and I am not alone in struggling). Despite the fact that I have not met a single one of you, I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity to share these experiences and feelings with you.

I hope that you all are well, and enjoying your days.
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Old 05-08-2006, 01:44 PM
 
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and hope that someday I have the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of others as you do.
Your words and wisdom do contribute everyday. Already. Every day. Here and many other places on MDC.

Thank you.

Pat

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