Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Collaborative Problem Solving

I have been reading a book titled, "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. He advocates for a Collaborative Problem Solving strategy which has 3 steps. One is to empathize and reassure. Two is to define the problem and three is to invite the child to help solve the problem.

I gave it a try last week. I waited until Akila was in a good mood, we were coloring together. I brought up one of her triggers, which is bedtime. It is not a huge trigger, I thought I would start with a small one. I asked her what she thinks of bedtime, if she likes it or not. She said she didn't like it. I asked why, she said she doesn't like going to sleep and it makes her mad when we tell her it is bedtime. I told her, "Oh, so you don't like it when we tell you it is bedtime (empathizing by doing reflective listening). At this point in the conversation, she was starting to get quite agitated. I then asked if she had any other ideas of how we could let her know when it is bedtime. She got instantly angry. I told her it was not even close to bedtime now, I just wanted to talk with her about it so we could find a way for her to not get so angry at bedtime. She had no ideas. I was asking her if she would like mom or dad to write her a note saying it was bedtime, or if we should set up a secret password that only she knew which would warn her of the time remaining before bedtime. She did not like any of the ideas, they were all making her mad.

Her history with bedtime, is that when we let her know how much time is left before bed, she gets furious and rages until bedtime. No matter if we use a timer, or do it a different way, she gets instantly angry. Again, it is not one of the situations that gets totally out of control, but a smaller one I thought we could start with. We will see if I have more luck with this strategy next time.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Instant Anger

Wow, it has been busy lately. Some of you know that I work very part-time for my friend who owns a dance studio doing bookkeeping and logistical work (stop laughing, I know that is not my gift-she is obviously desperate for help). Anyway, my life has been consumed with dance junk the last few weeks and that in and of its self if hilarious (I am the least dancey type of person there is). Tonight is the big Winter Show for the dance studio and Akila and Imani will be performing, they are very excited.

I have said this before but Akila has definitely been getting more difficult the last few months. She does this thing where she gets instantly angered over every tiny little thing and flies off the handle. Her immediate reaction to any frustration she encounters is to name call and try to hit or shove. A few posts ago, I mentioned that she is into name calling. At that time, her favorite names to call were "stupid head" and "dumb head", and that I was dreading when she might start using worse names. She is definitely progressing, and not in a good way. The last several weeks her favorites have been "moran" and "idiot". I learned yesterday that she called one of her teachers the "B" word and has been calling her an idiot. Siiiiiggggghhhh. When I tried to talk to her about this last night, in a very calm and non-accusing manner, she went nuts on me. Started yelling, raging, and I couldn't even get her to discuss it in a rational manner (and why does that shock me?). Anyway, in her rage, she kept on telling me it is my fault she calls names because I make her so mad. Makes sense. I could not get her to calm down so I told her she would need to go to her room and take some time to settle down. This of course made her more mad and as she was eventually complying, she was walking up the stairs in a rage yelling, "Stop being so nice you idiot!!". It made me realize how she really has no idea what she is saying when she gets like this, she is just grabbing everything that comes into her mind to yell. She was actually mad at me for being nice. She does this quite often. When she is upset about something and I empathize with her, she hates this. It gets her more mad.

Michael and I have always been of the mind set that our society over medicates children who don't fit into the box. When Akila was 3 years old (before she was diagnosed with FASD or anything else), we were at an initial meeting with a Neurologist. Before even meeting Akila, and only after listening to us for about 10 minutes, he was ready to give us an Rx for Ritalin. She was a unique child, but by no means needing medication at that point. I have been coming to the realization that I think we may need to try it though. Michael is not at the same point. We have decided that I will meet with our Pediatrician this week and get the information on it. I feel like we are at the point where we need to try to see if it indeed helps her. Please pray for direction in this area for us.

Well, that is all for now. I must get back to being an office manager and get money ready in the cash boxes for the big event. It is pretty funny for an abstract random youth worker to be doing work that should be done by a concrete sequential accountant type. But it fits well with my schedule and I can tell my boss what is actually on my mind.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Winter Break Over, Thank God

The kids have been gone for 1 1/2 hours and I have gotten the bathroom scrubbed, a load in the washing machine, the kitchen cleaned up, and have taken a shower. I wish I was always this motivated. It was a long two weeks full of fun and stress. That is all I can say without going into every detail of every rage and each moment of fun, which would take me all day.

I have been thinking about New Years Eve a lot. Akila ended up going to a friends for a sleepover and we had 2 families over for dinner and fun. Both families brought some yummy sparkling juice and we had a toast for the new year. Imani has for months been wanting me to buy wine glasses or something with stems as we have no formal or nice glasses. I did buy a set at a thrift store last month for thirty cents each and brought them out for the evening. Then as we were toasting, it struck me as very weird to sit and emulate something that we don't do in our family, drink alcohol. Yet we are pretending to do so as if it is glamorous or something. I have been thinking ever since as to why we would do that with our kids knowing the impact that alcohol has had on our family. I think about the fact that alcohol has brought great stress into all of our live, including poor Akila's. And the fact is, it is only going to get worse in her teenage years.

I think that will be our last year of sparkling juice in wine glasses. I may have to breakdown and go buy some fancy water goblets to satisfy Imani's desire to drink out of cool glasses and bring the wine glasses back to the thrift store.