Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tips and Tricks Thursday: Managing Children With Unique Personalities: My Top MUST Haves

I am not only a mother of 3 girls ages 12,11 and 7 but my children have unique personalities. 
When I say unique I am refering to their "disorders" they have been labled with in todays society. 
I do not like to label them as a disorder as I believe this causes more psychological challenges for them especially in the "finding yourself" stages all preteens and teens face.
I look at these as challenges, uniqueness (though it is now more common for you to have one or more) gifts by NEVER have refered them as a disorder. 

Here is what I face daily.
D is a 12 year old currently in 7th grade and SUPER smart! She's in all the gifted programs and advanced classes.
By the time she was 5 she was diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety and Insmonia. 
As the years progressed we have added ODD and Mood Disorder to her list of gifts.

Unfortunately due to the severity of all of her challenges we had to make the decision and have her medicated. 
I will be honest. I was young, uneducated and totally blamed myself for her receiving these gifts. 
I was in shock and refused to believe for a long time that there was something "wrong" with my baby.

When it comes to meds this is ALWAYS a trial and error process. We have had so many errors with her and due to the lack attention from doctors we got to a point to where she was becoming to be at an unhealthy weight and not gaining any at all. She weighed the same for SEVERAL years even after I mentioned it at every appointment. 
They always said she's was fine and it was hereditary for her to be small because I am.

Luckily we changed doctors, meds and together we have got her back to a healthy weight. THANK GOD!

Then I have Boo.
Boo is 7 years old and in 2nd grade. She is also a smart cookie but she was denied to be in the gifted program and that's ok with me :) 
Once she started Kindergarten I knew she was ADHD also...
After talking to her teacher we decided not to test her that year and allow us to try and teach her how to manage the impulses that come with ADHD.
We survived the year and was headed into 1st grade.
I had an ANGLE placed as her teacher that year because we worked together on testing her, medication decisions, and the best way to help her manage it all.
The communication between the two of us not only helped myself but helped Boo adjust to a daily meds, staying focused and applying the extra energy in a positive way while in the classroom.


With these two in the same house we always have fun between the age gap and the fact that they BOTH like to aggravate each other on purpose  there is rarely a quite moment in the house espicailly in the morning getting ready for school, getting them to do homework and getting ready for bed.

As a mom this is a constant "chore". Not only do you have to keep them motivated (they are procrastinators by nature)  but you have to keep track of meds (who takes what at what time) , appointments (TONS of these are needed when medicating), counseling (more for the complicated ones liked), grades,  behavior, and additudes are ALWAYS in full swing.
There are days where I just want to pull my hair out, cry my eyes out, or honestly give up (the older they are the harder it gets) but I know that I was blessed with them and their  "gifts" because at the end of it all I AM strong enough to guide them and help them through these challenges in life and raise them to be successful women in society.
AND on top of them I am 99.99% sure the hubby is also ADHD and or bipolar though he has not been diagnoised lol... Unless you want to start call in me Dr. Jones :)

How do I manage it all?
 I honestly don't know some days but I do have a few things I do and or go to to help the sanity :)
Here they are:

ROUTINE:

I can not stress this enough! These kids function better on a routine for EVERYTHING!
In the mornings, at night, after school, its even helpful on the weekends!
Developing routines and keeping them is a HUGE sanity helper and not just for me but also for the hubby and the baby sitter.


They recommend sticky notes to be used to keep them on track but needless to say as much as I LOVE sticky notes myself I am not ready or willing to wallpaper my house with them anytime soon.

I received an A Frame chalk board for my birthday from the bestie in Cali and I was thrilled! it sits in my kitchen and displays the girls "To Do Lists"

Side A: Morning:
This is great because they can "check" off what they have done and know what they need to finish before going out the door when we are not here. This is also great for the sitter because she is aware on what is expected of them.
Since we started this I have not come home to a house full of lights on, or getting a phone call that a certain someone (D) has forgotten her lunch...again... like usual... (This is a rude awaking to tired mama who is half asleep when I get the call)

Side B: Afternoon:

Same concept as morning except this also keep the hubby on track just in case I fall asleep for a afternoon nap on accident. (It happens what can I say)

SUPPORT:


I am so lucky to have a HUGE support group. There are days where these people hold me up and drag me back to reality. Meet the team! (They are in no particular order)
The hubby!
10 years together and he is still crazy enough to hang out with 4 girls on a daily bases. He is also my best enforcer when I have had all can take.

 
The life long bestie and the girls God-Mama!
This girl is my rock and has been for almost 20 years! Though we are not daily talkers we are not hesitant to call one another when we NEED it!
Ugh I miss her!

 
My Mom and Step Dad
Here is another man who should have ran a LONG time ago LOL
These two have been there from the very beginning with my adventures with D.
Being a teen mom these two really helped me when I needed it and supported me on choices.
My mom and I used to talk daily but since I now work nights our chats are rare :(
But she will be getting a text about D and her PE grade... She is JUST LIKE HER NANA!
(She won't dress out smh... see what I deal with!)

Biological Dad and his side of the family.
 
Though a newer addition to the support group they have really taken everything in  stride.
My Grand-Parents:
These two are AMAZING! My grandma I will admit is the first one I text or call when I need advise, have a question or just need her to slap me into reality!
They have been a HUGE part of my life growing up and I am so blessed that they continue to be in my children's lives... Now if I can figure out how to get Cali closer to Arkansas I would have it made!
 
 
My Siblings and Cousins:
ALL of them! I have 8 siblings! 4 brothers and 4 sisters and though I am not as close as I would like to be to some of them (Jess, Zach, Dom, Sam, and Cody) I am so thankful that I have them!
 
My brother Robert has been a HUGE influence on D and he has really been able to chat with her about things that I just don't get.
My sister Crystal also has "gifted" children with similar challenges and I am so thankful we are going through these things together, honestly I am not sure when the last time was we didn't have a convo with out a mention of these kids lol
 As for my cousins I have so many but the majority of us are close and I LOVE it!
It is so nice to have different opinions on some things. It is also nice to be able to spread the "bitching" around so one person doesn't get tired of it :)  
 
The local Bestie!
I am pretty sure we talk, text, or FB one another from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep. We have our wine nights and our laughs and vent sessions, our almost nightly coffee chats (on my way to work) and more.
She is a huge part of our lives!
 

 
 The Hubby's Family.
So we are missing a few in this pic (2 of his siblings, their spouses and kids) but overall you get the idea.
They have been there with the older two since they were little and they have seen all the trial and errors when D was first diagnosed.
They helped keep me straight, educated and informed on where to go, who to see and what to do and to this day there for it all though they are so far away.



Friends!
I think that this is a HUGE part! We have friends who children are also ADHD and maybe a dash of something else and it is nice to chat with other parents. I started doing this working at BAM. I was and still am so thankful for sharing "war" stories with Mandy that I truly miss it! Our daughter are the same age and we would "compare" notes from the night before LOL
These are the people who have our back and are willing to lend a hand, an ear or even a shoulder!


 My Daddy and God-Father

There is really no words to express my love for these men. I was very blessed when I was raised with my dad and him and my mom chose my god-father. It was a perfect fit.
These two have been BFF's for 30+ years and took on the task to guide me (no one said they were smart men ;) just kidding) in my life.

I have ran these two ragged over the years and yet I can still call, text or cry for them if needed.

My heart is full with these two... my heroes!

FUN and LAUGHTER:

I have learned in life you can't always be so serious...
We try to do our best and have some fun and do fun things as a family.
The Zoo, themed cook outs, birthday parties, bon fires, wine nights and more.



10 years together and we still act like teens.. smh.. he was saying I am not taking a damn selfie! HA! Got him :)


Patience and Understanding:

These two are the hardest for me. With 4 hours a sleep a day I am thin on both. I know that there are some things they can not help and then there are things that they KNOW they can not do and I want to scream and yell and say what the hell!

It is hard some days and others it is OUR normal.
I have read articles, talked to other parents, talked to counselors, cried to many of my supporters in my group, breathed, lost my self in work, thrown up my hands, shook my head, and PRAYED over the challenges we have face with them and for the ones we have yet to come to.

I think that if it was not for these  4 things I would have already gone CRAZY!

What are some things that you recommend?