Doesn’t Matter the Label, Just Matters That I am Mom

The label that my middle child receives down the road as we venture into the path of a possible new diagnosis really doesn’t matter to me. Aj’s Dad and I have been raising the same boy for the past seven years so whatever label is placed upon our son really doesn’t matter as it pertains to anything other than giving us something to research better. You see, no one lives our life. No one outside of our home has experienced the real Aj.

With no medication interfering with Aj in any way positive nor negative, the school is starting to get a glimpse into what our world has been like for years with Aj. He’s either withdrawn and down or hyper and happy. This is why there is certainly a mood aspect to our son but there is also this other side of Aj where he shows anxiety, he is anxious about new things and anxious that life needs go to a certain way. Then there is that routine driven side of Aj and that mentality that once he has it in his head something is correct, there is no talking him out of it.

There is the side to Aj where you could tell him the sky is blue and if he is convinced at that day and time that the sky is purple, then the sky is purple. It’s that simple for Aj. Aj is a complex child yet also very simple. The real world rules don’t necessarily apply to our sweet Aj, he is unique and in some ways unique is a great thing while in other ways unique can get into the way of a public school child. Aj is starting to show me signs of concern in the public school environment, I wonder if he will ever make real friends, real long term friends. I wonder if Aj will ever have a life that is one that people classify as normal.

Then I realize … those wonders are my anxiety kicking in. As I watch Aj suffer with some anxiety symptoms, I notice my generalized anxiety disorder starts to chime in. It’s this emotional connection that Aj’s counselor has advised me to separate better with that keeps me wondering and worrying about things outside of my control. I am better at controlling my anxiety, after all I haven’t had medication for anxiety in many years. I have learned to fight anxiety and I will teach my son the same skills, as I have with my oldest.

Aj is a happy child, if anyone asks I would say he is compassionate with a huge heart but he lacks the understanding of sarcasm or snide comments. You see, with Aj you have to say what you mean and mean what you say because if not, he gets frustrated. Aj doesn’t comprehend sarcasm for the most part, yet there are a rare few moments that he actually may look at you after a quick witted comment and smirk as if he got it. Those moments are rare. For the most part, Aj is a child who needs people to say what they mean and mean what they say.

Aj cannot have people in his home environment that cannot be that person for him, it’s not easy. My daughter and his younger brother have worked hard and continue to work as a family to ensure Aj has a safe, loving home environment. That means far too often we have to bite our sarcastic tongue and say things the way Aj needs to hear them. While we find humor in sarcasm, Aj does not. In my mind, it’s not that difficult but when you have a tween daughter and younger sibling of a child like this, it can cause a ruckus from time to time.

I don’t want to deter my daughter and my other son from being who they are to their core, but I want to teach them to respect who Aj is at his core as well. It’s a juggling act around here most days. Whatever label Aj ends up with for a diagnosis, I am okay with that, because after all, I have been raising him for seven years so no matter what they say “he has”, reality is HE IS my son, always has been and always will. I will always be here fighting for him right beside him and encouraging him to move forward to lead a happy, healthy life.

As I do with my other children. That is my job. My job is Mom.

5 Tips on Working with an Anxious Child

Anxiety. Mood disorder. Special Needs. It’s all fine within your own household, you see we learn to deal with our children in a way that works for them. Society, on the other hand, has zero tolerance for people who don’t fit their mold of what they think to be the norm. I am at the point where I am about sick of being stared at every single time my child is having a difficult day due to either a medication change or simply just having an off day. When my son has an off day, it’s unlike my other two children because he has a mood disorder and anxiety; this makes an off day for him closer to the end of the world mentality. It’s normal for him, it’s not so normal for others. With that being said, there are simple ways to work with a child who has anxiety, and yes people, anxiety is a real disorder that sometimes keeps people from going outside of their house because it’s too painful to go outside of their comfort zone.

I was that person. I have anxiety and every day, even at age 32, it’s still a struggle to get out and mingle with society without having first prepped my brain for it. I have to literally talk myself into going out in public some days and while it’s become my norm at 32 years of age, it wasn’t always my norm. Talking yourself into being part of society when you suffer from major anxiety takes a lot of strength and determination as well as motivation, all three things my seven year old may have but not with a true understanding of how he works best. With that being said I decided to create this list of ways to work with an anxious child …. to help you work with an anxious child at a level that makes sense for the child and will help them blossom in time.

5 Tips to Work with Anxious Children

  1. Be Firm, Yet Understanding – Remind your child that you understand and feel for what he/she is going through, allow their feelings to be validated but be firm in your tone, not stern, so that the child realizes “this person means business” but doesn’t feel more anxious & overwhelmed with the demands from said adult.
  2. Encourage but Do not Force – As my son’s counselor told me, “there is a fine line between encouraging and forcing”. It’s vitally important for the growth of an anxious child to encourage them to continue on in life as is their norm without the anxiety attack. Do not allow anxiety to take over your child, but also don’t drag them kicking and screaming if encouragement doesn’t work. It’s not the end of the world if anxiety has overcome your child to the point that he/she doesn’t want to partake in a certain situation and forcing will only increase anxious feelings. Try again next time.
  3. Don’t Use Logic with an Irrational Thought Pattern – Anxiety is a completely irrational fear of society or situations, therefore you cannot try to use logic or rational reasoning with a child who is having an anxiety attack. They are in a different place where, in their own mind, their fear in this moment makes sense to them. 
  4. Listen to The Child Speak – This is a very important tip, you should listen to an anxious child speak fully. Allow the child to explain to you exactly what they are thinking and feeling during their anxiety attack. This helps two things; it helps you understand what is going on inside of their head so you can better assist them in moving forward and it helps them get whatever they are feeling off of their mind allowing them to have a better chance at overcoming this anxiety attack.
  5. Prepare The Child for What’s to Come – Anxious children really like to know what is going to happen next, most times children will automatically assume that x,y,z is going to happen. When x.y,z doesn’t happen in that order or doesn’t happen at all, then they are bound to have an anxiety attack. Anxious children like to have a routine and a schedule, while they are adaptable to changes in their routines, they must be prepared for those changes. Do your best to prepare an anxious child for their “what’s next” on the agenda, so as to avoid a full blown anxiety attack.

 If you follow the 5 Tips on Working with an Anxious child above, I firmly believe that you will be on your way to greener pastures with your anxious child.

“Image courtesy of cooldesign/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

Multiple Giveaway Winners Announced

Congrats WinnersMany giveaways have ended and so today I announce all of the winners … drum rolls please….

Kidecals $21 Voucher - Tara Carlson

#IevenFunnier James Patterson Books Package – Dawn Schmidt

PadPillow – Jackie Villano

Terry Top – Bonnie Walker

$25 Music & Arts Gift Code – Kaman Leong

Picture Keeper PK4 – Lucki Grrl

Little Gym CD – Sara Doodle-Phillips

Brinks Home Security Door Knob/Lever – Sara Haaf

Congrats and please complete THIS FORM so that I can send your details to the sponsor

 

A Summertime Giveaway – Bella Andre Beach Bag & More

I have been hearing all over the radio that Memorial Day weekend is the welcoming of Summer? To me, it’s also a day to remember those who have fought for the freedoms we have today, I also like to try to visit my aunt Robin’s grave that I have not been to in a long time. It is about remembering those who matter and are important. It is also, for many, a welcoming of warmer weather and barbecue season… I have already been to the beach, I shared that photo collage on Wordless Wednesday.

Today I am inviting you all to learn more about Bella Andre’s book, The Look of Love.  First and foremost, what I love about Bella Andre is that she was denied publishing on normal avenues and decided to market them herself. The books were not selling and she was given all rights back to her books. Then something happened, through her own marketing of her own books, she became a New York Times Bestselling Author! I am proud that Bella Andre is someone who I am helping spread the word about because this shows that anyone can make it if they do not take no as an answer. That I CAN DO THIS mentality will take you far and it took Belle Andre here, where I am helping share her new book alongside a fun Summer giveaway!

Bella Andre Beach Bag Goodies

I personally received this package shown above, it’s a high quality beach bag with a bunch of goodies inside, to include a copy of Bella Andre’s book, The Look of Love. I would tell you my thoughts on this book but I am still working on reading it! I hope to share my insight to what I think about The Look of Love in future months. Right now, I want to use this Memorial Day weekend to help spread a bit of sunshine in your world with a chance at winning the gift bag shown above!

Giveaway Is for a Beach Bag filled with these goodies {approx value is $130}:

1.       1 Jade and Jasper bracelet

2.       1 Pair of Solemates Heel Savers

3.       1 Travel size Evian brumisteur

4.       1 bottle OPI “Suzi’s Hungary Again” nailpolish

5.       1 copy of Bella Andre’s THE LOOK OF LOVE

6.       1 Travel size bottle of NYM Smooth Moves

7.       1 Pair Unisun Eyewear sunglasses

8.       1 Vapur “anti-bottle” water bottle

Giveaway Details:

One winner shall be chosen by random using the random winner generator in Raflecopter. The winner shall have 48 hours to claim prize after receiving the email and announcement goes live on site too. Open to US only. Giveaway ends June 7, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.

Using the Rafflecopter form below is easy; use name/email to log in or Facebook for login. Rafflecopter will not use your email or access for anything other than giving me a way to contact you should you be the randomly chosen winner! Winner will have 48 hours to claim prize or another person will be randomly selected.

Want a chance to head to Las Vegas? {this is in not part of the giveaway I am hosting on site for Beach Bag}

Visit Facebook.com/HarlequinBooks from May 22nd – May 31st and create your SUMMER OF LOVE Mixtape for a chance to win a trip for YOU and THREE friends to Las Vegas.  *No purchase necessary. Ends May 31, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I did receive the same products being given away. All opinions are my own.

Things I Do To Keep my Positive Mind on Track

Life can get quite overwhelming at times for even the most positive of people, we are tested each day in our strengths and weaknesses to grow more as an individual person. I am a firm believer we are not given more than we can handle, even if what we can handle seems to be way more than we thought capable of. From time to time my positive attitude is tested, whether it be a week full of mishaps or a full day that just seems to be spiraling downward; life happens and in turn my mind is forced to remember to focus on the positive as well as what I want in my world. A simple thought truly can change your world, but it doesn’t happen right away and it’s not an easy task to think clearly when you are frazzled with life.

Here are some things I do to keep my mind on track for my positive future when times get tough … hopefully they help you too!

A Day at the Beach

Head to the Beach For some Sunshine

My family loves being outside in the sunshine during the Spring and Summer months. The warmth of that sun shining down upon you simply warms the soul making it easy to be happier. Sunshine always helps to clear the mind too, whether you are swimming in the water, playing ball, building a castle in the sand or simply lounging watching the family laugh while they play, a day at the beach can certainly help to alleviate stress and allow your mind to recoup back to a happy place.

Search for Positive Quotes and Sayings Online

Sometimes when I am feeling low or out of positive energy, I will get online to search some great happy quotes from various famous English Literature authors. Taking time to look up famous positive quotes or even funny quotes in image form can be useful to help regain positive attitude and get back on track for the day. Some of my personal favorite quotes were shared the other day in the article 5 Brilliant Quotes About the Power of Positive.  A quote a day helps keep the stress away!

Take a Fifteen Minute Nap

Believe it or not, a fifteen minute nap can recoup your mind easily. If you sleep longer than fifteen minutes you may feel groggy and more down and stressed than you did when you laid down.I have found just fifteen to twenty minutes at most for a nap when you are feeling overwhelmed can really help build your mind back up to focus on moving forward in a positive way.

These few things that I mentioned above really have helped keep me moving forward in keeping that positive mindset working. I have seen many amazing things line up just right because of my skill to think positive and truly focus on thinking about what I want and need versus what I am going through or what I do not want to have happen.

What are some ways you keep your positive mindset on track?

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