Hello everyone! Today I’m going to share with you something I came up with off the top of my head during a discussion with my son. L says it helped him, so maybe it can help your kids too. Plus, it’s easier to remind him when a related situation arises in an incognito sort of way. It’s like an inside joke, only about something more serious. All I have to do is mention a few words that no one else would understand except for me and him. This way I don’t have to “call him out” and he knows exactly what I’m talking about. So much better than having a full on “Evil Mom” session in front of everyone.
It has been proven that visualization helps the memory. I know it helps mine. We’re not talking about the exercise where you sit in a quiet room, perhaps with some light music, close your eyes, and go on a shared visual quest in your mind. That is something I do with W on occasions to help calm him down. He has a bit of an anxiety issue that hasn’t really held him back that much, but I’m still trying to help him control it before it does end up getting out of hand. Today, we’re talking about a different kind of visualization. A little more on a kid’s level.
L has ADHD. Yes, I tried to deny it at first saying that it was just a label they were throwing on my son so they wouldn’t have to deal with him. I denied the medicine and proclaimed that he was just a boy being a boy until I was blue in the face. I had to keep saying it so often to his school that I ended up falling to the floor in a pool of my own tears. It was then that I knew he needed help. I needed help.
I AM MOM! I should be able to fix anything that’s going on with him, right? Wrong. Just because you know every intricate detail of your child, their thoughts, actions, reactions, likes, dislikes, doesn’t mean that you can handle everything they throw at you on your own. He was put into a smaller class for “emotionally disabled” students. I never even knew that existed before then. Since then, he has been put on a light ADHD medicine and has graduated into a normal class setting. I’m going to brag on my son for a moment. He is SMART! Very smart. Almost too smart for his age. It was horrible seeing him suffer in school because of his inability to control his actions. Thus the bending against my will for medication. Now he is in a gifted program! Yay L!
No matter how intelligent he is, retaining some information is really difficult for him. Especially when you’re droning on and on about something he isn’t interested in hearing. I have been working with him, trying to make him more self-aware of his actions and what reactions they gain from others. He’s been pretty one-sided and clueless as to why others respond to him negatively. This is not a fun area to work on him with, but it’s necessary. I explain to him that I want him to have a happy life; easy and full of friends. This is why I have not given up even though there are times I honestly want to.
Now, for the subject at hand. Visualization.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the game Minecraft. Oh, you have? It’s not like it’s one of the most popular games out there for children… In case you didn’t pick up on the sarcasm there, yes, yes it is very popular. We have Minecraft books, plushes, toys, crafts, posters, you name it. We even have an Ender Dragon in a cage in the living room. The boys love Minecraft. I love watching them play it. W can come up with some of the most awesome designs by using blocks. He even made his own Star Wars Universe featuring the heads of Boba Fett, Janga Fett, and Darth Vader. There are huge statues of light sabers and hover crafts. It’s truly amazing. I compare it to Legos. Just the digital version that J can’t eat!
L loves watching YouTube videos of Pat and Jen on PopularMMOs. In case you’ve never seen any of their videos, they’re a married couple that plays Minecraft together. They record their gameplay and voices while they’re going through fan created maps. Very kid friendly! I have to admit that I still end up watching them sometimes myself even after the kids go to bed. What can I say? They have a knack for good, clean entertainment.
While talking to my son about how his behaviors can cause damage in his relationships with others, I saw that look on his face. That “I’m trying to pay attention, but really I’m just thinking about the ice pops in the freezer and if penguins would enjoy eating them,” look. I had to think quick. Those penguins were waddling pretty speedily through his mind and I was getting nowhere.
Ah ha! I had it! We had just watched a few rounds of Pat and Jen playing a lucky block race earlier that day. This was going to bring him back from the snowy dessert for sure! I’m not sure which episode it actually was, or I would link to it, but I’ll explain it as best as I can. They were on a map that was elevated, and if any of the blocks broke, they could fall off the map and have to restart at the starting line. As you go down this track there are several blocks like the ones pictured above. The contents of these blocks are random and unknown to the players. The point of the race is that you have to hit every lucky block on the course and reach the finish line first. Some of the blocks are filled with helpful items that aid you down the line, but others can be filled with enemies, TNT, or traps that hold back your progress. A lot of the “unlucky blocks” can result in loosing a life and having to restart at the beginning again.
In the race that I used as my example, there were different options as to which character you wanted to play at the beginning. These different characters had different skills. Being that the course was unknown, picking the right one was more a game of chance. Jen decided to pick the cow. The cow was a builder. (Hang with me here, this game was designed to incite imagination.) She ended up picking the right one. Poor Jen usually gets the short end of the stick in these, but not this time. This elevated map ended up being blown to pieces by enemies and TNT. There was even a boss character near the beginning that stomped all over the track destroying it. Lucky for Jen, she had picked the builder that could rebuild the track.
I told L that when you do things that irritate others, it’s like you hit an unlucky block. I referenced earlier that day when he ran into the room like a madman in between us and what we were doing just to see what was going on. Halo needed an update… that’s it, but he heard us react to something and HAD to be in the middle of it. One of his biggest problems is trying to steal the spotlight and have everyone focus on him no matter the situation. (He gets plenty of love and attention when he behaves correctly, so it’s not that he’s begging for attention he never gets.) In this instance, I told him it was as if he had run in the room, saw a block, hit it, and it ended up being TNT. He just blew a hole in his floor. Now he has to start over and rebuild that section. In lesson terms, he damaged a part of the relationship he had with the people in the room and now he needs to work on fixing that.
The more damage you do, the more difficult your road becomes. You now need to work twice as hard to gain the same amount of ground that you could have just flown past had you not destroyed it in the first place. Fixing situations and relationships takes time. Unnecessary time. It can cause you to come in last at the finish line. It can cause you to ultimately fail at your goal. His goal is to have positive relationships with others. Right now he is not making the time he needs to win that race. Instead, he is rebuilding. He is now being the cow. That’s our little inside “joke” about this lesson. When he starts to fall short of his goal, I look at him and say, “Be the cow.” He understands what I’m talking about and no one else is the wiser.
I told him to visualize all helpful blocks in his mind. Don’t think of the negative ones, or you’ll will them to be. Only think of the positive things you can bring out and that’s what will happen. This helps him to not give up. If he only focuses on the negative aspect, he’ll stop trying because that grows to a rather large list at times. Bringing out good things like favorable behavior and happiness in others will keep you and your track safe and allow you to reach the finish line with little resistance and great speed.
L let me know that this helped him and honestly it helped me too. Now I can use supportive reinforcement (be the cow!) instead of negative lectures when he is doing something wrong. His everyday situations now appear as a fun challenge in his mind instead of an impossible hurdle that he can’t get over. We are making progress, slow mooo-ving progress! 🙂
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and can pull something from it that may help in your own lives. I love visualization. I use it myself as often as I can. If I can see a picture in my mind, I can better look at every angle. Have a great day!
PS.-I’ve finally figured out how to add a few different connections on here. I now have a subscribe via e-mail section and links to my Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+. Today was a social media blur! Keep coming back to see what new stuff I discover on here. The possibilities seem endless.
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