Unschooling a challenging child (update in post #186) - Page 7 - Mothering Forums

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#181 of 188 Old 06-08-2009, 07:13 AM
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I was thinking about this more last night...

For me, personally....using umami_mommy's coworker scenario as a for instance...I would look into myself and reflect on why this person was bothering me so much, and see if there were any changes I could make, while at the same time NOT absolving the other person entirely. Sometimes people do annoying/obnoxious things because they've just never been called on it. : I guess the bottom line is that while I feel like I can probably use *some* coping mechanisms to feel better about the coworker, IMO the coworker should also do some things, too. I don't totally buy into the "Nobody can make you feel X unless you let them" because people can certainly do and say things that are completely unacceptable and if done over periods of time, it can wear a person down, especially in a relationship (i.e., gaslighting in a domestic abuse situation, anyone? I am NOT comparing the OPs daughter to an abusive spouse, just making the point that sometimes people do things they shouldn't and it's not the "feelers fault", and it shouldn't be up to the feeler to just adjust their attitude and absolve the other party). I may be in charge of my feelings, but if someone is regularly attacking my feelings, it's difficult to remain completely zen and calm 100% of the time. The other person shares responsibility, IMO (and I"m not talking about attacking the person back, or me flying off the handle or whatever...I'm just saying that if I can't remain completely calm and get upset, it's reasonable and understandable.)

As an adult, I couldn't make an annoying coworker change, it's true. If it was bad enough and I had done all I could to cope myself, I would either ask a supervisor to help intervene on my behalf, ask for a transfer, or yes, I would find another job and quit. But by gum, if it's my kid displaying extreme behaviors as a child while they're more capable of learning replacement behaviors more easily, you can bet your booty I'm going to help guide them out of them, and if I can't, find someone who can. It's not healthy for anyone to be putting off such a vibe that other people don't want to be around them. Whether it's learned behavior, or temperament, there are ways things can be mitigated without a person losing their entire personality. If part of your personality is based on making other people miserable and/or creating an intense amount of tension in a household, it doesn't sound like a positive or relationship-building personality trait anyway - I'll say again, I can't imagine the OP's daughter is happy or feels good feeling these huge emotions she's feeling - I know my own son is exhausted and unhappy when he loses control. I'll also be clear - I am NOT looking to turn my kid into a lifeless, dull, automoton...I'm looking to help him gain some insight into why he feels things so strongly that it incapacitates him, and to help him get some coping mechanisms. That's it.

I can't put all the onus on the mom to just recenter herself and accept her child the way she is without requiring some changes from her child - because her child is acting in ways that go beyond just affecting the mother/child relationship; she's affecting the whole family. I can get behind accepting that this is the way her child is right now, trying to let go of the negative feelings and start over, AND helping her out of this difficult time by making some changes in the family dynamic and helping the child find some healthier, more constructive ways to deal with the huge feelings she has.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#182 of 188 Old 06-08-2009, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post
Being a mom is HARD. To not even have an inch of your own personal space or a minute of privacy in the bathroom can lead to burnout and resentment IMO. I would shut that down today. I babysat for a family whose oldest (8 years old) was like that. Wanted to be right next to me all the time. Wanted to come in the bathroom with me. Seemed to be scared if she wasn't RIGHT with the adult in charge. I don't see how allowing that is a healthy or productive thing for HER or anyone else. So I gently extended the time and space. Starting with the bathroom! She'd sit right outside the locked door and I'd talk to her and play a game - I'd guess how many fingers she was holding up then she'd put them under the door so I could see if I was right. When she was comfortable with that, I'd have her race from the bathroom door to her bedroom door and back - could I finish in one trip or two trips or three? We made up games like that and she was fine without me next to her in very short order. To be afraid in your own house would be awful, but she quickly became very comfortable being anywhere in the house without me.
Sorry if you somehow thought my commiseration about a child with sleep difficulties was asking for advice. Personally, I found meeting ds' high needs, especially at night, to be more important than forcing independence at his most vulnerable time. His being well rested, not having night terrors or insomnia because of being chronically under rested, is what set him up for a successful day. His knowing I'm available if he really needs me is what has allowed him to easily mature out of that stage. He just needed a little more time than the next kid.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#183 of 188 Old 06-14-2009, 11:48 PM
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#184 of 188 Old 06-14-2009, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by choochootrain View Post

She's been very intense since she was a baby. I'm going to take her to a homeopath in July, when we have the money.
YES. This is what i was going to suggest. My daughter has similar characteristics and we treat her homeopathically. she's had good results with remedies that deal with intensity and explosiveness. I dont' want to say what they are because every child is different. But, i think that a well-chosen remedy would do wonders for her.

I am a homeopath, offering acute and constitutional consultations for children, babies, and parents. Long-distance treatment is easy, either phone or skype! I also am certified to offer Homeoprophylaxis, a vaccine-alternative program. Message me for more details. www.concentrichealing.com
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#185 of 188 Old 06-15-2009, 12:47 PM
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Sounds like my 9 year old! However, after reading many many of the replies (but not all), I have concluded that it's just the way she is. Right this minute, I am sulking because we had yet another fight over "learning". That's why I'm "here" on the unschooling thread, looking for advice.

I feel like I'm failing as a parent/teacher because my child is too stubborn to learn how to tell time or count money. <sigh> I'm tempted to just teach her little sister instead - but here's the problem: if her little sister learns first, then dd1 will either be angry that I didn't teach HER, *or* she will be angry because she thinks I think dd2 is smarter than she is. <sigh>

I think I might consider homeopathy ...

gotta go. dd1 is here again.

p.s. I read the ODD description from Happydog, and I'm glad you're getting what you need from that treatment, but that's not resonating comfortably with me.)

Mama to 3 girls 12,8,3
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#186 of 188 Old 06-15-2009, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I appreciate all the responses, thank you. However, I'm going to rename my thread so it is not as dramatic and attracts less attention, and I won't be returning to it, as I don't feel I'm benefiting from it anymore.

Since I posted the changes have been dramatic and to the best. In retrospecct I see now that we hit the lowest of the low before a huge jump forward. I think that maybe emotionally and congnitively my daughter was getting ready for this, and somewhat regressed in the process, maybe something like getting cold feet, so to speak, before embracing more mature ways.

I also think that my outburst and discomfort with the soup incident propelled her forward. She's incredibly strong willed, and I won't be surprised if she simply decided to behave better and stuck to it (so far). I remember making a similar decision as a child, when I decided to be always polite to my granny .

The biggest changes--she's almost always willing to use a coping strategy when she's frustrated, and either self-initiates, or asks for help and then accepts help.

She's frustrated less and is more confident overall. :

She's still a challenge at times, but overall, it has been wonderful. She's happier, much happier, and feels much more in control of her life.

I do NOT think she has an ODD, and I'm not comfortable with ODD as a diagnosis in children. She does have anxiety issues, and we will address those with a professional.
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#187 of 188 Old 12-28-2009, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Altair View Post
After reading all the posts on this thread, I think I would take her to a developmental pediatrician or a psychologist who has experience with varied DXs like ASDs and ODD. I teach 5 and 6 year olds with ASDs and these are ALL behaviors we work on every day:

- perfectionism
- rigidity
- misunderstanding social situations
- over policing peer interactions (you gave an example of mediating)
- "manipulation" that is done in a different way than normal kid manipulation
- explosive episodes which look just like the spiraling or melting you describe
- inability to come out of a melt down
- wanting to fix something that is unfixable (i.e. wishing you had never cut the potato) and not being able to let that go

etc etc...

There's so many things you can do to help these behaviors-- social stories, sensory diets, work with the vestibular system, heavy/hard physical "work," tactile play, RDI, power cards (I love these), voice scales and emotion scales, checklists, schedules, timers, etc.

If you want more info abou any of those just let me know.

It's hard, really hard being with an explosive child. And I only have to do it 8 hours a day! I can imagine how hard it is all day long. There ARE strategies that work though.
I'd like to put out there, since it was my blog that was referred to one of these posts in this thread, that ANXIETY and GIFTED issues can also cause these above traits. I know you said your child is probably not gifted, and I'm not going to argue that.

But do not let anyone diagnose your child with ODD or ASD without first exploring how anxiety and an emotional developmental delay might effect your daughter's emotional resilience.

I WILL say, that for "therapy" of this anxiety, this poster is right on the money. Sensory therapy and social stories DO help anxiety and emotional self-regulation. And lots of hands-on mommy time (playing games or with toys of her choosing, reading her books of her choosing or reading something interesting about a girl her age) and snuggling.

For my own daughter, her extreme social anxiety (starting at preschool) caused her to shut down her speech at school. Now, it's rare that a child has that much anxiety...

She was rigid and controlling at home, because she was not in control anywhere else. Her brain shut down the speech centers against her will.

I have had a tremendous amount of luck with sensory therapies and emotion coaching her with social stories at home. Now that she is 6 years old, she is so much more able to communicate her feelings without resorting to the multiple meltdowns a day she once was capable of. Her emotional storms were extremely tough for me to deal with (being highly sensitive myself).

I honestly believe that anxiety could very well be at the root of your daughter's issues. I do think there is hope for her, and it doesn't require medication or formal therapy (though formal therapy might make it easier on you, I don't know). I did most of the work myself, with the exception of putting her ballet classes, and in a special needs preschool that had access to sensory materials and a trampoline and continued to work on social skills for all the children. We also did a yoga for kids cd at home. She really liked that.

In case you were interested in reading some of the things I've learned about, you can read here:

What worked for her selective mutism and anxiety

I hope you can find something useful to help your daughter.

Best wishes for continued improvements.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#188 of 188 Old 01-01-2010, 07:45 PM
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I can see my dd in some many of the characteristics described here. Thank you everyone for the ideas and, thank you OP for posting this. It has been immensely helpful.
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