Have a question, concern or problem regarding your child's behaviors? Send me an email and I will do a blog post about it! You will always remain anonymous! tkmiller81002@yahoo.com

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

J is so angry

J is my difficult child. He didn't talk until he was 3 years old and since then he has a hard time expressing himself and M and O do not always listen to his words so he physically attacks them. I do not believe in spanking my kids and literally the only times I have ever spanked was because one of my children were putting the other child in danger - for example one time M pushed J under the water in the bath when he was a baby and without thinking I smacked her while getting J out of danger. So last night J got mad at O and was suffocating him and then tonight M didn't play the way he wanted so he choked her so he got a spanking tonight and I yelled at him pretty good and then I thought well that was genius Kim, I don't want him to hurt others when he gets upset but when I got upset I hurt him. So I started thinking about what has been going on and how I can help him resolve this issue. He has never hurt another kid outside of our family ever and I doubt he ever will, but that is not a risk I am willing to take.

After doing some serious reflecting I realized that from the time J woke up this morning until he went to bed I don't think I spent more than ten minutes focused solely on him all day, he watched TV, he played video games, he went to school, and then he came home and watched more tv and then he hurt M and then we went to a friends house and he played with friends until it was time for bed. Looking back on yesterday it was similar minus the playing with friends part and I did spend more time with him but still not a lot and I honestly feel like his aggression is a cry for attention and he feels like he isn't being listened to so here is my plan:

1. I am removing all toys from the kids bedrooms - I have noticed that it is when they are playing in their rooms unsupervised that he tends to be the most frustrated and does the most hurting, we have a playroom and so all toys are going to be in the playroom from now on and whatever doesn't fit in the playroom is getting put away for now.

2. I am banning technology! Television is nice but it is too easy for me to allow one tv show to turn in to three hours and right now we have a television with dvr in almost every room of the house so for now no more tv or video games or playing on the phone. I will wait until my kids are in school or asleep to get on the computer or watch my shows because I need to be an example to them. I will text but no more checking Facebook or blogs or forums that I hang out at all day. All of that will be done at night or while they are in school from now on.

3. I am going to spend more time one on one with J and play with them more and supervise their playing more. If this was going on in a classroom setting I would be doing a ton of observations where I note what is happening before, during and after so that is what I am going to do at home - I am going to observe and then take what I observe and teach all of my kids better ways to handle situations that come up.

4. T and I are both going to work harder at controlling our own anger. This is not easily accomplished right now since T and I are going through some pretty rough stuff as a couple and I think it bleeds over into our parenting of our kids, plus I haven't had a solid 5 hours of sleep in who knows how long so that is wearing on me and I have less patience with my kids - but it is not my children's fault for any of those things so it is my responsibility to not take it out on them.

5. I am going to talk to J more about how he is feeling - a lot of time we get angry because of cognitive distortions (that is a blog post in and of itself) so I am going to figure out what cognitive distortions he is feeling and help him redirect his way of thinking.

Some of you might be thinking that this is a little drastic and a lot of work (my hubby said it was unrealistic) but you know what I can guarantee if I do these things every day that within a month at the most J will be a completely different kid. I firmly believe that when you choose to have kids you choose to sacrifice your time and wants and desires for their sakes and waiting to teach him how to control his emotions is only going to make things worse so it is time for me to put my life on hold a bit and focus more on him and his needs. I will keep you updated on how things progress!

Back to school

So last Wednesday T and I decided to go to California for a few days and then we came back in time to get ready for school. School finally started on Monday here and I am loving it! I have a 1st grader and a Kindergartener this year and I think once I get used to the new schedule of our life I will be able to get a lot more accomplished, as of right now it is pretty hectic because I am going to the school three times a day, running errands, trying to keep the house clean, spend time with the kids, spend time with the hubby, make breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the list goes on. Needless to say by the time I get a chance to sit down I am pretty exhausted! In fact last night after I put the kids to bed and made M's lunch for today I thought I would take a relaxing bath and read a book and I fell asleep in the tub! The kids love school though and I think their teachers are pretty fantastic! Needless to say life has been hectic but I will post more about listening soon, I promise!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

There is more to listening than using your ears

In order to be able to communicate well with others you have to learn how to listen. Even if you are the one with the problem and seeking help from a friend or loved one you need to learn how to listen so you can get the most out of the conversation! Did you know that your environment and your body language has more to do with listening than actually hearing a person's words? Everything from how you are sitting to where you are sitting applies to listening. These are called "attending skills" and there are thirteen of them. I am only going to cover half of them here then the other half tomorrow. Watch for these when you are talking with people and see if it makes a difference in your conversations.

1. Space: meaning how close or how far away you are sitting from the person you are talking to. Every parent knows (at least I hope they do) that to really get their child to listen they have to get on the child's level and close to them. The same goes for adults! If you are upset and sitting on one side of the room and trying to talk and come to terms with a person who is sitting clear across the room the conversation will not go very well, also if you are too close you will feel uncomfortable and unable to truly express what is bothering you. A good distance for listening to others is arms length.

2.  Movement: Have you ever tried to talk to someone while they were walking away from you? It is pretty frustrating! How about when they are walking towards you? They usually hear you and pay attention to what you are saying, right? How about sitting on a couch facing you, did you know that if you lean towards to the person it is your body saying you are listening and if you are leaning away from them it says you're not? So make sure you are always coming towards a person with your body instead of away - but keep an arms length between the two of you!

3. Posture: How are you sitting or standing while trying to talk and listen to each other? Are you slouching, rigid, leaning away? Are you relaxed but attentive, seated and leaning toward the person? Are your arms folded or open? Did you know that if you are sitting with your legs crossed, arms folded and leaning back your body is telling the person that you don't care what they say you are closed off and your mind is made up? But if your feet are both on the floor and your hips are shoulder length apart, your arms are resting on your knees and you are leaning towards them your body says you are keeping an open mind and are listening.

4. Eye contact: are you looking at the person and maintaining eye contact or are you looking all over the place, anywhere but at them? If you are looking at the computer and not the person talking to you where is your attention really? I used to never be able to look in a persons eyes because I had such horrible self esteem and didn't feel worthy to look in a persons eyes so keep that in mind if a person is looking at you but not your eyes it might have more to do with them being uncomfortable than not listening.

5. Time: There have been many times in my married life where I have been reading a book and my husband has started talking to me and I have literally not heard him because I am so into my book. Or I have been reading a blog and he has called and I have tuned him out completely. This is what time is referring to, are you continuing what you were doing before the person started talking to you or have you stopped, put it aside and given the person your time? I have to literally close the laptop or put the book away if I am going to really be able to pay attention.

6. Feet/legs: are you using your legs to keep distance between you and a person or are they unobtrusive and unnoticeable? Have you ever been sitting on the couch facing another person and your legs or the other person's are on the couch creating a barrier? Move your legs to the side and keep the space between you and the person you are talking to open and free.

7. Furniture: Think about a counselor's office, when they have you sit down it is typically them sitting in a chair facing a couch or two chairs and then you are sitting on one of the chairs/couch facing them and there is nothing in between you. I am not going to have a deep conversation with a person at a table, I am going to move to the living room and ideally have us both sitting on the couch facing each other.

Think about these things as you talk to people throughout the day - even if it isn't deep and see if it effects the conversation!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Share your problems with your spouse!

Life has been hard around our house since I had baby N. I have felt overwhelmed, disinterested, lonely, and slightly depressed. I was embarrassed to talk about it with anyone and slowly withdrew more and more into myself and away from my husband and kids. My husband noticed something was off but never said anything because he figured I would just figure it out and then things would be fine again.Which normally would be true, but for some reason I just couldn't kick the melancholy I was feeling. I wasn't mad or angry or overally sad I just felt nothing.

So finally one night while we were folding laundry I started talking to T about it and telling him how I was feeling. I expressed to him how overwhelmed I felt with getting everything done and not being the mom and wife I know I am capable of. It didn't help that he sprained his ankle pretty bad and then ended up getting bad headaches which put extra work on me with a newborn baby. I told him that I needed more help around the house - he is an amazing helper already but only on certain things, he doesn't know what a broom or toilet brush look like I swear! I told him that I needed his help for me to not feel guilty about spending time working on my blogs or photography or digital scrapbooking.

He was such an amazing listener and not once did he get on the defensive, instead he kept telling me that if I was unhappy then he was unhappy and it is his responsibility as my husband to ensure I am happy. He thought he was being helpful already (which he was) but after explaining to him the help that I really needed he realized his help wasn't much help at all.

Since we have talked I have slowly started to feel happy again. I am far from being my normal happy self but I am closer today than I was before I talked with him. Just being able to tell him what I was feeling and not have him go on the defense was a huge help!

The day after I shared with him my problems, we began talking about how both of us sensed something wrong was but never said anything about it and why we thought that was. I honestly think that we let our fears and insecurities get in the way of sharing our problems with others and so we internalize them and we just get further and further away from our family and then it's not that hard to find connections elsewhere and fall out of love with each other. But by talking about it and sharing in a loving and supportive way brings you closer together and unites you guys in a battle against your problems. Sharing your faults and weaknesses, in my opinion, with each other can only make you stronger.

So if there is something in your life that you are struggling with but are too afraid to share it with the one you love find time this week to share it with them, and before you begin express to them how important it is to you that they don't go on the defensive but stay open minded and help you both find ways to help you through your struggles. I will be doing posts this week about great ways to communicate so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Life Happens sometimes

Wow life sure has been busy over here, so busy in fact that I just realized today that I had not thought about or typed on this blog in a week! I try not to go too long between posts, however this week was M's dance concert so we had dress rehearsal at her studio on Monday, then technical rehearsal on Thursday, dress rehearsal on Friday and Concert on Saturday - thankfully J was done with basketball so I didn't have to worry about getting him to practice or games. I love having my kids in extracurricular activities BUT I am also extremely grateful that we don't have anything until September and then I am going to try to put J and M into the same gymnastics class and not mention the word t-ball or basketball to J and hopefully then life won't be too hectic! On top of that life with a 4 month old who has RSV has definitely made life a bit harder because we are doing breathing treatments for thirty minutes at a time several times a day. My sister in law is sending us some essential oils to try and I am hoping they work to clear up her cough and congestion because it is really bad and she coughs so hard she wakes herself up at night so I'm not getting a lot of sleep. And that is what life as a parent is about sometimes, busy!

So on to a parenting experience for you:

This morning we were getting ready for church and J accidentally knocked over my purse and a bag of Wheat Thins fell out of my purse. He was so excited and showed me, I told them that they were not to be eaten and to put them back in my purse while we finish getting ready for church. I expect my children to obey me so I then left the room and gave N a bath for church. After bathing her I heard the kids playing in a way that sounded like they needed to be checked on (you know the sound) so I found them hiding in my bathroom with their hands behind their backs and something in their mouth. I told them to show me their hands and when they did I saw that they had gotten into the Wheat Thins. So I said, "I guess since you guys chose to eat my snack out of my purse without my permission you don't need snacks at church today." Then I walked away from the sounds of utter outrage! My kids came chasing after me and were begging for one more chance to please show me that they could listen and I sad, "I already gave you a chance when I told you to put them back in my purse and not eat them, since you chose to eat them now I will not be bringing any snacks to church. You may have snacks next week as long as you don't make the same choice again." So M thinking she is smart says, "Well we are just going to beg the whole time until you give in." My response to that was, "That's fine with me, I am the queen of ignoring!" They then proceeded to beg, scream, plead, throw themselves at my feet and I proceeded to ignore them completely - face and all - while I finished getting everything ready to eat. After a few minutes M says to J and O, "She really is the queen of ignoring" and they stopped their attempts at changing my minds and guess what they survived the whole 3 hours of church without one snack! Well O had snacks in nursery but you know what I mean. And I can guarantee that they won't be sneaking things out of my purse again. That ladies and gents is how you give logical consequences and tantrums.Any questions?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Give in? Not me!

I don't know what is going on this summer but my kids are sick again! M has strep, O has pink eye and N has RSV so I am trying to do everything I can to keep them away from each other since they are contagious and help them get better as quickly as possible since M has dance rehearsals almost every night this week and her big concert on Saturday! So yesterday I was getting drinks for my kids and I am giving them orange juice to drink since milk is not the greatest when you are sick - I've had to learn that the hard way - and O didn't want Orange juice but wanted milk, well I had already poured it and so this was what happened:

O: I want milk

Me: Sorry buddy I already poured you juice and you need to drink juice to get better

O: screaming - I want milk!!!!

Me: you can have juice or you can have nothing

O: throws himself on the floor and screams at the top of his lung for one minute straight - yes I timed it :)

Me: completely ignoring O's screaming and getting M and J their drinks

J: (while covering his ears and almost crying) Mom please just give him what he wants so he will stop crying

Me: No, just ignore him

J: I don't know how! Just give him some milk

Me: he will stop screaming in a minute and drink his juice just watch

O: after screaming for a minute straight he sees M and J drinking their juice and gets up off the floor, walks over and picks up his sippy and says, "Thanks Mom" then drinks his juice

Stick to your guns, ignore the tantrums and they will end and they will do what is expected. But if you give in and give them what they want - they will continue to throw tantrums in order to get what they want! So do yourself a favor this week and don't give in!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Naked Party

My house has been suffering a lot lately because I have just been ridiculously busy and this week I finally didn't have anything that had to be done or anywhere I needed to be at so I decided this week would be a fabulous week to clean my house, and when I say clean I mean scrub, declutter, dust, the works! I actually threw away toys and gave some to D.I. . . . shocker, I know . . . but seriously the toys were getting outta control. Anyways tonight my plan was to scrub the bathrooms and while I am cleaning mine (which is the size of my kids room) I realized it was getting close to bedtime so I told the kids to clean up their toys and get their pj's on and then I went back to cleaning my bathroom. After a few minutes I came out to get the broom and heard quite the mischief going on in the kids bathroom so I decide to investigate and this is what I walked in on:

M naked and sitting on the big potty

J naked and sitting on the potty training potty - you know the one that DOES NOT flush and you have to scrub out every time someone goes potty in it

O standing naked in the middle of the bathroom holding his you know what (luckily he was not peeing)

Me: J what are you doing on that potty?

J: Well O made me do it

Me: O is 2, you are 5, how did he make you do it?

J: Well he told me to!

Me: So you chose to listen?

J: But he made me do it!

Me: It's o.k. I'm not mad, (in fact I was trying not to laugh) just get up

I was really hoping he had not gone potty . . . but he did . . . oh well I needed to clean their bathroom next anyways

Me: J next time you need to go potty, please go in one that flushes.

J: O.K.

Me: now will someone please explain to me where all of your clothes are?

M: We are having a Naked Party!

Me: ok well umm how about we have a pajama party now instead!

Just thought I would share this with you in case you needed a laugh!