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2016-05-25 - 6:34 a.m.

I was coming here to write, but it occurred to me I should go for a run this AM, so this will be brief. (I HOPE) I have already been up a while and Washed and DRESSED for work, so maybe that was silly...

But now have the urge to run...

GREAT WEEKEND this Sat and SUN as I brought the girls to a super fun 5k!

They all had a fabulous time as it was at a theme park. We got to ride rides all day Sat (after chores were done of sorting clothes! We knocked off that chore and have a few bags to donate, house a little less cluttered and the laundry/seasonal clothes bins brought out mess ALMOST cleaned up!)

I ran a 10 K and it was just a great race. Under a 12 min mile!
On track from my MCM training.

OK, I am not going to have time to run this AM....just have to submit to that.

The dilemma : write or run in the AM hours??

I have to get more disciplined to fit in BOTH Regularly!

I get my prayer time in when I run. Some ask me how I can run as they just hate it. I say the rosary which is very motivating. It is a good place to start with motivation to keep moving when you don't feel like it.

I always think of Franny and Zooey and the Jesus Prayer she was chanting...

I so have to re-read that book as it was my early introduction into Eastern meditation practice. I must have been about 12 when I pulled that off a shelf in Ohio when we were vacationing. I sort of guiltily kept the book and read it on a ride and somehow it felt grown up and mature

And I think I barely understood it. I haven't re-read it as an adult yet the snippets of memory of how it impacted me remain with me.

My take away was the transformative power of meditation and that there were OTHER ways of practicing religious faith.

For me, the way is to run and pray. In college I swam and prayed. Same thing.... the rhythmic chanting to get to the OM...

Sometimes when running I find myself just counting.. Counting can have that calming meditative effect once the mind is cleared of the clutter of thoughts.

So I am VERY HAPPY In particular that Raitlin and her friend from school both had such a nice time that he said he would run a 5 K with us ANYTIME !

I think it was just SO GOOD for all the girls, and in particular she has been struggling so it was good to see HER HAPPY.

I am so thankful that this boy's father got up at 4AM to drive his sons to a race!!! THAT is love! THANK YOU DAD of those boys. You might not know it, but my child has been depressed and suicidal and despondent and asking why life is worth living. She knows it is worth living when she shares time with her friends and when she hears your son say to her "THANK YOU! That was the best day of my life"

Which he told her at the end of the day.

How can we as parents help our struggling kids?

FIND the JOY and go do things WITH Your kids that bring you all joy.

Here is a parenting tip I have found never fails:

I am not into hyper controlling parenting, but I am into the parenting style of making kids GET OUT AND DO THINGS once in a while with family and friends.

Raitlin swore "I hate running . I am not running. I will never run. I don't even want to walk anywhere."

AT Christmas a new Minecraft sweatshirt changed that attitude quickly and she exuberantly put it on and we all went to the Jingle Bell 5K. This time inviting her friend made here EXCITED (I also believe in bribes as a new T Shirt that says "Keep Calm and Game ON" was also motivating)

TIP #2 FIND YOUR KIDS CURRENCY AND USE IT AS THE BRIBE (a/k/a "positive reinforcer")

TIP #3 If you are a negative parent who tends to say NO all the time, find ways to ask your kid to do things THEY WANT TO DO and get in habit of trying to RETRAIN their Brain to say YES! This is not my tip, but I have to mention it Came from Dr. DARN Want to give credit but I forget ...Some hippy psychologist I paid $30 a month for his really well done parenting advice tools..Adam something from New Hampshire or VT... about parenting Oppositionally Defiant kids... BUILD THE POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP first and foremost and watch behavior change to positive. ( I truly thought this advice a bit kooky at first, but trust me as counter-intuitive as it is , that doc specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy and changing behavior patterns of ODD Kids SWORE By the technique of ONLY ASKING THEM TO DO SOMETHING THEY WANT TO DO FOR WEEKS in order to develop a "YES MOM" and "YES DAD" habit , or "YES TEACHER" and then WATCH The habit of defiantly projecting or saying NO or just ignoring requests actually diminish or in the best case scenario STOP. This really worked with Katie (I Think that is her fake name! Haven't had issues with her in a long time so now I forget it!! She used to be literally VIOLENT with her whole family at times and now this child is rather happy, cooperative and helpful. It helps that I ask her to do the chores she LIKES but hey, on Mother's Day that formerly defiant kid SCRUBBED all the bathroom sinks and showers so that indicates tremendous progress with her! She is the one I USED TO Worry about most of all, and now she is doing well with only small *moments* now and then. Ok, so they are moments of telling a sister she will beat the crap out of her, or saying something like " I WILL COME AFTER YOU" so they ARE Still a bit off the *normal* chart... in intensity and aggressiveness of demeanor... but they are SHORT LIVED at least, she calms down or at least disengages , and she no longer actually TRIES to physically beat the crap out of anyone (she used to try... oh my!), and she herself agrees that in those moments it is neither nice nor NORMAL to have such a visceral FIGHT reaction to some trigger).... Yeah, the above technique helped her in particular tremendously as that sister used to be the most defiant of all the girls. Heck its been a whole year since I had to call cops for back up out of fear someone would get hurt!( She has come a long way! That last incident I had to have Alexy pick up the phone as somehow, after I had confiscated a cell phone as a consequence, she managed to grab my hair and had a head lock hold rather good...and we were on the stairs of all places! I had gotten tired after a round or two of deflecting blows...and in heading downstairs to leave her to calm realized my misjudgment quickly when she was on top of me in what I can only consider very cat like!) Seriously if a year ago someone would have told me one of my kids would need intervention at school for behaviors she would have been the one I guessed it would have been! She is doing just SO WELL NOW! I INTENDED To actually WRITE this next as Tip #3, but that thought interrupted..

So here is
TIP #4 If you tend to find yourself being that negative parent who says NO all the time, a POSITIVE REINFORCER is actually REALLY just the negative reinforcer delivered in a positive rewarding way rather than the taking away of something in a NEGATIVE way! Truly the DELIVERY matters. You can either start punishing by emphasizing "YOUR BAD And I am punishing you to take away what give you joy" and give kid message : I WANT TO INFLICT PAIN IN YOUR LIFE AN EYE FOR AN EYE is what they hear. They caused some pain to you as a parent or socially,societally (most often school), made OTHERS Uncomfortable so NOW THEY ARE GOING TO GET IT And LEARN THEIR LESSON.
Trouble is the only lesson they hear is that you as a parent want them to HURT

The kids don't get a message of love from that delivery,don't get a message or self worth, don't get a message of how to have self control and do better in the future, don't learn a skill of how to learn to be cooperative and appreciate WHY OBEDIENCE Is a GOOD THING THEY WOULD DESIRE TO CULTIVATE

The kids then learn ANGER

Parenting with negative reinforces tends to beget NEGATIVE ATTITUDES And behaviors

The difference is , if you DO TAKE A PRIVILEGE AWAY then to do so in order to set limits,re-train a person to have healthy habits, have respect for others and be able to share ALL MAKES SENSE.

It makes sense to have a consequence of taking a privilege away to ensure SAFETY and RESPECT FOR RULES and understanding of how the kid's behavior impacts others. It makes sense to have a consequence for LEARNING.

BUT you don't take something away just to have a kid FEEL PAIN and it is important that intent is communicated and understood by the kid.

You rather as a parent take away that cell phone at night NOT CAUSE YOU WANT YOUR KIDS SAD and disconnected but cause you want your kid to SLEEP AND BE HEALTHY AND NOT BE DISTRACTED And to be able to get homework done without losing track of time. Sometimes a kid needs that kind of HELP

so when you take away that phone, or computer etc...le the kid hear you are being loving and supportive in helping your child when the child is having a hard time with time management , focus, or prioritizing.

DO ALL THE SAME ACTION but rather than emphasize it is a punishment, discuss consequences that are practical ,logical and HELPFUL. ITs fine to have a consequence that is simply a punishment, but only if that is set up ahead of time as an expectation and the kid understands the rules and what the consequence will be if the rule is not respected. IT is most effective however if the rational for the consequence is given not to instill pain but to provide structure and discipline and minimize distraction for a kid to achieve a positive behavior that will benefit the kid. That thinking of a consequence as such and then using a positive reinforced for a kid to earn privileges just seems to me to send the message it is because you LOVE AND ARE CONCERNED AND WANT TO HELP YOUR CHILD , rather than possibly being misunderstood as a desire for your child to feel pain!

Remind the kid YOU LOVE HIM /HER and because they are having a hard time now they can LEAN ON YOU for you to help them reset their own system if you are doing things to minimize distraction and get a kid on a better sleep schedule (like shutting off my router at night which I do regularly, or confiscating cell phones.)

PARENT TIP # 5 GET MORE SLEEP Seriously, if kids are sleep deprived their behavior declines, and if parents are sleep deprived their behavior declines!( HA HA But true... how many parents are less patient, yell at their kid when they really didn't intend to, and then there are some who just might lash out and hit a kid, and I am convinced if that parent was WELL RESTED their OWN ability to be temperate and loving and patient would improve!) Reset the circadian rhythm... if they can't do it him/herself, then it is great to have a parent help
Remove distractions and then VIOLA

There is USE OF POSTIVE REINFORCERS for rewarding accomplishments and positive behaviors!

Emphasis the positive

If you go to bed the next few weeks and break this addiction to video games (as an example) and are on top of your homework,then you get _________

Some desired Privilege

(just fill in with your kid's currency! Whatever it is THEY WANT TO WORK FOR)

Enough ranting.

That was not what I was going to write about.

I was going to write about how it is very clear to me what is going on with Raitlin who is having a hard time.

She is ANGRY

She knows systems have failed her, and feels disappointed yet again.

BUt she has to learn to herself have SELF CONTROL and she has to learn a calming technique other than running away.

She has heard me PREACH DISENGAGE!~

I picked up that phrase from Katerina's bestie in High School who joked about her mom's catch phrase... and from then on I copped it as my own in my home.


It is an important life skill.

Let others make mistakes.
Just walk away and let them grow into their own knowledge ,
as sometimes it is not worth a conversation and it is RARELY Worth and argument.

You need to know WHEN it is worth arguing.

Trouble is, my kid GETS THAT
So she choose to try to speak up when she saw bullying at her school.

She took it on to be the defender of a friend she thought mistreated.

But she didn't learn yet how to EFFECTIVELY have a constructive conversation when you take on an issue and try to problem solve.

We adults still struggle with that one!!

So not at all surprised my KID is challenged with that.

A neighbor came to me and said her daughter reported a girl down the street was crying Fri, and Mon morn and refused to go to school cause of a bully. The neighbor told me her daughter said its the SAME bully who has been bullying Raitlin's friends.

So a few months back this bully punched one of Raitlin's friends in the face. The boy hit got suspended, along with the aggressor.

That was the point that I think Raitlin got ANGRY

That and when she thought her ESCAPE Plan would work: She thought she would get into a school that is an hour to two hour bus commute and that means less time home and those hours of PEACE EACH DAY To get her homework done. Getting homework done without someone interrupting and calling you to do chores all the time! WOW what a thought!

IT was a freeing thought to her.

I know that the kids don't exaggerate. Friends of my sister in law report she was ALWAYS Doing laundry and couldn't go out an play as there were endless chores. They came over to help so she could go out.

Its just the old world parenting still alive

all chores are meant for the kids

keep the kids busy and out of trouble by keeping them working

But that can go too far. I distinctly recall Soren and Katerina NOT BEING ABLE TO STOP doing chores until around 9pm at night and at times not getting time to do homework because of it! IT was at times TOO MUCH

Raitlin reports it is at times too much.

However, her sisters report they get time to do HW, even if interrupted.
I think the problem is with her ADHD and her propensity to HERSELF not be organized and get distracted she has a harder time navigating it all and she BLAMES HER FATHER and her anger and resentment grows

HEy HE is who he is
He is an old world style Italian Parent...

she will have to suffer through that and learn how to navigate that.
He is her Dad.

YES The systems FAILED US Miserably

but we have to make the best of it;
and yes your PARENTS And THE SCHOOLS and OUR SOCIETAL ORGANIZATIONS are all imperfect and the weak get bullied at every step of the way:

in homes,
in schools,
in courts
in jails
in churches
at work
in companies
in towns
in cities
at community council meetings
on the playground
in parks

But we have to make the best of it, and do our best to STAY IN THESE SYSTEMS and gain all the knowledge and tools to become empowered to effect what changes we can.

But you can't buck the system when you have no power as YES there is then no hope. The Bullies WILL THEN WIN

They always do.

As her Dad said when I informed him of the school situation:

She got angry, tried to speak up to defend a student (with a disability incidentally and I don't think an insignificant factor as the Bullies PREY ON THE KIDS WITH DISABILITIES as they KNOW those kids have less control, so they act great in front of teachers then push the buttons of the kids with issues in FRONT Of teachers when they KNOW the kid will go off... like the neighbor suspended after fighting when in reality she was being taunted for being black by kids that whispered "Harriet Tubman" to her... they were not being NICE giving her that knickname....)

These kids sometimes lose it after being bullied regularly. So we have to figure out as a SCHOOL AND AS PARENTS HOW TO ADDRESS the pervasive bullying by teaching these kids who are those with disabilities most often HOW TO RESPOND

The trouble is that when the bully this year punched my daughter's friend in the face BOTH KIDS were suspended. Just a few weeks ago came to my teen's high school and brought their show that is intended to teach AWARENESS and sensitivity. Some kid tweeted really negative comments making fun of the actors. A friend of a participant in the program who was performing got very defensive and apparently picked a fight (and I presume beat the kid up) for his tweets. That tactic of course is not effective as the kid who then responded to the tweets in anger and picked the fight was the one suspended.

So our school is suspending the kids who are getting in trouble as they are trying to stand up to bullies (whether the bully is another student or another teacher).

Bullying is such a complex problem for schools to deal with, and when kids lose it and try to handle the situation themselves

So some see it as WORTH IT.

I think that is what my daughter has felt like. She feels like there is BS in the systems so she DOESN'T RESPECT THEM.

Challenge for me, I'll say.

Because I truly EMPATHIZE with her.

I watched BOYHOOD Last night becuase Soren told me last year it was his favorite movie. He said a bit hard to watch as rather autobiographical

He said it was HIS BOYHOOD

I'll say. Down to the detail of the clothing on the mom in the opening scene!( HELL THAT WAS ME!! I swear it was like watching MY STORY)

The only difference is, there is a part in that story where the MOM LEAVES The abusive spouse and her two kids ask about the two kids left behind . "What is going to happen to them, will we ever see them again?"

That is where our story was different. As I had four OTHER KIDS with the abusive spouse.

So in our story that abusive spouse learned skills (I HOPE) and learned (I HOPE) parenting techniques. The story in the movie is so good as it shows how the DAD in the movie of the kids grows up and grows into being the man the mother wished he could have been when he was with her. HE stepped to plate and does it and is trying his hand at parenting again with his new wife. That is MORE TYPICAL.

In our story the imperfect and yes abusive DAD remained in the picture with opportunity to grow and do it right for his FAMILY (In both cases, the case of both Soren and Katerina's dad and in the case of their stepfather who remained in the role of parenting his girls)

He didn't leave the first family behind (because he was not cut out of the picture), but was given opportunity to remain and grow into becoming a better parent.

The other difference was the violence in the movie was much less, much less intense, much less often , much less consistent ...

but you know,it is a movie they are just showing scenes of life. Sometimes it is exaggerated, and sometimes it is just a moment but you get the idea from that moment of what the rest of the moments were like.

Yeah it was a good movie and I liked it. But yeah it is a little hard to watch. But in the end it does end with hope and joy of those good moments.

And that is what these kids need to know

Byde your time

There are good moments to come

Just be patient and allow them the possibilities to unfold. Some of them will even happen WITH your Dad, albeit imperfect, and albeit the person who has created some of your pain. HE truly never WANTED To and truly loves and cares for you and you have to forgive his failings and let him do the best he can while not accepting or allowing abuse. YEAH sometimes you will get in trouble when you speak up and don't stand for abuse.


Accept the things you can not change and change those that you can.

I AM PROUD OF YOU MY DAUGHTER who got suspended from school.

Not for being defiant to a kind assistant principal, but for refusing to be silent when you felt a child in your class was being mistreated.

For not succumbing to anger and violence toward either self or others when you have SEEN PATTERNS OF THAT in your life.

You broke the patterns.

So you got suspended, and are struggling with suidical thoughts...
that is not surprising
you have years of seeing those bullied not being able to be helped by our systems

You got suspended for walking out of the school building on a few occasions now. Once as you thought you were going to be SAVED from having to continue to live with your abuser, and once to avoid losing it as you said. The school chose to suspend you for the behavior of talking back to teachers which happened more than once.

but I am HAPPY your Dad is trying to understand love and help you. I am HAPPY he has some GOOD Parenting skills that in this case are going to be good for you!

YES, he can be psychologically abusive at times but you know, there truly is not much anyone BUT HIM Can do about that. It is his problem to fix and out of the domain of anyone else at this point in time.

I understand my child you are still living in a place where the negative is often present. It is hard to change patterns of behavior that families learn but YOUR FAMILY HAS BEEN TRYING FOR YEARS AND GROWING


I believe that.

So forgive him his imperfections and ignore the negative messages you hear from him.

Learn to listen and HEED his advise that at this point in time YOU NEED TO LEARN the skill of being able to actually listen to authority respectfully (sometimes even when they are mistaken). HE talks a good talk and says all the right things. Listen to what he SAYS (and try your best to ignore what he DOES as he himself ASPIRES to be the man he presents to others that he is! HE clearly WANTS TO be that temperate, understanding parent he presents to the world but he has TROUBLE Actualizing that ALL THE TIME. BE grateful that he is able to be that man SOME OF THE TIME)

You need to learn to let others just BE WRONG sometimes. YOU need to learn to LISTEN and be willing to still accept the wisdom those imperfect people have to offer you as they DO HAVE SKILLS and WISDOM YOU CAN LEARN FROM

Enough rant.
I am going to work.

Raitlin will be alright.

I also think that more time with her father to heal the wounds is likely the best thing for her and ALL THE GIRLS. I mean this is THEIR DAD. The relationship is so very essential. Every time he is there lovingly and not being critical it is healing some of the wounding.

I still believe I was not wrong in that assessment that no matter how horrid the parent, one can learn to be a better parent and that benefits kids most of all.

As long as they remain alive.

I thank God EVERY DAY I am not Michelle Castillo, or one of the many other women and men who are MURDERED because they don't stop a cycle of violence.

We DID stop the cycle.


But of course there will be years of healing of the wounds.

More to come

Hopefully Good chapters about the continued healing.

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