When your complex kid says to you, I can't - what is your first reaction? Do you let out a heavy sigh, stomp off, and do it yourself . . . or say something like this . . . we have been over this before a million times . . . why can't you get this? Or, how about this one - you say the same instructions over again but this time louder - maybe even yelling?
Yes, yes, we have all definitely been there before - frustrated, tired or running late . . . again! We just want/need our kid to "get it" or "learn faster" or "take responsibility" - you get the gist.
Whether it's a chore (well, maybe not chores - lol), school work or learning a new game or sport, kids will naturally want to do well - so, if you hear them say. "I can't", or they avoid trying something, many times, it's because the task may be too overwhelming or developmentally they just may not be ready yet.
"When it is obvious that
the goals cannot be reached,
Don't adjust the goals,
Adjust the action steps! "
Our goal as parents is to nurture independence - we want to help our kids become independent by setting them up for success so they can begin to take ownership of their own lives. So how do we do this???
Here are 5 Ways to change I CAN'T to I CAN:
1. Get Curious - Yup, you heard me right, start asking them questions. What about _____ is so hard for you? Tell me what's going on? What support/help do you need? What would you do? Many times our kids are frustrated yet don't know HOW to express what is frustrating them or holding them back. When you start taking a coach approach to parenting your child and asking open ended questions, a wealth of helpful information can be revealed, and many times your child will figure out a solution that works best for him/her.
2. Re-Evaluate - Once you have more information from your child about what is holding them back, you can then start to adjust the task, situation or goal to be more attainable. (Yes, this also works for spouses and employees - lol.) Remember, complex kids tend to struggle with Executive Function (an overall term used for skills relating to organization and self-management) so take this into consideration when re-evaluating - always assume your child has the best intension. Again, the end goal is to help set your child up for success, so meet them where they are, communicate clearly and focus on the process, not the results.
3. The Right Motivation - Complex kids in particular can have a real hard time accomplishing tasks that are not interesting to them . . . they just get bored! When this occurs, an effective way to motivate is with immediate rewards. The reward needs to be something that is attractive to your child and, preferably, that he/she picks - they definitely have to have buy-in.
Here are some examples:
Is this making sense? Use your imagination and make sure you get your child's input and have them make their list of rewards. Your end goal here is for them to eventually make the connection and notice what drives and motivates them and use this knowledge to motivate them to succeed in life. Yeah!
4. Positive Re-Enforcement - Focus on your child's effort and let them realize how they were responsible for their own success. An example would be saying something like this:
5. Systems and/or Structures - A great way for your child to become more self-sufficient is to help them develop a System or Structure to put in place to help them accomplish a task, reach a goal or work through a process. An example of a System would be developing a check list for their morning routine. An example of a Structure could be something like setting up a "house policy" like whoever breaks the seal on the dishwasher has to put the clean dishes away or all laundry needs to be taken to the laundry room on Friday and sorted to be washed. Systems and Structures are most effective when they are created once the previous areas have been addressed and effectively utilized. You may have to try a few different systems to see what works best for your child and family. Don't forget to change and tweak your systems regularly - you want them to stay relevant and interesting to your kid.
Utilizing these principles can make a big difference in your child's journey to success and increase your sanity! Start out small and pick just one problem you'd like to work on. Work through the list above and observe the positive changes you see . . . and, I bet you'll start hearing the words, "Mom, I can!" or "Mom, I did it!", along with a big smile - oh, how we Moms love a smile from our kids!
Impact ADHD, Sanity School for Parents - to find out more information check out their website: www.impactadhd.com.
When parents struggle to find ways to manage and help their complex kids it can be frustrating, stressful and downfight exhausting!
“Mom, aren’t you tired of your slavey Mom Life?”
This was a question asked of me by my son, Jake, one day a couple years ago. Over the years he has also called me a “Fun Sucker” and a “Wet Sandwich”. Yikes! These comments did hurt and certainly sound mean, but to me, he had insight . . . he was intuitively picking up on the feelings of stress and dissatisfaction I was experiencing.
As Moms and Women, where do we draw the line between serving our kids, families, and careers while still holding on to our own self-care and identity?
First of all, I want to set the record straight – in my former life (the life before kids) I was definitely fun (the dancing with lampshades on your head type of fun) . . . and adventurous . . . I lived in the moment and flew by the seat of my pants – I swear! (see lampshade picture for proof).
I get it, life happens, you have kids or a demanding career and before you know it, you are knee deep in the river of life . . . you start putting others ahead of yourself and before you even realize it, POOF!, you’ve completely lost who you used to be – “YOU”, are a distant memory.
Being true to yourself and self-care is HARD! Why is it so easy to show up for everyone else and so hard to show up for yourself? Does it feed your ego – make you feel worthy? Are you a people pleaser with the need to please? Are you putting everyone else first, then blaming them for your failure to reach your goals and dreams? Spoiler Alert – It’s really YOU holding yourself back!
If all this is resonating with you, then it’s time to focus on rebuilding your identity – become YOU, but even better!
5 Tips to help you get rid of your slavey Mom life:
Make a list of people, relationships and obligations that are no longer serving you. If you’re not sure of who or what this is, pay attention to how you are feeling after being around someone – are you drained? Do you dread certain obligations? – there’s your clue.
2.) SET BOUNDARIES
Boundaries or lack of them are a good glimpse into how much or little you respect yourself. Do you constantly set boundaries and then not honor them? Boundaries are your best friend. When setting a new boundary be clear, be consistent and let your behavior speak for you.
3.) MEDITATE AND REFLECT
Spend time meditating and/or enjoying quiet time alone. You can accomplish this by sitting quietly or taking a walk – use this time to reflect and invest in doing your inner work. There are so many apps for meditating but my two favorites are Insight Timer (Free) and Oprah and Deepak’s various Meditation Series (Free during the first time release of each series).
4.) DATE YOURSELF
Show up for yourself consistently – come on – I mean it! If you can’t rely on yourself, then who can you rely on! Set up a regular date time with yourself and try something new or revisit some of the things you used to enjoy doing. Art? Music? Skiing? Belly Dancing? Get creative!
5.) FOCUS ON THE FEELING
Ask yourself, how do I want to feel? Empowered? Independent? Loved? I would suggest spending some time writing down your values, categorizing them and then selecting the word from each category that really resonates with you. Each time you make choices in your life, ask yourself, “Is this in line with how I want to feel?”
Recreating YOU will take time – have fun with it . . . if something is not working for you, change it up, and keep moving forward. This year do yourself a favor and focus on YOU first . . . because honestly, “Aren’t you tired of your slavey Mom life?”
Blog by Kim McClure, Holistic Health and Wellness Coach. Kim received her coaching education from MUIH, Laurel, MD. and is a certified Sanity School Live for Parents Trainer. Sanity School teaches a Coach Approach to parenting Complex Kids. Learn simple and clear strategies to motivate your child or teen to reach for success. If you need Sanity or want to learn more about the program contact Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website HealthSanityLife.com