November Notes for the Psychologist

We have started a tally sheet, at my son’s request. When I catch them doing good, they get a mark under their name. I have added descriptions, too, because I want to reinforce those behaviours. I read them off to the kids from time to time. On the side is a list of rewards for tallies, but I have yet to put up a price sheet for those rewards. I intend to do family rewards, rather than individual rewards, because I am trying to teach them to celebrate one win as a family win. The tally sheet that they have at daycare is set up so that they can have a tally mark erased over bad behaviour. I am not doing that.

The children have become more affectionate since I quit coffee, as I have become more attentive, less distracted, less irritable. Of course they are responding, they are sensitive and smart children. I get told that I am loved, every hour, by one or the other of the youngest two.

Changes in schedule still upset middle child. Having a class on Saturday morning last week and this week has made it all more manageable for him. Last weekend he did still have a bit of a tantrum and even said, during it, ¨Why can’t every day be the same, I hate this!¨ So at least he is recognizing some of the problem. I did tell him I understood. It was hard, and suggested some alternatives to tantrums, and he requested some alone time. What a huge improvement. I am so glad he is putting up boundaries and asking for what he needs.

Middle child has been showing self control and self regulation, even at daycare. He was punched and did not punch the other child back. He went to his favorite teacher and with tears streaming down his face related the incident and how he controlled himself and she responded appropriately. I am still deeply in love with this daycare and the staff. I do need to make sure that he understands to report bullying, though. His older brother is now reporting teasing and abuse, which is good. I don’t care about tattling, I want to know when children are hurting each other, so I can redirect them to separate activities and take action if necessary. I do not agree with ignoring tattling. It is absolutely criminal to be left on your own to handle abuse when you are smaller or less able than the abuser.

When the children do not clean up after themselves, things that are directly their responsibility (like dropped food or coats thrown on the floor), I do it for them after a few failed reminders and then announce they have lost a quarter from their allowance. I then take the quarter from their allowance cup in front of them and put it into my change holder. Huge messes, like intentionally thrown boxes of Legos get a dollar charge, but thankfully those are rare, because the children ask for help if they are overwhelmed.

I have started a family calendar, doubling the calendar they use as a sticker rewards chart for brushing teeth and doing homework to also announce days off of school or days they have activities. Now that they can read, we can coordinate better, there are less surprises.

Middle Child’s meds do still seem to be working. Next week I have to show Oldest Son’s referral to the psychiatrist to have an evaluation done per the county’s request.

The children have asked about their father a little bit last month, we hit an anniversary and they got thoughtful. They know he is not safe to be around, but they worry about his health, as he is sick, and so I did reassure them that the kind of sick he has is not usually fatal and it is treatable if their father chooses to treat it. I did share with them some things that their father liked, like foods and so on, and the Oldest said ¨You mean before he got mean?¨, and I just said ¨Yes, before then.¨ I never said their father was mean. Not once. But they are capable of interpreting what they remember, so I did not correct him. I am not going to take the tact of insisting that their father is so disabled by illness that he is not responsible in any way for his choices. They remember.

That is a lot of stuff. I am glad to be able to report mostly good things this time. So glad that I could cry. None of them are hitting me anymore. It is incredible. Well, the baby did try a few days ago. I did dare to put her in her car seat when she wanted to run around in circles in the parking lot.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “November Notes for the Psychologist

  1. betternotbroken

    Beautiful work, children want structure and love. Plus, they love those stickers! I too am using them, I do Ninja attacks and place smiley stickers on homework and other items. Good for you for not correcting their memories and invalidating what they saw, it would only confuse them and keep them in the cycle.

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