New here, anxious about starting school

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by hipperq, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. hipperq

    hipperq New Member

    Hi, I just found your site, looking for support for parents of challenging kids.

    We start school here next week. My oldest is in high school and my youngest will be starting kindergarten. I have been getting kids off to school for 13 years now, but I'm still panicking about dealing with mornings. My husband is at work. My son is essentially independent. But daughters 1 and 2 resist every step of the way.

    Then there's homework, which is a daily battle, and now I will have 4 who need help. And of course dinner and trying to feed picky eaters.

    Anyone else horrified by the thought of having to do this again day after day? I feel guilty that I often don't get them to brush teeth or hair, that they don't eat much protein and do eat tons of junk. I loathe making lunch, as there's seemingly nothing they are willing to eat (well, except junk food). I hate the whole after-school thing, as it seems like I'm constantly trying to get someone to do something they don't want to. It's an unending battle.

    And with the last one just starting Kindergarten, I look ahead to another 13 years of battles and just want to give up. How do you deal with the anxiety? the sense of not being good enough? the thought of years and years more of this?

    Sorry to be so depressing; this is why I'm looking for support.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. I'm guessing that your combo of ADHD and Anxiety really makes it difficult to deal with the stress of multi tasking during the school year. Do your children want changes at home or are they accustomed to doing things on the fly?

    I survived a bunch of school years by having a schedule that included school clothes laid out the night before in the same location every night, breakfast table prepared the night before to avoid morning problems etc. etc. BUT I find peace in order and schedules. I'm guessing that is not your personality. In fact my eldest sister who was loving and caring and intelligent had alot of stress during school times.

    Sure wish I could provide an answer for you. I assume you are taking medications. IF the kids want things to change it could become a family project. Somehow, lol, I'd be shocked if the older ones wanted structure. Hope someone can provide better support but I wanted you to know that I did read your post, am glad you joined us and wish you the very best. DDD
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    School mornings were horrid for me for many years. This is the first year that they are all independently getting themselves ready for school.

    During the bad year, I tried a lot of DDDs suggestions. They worked great but I struggled with consistency.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi. I only have one but I hate mornings because for us medications are not on board yet. I do keep a pretty rigid routine. For us a short but not panic-rushed morning works best. I have medications and breakfast set out and he likes to sleep in the clothes he plans to wear. Some things are not worth a battle. We haven't had homework for years. I realize thats not for all situations but it made our home unbearable and my son is frankly not going to college anyway so our focus is on our relationship and home daily life skills. We have had laminated routine lists hung up and /or used small white boards ...then if there is a question we say ....well, what does your schedule say?

    A book that is helpful to many of us is The Explosive Child by Ross Green. Even if your kids are not "explosive " the parenting methods could be quite useful and I found it helped me get rid of some of the "shoulds" like comparing my prioritizing working on a few issues and letting non urgent things go. For now perfectly balanced meals may not be a priority. You can make a plan to decide when and how you want to work on things. His methods help work out other ways beyond traditional reward /consequence methods to build better skills and to reduce problem behavior. With that many & that age spread, you have a busy and challenging job!
  5. hipperq

    hipperq New Member

    Thanks for your responses. It really helps to know I'm not the only one dealing with this kind of thing.

    Having ADHD myself I can see that schedules and lists are very helpful. I also really like written schedules because then the kids are arguing with the paper and not with me. At least with my very short attention span I can deal with the constant interruptions; it's just tough to get back on task. I have figured out how to break household tasks down into 5-minute chunks to squeeze in when i have time.

    Setting out clothes the night before makes a lot of sense. I've done it occasionally, but, frankly, in the evening I'm tired, and bedtime with 3 uncooperative kids (my son is easy then) is a struggle; I can't rely on any of them to, say, brush their teeth, without me actually watching the entire process.

    I've always thought I should get the breakfast and school lunches done the night before, but have not gotten there yet. At least my kids are fairly predictable in what they are willing to eat for breakfast, so I can reduce some stress there.

    I read the Explosive Child maybe 10 years ago and did find it helpful, particularly in not stressing as much over what other people think of my parenting, my kids and my life, and in deciding which battles are worth fighting. I've been thinking I need to take another look at it, and maybe at Raising Your Spirited Child, which I remember really liking.

    Ironically, part of my problem is that my younger two, especially the youngest, are easier than their siblings were at this age, so I don't have to cut everything down to only the most essential items, and I get a bit lost at what to do now that things are not quite so bad.

    But, at the same time, daughter 2's ODD is becoming much more pronounced, and she's starting 3rd grade and struggling with writing and distractions, but not sever enough to warrant a full IEP, which is tough to deal with. I know that she would greatly benefit from a very consistent structure, but I have a hard time creating one that works for us.

    then there's daughter 1 who's anxiety is acting up. plus we found out last night she has pneumonia! at least she probably won't miss the first day of school. She sat by me the other night in full-blown panic attack mode and wanted me to just make it all go away, and there was really nothing I could do but be there for her. (which, of course, set off my own anxiety...)

    DDD said my older ones probably don't want more structure, but my autistic son thrives on it. We've finally got the non-college track lack of homework for him, as well, which helps immensely. He loves structure, and he always wants to know what's for dinner when he gets home from school (which drives me crazy as there is not a single thing I can make for dinner that he will eat).

    I need to keep reminding myself that my kids are not going to stay the same. What I am dealing with now is not permanent. Like JJJ's kids they will eventually be getting themselves ready on their own.

    Also I need to see the good things about my life right now. We do have fun times as well as craziness and stress. And in addition, my youngest starts kindergarten this year, on my birthday, no less, which should give me a chunk of "me time" in the middle of the day.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sorry to bring up the "parent" card, but... as an ADHD Mom... are YOU on medications for ADHD and for anxiety? If not, please get help for yourself. I cannot function without my ADHD medications, although I did "just fine" (i.e. mostly fine) when I was single, even through university. As a wife and a parent, life is just too complex to manage without the boost that the medications provide. If you can, please get help for yourself.

    And then... Given that the first three have dxes of Autism, Aspergers and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified... that's three kids on the spectrum, just different flavors. The other dxes are just attempts to be more detailed... anything on the autism spectrum is a diagnosis that covers all sorts of other dxes... ADHD, for example, is a stand-alone diagnosis, but many kids on the spectrum display these characteristics. Ditto... ODD, anxiety, sensory processing disorder (SPD), etc.

    As an ADHD mom with a likely-ADHD husband and two definitely ADHD kids (one is ADHD plus an alphabet soup of other dxes but NOT on the autism spectrum)... The ONLY thing that helps me survive mornings is absolute total consistency. The exact same thing for breakfast - 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. The same order for the morning. Who gets up when, who does what chores at breakfast, the order things go on the table, the order lunches get made in, etc. etc. etc. Literally, all it takes is a stray phone call and I'm lost, because my medications haven't kicked in yet. I survive evenings because I'm a night person... so, I'm never in bed before midnight, up at 5:30 (yes, I'm insane). When the kids were younger, I put together school outfits as part of doing laundry. One hanger had a whole outfit. Saved a lot of time picking things out the night before... and yes, we HAD to do that, because the kids can't handle making decisions in the mornings before medications kick in.

    You don't mention medications... or did I miss something? Anyway... if the middle two are on ADHD medications, then maybe they are getting old enough for an "evening" dose of a fast-acting version? We don't survive without that, either. An ADHD kid who needs medications but is on fast-acting stuff, will have trouble before medications kick in and after medications wear off.