If someone told me that my children would accept a no, say "yes, mom" when directed, and sit quietly and calmly for activity, I would've laughed in their face.
Researching all the parenting methods led me to the belief that avoiding or couching a no was necessary. And my experience agreed. I had come to the point where I genuinely believed that if I told my kiddo no, one of us would wind up in the hospital and one of us would hit juvie or jail.
My kids screamed. I screamed. No one listened. The fights between my sweet daughters were sickening. I got cameras to prove I wasn't abusing my kids and that I was supervising them because I fully expected cps on my doorstep after so many colossal meltdowns.
My only respite was the time they spent on their electronic devices. They were finally quiet and I could think when they were on them. No fights. But then when it was time to move on to the next activity like bed or schoolwork or eating or going to the pool, it was a nightmare. Objects flew. I didn't know you could break a house.
I felt so stupid and embarrassed. My kids spoke so rudely, disdainfully to me. In public and private. I didn't go out if I didn't have to because I couldn't guarantee we would all make it home.
Driving was even dangerous. Several times, I pulled over as my tiny dragon erupted and hurled anything she could reach at me as I drove. I was afraid she would break windows. I didn't know what to do after pulling over. I just knew I couldn't drive safely. To keep ourselves safe, I pulled tiny dragon out of the car and shadowed her as she melted down outside the car so at least my other child wasn't being screamed at or having objects hurled at her. But she found rocks and hurled them at the windows. When I tried to restrain her, I would get head butted to the face, pinched, scratched, bitten, spit at, punched.
My tiny dragon is 9. I was terrified of how puberty would affect us. I was barely holding on.
My heart broke when it would be over and the tears would begin. Hearing my daughter's desperation at being so horrible and sad and embarrassed that she had done such things.
But now, I am sitting on my couch in the afternoon. We finished their schoolwork. I vacuumed the living room. I am not recovering from so many meltdowns that I am sitting here reeling and spinning and wondering how I will finish this day. The girls are happily playing in their rooms. My space is clean and uncluttered. (before I was so overwhelmed, I had piles everywhere and had no energy to clean.) I am caught up on emails. Caught up on bills. Caught up on medical business. Seriously. I never could get here before the program. When room time is over, we will sit together on the couch. I know we will enjoy read-aloud time cuddled together. That is a success!
Within one month of the program, both girls were reading. They are in 3rd and 6th grade with iep's and severe learning disabilities. They were unable to focus before the program. But now they can both read! I cried. I am so proud of them.
My youngest has never been able to put her clothes away by herself. She usually melts down. She put all of her clothes away for the first time last week. No meltdown. No back talk. She just did it. I came in and supported her at the end when her energy waned. But I came and asked her how I could help and she told me. She did most of it. By herself because she wanted to.
Last night, my youngest noticed out loud that her room was a mess and that it was making it hard to walk around and think. Her words. I told her I could help her tomorrow. This morning before it was time for her to come out of her room, she cleaned her room by herself! She figured out what had to be done and she did it.
When I first started the program, I wondered how my kids would possibly stay in their rooms in the mornings instead of coming out and fighting. I would have told you it was not possible. Well, every day they stay in their rooms until I invite them out to do their chores and eat breakfast. And chores take 10 minutes tops now. It used to be a solid 40 minutes of behaviors and half efforts.
When I tell my children to come inside from playing, they come immediately.
When I tell my children to come to me, they do.
When I tell my children to put their shoes away, they do. (no, they no longer throw them at me.)
When I think about how this happened, I am not even sure. I can't say what one thing changed everything. What I can say is that it worked unequivocally.
My extended family comments that our home is so calm now. That the girls really focus and listen really well now.
I notice that I can breathe. I want to live. I am glad I am their mom. I know what to do when their responses are not ideal (because they are still children). I do not obsess over whether they will end up in jail when they grow up. I do not wonder what I will do in jail for being a terrible parent. I am in the driver's seat in our family now. I expect and am beginning to receive respect from my children. We have so much fun together playing games and with the dogs and with each other. I am seeing so many wonderful sides of my kids I never knew about before.
It didn't cure my children. They still begin to have meltdowns. But I can keep us all safe when they do. I know what to do. It is actually easy.
Before the program, I looked at the testimonial on the main web page and could not concentrate well enough to read it. At the middle of week one, I could read it and understand it. And now I am writing my own because I want the same for your family. I want you to be able to love everything that your children are. I want your family to feel safe and connected. And fun.