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Adoption Educating Our Children Family FAS Parenting tips

“He will never learn to tell time.” Parenting Tip #29

 

There is Always Hope

When you parent special needs kids and take them to doctors, psychologists and Neurologists, often you will hear discouraging news.

  • He will never learn to tell time because of his low IQ.
  • Get him velcro shoes because he’ll never learn to tie.
  • He will always be behind a year or two.
  • With his limited abilities you won’t be able to teach him like other kids.
  • He will never be capable of living on his own.
  • He will never hold down a job.
  • He will never see you as his parents, attach to you, or feel a part of your family.

I always accepted those statements as a challenge.

I walked out of evaluations with the attitude, “Bet me.” You guessed it – they did learn to do those things, and went on to learn all the basics.

All kids have potential {Mom of Many}

Be careful of IQ (It doesn’t mean I Quit)

Another one of my kids who was assigned a very low IQ during their younger years  has his own apartment and job at a grocery store. Others who had a rough start have jobs, drive cars, have relationships and speak intelligently – so much so that you need to get to know them before you know they have any disabilities.

Over-educated?

A few years after a depressing evaluation, I took one child to be evaluated at a children’s health center because I wanted to know if there were any programs that would help me with some specific issues. They had a great reputation in our county.

All kids have potential {Mom of Many}

He was in in fourth grade and tested at a 6th grade level with a Kindergarten ability. They couldn’t explain how he knew more than he was “able to learn.” When I explained that I taught him at home, they told me that I had “over-educated” him and that there were no programs for a kids like him.

Hmm. So I took him home and continued teaching him until I knew he had all the basics.

Another one of my kids desired to live on his own when he turned 18. It was hard for him to watch his siblings go off to college and talk about their futures. Since I was concerned about him being out on his own, we found a supervised living program. After a few months he lost a lot of what I had taught him (personal care, housekeeping, etc.) so he moved into the dorms where he could be closely monitored.

He graduated from their college three years later and is doing fabulously.

FASD and Other Labels

Some who live with after shocks of maternal drugs and alcohol use (they are adopted, BTW) have learned to compensate using other skills to fill in the gaps.

  • Those who had trouble remembering information in subjects like grammar and history relied on memorization to get them through the tough subjects.
  • Homework folders and assignment pads helped with daily assignments and teacher communication.
  • The younger kids had older kids as partners to help with daily activities like chores and outside activities.
  • They used check lists, sticky notes and had accountability partners.
  • Our home was structured with a consistent schedule, rules and expectations.
  • We were always nearby and consistent in supervision and follow through.

We have taught our kids to live in spite of “labels”. FASD, OCD, ODD, ADHD, ADD, PTSD, TMI, EMI, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyslexia, Asperger’s, APD, PCE, RAD, etc.

Never, ever give up on your kids, accept doomsday predictions on their future abilities, or let numbers set the bar. It is good to seek evaluations but use the information as a tool, not as fact that limits your reach.

Shoot for the moon, but be content if you only reach the stars. It’s an amazing place to live.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption Educating Our Children Family Parenting tips

Does your child run away? Parenting Tip # 12

 

Running away from your problems is a race you will never win…

Recently a mom contacted me about her teenage son who has developed the habit of running away when he is upset.

We had a couple of kids try that a few times and it caused huge stress for our family. It’s a heart breaking moment when your child runs through the door when you are in the middle of a parenting moment. If you want to experience mind numbing F.E.A.R., just watch your child go out the door in a fit of defiance!

Does your child run away? Keep a Journal {Mom of Many}
To download this FREE full resolution JPG word art, click the picture above.

Running away:

  1. Exacerbates the problem because you can’t deal with it if they aren’t there!
  2. Disrupts the family and scares the other children.
  3. Puts them, you, and your family immediately at risk legally (you never know what they will do on the run).
  4. Is unsafe for the child to be running around unsupervised.
  5. Puts the public at risk because the child isn’t thinking clearly.
  6. Is an act of rebellion – it must be addressed.

This was what I told the M.O.M. – in a nut shell.

I never did this but found myself wishing I had. Live and learn, right?

Does your child run away? Keep a Journal {Mom of Many}

  1. If your child has developed a habit of running away, be sure to call 911 IMMEDIATELY to let them know your child is on the run.
  2. Be sure to let your child know ahead of time that if they run, you will call the police. Be clear that you love them and will do it to protect them, you, the rest of the family and the public.
  3. Keep a journal EVERY DAY if you have a child that acts out. This will give you credibility if you run into any legal issues. Because I had NO PAPER TRAIL, my word was disregarded in time of crisis.
  4. Get a good support system that will come to your aid day or night. Fill in at least one trusted friend and your pastor so there are others who will back you up in time of crisis and come to your house if you need them.

I had a good support system in place just weeks before our last incident, so between them and the Lord’s protection, we were fine. But it could have turned out disastrous!

If you need support join our M.O.M. group. We get it.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Educating Our Children Parenting tips

Does Your Teenage Son Bully You? Parenting Tip #6

When you have 5 teenage boys at once, you tend to feel like you are getting ready to go into battle. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

It seems like they don’t listen. It appears they don’t understand what you expect. They act like they don’t care what you say, want or feel.

Does your teenage son bully you? {Mom of Many}

All of my 8 sons are adopted so they each brought their own experiences, insecurities and mindset into our family – and it wasn’t always pleasant. OK. It was seldom pleasant.

At the time I lived in a constant state of panic and doubt. Self doubt can paralyze you and render you powerless. In a house full of boys that can be VERY BAD. Here are some things I learned along the way that hopefully will be a help to you.

#1 When you deal with your son in moments of opposition, leave your emotions out of it.

Picture a police officer when he’s issuing a ticket. He doesn’t rant and rave about how you were speeding or cry because he’s offended you broke the law. He is emotionless and wields the authority of his position because he can. You as the mom are the same. You are in charge and need to show that you are confident. Teen boys can smell fear and doubt – they will pounce on you like a wolf on a sheep if you waiver.

#2 You don’t know what is going on in that head of theirs, but most likely their behavior during their bullying has something to do with a man’s need to conquer.

When my boys were teens they had an almost obsessive desire to play computer war games. It really bugged me and I said so to my DH. He said, “Men have a need to conquer and this is just their way of delving into their manhood.  It’s natural. Don’t look at it like they are in love with violence, consider it a part of growing into manhood.” It made perfect sense!

#3 They need concise rules that are laid out in front of them and must know they will be held accountable – preferably by the father.

There were days when I felt I was beating my head up against the wall when it came to getting my boys to obey the little rules (big ones too, but for now we’ll deal with the little ones) – rules that made our days run smoothly. It felt like all day long I’d be correcting them over ridiculously obvious rules that had been in our home since the dawn of time.

Examples: Tuck your shirt in. Wear a belt. Don’t dress sloppy. Do your chores. Brush your teeth.

Does your teenage son bully you? {Mom of Many}

I felt like a broken record and often it would turn into a grumbling session if I’d mention any of it.

They were disrespectful, obstinate and oppositional. It was ridiculous how petty they would become but always seemed to turn it around and try to make me feel like I was the one at fault. We had always been told that to say, “Just wait till your father gets home,” was very bad and the mom should never put the dad in the position of having to deal with stuff when he gets home from work. Fortunately we went to our pastor/friend for advice. He told me the exact opposite of what I expected, and it all had to do with their quest for manhood (see #1).

So our pastor/friend told me to make a chart and put a check by each infraction whenever I saw they hadn’t obeyed my “little rules.”

Don’t say anything and don’t show emotion.

Just walk over to the fridge and put a check mark.

I added one thing to his advice. I added a smile whenever I put up a check mark. It demonstrated to my boys that it was their choice to disobey, to choose rebellion over obedience. We made it very clear that when Dad got home he would go look at the chart to see if they had chosen to disobey. For every check mark, they were charged a dollar.

Each week when it was allowance time, we’d go to the chart, add it up and the boys would have to lay that many bills in my hand – and endure the smile on my face!

I saw a 90% increase in obedience to my “little rules!” No fussing. No head butting. No emotion. Only their choice and I didn’t care one way or other if they obeyed (outwardly if not inwardly). I bought some pretty nice things for myself with that little change in our discipline! We had better days and I saw that they were more content. Win Win.

Does your teenage son bully you? {Mom of Many}

Pastor explained that some teen boys are not mature enough to advance into manhood without leaving havoc in their wake. The chart allowed them to be a man (make their own choices) and save face at the same time (not feel like a little boy when dealing with Mom).

Later one of my DDs told me that one of those sons purposely tried to break up Dad and Mom by causing grief between us. Like I said, you never now what is going on in their heads. Fortunately we provided a united front and never allowed them to pit us against one another. Often teens are self-destructive and you just have to be stronger than them, showing then family security even when they appear to not desire it.

#4 Be confident and consistent – this is the most important factor.

Even though it appears your boys want you to slack off or make exceptions, it is not in their best interest. Security comes in knowing your parents are consistent and will inspect EVERYTHING. It’s one thing to tell them to clean their room, it’s another to inspect it when they say they are done. Plus if they know there will be a penalty for disobedience, they will think twice before lying or trying to fool you.

Make sure the discipline fits. You treat a messy room differently than direct disobedience and lying. Decide your discipline before hand and make it clear to your boys what will happen for each situation. Never blind side them, waiver or change with the wind. They need your consistency to prove your love and protection – even at age 17 when they are all big and bad, self confident and manly.

Moms of teen boys – work on making your rules clear, enlist the help for your husband or a father figure, be confident in your discipline plan and follow through – every single time.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

NOTE: If you would like a sample chore chart to reference as you make your own CLICK HERE and I will send it to you – it’s just a simple chart that I made in Excel to give you an example of what I am talking about. Sometimes it’s just easier if you can see it.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Val @ Mom of Many

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Educating Our Children Musings Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

6 Ways to Keep Electronics From Frying Your Kids’ Brains

Kids & Technology {Mom of Many}

Should we let our children jump into the tech world? Is it safe to let them online? Will their brains get fried? Will they turn into electronics zombies? Will they be socially retarded? Will people think you are a lazy parent?

It’s a fairly new debate. Should your kids play games, search the net, talk to Siri on your iPad, iPhone or laptop?

How much is too much tech?

If we do, how much supervision do they need? How much, how long and how often should they be allowed on the zeroes and ones superhighway?

Let me start out by declaring that each family is different, each child is unique and each parent has different experiences and different opinions based on those experiences.

Some of MY kids (I have 15) were very responsible and could be thrown in the middle of a cesspool and come out clean. Others would struggle, knowing it was nasty stinky but still become a modern day Pig Pen (remember Pig Pen from Charlie Brown?). Others would jump in, lather up in the muck and smile.

So what’s the right answer?

Balance is Key

  1. Know your child.
  2. Tailor your expectations to your family goals and to your child’s talents and propensities.
  3. Consider the Internet and your devices to be tools, not a babysitting service.
  4. Establish rules/guidelines and stick to them. Regulate!
  5. Participate – know what your child is doing and why.
  6. Keep the online activity in an area of your home that is well supervised. Keep the monitor facing out and check on them often.

Should small children own devices?

I know families who have given their four year old their own ipod for watching cartoons. I know others who feel strongly that their child will not own a device and allows only a half hour/day on any type of media. So who is right?

Both of them/neither of them (How’s that for a decisive judgement?).

It’s not our job to judge others. Every child is different. Every parent is different. Our only responsibility is to decide for our own families. We all decide based on our experiences and goals. Those are different in every family.

 

Pros and Cons of the Tech World

If I have trouble figuring out my iPhone, guess who I ask?  Yep, my 9 year old grandson, Isaac.

Don’t judge me! I’m not one of those old grannies that doesn’t know how to send an email or know what a font is.

I’m fairly techy and can pretty much navigate myself around in cyberspace, but I don’t really take the time to learn the minute details of my devices. I have too much else going on to spend time on it.

But my grandson has a naturally inquisitive nature that makes him a prime candidate for the tech world. He’s not afraid to experiment and investigate. I’ve had to hand my iPhone back to him and tell him to undo what he did because he messed it up (In his mind he made it better.).

  1. To become familiar with devices is a very good thing. To know their way around the web and have experience with searching for answers and solutions to everyday problems can only help a child grow and learn. Formal schooling is good but not the answer. Developing an inquisitive mind and a penchant for searching out answers is extremely beneficial.
  2. Like it or not this world is high tech and your children will need to know how to maneuver their way around all those 0’s and 1’s.
  3. Encourage them to learn technology with guidelines, regulations and supervision…lots of supervision. Obsession with technology will become a problem if you are not careful.
  4. Don’t forgo the other means of educationreading (real tangible, hold in your hands books), playing (this a child’s vocation), experimenting (hands on learning) and watching and interacting with those around them (make them put the devices down and connect with real, live people!).

Kids & Technology {Mom of Many}

B.A.L.A.N.C.E.

What say you?

Do you think technology is a good thing?

Do you regulate and supervise your child’s online activity?

I am concerned about people today – not just kids. There seems to be less personal interaction. If we are to preserve our sense of community, we need to keep in touch (more than just on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram ).

Shoot me a comment and tell me your opinion.

(I do find it mildly amusing that you are reading this on your laptop, iPad or iPhone.)

Have you read my FREE parenting tips ebook yet? Check it out HERE.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Educating Our Children Links Musings My Kids recommendations

Swearing – an Epidemic

Over the years I’ve asked many people not to swear – co-workers, family, friends, and even strangers. It’s not a matter of judging others. It’s all about what is appropriate. I’ve taught my kids to use proper speech, both that pleases God and allows them to be received properly by others whether it be in a home, social or work setting. I’ve explained why it displeases God to utter expletives, how it offends others and even told them it hurts their mother’s heart to hear such things. I’ve explained that people will think less of them, be offended or even exclude them from being hired because of offensive language, whether it be in person or on a social networking site. None of it seems to matter – it appears we have an epidemic of swearing. To tell you the truth, I just don’t get it. Swearing has been such a taboo to me that I’d never consider allowing it to enter my vocabulary. It’s so offensive, yet it seems this doesn’t matter any more.

I guess when it comes to young people trying to assert their independence or prove their autonomy or even maturity to the world, they unwisely choose profanity to try to make their point. When asked to not swear, they say, “I’m my own person,” “That’s how I am and I don’t care what anyone thinks,” or, “It’s my life and I can live it any way I choose.” Well, in a spiritual sense, no, we don’t have the right to live how ever we want, we were bought with a  price if we belong to Christ. It is our responsibility to represent Christ and glorify Him with our speech. But let’s put that aside for a moment and look at it in a purely secular view.

I did a search on “swearing” and found a few secular sites that deal with swearing and why it’s detrimental to the individual as well as society in general. Below I’ve posted thoughts from  a site on the Internet called “Cuss Control” about swearing and how it affects a person and those around them. I found it interesting and very much like the things I’ve told my kids over the years. I found a really good article on an Internet site that is solely for men and it supported the list below as well. Basically that article said it’s not cool or mature, let alone attractive to swear. I’d give you the address of the site, but it had links that I’d just prefer not to pass along, if you know what I mean. 🙂

Please don’t swear. It’s offensive and hurts society in general. Common courtesy should rule. I’ve been assaulted so much lately with profanity that I’ve had to limit my news feed on my Facebook. This ought not so to be. It especially brings me great sorrow when it’s my own children – they certainly know better. They say the more you love someone, the easier and more you can be hurt by that person. I personally know this to be true. I long for the day that they desire to please the One who gave them a life worth living. But, I digress…

Below is the list and if you’d like to see the Cuss Control site that contains this list as well as other comments, click here. Used with permission.

What’s Wrong With Swearing?

Swearing Imposes a Personal Penalty
It gives a bad impression
It makes you unpleasant to be with
It endangers your relationships
It’s a tool for whiners and complainers
It reduces respect people have for you
It shows you don’t have control
It’s a sign of a bad attitude
It discloses a lack of character
It’s immature
It reflects ignorance
It sets a bad example

Swearing is Bad for Society
It contributes to the decline of civility
It represents the dumbing down of America
It offends more people than you think
It makes others uncomfortable
It is disrespectful of others
It turns discussions into arguments
It can be a sign of hostility
It can lead to violence

Swearing corrupts the English language
It’s abrasive, lazy language
It doesn’t communicate clearly
It neglects more meaningful words
It lacks imagination
It has lost its effectiveness

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Educating Our Children FAS

Behavior Management for Child with FASD

BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR CHILD with FASD

Overview of Behavioral Issues Associated with Fetal Alcohol [Spectrum Disorder]

Specific Behavior Plan for child

I. Create rules that target specific behaviors.

II. Provide constant positive feedback when rules are not being broken.

III. Provide immediate, unemotional time-outs when a rule is broken.

IV. Adjust the environment to make it easy to follow rules.

V. Assess effectiveness of plan on a regular basis and make adjustments.

Overview of Behavioral Issues Associated with Fetal Alcohol Effects In working with and managing his behavior, it will be helpful to understand a few things about fetal alcohol affected brains:

• For most of us, the part of the brain that has impulses and the part that knows the rules are in constant easy communication. So we have an impulse to do something, we check it against what we know to be acceptable rules of behavior, and we make a conscious choice whether or not to break a rule. But in fetal alcohol affected brains, the connection between those two areas is faulty or missing. So the child has an impulse to do something, and by the time the part of the brain that knows the rules is even aware of the impulse, the action has already taken place, and most likely somebody is already yelling at the child about it. So you can have a kid who knows the rules, wants to follow the rules, is upset about breaking the rules, yet still breaks them. At the moment of action, he’s working purely on impulse.

• And since impulsive behavior is almost by definition without reason, asking a fetal alcohol affected child why he did something and not taking “I don’t know” for an answer is pretty much insisting that he lie. They don’t know why they do it. They may not even know what they did. So you’ll either get gobs of denial and defensiveness, or you’ll get a spontaneous excuse that defies credulity. Imagination and creativity are some of the positive attributes of people with FAE [FASD], but when they’re used in service of getting out of trouble, they usually result in a tall tale that makes matters worse.

• Social and emotional development lags way, way, way behind in people with FAE. Teens and young adults with FAE often have an emotional developmental age of about 6. So with an elementary-school-aged child, you have to figure they may be working at a toddler stage at best. You have to adjust everything to that level — expectations, supervision, privileges, rules, discipline. People with FAE tend to be verbal well beyond their level of understanding, and it may be tempting to assume that that clever and talkative child is able to understand social rules at a much more sophisticated level. It’s a mistake.

• Stress makes things worse. A confusing thing with FAE [FASD] kids is that sometimes they seem to be able to do things and sometimes they don’t, and it’s natural to assume that that indicates willfulness. But in fact their ability to control their behavior declines in proportion to the amount of stress they are experiencing. This can be obvious stress — a noisy place, difficult schoolwork, disruptions of routine — or less obvious, particularly in kids with sensory integration problems who react to things in the environment the rest of us wouldn’t even notice. Sometimes the loss of control happens well after a stressful event — if a child uses up a lot of resources getting through something hard early in the day, he may run out of control late in the day. Because of these relatively unchangeable facts of an FAE [FASD] child’s life, strategies that rely on self-control and presume willfulness; that require an advanced level of maturity and responsibility; or that increase the level of stress will be ineffective at best and may in fact escalate bad behavior.

These may include:

• Negative consequences.

• Big positive consequences.

• Escalating consequences.

• Nagging to stop behavior.

• Pressure not to break rules.

• Abstract rules like “Be respectful.”

• A choice offered between compliance and negative consequence.

• Behavior modification On the other hand, strategies that do not presume control; that don’t put undue weight on behavioral slip-ups; that are suited to the child’s level of emotional maturity; and that decrease the level of stress will be more effective, and at the least will not escalate bad behavior.

These may include:

• Positive consequences, on a modest scale, delivered immediately.

• Distraction from misbehavior.

• Brief time-outs, delivered consistently and matter-of-factly.

• Changing of environment to make success more likely.

• Behavior analysis to assist in changing of environment.

• Constant positive feedback and encouragement.

• Specific rules like “No hitting.”

• Choices in which both options are acceptable to adult.

• Behavior management

To read more of this article click here.  Thanks, Jill for the info.