Homemade Halloween Party

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and terms and conditions here. Please use common sense and follow all safety and manufacture instructions when using any crafting equipment in your own home. Use these at your own risk, Method-To-Madness does not assume any liability for injuries or damages caused by attempting the DIY crafts listed on our site nor are we responsible for any medical costs associated with injuries.

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I love fall. Not only is it my favorite season, birther of my favorite flavor (yes it’s pumpkin, yes I’m a simple beech), and bringer of ALL the cute fall clothes, it’s also the season of my favorite holiday! HALLWEEN

I’ve loved Halloween for as long as I can remember: the costumes, the mystical and magical night, the lore, the trick-or-treating, and the spookiness of it all just hit home for me. So when Covid-19 changed our usual plans with the kids for 2020, I figured it was the perfect time to stitch it up and try out some recipes and crafts I’d been wanting to give a go.

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Growing up I used to have Halloween parties every so often, but it had been a REALLY long time sine my last one. Like I was in junior high…..and I graduated high school in 2010 . Needless to say, I was overdue for some stylish Halloween themed fun!

Below are the links to the recipes I used and a pic of how it all turned out! (The shrunken heads are in the pumpkin bowl). The kids really loved helping and my husband was impressed with my mad spooky skills. Even if it wasn’t enjoyed by all our loved ones, it was a really fun experience. 12/10 would totally do again!

Poisoned Candy Apples by Wanna Bite

Candy Corn Parfaits by Suburbia Unwrapped

Pumpkin Deviled Eggs by myrecipes

Mummy Hot Dogs by Homemade Interest

Shrunken Head Apples for Cider by Lasso The Moon

Bat Tortilla Chips by Sainsbury’s

Spider Web Bean Dip by cook2eatwell

Jack-o-lantern Puff Bags and Fruit Cups by Alpha Mom

I had a lot of fun experimenting and putting this together. Everything was fairly simple and easy to accomplish. Can’t wait until next year to do some more!

Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 6

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

This will be the final post in this series. If you have not already, please read the previous chapters to get an in-depth view of each category. Also feel free to go back and look over the skills, it takes time and practice to hone them.

This post is gonna be short and sweet! The links for the previous articles are above and you can reach out to me or your therapist with questions.

I started this series with the intent to spread some love, understanding, and skills to parents like myself out there who are trying their best. Even though this series is geared towards being a parent of a defiant child, these skills can be applied to many aspects of life and to other kids who you have close connections to.

There are lots of helpful books out there, but I’d like to share the one’s we found to be most useful to us.

  • Mindful Mantras: This is a group of 8 books total (they may have added more since then) and we love them! My son loves to read them out loud himself too. They are simple, encouraging, and have a different defined message clearly implied from the title.
  • Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda: This is one I found to even be helpful for me. It keeps mindfulness simple and explains it in a way everyone can understand.
  • Angry Octopus: This one is extremely helpful to teach kids that they are in control of their bodies and it shows them how to do that through progressive relaxation that is both engaging and relaxing. It also has a fun journaling/coloring book with prompts geared towards getting feelings out and relaxation.

I hope that you gained some insightful tips on this journey with me! Until next time, be well!

Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 5-It Takes a Village

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” means so many things to me. But for the purpose of this article we’ll focus on the direct hands involved in your child’s life. These could be parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, babysitters, grandparents, counselors, teachers, sports leaders, religious leaders, and so so many more. The people who are directly partaking in the development and growth of your child.

In this chapter I’ll be discussing how to include other adults in the changes that you are making for your child’s life structure. If you are new here and haven’t read up on the previous chapters in this series, please do so! The links are provided below for each.

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Integrating other adults in your child’s new plan can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You are the parent and you hold a majority of the power when it comes to decisions about your child’s needs.

When we implemented the ticket system we didn’t include the school in it right away. We mastered it at home first, made it a consistent daily part of our lives and then, when it became apparent an additional tool was needed at school to help modify negative behaviors, we brought in tickets to be given to our son after successful parts of the day.

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We broke up the day into 3 separate categories: beginning, at recess, and after recess. He could earn a ticket during each portion as long as he kept safe hands and feet, kept his saliva to himself, and had listening ears. It was hugely successful.

This strategy can be easily started at a daycare or grandparents house or any other facility that you may use for your child care. The tickets must retain their currency though, so don’t allow anyone to get too ticket happy. The child must do the work to earn the reward.

Sometimes you will come across an adult who does not use the system when they are around your child, whether it be difference of opinion or down-right sabotage of the situation, my point is it does happen. You need to be prepared for those times.

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Remember boundaries from the previous chapters? This is one of those times you set your boundaries and you stick to them with this other adult, regardless of who they may be in your life. You are allowed boundaries and deserve respect as a parent (and a person) to decide what works best for you and your child.

If you are working with a professional and making safe, effective changes and someone else comes in with their own idea of what should be going on, don’t hesitate to yeet them out the door (politely but assertively, of course).

This is not only important for yourself, but also for your child to see that when you set a boundary you expect it to be followed and that you produce real consequences when it is not.

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It’s important to remember that if you do come across an adult who doesn’t agree with your parenting technique: be kind, be assertive, and move on. You don’t need to waste energy and focus on this. Most of the adults in your child’s life will likely see the benefit of making certain changes and be totally on board with all that’s required to keep it going.

It’s also worth noting that having these other adults involved with your child is very important for your kiddo. If you are the only one laying down new laws, it can start to feel like a dictatorship to some kids (especially defiant ones). But when there are other grown-ups saying and doing the same things as you, your child starts to see this is just how the world is and they adapt to it.

It can really make all the difference having a supportive team on your side while rearing your kid. And kids benefit from having all that much more love in their lives!

The next chapter will be the last in this series! Stay tuned

DIY Themed Kids Bedroom: Woodland Series-Mountain Wall Painting

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and terms and conditions here. Please use common sense and follow all safety and manufacture instructions when using any crafting equipment in your own home. Use these at your own risk, Method-To-Madness does not assume any liability for injuries or damages caused by attempting the DIY crafts listed on our site nor are we responsible for any medical costs associated with injuries.

I love themed rooms, especially when it comes to rooms where kids roam. Bedrooms, playrooms, bathrooms, doctor rooms, dentist rooms, all of it! In fact one of my favorite themed rooms as a child was my dentists’ waiting room. They had raised, touchable creatures on the walls along with elaborate paintings of all imaginable sea creatures and the sky above. It was mesmerizing. So I always knew I wanted to explore themed rooms when I had a home of my own.

Little did I know that I wouldn’t get to explore this idea until my first child was nearly in grade school. Nor did I think my first project would be painting a mountain scenery. But it’s SOOOO much easier than it looks. You’d be surprised what a few coordinating paint colors and a pencil can do. But that wasn’t the only overhaul I wanted to do in the room. Check out all of the projects I created in this mountain themed room here! (Link will be added soon)

This is a progress shot. I still added one more mountain range and the sky color after this was taken.

Supplies

  • pencil
  • coordinating paint colors, 3 or more
  • paint brush for lines
  • paint brush for filling in large spaces (or roller)
  • painters tape
  • plastic or paper floor covering
  • latter or step stool

Tips

Depending on how many colors you use and the size of your wall, you likely won’t need a gallon of each color. I was able to get away with paint sample bottles from Home Depot. I had 6 colors including the hue I chose for the sky. I suggest using at least 3 mountain colors and 1 sky color. I also got 2 bottles each of the sky color and the lowest/closest mountain color since they had more area to cover.

Pick colors from dark to light. You want that fading feeling so it looks more authentic, like you’re really looking at some true mountains.

Draw out all your scenery first, all your levels of mountains. And don’t get too hung up on perfection, especially if you have textured walls. It actually makes for a rocky short of appearance, more authentic in my opinion!

Pull your tape off when wall is totally dry, preferably overnight. My started to peel the paint since it was a little gummy still. Oops

Primer is your friend, it prevents chipping especially in kids rooms. And get some paint that is washable and prevents chipping.

Directions

  • First prep your area to be painted. Line the floor with plastic or paper and tape in place. Use painters tape for the borders and edges and remove wall outlet covers or tape and cover them, whichever you prefer.
  • Next start priming your wall and planning how you want your mountains to look. Pinterest the heck out of it! I didn’t like the unrealistic look of straight triangle mountains so I decided on more bumpy gradual mountains. Plus, that worked easier with my walls texture!
  • After your primer has completely dried and is set, draw your mountains on the wall in pencil. You may need a ruler depending on what style you are doing. You can erase and reapply as much as you need! Focus on doing multi level ranges that hide behind one another and disappear in some parts.
  • Start with your line brush and the darkest color you chose. Follow your lowest pencil lines keeping the paint below them. Trace your lines all the way across being careful not to mix up your next set of mountain ranges.
  • Once the line is done, start filling in the space below with the same color. Do your edging and borders at the corners and baseboards.
  • When done rinse your brushes or use a separate set.
  • Then move onto the next, slightly lighter, color. You’ll do the top lines first, then come back and do the bottom line where the 2 colors meet. After that you’ll fill in the space. Watch out for dripping!
This is the completed scene! I don’t think this picture does it justice, it looks way cooler in person.

Give it a go, show me your skills and talents! Stay tuned for the other crafts in this mountain themed room!

Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 4-Deep Breathing and Other Tools

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

Holy heck it’s been awhile since my last post! Needless to say, life got rather crazy there for a little bit but that’s a story for another time . Without further ado, let’s get into it and back on track!

If you haven’t read the first parts in this series here are the links:

This post is going to focus on tools/skills to be used in the heat of the moment. These are helpful for adults to learn themselves and teach to kids. These also work best when you the adult are doing these with your own emotions and stressful moments.

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By far one of the most helpful skills we utilize (with ourselves and our sons) is deep breathing. We use it when the energy is too high and the kids are bouncing off the walls; when any of us are getting upset and starting to loose our patience; and we use it in both the calm down corner and time-out.

I have to say it’s extremely gratifying to hear your kiddo using their deep breathing exercises (that they used to fight you on) all on their own while they are seated in the calm down corner or on time-out. We had that success roughly a year into working with our counselor and implementing these tactics, which seems like a long time when you’re in the thick of it but looking back, that year flew by quickly.

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There’s a ton of variations on how to do deep breathing and make it fun for kids (your counselor may have some books that make it fun too! See Chapter 6 for some we used) but our kiddo likes the “snake breathing” the best. You take a slow deep belly breath in through the nose then you breath out making a “SSSSSS” sound while keeping your breath controlled and steady. Do this at least 3 times, I find 5+ is best, and see who can make the sound the longest!

We often do this right before bedtime, and it helps set the mood and mind for the next steps (usually lullabies) of the nightly routine.

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The other tool we used was the S.T.O.P skill. It’s ultimately an acronym for: S-Stop what you’re doing, stop engaging, stop moving, just STOP. T-Take a step back, both mentally and physically, to pull yourself out of the situation and get out of your emotional state. O-Observe, how you are feeling, how others are feeling around you, put yourself in their shoes and try to see how they are experiencing this interaction. P-Plan what your next step is now that you have removed yourself from the heat of the moment, gotten some perspective, and seen the situation from all sides.

For our son this was some pretty advanced stuff and he worked with it like a champ. The reality is, we just introduced this skill to him to start the process of learning and practicing it. Because that’s what this is all about! We all have heard “practice makes perfect” but there is no such thing as perfection, it’s an illusion. I prefer “practice makes permanent”. The more you do something the better you know it and how to do it and are more likely to do it in the future.

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Sometimes there are outbursts that my son has where I just kinda have to to let him come down on his own. His therapist described it as “letting the train get through the tunnel” and once he’s able to see the light on the other side and rejoin the rest of us, I’m then able to use the skills above or talk about how he got to that high level of anger or whatever other feeling he was having. We usually end this discussion with a hug it out session .

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your kid….is nothing. And it’s not doing nothing and acting like you don’t care. You’re doing nothing while still being available; you’re giving them space (and respecting their individual needs) while keeping the boundaries in place and showing that you are consistent and can be counted on to be there once they chill out and need a hug or snugs.

What’s your go to skill for calming yourself or your little one down? Tell me about it in the comments.

Next time: Parenting a Person With ADHD: It Takes a Village

Dealing With Those Hard Days

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

I’m gonna start this post off with a trigger warning. It’s not regarding violence or addiction but this subject I’m about to broach can be a really sensitive one for some. I strongly feel this is a conversation we need to be having more often and normalizing, both within ourselves and with our peers. It needs to be a conversation without judgement and with lots of room for grace and understanding. I ask that we practice kindness to yourselves and others.

There are some days when I don’t like my son. This is a hard feeling to have as a parent, and it’s even harder to talk about. I love my child, I jump through hoops frequently to give him what he needs…but it doesn’t change that some days he acts like an asshat and is hard to be around. This topic usually sends most people running for the hills when brought up in casual conversation. Whether it be they are scared to discuss it with others, or scared to admit that they’ve had these feelings themselves; we as parents still need to address this turmoil inside that some of us face.

If I tell you that while growing up there were days I didn’t like my mom, you wouldn’t blink an eye; most people struggled with parental relationships as a youth. Some of us still do as adults.

So why is it such taboo if it’s the other way around?

Why are we, as parents, left to feel guilty when we don’t want to hang out with the screaming jerk-face that just happens to be our off-spring? If it was any other jerk-face behaving that way people would be telling us to get the heck away from them!

But for some inexplicable reason the tables turn when the culprit is someone you’ve had a hand in creating and/or raising. The funny thing is though-WE DON’T CHOOSE OUR KIDS! We don’t choose who they are from birth and we don’t get to choose who they become. Certainly, we have the job of guiding them down better paths but we are not the one’s in the drivers seat, much as we may want to be sometimes.

Yet somehow we allow others to convince us that if only we did this thing instead of that, then everything would have ended up perfect for our child. We tell ourselves “I should have done this better, I should have handled that differently” and while yes there is always room to improve, we are forgetting the reality every parent faces: that children don’t come with an instruction manual, and even if they did each child would require their own version. They are all different people. They are all unique and individual.

What works for calming my eldest right now, will likely not work for my littlest when he gets to crossing that same bridge. And how my littlest knows I love him is different than how my eldest receives my love. Both wants snuggles when they are sick; both are busy and active on a constant basis. But each has a very different relationship with me. I love them equally, and that is with my whole heart; however what they need from me as a parent is varied and different. It is unique and individual, just like them.

So although we cannot choose who are children are or will become, we CAN choose to love and accept them as they are. I make that choice, everyday. Because love is a choice, it is work and commitment. Regardless of the attitude or behaviors being thrown my way, I do my best to remind each of my boys that they are loved and wanted and they are special, to the world and to me. Even on days when I don’t like being around them, I still love them with my whole heart. And I let them know it.

Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 3-The Calm Down Corner *Plus Bonus Craft!*

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

This is chapter 3 of the series Parenting a Person With ADHD. If you haven’t already, please read the prologue, chapter 1, and chapter 2 so you are up to speed on the information.

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Creating a calm down corner was one of my favorite things about the changes we made. We specifically made the calm down toys ourselves so it became a craft, rather than a chore or forced activity. It put a positive spin on a calming place and set the tone for how we wanted the area to function. It was also a good bonding activity for myself and my son to do together.

Calm Down Corner Craft

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We did 2 different themed bottles: one with water and oil and glitter; the other with water, water absorbing polymer beads, and glitter. For both, the water was colored with food dye. My son picked the colors of glitter and water because it’s important to include your child throughout the process of making changes in the household. That way they feel like their voice is still being heard and they are able to exert some control. Allowing him choices in a controlled setting shows him he does have power over his choices, which is a skill in and of itself!

Directions: add your water to the bottles then color it, shake with lid on to mix. Fill the bottles with water about half way for the oil one and 3/4 for the other. Add your glitter to each bottle. We did about 2 Tbsp in each, but add as much or as little as you like. Then add your oil to the one bottle and your polymer beads to the other. For the oil bottle leave a little bit of space for air. For the polymer beads add 5 at a time and allow to fully absorb the water. We ultimately added like 20 beads and topped off the water once we were done. Then use the super glue on the inside screw threads of each lid, tighten the lids on and allow to dry per manufacturer instructions before you play with them.

We keep these bottles in the calm down corner and they are only allowed to be played with if you are there. It helps to keep them feeling “special” while you’re in the calm down corner.

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We also hung up some pages from his therapist, like a thermometer of how high your emotion was that landed you in the calm down corner and of the S.T.O.P. skill (I’ll do a post about that soon). Here’s a different emotion chart that helps kids learn what emotion they are feeling.

The other big factor about the calm down corner is that it’s chosen by the child. We offer our son the option to go to the calm down corner when we see him beginning to get upset. He chooses to go of his own free will or not. If he doesn’t go, he usually gets more upset and makes choices that land him in time-out….which is by our appointing, not his.

This little action of letting kids pick their own consequence goes a long way. Plus it teaches children how to start self regulating their own emotions (which is a challenge for most kids, let alone one’s with behavioral struggles). When they are in the calm down corner, they decide when they are ready to come back to the activity at hand.

Occasionally (and when starting out) you’ll have to send them back because they weren’t actually ready to return to the activity at hand; they’re still too wound up but that’s just part of the process-it becomes sort of a natural consequence.

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Also, time-outs are used as a last resort and a no tolerance tool. Meaning that if my child does something that is absolutely unacceptable-like hitting, spitting, back-talking, breaking or throwing things, ect-he gets put directly to time-out and I decide for how long. We keep the rule of 1 minute per year of age starting at 2 years and that seems to work fine for us.

For most kids, you can explain briefly why they are there and that you will get them when their time is done. For my child I have to say nothing, any talking with him becomes a form of engagement in his eyes. I don’t want to reinforce that he gets my attention while in time-out so he gets the silent treatment or the one phrase treatment. “Go to time-out”, I say it once. If he squawks, I go put him to the garage which is right next to our time-out area.

This works like a sort of reset button for him, similar to the calm down corner. He decides when he’s ready to come back in and finish his time-out but if he keeps making poor choices he’ll keep being sent to the garage. It then gets put on him to manage his emotions to get out of time-out. Same thing for when he used to try to leave time-out; I physically and silently go get him and put him back. For as many times as it takes…..I’m glad he doesn’t do that anymore. The garage upgrade seemed to fix that.

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Retraining kids on what is expected and tolerated is tough work. But the right tools and planning can make it a lot smoother. Giving them the opportunity to try again with a calming environment they can go to helps them to seek out space when they need it and redirect their our emotions in a positive way.

Next time on Parenting a Person With ADHD: Deep Breathing and Other Tools

Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 2-Reward System

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

This is the 2nd chapter in the series “Parenting a Person With ADHD”. If you have not already, please read the prologue here and chapter 1 here.

Now onto the reward system and the correct way to do positive reinforcement. Because yes there is a wrong way…in fact I’d say there’s lots of wrong ways.

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When we first tried positive reinforcement we did the typical sticker chart but we really didn’t have a true set system, let alone a successful one. Some thing we did implement (that was terribly wrong, at least for our kid) was taking the stickers back if he earned a negative consequence from poor choices. This was confusing for him because the positive choices he made weren’t getting fully rewarded and instead were getting wiped out by negative choices. So the focus still ended up on the negative, not the positive. On top of this, the rewards weren’t the most tangible or as instant as he needed at the time. He needed to be able to have literally instant results. A lot of kids who struggle with defiance need this approach as well.

When we started seeing the counselor, she had us use tickets (you could also use marbles, hence the photo ) that he gets to put into a jar and he can use them to earn prizes. The important part here is that the tickets need to have currency for the kid! They have to feel valuable to the kid in order to be effective. That value comes from the prizes or rewards they can get using the tickets or marbles!

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The prizes we did initially were coupons (homemade or bought, either are great, one is simpler ) with things like “Have a pajama day” or ” You pick dinner” or “Get out of one chore”. At one point, we opted to make an actual prize box that our kiddo picked items from, but it didn’t seem as motivating for him. Currently he uses his tickets for screen time and other special to him things: watch his favorite show, use his tablet, go to the park, choose a family activity or game night. He still enjoys the coupons for special occasions or once in a blue moon.

For older kids they can use their tickets for trips or treats such as a trip to the ice cream parlor or the beach or for a slumber party (if you do those) or whatever else they enjoy and is feasible for you to give/do consistently. Alone time with you can also be a reward they earn; they pick the activity for you both to enjoy and use however many tickets to do said activity.

Be cautious with how large you make the goals. They need to be attainable in a small amount of time when starting out (like 5 or 10 tickets for a prize) and you can slowly increase the number of tickets needed as time goes on and your child’s skills improve. You want them working for those rewards, not having them handed out like candy on Halloween.

It’s also important to really give tickets for EVERY positive thing you see your child doing in the beginning. “I noticed you stayed calm when it was time to go, here’s a ticket” or if you’re not there yet “You did a great job keeping your hands and feet to yourself when you were upset” or, my personal favorite “Thank you for not peeing your pants while on time-out, you made a good choice. Here’s your ticket”.

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Yes I’ve said every single one of these and more. So. Many. More. Eventually you will get to the point where you work on specific things you want your child to do differently. Like brushing teeth without yelling, or listening the first time (I still have my hopes up for this one), or not talking back. As time goes by they will have to work harder to earn the tickets to get the prizes. Just start small and find the positive, no matter how little it may be.

Next time on Parenting a Person With ADHD: The Calm Down Corner

Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 1-Ignoring The Negative

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

This is the 2nd part in my new series “Parenting a Person With ADHD”.

In the prologue, I went over how we as a family got to where we are today and briefly discussed some of the tools we used. In this chapter I will be going over in detail the first tool: ignoring the negative nonsense.

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To actively ignore someone takes skill, patience, and practice. To actively ignore your own offspring while they are attempting, very hard, to REGAIN your attention….well that takes the above things and some direct, frequent support. Either from someone who’s been through it or a professional skilled in managing cases like this. Someone whom can give you reassurance. Because this one skill is probably one of the most important and effective.

We started living by the rule: if it wasn’t hurting someone or something, and wouldn’t lead to undesired behaviors later, it could be ignored.

To achieve this can sometimes be tricky. There’s a lot of behaviors/actions that fall into a grey area. I’ve found the easiest way to sort out some of those in between things was to ask ourselves “Is this an actual problem or do I just have a problem with him doing this?”. For example, he used to love being upside down on the couch. I had to readjust myself and learn to be ok with him having his legs up in the air. My only rule was his legs had to be still-no kicking or squirming as that becomes dangerous to others. Now, he doesn’t sit like that anymore. I let it go, and so did he.

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You may be familiar with the saying you get more of what you pay attention to and that is quite true. Especially for a child with ADHD who is defiant and/or has ODD. They like to know they can get a rise out of you, it gives them a sense of control in a world where they have very little control. They like being in control (I don’t blame them, so do most of us) and have a hard time when they are not. Ensue melt down.

The way to break this cycle is to take your own control back…by not giving into the cycle in the first place. When you actively ignore your child’s negative behavior they will (eventually) see they no longer effect your mood/actions with how they choose to act. So they will stop, because the norm has changed. Then they will learn to re-set their brain into active choice making rather than instant response.

Now, keep in mind this will take time. Sometimes a long time. And you cannot, I repeat CAN NOT, give up anywhere in the middle of this transition period. Otherwise you will have just reinforced all over again that they can get a rise out of you, and it will be that much harder to get them, and yourself, to make lasting and meaningful change. This is really a time when consistency counts.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

This is usually the most exhausting part of parenting a defiant child for many. You don’t have room for many mistakes and you don’t have the luxury to throw in the towel. For our son we still have to do this every so often! He’ll be turning 7 this year and we started this when he was 5, just to give you an idea of the road ahead. But he rarely ever needs this now, and he never throws fits like he used to. But the reality of raising a person with ODD or defiant ADHD is that these issues will never fully go away; these skills will always be needed.

Stay tuned for the next chapter: Reward System

Parenting a Person with ADHD/ODD and Anxiety

This post likely contains affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy here and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

When I held my son for the first time I new it was going to be an adventurous journey to raise him. However I never expected the 3 year old him to be hitting walls, slamming doors, physically fighting us, and yelling louder than I thought humanly possible. I blamed it on the poor examples at his daycare (he was fine until he moved to the 3 year old’s room and came across some VERY out of control examples). We even moved schools to follow a teacher we really loved…who ended up not being his classroom teacher.

But things started to get worse. He was biting (and being bitten) and spitting at his classmates and teachers. One day I went to take him to daycare and he started crying, begging me not to leave him there. I was devastated. During the conference with the director and teacher, his teacher informed us that she had to “Bear Hug” him two separate times when he would just not cooperate and she felt he would hurt himself or others. This was the first time I had heard anything about this situation occurring and needless to say, I was livid at the lack of transparency from a professional childcare agency. We pulled him out that very day.

After 2 other day cares, countless issues and getting no where with the advice the “child care professionals”(they may have a degree but I don’t see any clinical practice going on in these places) had given us, we decided to keep him home until kindergarten. There were multiple factors leading up to this decision but it seemed like the best option: keep him home and try to undo all the damage done while he’d been in daycare. Which meant I left my career to become a stay at home mom…while having a complicated pregnancy and a child who constantly defied me. Oh man do I not miss those days. Any time I would ask him to do something, anything!, he turned into a tiny dragon with a big furious temper. So naturally I suited up in my battle armor and put him on time-out….endlessly….and to no avail. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, but I couldn’t just do nothing! I kept asking myself over and over…

Why is this happening? What am I doing wrong? I’m following what the articles and people are saying to do but it’s just making things worse!

And it continued to get worse, until we hunted down a mental health professional. By that I mean a counselor. One who specialized not only in “problem” aneurotypical children but the only one in our state who was trained and actively using CPP (Child Parent Psychotherapy). I found her on my own; not through a referral, not through my child’s pediatrician office, BY. MY. SELF. I did the leg work. And I found that incredibly frustrating and…well just wrong!

Why hadn’t my son’s doctor sent us to therapy from the get go when we came to him with problems? To his credit he sent a developmental pediatrician referral but we wouldn’t get in there until over a year later for our first appointment! We needed help now before my child seriously hurt someone, which he very nearly did when he kicked a child in the head at school! Yes that really happened. I know, I couldn’t believe it either.

Also why had NONE of the day cares given us a name, ANY name of someone who could help us deal with our child’s issues? Are they not in the position to write down a name and number and say “I think this person might be able to help”. They are in the field of child development so what the hell? Even the school counselor in kindergarten had questionable methods. “Throw them in the trash can” referring to my son’s emotional upset in an attempt to teach him to let things go….I still roll my eyes thinking about her saying that. I felt so alone trying to find help for my son, and for myself.

What I learned, the hard way, was this:

  • I will always need to be the advocate for my child, it’s my responsibility to push the bolder (sometimes up-hill) towards the goal
  • I don’t have to push that boulder alone, nor should I!

Finding my son a specialized counselor was literally LIFE SAVING. She gave me my sanity back and tools of how to deal with my child when he was being defiant. She was the one who figured out he not only had ADHD but ODD and a sprinkle of anxiety to top it all off. She helped me to understand where my son was at mentally when he was in the midst’s of a large fit….he was hurting, he was lost, and he was scared. He didn’t understand what was happening to him and he didn’t know how to handle those really big emotions rolling around inside of him, let alone actually being in a state to talk about those emotions. I learned how to help him through those scenarios in the way that HE needed me to, not how I thought he needed me to.

Our counselor also helped me to recognize and deal with my own past traumas, such as my son’s biological father being abusive and the sort of coping mechanisms I was auto-piloting to when handling my son. I came to realize that his behavior was essentially triggering me because it was so similar to my ex’s behavior. Yaaa…that’s about as fun as it sounds..

So what tools did we gain and how did we apply them in real life?

  • We (husband and myself) actively ignored the negative nonsense
  • We swapped our sticker chart for tickets and made a reward system using those tickets
  • We saved time-outs for those severe outbursts and created a calm down corner with special toys
  • We used deep breathing A LOT, and everyone participates-even the baby!
  • We had the school join in with the tickets for a seamless continuation of the reward system

Over the next few weeks I will be going in depth into each of the tools listed above, explaining how we practice them in our home and what changes we’ve seen after implementing them.

I can say though, if you told me 2 years ago that my son would now be making friends, not hurting others at school, and keeping his temper controlled at home…I would have laughed you straight in the face. I didn’t think that we would be where we are now. I certainly didn’t believe we could have gotten here so soon! But with proper guidance and some serious will power, we achieved a level of functionality that I hope my son will be able to keep going for his whole life.

Stay tuned for the next episode in the series “Parenting A Person”.

6 Items for Those Sunny Days

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and terms and conditions here. I am not a medical skin care/esthetic professional. All of the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked or not worked for me. None of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please use common sense and follow all safety and manufacture instructions when using any products in your own home. Use these at your own risk. Method-To-Madness does not assume any liability for injuries or damages caused by products or methods listed on our site nor are we responsible for any medical costs associated with injuries or damages. Please seek medical or professional advice for personal issues should you or a loved one need it.

We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays. But this can be extremely tricky when you have sensitive/eczema prone skin, which I and my kiddos all do. So I’ve gathered together some of my top skin protection recommendations.

Sunscreen

Of course this is number one! It’s one of the most important things you can actively do to prevent premature aging of the skin and skin cancer. I’ve struggled to find a good all around sunscreen that hits all the marks AND doesn’t make my skin react. I recently fell in love with Raw Elements SPF 30. It’s a non-nano zinc oxide-so it’s reef safe and without endocrine disruptors-it’s in a reusable metal tin, and it didn’t set mine or my kids skin on fire when we used it! (I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened with sunscreen, so I was seriously elated). They’ve also got a stick version, tinted version, and bottle version. Here’s the link so you can take a look. I really love this brand in general and they are EWG certified, so I feel confident buying and using this product.

Driving Gloves

This is one that I think skips most people’s minds. Even though some of us may apply sunscreen to our hands, it washes off as soon as you wash your hands. When I started to notice age spots on my hands I sort of freaked out, realizing my hands get way more sun exposure than anywhere else on my body. All those driving trips to destinations for hiking? Ya, my face was in the shade of the car but not so for my hands. Here’s some from Coolibar that are unisex with multiple sizes and have a 50 UPF rating and end at the wrist. Here’s the longer version to cover the forearms, still with that 50 UPF. Don’t be fooled by the cheaper alternatives, they are made from a cotton blend which only has UPF of 5-25. You’re not getting the protection your hands need from all that sun exposure.

Oversized Hat

Ok confession time: I love hats. ESPECIALLY stylish, over the top ones. The fact that they protect your face, neck, shoulders, and hair from sun damage is just a big bonus as far as I’m concerned. I’m a little obsessed with these from the San Diego Hat Company, the white is my fav. The extra wide brim gives you extra protection and extra pizzazz. It’s just all around extra! There’s also these from the SK Hat Shop if you’re looking for some additional styles in more colors. As an added bonus, these are the hats my boys use! And of course, I got them in matching prints because #twinning!

Light Jacket

It can be hard to find a cover up that gives sun protection without over heating. I know I’ve struggle with it in the past. I really love this one in white, and here’s a plus: white reflects light so it helps to push some of the heat away, keeping you cooler! There’s a lot of variety out there so whatever style you’re looking for, it’s likely that you can find it in a protective UPF fabric.

Sunglasses

It’s not just your skin that needs to avoid too much sun exposure, your peepers need it as well. Fact check: polarized lenses refers to glares being blocked (like from shiny things on the boat across the lake, or the lake itself), you still need to make sure they say UVA and UVB protection to reap the benefits of tinted eyewear. Also look for 100% UV protection to be sure all the light is being filtered. There’s literally thousands of styles for sunglasses that meet these criteria, so have at it my friends! Every bodies face is different so I’m not recommending anything specific on this one. Oh and don’t forget the babies too!

Parasol

This might be my favorite thing on this list. It’s got sentimental value to me since I still have the paper parasol from when I was 5. (I’ll share how I repaired a few rips in it another time) And it’s such a pretty accessory that really stands out in a crowd. Plus you can use it’s shade to cover a lot on your body or to help cover someone next to you! I’m warning you now though, you might get sucked down the rabbit whole that is handmade paper parasols. They are all exquisite and unique and UGH…I just love them. There’s fabric ones too and I can’t look at those or my husband will start questioning where all our money is going. Don’t be like me, do better lol.

And there you have it! Some really great products to keep you safe this season and for many seasons to come. One thing I’ve come to know: skincare and wellness are an investment. Not only in the items that help you achieve your goals but also and investment in yourself. You are valuable and should invest in yourself

Any sun protection tips you’d like to share?

6 Holistic Ways I Help My Hyperactive Child Calm Down

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

Evenings in ADHD households tend to be well…kind of wild. I don’t know why but there’s some sort of common phenomenon with kids who have this condition. They get a crazy second wind just as it becomes time to wind down for the day. This is very true in our household as well; roughly 5pm my little dude will start to turn rambunctious: running, jumping on the couch, trying to pillow fight EVERY body, and just generally squirreling around. All of this is simply not allowed in the house because it only escalates things with him.

I’ve had to implement some regular go-to tactics to help him ease into the evening routine. I can say that even if you only do ONE a night, it will make your life a lot easier! Check out the list below.

  • Calming tea

I’m a big fan of tea and surprisingly both my boys also really love this comforting drink! My son’s favorite so far is this Lavender Chamomile blend, it’s light and fragrant and a good way to introduce kids to tea if yours is new to it. They also have a probiotic formula too! Taking the time to sip some tea also helps to slow down and mindful practices.

  • Mindfulness

Another great way to practice mindfulness and to keep calm is by reading. We enjoy this book “Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda” quite a bit in our home. It explains how to be mindful in a very easy to understand way so it’s great for beginners (including adult beginners).

  • Aromatherapy

I invested in diffusers early on, knowing how much of a difference aromatherapy makes in health. I have one in most of the rooms of our house including both boys bedrooms. The baby has the larger one, while my big guy has this smaller one. After you fill it to the specified amount with distilled water, add a 3-5 drops of essential oils. You can do lavender or make your own blend using a few different calming kinds. I personally love the blends Serene and Solace from this oil set. I add 3 drops of each, turn on the diffuser before story-time or songs, and let it work its magic. He always says it smells so nice and I can visibly watch him start to melt into the bed. It’s GREAT! If I can’t do anything else on this list, I will always make sure to do this! It makes the biggest impact on my son’s energy levels by far.

  • Journaling

This has been mentioned in my other posts about successful skills for kids with ADHD and briefly mentioned in my son’s daily lists. It falls into a similar category as mindfulness and we usually alternate between the two through out the week, but for older kids you might be able to achieve doing both on a nightly basis. I find as they get older, the journaling becomes a great tool for getting out those inner thoughts and feelings that sometimes are difficult to verbally discuss. It helps to get those emotions in order so that they can process them, and heal if needed, before moving on. We dedicate about 15 minutes for journaling time and this is the one my kiddo is currently using. And if your child isn’t big on writing, here’s some pretty awesome coloring books to get creativity flowing out and zen vibes in.

  • Lullaby

It may seem a little old fashioned or worn down but this is the ONLY thing that guarantees my kid gets to sleep without fail every time. Everything above helps to ease his busy-ness but if he’s struggling to actually go to sleep, I sing him a few songs and he’s set until morning. It’s also a time that just he and I make for each other; it’s a nice and peaceful way to finish off the day. If you’re musically challenged (no shame) this CD by Jewel is one of our favorites. It’s played in both my boys nurseries so it’s very sentimental to me and my husband.

  • Meditation

I’ll be honest this is one we don’t do very often right now. It’s extremely difficult for him to lay down and listen to guided meditation when he’s so full of energy at the end of the day. But he DOES love meditation in book form! This book focuses on a multi-muscle relaxation technique but it feels more like a game to a kid. It’s story-time, meditation, and bodily control all in one! Also, YouTube has a ton of great free guided meditation videos for those kiddos who are ready for the challenge!

All of these items on this list are things we do at bedtime as part of our daily routine but you can (and should!) absolutely do them at any time of day when your little needs to chill out or unwind.

Are there any things you do at home that aren’t on this list?

My Son’s Daily List’s

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

My older son has a rough time taking direction well (you can read about why here). That being said, we’ve had to come up with some creative ways to get around this. One of the best ways we’ve found so far is making a list of the tasks he needs to accomplish. And it’s not just one list but three: morning, afterschool, and evening. I’ll get into the details of each below. Here’s some of the other tactics we use at home to help our son be successful.

Each list has the daily tasks that need to get done at that time of day written down under the corresponding time frame. So brushing teeth is under both the morning and evening columns, while cleaning out backpack is only in the afterschool column. In addition to this, I put a sort of open category in the afterschool section for an extra chore. Its important to me that my kids participate in household duties that are more than just their self-care duties. I want them to have realistic expectations of what life is like both on their own and in a family of their own or with roommates.

The additional chore is something of my choosing and is typically stuff he’s done many times and something he can confidently do solo. If it’s ever a new chore, I will do it with him a few times to help him feel comfortable. Then I yeet him to the wind because he is one who will learn best if he solves problems on his own with supervision and support as he needs it, but without interference.

Now without further ado here’s the lists in chronological order

  • MORNING
  1. Get dressed
  2. Take pill
  3. Comb/Style Hair
  4. Brush Teeth
  5. Wash Face
  6. Sunscreen/Chapstick
  7. Fill Water Bottle
  8. Gather Backpack, Lunch, & Water Bottle
  9. Eat Breakfast if not already done so
  10. Shoes & Jacket
  • AFTER SCHOOL
  1. Clean Out Car
  2. Hang Jacket/Shoes Away
  3. Empty Backpack
  4. Clean Lunch Bag
  5. Wash Hands
  6. Take Out Compost & Recycle
  7. Help Mom With Chores
  • EVENING
  1. Make Lunch
  2. Shower
  3. PJs
  4. Clothes For Tomorrow
  5. Take Pill
  6. Read/Meditate/Journal
  7. Brush Teeth
  8. Wash Face/Chapstick
  9. Go Potty
  10. Songs/Stories & Bedtime

As you can see these are really just daily living self care sort of tasks. But my son will NOT do them unless prompted and WILL throw a fit when told to do them one by one. So now all we have to say is “Go do your list” and he does. At first it was an adjustment but in less than a week he was going to do some of the tasks without me even having to say anything. It helps him (and me) stay on a routine too, which is really important for most kids but especially those who are aneurotypical.

My son is almost 7 and is able to read well. But prior to this we did a chart with hand drawn pictures, cut half the page in wide strips that could be folded over, and Velcro tabs to create an interactive type of chart that could be flapped open or closed depending on if the task was completed in the AM or the PM. If all the tabs were closed, it meant he had done everything he needed to in the AM. If they were all open it meant the same but for the PM. This worked great when he was in preschool and even into kindergarten. I also labeled all the pictures so he would learn what the words meant.

Having these lists has made our household a whole lot calmer. My son doesn’t feel like I nag at him and I don’t feel like he’s ignoring me anymore (at least when it comes to this). It’s allowed us to regain the peace in our relationship that we were so craving.

What are some of the things you use for your kiddo to help them?

Sanitation in Cloth Diapering and Wipes

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So you want to cloth diaper but aren’t sure about the germ factor or the cleanliness of your washing machine? Many people don’t realize a vast majority of sanitization for laundry occurs during the drying cycle, not the washing cycle. Yes you can use water 120℉ to help but most of the germs are still going to be killed in the dryer. HOWEVER this isn’t necessarily true if you don’t have that dryer set to high heat, which most fabrics can’t tolerate, especially not PUL cloth diapers. *PUL is polyurethanelaminate which is what most diaper covers use to keep moisture in the pad, not leaking through.

So how do you get them sanitized?! Well there’s a few methods

  • Solar Sanitization

This (and the next) is the method I use, even in winter. Hang your liners and pads on the line in direct sunlight and let them dry. UV sanitization is a great resource from our nearest star and it’ll cut down on your electricity. In winter, hang them on hangers clipped to one another and put in your sunniest window! Ta-da!

  • Dryer

You can put your pads and wipes in the dryer on high heat, just not your liners. You need a minimum of 25 minutes of heat but my pads don’t dry that fast anyway. If you have all-in-one diapers you’re better off using anther method.

  • Lysol Added to Wash

I have not personally tried this, but I if I smell bacteria build up I think I’ll give this a go over a bleach bath if the vinegar doesn’t do anything (vinegar hasn’t let me down before). First, verify that the Lysol you have is laundry appropriate. Then add 1/4 to 1/2 c to your laundry and wash like regular. For cloth diapers I would do this in your last wash so you already have clean diapers and the sanitizing can get in there and do its job.

  • Bleach

This one is iffy with cloth diapers. Some manufacturers will void the warranty if you use bleach so do your research and be warry. You fill your bath tub half way with cool water, 1/2 c to 1c bleach, and CLEAN diapers. Stir them around and let them soak for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Then you drain the water and rinse with HOT water and put the diapers through another wash cycle. There’s lots of variations on this method throughout the internet.

  • Vinegar

One of my personal fav’s and a go to if my baby’s diapers start to get that stink caused from bacteria build up (it just sorta comes with the territory of cloth diapering until you get your wash routine down). I do my first 2 washes and then add white distilled vinegar to the fabric softener chamber until full. I set the setting to extra rinse with fabric softener and voila!

Always check your manufacturer warranty and what they recommend using. Also, cloth diaper groups on Facebook can be helpful when solving wash problems.

Also if you’re interested, we use these diapers and these diapers and here are the main pads we use, plus these heavy duty pads as our little got bigger. We use planet wise for wet bags and have NEVER been let down. Love them, love them, love them! Plus you can use the wet bags as swim gear holders and water protection when the kids are older!

Which way do you sanitize your laundry?

Normal Is Overrated

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

Today I watched a Pixar Short titled “Float” with my son. I’ll give a brief description so *spoiler alert*. It’s the tale about a father and his little boy, who is quite special. The child is able to float in the air, completely of his own accord. At first, the father is amazed and just looks at his child in wonderment; then he sees neighbors and rushes to hide his boys gift. Of course that doesn’t pan out and he ends up hiding inside the house with his child. I’ll end my recap there, you can check out the film for yourself on YouTube but what started as a whimsical lil’ clip I was sharing with my eldest kiddo turned into a very personal realization moment.

After the film itself ended, they posted “Dedicated with love and understanding to all families with children deemed different”*. Reading that was almost like a forehead slap. It made me go back in my mind and replay all the moments that other characters were staring and glaring at the boy and his dad, and the dad is apologetically chasing after his child only to end up yelling “Why can’t you be normal!”* in desperation. How they spent a lot of time indoors more or less hiding from society and the dad has to prep the kid before they can even go out for a walk.

It made me wonder…have I ever felt that way about my child?

I already knew my answer…

It’s hard not to feel shame saying this but yes I have wished my child was “normal”, I have wished my child was simpler and easier to handle. I don’t mean to, but I am guilty of comparing my son to other children in his age group and even family members. It never feels good to say that I have done those things; all I can do is give myself grace and always do better each day. This got me to thinking “What the hell is normal anyway? Why do so many people (if not most) want to be considered normal?”

Like, real talk. Tell me if this sounds familiar: it’s good to stand out-but not too much. You should be yourself and authentic-as long as you still fit into the “norm” and aren’t too far off that spectrum. You can have fun and be silly-but don’t look crazy or sloppy. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve certainly felt those pressures in my daily life. We all want to fit in, that’s part of human nature. But this notion of “normal” is something intangible. Normal can and does mean SO many things! What’s normal for one may be way weird for another. We as humans seem so adamant on putting ourselves and others into pre-packaged boxes. Then, how do we prevent it happening (and doing it) to our children?

Acceptance. Accepting our children exactly as they are and learning to see the beauty in the conditions they may have. Letting them just BE; be themselves and be free. At the end of the film the father accepts his son for who he is and enjoys him as he is. No pressure, no chains or ropes, just pure love. Here’s the kicker though, everyone is staring! I thought this was really important because in typical films we usually see everyone accept the outcast, but here it was just the son and father having their moment; and the dad stopped caring what other people thought. Which brings me to my second realization.

Don’t let the opinions of others get inside your head, especially with your child.

It’s hard to do and can be kind of a gray area because you want to listen to professional advice and make adjustments where needed when working on behavioral issues. But if you let those facts and knowledge through while keeping opinions out, I feel like that is key. People can have their opinions. They can also have them to themselves and it’s ok (in fact it’s good) for you to tell them so. I know firsthand how hard that can be, and how people can take it the wrong way but that’s on them-not you. Plus professionals don’t usually take things personally.

You have a right to keep as clear a head as possible when being a parent, and if that means telling family members, friends, or otherwise “Thanks but we know what works for us” then by golly, more power to ya! Raising a person is hard enough without dodging all the crap that others think you should do.

I was really impressed by this little film. It got my heart and mind stirring. I hope you will take the time to check it out and see if you can gain something from it as well.