Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘Being a Mother’

The Mother’s Day Thief

This Mother’s Day I really want to warn everyone about a thief running rapidly through families and obviously never satisfied with its heist. One that cannot be caught or stopped.  It snuck in so slowly, none of us noticed.  It was hidden in the normal aging process and we didn’t see it.  Shrouded in forgetfulness of the ordinary and cloaked by the everyday stresses that we thought clogged her mind.  The Alzheimer’s thief is slick, it’ll slide right by you and you don’t even see it coming.  Its cruel and unforgiving nature robs many special moments from the mind of the great.  It’s been around for a very long time, taking as it pleases and never giving back.

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It reduces the great person that was and steals their thoughts.  There is no sheriff to run it out of town nor warrant for its arrest.  There is no way to stop it!  It catches its victims off guard and like a parasite, leaches onto them and won’t let go.  It wraps its crusty hands around the mind of the unknowing gently at first – so it’s not noticeable.  Then over time, it tightens its grip until it has its grubby fingers in every crack and crevasse available.

An abomination… this disease is not satisfied with just daily forgetfulness. Oh no, it is the epitome of selfishness. It wants all memory, not just the daily or in-the-moment ones. It snatches them all until it has taken even the oldest and most dear.  It steals what we hold close to our hearts and leaves a breadcrumb of who the person once was.

I hate it.

I took my mother for granite for almost 30 years before suddenly, I understood her. We were finally able to share with each other and have conversations without argument. My heart gushed over with love for her and I began to confide in her more.  I began to trust her a way I never could as a child.  I finally understood her love for me and the reasons behind many of the things that she did.  I had to have children myself before I truly appreciated her and then suddenly – she is leaving me?  The horrible, selfish, hateful, nasty, unnecessary and under imagined disease it stealing my Momma and I feel like I just met her a few short years ago.

It’s not fair, but then….when is life fair?  I spent too much time wasted, not understanding her in this life.  I have violated my personal life motto: Everyday is an adventure. Embrace it.  I waited too long to embrace her and now she is leaving me…she is leaving daddy…she is leaving us all 😦   The last week I have spent in tears while my husband is away. I am ashamed that I am filled with so much regret that is self-inflicted by my own immature and stubborn mind of too many years.

I am glad we had the time we did get to enjoy each other. I still have Mom from time to time. She wiggles free from the grip of her oppressive thief and I suck up every available moment I can.  Every tiny moment of that time is engraved in my memory and it is wrapped in so many emotions – hopefully even if this thief comes for me, I will fight it long and hard. I hate you Alzheimer Disease! I hate you!!

Becoming a Mom

Bruner BoysThat moment you realize you are a Mom!

How to describe that moment? That moment when it hits you, when it all comes down like a ton of bricks and reality steps right in your face – You’re a Mom, a Mother, the one trusted source of information about vomit, diarrhea, diaper rash & common illnesses.

Not during pregnancy, although many women experience revelation then, but when that young one is in your arms. That’s when it’s real.  That moment when the mental connection is made. I’ve heard some say it was in the hospital it hit them, but not for me. Oh no, it was after I got home. Suddenly, I realized how helpful the hospital staff had been during the first couple of days. They didn’t come home with me. There was no help really!

Nothing prepares you for it – not books, movies, seminars, or pregnancy classes. Nope, no stories you hear or conversations will prepare you for the inevitable; that fateful moment that suddenly shakes your inner being like a banana tree.

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It can happen multiple times, through multiple ages of the child’s life, and can be as small as a thought or as profound as a huge chilling emotion sweeping over you. You know, the one that takes your breath away and leave you feeling shell-shocked? Yep, that’s the one I’m writing about.

For me, the pregnancy was not it. Not with my first-born anyway. Not carrying him, not the short easy labor, not even the nurses bringing him to me created the reality that I had entered into the everlasting realm of motherhood. Nope. I carried on as though completing a task. Like getting from point A to point B.  I marked off the mile markers as I went until one day, when he was about 3 weeks old, it hit me.

I was laying in bed with him beside me nursing. He was making little sounds. He was so relaxed. It was like he trusted me already and didn’t even know me. He looked up at me with his little eyes full of love as his little hand patted my arm.  BOOM!  Right there, right then I realized I was a Mom.  I started to cry.  Emotions swept over me like an avalanche and I was completely consumed. 20 years later I can still feel that same love & emotions sweep over me when he calls.

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Then a couple of years later, my life replayed the previous 2 years. I was pregnant again with another boy.  I thought man, I got this! I mean, I had already been there, done that, got the t-shirt!

Nope, it all hit me again. He was about 6 days old…my oldest was laying beside me & new baby was in my arms. We were home. I realized this was a forever gig. And I realized that although I didn’t apply for the position, I knew it was meant to be 🙂

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Here they are today. Those 2 babies grew up and they’re so much bigger than me. My biggest fear, the one I wrestled with the most with throughout their infancy & toddler years – never came true (PRAISE GOD).

My biological mother gave me away. She didn’t want me. Her biological mother gave her away. She wasn’t wanted either. All the women in my biological family seemingly did the same thing. I don’t want to be like that. Please Jesus, please don’t let me do it. No matter what comes, keep my mind strong. Keep me fiercely independent and protect my mental state. Please, please, please!!

God is merciful. I kept them…plus 2 girls and another boy God sent me. 🙂

 

100 Reasons Why You Should Call Your Mom

100 Reasons Why You Should Call Your Mom… No, really – call her!

I know the drill, I’ve done it myself.  It’s been a while since you spoke to your mom (or accepted one of her calls) so you are thinking…maybe, just maybe – you should call her? YES, you should… and here are 100 reasons why!

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    1. She is your mother for better or for worse.
    2. She did the best she could at the time and she always wished it was better.
    3. She thinks about you every time she sees someone your age.
    4. She misses you dearly
    5. She likes to see and hear about your successes.
    6. She is your biggest fan.
    7. She thinks about you every time she speaks with someone on the phone that talks the way you do.
    8. Although you are human,  you can do no wrong.
    9. She is proud of your accomplishments. Even the little ones that you don’t even remember.
    10. She loves you.
    11. You took up residence in her body for almost a year without paying rent or helping buy groceries!
    12. You were the apple of her eye.
    13. She was your primary dietician during  your formative years.
    14. She put off things she wanted to do, so she could spend time with you.
    15. She bought you that article of clothing you were dying for instead of going to the dentist to have her teeth worked on.
    16. She always fed you. Even if she was hungry after supper, she made sure you were full & happy.
    17. She cleaned up your vomit & probably didn’t complain.
    18. She held you tight when you were sick and sat up with you all night. Although she knew she would catch your illness, she did it to comfort you.
    19. She always dressed you first and didn’t take much time for herself.
    20. You were her world…and probably still are.
    21. When you broke something, she took the fall for it.
    22. She stood between you and many butt-bustings. She was your shield.
    23. Your mother is the only woman in your life that will never judge you for being you.
    24. She may be spastic at times, but she handled all your crisis Like-a-Boss.
    25. She would improvise when you ate her office work…or peed on it.
    26. Your Mother protected you from sharp objects.
    27. She cuddled and reassured you when you were sad.
    28. When you were lonely, she was your friend.
    29. She protected you from the boogie man & the zombie’s in the walls.
    30. When you are hurting, her heart is breaking.
    31. She celebrated all your tiny victories.
    32. She celebrated your big Victories
    33. Your Mom gave you breathe and you took hers away
    34. Your hopes were her aspirations for you
    35. She fixed your favorite foods often to make you happy.
    36. Your dreams were her goals
    37. She paved the way for your success.
    38. She worked to help you in school and then came home and worked there.
    39. Your mom encouraged others to see the best in you, even when you were at your worst.
    40. She may not have kept the house immaculate, but she made sure your clothes were always clean.
    41. She skipped naps while watching you sleep.
    42. Your Momma gave it everything she had!
    43. She tried to dazzle your friends to make you cool.
    44. She liked your music even when it gave her a headache.
    45. She baked your favorite sweets to make you happy.
    46. She told every teacher that doubted you where they could go!
    47. She stayed awake to make sure you were breathing.
    48. Your Mother stayed up late at night worrying about you.
    49. She called everyone she knew to track you down when you were late coming home.
    50. Moms have a special heart given by God.  Her heart misses you.
    51. She sees you with eyes of confidence.
    52. Her arms are always ready to hug you.
    53. She’s always waiting on your call.
    54. She watches he driveway…incase you might drive up.
    55. Even though she may disagree, she will take your side.
    56. She removed gum from your hair patiently.
    57. She cleaned the stains out of your underwear!
    58. She would suffer a million calamities for you.
    59. She has patience with you.
    60. Your Mother was purposely objective to your mate for your emotional safety.
    61. Your children are her crown in life.
    62. She loves your pets like your children if you do not have any.
    63. Her life was put on hold to raise you, and she never regretted it.
    64. She delights in your career and brags on you regularly to her friends.
    65. She prays for you all the time.
    66. When she shops, she thinks of things that you need or would like.
    67. She celebrates your birthday more so than you do!
    68. Your Momma remembers how tiny your hands were.
    69. She is always lighting a candle for your life.
    70. She knows your vulnerabilities and keeps them safely secret.
    71. Her hips are slightly off-center because she held you so much while you were young.
    72. A mom never forgets the time you only wanted her to comfort  you.
    73. She is a fixer – always striving to help you fix something.
    74. Mothers come in many forms – not all biological!
    75. Even if she wasn’t really your mom, but just a lady you looked to like-a-mom, she knows that and never forgot.
    76. God changes the mind of a Mother. This is why you think she is a little crazy.
    77. One day, she will not be there to answer the phone.
    78. A day may come when she doesn’t remember who you are.
    79. There may be a day that she can no longer speak verbally.
    80. She has carried the weight of every tiny thing she could have done better on her shoulders.
    81. She remembers every single mistake she made – and is hard on herself.
    82. You can release her from the Mother-Guilt she carries.
    83. She is a strong woman your mate should look up to.
    84. Every little wrinkle on her face she wears as a trophy from your childhood.
    85. Each gray hair on her head is a reminder for her of what she once was to you.
    86. She sees herself in your face.
    87. She realizes when she has gone too far.
    88. Your Mom knows when she should stay silent, but can’t help herself.
    89. She invested her entire life into you.
    90. She still dreams about when you where a toddler.
    91. Her mind races with thoughts about how you are.
    92. She still wants to help you.
    93. Her life was forever changed by you.
    94. Her thoughts were forever changed by you.
    95. You made her stronger than she thought she could be.
    96. She feeds off your energy and thriving life.
    97. Every busted vein in her legs is a sign of her love – walking the floor with you while you were a fussy baby.
    98. She never regretted you!
    99. You were not an accident.
    100. You make her the happiest woman alive when you call!!

 

Momma-tude

Momma-tude is the attitude of a Mother.  This Mom attitude is not one to be ashamed of but rather one to be admired. But, what exactly is a Mother’s attitude? It’s part of her personality. It makes her who she is. It helps define her in her everyday life. Momma-tude is also a common reaction or feeling amongst a group of Mom’s.  There are many types. Which one are you?

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Which Momma-tude are you?

The Accident waiting to happen Mom

Common phrases:

  1. Please stop crying before you drown in your tears.
  2. Get down from there before you fall off and break your neck.
  3. You know, chewing with your mouth closed prevents lock-jaw.
  4. You’re going to end up in the same type of trouble when you get older if you don’t learn from your brother.
  5. Don’t touch it. You don’t know where that’s been.
  6. This place is full of germs.
  7. Talk like that will get you arrested.
  8. Don’t try it…
  9. Foods ready. Come on everyone. It’s time to gain 10 lbs!
  10. That’s not a toy. Put that thing away for the next 20 years!
  11. What were you thinking?
  12. You are going to cause a nose bleed
  13. Just think about how bad that could have been

The Over-Protective Mom

Common phrase:

  1. Oh honey, stop crying before you bust a blood vessel.
  2. (Catches mischievous toddler immediately as he begins to fall off counter.) How did  you get up there this time? One day you’re going to kill yourself.
  3. You will choke if  you chew with your mouth open.
  4. I need you to go to your room for your own safety.
  5. Ew, do you know how many bacteria is on the bottom of those feet?
  6. You don’t know who touched that before you.
  7. I know you didn’t just say what I thought you said.
  8. That’ll kill you…
  9. Eat. You need your strength
  10. That’s not to touch.
  11. You obviously weren’t thinking
  12. (Finger in nose) EW! *Squirts hand sanitizer on her hands first, then child’s.
  13. I’m gonna show you what I mean in a minute

The Sarcastic Mom

Common Phrases:

  1. Is that the loudest you can cry? Give it up.
  2. Climbing on the counter again? How’d that work out for ya last time?
  3. I don’t always need to see what your food looks like when you chew.
  4. Do you think you can raise your brother better than me?
  5. Keep that little footsie to yourself.
  6. Great, now  you probably have staph.
  7. Really? Really!
  8. Go ahead, see what happens…
  9. You don’t like to eat green beans? Well I don’t like to see you pick your nose at the table.
  10. What are you planning on doing with that?
  11. You really thought that would work?
  12. Digging for gold?
  13. I’m going to knock you into next week if you don’t stop

The Emotional Mom

Common phrases:

  1. *Sees baby crying & cries along*.
  2. (See toddler climbing on counter) Quickly swoops baby up and hysterically says, “you could have died!”
  3. I remember when you were first beginning to eat solid food.
  4. I don’t know where I went wrong. (cries)
  5. Don’t you love each other?
  6. When you were a baby, you touched everything.
  7. After everything I’ve done for you, I can’t believe you said that.
  8. P l e a s e   don’t
  9. I made one of everyone’s favorite food!
  10. You are too young to be doing that.
  11. I’m praying for you child.
  12. You are embarrassing me
  13. I can’t take this anymore

The in-yo-face Mom

Common phrases:

  1. Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about!
  2. You’ve been warned. You are not a monkey!
  3. Could you chew any louder?
  4. Do you want to be punished too? No? Then stay out of it!
  5. You think you’re a bully? Try that on me.
  6. Did you see a sign that said Touch Me?
  7. Oh no you didn’t just say that.
  8. I mean it!!
  9. Eat what I cooked or be hungry.
  10. Take your hands out of your pants!
  11. Use your head for something other than a hat rack.
  12. Do you want your friends to call you a booger picker?
  13. Don’t make me jap slap you

The Strict Mom

Common phrases:

  1. (Baby begins to cry) Zip it!
  2. (See Toddler climbing on counter) Time out!
  3. If you can’t chew with your mouth closed, go to our room.
  4. Go to your room. You are both grounded now.
  5. No Wi-Fi. Go to your room.
  6. Stop it.
  7. I heard that!
  8. No.
  9. Let me see  your hands. GO wash them again with Soap this time.
  10. Stop…no really, STOP!
  11. The next time you think of something like that, just don’t.
  12. (Smacks hand of booger picker) No
  13. oh…Oh…OH!! You’ve been warned

The Proper Mom

Common phrases:

  1. It’s okay to cry as long as you wipe each tear independently and before it has been on your cheek more than one minute.
  2. Our feet go on the ground.
  3. We chew with our mouths closed.
  4. Your interference was not requested to discipline your brother.
  5. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
  6. You look with your eyes, not with your hands.
  7. (Ignores anything child says that she is not proud of)
  8. We mustn’t do that
  9. Sit up straight. Don’t slouch at the table.
  10. I am ignoring what you are doing.
  11. Think before you act.
  12. My child doesn’t do that.
  13. Surely you didn’t just do that

The Extremely Religious Mom

Common phrases:

  1. Lawd help, that baby can feel the spirit!
  2. For Heaven’s sake, please stop climbing. I’m going to pray about this.
  3. Did you pray before you started eating?
  4. Honor your Mother and Father.
  5. Turn the other cheek.
  6. You better be asking for forgiveness if you touched that.
  7. (Shocked) You kiss me with that mouth!
  8. You’ll need to pray about that before you do it
  9. Speak when spoken to.
  10. You are going to go blind.
  11. I pray the Lord will be your conscience.
  12. God sees everything.
  13. I’m praying for you

The Hypochondriac Mom

Common phrases:

  1. (baby crying) Please stop crying before you get another ear infection!
  2. Ahhhhh! You could’ve broken a bone!!
  3. I hope you don’t chip a tooth chewing like that.
  4. It’s not emotional healthy for you to interfere in your brother’s punishment.
  5. Stop. One of you will bruise.
  6. Quick!! Wash your hands!!!!
  7. Great!!! You said it.
  8. Stop before you die
  9. Did you wash your hands?
  10. Go wash your hands!
  11. You didn’t think this through, did you?
  12. Get your finger out of your nose, do you even remember where it’s been?
  13. You could’ve been killed

The Everybody’s Mother

Common phrases:

  1. (crying child) Oh, come here baby…you need a hug.
  2. Get down (said with BIG eyes).
  3. It’s rude to chew with your mouth open. (said with a smile)
  4. Best stay out of it.
  5. I don’t want to see that again.
  6. Did I just see you touch that?
  7. You want to repeat what you just said?
  8. I wouldn’t do that if I were you….
  9. Eat supper with us 🙂 Sit down. Now!
  10. What are you expecting to find down there?
  11. Next time, you may want to think about it before doing it.
  12. Need a tissue?
  13. Not good

The Gentle Mother

Common phrases:

  1. (Child crying) Oh honey, it’s not that bad. I love you!
  2. Gently sweeps child off counter and to the floor- Be careful darling.
  3. Close your mouth to chew sweetheart.
  4. Although it takes a village to raise a child, I am doing just fine.
  5. Hands are for hugging, not for hitting.
  6. Now now, we must not touch.
  7. I’m sure you don’t mean that.
  8. Stop. Please don’t.
  9. I hope you like what I made.
  10. Could you go do that in your room?
  11. Your mind is powerful. Think before you speak or act.
  12. (Hands tissue) Blow your nose.
  13. Oh no. I can’t believe you would do that.

The Frustrated Mother

Common phrases:

  1. You think crying will save you?
  2. (Toddler climbing on counter) Squeezes eyes closed then back open. Hand on hip. Get DOWN.
  3. Ew, close your mouth to chew.  I don’t want to see that!
  4. I don’t need your help parenting your brother!
  5. If you make me get up, it’s going to be 100x worse for you.
  6. Good grief, if you don’t stop touching everything, we are going to get kicked out of here!
  7. Did you just say that?
  8. I’m serious as a heart attack!
  9. You MUST wear pants to the table.
  10. Stop playing with your p*nis
  11. What were you thinking? Oh wait, you weren’t!
  12. Stop eating your boogers!
  13. You are going to wish you never did that

No matter which you identify with the most, you are still a mom and probably under appreciated a bit.  Here’s to all the Mommas out there.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

***Special Thanks to my friends who gave me some of this golden material. I love you, you hot Mommas!

Let’s Pin each other – Update for 9/30/2015

Hello all you wonderful pinning peeps! I have sadly been absent from Pinterest for too long. I logged in today and realized there are over 2000+ request to be added to the 2 Let’s Pin Each Other boards.  So here is what I will ask for TODAY ONLY (9/24/2015):

If you have asked to be added to either board and have not been added yet, send another request today. I will add you when I get the notification.

My problem adding people has been that Pinterest only shows me 2 names and then says “and 79 others” have asked to be added…so let’s try this again folks (because the 79 others are being left out!

Update for 9/30/2015: I am still only receiving notifications lumped together on Pinterest so help me out. Let’s do this:

Follow me and the board(s) Let’s Pin Each Other and/or Let’s Pin Each Other 2 and also leave me a comment below with your user name and I will do my best to add everyone as swiftly as possible!

I’m in an adding mood, so let’s do this.    And….go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love y’all,

Chrissy

Thank you Jesus

The Lord woke me up today 🙂

Butterfly on Mint

Butterfly on Mint

He allowed me to get out of bed on my own 🙂 There’s coffee & rich delicious creamer all morning. The children God gave me are healthy (one with healing swimmers ear) and Old Man Puddy is still kicking.

Our faithfully dedicated pup protected me from a vicious looking pool float on our morning stroll. (Ha!) And my sweet husband was right beside me when I got up early to taxi my boys to & from work.

Our land is healing & our home is cool in this summer heat. My vision is blurring but the Lord provides glasses so I can still see.

Life is short…shorter than we think. God’s love is powerful…stronger than anything. Grace is a gift…one not deserved. Faith is a must…not occasional as needed. Salvation is sweet…enduring and promised. Blessings are gifts…not to be forgotten.

Love,

Chrissy

O.D.D. at First Glance

Part 2

O.D.D. at First Glance

For the sake of this subject, I will name the child in question “Knight” for no other reason than I am not using his real name and I am terrible at making up random names.

History

When Knight came to live with us he was already a teenager exhibiting ODD behaviors for a lengthy time (period of years) and was 14 years old. We were told many horror stories from parents, others who knew him, school records, psychological reviews, and from Knight himself. He was being medicated for ADHD although this medication was not seemingly working its magic. His past included theft, habitual lying or truth stretching and was out of touch with reality. He had been to juvenile, participated in many fights at school and in public. He showed complete and total defiance to all authority figures, had trouble making friends and  trouble maintaining established friendships. He had a history of  school suspensions, random outburst, purposely annoying others, threats and acts of violence against others and to himself, hitting or hurting his siblings and parents, failing grades, drug usage, and he was a gang member wannabe.

People he had lived with had made statements like, “I just can’t handle him any more!”.

Open Dialog

Knight moved in with us and we began to merge him into our family. I spent many hours with him one-on-one talking to him about his life and what he wanted for his future during the first two weeks. He was very open and verbal. *In fact, he seemed to enjoy being heard and voicing his own personal concerns, opinions, and thoughts. I emphasized to him that his opinions matter and count toward decision-making, but that my decisions would ultimately trump his if I felt something was not in his best interest. 

When we began to have our conversations, he lied to me about some parts of his past and present. After several more talks though, he began to open up, confess and share with me the real him. Once our open dialog protocol was established (over a 2 week period), we agreed that he should not hide anything from me or else I could not help him. He agreed and has kept this agreement to date (a year later).

Loud Outburst and Annoying Others

We stopped Knight’s ADHD medication. He was not taking it regularly anyway and it was causing his heart to flutter and increased his natural anxiety. Teachers typically recommend against this because they assume that the medication “helps” (and in some children it does). But Knight’s condition was not so much ADHD – this child could, did, and does pay attention. He was/is hyper to the extreme though and enjoyed using his energy to annoy people. He openly admitted that he enjoyed annoying people.

Knight’s first few weeks with us were trying on our nerves as we all needed to adjust to his hyper tendencies. Once he picked on the fact that his hyper actions drove some in the house batty, he played on this weakness. I had talks with my other children about how to react to Knight’s behaviors and expressed that we were to all focus on giving Knight positive attention instead.  I ask them to follow my lead in ignoring the outburst, going on about their business, or changing their location if possible (leaving the room). This provided to be difficult because their ages were so close and my boys were feeling as though I would allow Knight to get away with things they were not allowed to do – ever. After a bit of practice on the boys parts, they were able to follow my instructions with Knight’s negative behavior. They simply had to change their mindset.

Example: Knight is on the couch playing Xbox with one of his new brothers and randomly starts pausing the game at important parts when his new brother is about to achieve success on a mission. Knight’s new brother waits until the game is resumed and then begins to play again. This pause/resume of the game continues throughout a 5 minute time frame about 20 times. Knight’s new brother is frustrated. He sets his controller down and walks away. Knight screams COME BACK and play with me NOW.  His new brother says, “You’re annoying me. There’s something else I’d rather do. You can play alone.” Knight is now upset and confused. He comes to talk to me about it. I explain to him I understand how he and his new brother both feel. I also told him that bringing annoying behavior to his attention should help understand why people were wanting to avoid him. Last I explained that if he wants to make lasting friendships, he will need to figure out a way to channel his hyper energy in ways that do not annoy people.

Example: Knight would walk through the house at different times of the day randomly yelling as loud and shrill as he could.  I spoke with Knight about these random outburst and explained that he was giving everyone a headache. This went on for a couple of months. Outburst changed from a shrill screeching to random words.  We all ignored this behavior and made a huge deal/celebration daily about Knight being able to share his Xbox and game play with his new brothers.

So, in just 3 short weeks we had made progress. We celebrated the accomplishments daily (and we still do) to re-enforce Knight’s awesome traits and the great person he has and is becoming!

I will write more soon about our next steps we took on this ODD journey and what worked – and what backfired!

Living with O.D.D

Part 1

The definition of  ODD:

[Oppositional Defiance Disorder]: a child or teenager exhibiting a persistent, regular (occurring multiple times a day over a period lasting more than 6 months) pattern of  random outburst tantrums, argumentative with everyone over anything and everything in a raised voice, angry, hostile, and aggressive behavior toward all authoritative figures, spewing negativity in all forms, completely defiant, disobedient, refusing to comply with requests, purposely annoying others, provoking others, blames everyone for his/her mistakes or misbehavior, acts touchy and is annoyed easily by others, feels much anger and resentment, is spiteful & vindictive, has difficulty maintaining friendships, feels socially unaccepted, acts aggressively toward peers, has academic problems, and most importantly – has a serious lack of self-esteem. A child/teenager with ODD is deliberately destructive to other people’s property, lies often about big and little things, has tendencies and desires to steal from people they know and do not know often – shoplifting, feel entitled to the objects they steal and will justify their actions when confronted about the theft, will often break curfew, skip school, has run away from home (or attempted to or talks about it), may experiment with drugs and sex at a young age, and engages in physical fights often in public – school – home (attacking parents), threatens or attempts suicide.

Diagnosis:

What leads a professional to diagnosis this disorder is the severity and length of time the child has demonstrated these signs. Let’s face it, what child hasn’t shown some or all of these traits during their childhood? Many people see a child in this description as a troubled teen.  Most people will say all children have and they would be justified in saying so. These behaviors are normal for all children at different stages in their youth. But what makes ODD significant is the length of time and the severity of these behaviors.

The significant difference in this disorder and normal youth disobedience is that the child/teenager’s behaviors affect not just themselves and their parents, but also their peers, teachers, friends, grand parents, church members, and everyone that comes in contact with them in public – everyday over an extended period of 6 months to several years. Many people interviewed have stated that they can not stand to be around a child with ODD even though they love them and want to see them recover. Some people have even gone so far as to have said that they hate their child with this disorder. They feel as though they have failed miserably as a parent and some parents, sadly… simply give up 😦  A child with this behavior disorder is not uneducated or of low intelligence. Actually the opposite is true. I have discovered that this disorder is driven through high intelligence in a child with a serious lack of self-esteem.

What causes ODD?

Oppositional Defiance Disorder affects only a very small number of children/teenagers and often times it exists in a co-morbid state with another physiological disorder such as ADD/ADHD, Bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, and depression/ anxiety.

Professionals have also linked the onset of ODD to a lack of supervision, lax – inconsistent,  or  harsh parenting (harsh discipline), abuse, neglect, an imbalance of serotonin in the brain, a strained family environment (a lot of arguing, yelling, and marital separations/divorce), and developmental delays in brain development. ODD is considered more of a “personality disorder” really and if addressed early enough can be corrected before a child reaches the teenager years. If treatment for ODD has not begun until the teenage years, there is still hope, but the treatment period may be a more lengthy and need much more time and effort.

I understand how you feel!

It’s very common for a parent with an ODD child to feel like a failure. They feel as though they are at the end of their rope, can’t take it anymore, and often feel like giving up.  And the saddest part is…some parents do give up. Some parents say they hate their children and they hear other people tell them they hate to be around the child also. Many of these children will end up out of the home on their own at an early age, in juvenile, or being packed off to live with someone else.  As a parent you will hear debasing comments from the child with ODD often. Please don’t allow the harsh things you hear from your child “stick” in your mind. Many times, these children don’t mean what they blurt out in an episode anyway.

It’s a challenge. You’ll cry because they have insulted you, lose your temper also from time to time, and want to react to the child in the same way they are acting toward you. You are not a failure though. Youth with Oppositional Defiance Disorder will use anything they can think of to hurt you and enjoy causing a rift in your marriage or home between all family members. If they know you have a weakness, they will exploit it. I promise you though, your child is not the spawn of evil and there is hope!  We must maintain our composure and when you implement a behavior  modification plan, you’ll be the one in control of this seemingly disrespected and destructive child.

What do I do?

If you think that you have a child that fits this description, behavior modification is the best and most effective approach. Therapy is helpful also (according to articles on-line.) Some professionals recommend a cocktail of medications, but there are many resources available to help parents that feel as though they have reached the end of their rope that will not have any medical side effects as such medications can/may/do have.

In the next few articles, I will share with you our journey through raising a teenager with Oppositional Defiance Disorder and the things that have worked for us and the things that have failed miserably. We are 1 year into this journey and have made huge massive amazing large life changing significant progress that I hope will bring hope to other parents or authority figures out there that are dealing with this commonly undiagnosed disorder.

Here are some on-line resources for further reading:

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