The Adventures of My Complicated Little Boy – Part 5

My Complicated Little Boy turned 13 this weekend.  Goodness me how did that happen?  How did he get so old??  How did I get so old??

Well, anyway I thought I would give you an update on the whole Anxiety Disorder thing.  I think we have pretty much cracked it.  I think he has got it sorted. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, see my previous post The Adventures of My Complicated Little Boy – Part 3.)

20160925_165513_resizedIf you look at this picture you can see he is holding pictures of very large tarantula’s.  Now a couple of years ago, he would have been sobbing in the corner at the mere suggestion of that.  We have come a long way.  And this weekend we are going to watch the Harry Potter movie with all the spiders – something he has never been able to do before.

That is the thing with Anxiety Disorder – everyone has anxieties and it’s an important part of being human.  Anxiety makes us to try harder, push ourselves, be brave and most importantly be safe.  But some people develop anxiety over things which are not harmful e.g. My Boy’s cucumber phobia.  Or they develop reactions that are debilitating – like My Boy’s sobbing.  And finally some anxiety can make us stop doing things – My Boy wouldn’t read books or watch movies or play games, just in case there were spiders in them – I had to read, or watch or play first.

So that is why it was so important that he learnt to manage his anxiety, so he could get on with life and do everything he wanted and needs to do.  He will never like cucumbers and he will never like spiders, but he is now able to not react or at least manage his reaction to these things.

We have had these pictures of the tarantula’s floating around the house now for a while.  He had not been able to pick them up.  But his computer is dying and there is a new game coming out that he is desperate to get, but our computer won’t handle it.  So why is that important?  Well, when you are following an immersion program with phobias, each step you overcome earns a reward.  And My Boy’s ultimate goal, when he has proved to me he is on top of his fears, is a new gaming computer.

So in desperation, he has pushed himself and I also think turning 13, maturing a bit and being a big boy in Senior School has led to the final sprint towards the end of his program.  I am so very proud of him and so chuffed that he has really done the last stage on his own.  Now I just have to find the money to buy the computer – he really surprised me and I wasn’t expecting this and hadn’t budgeted – but I will find it, because he is worth it.

Reverse Psychology and the 10 Year Old

winging-itMy Baby Girl came home and told me she didn’t want to go on the school residential (a week away doing adventure things.)  She couldn’t really give me any reason – very vague responses about how people were sick on the bus last time, how they made her stand in the rain (well, honey you live in England – no changing that!!!), how she won’t like the food and how she doesn’t like waking up without us.

Sigh….

I have to book her place and start paying for it soon.  I know that she has food issues and I know that she doesn’t like people being sick.  But I also know that she is a bit of an attention seeking drama queen.  I also know that come closer to the time, when everyone is getting excited, she will regret her decision and that spending a week in school without anyone from her year, she will be devastated.

So I had to think about how to react to this and plan my approach – very carefully.

I got her to join me on the couch for a bit of mother-daughter talk.  I told her that I am very, very sorry and I hope that she can forgive me. I said that we should have been taking her aversion to food and sick people more seriously and that we need to start the Anxiety Program that we had used on Complicated Boy (see Previous Blog).  I apologised to her for pushing her to become more independent, grown up and responsible, because this had obviously made her anxious.  I gave her a big hug and begged her forgiveness.

She looked a little surprised, but agreed that she would like to do the Anxiety Program.

I then went on to say that I was happy for her not to go on the school residential and that I would go in to the school and tell her teacher and the head teacher that she wasn’t grown up enough to be away from us.

Her face was a picture!!

I then went on to say that as she was so anxious, she shouldn’t walk around the shops with her friend on her own anymore, or she shouldn’t stay home by herself when I drop Complicated Boy at Kung Fu and she shouldn’t go to the park across the road by herself.

OH MY HER FACE!!!! She couldn’t speak, she was so shocked.

We then got out the worksheets and started working on the Anxiety Program and I could anxb4_helpingyouranxiouschild_parentbooksee her brain whirring.

Two days later, and after continuing with the Anxiety Program, she asked to have another chat.  So I sat and listened.

She had decided that yes the Anxiety Program was going to be good and will help (yes – I agreed).  But she was grown up and independent and could go on the residential.

If I could have jumped up and down on the couch, without giving away my evil plan, I would of!

She also said that she was grown up and independent enough to do things on her own and she hoped that I would agree with her, now she was going on the residential.

I said of course, she had proved by being sensible and thinking things through, that she was grown up enough to be on her own.

Do I feel guilty for manipulating my daughter?  That would be a definite NO!  I am glad that she has decided she wants to do the Anxiety Program.  Do I think she is truly anxious child, like Complicated Boy? No, not really, I have seen a truly anxious child curled up in a ball sobbing his heart out. I think for my Baby Girl, it is just stubbornness and attention seeking, but I know that the program will provide her with that attention in a good way and will give her life skills that will help her in the future.

So feeling a bit chuffed with myself – love it when an evil plan comes together. Never underestimate your mother, sweet Baby Girl – I can out girl you any day!

 

Facebook Whiners and First Day Back at School Photos

So you must have seen all those posts on Facebook taking the micky out of first day back at school photos.  I did and scrolled past them and dismissed them as silly.

But then I noticed that my friends where apologising profusely for putting their photos on Facebook and I got a bit cross – because they shouldn’t have to apologise.  It is wrong that people are embarrassed or were stopped from sharing their photos.  And these are the reasons why…

  1. The first day back at school is the only day of the year that our children look half decent!!! The photo represents what we thought our children would look like before we had children.  They look all clean and shiny and new.  The rest of the year any photo we take of our children will show what they really dress like – hoodies over their face, or the joyous mismatched creations of preteens or the completely inappropriate over made up looks from the teens. And we know that by that afternoon of the first day back at school, the shirts will be stained, the trousers will be ripped, the ties loosened and the blazer jackets sleeves will be rolled up and creased permanently.  This first day is the culmination of running around all summer buying new uniforms, shoes, book bags, lunch bags, pens, pencils etc.  We know that every item they own is labelled within an inch of its life.  This is a celebratory moment and should not be denied us.
  1. Facebook is a communication tool. The people that are our friends on Facebook, are there because we like them and/or they are family.  Therefore, we must assume that they care about us and want to see our first day back at school photo.  If they don’t, well they can just scroll past.  I know that if someone is my friend – I want to look at their photos -even if I am going to see them that afternoon at the school gate.
  1. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON. First day back at school photos are not a celebration of the children – you might think that if you aren’t a parent, but NO!!  They are a celebration of us as Mothers (And yes Fathers too!).  Why may you ask?  These photos celebrate the fact that we survived the Summer School Holidays and do not think this is a small achievement, because it’s not.  We have juggled working with childcare, we have protected our food cupboards from ravenous hordes that seem to graze all day.  We have listened to the loud and very annoying children’s TV repeating itself over and over and over for six weeks.  We have conquered the “I’m Bored!” statement numerous times each day.  We have managed entertaining days out and bought a whole wardrobe of new uniforms with no extra money coming in.  We have picked up, cleaned up, washed up, and dried up multiply times a day. And we have survived.

20160913_170630_resizedNow some of my friends are probably thinking – but we didn’t see a photo from you this year?  Well I tried.  But Baby Girl didn’t want to go to school and was scowling and refusing to look at the camera.  And Complicated Boy, didn’t start till later that day and he got up so quick and left the house straight away – I missed it!!  So here is photo of a week into the new school year – both look slightly grubby.  Sigh.

So please, next year, people, please post your photos. Celebrate the fact that you managed to get through the holidays and were able to produce shining examples of what children are meant to look like – even if it’s only for those 10 minutes that it takes to take the photo.

Scary Social Media and Kids

20160906_112639_resizedMy complicated little boy is turning 13 soon – shocking for one as youthful as me I know – hahaha!

So he, according to most social media platforms, is allowed to log on and load up!

I am trying to get ahead of the game and have joined and downloaded various apps – just to see what they are all about.  I am quite technically savvy, but have never felt the need for multiple apps before.  I really just don’t have the time; Facebook is enough for me.

Anyway after consulting the guru in the family (Gorgeous 15-year-old niece), I went and had a look.  Sigh, do I really have to do all this???  The answer is yes; I need to be aware what the kids are getting up to.

I am not really concerned about my complicated little boy – he is really not interested and is such a geek, only his geek friends are going to comment.  But I do need to keep a distant eye on him, just in case.

It’s my baby girl that is freaking me out and the reason I need to become a social media specialist – oh boy, is she going to cause some trouble, bless her cotton socks.

So after a weekend of review, I have come up with some rules.

  1. Mobile phone will be bought the summer before starting senior school and it will have a tracking app that allows Mummy to see where children are at all times. If this app is turned off – then all technology will be removed for a period of time.
  2. Social Media (apps specified by Mummy) are only allowed at 13 years of age. Mummy will be checking mobile phones regularly and if this is disobeyed then all technology will be removed for a period of time and Mummy will shout lots.
  3. All Social Media accounts must include friendship to Mummy and Daddy. If it is found that parents are blocked and cannot see posts or comments, then technology will be removed and children shall be locked in the cupboard (well maybe just grounded, but some form of punishment).
  4. If it is found that nasty comments are being said by others – those people will be removed permanently from friends list. WORSE – if nasty comments are being said by children, then technology will be removed and Mummy will shout, lock children in the cupboard and make children clean the house.
  5. At no time will personal details be given to ANYBODY – no addresses, phone numbers etc. etc. There will be NO accepting friendships from complete strangers. And there will be NO organising to meet people AT ALL EVER.  Breach of this will involve home jail time – never being allowed out EVER!
  6. Children will listen and participate in conversations of internet safety and internet etiquette – often and randomly, whenever Mummy feels the need.
  7. Children will also listen to CONSTANT advice on the fact that whatever is put on social media is there FOREVER and cannot be taken back.  Future job prospects, boyfriends/girlfriends etc. will be able to access it.  EVERY post must be considered and the future impact must be thought about.
  8. Apps allowed initially – Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler, Reddit, Twitter and WhatsApp.
  9. Snapchat is not allowed until a later age and responsibility has been proved – as there is no history, Mummy can’t keep an eye on it.

So thems the rules babies and anyone breaking Mummy’s rules are in SOOOOOOOOOO much trouble!

Feel like I am going to war and the thought of spending evenings checking everything is making me feel tired already.  Who said babies and toddlers were hard work – well I officially declare Teenagers are the worst!