Keepin clothes on

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Someone asked me, “How did you get the boys to wear some clothes indoors?”

Okay…. so clothes aren’t HUGE at our house… I try to make sure they’re dressed when people come over, or if I plan to take pictures/videos for our page…

But here are a couple ways I’ve gotten my kids to wear clothes…

So I don’t know if you’ve ever spent a summer (or whatever) where you weren’t really wearing a lot of clothes… then when you put more clothes on because you had to go back to school/work/etc… it feels weird… Like when I went from wearing tank tops all day every day while I was pregnant… if I had to put an actual Tshirt on to leave the house, it felt suffocating…

So when our kids go from being half naked all the time to being made to wear clothes – it’s horrible… especially when they don’t understand why they’re feeling like that. First instinct is to rip them back off.

So one of the ways, I helped teach the kids (and kind of in that process with Jax) is by making him wear PJ’s (the full suit ones) all day every day… because eventually his body will adjust and he’ll be able to tolerate wearing clothes like shorts and a shirt, because his body has adjusted.

Which, because it’s been hot, and I haven’t been making him wear his pjs, his body has readjusted and now he wants to be naked constantly. lol

The other way I get my kids to do things, not even always with clothes, but with everything… is I take the one thing they can’t live without and I don’t allow them to have it until they do what I want.

Right now, it’s Tyler’s glasses and playing on my computer… Justin has to eat a banana before getting skittles, and Jax, he has to tell me he wants to take a bath on his AAC before he’s allowed to take one.

There’s crying at first, because there’s confusion and that’s not how it was done just yesterday…. but eventually it’ll click…

The one that’s most similar with your situation is Tyler… so if he takes off his glasses, I take the computer. Which at first resulted in meltdowns.
But I didn’t give in… if he went reaching for the computer, I held out his glasses. Once he put them back on, he got the computer.

So for her, you could give her her favorite thing in the whole world when she’s wearing clothes…. if she strips, take it away… help her put her clothes back on, and then give it back…. at first it’ll be really hard… but if she loves the object enough, she’ll figure it out REALLY quick. 🙂

Even Jax (at 2.5) has figured out he has to ask for things in order to get it…. he still has little tantrums every once and a while… and that’s okay, because it’s age appropriate, and they’re allowed to have their feelings, but they still need to do what you ask.

Gender Specific toys make my eye twitch

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The other day, there was a house down the road having a yard sale.
I love yard sales.
Because my kids don’t always like to play with toys, so I like being able to find cheap toys to try out with them. If they don’t work out and the boys don’t like them, we put them in a bag and take them to Goodwill.

So I checked out this house’s yard sale, and it was all “girl” stuff.

But I’ve raised my kids without “gender specific” toys, so it didn’t matter to me.
I grabbed a barbie, a few little ponies, a baby doll, a little book, a hula hoop and this little princess wand and hat thing.
For $3! Couldn’t beat it.

I took them home, laid them all out on the couch and let the boys check them out.
I stuck the princess hat on Tyler and gave him the wand.

I smiled really big and said “How cute is he?!?!” to their Dad.
He kind of scoffed/laughed “That’s not even funny.”

I automatically got REALLY upset and defensive.

It goes to show that if you don’t spend a lot of time with someone, you grow apart and so do your priorities and ideals. Because we’ve had this talk before about gender specific.

“What? Because he’s wearing a hat and holding a wand? Because it’s pink? Because it’s a princess thing?? What’s “WRONG” with it??”

He didn’t say anything.

When are we going to stop limiting our children?
The biggest thing I hear is that BOYS shouldn’t play with GIRL stuff because they need to learn to grow up to be MEN.

Well ya know what… I’m honestly not too impressed with the male population.
(NOT all men… I’ve met some really amazing guys and some pretty crappy chicks – this is not an “all” group…)


But I would rather my boys grow up to be sensitive, understanding, compassionate MEN who have learned how to treat women, how to take care of THEIR children and how to over all not be an @$$hole.

Because there are a lot of “Men” out there who leave their families…. Don’t take care of their kids… leave ALL of the house work *couhh* “womens” *cough* jobs to the women… instead of being in a PARTNERSHIP with their spouse or significant other and only doing the “manly” jobs and roles.

But maybe… if girls were “allowed” to do the “boy” typical stuff… and the boys were “allowed” to do the “girl” typical stuff….
There would be better coping families out there.

That maybe women wouldn’t think they NEEDED a man in their lives and could become successful in their careers instead of ending up in a loveless relationship…

Or men could actually make their own food and do their own laundry, instead of going from living with mom to being with a woman because that’s what they’re supposed to do…. Before they’re really ready to make that commitment.

Maybe we’d have healthier families… that last…. That don’t end in divorce… that don’t end up with kids moving back and forth between their parents… who don’t end up feeling like it’s their fault.

Maybe we’ll have little girls… growing up to be engineers and scientists and men who are stay at home fathers or make up artists or bakers….

Women can still be women and men can still be men…. Without making them only use gender specific toys when they’re kids. Girls can wear blue and boys can wear pink. Girls can play with mud and trucks and boys can play with dolls and easy bake ovens.

That’s not going to magically turn them into the opposite sex.
Ya’ll know that’s not actually what’s happening right?

We’re expanding their imaginations.

Expanding their opportunities…

Expanding their worlds.

But by limiting what they can play with… limiting their choices, we’re telling them that they really can’t be whatever they want to be when they grow up… they can only be what society deems appropriate for their gender.

You can parent however you choose… they’re your children, and it’s your choice.
But me.
MY KIDS.
When I tell them that they can do anything in life.
If they are willing to fight for it… I’m not going to start limiting them to only “men” typical careers/jobs/opportunities.

PS: The boys didn’t even play with any of those toys except the hoola hoop and the baby doll.
But it was THEIR choice.
I didn’t force those toys onto them… but I didn’t also keep them from being able to make the choice to play with them.

Parents using “leashes” on their kids.

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Someone just said “hold my earrings!” didn’t they? I’m not looking for a fight!  I’m not putting down people who use them and I’m not saying that every child should be made to wear one.

As you can see, we used one that looked like a Monkey with a tail on Tyler when he was younger. We didn’t really have to use one on Justin. He didn’t run as fast or as far as Tyler did. lol He still ran! It was just “easier” keeping him close. Wasn’t easy… just easiER. lol

I know a lot of people think they’re bad. That NO kid should be made to wear a leash. Then there are some people who rudely tell parents “Why don’t you put a leash on that kid!”.

I’m not one to judge or tell you how to raise your kid, but I will tell you what we did and if it helps you… awesome!

Before I had kids, I’ll admit, I turned my nose up at the idea. “Just teach your kid not to run away from you”. At 19 I don’t recall hearing about Autism… or that there were special needs kids “eloping”… that they didn’t understand what danger was. Which is why, when I can, I try to take the time to explain myself to others…. you never know, that one person you don’t just growl at might have MANY other people they can influence with their new knowledge (even when they’re the one growling first).

It wasn’t until Tyler was about a year-ish (not quite sure when he regressed – he was diagnosed at 2) that I realized we had a problem with him taking off. We lived in the middle of no where and would take walks on the road. He would get SO excited, he would just take off. Running full speed away from me, towards a bend in the road that I couldn’t see around for cars.

It didn’t matter what I said or how I said it, he wasn’t stopping for anything. Which meant I had to leave Justin behind to chase after Tyler and pray that a car wouldn’t come in either direction before I could get them both. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t have a lot of traffic where we lived, but because we lived out in the middle of no where, on back roads, people FLEW through there. Doing 50-60 MPH in a 20 MPH area because everyone knew the roads and usually there was no one on them… So, although 7-8 times out of 10 I didn’t have to worry about the boys… those 2-3 times…. all it would take was that one second… To be too far away from one of them and a driver not paying attention.

After MONTHS of trying to teach him to stay with me, to answer to the word stop, to hold my hand… we decided on a leash. (Before we even knew he was Autistic) I didn’t treat him like a dog though – letting him run and pulling back on him when he reached the end of it or  walking him like that without holding his hand. It was PURELY backup. So if he got away from me and took off, he couldn’t get too far. I still put in the hard work… I was still teaching him to stay with me, to answer to no… to move off the side of the road when I yelled “car!”.

Eventually, all of that did work. Now when we’re walking in town or in the store, for the most part, he stays with me. If I say stop or come here… he listens. If I say “hands” he comes over and takes my hand. “Car!” He moves farther over. Which, it’s funny… you can tell he doesn’t get away with not listening to me AT ALL when we’re outside because he listens immediately, but at home he knows sometimes I’m too tired to put up the fight and I don’t always follow through with my instructions. So, he knows he can get away with more at home. (Goes to show not letting them get away with not listening to you works lol)

I don’t think leashes/harnesses are bad…. but I DO think you can misuse them. They shouldn’t be a replacement for the hard work you need to do with your child to get them to understand what they’re expected of. I know it can take a LONG time for them to understand, but it’s worth it. Don’t ever give up on your kid and think they just can’t learn. With positive reinforcement, repetitio, being consistent and not allowing them to not listen to you…. kids on the spectrum CAN learn!

I think people look at our kids and think “they don’t have it that bad… at least THEY listen to her”. Yea! lol About half to two thirds of the time, they listen (most of that is when we’re outside of the house lol)… but they listen to the words and phrases they understand and that I use EVERY SINGLE time I want them to do something. If I want them to “come here”… I don’t say, “Why did you run away, get over here, I’m not going to tell you one more time, I’m going to count to 3!” Nope… I say “come here”. If they don’t listen, I go get them, say “come here”, bring them back to the cart, then say thank you.

I’ve read somewhere (and this is paraphrasing because I read it like 3 years ago) that it takes an average kid to learn something about 3-10 times of being told and taught to do it… and it takes a kid on the spectrum about 30-40 times to learn the same thing. So, don’t give up…. Yes, you may have told them to stay with you SO many times you’re pulling your hair out… but eventually… they WILL get it!  And that goes for everything, including foods… so keep trying those too!

Please don’t think I’m telling you how to raise your child or that I know all the answers. I’m still learning!!  This is purely my opinions and what I’ve learned in the last 6 years of raising my boys. (I won’t be the one giving you advice about raising teens… I haven’t made it that far yet! lol)

Moral of the story? Do what works best for you and your family and what you need to do to keep your kids safe!

Why you shouldn’t tell your children “No! Don’t do that!”

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(For clarification BEFORE you read! lol I’m NOT a perfect parent. Nor am I trying to show/prove that I am. This is just one thing, in one area that I’ve noticed works on most kids. Not just mine. 😀 )

I was watching a movie the other day. There was a Dad and some kids who were up really high and trying to be careful to not fall. The Dad says “Don’t look down”. So, what is the first thing the child does? Looks down.

I worked at a daycare for 3 years and I now have 3 kids. Two on the spectrum (severe/non-verbal) and one a month old (so we don’t know where he lies as far as being ASD or NT). One of the things that the daycare made us do with the kids (that I still enforce with my family)… is to not say “no”. Don’t get me wrong. There are times No is needed, but MOST of the time… you don’t need to say no to your child.

Example: Tyler LOVES to climb on everything. Absolutely everything and anything. Of course some of his favorites are the areas I don’t want him climbing on. Of course my first instinct is to say “NO! Don’t climb on that!”. More than likely, because that’s what I was taught. It takes a lot of effort to change a habit. So it won’t happen overnight. But you better believe your child’s attitude can. Instead, I tell him “All done. Get down, feet on the floor” then I take him by his hand and show him where he CAN play. I don’t just throw him where he needs to be and leave. I go with him and play there too. That way he understands that where and what he’s playing is a place I will play with him and give him attention.

If you tell a kid – “NO! Don’t jump on the couch”. That tells them they shouldn’t jump on the couch, but you’re not replacing that with something they can do. So they look around… and nothing looks like as much fun as jumping on that couch. So, guess what they do? Then you get mad, you make them go to their room. You’re a “horrible mom/dad” and they “hate you”… all because they wanted to have fun and jump on the couch. Nothing life threatening… but now everyone is pissed off.

Depending on how old they are and level of understanding… if you would have said:

(Older or more understanding): I don’t like it when you jump on the couch. Why don’t you…. Then go and inforce what you asked them to do. Go push them on the swings for a bit before you say you have to go back inside to keep cleaning… or whatever.
Either way… You’ll get a better response.

With younger children (less understanding – no words): *angry/sad face* “All done! Feet on the floor” then take them by the hand (or if this is new to them and they don’t understand – pick them up) and take them to a new activity. If they don’t seem interested – tickle the crap out of them. lol Usually that helps my kids forget what they were even doing that you didn’t like. But DON’T just get up and walk away as soon as you put them at a new activity. More than likely their first instinct will be to get right back up and jump on the couch.

Often there are two reasons why kids do things they shouldn’t.
1: Because they didn’t know they shouldn’t do it (and with ASD kids – it takes a lot of repetition for it to sink in. I read somewhere (it was 3 years ago – sorry I don’t have a citation), that it takes kids on the spectrum some 30+ times for a new skill, lesson or enjoyment over a new food to sink in)…)
2: Because they want attention. They know that if they get up on this counter, YOU come over and give them attention. Some people don’t think kids really do that. That they’re just “bad kids”. Nope. They are starving for affection and interest. When they don’t get what they need over and over… THAT becomes habit and they just continue to do “bad things”.

There are NO bad kids… They just aren’t being heard the way they are trying to be.
Kids need attention. I know that we are ALL busy. There is just NOT enough time in the day for the things that matter to us most. Our family. But we REALLY need to take time out of our day to show those who mean the most to us, that we care about them. Otherwise they’re going to get that attention one way or another. (Doing bad things, being around bad people, etc)

So, try this for a day. Don’t say no. How many times do you really say no in a day? Tell them WHAT TO DO instead of what not to do. If you’re up for the challenge, come back and tell me how many times you accidently said no and how many times you caught yourself before you said it.

You would be so surprised how well your kids will listen to you if you show them what TO DO instead of tell them what NOT to do. 🙂