Friday, October 26, 2012

Keep your EVERYTHING to your self!

I was sitting at a football game recently and heard a couple of  parents conversing with their children.  The parents were doing a nice job of  separating and calmly dealing with their kids but one thing they said really tickled my funny bone. It also made me remember a lot of car trips with my own kids. These dialogues(by list) are a synthesis of some of those trips. I write this so you know; it's not just you.

 Things kids say in cars
5. How long till we get there?
4. I'm hungry
3. I have to go to the bathroom
2. I don't feel good
1. Mom he's touching me.

Things parents say in cars
5. About 15 minutes
4. We just ate!
3. Can you hold it?
2. Honey, you BETTER pull over
1. Keep your hands to yourself

15 minutes later
Other things kids say in car 
5. How long till we get there?
4. It smells in here
3. I have to go to the bathroom
2. My stomach hurts
1. Mom, he's touching me.

Other things parents say in cars
5. About 15 minutes
4. Open the windows
3. Again????
1. Keep your feet to yourself. 

15 minutes later
5. How long till we get there
Everyone replies:

4. I have to go to the bathroom
Everyone replies:

3. My stomach hurts
Everyone replies:

2. Open the windows

1. Mom, he's touching me

Friday, October 12, 2012

 I recently read an article about building resilience in children. It was pretty boring.  No, not re-silence in children. This article is not about ways to shut them up. Resilience.  Yes, yes, I know, resilience is one of those words  psychologists use  that take a reasonably interesting subject and suck the life out of it. In a nutshell, (have you ever noticed that when you try to summarize something psychologists say you always end up having to use the phrase; "in a nutshell?"  I think that says something about psychologists.) resilience is the ability to bounce back from something stressful. Like a Weeble.  Do you remember Weebles?   You know; "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."  That is resilience.

We need to be resilient or once something bad happens, we would just collapse. Get a bad grade? Don't bother with even trying to study anymore.  Have an argument with a spouse?  Don't bother getting out of bed. Sounds a bit like avoidance and a lot like what happens when people get depressed.  Fortunately, most of us take time to lick our wounds when something bad happens, but then we get back up and get back at it. That's resilience. We can "try and try again."

ADHD kids are very resilient.  One minute they are getting scolded and the next minute they are up and back doing the same behavior. Resilience is both a blessing and a curse for them. When there isn't a consolidation of learning from the life setback...the pattern is just repeated.  We all do this sometimes.  Kids with ADHD do it over and over again.  To the point of exasperating their parents.  This has a very unfortunate consequence.  Parents would like to be able to tell their kids something once and move on. Do you remember that old shaming statement? "Fool me once shame on  you, fool me twice shame on me."   In other words, we must learn things the first time or we are fools.  What a load of judgmental crap!

 Folks, if you have children with ADHD  you are going to have to use repetition to overcome their ADHD.  No, absolutely, do not try to get first time obedience. I know it would make your life easier.  But you have got to think it through.  If you crush their resilience you will be left with a child that can't bounce back and still can't stop doing the impulsive, hyperactive and inattentive things they do.  They won't learn.  The child just won't have any joy in them at all. Instead of a Weeble you will have an egg.  Same basic size and shape.  Same basic properties.

Just remember..., eggs break!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gentle Hands & Angry Hands

 When I work with kids on anger, we often spend time talking about about hands.  For young children we talk all the things we can do with hands: pick up a spoon, throw a ball, count our fingers and play with a toy.  We talk about open hands and shaking hands.  We talk about using hammers and tools for our working hands.  We talk about strong hands for lifting and carrying.  We talk closed fists and angry hands.  We talk about kind and gentle hands.

We talk about choices.  It is important to discuss the right time to use our strong hands. We talk about walking with hands in our pockets in the store so we don't touch things that are not our own.  We do not run with our hands in our pockets because we need our hands to protect us when we fall (I made up a silly song for the Head Start Preschool kids for that part).  We talk about when to use a comforting hand with a friend.  We talked about using our strong hands for work but choosing to use our words instead of our fists when we are angry. 

There is a psychological test called the Hand Test (Wagner, E.E., The Hand Test Manual for Administration, Interpretation and Scoring, Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services, 1962)  that involves rating and evaluating peoples response to hands in various positions as a means to attempt to predict aggressive behaviors. The use of hands in different position got me thinking about  our hands and how we use them.  That thought would have probably laid dormant if I hadn't been leisure reading a Louis L'Amour novel at the time. I don't recall which one.  The character in the story discussed that the 'hand shake' was performed with the right hand and was a reassuring gesture because it showed that the sword hand was empty. I don't know what Louis thought about being left handed. However,  it got me thinking about what we say with our hands. It got me thinking about what my parents said to me with their hands.

When I was very young I often sat in my father's lap and played with his thumbs while he talked. 
His hands were furry, more than most.  His fingers were long and squarely tipped.  I would play "Church and Steeple" and twiddle his thumbs round and about.  "Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, whoops Johnny, whoops Johnny" was another favorite game.  Once my father got his thumb stuck in the cup holder in the pew at church.  I was probably playing with it at the time. He was very embarrassed by that.   He had rough callouses on his palms from working in the garden or his shop.  His hands were gentle and rarely spanked. My sisters may remember that differently. I was one of the younger kids in a large family.  His hands were strong he could hold onto most anything he could grab onto.  He wasn't a tall or big man and the strength in his hands always surprised me. He told me once that when he was young he had a habit of chewing his nails and if I think on it, I can remember him doing that once in awhile but not on a regular basis. In later years he had quite a tremor and it disturbed me to watch his hands fumble and struggle.  

My mothers hands were smooth and long. Larry Wilkins once came up to me after recess and told me that my mother had the longest finger he had ever seen.  My mother was a teacher and had recess duty and Larry was ...well Larry, so I am quite sure he was on the wrong end of her pointing finger.  My mother would sit in the middle of the pew and if any of us kids were misbehaving we would soon feel a knuckle thunk us in the side of the head (NOT A RECOMMENDED PARENTING TECHNIQUE).  With 6 kids it kept us in line. I also remember my Mother's hands kneading bread on the kitchen counter and sewing up britches on the couch. I remember her teaching me to follow the words in a book with my finger so I could look at the pictures and not loose my place. I remember her teaching my sisters cross stitch and knitting.  I remember her carrying a coffee cup wherever she went.  Mostly I remember her goodbye touch on my face before she died. 

Hands can say almost anything.  What will your children remember about your hands?