Help me stop snapping at my spaced-out child!
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Post  Tue, May 15 2018, 11:06 pm
I've lost my patience and don't know where it went Sad

DC: Can I XYZ?
Me: No, it's time to leave to school. (other DC, time to go, come get your backpack!)
Two minutes later
DC why are you standing there? PUT the backpack ON!
You didn't tell me to.
You knew it was time for school. Your siblings are literally inches away from you getting their backpacks on. You are 8 years old, I shouldn't need to tell you to put on your backpack to get to school! Now PUT the backpack ONNNN.
A full long minute later.
Still standing there, staring at the hook.
Me: trying not to yell but feeling my blood pressure rise.
At least the weather's nice, this is so much worse with jackets and hats to deal with.

Same thing at bedtime.
Go get into pajamas.
Ten minutes later I wonder what's taking so long.
DC is in middle of the bedroom counting up items in a collection that was put away well out of view nowhere near the pajamas.
DC... pajamas? Why are you counting your stuff, you were supposed to be putting on pajamas?
Oh. Pajamas.
I help put away the stuff, get the pajamas, PLACE it in their HAND, now put them ON.
Ten minutes later - OK, now that you're in pajamas we can - wait, how are you not in pajamas yet? DC is wandering aimlessly around wearing nothing on their bottom and with their school shirt still on.
Seemingly 10 hours later - OK, go brush your teeth and then we can do that thing you wanted.
I SEE DC go into the bathroom and foolishly think this is promising. I hear water running.
Few minutes later DC returns saying it's so hot, I put water all over my face and now I want to take off my pajamas and splash water on my arms and legs too.
Please don't. The windows are closed, I'll open the.... wait, did you even brush your teeth yet?
No, not yet.
Well go do it! snap-snap-snap.
DC goes back to the bathroom. Maybe after being snapped at they'll remember?
Mommy can you help me open the toothpaste?
WHAT were you doing in there for so long without even accessing toothpaste?!

At wits end
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Post  Tue, May 15 2018, 11:12 pm
Your tone of voice could be triggering your DC into freeze. I'm like that.
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Post  Tue, May 15 2018, 11:14 pm
What kind of parenting role models did you have growing up? Kind, caring? Or cold, demanding? Boot camp?
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Post  Tue, May 15 2018, 11:27 pm
This is known as "executive processing disorder". He literally CAN'T without you telling him each step.

I had the same thing with DD, and it drove me mad. She is SO smart, why does it confuse her when I tell her to put on socks and shoes? One sock, gets distracted, wanders around. I prompt her, second sock, distracted again. Shoes? Who knows where they are. Hey! She found a book! Bus is coming, where are the shoes? Put the shoes on! At wits end

The only thing that works at that age is to literally walk them through the whole thing. Watch him do each step, and prompt him as needed. Use a matter of fact and calm tone of voice. I found that "socks and shoes" was too much information for her to process at once. "Socks" was the first step, and I had to watch her put both of them on. Then "shoes". Watch again. Never assume that because your child says "OK", that they even heard what you said.

Have you had your child evaluated by the school for ADD or processing disorders? This would be the time to do that.
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Post  Tue, May 15 2018, 11:40 pm
I have a daughter just like that. Same age. I was laughing throughout your post. I was just like that as a child too. And to the previous poster, no the child is not freezing up. The child is just finding other things more interesting to do. Which is what makes it so frustrating because if you do, G-d forbid, lose it at the child, he/she would actually start moving, which makes it even harder to keep your cool. I have another child who can be explosive and seems like a harder child while dd comes across as calm and even tempered and no one would guess that she's the child who actually tests my patience. What is working for me is creating routines with charts. So far tried it with homework and getting pretty good results. I assume your child also has an organization problem, so everything has to be broken down into tiny steps. For example, my daughter's homework chart has these steps. 1. Take out English homework. 2. Do all English homework that you can do by yourself. 3. Ask Mommy to help you with other homework. 4. Have Mommy sign homework sheet. 5. Put homework back in folder. 6. Put folder in briefcase. 7. Take out Yiddish homework folder. 8. Do homework you can do independently. 9. Ask Mommy to help with other homework. 10. Have Mommy sign homework sheet. 11. Put homework back in folder 12. Put folder in briefcase 13. Zipper briefcase. 14. Hang briefcase on hook.
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Post  Tue, May 15 2018, 11:47 pm
Once, before working on a homework routine, I set her up to do her homework, handed her flashcards. After 15 minutes, I calledto her and ask her if she was done and she answered "not yet" in a very distracted tone. I went to check in her and I found she was organizing the flashcards in numeric order. I totally have similar issues with her getting dressed, and she'll even lose her tights or something during the process and have no recollection of having them at all. Sorry, I wish I could be of more help. But as a comfort, I was like this as a child, and is like to think that I grew up to be a functional adult.
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Post  Tue, May 15 2018, 11:51 pm
Blaming our children is a style of parenting I'm familiar with. There are other styles. Those involve turning our eyeballs inward and owning our triggers and actively seeking support to dissolve them. Then, what remains, is a positive vibe in the home.
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Post  Tue, May 15 2018, 11:54 pm
amother wrote:
Blaming our children is a style of parenting I'm familiar with. There are other styles. Those involve turning our eyeballs inward and owning our triggers and actively seeking support to dissolve them. Then, what remains, is a positive vibe in the home.

Yes, that's what I'm asking - support on how to dissolve this trigger and find other parenting styles. Because I just don't have the stamina to sit on top of this child every second of every thing they need to get done.

I feel so understood by some of the others posting here but on the other hand it doesn't sound like any of us have an idea of how to deal with this except to have the patience of a saint and undivided attention during all getting-things-done times. Neither of which is working for me.
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 12:02 am
It's difficult to dissolve triggers via an online forum. It requires contact with a regulated nervous system.
Meeting with a trained therapist or practitioner once or twice a week. That's a route that worked for me.
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 12:09 am
I have similar kids and I thank you for posting.

I'm reading

1. Kid CANNOT do what is required without prompting

2. Parent (you, me) CANNOT have the patience to sit with kid and calmly get them to the next step


Well one solution may be a checklist.

But I'm thinking - for you and me both - the other real solution is for us parents to work on our patience. To thank HKBH for sending us this child to help us build this midda. And to daven to Him to help us.

You have given me a lot of clarity.

Thank you for the thread.
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 4:02 am
maybe it would help you to get a parenting coach to help you understand why your child is doing it and what the right response would be
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 5:17 am
Your OP made me giggle. It sounded so familiar.

Here are a few tips that work.

1. Understanding what is going on. Imagine that you are washing the dinner dishes, when a child comes in crying, with a skinned knee. You stop doing the dishes, wash the knee, put on a bandaid, and then see that another child has no socks for tomorrow. You kiss the first one's booboo, and run the second's dirty clothes to the washing machine. As you are starting the load, you look at the time, and realize you need to put the toddler to bed. After that, you get caught up in everyone's bedtime routine.

Dishes? What dishes?

To a child with executive functioning issues, counting the collection or washing his face on a hot night (one of my kids with ADHD had to be instructed at age 2, "I don't care how hot you are, we never ever stick our head in the toilet bowl to cool down") is as important a priority as the parenting scene I described above.

Therefore, it takes some effort to help re-prioritize.

2. One strategy is to add excitement. Make it a race. "Can you get your pajamas on before... (the timer buzzes/I count to 100/I finish making the lunches)? How are you doing, I'm halfway through!" Etc.

3. Another is to offer a visual reminder of the things that need doing, and/or the steps necessary. A checklist, as another poster suggested. Put a short nighttime checklist (you can do a ready for school checklist too) in a sheet protector, keep a dry erase markers handy for him to check every completed step, and ...

4. Offer a small reward for completion. "If you finish your checklist by 7:30 with no reminders from me, you can earn a new ___ for your collection/an extra 10 minutes to play before bed/a chance to choose tomorrow's dessert/whatever." (After a few days, up the ante -- the prize can be for 3 nights of completed checklist, instead of just one.)

5. Don't begrudge the time and effort.

It doesn't matter that this kid is "old enough" not to need so much direction. Age has nothing to do with it. He needs extra time and energy from you to build these lifelong habits.

You also should give extra effort to providing one on one time (10 minutes of undivided attention) regularly to each child. It works wonders in all kinds of ways. Read up on the Nurtured Heart Approach to understand more.

Hashem has entrusted you with this precious neshama, and all its many gifts. Don't get stuck on comparing him to anyone else. He is who he is.

6. Consult with a doctor about medication.

If this is an ADHD issue, you may be able to start the day sooner, or choose a longer acting stimulant or a late day booster. My kids with ADHD have to take their meds first thing in the morning in order to be able to focus enough to get out the door for school. Waiting till breakfast time doesn't work.

7. Consider working with a professional. There are books and resources out there to help kids learn how to "be a social detective" picking up on cues like all the other siblings with backpacks on. Look into what is available around you.

8. Focus on and applaud success. Yours and his. Keep the tone positive.

You can do this! None of it is easy, but we were not put here to take life easy.

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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 5:51 am
I tell my son to count how many seconds it takes him to be ready in am or pjs...the counting keeps him focused and when he says 26 seconds I'll give a hoot! and he feels good making it a positive experience(obviously26 seconds are counted veeeery slowly so tell him to start early-with plenty of time)
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 6:25 am
Tfilos & More Tfilos

Keeping calm and speaking in a low tone will really help, it's hard, but can be done
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 6:47 am
Checklist worked for me and my ds who has executive functioning difficulties. He knew what he needed and in what order to do it. As far as timing goes. You can get the times timer and reward him for beating the clock. After a while he will master the sequence and timing of the task.
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 6:50 am
Yes, I can relate. I'm not doing well with Tim pressure and making sure tho child gets ready. But, I have no solution. What I am forced to do is to be "on top" of this child until he is ready so that at least I know she will make the bus and finish her HW.....before bed.

Think of having to "be on top" of this child as if she's an infant meaning that when I'm in the middle of something, if my infant cries, I must tend to her. But, we don't yell at our infants for having to constantly be "on top" of them. So too, this dd of yours needs more direct constant monitoring /redirection to make sure she gets her responsibilities done.

Sorry, I dont have a solution. Going through same issue with my child.
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 7:29 am
I was that little girl. Please be as kind and gentle as you can be. The voice you use during her childhood will be the voice she hears in her head as an adult.

Keep telling yourself that this is just a stage. At fifteen she'll dress herself without your help. Be patient and kind, stay with her and help her. I know it's easier said than done, but when she's an adult with inner confidence and a positive inner voice, you will be so proud and happy with your parenting, you will be so glad you worked on your patience!

Also, remember that children with processing disorders are two years behind in many areas of brain development. So expect yourself to help her like you would help a six year old, and be proud of her when she behaves like an eight year old!
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 7:58 am
OP, you made me laugh! One of my boys is just like this. The good news is he has gotten better and better at organizing, prioritizing, and keeping on top of his responsibilities as he's gotten older. Executive functioning can be taught. My son was in a special ed preschool; they taught us so much. Most of all, I tried to emulate their attitude. They treated all skills that needed to be learned like interesting puzzles to solve alongside my son. They treated him so respectfully, the expert on his own challenges. They always kept their sense of humor and fun, even when progress was slow. They saw my son in the best possible light and helped me do the same.

Some ideas that worked really well for us: People mentioned a schedule. For us, a written schedule wasn't helpful, but a picture schedule worked well. We went through the whole morning routine, for example, taking pictures of each step: getting up, going to the bathroom... We laminated the pictures and put them up on his wall, and he was able to reference them when he got off track. Predictability was very important. The toothbrush and toothpaste in the same place, all his clothing ready in a pile on his chair. Also, things happened in the same predictable order and in the same place, for example, getting dressed upstairs in his room was always before breakfast downstairs in the kitchen. At one point we actually made him a 'road' out of masking tape on the floor with numbered 'stop signs' along the road, leading him from his bed to the bathroom, back to his clothing, then to the kitchen...

We've got the morning and evening routines down pat at this point. We're working on other executive functioning skills now, like keeping his room neat and keeping his knapsack organized.

Good luck OP! You sound like a good mom. Keeping your cool with a kid like this is really challenging. My son actually made it to the bus stop once, but was distracted by watching colorful tree leaves falling while the bus picked up all the other kids and pulled away... Funny in retrospect, but maddening at the time. Hang in there!
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 8:02 am
I have one of these. Checklists and visual reminders simply don't get looked at. Rewards and time incentives end up being a sourc of frustration, because without my being there giving verbal and nonverbal prompts, she can't do it, and gets upset about losing the rewards.

A big source of conflict in my house is that my being there for her means not being with the other kids. It means not being downstairs with enough time to be present while they eat. Etc. And no, she can't get up earlier. Believe me, we've tried. The other kids understood babies and toddlers because they had a vision for when the stage would end. With this dd, it is lasting a very long time.
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Post  Wed, May 16 2018, 9:13 am
OP, I have nonverbal learning disorder and this is literally me , even as an adult. On my best days I can infer and function normally, but when I'm tired, or cranky, or something changed, or having a bad day, I literally will not do something unless I'm told. Even if I can do it on a good day. The other side to this, is that yelling or raising your voice like that throws the situation into what I like to call a "do now", which incorrectly functioning executive function cannot handle. It causes you to freeze up and be unable to act, taking up more time.

In the future, yes, you might have to tell him every step of the way until he starts to get it. Give him more time to do things on his own schedule so you don't yell at him unnecessarily.

Unfortunately, no other good advice. Patience and love really go a long way.
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