Parts of their behavior was because I was tired and had a very short fuse due to living on 4 ½ hours of sleep daily, part of Zachary’s behavioral issues were the ADHD/bipolar which we are close to having a good handle on.
Part of the behavioral issues was ineffective parenting.
Last year, we went through a really rough time with both Lucas and Zachary and we started seeing a therapist. For myself, Lucas and Zachary, separately and also had family sessions. Nothing in this world could have helped us more.
In fact, I just called Dr. Frank today to see if we can get in before June 2 as Zachary is having more and more difficulty in school and at home, yet again. (Today he got sent home from school for throwing his journal at his teacher. *sigh*) Dr. Frank has helped us with different areas of parenting as well as helping Zachary to understand things on his level. Last fall, Zachary went to group therapy once a week where they worked on things like transitioning to another topic, listening to the person speaking and taking turns while talking, not always having to be first in line, eye contact, etc. Which probably sound like normal every day occurrences for most people, but for kids like Zachary….not so much.
He’s not first in line? Throws his WHOLE day off. Sometimes. Depending on the mood. And that’s the frustrating part.
Anyway, I got side-tracked.
Chaos seems to reign in our house…and chaos is NOT good for Zachary…or for Chuck for that matter who deals with the same issues as Zachary does. One of the things that we’ve tried hard to work on is routine. Having a schedule and routine and sticking to it. That seems to help everyone. (Schedule and routine has been thrown out of whack due to soccer and the days getting longer.)
Having a tidier house so people do not feel overwhelmed. (Not so tidy right now.)
But we’ve also taken a look at our discipline and after going over all the array of types of discipline we used and not finding anything that really worked for us we’ve found something that does…most of the time. And for now, that’s all that we can hope for.
So, I’ll tell you our secret…and hope that maybe it helps you with any behavioral issues. But I warn you...I'm the mean ol' momma....just ask my kids. (or take a look at the tantrum from Miss Elizabeth).
Everything in our house is a privilege. You earn it. Just as I earn the right to live in my house through working and paying the mortgage, the kids earn their things through good behavior and chores.
And things have never been better in the house. That’s not to say we don’t have glitches…we obviously do. But it’s much better than before.
What’s nice about this? It’s predictable. The kids know what has to be done and how they must behave in order to earn their game time, t.v. time, the privilege of eating dinner as a family, everything.
So, in order to earn game time, Zachary must have good behavior at school. He gets daily reports sent home with 8 different questions on them in which he can earn up to 8 yeses. He gets 5 minutes of game time per yes. However, he cannot get that game time until his homework is completed (correctly) for the day.
In order to earn t.v. time, the kids must clean their respective rooms (Zachary cleans the bedroom and Lucas cleans the living room and then they switch the next night). They must be cleaned in 30 minutes, which we set on a timer, in order to receive 30 minutes of t.v. time as a family in the evening before bed. This has drastically reduced the amount of yelling, arguing, crying, and ranting about clean up time to nil because we do not nag them during this time.
If they’d like to sit at the table with the family, they must have appropriate table manners. Otherwise, they are asked to leave until they can have the appropriate manners or they can eat after we’re all done.
We work on a two-time rule…and trust me…it’s hard sometimes to not scream and yell at them to “just do it!!” but it does help the kids to do things without getting my hackles up. How does the two-time rule work? It’s easy….I ask them to do something. They choose not to. I say “This is the second and last time I’m asking you to…….*insert whatever you asked them to do*”. If they still choose not to do it, then I instruct them to head on out to their quiet spot until they are ready to do whatever I asked. This is similar to a time-out…but I don’t give them a specific amount of time. If after 30 seconds, they are ready to do as I asked, FANTASTIC. If it takes them 1 hour to do as I ask…that’s their choice. And then we ignore them. Yes. We ignore our children until they are ready to follow the directions.
One of the things that we stress to the kids is this is their choice. It’s no longer us yelling at them to do things. It’s their choice to do things as we ask and they then receive the consequence of not getting the privilege of game time, t.v. time, free time, whatever if they choose not to.
It’s worked. Things changed. Now we just need to regroup and get back to that point.