Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘Parents’

I’m not like her, am I?

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Noticing the changes that occur in all of us as we grow older is chilling. It’s a reminder that this life is not forever. It can also give a subtle reminder to enjoy each day as though it were our last.

My mother was always very happy while she was working in her flowers. My grand mother was the same. I also very much enjoy all the time I get to spend outdoors and my flowers make me happy too. Isn’t it funny how we become so much like those who raised us? Some say that they are nothing like their parental figures, but if taking an honest look, we all become like them in some ways.

There was a day when I would cringe and possibly fight someone if they said, “You sound like your mother.” I was very young then. I have a birthday fast approaching and will be nearing the mid-point in my life. These years, especially the last 4-5,  have been my pinnacle period where I have been happy, satisfied, loved, content and enjoying the day-to-day. I have also come to understand my mother in ways that I never thought possible. So now that I can see her with different eyes, I feel it a compliment if someone compares us.

Here she and dad are a few months before they adopted my brother and I

Here she and dad are a few months before they adopted my brother and I

 

 

There are stories that aren’t appropriate to hear when you are young that fall on your ears as you mature. Your parents had a life before you. Their personalities and previous life experiences might impress you if you take time to listen.

My mother was a beautiful young lady that turned heads everywhere she went. She had an appeal about her that attracted many people. She was also very forthright and spoke her mind. She was called blunt, uncaring, hard, and mean. She was a savvy business woman who knew what she wanted; this drive and desire overflowed into all she touched. She was obsessed with continued learning and was enthralled by conversion with someone well-educated. She was firm yet loving and she was stern yet compassionate. She had some less desirable traits as well, but don’t we all?

The thing I admired her most for was taking me in. She was 40 years old that year, in 1976. I was just a few months old.

To be continued….

I’d Love to Pin You!

I love the blogging community. I visit your sites dear followers and I pin your articles on Pinterest (if you have that sharing button available). Pinterest_Logo

I also share your posts on other social networks, but I’ve noticed that Pinterest draws more reposts (repins) for you (and hopefully more interest) than Facebook or Twitter.

So that this can be a more collaborative event, I would like to begin anew. I’ve added a new Pin Board to Pinterest named Let’s Pin Each Other

If you were already following me on Pinterest, I’ve sent you an invite to be an admin on this Pinning Board. Having admin rights allows you to also pin pages, sites, and pictures to this board so you too can promote your own business, interests, blogs, and causes near and dear to your heart.

If you have not received an invite, be patient. Pinterest will only allow me to grant 5 admins every 30 minutes it seems (so I am not marked as spam). Also, please know that if you are not following me on Pinterest, I cannot send you an invite to become an admin.

Let’s support each other and pin way.  After-all, I’d Love to Pin You!!

Not sure what to do? Take these steps:

  1. Set up an account on Pinterest (if you have not already).  You can use this link to get to Pinterest and will be prompted to set up an account if you do not have one: http://pinterest.com/csachb/lets-pin-each-other/
  2. Follow me – You’ll see a button to Follow All boards, but you really shouldn’t have to do that if you do not want to. It is important that you Follow that board named Let’s Pin Each Other though. If you do not follow this board, I can not invite you to be an admin.
  3. Add the Pinterest sharing button to your blog if it is not already there. If you need help doing this, WordPress offers assistance on this help page: http://en.support.wordpress.com/sharing/
  4. Start Pinning your favorite articles 🙂  I would recommend that you only pin 3-4 of your own personal articles a month for the board to be successful. If you only write once a week, this should be easy for you. If you pin to many too often, it may turn off others as they scroll through the board looking for articles to read.  So, scatter your pins on this board to be more effective 🙂
  5. Any SPAM pinning will be removed and admin privileges provoked.
  6. I will follow one or more of your boards.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s pin each other dear writers, business owners, and heartfelt causes or charities!!

Happy Pinning 🙂

 

UPDATE: 3/1/2014     7:31PM

Pinterest has just resolved my service ticket with them and I can now add new pinners to this board. So, drop me a line or comment below if you’re still following me and still waiting to be added to this group  board. I’ll add you ASAP!

Holidays, ODD & family visits

This article is part 11 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9 , part 10 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In the last article I shared Knight’s journey up to week 26. He was not doing the best with authority figures (especially in school) but I didn’t mention his grades yet. Before he came to live with us, he was a low C to high F student. He had failed many of his classes in the other schools he’d attended. Now, he was doing better. The average grades he was bringing in were high B’s. Occasionally his grades would slip to low C’s or high D’s if he got lazy about turning in his work. We would issue reminders about his grades, offered him weekly updates on his progress and coax him into catching-up. By the end of his courses though, he would finish with a low A or high B. He really was doing better in this new environment.

Jumping forward to weeks 28 & 29, Knight completed 2 weeks without getting into trouble at school. I was extremely happy for him and attempted to shower him in praise. He was continuing his attempt to join the football team, but we didn’t have his paperwork complete at that point. He was pretty much benched to the side lines. His coach carried continued discipline into each practice and game if he’d been disciplined at school.  Football was good for him and in a few more weeks,  he would be cleared to officially join the team.

Knight was still hanging out with his friends and going to church regularly. He had attended Church camps, outings, retreats, and other special events  (which were all incredibly expensive). He would often speak about the Lord after these events and about how God was touching his heart. His friends were also encouraging him to stop cursing and doing the vulgar things which he had grown accustomed to in his previous life. Let’s face it, our kids will act one way around us and then another way around their friends. It happens. It’s just the way teenagers are. I was not blind to this. I was happy however that the friends he had picked were good enough to also issue him gentle reminders when he got out of hand in these areas.

Skipping ahead to week 32, this was the last week of the first semester for him in his new school. He had made it 4 weeks without acting out at school, but continued to tell me everyday that 2 of his teachers “hated him” and “had it out for him”. He was doing well in those classes though. On the last day of school, we all received a surprise visit from his mother. She drove in from out-of-state and said she wanted to take him for the Christmas break. He wasn’t ready to go just yet. She was traveling to another state also to pick up her daughter and agreed to swing by in a few days and pick him up on her way back through.

Knight left with her 2 days later, early in week 33. We allowed him to open some of his Christmas presents early since he would not be with us until after the New Year. We were all sad to see him go. Both of my boys kind of moped around while he was gone. They really did miss him. It was a realization for me that they truly had accepted him as part of our family now. Maybe they had done so much earlier than I realized? I don’t know. I couldn’t tell through all the arguments, disagreements, complaints from one boy to the next about each other. I was seeing obvious evidence of this now though.

Knight called often while he was away. He would give me an update on how he was doing (if he was being good to his mother and sister), and would tell me if he successfully avoided an outburst of anger. He also called to say that he missed us. By the end of the first week, he called to ask when he could come “home”. I reassured him he was not being punished and that his mother would be bringing him back soon – because school would start back soon. He said he wanted to be home by New Year’s Day so he could celebrate with us. I cried after our conversation. I’m not sure why I cried though. Maybe because I missed him too?

On the last day in week 34, Knight returned home. It was New Year’s Eve! He would get to be with us for New Year’s Day after all 🙂 A few days after Knight came home, Knight’s father received a call from Knight’s grandmother. Knight stayed at her house while he spent time with his mother and family. She remarked about the significant change in Knight. Actually, she was amazed that he was not the same boy at all! She said, “I’m not sure what you are doing with him, but keep it up. He was the most respectful child! He was a pleasure to have and he’s practically unrecognizable. You’re doing a good job. I’m proud of that boy!”

Even though this was not told to me, I found encouragement in her words. We were doing something right if others could identify a significant difference in him. I was happy for Knight and especially happy to have our family all back together again. 🙂

School Trouble – Oppositional Defiance Disorder

This article is part 10 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7 , part 8 , and part 9 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

As I mentioned in the previous article, Knight just started a new public school and had been warned about the zero tolerance policies related to defiance and discipline. Unfortunately, in week 22 he began to have issues. He came home complaining about some of his teachers. They were the bad guys because they fussed at him for distracting others in the classroom, talking, or being loud while the teacher attempted to teach the day’s lesson. Here’s how things went.

In week 16, Knight was continuing to make friends and had plans to spend the night over at some friend’s houses. He behaved well in other’s homes we were told.

In week 17, Knight developed interest in a church where his friends were members and begged us to go there. I had not been to this church in many years, but I knew what they believed, so we allowed him to go. He was in teenager heaven 🙂

In week 18, Knight began to share his total excitement with us and tell us how happy he was to live with us and happy about his “new” life. We continued to encourage Knight and reminded him daily (and our other boys) to complete their homework!

In week 19, I had noticed a significant difference in our overall family life and noticing the difference in each boy individually also.

In week 20, Knight was still attending church and visiting with his friends pretty regularly. Most of his behavior issues had disappeared and our only real problem was his occasional back-talk.

Ups and Downs

We experienced a slight set back in week 21 when Knight had a slight blow up. He blamed his behavior on being tired. He found himself grounded for a few days. His behavior changed and his punishment was lifted a day early.

Early in week 22 Knight called me from school and told me he was in trouble. I asked him what was going on. He told me he had been suspended for 4 days out of school. He also mentioned that, “He didn’t do anything” and that it “was not his fault, it was someone else“.  Sound familiar? We were literally about to ride this same coaster again! It seemed as though only a few short weeks had passed since we had begun to work on taking ownership and responsibility for actions with him. He had done great – until this.

This left me puzzled. 😦 He seemed to do better with authority figures that he got to know personally. Life cannot be lived this way though. It would be impossible for Knight to get to know every single authority figure in his life personally.

I spoke with him about the importance of doing as the teachers ask while in their classes. We talked about respect and if he was to receive respect he had to give it first.  He said everyone hated him and that all his teachers were out to get him. Everyone else was causing disturbances in class too according to him. He simply was the loudest and the one called out for it. He neglected to tell us he was the leader of the disturbances though. (This we discovered through speaking with his teachers that “hated him”.)

Knight’s father was very upset that he’d been suspended. I haven’t told you all the details of the suspension, but let’s just say that the things coming out of his mouth were directed toward a female and were totally not tolerable (again – here is that zero tolerance policy). Knight and his father were told that there could not be a next time in this offense category. A next time would take him completely out of all public schools.

Knight went back to school in week 23. Knight was warned again about the zero tolerance policies (both at home and at school). Knight said he understood. Weeks 23 & 24 seemed to be getting back on track, until week 25. Knight came home from school with an in-school suspension slip. He had made noises in class (distractions) and when called down, he back-talked the teacher. He served out his sentence at school and was grounded at home from all electronics. (I took all power cords and chargers instead of the actual devices. He got to slowly watch the batteries drain knowing he could not reconnect or charge anything.)

Week 26 produced more issues. After that first horrendous event that resulted in out of school suspension, the school had agreed to evaluate him for an IEP. Knight was placed through a series of tests. He spoke with a psychologist and so did his father. All of Knight’s teachers were interviewed and all of his previous school records were being reviewed. The 2 previous schools he attended had him in *special* classes for learning disabled children because of his inability to control his anger and outbursts. Knight was not learning challenged or disabled though. That was obvious to this new school, but not his father and mother. Outsiders looking in can see things differently because they are disconnected from emotions surrounding circumstances. Basically, Knight had been given a free ride for many school years and this school was simply not into free rides.

I asked Knight if he remembered me telling him that this school would not treat him any differently than any other student. He said he remembered. I explained to Knight that he had no choice now but to begin accepting responsibilities for his actions and needed to put self-restraint he was learning into practice at school. I don’t think he liked the idea, but knew what I was telling him was true. He spoke of how much he loved the friends he’d made here and how much he wanted to stay. I told him only he was in control of the outcome. He understood he had to change his defiant personality and learn how to be compliant at school just as he had done at home.

It was tough for him. It was in the nature that he had developed over time to be defiant of everyone and everything in every situation. Showing him examples of how he had been able to do it at home allowed him to see how it was possible to do it at school too. I asked him if he was defiant at church. He said he was not. I asked him if he defied his football coach. He said he did not. So, he’d mastered 3 settings and saw that it really was up to him to master the 4th one – school!

Birthday & A New School – ODD

This article is part 9 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7 , and part 8 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In Part 9 we enter into weeks 14 & 15. Knight had a birthday, turned 15 years old,  and started a new school. He enjoyed his birthday and was super happy to get more clothes. [I’ve never known a boy to love clothes & shoes as much as he does. Hahahahaha!  🙂 ] He received gifts from his mother, aunts, grandmother, father and the boys & I. He picked his cake at the store and we had a little party for him. He liked it as far as I could tell.

Starting a new school was nerve-racking, yet exciting for Knight. He had been granted an opportunity to re-invent himself. Unfortunately, old habits are hard to break. Even though his home life behavior was improving, he soon fell into the same ole’ troublesome issues at his new school. I warned him again that their was a zero tolerance policy bad or defiant behaviors at the school we enrolled him in. He did well. He chose his classes wisely, made up some missed credits, and immediately began making friends. He also wanted to play football. I took him for his physical and he passed with flying colors.

He was the first one up each mornings. He would get dressed & then make himself breakfast. Then he would wake up his brothers. As his brothers were getting ready for school, Knight would be finishing his cereal and putting his bowl in the sink.

He was the first one in the car to go to school and he was the first out of the car when we arrived. He was excited. He was flourishing! I was so proud of him 🙂

Theft & Drugs (O.D.D.)

This article is part 5 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

When O.D.D. strikes a child it seems as though their entire lives are going down the drain. Outsiders nonchalantly look on the child & their family as they whisper how pitiful it is that such a seemingly wonderful or normal child has gone so wrong.  Some will make open comments in public places, some will talk behind the child and family’s backs and smile to their faces.

The truth is simply that people on the outside looking in don’t have any idea what life is really like living with a child or teen affected by Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Whether people intend to or not, they judge the parents and certainly the children for the behavior. If you are a parent, you can’t let this get you down. If you want to change the oppositional behavior, you can’t give up, give in or let go. I know the tears you’ve shed. I know the impending doom you think you see & the failure you feel hover over you. There is hope & it’s layered in Love 🙂

When we left off in the last article, I was sharing with you our progress up to week 5.  Let’s move ahead into weeks 6 & 7 after Knight moved in with us.

Theft
Near the end of week 5, leading into week 6, odd items began to disappear. My pocket knife I kept on my hip always was suddenly missing. It was a treasured memory item for me & I had worn for many years when I started hiking. I asked everyone to help me find it. Supposedly no one had seen it. Everyone searched for it. It wasn’t until I broke down in tears that it reappeared – in plain site on the coffee table everyone had walked by for days. Coincidence?

I smoke cigarettes. I know it’s bad for my health & one day I’ll stop. Anyway, my lighter disappeared the same day the pocket knife reappeared. I asked everyone to look for it & no one could find it. Things had never disappeared before Knight came to live with us. It was an odd coincidence… 😦

By week 7 my oldest son complained about his batteries disappearing from his gaming wireless controller. My youngest son was missing some clothes. My husband’s lighter was missing. Everyone was missing socks. $20 disappeared from the change compartment in my car. The steak knives started disappearing from the kitchen! Finally, I confronted Knight about all these random item disappearances. He denied having anything to do with them.
One day we were inside a local service station getting drinks & snacks. Knight asked me to buy an energy drink for him. I said, “no”. Not happy with my answer, he decided he’d just help himself to what he wanted. He looked around & slid the small product into his pocket. I walked over to him & asked him if he’d had the pleasure of meeting any local law enforcement officers. “No”, he huffed. “Well dear, I love you enough to let you meet those 4 fine officers over there.” I said pointing to a group of local & state officers. Knight’s face turned red, “You wouldn’t!” I smiled as big as I could & told him I was serious as a heart attack. Plus, they’d already seen him do it & were just waiting for me to walk away so they could arrest him. “This is a point in your life where you make a decision Knight. Go to jail over something as stupid & petty as theft or come home with me. If you choose jail or juvenile, I will NOT come get you out. Choice is yours. When I step away, your decision should already be made.” Knight quickly took the item from his pocket & placed it back on the shelf. On the way back home we talked about that ever-so important respect he wanted from others & that theft was the lowest form of deceit. I emphasized that I have nor ever will have respect for a thief. A few weeks later all the missing items began to slowly resurface. The odd disappearances weren’t discussed any further. Things also stopped disappearing…

Drugs
Knight spoke often about drugs. Sometimes he said he missed them and sometimes he spoke regretfully about them. We had no available “drugs” in our home and no one around him that he could easily bum weed from. He’d told me stories of living around them, doing them, & selling them. There is no future in drugs. He is with me to build a future, therefore drugs are counter-productive. I told him where I stood on the issue of drugs – NO.  No drug talk. No Drug t-shirts. No weed jokes. No drug innuendos. No drugs period. I told that anything that can alter your mind causes you to be out of control and more than anything, he wanted to be in control.

By the end of week 7, our focuses were the same.

  • Maintaining open dialog
  • Pointing out annoying behaviors
  • Bringing lies to Knight’s attention (Taking Ownership of his Words & Actions)
  • Structure in his daily life
  • Consistency in discipline

Knight was almost ready to start working on his next step: Relearning how to communicate with people to earn respect.

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!

Mother’s Day list Success 2013

I was so bummed out yesterday thinking about how much I love my kids & husband, how special they are, & how they weren’t even thinking about Mother’s Day coming up. I knew I’d made my list & posted it everywhere I thought they may see it, but I just didn’t see that it was doing any good 😦 This bag of trash sat in a very obvious place for 16 1/2 hours as I counted 37 trips they made back & forth past it 😦

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I woke up this morning and discovered I was alone. Odd. I filled up a cup of coffee & came back to the bedroom. Shortly afterwards my husband came through the door with breakfast & a large hazelnut latte! 🙂

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Soon after I ate a few bites my husband comes in & says, “Chrissy come with me. I’m fed up with these boys. Please, just…come to the kitchen.” Sadly I followed him thinking there would be a new sticky mess somewhere. 😦
This is what I saw 🙂

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All 3 boys were standing there 🙂 I got a hug from each one!
I came back to eat my breakfast. After a few more bites Nick said to come outside…

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*Gasp* The car was clean!!!

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**Oh!!!** 🙂 🙂 I wish these were scratch-N-sniff pictures because it smells so good. You’d never know I taxi sweaty teenagers around 6 days a week!!! 🙂 🙂

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I’m in heaven!! It took him over 2 hours to clean out the car, vacuum it, & organize the trunk! He said the boys helped get their things out, but he couldn’t believe how much crap was tucked in & under places in the car. (Sounds about right!) He lectured the kids for me and definitely feels my pain.

Next, was the new flower garden 🙂 Everyone participated. They dug holes for me, helped me weed & even decorate. I’m now the proud owner of a sea shell garden only 200-250 miles away from the beach 🙂
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I’m one happy Momma!
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!!! 🙂

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