View Full Version : Holiday Hell


Uminchu
12-30-05, 08:36 PM
10 days into our son's 21-day winter vacation (he's in 2nd grade), and he's starting to lose it big time. Last night he was throwing things at his mother's head, then blowing spitballs at her, apparently just to amuse himself.

My son just doesn't do well when you take him out of his schedule. Over the summer, he has summer school, then all sorts of day camps and such, so we manage to keep him busy. But over Christmas there's nothing, and even his ordinary activities like tutoring, soccer and pool are on break.

We are trying to keep him busy on his own, and also get him play dates with friends, but it seems like the more we do for him, the worse it gets. As much as we can, we are trying to give him a clean slate each day, but it gets harder the more outrageous his behaviors get. Right now his card collection and DVDs are sitting in my office as punishment for last night.

The sad thing is, I know that as soon as school starts again he will be back to his relatively well behaved self...

Imnapl
12-30-05, 09:17 PM
I do better when I have a work schedule to structure my day. My son is really enjoying his Christmas break in Japan.

Uminchu
12-30-05, 11:05 PM
I do better when I have a work schedule to structure my day. My son is really enjoying his Christmas break in Japan.
Your son is in Japan? Cool -- what's he doing there?

I don't seem to be doing so badly without my schedule, and I love traveling and doing new sorts of stuff, but I know a lot of ADHD people feel a lot better with a schedule.

That said, I am using my "vacation" to do a bunch of work stuff that I didn't have time to do when I was working, so... :p

Imnapl
12-31-05, 12:31 AM
My son made a very impulsive (go figure) decision to join his girlfriend on her trip home to visit her family. His gracious hosts are giving him the royal treatment and have planned a detailed itinerary to give a Canadian a real taste of Japan. They visited the largest electronics store in Osaka on Christmas Day. Is everyone gearing up for New Year's Day?

sherigraph
12-31-05, 01:14 AM
Could part of your sons problem be that he is to structured? I mean, to many activities to make his time go? Sometimes kids need to just learn to be bored. I know when my kindergartner gets to many activities going on, and no down time to just color, play on her own etc... that she gets just horribly cranky. I know all kids are different so I am not meaning this would be what your son needs. When he starts doing those things to his mom, maybe try giving him one warning and say, "if you do that one more time, you will have to go sit for ten minutes. Take something important away from him. Hard to know what to do. Kids are all so different on what works and doesn't work. Good luck.

Uminchu
12-31-05, 01:53 AM
Could part of your sons problem be that he is to structured? I mean, to many activities to make his time go? Sometimes kids need to just learn to be bored. Thanks for the encouragement. Man, if my kid could learn to be bored it would be a godsend -- to my wife in particular, who gets a "mom, I'm bored" every 5 minutes he's not doing something...

We found out about our son's problem with unstructured time between k-5 and 1st grade. At the time, he wasn't in any activities, but during the summer he went bonkers. As in destroying things and putting his life in danger. Within a week of school starting, he was back to his lovable self. This was all before we suspected ADHD.

This last summer, we kept him busy pretty much the whole time, and we had very few behavior problems.

Threats don't really work. He always regrets his outburts later, whether you punish him or not, but when he's in one of those moods, just about no threats of punishment will work. He needs to keep pushing until he gets a rise...

But as I write this, he is doing pretty well today. Just crossing my fingers that it lasts till bedtime...

Uminchu
12-31-05, 02:02 AM
My son made a very impulsive (go figure) decision to join his girlfriend on her trip home to visit her family. His gracious hosts are giving him the royal treatment and have planned a detailed itinerary to give a Canadian a real taste of Japan. They visited the largest electronics store in Osaka on Christmas Day. Is everyone gearing up for New Year's Day?
Sounds like a great experience. Osaka is a cool town -- lots of character.

Yes, today is omisoka, or New Year's eve. Tonight we'll eat osechi ryori (traditional New Year's dishes), play traditional games, and watch fireworks if the rain will let up.

Young folks will head out to the Shinto shrines tonight to pray in the New Year, but us old fogeys will go tomorrow morning... It's really cool, because it's one of the only times that everyone in Japan wears kimono (I will be wearing one too!).

Imnapl
12-31-05, 04:14 AM
This is so exciting! Yes, his girlfriend's parents asked if he wished to wear traditional kimono for New Year's weeks before they left North America. They did mention a trip to a temple. His girlfriend told me that her grandmother and mother spend hours preparing traditional food for New Year's Day. They took him to Universal Studios for his birthday. :D

Imnapl
12-31-05, 04:15 AM
My daughter made Sushi for dinner tonight. Does that count?

Uminchu
12-31-05, 08:48 PM
My daughter made Sushi for dinner tonight. Does that count?
It's not osechi, but it is celebration food, so a great dinner for New Year's. The most important thing on New Year's is to eat toshikoshi soba, which translates as "year-crossing noodles." You can't make it into the new year if you don't eat them! :eek:

Osechi used to be a bigger deal when all the stores were closed until Jan. 4, because that's all you had to eat! But nowadays you go out for ramen on New Year's day, so it's just a tradition.

sherigraph
12-31-05, 09:41 PM
Uminchu, heck, my teenagers still get bored. lol. I just offer them some extra chores. They still complain. Kids are all so different. What works for one, sure doesn't work for another. I know my 6 yo also gets bored, but for her, I can give her the dusting stuff and she is happy. lol. Not the teens. I guess keeping your son busy works for him. As for threats, they don't usually work for my 6yo either. I usually just have to take something away, or ignore her when she is not listening. (unless of course it is something I can't ignore)

livinginchaos
01-01-06, 01:28 PM
Have you tried activity boxes?

With the kids I work with, we put activities (various crafts, "homework" books - with math, reading, mazes, word scrambles, associations - coloring books and crayons, playdoh, puzzles, etc.) in boxes and at certain times of the day activity boxes need to be done and we give them a certain number (activity boxes 1, 5, 9 must be completed) and most of the time, a certain amount of time.

Whatever is in the activity boxes are activities that can be completed by himself - to foster independence. Have him do the activity boxes when you and/or his mother are busy (like getting lunch/dinner ready) and you can't give him as much attention.

I hope it's going better, Uminchu!

Uminchu
01-02-06, 10:03 AM
Have you tried activity boxes?
No I haven't heard of this. Thanks for the tip!

I hope it's going better, Uminchu!
Thanks! He has been doing better the last couple of days. Last night I had to yell at him, but it wasn't really his fault. I'm hoping we can keep this up until school starts on the 10th...

MGDAD
01-03-06, 12:23 PM
Exercise. You really need to get those little bodies worn out. Both of my kids do much better if we get some good exercise. One day this weekend when it was raining, I let them both have a turn on my wife's treadmill. Another day we went for a bike ride, the other day we went Ice Skating. All of these activities are exhausting for them, so bed time goes great. I have two girls, but I think it is even more important that boys get exercise.

Uminchu
01-04-06, 08:50 AM
Exercise. You really need to get those little bodies worn out.
That's great advice, MGDAD. My son does tend to get into veg mode in front of the tv/computer unless someone gets him in motion. Not having siblings or friends his age nearby (within walking distance) is a big problem.

I am trying to think back to his good and bad days, and remember if there were consistent patterns of activity (or lack thereof...). It may need to build up for a couple days, I think, but there probably is a pattern.

Thanks again for the reminder!

MGDAD
01-04-06, 01:08 PM
I hope the excercise helps. People tend to get wrapped up in drugs and reward systems etc. Sometimes it is just the basics. My mom (who raised 5 kids) tends to give me the simple advice that is often so obvious. She recently pointed out to me the importance of excercise as how it relates to kids behavior. True or not, it can only be beneficial to the kids. Diet, excercise, sleep.

I am not "anti-drug" just saying you should keep the basics in check too.

I also wish kids could play in the neighborhood by themselves, like in the old days. I think that was really beneficial to their emotional learning. sigh....

Uminchu
01-04-06, 01:41 PM
I also wish kids could play in the neighborhood by themselves, like in the old days. I think that was really beneficial to their emotional learning. sigh....
I hear you! I live in a rural-ish village in Okinawa, Japan, where things are still relatively safe. However, when we first moved here kids used to play in the fields near my house every day, but sadly a child was abducted from about 1km away, and since then parents don't let their kids play down there alone.

Outside the holidays our son does get a lot of exercise (still working on the sleep part...), but that's hard to accomplish now. Just counting the days until the 10th!

Jaycee
01-05-06, 07:36 PM
Try to limit the time he is at a TV or Video game. This is hard to do especially when they are cooped up in the house. Anything that is excersise is good though. He's probably used to expending more energy and the change to making choices is hard on some kids.

I liked the activity box idea, but I'd let him have a choice of which one he wanted to do out of a couple I had picked. Children need to learn to make choices, within limits, especially those who are very rigid in their routines.

You might also use handy internet food sites so he can help make something in the kitchen. That ususally keeps mind occupied for quite a while.