Monday, November 16, 2015

Raising Lions

It was Sunday and James was standing outside wailing loud and long enough for the whole valley to hear. It was time to clean the barn. He didn't want to. Every week is the same song and dance.

I was so tired of it. He's been calmer, more appropriate, and easier to live with, but he's still extremely repulsed by work, or anything he perceives as hard, and anything that takes muscle or mental effort. That's pretty much life so we endure tears frequently. His physical therapy team is about to dismiss him because he will. not. work. on strengthening his muscles. They say he shuts down the second he perceives that he must exert himself in the least. He's stuck physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and developmentally because he won't do the work it takes to move on. Not a hair.

Vanessa bailed me out. She took him running. They ran along the irrigation ditch as far as it goes West, and then turned around and ran back and around the mountain so that they went as far as it goes West on that side. Then they ran along the road and up over the mountain to our side again. He decided to clean the barn without another word. If a barn could sparkle....

Meantime I cried and then prayed and then got on google and typed "lazy 11 year olds". Desperate times call for desperate measures!!  :-)

I scrolled through a few useless things and very nearly scrolled right on past a recommendation for a book. Raising Lions The Art of Compassionate Discipline by Joe Newman did catch my eye and I downloaded it to my Kindle app and sat down to read.  And READ. I read it all before the evening was over.

Raising Lions is a book for parents or educators dealing with behavior problems.  It is simple, straightforward, practical, and encouraging. James is William of the story of chapter 4. He is passive and content with his state of affairs. He has every avoidance technique mastered and exercises very little self-regulation.   Missy is Emma of chapter 5 who is manipulative, oppositional, emotionally volatile, will not accept correction or consequences or direction, wants everything to be fair,  and is super competitive. Both children are stuck in the stage where they believe they are what the writer terms omnipotent. They are the most important person in their world. They must control everything or everything will spin out of control. They have not reached the developmental milestone of interdependence. Consequently they have are not really developing relationships and it's no wonder they don't worry about hurting feelings, or destroying friendships. They don't get it.  As for us,  I've become the authoritarian parent and Steve is moralizing till we are all blue in the face. This is born of our utter frustration and burnout. We are getting close to six years of this...

I quote from " Raising Lions challenges us to re-examine our interactions and relationships with children, re-think the root causes of behavior problems and find new ways to support healthy, happy development."

I'm going to let you scour for reviews online. They are out there. Here's one to get you started:

We've done some things right. We have done some things wrong. I can see how having the kids do jumping jacks for a minute or two when they are struggling goes right along with the writer's plan, except we are creating stimulation instead of boredom, but it has been working. Having the door alarms goes along with the plan, too in that it creates a safe place to put a stop to behaviors - but I can see how I can do it differently and not leave them for longer than they absolutely need in order to reward their efforts at self-control. I can see how bringing them home to educate them cut out a lot of people in their lives that might have been catering to their "disabilities" and also created a consistency that is necessary. It cuts a lot of their power in being "disabled" out. We need to empower them to develop to their full potential, not bow to their "omnipotent" power of controlling the world around them to keep everything the same.


I have a podiatrist appointment Wednesday.
We are dealing with more than plantar fasciitis. I could survive the fasciitist on its own, but I compensate for the high arch by carrying all the weight on the outside of my foot. From what I can gather I am dealing with lateral column overload.... We shall see if I'm right and if there is anything we can do about it.


Oldqueen44 said...

On some level there is humor in your descriptions of the kids. You could easily insert my grand kids names and be spot on. The mystery of what happens to the brain in the trauma of early life is very fascinating. Was this a God created mechanism for self preservation or was it a lie from Satan that was discovered and then used repeatedly? I ponder this question often.

acceptance with joy said...

I try to see the funny side.... doesn't always work. :-)

an interesting thought to ponder: Behavior shapes neurology, not just the other way around.

The guy who wrote the book Raising Lions takes the approach that children's behaviors are a largely a product of changeable systems of interaction, but a psychiatrist's training is based on the medical model, which focuses on behaviors as a product of neurology and brain chemistry.

When we take this second approach we assume that anything the parent does, any of the self control child learns to exercises etc... have no bearing on his recovery. I think it is missing the boat.

Jen Sadler said...

Dr. Karyn Pervis from TCU Institute, has some great DVDs on how to parent children that come from hard places. They are very, very good. She helps us to understand what abuse and neglect does to the kids. It is very interesting. I have adopted twin girls from the foster care system and have struggles with certain issues and by watching her videos and implementing some things I have had some positive results. Just wanted to share that with you, as an adoptive parent and foster parent I can relate to some of your struggles. I also work with an agency and I put on trainings and support groups for foster and adoptive families and we use Dr. Pervis' stuff. We also use materials from Heather T. Forbes, she is also an adoptive parent. There is a book called, Attaching in Adoption by Deborah D. Gray.

Six years, it doesn't seem like that long, I have followed your journey the whole way.