My husband came across an article yesterday that is absolutely fabulous. It isn't anything new that I had heard before but some points jumped out at me as reminders of what I really need to be doing. I'm surprised I haven't come across this site before but it looks like a wonderful resource. More than anything I am saddened but also feel less alone in reading the comments that people make. I'm not alone in this struggle and so many people are exhausted and don't know what to do to help their kids and help bring some more peace back into their homes. That is why it is so important that we reach out to each other and help buoy one another up. It is SO hard and so many nights I throw my arms up in exasperation and am completely unsure of what to do next.
The article at http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/879.html mentions that "a certain percentage of kids externalize the anxiety and depression they're feeling," says Larry Silver, M.D., a psychiatrist at Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, D.C. "Everything becomes everyone else's fault, and the child doesn't take responsibility for anything that goes wrong." Preston blames me for EVERYTHING. Literally. It amazes me that he doesn't make the correlation between what he is doing (or not doing) and the outcome that he brought about. I have read about in this Barkley's book that ADHD is very much an issue of not linking present actions to future consequences. I've tried and it doens't go anywhere.
As of late, Preston has been having some severe anxiety/panic attacks and has had a resurgence of very intense tantrums that including screaming (at the top of his lungs), hitting, throwing, anything to get me angry. Isn't that nuts? He flys off the handle and when I don't react he pushes it a few levels before he drops it. He does eventually drop it and he acts like nothing has happened. Tonight he started saying that he didn't believe in Jesus (which he knows will really upset me) and it took everything I had to completely ignore it. Was it right? I'm not okay with him saying that but I don't think he thinks that; he was saying it to make me mad. He dropped it when I acted like I didn't even hear him. But like most parents whose comments I've been reading, I can only take it for so long. Here is my action plan for tonight:
1) Be consistent. "Creativity (in terms of positive reinforcement, consequences for negative behavior) is always an asset to child-rearing, but it can't hold a candle to consistency. Consistency in the way you treat your child — the way you set rules, convey expectations, pay attention, encourage good behavior, and impose consequences for bad behavior — is the key to cleaning up your child's act." Russell Barkley, The Defiant Child Another article I read mentioned that we often make requests using different phrases and tones each time. They suggested using the same tone and the same command regularly: "Preston, you need to..." I try to spin things positively with Preston in the light of Love and Logic such as, "You are welcome to watch TV when you've finished your homework." This can be an effective way but it doesn't always work and I then have to turn to the command approach if it is something that I feel is important to get done. If it has to get done, the 'happy' method might not work - some things just aren't negotiable and can't be left up to an 'if' or 'when.'
2) COUNT. Preston's tantrums and back-talking can't be ignored. His psychologist said to not engage him and for some reason I've been ignoring him when he sass-mouths me thinking I'm not engaging him. I can still discipline without engaging or taking his bait.
3) Remain calm and friendly when intervening. This reminds me of Love and Logic's mantra of taking really good care of yourself in front of the kids. This includes not letting his nastiness get to me. I think he feeds off it. The same way that when he picks up on anger, he will try to match it as the article points out. The article also points out that you feed the problems with overly harsh or inconsistent discipline. Overly harsh = 'the hammer.' We've tried the hammer on Preston and that one goes right back to blaming it on us and not owning his actions. Small and immediate consequences are most effective.
4) Do what you can handle. Let's face it folks, some nights we as the parents don't have the energy to remain calm and deal with everything they throw at us. This is definitely a time to pick and choose your battles and have early bed times.
5) Get eight hours of sleep, eat well, exercise and pray. Seriously. Especially the sleep and pray part.
I'm out. Peace love and Isagenix.