Friday, November 28, 2008

The Grace Dilemna

We're really struggling with behaviour issues with Grace. We're running out
of ideas. Positive discipline doesn't work and neither does timeouts or
taking away priveledges. Punishment is lost on her. It has no effect. She
does feel remorse because she apologizes genuinely. But most of the time
it's only if she has done something by accident. For example, if she knocks
Amelia over by accident she apologizes profusely and is almost in tears if
Amelia doesn't calm down. But if Amelia has something Grace wants, she'll
push her down and snatch it without batting an eyelash. The snatching thing
has not extended to daycare and possibly school too.
She doesn't listen to anyone. Not me, not Becky, not her teacher, not
anyone. Trying to get her to do anything not of her own initiative is like
pulling teeth. Counting to three usually works but I have to do it for
everything. (Grace-Anne , you need to get out of the tub..1. Grace-anne you
need to get out of the tub...2) Her hearing is fine, we've had it tested.
And through our own observation we know she can hear just fine, she just
chooses not to.
At school, she had become "that kid". No one wants to sit near her, or play
with her because she doesn't play nice or sit still or listen to the
teacher or leave other kids alone or do her work or follow intructions etc
etc. AHHHHH!!! It is just frustrating knowing that there is a good kid in
there somewhere. Good Grace is in there somewhere, I know she is, but how
do we get her out?!
Attention is a big thing with her. In two ways. 1) she craves it. No matter
how much we give, she always wants more. Especially from me. 2) She has no
attention span. She can't sit and do anything for more than 5 minutes. She
says she is full after taking 2 bites. Meanwhile she whined for 20 minutes
that she was so hungry. Why? She's bored with it. No matter what we eat,
she takes a few bites. "I'm full!" Bullshit. We can usually get her to eat
a sufficient amount but it's a long painstaking process that only fouls our
mood. We have to play endless games to trick her into eating more or (much
to my shagrin) feed it to her. I hate having to do that but she has to eat,
right? yes, she does have to eat then. If we just let her go without
eating. otherwise she is keeps getting up saying she is hungry and then she
doesn't get enough sleep which makes the next day very rough indeed.
She is defiantly independant. Like if you try to help her with her boots or
coat, "NO! I can do it!!" And it's not like we are trying to rush her or
anything. Just trying to help! And if she does let you put her boots on
it's just because she is being lazy. I know this because it is accompanied
by " You do it".
She has great attention when it comes to TV. But that is not attention,
that's zoning out. All in favour of a total TV ban? "AYE!!" We need to make
TV a serious treat. She needs to EARN it.
What really frustrates me is her complete lack of focus. examples: "Grace,
I am going to go your water, I'd like you to have your jammies on when I
get back" and return to her jumping on her bed or something. No focus, no
respect. I have to tell her 15 times to get on the toilet, to brush her
teeth, to put her coat away. everything and anything. i just don't know
what to do.
With her lack of focus and zero attention span it makes me think ADD. No
hyper activity though. I don't want to give her drugs though. I am at a
loss. If we can't turn her behaviour around me may have to pull her out of
school. it's not fair to the teacher, or the other kids. But I don't want
to do that either. I just want to scream sometimes. Scream at myself
because I feel like I am failing as a parent. I've tried to hard to be a
good Dad and it's not working. At all. Not in my eyes anyway. I dunno.
I have a couple theories. Like things she doesn't express that don't allow
her to focus or remain clearheaded. 1) headaches. we've had her eyes tested
and she is a bit farsighted but she has another appointment to dilate her
eyes so they can get an accurate prescription. Maybe the eye strain is
giving her headaches so she can't think straight and she isn't or can't
express it. 2) conspitation. She is far from regular. She has had bowel
issues for years. Maybe the whole pooping thing causes enough anxiety that
is always on here mind and she loses track of what she is doing? YOU try
giving her a suppository! or forcing down Colase. I dare ya. Been down that
Grace has told Becky before that her head was all jumbly. Maybe that means
Any advice is greatly appreciated but please keep in mind that physical
discipline is NOT an option.


Becky said...

Number one....YOU ARE A GREAT DAD!!!!!

NUMBER TWO.....ILY and we are in this together.

NUMBER THREE....pass the tissues.

Michael said...

Hey dude,
Amanda and I really like this book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. It has some good stuff in it.
Anna seems to go through stuff like that, And what always seems to work is just out "patiencing" her. The frustration builds up quick, especially when outright defiance is taking place. I've found, that when I can keep it in my head to do it, if I can out last Anna, in a patient way, not a frustrated way, it will usually end well. There is deifnatly some screaming and crying, which is the hard stuff to stay clam through.
I'll take supper for example, I've seen Anna take almost 2 hours to eat all her food, just sitting there, crying, pushing her plate away, flipping it. But no matter what she's done, on a good day, I can muster the patience to just keep going over to her every few minutes and calmly reaffirming that she may get down when supper is done. When it's all send and done, it ends in a big congratulations hug and kiss, a "you're such a good girl", and an off ya go!
Also I think TV scale back is a great idea. Sometimes we find Anna getting a bit out of hand and we realize that maybe she is watching too much TV, when we scale it back, it does seem to adjust her attitude slitghly.

Just some idea, I'm certainly no expert, But I do feel your pain man. Have no worries, I know you and I know you care about your kids a ton, never doubt yourself. Hope that helps a bit!