How do you gain control over an unruly child? Or any child for that matter? I've watched a few episodes of Supernanny. Jo has wonderful insight and great ideas. Not sure they'll work for my mentally challenged child. In desperate times, I've employed techniques from the Dog Whisperer in trying to manage Ian.
"Ian," I say in my calm assertive tone, "Sit."
"Please play dead."
I've even made the "schuutt" noise, while administering a fake bite to the flank. Julie thought I was kidding one day when I asked her if a shock collar might work.
I think gaining control has more to do with yourself than it does with your child. If you aren't in control, you can't expect your children to be.
Today--I gained control.
I woke up this morning knowing I needed to clean the house, because my foster care licensor is coming tomorrow to do a home inspection. They always do one once a year when it's time to relicense. So I cleaned like Jesus was coming for dinner. I swept, mopped, dusted, organized, threw out, picked up, scrubbed, and Julie vacuumed. Thanks, Julie. When the kids got home from school, I put them to work too. They did bathrooms, emptied trash, washed clothing, and anything else I felt inspired to burden them with. Tomorrow I will continue, this time focusing on locking away medicines, cleaning products, hazardous chemicals, and covering the window wells. The house must be child proof and safe to inhabit, if such a thing is possible.
In my fury of cleanliness, I decided it was time to organize Ian's school work. How sad is that? Not that I did it, but that there was enough that I had to do it! He's in first grade for crying out loud. He has spelling words and a dictation sentence, six sight words, one daily bit of busy work off his calendar, his interactive home journal, and five reading books. Shame, shame, shame. When is a kid supposed to be a kid? Pardon me. I digress.
With Ian's work all orgainized, I decided to make him a helping hand. One for morning and one for afternoon. When we saw Dr. Rope last week, and I informed him that Ian's problems mostly manifested at home, he told me that was my clue. He said that the regular routine of school was helpful to a child who cannot organize his/her own thoughts. So I decided to organize his day for him. If I can enforce it, we just might make some progress. On his morning hand, he gets dressed, eats breakfast, washes hands and face, brushes teeth and hair, and makes his bed. On the afternoon hand, he has a snack and TV time, then homework, then friend time, then pick up toys, and finally get ready for bed. I decided to include some fun items in the afternoon so that he would know that he wasn't getting jipped. He would get his friend time and his play time. And I, hopefully, will have less chaos, and the neighbors won't need to call and complain about "the roamer."
I am happy to report that the afternoon routine worked flawlessly today. No problems. Ian did try to sneak out of the house a few times after dinner, like eight or ten. He even took the trailer keys to try and start the car. I've learned, from experience, to keep the car keys with me. But because my house was organized and I was still cleaning, I was right there and aware of his every move. He seemed surprised at my newfound speed. He never made it past the driveway.
When Tawni came home from school, she obviously noticed how clean the kitchen was, because she cooked for herself and--hold on to your butts--washed the dishes! Wow! It's amazing how a motivated mother can telepathically motivate her children. I love it!
I guess you can tell I'm feeling pretty good about myself today. My house is clean, children obedient and cooperative, lives organized, nobody called me a poopyhead--what a feeling of empowerment. Now, would someone please show me to my bed? I'm too tired to find it on my own.
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