What to do about holidays

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Josie, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    We are going through a really rough time right now.

    easy child/difficult child is only going to school for 1/2 the day. She comes home and lays in my bed and watches TV. She is so anxious that any little thing will set her off and get her obsessing and/or raging. She is complaining that her head hurts and that is why she is laying around all the time. After she went over to her best friend's house on Sunday for the first time in weeks, she came home and cried because it was too much.

    This all started after some medication trials this summer. She is back on her migraine medicine which should help her anxiety but it isn't working as quickly as I would like.

    She usually does well in public so I can't decide what to do about Thanksgiving. We are supposed to go to my parents from Wed. through Saturday. It is a 3 hour car trip. Most of me just wants to stay home or come home after an even shorter trip. I can't imagine having to put on a happy face for so long and I am not sure she will be able to hold it together for so long. But it is pretty miserable here at home, too, and I'm thinking it might do us good to get out and try to forget about it. Then again, I hate the idea of one of our scenes happening at someone else's house where we have no place else to go.

    What would you do?
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    My difficult child was in a similar situation during first grade--reduced school days due to debilitating anxiety and a disastrous medication trial. Couldn't handle trips out to very familiar places like the library during that time either. I feel for you and hope things get turned around here soon because I know this is not fun!

    Personally I wouldn't have made an overnight trip to relatives with him then unless it was absolutely necessary. In fact, I remember when we went to Thanksgiving that year at relatives 40 minutes away we contemplated bringing two cars so one parent could take him home if needed.

    When traveling to out of town relatives we found it was much easier on all of us if we stayed at a nearby hotel instead of with the relatives. Then we *did* have a quiet place to give difficult child some downtime and a place to escape if things didn't go well. It was also nice because the kids could use the pool and hot tub.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Another option - make sure, ahead of time, there is a darkened quiet room where she can go to lie down. I've had to do that when attending family functions - there have been times I wanted to be there but didn't have the stamina for the whole event, so I would go rest for half an hour every so often then go back to the party for as long as I could manage, then go rest again.

    As for school - try our rule, "School work during school hours". The only 'out' is to sleep. We've had this rule ever since difficult child 3 kept getting sick at school and coming home. I found work for him to do, or got him to do his homework. When I ran out of bookwork (or he felt too sick, or really was ill and running a fever) I would put on a documentary DVD for him to watch. It didn't matter if he fell asleep; simply having it on and watching SOME of it was better than watching nothing of use. I also gave difficult child 3 some choice in what topic to watch.

    There are some really good educational TV programs or documentaries - we can also get them from our libraries, borrowed for free. And often with a sick kid I let them snuggle on my bed and we watch them together, or read a book together. That way we can discuss it.

    We also have educational programs on TV during school time - a lot of schools either tape them, or watch them 'live' in class. These are really good because by watching those, difficult child 3 always stayed up to date with what his class was watching. One of the best ones is a news program for kids, it explains current events and news stories in ways that kids can follow. I know a lot of adults watch these too, to get a better and more balanced understanding.

  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That's a toughie. How close are you to your parents? Do they know what is going on? How close is your daughter to her grandparents? Is the house big enough that you all have a little space to call your own? Does she usually do well in the car?

    Those would all be questions I would ask myself before I made the committment to go. I know that my difficult child has some kind of afinity/connection with my mom and she is a real calming force with him (knock me over with a feather!).

    What about driving up on Wed and then returning Friday morning? It's only a day but it might give your daughter comfort knowing you are aware of her feelings and are making a change in plans for her.

    Tough decision.

  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I sure could have used something like that with my difficult child when we travelled to family to balance out his high irratibility with younger cousins. When he had enough of them, he'd whack 'em! :bag:
  6. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    You need to do what is going to be comfortable to ALL.

    If your child is not comfortable, neither will you be. If there is a way you can alter things to make it comfortable (like one of the ladies mentioned, a hotel room, a pre-determined "safe" darkened room that she can escape to, etc.) then I say go for it.

    You don't have to make up your mind until the day before, either. If you decide to go, have a back up plan in mind, in case at the last minute it seems too difficult for her.

    Poor kid!
  7. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    My family knows about this problem but I don't think they know how bad it really is. They can be critical, too. They probably wouldn't say anything to me but I would know or at least feel like they were being critical behind my back of me and of difficult child. While I have tried to educate them in the past that it is not a behaviour issue but a mental one, I doubt they get it.

    There are some difficult cousins involved, too. difficult child often feels left out.

    Sometimes the car hurts her head. Sometimes, the one I call former difficult child is in a difficult child frame of mind and the car is the worst place for us all to be together. A lot of the time, they have their headphones on and watch movies and it's fine.

    Really, if this were my in-laws who live much farther away, there is no way we would attempt this trip. That makes me think we would be better off not trying. But then I picture us miserable at home in the same rut we've been in. That's why I can't really decide.

    I do like the idea of a hotel room.

    SRL, not that I would wish this on anyone but it does give me comfort to know that someone else has been through this and come out on the other side. How long did it last for your son?
  8. I'm going crazy!!!

    I'm going crazy!!! New Member

    gee sounds like my son
  9. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    We went to a large family baptism a few ago, it was an 8.5 hour drive. I cannot endorse the idea of a hotel room strongly enough! I knew Duckie would be way too over stimulated and overwhelmed had she stayed full-time at my cousin's house. There were a total of 4 households staying there and 6 other children (two babies). It worked beautifully and we felt like we were on a mini vacation. :wink:
  10. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    It may help if you ask difficult child what she feels up to doing. You as a family would like a change of scenery and celebrate but what does difficult child think she can handle?
    I'm all for accommodations for difficult child but the rest of the family shouldn't miss out on all the festivities.
    Having a place of your own to go to is a big help. We actually do it too. husband can only stand so much togetherness each day. I actually like it myself now.

    It sounds like you need this trip yourself. I hope difficult child tries to pull it together and makes it through a meal.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Maybe make sure the hotel has a pool and/or workout facilities? If it has a hot tub, it might be nice break for the rest of the family to join you poolside one day, thus lessening the "Why won't you stay with us??" questions.

  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I would either sit this visit out and just have an intimate holiday dinner at home. OR...

    1) I would see if your DR can prescribe something that will make easy child/difficult child sleep for the trip there and back to make the drive more bearable for everyone.

    2) Make sure you stay at a hotel so if easy child/difficult child needs some time alone, you have the option of leaving for a couple of hours with her so she can chill & regroup.

    3) Ask mother to designate a room in her home specifically for easy child/difficult child so if she needs a time out, she can go in there, put some earplugs in and lie down until she moment passes and rejoin the family.

    Best of luck, poor easy child/difficult child.
  13. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Yes, we came out the other side and he's medication free and doing well now. Some minor anxiety, but nothing debilitating like it was.

    It was a long, long haul back but every issue he ever struggled with went sky high during that period (anxiety, obsessive behavior, ODD, sensory, etc) so he had a lot of ground to make up. The school anxiety onset at the beginning of first grade when he made the transition to all day. He was on half days for awhile then we gradually increased the time so that he was at least attending a legally full day (5 hours of instructional time) a few months later. It wasn't until the last month of school that he was doing full days. By the beginning of 2nd grade he was stable but I would say it took another full year before he was really steady on his feet emotionally and the progress has been full speed ahead since then. These past two years there have been no noticable signs of anxiety with the start up of school. I don't know if that time frame could have been sped up if we'd found the right medications but after two back to back negative reactions leaving him so low we were afraid to try.

    That year that he was attending part time he was well ahead of his peer academically. If he hadn't been ahead or no progress was being made, I think a therapeutic day school would have been appropriate. I definitely wouldn't have gone the route we did if he was losing academic ground for very long.
  14. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Fortunately, I don't have to worry too much about school right now. She is already doing 5th Grade Math and LA while in the 4th Grade and she is in school for Math and LA every day any way. The teachers are only counting the work she gets done while she is there. I figure the worst case is she will still be doing 5th Grade Math next year while in the 5th Grade. But the work she is doing at school is still good so I don't think that will happen.

    This started as an attempt to get her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) under control and has led to her falling apart so much that her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is on the back burner, too. When she gets more stable, I might look for a way for her to get Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) treatment every day.

    Your son's symptoms at that time do sound like hers.

    It's hard for me to understand. I'm sure my family will not get it.
  15. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hopefully you have a formal arrangement in place with the district and not just teacher's agreements that she's doing well and should pass. My district administration would not accept above grade level work as counting in exchange for non attendance (his reading was 2-3 years above grade level at the time, math was 1 year above grade level). They were talking retention unless I could get him back to school--I countered with the fact that I was homeschooling him during his home hours and that bought me some time but wouldn't have been acceptable to them long term. At one point they would have sent in a homebound instructor had we not been able to get him back. I made sure that they district had a doctor's note on file stating he was not able to attend full days due to a medical condition (anxiety disorder).

    Some schools are more flexible with this--ours was only flexible to a point.

    Good luck with this--I know only too well how hard it was.
  16. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    This is a private school where they honestly put the needs of the child first. I will go update the head of school on her situation and verify that she will still go to 5th Grade but they routinely let children skip grades anyway. My agreement is with the head of the school and she told the teachers to not count off for work not done.