Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Overload

We have had a busy busy weekend.  In fact I think I need 365 days to recover, but it ended with a pooped out pirate carrying his jack-o-latern with a big o smile.  But, it started like this...




Crash loves dressing up like a pirate.  He is a tropical pirate and was not at all prepared for the artic weather.  Having to layer clothes or wear a jacket sent him into a nose dive.  He was given choices though and was able to work through it.  Mom was able to stay in control of her self and had a plan...Crash could go naked...it would be his birthday suit after all, and if he got cold he could wait in the car and miss out on the candy.  Low and behold he was dressed and was able to stay warm enough to collect a boat load of treats!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I have conquered my nemisis!

Crash on the other hand has not...

A typical school morning usually goes like this:
7:30 Crash get your socks and shoes and get ready to go... (response: ignore or aimless wandering)

7:40 Crash it's almost time to go...get your socks and shoes (response: aimless wandering)

7:45 Crash we need to leave get your socks and shoes (response: crying can't find the "right" socks)
Mom gives in a searches for the socks he wants...tries on 3 pairs...and finally gets shoes on and out the door.

Not any more!

Today our morning looked like this:

7:30 Crash you need to have everything for school by the door.  This means your socks, shoes, backpack and jacket.  I am leaving at 7:45.  (Crash: ignores)  It's not a problem.  You take your time.
7:40 Crash I am leaving out of the drive way in 3 minutes.  I will meet you at the car.

7:45 Crash starts screaming about socks. Not a problem.  I put his socks and shoes in his backpack and head for the car.  Not a problem.

All the way to school I hear sobbing and Crash repeating "I want my shoes."

My response: I know.

When there is a break in the sobs, I ask: "What seems to be the problem?"

Crash: I want my shoes!

Mom: I know you want your shoes, what's the problem?

Crash: Sobbing again..."I don't know!."

Mom: Crash you are a smart guy.  Sit there and think about it for awhile.  Take your time.

Crash: Sobbing again.  I don't know.

After a minute, I ask again what seems to be the problem.

Crash: Holding back tears says I didn't put my shoes on at home when you said.

Mom: You are right.  I told you that you were a smart guy!

Crash: Can I have my shoes?

Mom: When we get to the bench by your class.

Crash: But it's cold outside!

Mom: Probably so.

Crash: I WANT MY SHOES!

Mom: I know.

So we finally get to the bench, and I hand Crash his socks.  He of course is so overloaded right now he can't comprehend socks.  But that is not my problem.  I tell him I would be happy to help him with his shoes after I help him with his socks.  He of course refuses.

Mom: Crash it looks like you have a problem.

Crash: Uhuh.

Mom: What are you going to do about it.

Crash: You are going to put on my shoes.

Mom:  I would be happy to put on your shoes...after I put on your socks.  You know mom's rule.  Take your time.  It's ok.  I will be waiting over here. 

Finally, Crash puts his own shoes on (minus the socks of course) but the smart little guy figured out his own problem and went to class relatively composed.

AND...mom didn't have to stress out one little bit. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Loving On Purpose

We are taking a parenting class through our church called Loving on Purpose.  It is based on the Book Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk.  It is making a huge difference for our family.

To sum up what I have learned in one sentence: "I have to be in control of me."  I started this class thinking we would walk away with all kinds of "tricks" to get Crash to do what I want him to do, and instead I am walking away with something much more valuable.

If I can stay in control in situations and keep my brain working instead of getting caught up in the drama he is creating the situation will deescalate.   I bet you don't believe me.  It took a long time to get me to buy in as well.

But, let's consider one of the big reasons meltdowns occur...Crash is trying to take control of the situation be it his socks, pants, loud noises...you name it he feels out of control or overwhelmed.  The screaming and crying and challenging behaviors are his response to the situation in which he feels threatened.  When you feel threatened...you natural response is to control.

If I can stay in control of me, I can guide Crash in some of his decisions and set the stage for learning to occur.  By offering acceptable choices right at the beginning (or better yet before) the meltdown Crash is beginning to learn that he CAN control his life without melting down.

So often I have tried to prevent the meltdown by telling him what to do.  If he spilled milk on his pants, I would tell him to go change.  Which of course resulted in even more screaming.  His sensory system was over loaded and he still feels out of control.

This morning, when he spilled milk and was about to start screaming, Crash's dad acknowledged the problem and then said "I have a couple ideas about your problem.  Let me know if you want to hear them."  Holding back tears, Crash said ok.  Dad said "looks like your pants are wet.  That must be tough.  You could go and change or you could keep them on.  You could go and sit by the fire until they dry. "

That was enough.  Crash ran to change his pants.

Now here comes the amazing part.  When he returned, his dad said you can clean up the milk with water and a wash cloth or a spray bottle and a towel.  Crash made a choice and completed the job!

This would have been a power struggle in the past.  A very LONG power struggle.  But we stayed in control, didn't get caught up in the drama, offered choices, and let Crash take control.