This is a continuation of my previous article about the beginning stages of ADHD/DYSLEXIA ( you can read more in this link about our earlier journey Adhd-Dyslexia -The beginning )
The turning point for me and my son was not a planned one but more of a sudden life changing event. My husband passed away suddenly in 2016 and just sucked the air out of both of us. It was such a hard time that my son took a huge downturn and neither was I in a position to help him or help myself.
Long story short, we said goodbye to the USA and moved to India. On one side, I was scared as to how he was going to adjust…. On another side, there was hope that may be things might improve with increased family support. After 3 years, I can now clearly say that he is on the right path and improving every day. So, this article is my notes on what is working and what is not?
- Oreo, Rice Krispies, candy ..Out the door..
I have read millions of articles about how sugar makes kids go hyper and to cut down on it. I have read this in autopilot mode where there is reading and more reading but somehow there is a disconnect between what I read and what I see in the grocery store. As a typical convenient working mother, my job was to buy what was convenient and easy to get the kids fed and not necessarily the best choice.
My FIL spent a couple of months with us after my DH passed away. He is a diabetic and needs to have his sugar cookies, OREO’ and what not, handy for his low energy days. I am not sure if he benefited out of it but boy, did my son have a blast. He was uncontrollable and every day was a nightmare. It still didn’t click with me. After my dear FIL left, the sugar pile dwindled and as usual, was about to head to Walmart. I suddenly had an AHA moment about why I was cooking so much food when there was no adult other than me to eat and it was just me and my son. My husband enjoyed food but still my mind didn’t register that he was not more. Since my FIL was not there, I wondered if I really needed to purchase any sugary snacks and so I came back, it was mostly just good old veggies and all the healthy stuff.
A week went by and my son was a darling angel. Few days of peace…Week 2 continued and it was even getting better. For the first time, it made me think. What changed? VOLA! No sugar…
2. Can I have some milk please?
For the first time, Mamma was thinking. Could this really have an effect on my child? I was on a chase and signed up in every special needs parents group from ADHD to Dyslexia to Autism that focused in natural alternatives. They are my angels and kudos to every mom who cheers their kids in spite of the hard days. I was on to something and noticed that the milk intake was fairly high for my son. Brought it down slowly every few weeks and in 2 months, we were down to a glass. Period. Noticeable changes definitely but were we out of the woods? NO..Instead of having breakdowns and bad behavior report cards every day, we brought it down to maybe once a week and more of a cooperation at home.
3. Child might not resemble you but he will copy your every move at the emotional level and multiply that by n number of times
We all have emotional days, tired days, stressed out days and it could be a variety of reasons. Those do play havoc on our head and when your child walks home with a bad report card or a “we would like to meet with the parent” please note. That is a trigger for both of us to get on the attack mode. To combat that, I spent some time meditating and contemplating on my own triggers and what sets me off. It was not just parenting alone but an inner cleansing exercise to restart life in my own terms without my husband and make peace with my inner grief. It wasn’t easy and believe me, I had charts for myself as what I did great, what could improve and what didn’t go so well. Simple rule of thumb..When the parent is calm, the child is calm. When the parent is explosive, so does the child.
4. Miracles will not happen overnight but continuous improvement needs to happen.
I remember a conference a few years back with the school officials. Everyone meant well but yet, they were on the fast track to get my son better and expounded how medication has done wonders for other children and their success stories. I still don’t know what triggered me to say this but gently said that I am not expecting miracles or a magic pill that will cure all my son’s issues. As long as he is showing improvement, however tiny it is it, that is good enough. We went from 30 days of complaints/breakdowns to a couple in a month, which I think is normal for any teenager.
5. Freshly made! No preservative food coming up..
This one is a favorite topic of mine and boy, has this made a huge difference. Moving to India has it’s pros and cons. One thing that stuck odd initially was that there was no frozen food section in the grocery store ( 3 little frozen shelves..that’s it ) and even the cookie aisle had very little packaged processed goods. Most of the items were freshly made, locally delivered and had a very short life.
So, I had not choice but to make fresh food every day from scratch. The change was huge and at a much rapid rate. It’s been three years now and he doesn’t even crave processed foods anymore. It made me wonder whether the processed foods like cookies, cereal etc have addictive ingredients that make us crave for more?
However, when he gets a wave of these snacks, it is amazing how he gets addicted to it and it restarts again.
6. Homeopathy to the rescue
We happened to meet one family couple of years back who raved about how homeopathy did wonders for her son. I have used homeopathy meds on and off but never really paid much interest other than an occasional medical issues. Got introduced to a Homeopathy doctor who took the time to talk to my son for over an hour, understand his symptoms and more importantly, talked to him like a friend. Never seen my son open up this much to any doctor. Her meds, definitely helped him in terms of mood control and allowing his rational brain to kick in much more. Bacopa at night time and the pills she made for the beginning of the day set him in the right path.
7. Find the child’s triggers
Children are never going to figure out what is making them throw a tantrum and what is not. One take-away is clear..There is always a reason and that reason might be too small or might not make sense to an adult but for that child, it is big and is causing fear and anxiety. We, as parents need to understand the reason for that trigger. These messages that our children give us gets lost in the drama but if you peel the layers, there is a reason and there is a pattern.
As a parent, we just need to pro-actively identify these trigger patterns and have a solution before it happens. For eg, Leaving a play date was never an easy thing for my son. Warnings 20 mins ahead and having a pep talk prior to the play date all these need to happen to alert the child that this even is going to happen and better prep him for it. Over a period of time, he understood. As a teen, I get worried when an assignment is not being worked on and my nagging starts and peaks to yelling. To my son, it is noise and constant chatter. That sets him off and I can see it and I know I should back off but sometimes, I go nuts and that erupts a full fledged shouting match. This time, I need to back, give him the space to work on it and get there( however slow that might be to me.. ). It will get done but not in my timeline.
Hope you find these tips useful. Would love to hear your comments and your experiences too…