Trick Or Drink, Really??

So, we decided to take my daughter out trick or treating this year in a neighborhood we used to live in. This is a neighborhood I vowed to never go back to for this ‘event.’

I’m not a big Halloween fan. I have never been into the gore and my house was never decorated in anything but fall decor and pumpkins. The kids were never allowed to dress like death or anything that represented that. Call me boring, I don’t care. I do love seeing the kids dressed up and it can be great fun except for ‘some things’ I absolutely cannot tolerate.

But, her brother is in college and her bestie asked her if she wanted to go, so we all went. We went back to the ‘neighborhood.’ I went with an open mind.

The girls had a fantastic time. There were kids everywhere! The parents were dressed up as well, and I mean dressed up like in Full costume! My daughter made part of her costume and it was pretty fantastic. She received so many compliments. She was so proud of herself and I loved hearing her explain how she did it and how long it took. That was the GOOD part.

As we continued walking I saw that the adults had cups, plastic covered water mugs and the smell of alcohol was everywhere.
We stumbled into a block party with a haunted house in a cul-de-sac. There were long tables with food on them and unattended wine bottles, and kids and teens everywhere. Need I say more.

We approached a house and the man who was handing out candy, had a large bottle of hard liquor on a table with a sign that said Trick or Drink. He called us over and offered us adults a shot. I looked at my husband and I looked at the man and I said, “ No, that’s not cool, we are here to set an example with our children and this is not a good example.”

I was Not happy. My husband and I did not take the drink and were the Example to my daughter who knew what this man was offering. My husbands actions will be remembered especially and I was doubly irritated when the man offered my husband a drink a Second time saying, “ Are you sure you don’t want one while they are not looking?” Honestly! What if my husband were an alcoholic? This man crossed the line in so many ways.

We tell our kids to NOT take drugs, do not take pills or alcohol and then what happens during these situations? The so called adults, Cave and do it. Adults give in to peer pressure all the time! Are we all a bunch of hypocrites?

To offer alcohol like this in public on a children’s holiday is Not Cool.

Why is it a ‘thing’ to walk around with a drink while trick or treating with your kids? Can’t we all just enjoy our kids and their experience without getting drunk? Honestly, I can’t handle it.

If you are one of these people, please Don’t tell me. I’m
Sure you are a good person and I want to be your friend. Just keep it to yourself.

I had fun watching my daughter and her friend go from house to house. I had nice conversation with my friend and my husband. It was a fantastic night but please for the sake of our children who already have their own struggles, be the example not the problem.

And to the man who disregarded my feelings and wishes, you can take you Trick or Drink and………. take it to the nearest AA group.

Stop Peddling your drugs, because that’s exactly what you were doing.

My views on the halloween OC adult drunk fest tradition may not be popular, but I really don’t care.

Happy Halloween!! 🤪

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Academic materials and Accessibility for students with disabilities and learning challenges and why a diagnosis is important

We have had to embark on the digital age and the disappearance of real books. The kinds you can smell, feel and turn the pages of. The pages you can write on or print out.

Computers and digital books are what many schools are utilizing and we ran into a problem when the common core program was implemented some time back.

The company, Pearson which creates these books, specifically the math, use digital platforms. Teachers were unable to access an actual book. This may still be their situation, I have not checked.

We had a situation in high school when one of my kids was unable to print out a homework page. We contacted a Pearson rep who happened to be in the Philippines! We were told that they were unable to help and we were directed to a different company called Savvas which is the K-12 program that is somehow in charge of the digital platform. It’s still confusing to me.

Savvas was able to give us permission and instruction on how to print my child’s homework page from their digital platform.

This was an arduous process and beyond frustrating.

Fast forward to college. We are experiencing the same issue. Through my students tuition there was an auto deduct for books. These books are all E- Books. These online ‘books’ are for calculus and physics. There was no option on our end for a hard copy text book. My student is also again, unable to print the homework assignments from the online platform. We were told that there was an option to either purchase an E- Book or a hard back copy but we did not get a choice. This was automatically done for us.

We asked the university for help and my feeling is that Pearson needs to fix the problem so students can print their homework out whenever they need to. Having to rely on a computer device for homework is not a good idea especially in the case of internet issues or a power outage.

But, this is not my main concern. My student learns differently. The need for the homework and complex equations to be in hard copy form on a flat surface is imperative. Processing what is written on a screen and transferring it onto a piece of paper, gets lost or mixed up in translation.

Utilizing a book in hard copy form also offers the opportunity to outline and highlight key areas that need to be studied. You cannot do this with an online platform.

We also learned the E-Book that was purchased is only available for two years to the student! I do not understand how we can be charged hundreds of dollars, only for our purchase to expire? This should not be considered a purchase but a two year lease. I am honestly surprised how this company has gotten away with this.

I did some additional research to find out how to find and purchase a book my student can open, access and use.

I found that Pearson offers larger print books as well as books in braille. This was route we could have taken by choosing to purchase the larger printed book.

Thankfully, my students university has found the proper books and will be delivering them to him on campus. They have been extremely helpful. We did not have to take the route to purchasing a large print book.

I’m surprised this has not been brought up by other families at the other universities. It’s like people just passively accept what is and fail to question it.

Many of these changes happened in 2020 when we had the initial Covid lockdowns and students were given no choice but to access their learning digitally and turn their work in the same way.

I recall when in person classes started back up at the high school level, the way things were done previously were tossed into the waste basket. My student wanted to physically turn in an essay and the teacher told him he needed to submit it digitally. This meant extra steps of scanning and submitting online. When a student has executive functioning challenges, this is an extra ‘step.’

Why do it this way? Why not go back to physically handing in a paper? It was communicated to us that it was ‘easier’ this way.
It was easier for the teacher but not my student with different documented needs. Who are we helping here?

Let’s go back to the text book issue. In order for a student to receive a book in braille or large print, your students school needs to sign off on a documented disability form and this is exactly why parents MUST get over disability labels and accept help with getting a diagnosis for their children. Get over it and help your kids. It’s about their future, not the stigma you feel their diagnosis represents!

An IEP (individual education plan) or 504 plan is a living document and will follow your child all the way to the university level.

You can request and IEP or 504 plan by asking your child’s public school to test them. If your child attends a private school, you will need to contact and go to the public school they would have attended for an assessment. This is free and required by the school upon your request. It doesn’t matter if your child is attending the public school or not.

The school can either grant you the accommodations or deny them per their assessment results. Documented disabilities you have on hand can help with the outcome.

Schools cannot diagnose your child with a disability so please have this done by a medical professional, therapist or other professional in advance and save digital and hard copies.

Many schools will give your student priority registration, extra time on tests and designated note takers for their classes. One university told us that their students with accommodations even received priority parking spaces if they had their own vehicle.

If your student needs supports in any way be it for emotional, academic or for a physical disability, a documented disability or diagnosis will help them their entire academic life.

Students like this are not on the same playing field with many of their peers. Services enable them to be on the same playing field.

Students with disabilities deserve the same opportunities as any other individual. It’s up to us to make sure we advocate for them so they receive those opportunities.

We were fortunate we did not end up having to request my sons university to fill out any special paperwork as they were able to locate the standard hard copy books for him. We also found a used one on Amazon for a better price. It all worked out but we had to dig in order to arrive at this happy ending.

Here are some links you can access per the Pearson website to receive books in large print and in braille.

https://www.pearson.com/us/accessibility.html

https://support.pearson.com/getsupport/s/article/Disability-Request-Form

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Praying when they are resistant and keeping your faith

It’s hard when you are a believer and your children who you have raised in your personal faith no matter what it is, become resistant.

We desire for them to adopt the same faith, the same belief and when you mention anything to do with it, it’s like mixing oil with water.

The worst thing we can do is push our beliefs on them. We plant the seed, we do what we can and then we hope they will grow in some way. It’s not up to us to ‘make them believe.’ Ultimately God is in control and He will work in our children in His own time.

It’s hard to accept the fact that we are not in control. It’s hard to give up control and it’s even harder to pray ‘Thy Will be done.’

If it’s your Will Lord, please…. And then you fill in the blanks.

This is what we call having Faith. We Trust in God that things will turn out they way He intended even if it’s not what we envisioned. Our plans for our kids are not His plans.

What can we do about it? We can just pray. Pray for our kids and continue setting the example of what it is to be a part of our faith. Everything our kids hear or see us do, everything we say, when we go to church or open our Bibles or just speak about God, we are bringing God to our homes.

If our kids are not believers, we can be believers for them.

Pushing faith, beliefs, threats of going to hell or other methods that force our kids to church will backfire. We take them as littles but at some point when they are old enough and at the age they can stay home alone, they are a tad to big to force into a car.

Neurodivergent individuals and children sometimes have difficulties in the area of faith. This is common. It makes sense. They have difficulties understanding it and want concrete evidence.

I guess what this all comes down to is our personal faith. We continue to have faith and stay hopeful that our loved ones will know what we were taught and how to live our lives in the way He directed us to. There are so many passages and stories of how struggles became triumphs and how promises were kept. I was once told that the Bible is a blueprint on how to live our lives.

Stay faithful, don’t give up and always pray. Smile with peace and know that everything is in God’s timing. His timing is always perfect even if it’s 30 years after you prayed your prayer.

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Bullies or are they?

😬If you have had similar experiences as me, you may have been on both sides of being accused of this ‘bullying’ thing. Your child is being bullied or your child is the bully.

First off, the word bully is horribly overused. People have used this term for things as simple as a child falling down and another impulsively laughing.

What a Bully! They laughed at my child! How dare they!

Being all of 5 years old, Eric laughed at Elina when she fell down. It was funny to watch her shoe catapult over the PE teachers head and hit Steve on the rear. Elina was clearly hurt and crying and Eric was laughing. What a horrible child that Eric is! We hope he gets a detention for his 5 yr. Old insensitivity! What a bully!

The term is overused.

A bully is a person who constantly targets another child. It can be verbal or physical. According to the dictionary, a bully is defined as a person who habitually seeks to harm, intimidate or coerce those whose they perceive as vulnerable.

I remember being approached at a school by an administrator about my child. My child was being ‘mean’ to another child because when this other child wanted to pick up her jacket, my child went ballistic! She screamed at him to Not touch it. I asked the staff why they thought she reacted this way. They told me that it was “out of the blue” and for “No Reason.” I was told by the administrator that many of the children at the school had been ‘bullied’ before at other schools and they were concerned my child was going to frighten them with her behavior. I then told the administrator that my child too, was ‘bullied.’

So, yeah according to the staff, she reacted that way for “No Reason” just because she was a bully?

I wasn’t buying it. I decided to put on my investigators hat and find out the ‘WHY’ behind the behavior.

It turns out that this child who was just trying to help, and he was, had some additional needs my child did not understand. He had a chronically runny nose for one thing. I also noticed this every time I saw him. He was frequently wiping his nose on his sleeve. I know.. gross but as I said he had something else going on and obviously couldn’t help it. He also had gone up to my child and literally licked her jacket sleeve.

Can you now see the ‘WHY’ behind my child’s behavior? I was told that he was “snotty and gross” and licked her jacket and she did not want him touching her or her things, most of all her jackets or sweaters. He also followed her around the playground and she frequently asked him to give her space which I was told was also not being kind. She was advocating for her own needs and those needs were dismissed.

My child acted out for “No Reason” remember? Please, do not ever take this answer from anyone! There is always a reason! If a child seems to snap at you out of the blue, they have most likely been brewing something up in their head form an hour ago, minutes before or they were triggered by something that had happened a week prior just like what happened to my child.

There are other situations that happen to our kids from other kids who are neurotypical. Our kids can be targets. They may not present loudly as Neurodivergent but they are just ‘odd’ enough for another kid to pick up on. NT kids can sniff our kids out. They don’t understand them and it’s like they feel they have to protect themselves and their NT identities by making fun of them and targeting them. It’s like they want to fix them so they are not so weird.

I visualize this as looking through a new pair of glasses with a prescription that is slightly ‘off.’ These kids don’t understand it and either reject them by excluding them or present with bullying behaviors. Some of these kids target our kids so badly that things start to get serious and they can cause deep psychological damage.

We always need to address this as soon as possible so it doesn’t escalate. These kids with the mild bullying behaviors are annoyances, at least they start off as this. These kids need to be educated, not necessarily punished. Kids like this have their own reasons behind what they are doing. Some kids behave in a particular way as a defense mechanism. They just don’t understand why a kid is acting like they are and also may not understand the seriousness of their actions.

This is where adults come in. We need to educate children about different disabilities and spread compassion. We need to teach them that every person is different and although it may make them feel uncomfortable or even frightened, we still need to show kindness and respect.

I remember hiding behind my mom when I was little because I saw a girl with a cleft lip. The girl was older than me and was just trying to be nice by saying hello and asked me a question. I was scared! I remember this day so clearly. Was I being rude or mean? Absolutely not! I did not understand why this girl looked they way she did and I remember thinking I could catch it like a cold.

My mom explained to me that it was just the way she was born. She said I didn’t need to be afraid of it. Her explanation helped me to understand and the next time I saw something like this, I had compassion and didn’t hide. It wasn’t as scary.

My son was targeted his freshman year of high school by some baseball kids. My son was also on the team. They asked him why he couldn’t be ‘normal!’ He was just ‘odd’ enough to them that they started making fun of him and it wasn’t getting better. My son reached out and it was stopped immediately.

The kids started to respect him and one even apologized. The rest of his years at the school went well as he found his people!

This is why we need to continue to educate our children and also have compassion for those kids who just don’t get it. They need to be given the chance to ‘get it.’

Now, if a child is continually being targeted/ bullied after a compassion conversation, that’s a different story. We need to take action because no child should go through continuous bullying. We give the kid a chance and that’s it. It also depends on the degree of what has happened. No child should be continuously targeted.

Bullies or bullying types of behavior towards our kids are similar to the animal kingdom and the survival of the fittest. It’s the thinking that the weak need to be eradicated. If you are not like them, you get weeded out. The same seems to go for young humans. In order for them to not grow up as bullying adults, we need to educate them and in some way expose them to people with differences.

I feel that we need to show compassion on both sides and not jump to conclusions. Kids can be little jerks. My kid can be a little jerk, but I’d rather someone try to figure out what is behind the jerkiness before assigning a punishment or a label.

Bullies or scared misunderstood kids? We will have to decide per each individual situation but taking a pause to think about this is what I try to do.

However, I also tend to have a three strikes and your out mentality because I’m the mama, I’m human and I have claws! 😉

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🧦 Sock sorting the enemy of all enemies 🧦

This thing that I have been doing for years, feeling I had to do, was required to do. I needed to just suck it up as a part of the laundry folding experience, I shall do no more.

This sock thing, this find your partner, find the right color, is this navy blue or black? Where is the other one with the small yellow pinstripe? I can’t tell if it’s blue or black! I’m gunna scream!

Every time I have to sock sort, I feel my heart start to race! Every single time! I never put two and two together( pun intended) but now I realize it’s anxiety!

Socks give me anxiety and it’s mostly the male kind! The male sock kind.

I decided for my sanity and anxious feelings that I am No Longer going to sort these ‘feet coats’.

I once put a pile of my sons socks in his room on the floor. I said; “ Remember when you were 4 and played the ‘matching game’ at school? Well here ya go let’s see you put those skills to the test!”

Guess what? He did it. He didn’t even complain! What on earth have I been doing all these years?? I was trying to be the good mom and sort when my child was 100% capable.

And why, I ask why, why, why is it that half of these ding dang shrunken pieces of cloth don’t match!

I’m two seconds away from taking a match to the whole lot and buying new ones that are ALL the SAME! There will be no grieving during the match lighting ending of sock life ceremony, just hysterical laughter.

Well, I’m done, retired, on strike for life. No more socks for me baby! They can sit in a pile out of my eye sight in all of their mismatched glory. Farewell 🧦 This Journey

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What’s in it for them?

What’s in it for them?

📝I’ve learned so many amazing things along my way and on my own journey with my child. I have learned about something called the ‘What’s in it for me factor.’

What is that?

You know when your child has no desire to do ( insert whatever) or they just can’t get out of their room because ( insert another whatever..) they just can’t.

Just like the rest of us, our complex and amazing kids need something to look forward to. They need to get excited about something and that something needs to be found and encouraged, but not too much.. or they may see it as a demand and reject it!

🧐I said our kids were complex right? If your child has PDA traits or transitioning issues which is common for ADHD this is for you!

📝So what I have learned along the way is that in order for a child who has difficulties transitioning, they need something equally as satisfying to replace it with. These kids need a ‘What’s in it for them.’ They need something that they like or is of interests to them in order to move forward, to get up from their beds.

📝Just think about how we need things to look forward to or a purpose that makes sense in order to get up each day. For some people it’s their job. A love for a job that someone looks forward to will get them up. It’s something for them. It’s their ‘what’s in it for me.’

👭For my child, it’s friends. If I ask my child if they want to go to the mall or for a walk, the answer will be a hard NO. If my child knows a friend will be involved, the answer is a definite yes. The ‘what’s in it for me’ for her is friends. This is how she will get off her bed and how she will be able to transition out of the house.

🛌 Sometimes transitioning from tv to bed is difficult. I will sometimes ask her if she wants an ice cream. She will usually say yes. I then tell her that it will be waiting for her in her room.

As you can see, there was no demand involved. I also never used conditions to get her to her room. I never said, “ If you turn off the tv, I will give you an ice cream.’ That’s a reward and a condition. I can’t do that. It doesn’t work and slaps me in the face.

🍦 So, the ice cream will sit in her room until she arrives. I have on occasion had to remind her that her ice cream is there and my concern of it melting. The natural consequence is her ice cream melted. I think this only happened once but I never made any demands. The leaving the tv is replaced by something equally as satisfying and this is something you will have to think about for your child.

🐕 Your child’s ‘what’s in it for them ‘ may be something else. It may be leaving their iPad for a sketch book or going to bed if they are able to read or have the dog with them on their bed. It could be having some music on to fall asleep to. An example may be to say , “Would you like to put on some music in your room, or do something else, your decision.” Remember this needs to be something they are genuinely interested in and like to do.

🤫Remember to not use language like, If you come to your room, I will give you.. XYZ. That’s a rewards based manipulative approach. If you do this with your kids, they will also use it on you. Believe me, I know. It has happened to me.

🎹 My child seems to need something hold on to or touch. If it’s not the iPad, it’s her keyboard. If it’s not the keyboard it’s a piece of modeling clay or a project with a glue gun. Something always seems to need to be replaced.

🏫 In order to get excited about school there needs to be a whats in it for them. There was a rare day we were early. Apparently something was going on in one of the early classes. It was something that was desired. Because there was something in it for her that was an interest, we were on time otherwise, what’s the point.

🥇 The ‘what’s in it’ isn’t a reward, it’s a natural desire to do or see or create something. It’s organic and something motivated by them.

🃏 Finding a special interest from sorting through Pokémon cards, to going to the mall, to traipsing around in a creek to find frogs and other critters can be a motivator to leave the house. “ I wonder if there are frogs in the creek today. Hmmm…” This was a ‘whats in it for my child’ a few years back. Now it’s not so easy and relationships seem to be at the forefront.

🧁 It’s not always a cake walk and sometimes things become stagnant but when my child seems to get stuck, I think about what the interest is and ask myself, so, what’s in it for her?

What’s in it for us? What’s in it for you? We need have something to look forward to as well.

Our kids are not much different. This Journey

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I learned about this in the Level 2,3 PDA courses from the NEST organization. Check it out!

Summer Vacation and social media. Snooze for 30 days

Social Media and Summer. Snooze for 30 days

☀️ Summer is a really hard time for some of us. Many of us rely on the consistency of school for our children. For many of our children, this is the only time they are out and engaging with others. They are in their classes and P.E or music classes.

☀️Summer rolls around and if you have an older child who is ‘allergic’ to camps or just wants to stay in their room, it’s tough.

☀️Going on a vacation is equally difficult. Looking at other peoples vacations is even harder. It’s like viewing others ‘perfect world’ where their kids get up in the morning, eat normal breakfast and go on adventures without having transitioning issues or meltdowns.

☀️It’s hard.

☀️Snooze for 30 days… I can’t deal.

☀️I tell myself, ok, I know that there will be a day we can do this again. A day when it won’t take an hour to get out the door. I mean, I remember we had those days. We were on time for school every day and went on vacations that were not perfect, but we did it. What on earth happened from the age of 8 to now? Just the thought of a family vacation makes me break out in hives.

☀️I need to not look at other peoples vacation photos. It’s Summer and time to Snooze for 30 days then go back and snooze again. As a matter of fact, I may just snooze everyone and stick to my favorite groups such as this one.

☀️I find myself mourning what I wish I had. I just want my child to experience some joy outside of her iPad. Fresh air is healthy. An obsession with a horse or a chicken or the beach or something would be freaking fantastic. We did manage to go out for lunch which was nice but for heavens sake…

☀️And the pressure from the spouse to get the child out is worse. So yeah, I just say, go ahead. Enjoy and good luck.

☀️I feel that more needs to be done and movement forward has indeed been made but medication management still needs to see some adjustment.

☀️I know it’s stupid to mourn but is it? Or is it just human and natural to want your kids to enjoy what they used to enjoy when they were younger? I took all that playing in the mud and going to the beach and traipsing in the river bed for granted. Now, just sitting outside on the patio would be like a miracle. It does happen though when a friend comes to visit. This is the only time it happens. The ‘what’s in it for her factor’ needs to happen more often. I tired to get together with one of my child’s friends today but they are having similar issues and it didn’t work out! What to do? Hang up and try again next time.

☀️Whenever is see photos of the family vacay, I think, wow, you are so lucky. Count your blessing and be grateful you kids want to leave the hotel room. How cool that they are outside experiencing the world and nature.

☀️Then envy fills my head and I’m like screw your social
Media Summer Vacation.

☀️Time to snooze for 30 days.

Yup… that felt better. Peace out friends! ✌️

This Journey

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My Child Failed All of her Classes and I’m so incredibly Proud of her

📚Yes, you heard it right, and never in the history of my child has she ever failed any classes, as a matter of fact, she has always done quite well because she is a pretty bright kid. Yes, I’m boasting. In the 4th grade she tested at the intelligence level of a child with the vocabulary of an 8th grader. She’s is now in the 6th grade. It’s good for me to boast about her. She has struggled so much. She is 100% capable but being demand avoidant (PDA) autistic and other ‘stuff’ shutdown is imminent.

💥 My daughter has has a ton of past school trauma which included punishments and being misunderstood. Her faith in teachers and teaching assistants has crashed and burned.

🫤Focusing on behaviors were the standard at her past schools. Connecting and creating trust were on the back burner. She did have some ‘good’ teachers along the way, ones who listened and tried but many just failed her.

😳 I know what it feels like to have a challenge in the classroom. I remember once having four challenges in a single class and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. It’s not easy being a teacher and having to manage 12 preschoolers in a room by yourself. I had four boys running amok during nap time. As soon as I got one of them back on their mat, the other two would jump up and run around!🤪

🕶Had I been the big ‘boss’ I would have put out crayons, paper and art materials and allowed them to create while the others were sleeping. But, I was still a tad ‘green’ at that point and later on in my career I learned that enforcing the rules 100% wasn’t worth it for me nor my students. I became the ‘rebel’ teacher and did what I pleased according to the needs of ‘My Kids’ and I wasn’t challenged for it thankfully. I did however follow all of the state requirements and didn’t break any laws! I just decided to give the nappers a book now and then!

👍🏼 Going back to my girl and her school year, I champion every one of her teachers for working with her and seeing her strengths and gifts. They actually SEE her! I have never received so many complements in all her years. They took the challenge and figuratively gave her the crayons, paper and art materials that would help her to feel grounded and secure. No running amok!

💕 The teachers focused on relationship, connection, and trust. I sent out a detailed approach with resources on what she needed. These teachers read and did! I have been blown off way too many times in the past but this time was different.

🙄There was one teacher a few years back who would take her Fun Friday away and thought by doing this would teach her a lesson. Well, the only thing it did was make things worse. I remember speaking about how unbiblical this was by focusing on a single sin(religious school)and holding on to it all week long, which in many of these cases was about not turning in a homework assignment! They continued with their outdated paradigm and continued to damage. This set the stage for more trauma and less trust. Be encouraged however that there are teachers who do get it and they are out there! We know this first hand!

🤓My child made so many amazing strides this year. She moved forward socially, and started to trust the adults around her. She began to care about her grades. Her mental health and attitudes toward school improved greatly.

👍🏼The school believes in positive reinforcements, however nothing will be perfect. One teacher did take her computer away a few times when she was looking at memes instead of her class work, but she was ok with it. She knew this was against the rules and realized she messed up. She took responsibility for that. I was so proud of her. The fact that the teacher was able to do this without a meltdown was proof of my child’s trust in her which also trickles down to respect.

🏫 She has overcome her school avoidance in a big way. There were days she absolutely could not go into school because she wasn’t feeling well and in some cases she had complete school burnout. She stayed home, re-cooped and started again. I learned to be ok with this as the alternative would end up worsening the situation.

💕My focus for her this year was her ability to trust adults again. It was for her to feel safe and for her anxiety to subside. Things have not been stellar but when I can drop my child off and not feel my own internal anxiety, it speaks volumes.

🥰They know her. They are championing for her and not giving up. She has worked so hard and I know this because when she gets home she is exhausted.

🏫 I’m so proud of my girl and all she has done this year. She is listening, engaging and advocating for herself and her friends. Her teachers have reported growth and how capable she is.

🪴The growth however hasn’t just been in my child but the staff. I’m also grateful for the staff for actually taking the time and caring for my child. Because of them and their efforts, my child is able to thrive. I also have to say that not putting blame on the school during some questionable times, but instead asking questions and asking staff to check on her to make sure she was ok worked out so much better than leaning towards complaining.

😁I saved complaints which were literally one, for the Big stuff which ended up working out because I learned how to do it in a creative non confrontational way. We all need to be a team and in the end all want the same things and that’s for a child to do well.

⚽️ Working together as a team by praising staff for their efforts was an encouragement for them to keep helping. They did not give up. Everyone wins with encouragement.

🙏🏼 I pray that next school year she makes even more strides forward and maybe this time the grades will go up, but as I was told a while back, the emotional part is the priority. Without mental stability, learning cannot happen. And what do you know, they were correct. As soon as my child started to feel safe, her anxiety was reduced and whalah! She stared to care a bit more about her school work. It’s taken an entire school year, but that’s ok. It’s baby steps with her and I have the time.

🎉Congratulations to my girl for failing. But did she really fail? Maybe in the eyes of those who have not walked our Journey, those who may focus on academics or just don’t get it, but I say she got an A+ this year and I’m so incredibly proud of how far she has come. I’m equally proud of myself for adopting a different mindset and for being open to learn that success is not determined by a letter grade.

💕Trust is the number one key and with that comes connection and listening. It’s not that difficult really. We are all trying too hard and missing some fundamentals.

✈️We both have a long journey ahead of us with more learning, growing, hills and valleys. My focus is on the present, what has transpired today. I will celebrate my child’s success this year and I hope you can see what is important for your children, that their successes go far beyond any letter of the alphabet.

🏅My child failed every class but she passed school life this year with Honors.

This Journey

Traveling this path together

Trust
🐦 Try and feed a wild bird out of the palm of your hand.

🐦Try it.

🐦 The bird will most likely just fly on by because you are a human who is big and scary and they have no reason to give you the time of day or trust you. Trust is earned and they don’t have a relationship with you in order to trust you.

🐦It takes a special human in order to pull this off and just as an animal can pick up the vibes of other animals or people, so can a child.

🐦Many kids have been conditioned to fear adults. Threats, conditions, punishment all teach children how to fear and distrust the adults they rely on for safety. It’s confusing for everyone.

🏫 When I taught preschool I learned something fairly quick and I didn’t have to read a book in order to learn it. I observed children lying. I remember asking myself Why would a child lie. I came to the realization that the reason they lied was because they feared getting in trouble or reprimanded.

🏫 I decided to conduct an experiment in my own classroom. I told the class one day that I loved the truth. I told them that the truth would indeed set them free. I told my students that if they told the truth, they would NOT get in trouble. No time outs, no losing privileges, none of that.

🧸 So, the day came when a child was presented with the opportunity to tell the truth. It was hard. They didn’t trust the situation, or the system they were growing up in. It was a complete 180 from what they knew. I reminded the student that they would Not get in trouble and that I would also Not be upset. After a while and an assurance that they were safe, the student fessed up.

🤗 I was so excited that I gave the child a hug. I praised the child for their honestly. I then started a conversation which involved asking questions and problem solving. Little did I know, I was practicing an approach called CPS. No, not the bad kind, the collaborative problem solving or collaborative and proactive solutions kind. CPS is an approach that helps kids with skills and problem solving and was developed by a child psychologists. More on this in another post.

🥰Trust is earned. We need to teach our kids that they Can trust us. The more we threaten, the more punitive we get, the worse they get.

🙀Now, just because it looks like we let them get away with something doesn’t mean we did. It’s like a person who enters a job on the first day that needs to be trained. Our kids also need to be trained properly and when they are conditioned to be fearful they get scared and lose trust. The only alternative is to lie. Lying is a way to protect one’s self. It’s a barrier and to become vulnerable that barrier needs to come down. Bringing that barrier down is scary. It takes a Ton of trust.

🧸We can re-train our kids and students. Some employers prefer it when a new employee comes to their workplace without having prior experience because there is no baggage or protocols to unlearn. They learn what the employer wants them to learn from the beginning. It’s a blank slate.

😐Our kids don’t normally have blank slates. If they have not been conditioned to fear at home, they have most likely been conditioned to fear elsewhere like school or a camp or any other place. Many times it is at home because as adults we have been trained and conditioned to parent a certain way. We have to wipe the slate and unlearn and it’s not easy.

🙄Even after you know what you should do, going backward is easy. I find myself using conditions to get compliance. IF you do this, you can have that. Well, thats the same as a child saying, they won’t clean their room unless you give them a ice cream. Or they won’t do the dishes unless they get paid. Honestly, what’s the difference? There is none. We are teaching them about conditions and how to get each other to do what we want them to do.

🤔I ask myself if what I’m saying is realistic, what the outcome will be and who it’s helping.

🧸The other night I heard yelling. It was the word “Moooom!” From a bedroom upstairs. I was irritated. I was told to ignore it. 🤣 I said, yeah, no, I’m not ignoring it as it will
Just get louder and more escalated. I went up and asked what the problem was. After I found out what was needed, I asked some questions and voiced my adult concern. The solution ended up being that I would receive a call or text next time instead of yelling from above. And guess what? I received a text an hour later. Punishing and ignoring would have not worked and would have backfired causing more distrust and a disconnect. Instead a skill was taught.

🐦Trust and connection are so important. It’s the foundation for everything and without it, you get a crumbly dirt clod under your feet that when wet, starts to deteriorate.

🪨I think of the Children’s Bible song with the lyrics of the wise man building his house upon the rock. The foolish man who built his house on the sand, just sunk. The rock is what we need to establish.

🪨Trust and connection equal a solid foundation.

🐦A bird may not eat from the palm of your hand tomorrow and your children or students may not trust you enough to be truthful
or just trust you in general just yet, but it’s not too late to re-train yourself so you can re-train their brains to learn how to trust again.

This Journey
Traveling this path together


Photo credit: Linda Oyler
With my bird whisperer brother, Randy Oyler