I'm back to square 1 aka hw much "I'm bored" is to much

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by keista, May 22, 2011.

  1. keista

    keista New Member

    My first clue to DD1's depression was her boredom. It was incessant, it was constant, and it was exhausting. Young kids (5-7yo) do have a hard time figuring out things to so I would try to direct her, give 100s of suggestions, get involved 1 on 1 with crafts and activities, but her interest only lasted a few minutes. (It's not ADD T.O.V.A confirmed. did I get the letters in the right order?)

    It dawned on me that she was indeed depressed - nothing was bringing her joy. She sampled activity after activity trying to find joy, happiness, pleasure, but it kept eluding her. Once I got her on medications that seemed to take away her other symptoms, the chronic boredom went away. She would still occasionally "sample" activities, but would more easily come up with ideas on her own and eventually find something to do. I also trained myself to limit my suggestions when she came to me with "I'm bored, give me something to do" It became manageable, and she was learning to deal with her own depression, and I was learning to guide her through her depression, and the "I'm bored's" became far and few between.

    So, after tweaking her medications because she was experiencing intense breakthrough episodes, we're back to chronic boredom and still having intense breakthrough episodes.

    This past week she's been focused on learning to use the sewing machine. Through no fault of hers or mine, we've had delays - mom's sick, needle broke etc. So she's been "trying" to find something else to occupy her time without success. I finally was able to get it all set up and show her the ropes this morning. Her first project was a simple round throw pillow. She took her time, making the pattern, cutting out the pieces, painstaking-ling pinning it together (I don't have patience for that I was pleasantly surprised that she did) Watching me show her all about the machine, then sewing it herself, turning it, stuffing it, and since closing seemed really tricky, she watched me finish it off for her. Took about two hours. Once she was done, the "I'm bored's" set in again. I finally suggested she make another pillow in a different shape - would be cool to have a bunch of these on her bed. She liked the idea and started off, but then came back and told me there wasn't enough stuffing. Well, I told her she could start, and we could finish when I got more. "Nah" (by the way this is the type of 'perfectionism' I suffer from - if I don't have EVERYTHING I need for a task, I just don't start. I'm aware of it in myself and the kids and we are all actively working on it) I backed off because I do believe it's the depression back, not the perfectionism issue, and I've been walking on eggshells this weekend trying to reduce anxiety and conflict and keep the intense episodes at bay as much as possible.

    Needless to say, she is so bored that she's not even interested in playing on the easy child or watching TV. Not her favorite activities anyway, but ones she will settle into on "good" days.

    I have a little insight to what "normal" is because DD2 most resembles a "normal" child. She does get bored on occasion, but with a few suggestions she usually finds something to occupy her time. Due to finances being tight, we don't go out and do a heck of a lot. I try to have and provide lots of games (including video), crafts, outdoor and park time, books, etc. I also make sure to include myself - where appropriate.

    I think my problem here is that I have no idea what would constitute "normal" Dad raised us girls alone, and never did anything WITH us. (turns out he's and Aspie so I've stopped faulting him) To me this feels normal, but I know it isn't, so I often have to remind myself to be more involved with the kids, and think I'm in an OK place finding a balance of involvement and letting them do their own thing but I just don't KNOW.

    So, my questions are, "How much "I'm bored" is normal? and What does a "normal" child do on a regular day?" Hopefully some of you with pcs can offer some insight.

  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think it varies a whole lot from kid to kid. What does she do when you do not give her ideas? I can remember as a child that it was NOT a good thing to tell my parents I was bored. It often resulted in being told that only boring minds get bored. I HATED hearing that. Even more likely was being given something to do. Usually it was NOT optional esp if we complained of boredom several times. The something to do was always a chore.

    I have noticed that many of my children's peers have absolutely no idea what to do when they are left to their own devices with-o an electronic screen (tv, computer, video game, etc....).. One of my son's friends would actually go and watch the microwave if his mother turned off the screens and was using it. Part of the problem is that they haven't ever been left alone to solve the problem themselves. If they have been left alone to figure out what to do and they choose something that causes damage or a big mess then the parents feel partly at fault somehow for not entertaining them. After all, they told them to go find something to do, didn't they? They didn't set limits or say to not do whatever it was. At first I thought it was just one parent's insanity, but then I realized that many of my son's peers had parents who operated that way. Not only did they blame themselves, the parents cleaned up after the child with little if any help from the child!!

    The other problem I saw was that so many of my kids' classmates were activitied to within an inch of their lives. Every afternoon had some after school program or sport, usually after daycare or the babysitter. If it wasn't for that child it was for a sibling. If I had a dime for every time a parent could not believe that I made my child choose just one after school activity I would be independently wealthy right now. Three of my daughter's friends were actually taken out of school an hour or more per week for a lesson of some kind - music, foreign language, dance or something else. One year the teachers actually changed the times they taught core classes because eight of the children in one classroom missed part of a day each week for some lesson!! These kids were busy from before seven am to at least nine pm from second or third grade on. Summers had to be packed full of things because the kids were not ABLE to stay home all day without something scheduled to do with a group. Then the parents would complain about how much driving around they did, the cost of all these activities, and how their kids could not occupy themselves and even how they didn't use their imaginations!! When did they have time to learn to be imaginative?? Or to keep themselves occupied??

    Those are skills like anything else. They can be learned. I realize that you did NOT create this problem in your daughter and I am NOT blaming you. I am stating the reasons I have seen for boredom in my children's peers.

    Is she seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist? I assume that her medications are rx'd by a psychiatrist. What does the doctor say about this boredom? What strategies has the therapist suggested to help her solve the boredom? If she doesn't have a therapist, it would be very helpful for her to see one regularly. The best treatment for depression is a combination of medication and therapy according to the research my psychiatrist has shared in the past.

    I hope some of this helps. It is really hard to see your child so depressed.
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Well...having an only child, and being a single parent for part of that time, I was too doggone tired to offer suggestions or make up things for Miss KT to do. She was horrible at entertaining herself; hated to read, was all right with a craft project (for about five minutes),seemed to have no imagination when it came to playing with her toys, and would generally drive me cuckoo for coco puffs most of the time.

    You are much more patient than I was. I remember one particularly awful day (she was about 7), when she was bored all day long, and velcroed to my butt making it impossible for me to get anything done, but she didn't want to help me with anything, that I finally shouted, "I'm not Barnum and Bailey! It's not my job to entertain you! Go DO something!" Not one of my finer moments.
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    Thanks so much susiestar! You confirmed what I thought. I am in relative balance. The stated reasons are surely NOT why she is bored. I'd love to get a second activity in (she had once a week club during school) for DD1 because I think she needs it, but money and time don't allow. As far as being "plugged in", she is the least "plugged in" of my kids. As baby/toddler, she hated the self play games that made noises. Because of her temperament I was "forced" to be more engaged with her while constantly trying to "move away" and let her struggle through things on her own.

    If I'm right (I REALLY think I am) and it is a sign of depression for her, it's the reason it has not been an issue for her for the past two years - medications had depression at bay. As with any kid and my DD2, it would crop up on occasion, and we'd work on the self directing and imagination skills. Definitely will be mentioned to psychiatrist and therapist on next visits

    Right now, she is outside playing with a bucket of toy soldiers. She's been fixated on them for two days (I sell toys on the internet and they are part of inventory) After my insights (which I posted in my other thread) I had a detailed chat about why she wanted to play with the soldiers. They fight each other, war is usually about good and evil, maybe she can get her anger out that way. So I asked why she can't set up pretend fights with her stuffed toys, and she said that's not realistic. Stuffed toys are cute and soft and GOOD. All this coming from her, confirmed said theory.

    So she just came in from playing, and seems happy and says she got anger and frustration out, went to walk the neighbor's dog and we'll see if she can find something to occupy herself once she gets back. OY!
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    LOL been there done that My patience has been growing the last few years. In my case becoming a single Mom helped - I had one less 'kid' to deal with

    Yes, mine velcros herself to me as well, and just whines about being bored. I used to lose it all the time, but now have just gotten firm about offering 2 or 3 suggestions, and then I'm done. Again, this is for those occasional episodes. Right now since it's chronic - 5 days straight, I know it's deeper issues than "regular" kid boredom and am being more patient and more creative in helping her find stuff to do - can't keep it up much longer.
  6. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    i think susie's post it pretty darn close--i'd only add that in my neck of the woods, because everyone but us is schedulized to death, there is no neighborhood peer group to go on bike rides with, build forts in woods or run through the sprinkler with. times have changed--it really isnt like when i was a kid.

    when i was a kid, there was always someone to play with, someone to explore with, someone to get in trouble with...now kids are an island on to themselves in a lot of ways.

    mine is almost like an only kid, and she's very good about occupying herself with the electronics and artsy stuff, but even at that, she's b-o-r-e-d. day in, day out, its the same stuff and she's alone with her own thoughts. she struggles socially and has no friends. she's hard to keep stimulated because she needs an immediate payoff and like yours, cant fail or "do just to do", if that makes sense.

    she looks at me with glazed eyes when i tell her when i was her age, one of the things i did was take a needlepoint class (told you it was a different time!) and for some reason cant fathom how i wasnt b-o-r-e-d shart-less over that, lol.

    i guess some of it *IS* depression, but seriously, sometimes they are just b-o-r-e-d.

    frankly, sometimes even i get bored, and i *never* have a shortage of things to actually do.
  7. keista

    keista New Member

    Thanks for the input.

    Yeah, there is a shortage of neighborhood kids, so I was THRILLED when she fund some over the winter. Problem is, that not all kids are great to hang around with. First she "found" them because they are not on her bus - private school, charter school, and home school.From the outside, at least, that means parents are involved enough with their kids to go that extra distance. All was fine for a while until she started coming home upset, they were being "mean" ex: when she was ready to leave, they begged her not to go, if she left they'd start calling her names. She was stuck between doing what she wanted, and being "forced" to be a friend and stay. We talked that one through. Then she told me she "raped" J WTH?!?!?!? Yeah, they played a game called 'rapers rule' **Mom is FREAKING!!!!!!!!!!!!** Turns out it was just tag, but it had to have that name. So I went through the whole spiel of the seriousness of the word and should never be used even just for fun. Talked to parents on that one and got an "Oh sorry, we didn't realize (really it was played in your yard) but yes, he does play THAT video game" Last straw was when they opened fire on her with airsoft guns. They were playing amongst themselves, and she was an observer, and all was fine 'til she decided to leave. She wasn't angry or criticizing them or anything like that, just decided it was time to leave and they opened fire on her. Talked to different parent this time, and brought printout of city laws regarding those things. This time I got "Oh, thank you. Now I can tell him 'no' and he can't argue with me"

    Sorry, I kinda hijacked my own thread, but the point is that sometimes it's a GOOD thing that there's no one to play with.

    I'd much rather her be bored than coming home in tears.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am often mystified by other parents and the things they allow their kdis to do. You are right in that sometimes it is GOOD to not have certain other kids to play with. There is one girl my daughter's age (within 2 yrs of her) on our street. When we first moved here they played together. Until I realized that they were crazy - seriously dangerously crazy. the dad uses religion to abuse the mom and the daughter and the older daughter who used to visit when forced to for a week in the summer - and refused to visit any other time. It started when he went off on ME about how only whores colored their hair (at the time I colored mine) and how it was because that and the other influences I let into our home that I had health problems. Then the mother forced her way in past Wiz to pray over me when I had a serious migraine, then Jess begged to spend the night so I gave permission and she came home crying the next morning about how the dad screamed at her for something a friend wrote on her shirt (NOT anything inappropriate by a LOOOOONG SHOT) and refused to let her call or come home - actually locked her in his daughter's room!!! At that point I informed them that my daughter would not be spending time with them and neither would I and they were NOT welcome on our property!! All of that happened in about 24 hours - if I hadn't had a migraine when asked about the sleepover I probably would not have given permission, given the other things. But it was really bad and medications were not helping and I was not in my right mind. A couple of weeks later the mom came over to ask me to talk to her husband about his anger issues. Then I figured that he abused her but it was not my battle to fight. She thought that since I was so strong that I could stand up to him that I could "save" her and it would be me who was "sinning" and he wouldn't be able to blame her or get mad at her for going against God by telling him he was out of line. I did give her the number for the DV center though. It just was NOT a fight that I felt safe entering. I told her if she ever wanted to press charges she could call from here, but otherwise to stay off the property and not to speak to my children if they were in the street.

    So I TOTALLY understand about not always wanting her to go and play with other kids!! Those parents who won't take a gun away from a kid because he would argue - wow - they are going to have a wild ride when the kids are teens. My father would have just broken the gun in two or more pieces if we argued with him when he said we couldn't use it. No real discussion, just hitting it iwth or against something or putting it on the saw and chopping it up. No way would my parents have needed a law to make us listen. WTH is wrong with parents these days? Heck, MY kids might THINK to challenge me by saying it isn't against the law, but they ALWAYS know that my answer will be either "so what?"," Tough Luck", or "It is for you."

    I think you are handling the boredom well, esp as you see a difference between her usual and the depression boredom. I do think that if she tells you she doesn't want to do 2 or 3 things you suggest that a chore would be appropriate. Not a long one, just something that helps you and will motivate her to do one of the activities that you first suggested. There is NOTHING wrong with using boredom to accomplish something, in my opinion. I don't ever remember my mother giving us anything but chores when we whined about boredom. Most of the time we were afraid we would get chores so we would rather go read the encyclopedia than tell Mom we were bored. My dad succumbed to a door to door encyclopedia salesman when we were little and we read a LOT of them. Mostly because we wanted to, some for school. It was very useful for when we were bored or had read all our books. Yes, were were odd children, lol!

    You might also think about getting some of the books of science experiments and craft activities that are designed for kids to do. They can spark a lot of ideas. Also there is a book crammed with sensory activities called "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" that is AWESOME. It is by Carol Kranowitz and has a TON of great activities and ways to do them for very little money. My family LOVES these things and we have used the book a LOT. Even when the kids are not having problems being overwhelmed or whatever the book has fun ideas. But there are a LOT of fun activities and crafts in various books for kids. I can search out some titles if you want. My kids always esp loved the science experiments.
  9. keista

    keista New Member

    Thanks for the support and research offer, but I've done/do the same. Now that the kids are older they research stuff themselves. Especially science stuff! They all LOVE sciency stuff! For years we've made our own play doh, goop, gooze silly putty, etc. I've never personally purchased a coloring book - get sheets online. Finding stuff online is especially great since it takes you on tangents and you discover stuff you never even imagined (Can you tell I LOVE the internet)

    I thought I was doing OK with it, but like EVERYTHING in my life, it seems, I really don't know what that "normal" is - doesn't bug me except the fact that that's what I'm supposed to be shooting for,especially with difficult child. In our house, we do say that "Normal is boring and overrated. Different is interesting and exciting, but sometimes we do have to pretend to be normal"

    by the way as per your previous post, My Aunt also always says "Only boring ppl get bored" I have told her to NEVER use that expression with DD1 - I will argue it with her in front of my daughter, and that may cause a loss of DD1's respect for her, which is not what I want.