Would love some advice

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by FeatherAhead, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. FeatherAhead

    FeatherAhead New Member

    My daughter was recently diagnosed with ODD, Anxiety-which then brings on some ADHD. We are in transition from changing to the new ways of helping her from the way we did things for 4yrs.

    We have never been able to happily travel with her. As explained by the Psychiatrist, she doesn't have the ability to process change very well. This makes vacations and such very difficult.

    While we have had a positive result at home with the recent changes we have made, we are getting ready for a trip.

    In a couple of weeks, we are going to the coast, which is about 4hours away. We are celebrating her sister's second birthday. Past trips have been horrid for us and have been very reluctant to take her anywhere.When traveling, there is always something new and changes. How do we help her gain control and transition into the different settings?

    Thank you in advance. We are really looking forward to a great family vacation..if we are successful in helping her, it will be the first "happy" vacation we have ever had!
  2. Ailey

    Ailey New Member

    Hi FeatherAhead,

    Im sorry to hear you have difficulty with your daughter, My son has behaviour problems diagnosed as severe conduct disorder. Its extremely difficult to gage their behaviour and how they will react to situations. What I have learned over the past couple of years is that children need structure to help them function and understand things better. A child who doesnt like change has to know exactly what is going to happen, i.e who will collect them from school, where will they go...etc. Im not sure how old your little girl is or if she can read. maybe make out a fun itinery for her with times and pictures of where you will be, what your destination will look like and what you will do, it may help her feel more secure about going away.
    Im completely new to this website and am hoping to come into contact with other parents who 'are looking for a soft place to land'! I hope you enjoy your holiday! Just keep reminding yourself when it gets tough, that its just physically impossible for our kids to control their emotions sometimes.
    Take care, Ailey! x
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    Welcome both of you, and Ailey took the words out of my mouth regarding a picture book.

    I would put together a book with pictures from last year's vacation (draw anything you don't have pictures of). And start showing her the happy times, and the ppl she will see. Try organizing it as The first day we will drive/fly, the second day we will see Aunt Hellen, etc. Get the visual images (as much as possible) into her head of what will happen. Many times we assume our kids understand what we are telling them with words, and even though they have language and are smart, but something just short circuits and it turns out they never really understood in the first place.

    Make sure to bring plenty of "quiet" things to do for down times. I just got back from buying a replacement portable DVD player for my kids. With a 24 hour drive, split into 2 or 3 days, looming, I'm gonna be prepared with as many portable devices as I can muster. Yes, I'll have traditional - coloring, reading, crafts, car games - stuff available as well, but my kids are very "plugged in" so I keep them happy to keep me happy :)

    Also, think of the times things went wrong on past trips. Think of the changes you have implemented and how which ones have caused an improvement at home. Can you "translate" any of these home changes to a trip situation? Try writing out a plan - Last year, difficult child had a meltdown when we _____, so this time we'll try to _______ before we ______. It's tough at first, but if it works, it will be so worth it!

    Welcome again More will be by with their insights, weekends can be slow. Setting up a signature can be helpful in letting other members know your family "profile" (top right click SETTINGS, then on the left look for Signature)

    Stick around this is a great place for support, insights, and guidance.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I think that's a great idea to show her pictures, etc of the holiday destination and to talk regularly about it - about all the fun things she will do, how it will be etc. From my experience with my son, who also has difficulty with change and transition, the more you can "normalise" the change and familiarise the child with it, the smoother the transition will go.
    Good luck and I hope you have a great holiday.
  5. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Hi, We have always had the same issue with travel and our difficult child. To make life easier, we try to eat at places that are already familiar to him. That often means eating at chain restaurants or fast food places while traveling, so we can keep things as familiar as possible. We also make sure we get a hotel room with a refrigerator, so we can keep familiar food on hand. This all insures that difficult child is well-fed and takes away one possible catalyst for a meltdown.

    We also tend to visit the same places over and over. Fortunately, we live within a few hours of several good weekend destinations that we enjoy and we try to stick with those places. We have favorite hotels in each place and always stay at those places. We try to keep things as predictable as possible.

    Good luck.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Keep your routines as close to normal as possible - eat at the same times, same bed-time and wake-up plans, bath at the same point in the day... We tend to like the "change" - they don't! And they really do not handle having meals late or out of order (usually have heavy meal late in the day? then you can't have a heavy lunch and light supper on the road...)

    I'll second the "familiar foods" thing... you can also look for rooms with a small kitchenette - this means at least a stove-top and microwave in addition to the fridge, usually with pots, pans, plates etc. (but not always) - we carry a travel-pack of plates, cutlery, glasses, etc. just in case. Pick up easy-to-cook but familiar stuff at the nearest grocery, so your cooler doesn't have to be so full.

    Watch out for too much snacking on the road - can lead to "hyper" kid(s). Helps in particular to not overdo the carbs, and keep any carbs "complex" - fresh fruit, multi-grain stuff, etc. Nuts travel well and add protein to the mix - if you can't use nuts, find another protein source (cheese slices, strings, etc. - soy nuts - dried meat sticks - etc.

    If you can, do NOT move every night. Get to where you are going, pick something central, and work out from there. No point in re-doing the transition every day!

    Not everyone can do this, but if you can afford it, have room for it, and enjoy the lifestyle, some of these kids travel better with an RV - but it has to be owned, not rented (so its the same one every trip - which means it doesn't have to be owned by you, if you have parents or a sibling who will loan you theirs and/or share ownership). It takes a couple of trips to get them used to it, but once you're there... it becomes a home away from home. You have the fridge and stove. They get used to their beds, so they sleep well. It really cuts down on the "transition" reactions, and has enabled us to take fairly long trips, with a different stop every day - because our "room" goes with us.

    And no matter how you do it, there will be tons of "new" stuff to experience. So, PLAN to shut your day down early - or you will likely be forced to. It should be more important to have a "successful" trip than to capture everything you had originally planned to do. Each "successful" trip makes the next one easier.
  7. FeatherAhead

    FeatherAhead New Member

    Wow! Thank you everyone for such great advice! I can't wait to try the different things. I think the itenerary is an awesome idea! When we go to the coast we generally stay at the same place, eat things we would generally eat at home so that part should be ok...its the rest lol..but now that we have a goal..we can work toward achieving it! Will keep you updated on all of it!
    Thank you again!
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Others have given awesome advice. I want to urge you to make absolutely sure she is NEVER really hungry. Hunger makes it far harder for anyone to handle anything, and makes it about 1000 times harder for our kids. Have you ever let her have any of the balance or zone bars, the ones that are supposed to be a meal or snack? They are thought of as "health" bars but not all are. We have found that most of these are sweet enough that kids really like them - and if you get the right ones they have enough protein to really help. Protein is a key to helping kids be able to cope. Meals and snacks should be balanced in a ratio of 40% carbs (pref complex), 30% fat and 30% protein to provide the most help. Of coruse the more complex the carb the better. There are two brands of bars you can pretty much rely on to have that ratio - zone bars and balance bars. I have an extreme aversion to most things that taste like "health" food and I really LIKE these. The balance bar gold in caramel nut crunch is the BEST - tastes almost like a snickers. DON"T tell them it tastes like a snickers - it is LIKE one but not exact. They have LOTS of flavors and even gas stations now often carry some of them. My kids actually prefer them to candy bars much of the time. I let them pick anything with that ratio or more protein than that ration. Get some and have them on hand for the trip for a super fast fairly portable "treat" or stealth health snack.

    You can get more ideas about keeping food in that ratio from books about the Zone Diet by dr Barry Sears. I don't push it as a diet, but the ideas in there can be really helpful. For example, if you are doing fast food for breakfast, go for an egg mcmuffin - it has more fat than the ratio, but otherwise is really good. If the kids want a candy bar, try giving them 2 oz of lean turkey with it. It will offset the sugar rush and be very helpful. I started this years ago with a group I worked with. The change in how I felt and how I controlled my emotions was incredible after a week or so. I often didn't even need coffee to wake me up! My pms was FAR more manageable and I stopped feeling like I needed to yank someones lungs out through their nose about four times a day. We found that Wiz became far better able to control himself and to cope.

    Drinks on the road are usually a huge dose of sugar and not much else. I suggest trying some of the drinks that have less sugar or no sugar. Water, of course, is best but not everyone will drink it all day. Herbal tea can be quite helpful - my kids all like Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea and Tazo's orange something-or-other tea, hot or cold. There are also drink flavoring packets made with stevia instead of artificial sweeteners (which can cause problems in many kids). Stevia is natural and if you use too much it is bitter, so it makes retraining yourself to liking less sweet things pretty easy. The drink packets are under the names True Orange, True Lemonade and True Raspberry Lemonade. They do NOT make a drink like kool aid. The taste is a bit more subtle but still refreshing. They are with the crystal light, etc...

    It would probably be helpful to let difficult child pick some of what you will do. Esp if you can get brochures and pics of places and put them into your picture calendar. If she has a favorite toy or blanky, make sure it is in the car wtih her for the entire trip. make sure it is with you before you leave ANYWHERE. It may be helpful to sew a small loop on it that a clip could go on and then use a bit of ribbon and a carabiner or other on-hand clip so that you can attach it to a stroller or your purse or even a backpack if she uses one to carry her stuff. Just make sure the loop is small enough that her hand won't go through it - in an accident this could eman a broken arm or worse. If what she likes about the item is a certain texture of fabric, go and find that feel in the fabric store and sew a small length to her care seat, making sure her hand/arm wont go through. My daughter has a certain silky textured edge on her fave blanky and was a terror in the car if it wasn't with us. My mom made a new cover for her carseat and put a length of similar ribbon on it, anchored at one end. She sewed up the lenthg of the ribbon to make the two pieces (it was a loop) unable to be separated. It was amazing how she stopped fussing in the car.

    Most of our kids have significant sensory issues. Does your difficult child seek out or avoid certain textures, sounds, tastes, smells, movement, etc....??? These are some of the things that can help keep her calm. There is a book called The Out of Synch child that explains sensory problems and how to help them. The same author, Kranowitz, also wrote "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" which is packed iwth sensory activities to help calm various sensory needs. It may be helpful to find ones that your daughter would like (her likes and dislikes can show you what sensory input she needs and what makes things worse just by looking at what she likes and hates to do and why- too loud, too quiet, etc...). Be SURE to have some sensory things for her to do when seh gets upset or just needs them. The Has Fun book can help find those things. One mom here made up a big box full of dried beans or rice (uncooked, of course) and buried small items in there to be found. It can occupy a child for hours if it is the right thing for certain sensory needs. Try getting a small to medium plastic container with a tight lid and putting rice or beans and toys ro whatever in it for her to use when you are not in the car. Sensory activities are amazing when a child is getting upset. It can really help them calm down.

    While you are gone, take pics of her at everything you do, everywhere you stop. It will be super helpful next time and can even show her where the stops on the way home are (keep this info in a notebook). Also let her have a cheap camera to use and make taking pics of the family having fun and let her know that you are counting on her to get picks to help protect themselves from those who would scam and scheme to see what they are interested in. Having a "job" to do takes focus on "OMG we are LOST and I won't be able to "fix" it!! and keeps her occupied. there are many inexpensive digital cameras and video recorders to thinking we have him unalbe to surrender. There are even ones designed for kids to use. If there is a Big Lots around, they have a video camera for $20 right now. husband got one for thank you and a new mp3 player for Jess for the same amt today.

    Also take books on tape for her to listen to - having them on an mp3 player is great, but be careful that it isn't too loud in her ears. But they can be awesome in calming a child. Check big bookstores for children's audiobooks.
  9. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    Great advice from above.....

    since i just got back from the beach yesterday, i just want to point out something weird we encountered....

    the hotel tv's didnt have the digital adaptors to get the "kid channels". a small thing, but honestly, until my dd12's bff got there, it was a VERY long 24 hours without something for her to watch---not to mention, evidently it was a "sponge bob premiere" weekend :|. mine managed, but she's very used to watching tv--it was literal culture shock for her. even though (especially?) we were on vacation, mine *needs* that downtime of vegging out with tv, Know what I mean??

    sounds dumb, but if yours has a routine, it might be worth calling the hotel to make sure they have the full menu of channels. (APPARENTLY, according to our hotel staff, there was some kind of adapter shortage--but i think they were just too cheap...and worse yet? i have one sitting in the box that i could have easily thrown in my luggage....who knew?).

    if not, then i completely second the portable dvd with a full array of dvds.

    (i just felt the need to tell you, since not in a million years could i have anticipated *this*....we stayed in a boutique hotel with flat screens in every room....even i was a bit sick of not having tv to unwind with!!)
  10. FeatherAhead

    FeatherAhead New Member

    A GIANT THANK YOU TO ALL! We are now back from our trip and it was a SUCCESS! We made up a schedule for her that my husband, myself and her all sat down and wrote up. We also did a point reward system. She started out each day with X amount of points. She would lose points for certain choices and was able to earn them back by making correct choices. At the end of each day, if she kept her points, she got a reward.
    It was awesome! She was a normal 6yr old kid!!! I am bubbling over with joy!! We are excited to plan more family trips now!

    Thank you so much for all of your help and support!