Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Surviving Spring Break

We’re in the middle of spring break and things are going ok. Like many kids, my son struggles with the boredom of being out of school, so we’re trying to keep him busy and stress-free. With our long days together, I’m practicing a new parenting skill I’m trying to acquire. I distract him when he approaches the “edge of frustration” as a way of keeping him calm. It’s something my husband does pretty well and I’m trying to get better at. Basically, I approach my son when I can see the “steam” rising from him and try to speak calmly as I suggest doing something different to help distract him. Sometimes, I’ll offer watching tv together or cooking together, other times I suggest something unique like shopping for music on itunes, hoping to entice him into focusing on something different than what he’s currently upset about.

In the past, I spent too much time trying to resolve the current stressor, whether it was working out a disagreement with his brothers or talking him out of doing something mean. What I’m learning is that there’s a lot of situations that can best be dealt with by ignoring the issue and moving forward with something new. This seems to be the key of deescalating the situation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come natural for me.

The other strategy I’m trying is the “path of least resistance”. Yesterday, he really got angry because his brothers didn’t want to play anymore. In an instant, he charged his brother in full attack mode, it came out of nowhere. As I held him on the couch, I could tell he was gearing up for a rage, so I let go and asked if he would just sit on the couch. He barked back, “Can I watch TV”. I said, “ Yes, take this time to calm yourself down.”

Then I had everyone go upstairs so we could leave him alone to cool off for about 45 minutes. It was much easier than trying to get him into his own room. I could tell that if I pushed him into a timeout I would’ve triggered a rage, so I simply took the path of least resistance. And I’m happy to say, he was able to calm himself down.

Overall we’re getting by with great times followed by challenges. He’s surprisingly has handled some stressful situations pretty well, on the other hand, spending so many hours together can be draining on us both. I know this isn’t his fault, life is just harder on him, but I need to work on my patience and keep my chin up.

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So how’s your vacation going?


  1. My Bipolar child is having a great week! (Yeah Invega!) On the other hand, my RADish is having a really difficult week. Oh well.

  2. "Don't try to stop the waves of events and emotions; surf them. Allow upheaval and unhappiness, and you reduce their power."—Martha Beck, Daily Coach Tips

    Hang Ten Mama Bear!

  3. Our break is over, but it was really nice. You are so right about trying to redirect your son to something else when he starts getting upset. I, too, have wasted time and energy --and made things worse--by trying to work through a problem when my daughter starts getting upset or trying to get her to see the error of her ways. Like you, it just doesn't come naturally to me to calmly move on, but I'm ever so slowly getting a little better at it. You're doing a great job, Mama Bear! Hope the rest of your week goes well.

  4. I homeschool through a charter school--so we're on "spring break" too. (which means I don't have to come up with math lessons--whoot!) But I think changing even that small bit of structure has made things a little rockier here.

  5. some choppy waves over here..wipeout. Maybe I'll spend the rest of the week on the beach sunning???

  6. Sounds like a good plan Chastity!

    Today was a good day for us, my son worked out with me at the gym, had a playdate and was wonderful with the smaller kids in our church small group tonight. I was a winner day!