Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ants in the Pants

I've been struggling a bit lately, and I hate the feeling that I am losing control over something. So I'm coming to you for help, my bloggy friends. The beautiful thing about the Internet is that there are so many people out there, and someone is bound to have a similar experience to you. I'm hoping that's the case, and someone out here in the blogoshpere can give me some guidance or maybe just a boost. 

As a parent, you always want what is best for your children. You want them to be happy and successful in everything they do. For this reason, I have always had a hard time with school. I hate not knowing if they are happy and feeling special and successful all day. I worry about them getting picked on or feeling "stupid" if they get the answer wrong in front of the class. Part of this is me projecting my insecurities from my own poor school experience, and I know that. I assume the other part just comes with being a parent and the difficulty of separating from your child.

You see, my son has ants in his pants. These ants have followed him since kindergarten, all the way to the third grade. They even make their way home with him at the end of every school day. We have been watching them closely, hoping they would hit the trail (pun intended), but so far we've had no such luck.  

So what do you do when you know your child requires a little more attention than most? How do you focus on your own responsibilities when you know your child is struggling and you can't be there or don't know how to help him? 

Our two older boys both have had their share of learning difficulties so I'm no stranger to this sort of thing, but with our little guy it's a little less black and white. He is academically quite capable, but he has a very hard time focusing. The concern is that if he continues to have this difficulty, the missing information will eventually cause him to fall behind. We have already tried manipulating sleep/wake times to improve behavior during the school day, and giving a break after school before homework to no avail. 

We are currently working with some behavioral modification programs both at school and at home, trying to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. The consensus is that if we give the power to him, he will focus longer and try harder to make things go in the direction in which he wants them to go.   

Yesterday I was a little nervous to tell him about the new system we were going to be using at home where he will be earning his TV and electronic device time by way of neatly and correctly completing all of his homework assignments. He was SO excited about the new program his teacher was using in school and how well he did with that in school, I thought it might go better than I expected - and it did, at first. Homework went off without a hitch! He made corrections without complaint, and earned almost of all of the electronics time available during his allotted after school hours. Apparently the more he thought about our arrangement the more he decided he didn't like it, because by the end of the night it was all he could talk about... and then he put his nasty pants on. Next came those dreaded words. The words no mother ever wants to hear, even when you know they don't really mean it.

 "I HATE YOU", he said. 

Then he put himself to bed. He wouldn't even say good night to me.

* SOB* 

This is hands down the hardest part of parenting. My mind knows we are doing what is best for him, but my heart wants to tell him to forget the whole thing & give him whatever he wants just so he won't be mad at me anymore. I know it was only the first day of our new systems, but I was hoping it would go a little bit better than "I hate you" right out of the gate. Cross your fingers for me that day 2 goes a little a lot better. 

Do you have a hyper or easily distracted child? How do you deal with homework? Outbursts? Has anyone tried modifying diet, and if so, did you find it to be successful in any way? I would love to know I'm not alone in this and hear some other perspectives/advice. 

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