Saturday, May 14, 2011

Raising my spirited child Part 3 ....How Supernanny and other tactics worked

So after all of that, what did we do? A hell of a lot. 

First, I had to take care of myself. The stress of dealing with all the behaviors caused anxiety and insomnia. I am normally a pretty balanced person (shut up Kyle) but this threw me for a loop. So I talked to my doctor to get support and options to help me be the mom I wanted and needed to be. 

Then we looked at diet. We ate pretty healthily, but we took a hard look at our foods. We eliminated most food dyes and high fructose corn syrup and went organic as best we could. And let me tell you high fructose corn syrup is in EVERYTHING. But we found good and non-expensive options like Nature's Promise brand at Stop n Shop, Kashi, and Healthy Helpings at BJs.   Eventually we were able to be less aggressive with the corn syrup but not the food dyes; too much of those increased the likelihood of a meltdown. The other thing with diet was the importance of good snacks, scheduled during the day.  Just like me, Booger would become very cranky and hypersensitive when his blood sugar got low.  We even had the doctor give us a note for school to ensure he gets his snack to limit problems during the school day.

Play therapy gave us some options. We got a few referrals for play therapists but we also checked the play therapy association for certified therapists Called around to get the first impression and found someone who fit our needs. We started going biweekly, then weekly, then once a month to finally graduated from the service. Our therapist focused more on giving us strategies like the reverse timeout, me leaving the situation for the time allotted. Or the take five. Change the name of time out and help him deescalate with his own special tools and toys. Some of it worked, some of it didn't for us. But we were getting support.  

We also completed a neuropsychiatric work up but decided against the sensory evaluation since I had a good understanding and background, as well as the Neuropsych was covering it.  Side note- we were relieved to find out that there was nothing clinically wrong with Booger, though he did have some anxiety traits, and have super high non verbal learning skills.

We continued to read and educate ourselves. The Explosive Child by Ross Greene gave us some ideas (though not very helpful for our situation) and Magic 1,2,3 by Thomas Phelan, definitely more of what we needed.  But what gave us the best advice that worked was Supernanny We love Jo. We have never met her but she changed our lives for the better. The house rules, constant time out techniques.  Just the idea of taking the confrontation out of the time out. It was amazing. For a black and white kid the house rules gave him written expectations like no kicking, no hitting, use kind words. It was good for all of us. 

So why have I shared this with the world? Part of it is that I didn't think a year ago we would be at a point of retrospect, of how chaotic and out of control things were and how much better they are now.  Both the boys and us have greatly benefited from the techniques.  And we are generally a much happier family because of it.  The other reason to share was just to support those that may be going through similar things, that you are not crazy or a bad parent, just someone at wits end.  It's just nice to know you are not the only one.
FDA advisers want more study of food dye-ADHD link 

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