Michael is still having a lot of trouble with rule following. Some days it is funny. Other days it is downright stressful as there are only so many times I can explain why we have to follow rules, why he can’t do his own thing, and why the world works the way it does. At school, they are using a sticker system for good behavior. Once the child gets a certain amount of stickers, they get a reward at the end of the day. In pure frustration after another fight about rules, not knowing what else I could try, I announced that we were going to try the sticker system at home. I fully expected protest, but was shocked when Michael agreed wholeheartedly with me. We’ve been using it for a few days now, and it has worked quite well for rule following and cooperation. Today was a little different, but then in the end after many apologies on Michael’s part, I decided that we would continue to use it for a little while longer. I know it’s a temporary solution, but while we deal with all the anxiety Michael has, I need to have some way to show him that when he asks for help and does well, there is something good waiting for him. He needs to know that life is not random, as it sometimes appears to be to him, I’m sure.
Being a kid is hard. I remember back to my childhood. It was difficult having all these big people telling me what to do. There were so many things to remember. I would get very anxious too. It affected my sleep like it does Michael, and though I did well in school and had friends, I was always panicking on the inside. I didn’t learn really good stress relievers until I was in adulthood, although I always knew I could count on my Mom to talk things out with. I make sure Michael knows he has me to talk to, and lucky for me, he does share things with me. It is hard for both of us, but even if we don’t always agree with each other, I hope I am showing him good coping skills, and eventually modeling good ways to calm down. This is an area that we are still working on.
What rule following methods work in your families, Exceptional Moms? Do your kids need more or less structure than at school to lessen anxiety? What methods work for you personally to lessen anxiety? For myself, it varies. Sometimes, I need to super structure my day to the utmost to feel in control. Other days, I need to wing it a bit and take it moment to moment when I can. We all have our own preferences, and it’s important to respect that so that we can feel the sense of order and purpose in our lives and teach that to our children.