5 Things To Remember While Raising a Strong-Willed Child.

There are a handful of topics that I consider myself to be an expert on. One of those are strong-willed children. I have had exactly 9 years, 7 months, and 3 days of intense training in this area. My training doubled approximately 5 years, 7 months, and 14 days ago when my second strong willed child screamed her way into my house. So if that doesn’t make me an expert, I don’t know what does.

I haven’t written any books on the subject yet because those types of books have to be written once the child moves out. One can’t possibly accomplish writing a book until they leave. But in the meantime, here are 5 things to remember while raising a strong willed child…or two if you are as blessed as I am.

  1. The desire behind nearly everything they do is control. Good behavior, bad behavior…it doesn’t matter. They want to control all of the things. And I say, just let them when it’s reasonable to let them. Be selective about the hills you allow them to slay you on.
  2. Their love is every bit as fierce as their hate. But the two cannot exist at the same time. It really is in your personal best interest for them to love you more often than not.
  3. * You can’t break their spirits. Trust me, I’ve tried. I’ve read that you must be cautious not to break the spirit of a strong willed child. That makes me laugh. The spirits of truly strong willed children can’t be broken. Their spirits can be wounded temporarily, not broken.
  4. Prison is a real place. Sometimes this thought alone is the only thing that keeps me somewhat in line.
  5. They will eventually move out. Unless they refuse to move out. I’m already aware that I may have to sell my house and move and not tell them where I have moved to.

And if this stuff makes you roll your eyes or think for one moment that I am a pushover, congratulations…you don’t have a strong-willed child. If you think you *might* have a strong-willed child, you don’t have a strong willed child. When you have one, you know it. There isn’t a shred of doubt in your mind. And when you have two or more, may God have mercy on your soul.

*And regarding #3, it probably is possible to break their spirits, but not with acceptable and legal parenting practices. Obviously if a child is abused, their spirits can be shattered into a million pieces. I’m not talking about that.

 

Advertisements

It’s a long #itsmikey post

Earlier today, I read some posts about Mikey from the last several years. Some of them made me a little sad or anxious because I remember how I felt when I wrote some of that stuff. We’ve been through some very hard times with him. There will be more. He will always be a challenge. But for the most part, as I read those old posts, I was just amazed and relieved at how far we’ve come.

So, for me, for our family and friends, here is a little trip down Mikey memory lane. This reminds me why blogging is so important. And I regret that I’ve abandoned blogging for facebook. Just not the same at all.

There was this post when I didn’t think we’d be able to keep him.

When we weren’t sure if/when he’d speak. Just thinking about that now makes me laugh!

Back when I was told he is “significantly delayed” and I wanted to punch her in the neck, but I didn’t.

Back when I had to remove every toy or thing that Mikey could throw from his room.

There was this post after he basically got kicked out of preschool. This was the second preschool I had to pull him from before he was three. After this, he ended up in public school/preschool for kids with disabilities. It was a GREAT experience and helped him so much!

When I was at probably my lowest point with him. Feeling very hopeless.

How he’s 8. We still have some hard moments…even days. But all in all, he’s doing amazing! He’s making all A’s and B’s in school. He’s not on any meds. I realize that is not anybody’s business one way or another. However, I do feel like it’s an accomplishment for all of us that we’ve managed to keep him med free, despite suggestions from many doctors to do otherwise. Can you believe I was told to put him on something for ADHD when he turned four?? Yeah…no. Anyway, he has made the AB honor roll almost (if not every) reporting period for 1st and 2nd grade. Things may get harder for him at some point, but for now, he’s thriving. Just to clarify, I’m not always anti-med, but I’m a firm believer in avoiding them if you can. And so far, we’ve been able to.

He’s turned into quite a math whiz. He can be taught very difficult math and almost immediately pick it up. Aunt Gale taught him some algebra a few months ago and he picked it up right away. I sat down a few days ago and taught him long division in about three minutes. Mikey scored better than 99% of second graders nationally on his STAR math test. Scored at 4.5 grade level. The way he does math in his head is quite amazing. Even the adults in his life can’t always follow his line of reasoning to come to the correct answers that he gets.

He still struggles with controlling his impulses and moods. I think he’ll always struggle with that, but we’ll all do the hard work to continue to teach him. He still is somewhat socially inappropriate. Again, I think that will always be a struggle. And so, we teach. We have “official” diagnoses that we don’t talk much about. We don’t because we don’t really like labels. Also, it’s just Mikey. Who cares what he “has?” Not us. Not right now anyway. We wouldn’t change a thing.

I know I post about him a lot. But guys, he confounds me. Every day, he presents new problems or worries for me to try to figure out. And I’m kind of a problem solver. And not to make my kid sound like a problem necessarily, but… Maybe puzzle is a better word. Anyway, he takes up a lot of my brain.

He also takes up a great deal of my heart. Every struggle to get him, to keep him, to get through to him, to keep him safe, to help him learn and thrive, it’s all been worth it. He is a difficult, beautiful little complicated person. We have come a very long way with him. I can’t wait to see the great things he will continue to do.

Oh and I forgot to mention that he has a cast on his right arm right now. He injured his elbow. There are no visible breaks, but apparently if a kid won’t straighten/bend his elbow, it needs to be treated like a break. This is also the kid who intentionally failed two vision tests when he was five or six because he wanted glasses so… I’ll let you decide if I think he *really* needs that cast or not. 🙂

mikeyblog3verticals

mikeyblog4horizontals

 

 

 

 

This never happens.

First of all, what’s up with all of this recent blogging, right?? I don’t know. I think I’ve finally decided that I need to actually start photographing my kids again.
IMG_9761rs

Anyway, I decided to *try* to take just a few decent pictures of our kids at the local pumpkin patch. I don’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve done that with the “real camera.”

IMG_9767bwlucyrs

I bribed them with cookies. I begged them to be cooperative. And guess what?! THEY WERE!!! I was stunned.

octfour

We were in and out of there in about ten-fifteen minutes. And nobody cried. And I didn’t get mad. Amazing, I tell you.

IMG_9759lucyrs

b2

m2

k2

IMG_9756rs

I honestly don’t even know how this happened.

I wanna hold your hand

We’ve always had to, or *felt* like we had to, hold Mikey’s hand or at least be in reach of him at all times in public. I still feel this need even though he’s older and more trustworthy than he used to be. It’s been hard for me to shake this feeling that he’s going to disappear.


Last weekend, the kids and I went on a weekend trip to the Galleria area in Houston. We stayed in a hotel and just went lots of different places and goofed off. On our little trip, I held onto him quite a bit because there were crowds and traffic and he just makes me nervous. Jackson kept up with Katie and Brittany is really great! She just stays right with us and I don’t worry about her running off. He asked me for the 100th time why I had to hold his hand and not Brittany’s. And I told him for the 100th time that Brittany stays with me without me holding my hand. I really don’t have to worry about her disappearing on me. He hates that answer and has never liked it when I give it to him. And is always resentful to have to hold my hand and resists having to do it.


Then he said, “I think you just like to hold my hand. I think you just love me so much that you want to hold onto me all the time.” And I just decided to go with it and tell him that is exactly right. That is the real reason why I want to hold his hand all the time. The rest of the weekend and several times since, he has very willingly and proudly held my hand without protest.


With him, it’s all about equality, unless *he* is shown favor. He’s fine with inequality if it’s in his favor. In other news, I’ve been trying as often as I can to hold both of the middles’ hands when go places. And you may see me twirling them both, one on each hand, if you see me walking with them.

He digs charts

Mikey likes charts. He likes lists. He likes to know what’s next. He would like to check boxes if given the opportunity. Anyway, he came home one day demanding to make a behavior chart after school one day. We had to do it RIGHT NOW!! And so since the whole thing was to hopefully help him behave better, I dropped what I was doing to go to Target to get some poster board and construction paper. He was pretty excited about it!


575210_10201987338908302_1816513965_n


He pretty quickly got annoyed with this one and regretted wanting it, but we are still using it. I think maybe it has helped some when I remember to use it instead of just yelling. 🙂


We had a really bad morning yesterday. Hopefully the worst morning of the school year. Mikey just can’t/won’t do anything without me telling him over and over and over. And yesterday morning, I just lost it. I’ve been sick for days and Phillip was home sick too, but that’s not a good excuse. Anyway, in an effort to NOT have another morning like yesterday, I decided to make this chart while Mikey was at school.


photo-7


Pretty cute, right?? And this morning it worked great! He was so excited about moving his little Mikey to the next spot. He got ready quicky and on his own and I didn’t have to tell him anything. Yay!! He even told me that I should have made this chart a long time ago. So while he was at school today, I decided to make one for after school too. I also decided to give his little Mikey arms and legs.


photo-1


photo-2


I knew that I would need some wild card type cards for the things that change from the routine of the chart. I think we’ll try this and see how well it works. I need to laminate these and get some sticky tack so I can stick the orange cards on there without having to use the little Mikey.


photo-6
photo-3
photo-5
photo-4


So I guess we’ll see how long this helps. Even if it only helps for a few weeks, it’s worth the effort. I’m hoping this will help him get the routine stuck in his head and get used to doing things without having to be told by me. He seriously hates when I yell at him and I don’t blame him, but sometimes it seems to be the only way that he follows through. We’re both sick of that! For now, I’m not going to mess with a weekend one. We’ll just maybe use this as we can on weekends or just not use a chart at all.

Ketchup.

Okay, so here are some of the things that have been happening in our world lately. And I know there aren’t any pictures of Jackson, but I promise he’s still cute and still awesome.


At the beginning of May, Mikey had a festival and program at his school and I tied his bandana wrong. He was the only kid among all of the kindergarteners whose mom tied his bandana like an ascot. Oops.


IMG_3672rs


I caught them all with no shirts on outside. They are rarely wearing shirts and pants at the same time. And they are never all four completely dressed unless we’re going somewhere.


IMG_3848rs


Mikey has a loose tooth on the bottom. It really needs to come out, but we’re not messing with it. We learned our lesson about that with child #1. Mikey FREAKS out when he bleeds even a drop so I’m sure this whole loosing teeth thing is going to be exciting.


toothtriplers


Katie got glasses!!!


IMG_4798rs
IMG_4907rs


Brittany turned FIVE!!! Birthday party to follow. It was delayed due to Katie having pinkeye. Fun times.


IMG_4853rs
IMG_4875rs
IMG_4877rs


And just this week, like yesterday and today in fact, the three little kids got a room makeover. We were thinking about moving, but we decided to stay for now and make this house work. Jack needs his own room so we bunked the three little kids. They love the new room!


roombeforeafter
IMG_4922rs
IMG_4923rs
IMG_4930rs
IMG_4931rs
IMG_4932rs
IMG_4933rs
IMG_4938rs
IMG_4939rs


And with that, I bid you all goodnight.


IMG_4941bwrs

What if?

He’s so funny and sharp witted. He is creative. He’s beautiful to look at. He loves to cuddle.


But he’s also angry…a lot. He spends much of his time angry. Angry because someone said something “wrong.” Angry because someone touched something they “shouldn’t have.” Angry because someone is singing a song he doesn’t like. Angry because he doesn’t like what we’re eating. Angry because he doesn’t like where we’re going. Angry because he thinks someone is making fun of him and they’re not…or maybe they are. Angry. Angry. Angry.


He’s almost always angry, near anger, just over being angry, or we are wary of the impending anger. I watch him. I look for signs that it’s coming. I try to ward it off. I try to keep the peace. But the peace doesn’t keep. Never for very long.


And since he’s angry a lot and since I tend to match his moods, I’m angry a lot. When he gets angry, I typically get angrier. When he gets loud, I get louder. When he loses his mind, I lose mine even more. I match his crazy. And honestly, it works. It works in that it keeps him from escalating to a point that we can’t handle. It keeps his “spells” in the realm of 3-10 minutes or so. And if you’re the parent of a child who has anger or behavior issues, then you know 3-10 minutes isn’t really that bad. But it re-occurs ALL DAY LONG.


But what if, instead of matching his anger for anger…what if his anger was matched with gentleness, kindness, self control? What if I parent him the way God parents me? With a quiet calm. Unwavering. Unreactive to my selfishness and immaturity. With undeserved patience. What if being met with these things rather than anger actually helps him control his anger?


And yes, perhaps this is a no brainer, but when you’re either in the storm or the eye of it almost all the time, it’s really hard to see a solution. And we’ve been in some form of storm with him most of his life. My post yesterday opened my eyes to this even though I didn’t intend for it to open my eyes to anything.


So I’ll let y’all know how it goes. I’ll let you know if I can do it.

The birthdays of Thing 2 and Thing 4

Almost two weeks ago…yes, two weeks…we had Mikey and Katie’s combined birthday party. Their birthdays are a little over a week apart so it made sense to do them together.


Below is my facebook status from the end of December. I really had some fb friends who didn’t get it. Seriously? You guys need more coffee.


“I’m looking at cakes and decorations galore to get ready for the birthdays of Thing 2 and Thing 4. Thing 4 will be 3 and Thing 2 will be 6, and I’m just not decided about the theme I will pick. Can you help me decide? Can you help please please please? It’s a very special day when you turn 6 and 3. ;-)”


This is one shot that I had to get! Does it look familiar?


IMG_0370

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold, wet day.
I sat there with Sally.
We sat there, we two.
And I said, “How I wish
We had something to do!

So we had a birthday party!!


IMG_0377


I spent way too much time and money throwing together Dr. Seuss inspired treats. And then I didn’t even take pictures of half of them because I was running around doing other stuff. In typical Mikey fashion, he got mad about who even knows what and spent probably an hour or so mad and griping. I’m not going to make Katie share her party with him again. He’s too consuming. I didn’t get to focus on her enough. But this is supposed to be a happy post so I guess I shouldn’t write that stuff. Anyway, here are some of the pictures that I did take.


seussbday1
seussbday2


Mikey finally did decide to be happy and the lower right photo is of him laughing his butt off at the whoopee cushion that he got. He was so excited about that and his cherry berry gift card! Probably his favorite gifts. A friend told me later that Katie was “pure joy” the day of the party. I hate to say that I was kind of too consumed by other stuff to notice. We had a good day, but I think we’ll scale down our parties from now on. With four kids, big parties are kind of a big pain.


And if you were there, I’ll be mailing out pictures in the next day or so.


loopyloop