Saturday, October 14, 2017

5 Things To Remember When Your Child Is Having A Bad Day

We all have our difficult days.
So, why wouldn't we expect our children to have their own
from time to time?


When our children act out, we need to step back & assess the situation.

While we may not be able to in the moment, I have found over time
our children may have certain patterns that become apparent.

Hopefully as you get to know your child, you can work with them
to disciple, teach, correct & encourage them much more 
efficiently as time goes on.


and then now started the process with another child, I have found myself
immersed in parenting literature for children with special needs, 
and behaviourial problems.

However, I have found that many of the principles can be applied to any child 
to help bring about a better outcome for you AND the child
in any stressful situation.


Your toddler is throwing a tantrum on your shopping venture because
he is feeling overtired & overwhelmed.

Your preschooler is not herself these days. She is finding your daily routine
too chaotic & acting out much more than usual near the end of the day.

Your school aged child is upset about changes going on in their sibling's life.
Unable to process this, he begins to act younger than his age and gets himself
repeatedly in trouble for being silly at inappropriate times.

Your tween is starting to notice changes to their body. They are continually 
looking in the mirror & feeling frustrated by what they see.
When you ask a simple question, they are on the verge of tears.
You are left wondering what just happened!

Your teen has just been told he was gossiped about by a supposedly "good" friend.
Said teen doesn't want to admit that it's bothering them, but instead starts to "bother" their
younger siblings for the duration of a long car ride to an appointment.

These may be real life specific examples from our own family,
 but I'm sure you can apply the 
principles to your particular life situation.

In the midst of whatever frustration is going on, we as the parents may feel overwhelmed,
angry, sad, frustrated, lacking understanding, and wondering where we went wrong!

It is often far later in the game that we can look back & see what the triggers were 
for our child, or the overall situation.

Of course, I need to add, this doesn't excuse poor behaviour.

It needs to be addressed. These are great teaching moments.

You can aid ANY parenting strategy by effectively identifying your child's triggers,
& trying to de-escalate the crisis.

Even as adults, I'm sure we can relate to a heavy issue weighing on us
& needing to be dealt with immediately before we continue on.

Sometimes a word of encouragement, and we're back at it.

Emphathy. Understanding. Patience.

All three allowing space for our child (& us) to breathe.


Here are FIVE things to remember when your child is having a bad day:
(maybe even write them out on your fridge!)

1. Let them know you love them.

Unconditional love goes so far with ANY hurting individual.

The most hurtful situations in life that I've experienced is
when I felt "love" with a string (or condition) attached...

No one likes that.

Put the behaviour aside, and always let your child know you love them
in spite of what they just did or said.

I have found this alone will sometimes diffuse a very stressful or tense situation.

2. Offer them a hug.

This goes along with the first point.

Physical touch is a key way to let your child know
that you feel their pain & are right there with them.

I say offer instead of force, because I know myself how 
much an unwanted touch (even a hug) can upset us,
even it comes from someone we usually would enjoy it from.

I have a few really touchy kids who love physical affection,
and others like me, who need to be in the right mood.

However, a safe hug can make all the difference in the world to a
hurting child.

3. Allow them a few minutes to breathe.

If the child or teen isn't making sense, they most likely 
are in flight or fright mode, and are no longer being rational.

It is important that if they need space, that you allow for it to help
them to calm down & self-regulate.

Both of our children with special needs get upset very easily, and if
we continue to push back ("argue", even try to discuss) and they
are not ready for it, then it is fruitless on both ends.

I have found allowing the child to go to their room, or take a quick walk
allows them to regroup & they usually come back
apologetic, and ready to work things out.

4. Allow them space.

This goes along with point number 3, but it also means that
you allow them space & time to think about their responses.

You may even have to allow them a day or two to think on a difficult or tense 
conversation you just had (especially with older ones).

If you have given them say two choices, don't pressure them
to immediately given an answer under duress unless
circumstances dictate it is necessary.

This is particularly important if their difficulty relates to others
outside of the family (maybe someone has deeply hurt or rejected them).

They will likely need a few shorter conversations over a few days, rather
than trying to jam in all of your thoughts & encouragement in a long session 
while the wound is still fresh.

5. Pray with and for them.

I am ending on what I feel is the most important point.

There is no one on the face of the planet who loves your child
more than God does!

He created them, and you, and He is very interested in helping
you both resolve the situation.

Sometimes I'll stop to offer a prayer right then & there.
Other times I'll just quietly pray on my own later.

Either way, the child is covered by our prayers.

I have found the battle is tough these days, and is not
for the faint of heart.

We must persevere both in our parenting, and in prayer, reading the 
Word, and fellowship, as we seek to disciple our children to Christ.


Most of all we need to show them grace.

To be consistent, and yes, hold them accountable for any wrong actions,
however, always remember their age, understanding (as in with special needs),
ability and the context of the situation.


Lastly, I wanted to add, that even with doing ALL of the above,
sometimes circumstances still suck for our child.

Sometimes our child may struggle for more than a short while.

Trust me, we have been there.

I can relate to the powerless feeling of saying you've done all
that you know to do, and life still stinks for your child.

Don't hesitate to seek professional help.

I find the best referrals are from other parents already
two steps ahead.

Ask around, and ensure you find the right team of people
to help you when the bad days are turning into weeks...months...
or even longer.


Whatever you are facing right now,
don't give up.

There is always hope. 


This post may have contained some affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family :)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Receiving The Diagnosis (Or Finding the Answers You Need)

In complete shock.

That's how I felt when I got the news...


The last six months have been hard.
Many aspects of that "hard" are simply the 2 facts that:
I am parenting seven children, and I have three younger ones!

..and teenagers...let's not get started ;)

However, today, I will share an aspect of that hard journey
and a peek into my heart.


Facing difficulties can also be seen as opportunities.
Opportunities for God to come through.

And to remind us that there is always hope for our future.

That is what I'm choosing to see this chapter of my life as.
A great big -freakin' hard-but rewarding opportunity.

"There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off."

Proverbs 23:18


When yourself or your child face difficulties of any kind,
usually our first response is to "buck up" & keep on keepin' on.

While perseverance definitely has its merits,
what about the circumstances
that don't simply disappear?

What about the situations where something in your gut feels off,
but you can't quite put your finger one it.

Hindsight, of course, is 20/20
but I choose to give myself grace in that
I can only act on the information that I currently have.


None of my children had that eventful of a birth.
Really, very little out of the ordinary.

There weren't any diagnosises given at birth.

Over the years we did see a few minor learning issues crop up,
but again, there wasn't anything noteworthy at the time.

Some of my kids had high energy levels, but again, I didn't really think much of it.

Some of them had memory issues ("I just said that!") but again, not overly noticeable.

Some of them have stuggled with disorganization,
but I'm myself a "neat nik" so who am I to render a balanced judgment?

Many children  (and adults!) struggle with these traits,
so on their own they don't necessarily say anything.

However, put together they could be seen as part of a bigger picture.

The last noted marker we noted was experiencing intense emotions
& the unique ability to hyperfocus on something that grabs interest.

Some of you may already know where this is going...


At the markers started to add up, we talked to other parents with similar children.
Some parents had shared how they had pursued answers,
 and once we acquired some leads, we decided to inquire about rates for 

That is the big "Bertha" of assessing for learning issues & related disorders.
It is also VERY expensive. 

Although we had partial coverage (thankfully!), we still had to pay out of 
pocket about $900. 

So, we had to put it off for awhile until we had the money saved,
but finally the testing could begin.

It included handing in past report cards, a self-assessment, a parental assessment,
teacher assessment (if applicable; we only used past report cards) & 
an approx. 3 hour test between the child & assessor.

That was last year, and we were very pleased with the depth of
the answers we received.

The results were very clear.


Suddenly I'm holding the test results & walking in a Dollarama.
And all I can say is I felt like I was floating.

Not in some dreamy mystical way, but that I was in shock.


I mean it all made sense now.

Kinda, sorta.

I felt like everything that was familiar to me was...
well, it wasn't.

I felt overwhelmed because I then realized some of my other children
also seemed to have a few of the traits.

Based on the current research that is out there

And I now began to see various traits "sticking out" to me in all
directions of our family tree.

Even some of the characteristics I saw in myself.


The assessor did say that much of the population displays various aspects
 of ADHD, and that's why so many have a hard time with the label being used
as an "excuse" (in their opinion) for children's (or adult's) negative behaviour.

However, she reminded me that the key to making a
definitive diagnosis is that these attributes are:

1) pervasive enough that they effect more than one area of their life &
Some people do "outgrow" it (or find ways to cope/compensate as we all do
with our given weaknesses), but not all.

My Doctor even told me that she has seen many doing well by the age of 40.
Well, I had to chuckle at that one.

That seems a LONG way off for any child.


Nonetheless, the journey into this 'foreign' new world of
special needs, whether invited or not, has come our way.

Our schedule has profoundly changed.

Our educational plan has changed.

Our goals have changed.

The way we allocate our finances has changed.

Some of our social circles have changed (very naturally; people tend to
gravitate to others in the 'same boat').

For the most part it has, thankfully, widened :)


Exploring these difficulties can be time consuming.
It's also often costly.

Many times we don't want to expend the energy, or even know where to start.

If you yourself are facing a difficult situation with your child and
are not sure what the next step is, I'd encourage you to speak with
the appropriate professional.

For us, it was the assessor mentioned above, and then
communication with our Dr.

Depending on the age of the child, there are (usually)
many resources available in any given community.

I was fortunate enough to even find other professionals
that have proved helpful.

Bonus, I stumbled upon a great parental support group.
The only group I've ever been in where I didn't
feel like I was the worst mother in the world
(due to my child's behaviour on a difficult day).

Yep, seriously.

We are now entering a season of further assessment for
another child for a different medical issue.

Often when it rains, it tends to pour.

Nonetheless, I am finding much hope in this season.

Answers have come, and are continuing to do so.

Compassion has grown, and I hope continues to do so.


More patience when child "x" acts out
(most days...I'm still growing).

Most importantly, we need to surround ourselves with 'safe' people.
People (and professionals) who we can talk to about anything
 pertaining to how this new diagnosis will affect us & our families.


My plan over the new few blog posts is to share
more of my journey.

While I will not share personal details, ages, or names
with you (& please, I won't discuss those in person either),
 I will describe how this very difficult journey
has FORCED helped me to learn & grow.

Sometimes "imposed" life circumstances are the best teachers in life.


& yet, they can also be rewarding opportunities when
we choose to learn what we need to, and pass
along that info & hope to others :)


This post may have contained some affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family :)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

5 Reasons To Attend A Homeschool Convention

I still recall my first convention attended in the researching phase
of our homeschool journey.

It was grand and inspiring, and intimidating all in one nutshell!

There were people of all sorts, ages, and although it was mainly
women in attendance, a smattering of men joined the ranks,
as well as some teenagers.

I left realizing that although most days I may "feel" 
alone in our journey, while I'm schooling on the outskirts of town,
 I actually am part of a growing trend.

In order to combat any negative challenges, we homeschoolers may have of:
isolation, loneliness, increased stress, pressure on finances,
less relaxation time for the teaching parent, sibling conflicts, etc. etc.
I believe that being around other homeschooling families is of
of great benefit.

It's also a fantastic way for those researching this way of life,
to see if this, in fact, might be something their particular child is up
for, and how they feel about it as a parent who will have to
be responsible for their child's tailored education.


Five Great Reasons to Consider Attending a
Homeschool Convention

1) Researching your curriculum

Curriculum choices for homeschooling are almost
as limitless as the children who use them!

There are so many diverse materials out there
(both online & in print) that range from 
offering full parental teaching support to 
students completing the work on their own,
even sometimes being marked by an outsourced teacher. 

With the myriad of options that are out there,
 I find it wholeheartedly worthwhile
to get my hands on the curriculum and peruse it,
being able to pick the owner's brains on how to get 
the full benefit of it, and who it might
be best suited for.

With access to the vendor hall being included 
in your registration fee, that alone can 
sometimes be worth the cost.

One fair warning: do not let yourself
be intimidated by the vendors. Some vendors
do use high-pressure sales tactic (however, most don't)
so just be polite and have a catch phrase ready to use.

I find, "I'm just looking around, thanks." usually suffices :)

2) Investing in your child's education

Any professional career that I'm aware of requires you to 
take advantage of opportunities to develop yourself.
Whether it's done through their training structure
or outsourced, this is seen as bringing beneficial
assets to your company.

For the homeschooling parent, it is often said that
we don't need a higher education to teach.
Which, in many ways, is true.

Fail proof educational options given either online
or in curriculum sets, offer an array of choices
for both educated and parents who have struggled 
academically alike.

However, I am a personal believer in developing
ourselves in any area that we strive to do our best in.

A convention offers us an opportunity to expose ourselves
to new ideas, new ways of teaching, new theories, concepts or goals
that are being explored in the homeschooling community.

I don't see it as simply a couple days to "get away from the kids" 
(although there's that bonus, no doubt), but I see it as personal 
investment in my chosen "career" at this time: homeschooling parent.

3) To connect with others

During the busy season of homeschooling,
it can be difficult to meet new families that
also, find themselves in the same boat as you.

Even in a typical month where we participate
in a local co-op, or take part in a fun field trip or two,
the quality discussions between adults
are usually minimal with the kids in tow.

Since a convention is limited to adult 
participants, maybe a nursing baby tagging along,
it is far far easier to make time for a tea or snack
with another parent to encourage and connect
with one another.

My first year I knew very few families 
with which to make that connection, but
there was a "newcomer's" corner I found
myself in, spilling my heart out to another
experienced homeschooling mother.

The subsequent years, I've found myself
between seminar sessions, meeting up with 
various friends in the cafe, sharing our dreams,
challenges and choosing to uplift one another.

4) To be inspired

Probably the number one reason I hear
cited on why parents attend a homeschooling convention is
this: the dynamic seminars and workshops they offer!

I know that I was ecstatic when I recently saw our local convention's
released schedule for this year's event.

It was peppered with some really good (and assorted) topics:

*special needs 

*dual income

*single parenting

*high school

*real mom sharing type panels

*legal issues in homeschooling

*inspiration for marriage, leadership and the like

I printed out the posted list and began
systematically circling my "must hear" category
of seminars. 

It really got me excited to glean from this year's speakers!!!

These are the 'meat and potatoes' of any convention, 
and offer great value for your registration fee.

Most of the speakers are experienced in their field,
and can offer a wealth of knowledge.

Others are speaking directly from their lives,
but I have always personally gleaned MUCH from
any class I've attended.

5) To remind yourself of why you began...

Like anything in life, there is the honeymoon stage,
which is at some point followed by reality setting in.

Our homeschooling journey has included many highs
and lows, as well as many in-betweens.

Life isn't always a party, and my kids (and I) have
quickly realized that although we can take a few
more field trips than a typical school,
at some point, the book work has to be cracked
open...daily discipline becomes part of the equation.

I know the reasons why we began to homeschool,
and here are a few of them:

*dissatisfied with the public school system

*wanting a tailored education for our children

*helping our children to pursue their interests

However, during some of the more challenging times, 
I've had to remind myself of the "why" more often than not.

Going to a homeschooling convention can help you rekindle
and help you stay focused along the way.


Homeschooling, as I've alluded to above,
can be a rewarding, but sometimes stressful lifestyle.

One book that I've read many positive reviews on
addresses this stress: "Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler's
Guide To Unshakeable Peace"

I haven't personally read it yet, but I ordered it 
yesterday with our quarterly book order.

I've heard enough feedback to know that
this book sounds very impactful.

 I look forward to reading it for myself :)

Get yours today by clicking on the image below!

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to  Unshakable Peace



This post may have contained some affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family :)


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