Have Yourself a Merry Little “Meltdown”!!

Hello everyone!

It’s been tough here, I won’t lie. We have more meltdowns and “bad” days than “good” anymore. I’m certain the Holiday Stress takes it’s toll on ALL of us, not just the adults that are hustling & bustling about making certain all is taken care of for Christmas. I truly believe our children actually FEED off of our own stressors and whatever environment we “provide” for them.

We ALL want a picture perfect Christmas Season, right? You know, something that looks like this:

christmas-tree1

We ALL wish for that! We ALL work so hard to make our own homes, lives and families have the BEST for Christmas….and I’m not talking the BEST presents either…..I’m talking about the BEST Christmas experience so that when our children grow up, they have fond memories of enjoying this amazing season!!

My own “Past Christmas” memories are so wonderful!! We NEVER had a lot of money growing up, heck, we hardly had ANY money growing up!! But my mom (single mom with 4 kiddos after my dad left her penniless..literally….when I was only 13 yrs old & there were 3 others younger than myself) was amazing!! She was so wonderful at letting us kiddos see the TRUE meaning of Christmas. Our Christmas’ were riddled with tradition!! I, still to this day, keep some of those traditions alive in my own family!! We never went hungry, but had little money to just be frivilous with it, as a matter of fact, the FIRST time I ate out in a restaurant was on my First Date when I was 16!! Mom knew what was important and stuck to her guns! I so look up to my mom and when it comes to raising children, I look at how she raised us to the BEST of her abilities!! I even remember one particularly financially hard Christmas for my mom and all of us kiddos only got ONE Christmas present!! ONE!!! And we all got the exact same present…a bottle of hairspray each. And you know what, it didn’t matter to ANY of us that it was ALL we got. Not one of us was resentful or upset, we were telling mom that she didn’t have to…and with tears in HER eyes, said she wanted to do “something” for us! We were all teenagers at the time as well. What teenager in this day and age isn’t begging for a cell phone, iPad, Wii, etc? Times have changed, haven’t they? Or maybe it is US that has changed?! Now that WE are the parents…we need to get BACK to what is important, don’t we?!

Well, little MM is having a rough go of things. With his SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), there is an incredible amount of EXTRAS going on around him at this, what WE call the “Most magical time of year!” We go to the grocery, & there are SO MANY extra ppl rushing about, SO MANY more lights, SO MANY more toys around every corner to get US to spend more money, SO MANY more poor attitudes as ppl FEEL rushed about, & I could go on and on and on. ALL of this seems somewhat “Normal” to us, right? We have grown accustomed to seeing this year after year. But I forget sometimes that my son, who is sensitive to those types of things, gets more “frantic” and “meltdowns” MUCH more quickly in those situations!! I MUST MUST MUST think of him first and foremost! Not the tree, not the decorations, not the last minute grocery shopping, and certainly NOT making this Christmas “perfect”!! It’s almost as if my son is asking ME……”Do you see what is really going on inside my head?” without saying a word….I NEED to be aware and sensitive to HIS needs!!

Do you REALLY see what is going on INSIDE my head

Let me be honest here. His behaviors have been SO OFF that dh even considered having Santa NOT come this year!! Yes, he’d get some things from us, but not Santa. I slept on it and prayed about it, because as tempting as it sounds to try to “help” him understand that his behaviors really ARE so off, taking away Christmas & Santa will NEVER EVER help him in any way, shape or form, I believe. This is NOT the way to reach our son…not at all. We are learning as we go. Needing to try “new and different” things as the old techniques aren’t working right now. They haven’t since he started school back in August. That really affected him in ways I’ve yet to understand!!

I am looking at this Christmas as our “Charlie Brown Christmas!” Why you ask? It really hit me a couple of days ago when my dh said something to our son and I’ll explain my reply to his comment. This year has been particularly hard on us. My health is declining rapidly, which doesn’t help MM with his stress levels in any way. I’m feeling awful all the time, and he sees that, but I’ve ALWAYS tried my hardest to enjoy and DO what I can, while I can!!! I haven’t even sent out our Christmas cards yet this year! Can you say, Way Behind!? LOL! What dh said was after he’d worked a double, mind you, so he was pretty darned tired to begin with. MM was starting to downspiral quickly as he’d been doing so the past several days whenever we try to honestly DO ANYTHING!!!! When we picked out our tree, MELTDOWN! Went to get groceries, MELTDOWN! Went to go Christmas shopping for him and he needed to stay with Grandma, MELTDOWN! Hence the name of my post…”Have yourself a Merry Little Meltdown!” Now, onto the other night…..we were JUST starting to bring in decorations to decorate our tree…MELTDOWN!! It gets all too easy to get extremely frustrated in the moment, doesn’t it?! We ALL do it…including me!!!! Dh, then turned to MM and said, “Gosh, we can’t do anything anymore without you having a MELTDOWN!! I’ve worked all night and then all day (double), without a nap before leaving and now I have to deal with THIS tonight, too!? Why can’t we just put up our tree without any Meltdowns?! Tell me, please!” I answered for MM, “Because this IS our normal!”

That is a hard one to accept…that THIS IS OUR NORMAL!!!!! Let me further explain why I said I feel like this is our “Charlie Brown Christmas”…..ok.

CHARLIE BROWN TRIES TO PERK UP THE FORLORN LITTLE CHRISTMAS TREE

Just as Charlie Brown tried his very BEST to bring the BEST Christmas tree he could find to the pagent for his friends, and we all know how that turned out, right?! His friends were SO disappointed in his choice. What if I were looking at our son as the tree? MM’s bring HIS BEST to us….and guess what? There is opportunity for growth, too! Not just for the tree, but for US in how we SEE the tree!!!!

Check this out:

charliebrownxmas4

We see everyone else’s “trees and decorations” and get upset with ourselves and second-guessing ourselves…wondering what is it that WE’RE doing wrong?! Failing to see the beauty in what we ALREADY have!!

Now this:

charlie-brown-christmas3

We talk it out, read a book or something online that stands out above all the rest to REALLY open our eyes to what is RIGHT in front of us!!! The ONE person who speaks to me the MOST is Bryan Post!!! He was an adoptive child who suffered from RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) as does my son. Bryan Post is now an advocate for ALL adoptive children and owns/runs and is a Counselor for The Post Institute. I listened to an interview he did just the other night, (it was done back in November though) and WOW, I was so glad that I did….it was JUST what I needed to hear!! I couldn’t wait to tell my dh to listen to it as well!! I HIGHLY reccomend ALL of you to give Bryan a try….he really knows what he’s talking about as he LIVED it!!! I’ve been following him for a Long time now and look forward to reading him, getting posts from him, etc. He is quite insightful!!! Here is the link to his blog: http://bryanpost.com/

Then we come to this:

Charlie-Brown-Christmas6Actually seeing the beauty for what it really is!!!!!! How amazing a place that is!!! How freeing that is for both the parent AND the child!!!!!!

And finally:

charlie-brown-christmas5Everyone else is able to see through YOUR eyes the beauty of it as well AND rejoice in it!!!!!

In closing, I’m glad my husband said what he did because it DID open my eyes that night. I’ve said it before, that “this is our NORMAL” but sometimes I tend to forget when we get busy with the holidays, and I shouldn’t ever do that. Our son comes before ANY holiday, stress, or LIFE event..by any stretch of the imagination!!!

It is my prayer that your family is able to enjoy YOUR NORMAL this holiday season!!!!!!

Many blessings to you and your children,

~Mama249

 

 

 

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Misbehavior…Part 2

In continuing the series on Becky A. Bailey’s book, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline, I’ll be talking about her #2 reason why misbehavior serves as a vital function and can be looked at as a good thing.

In her book, Ms. Bailey says that the #2 reason is:

“Misbehavior teaches children how to communicate in order to get their needs met. All misbehaviors offers an opportunity to teach and to learn. Our responses to misbehavior teach children how to get their needs met.”

Think about what she said….OUR responses to their behavior teaches our children how to get their needs met. Hhhhhmmmm….let that resonate.

How do you respond? How do I respond? What exactly are we supposed to be doing to respond so that we get a postive outcome next time….lasting learning? Our goal is to prevent misbehaviors before they even start…..we’ll never make them stop completely….that is absurd to think that will ever happen. Our goal is to get your child to think before they act.

Just how the heck do we do that?

If I/we teach our children that negative behaviors achieve a goal, you’re going to get more negative behaviors. Guaranteed. I’d rather teach my child that he is able to achieve this goal…it’s within his reach. This is going to take a lot of persistence, hard work, and lots of effort.

Look at your situations…..does your child say, cry/scream/beg/whine in the grocery store to get what he/she wants? What is your response to that behavior? Do you give in in order to save face? To stop the whining? To make it easier on YOU? Honestly, you’re not making it easier on anyone! Especially your child.

MM has a horrible time in the grocery store….just a fact of a child with SPD. There is too much stimulus going on all around him. He can only hold it in for so long. Then he loses it…..starts acting out, crying, screaming, grabbing stuff off the shelves, laughing hysterically, kicking us, and I could go on and on and on…..but if you live with a child who has RAD….you know this scene….you live it, too.

So, what is it I personally do when these situations arise? Well, I try to calm MM using several techniques such as holding him (yes…even though he’s hitting me, kicking me, screaming in my face) and speaking softly to him to “sssshhh, calm down honey, mommy’s here, it’s ok, I’ve got you.” as I kiss him on the cheek…..over and over and over. Usually within minutes he just simply melts. He starts to play with my hair and rests his head on my shoulder….I can feel his body totally relax as he’s doing this. If the prior technique is not working…..then I hold MM, and take him out to the vehicle….and do everything I can to get him calm. I let dh finish getting the groceries. Honestly, it isn’t worth it for MM to have to feel that way…he shouldn’t.

I was talking to someone once about taking “things” away from MM as punishment. We must be VERY careful about this. Our RAD children attach to objects rather than us. If I take away MM’s favorite toy car for example, he feels like I’m actually taking away his “love”…..he even said this before. I took his car away and put it on top of the fridge, he screamed, and cried, saying, “You’re taking away my love!” WHOA!! Did that ever stop me in my tracks!! How could I, a loving mommy, do that to him? I truly want total healing in MM, and how is that going to happen if I’m taking away his “love?”

This is not an easy road, by any stretch of the imagination! We sometimes feel alone, scared, unsure of what we’re doing and is it really working? Don’t fret….if you’re seeing positive changes, no matter how small, then it IS working!! Keep at it…..don’t give up…..your child is worth every bit of hard work and persistence you’ve got.

So, as Ms. Bailey put it…..All misbehavior give the opportunity to teach and to learn…..remind yourself of that next time your child does something undesirable. If we don’t teach….what are they learning?

Blessings to you and your children….

Mama249