Monday, June 27, 2011

Sometimes Money Matters to ADHD Kids

In our case right now, money is a pretty strong "carrot" to dangle! We believe whole-heartedly that kids should be able to earn money in a money-driven society. So, we have created earning potential here at home. Bobby now receives a monthly allowance given to him about the same time as our payday (so we don't forget and blow it!).  He can also earn money for grades. A=$5; B=$3; C=$2. Then we take back cash for D's and F's.  Amazingly, this last quarter of school he began to realize the earning potential here and got NO D's or F's. That grade report cost us a whopping $42!!

Today was "Finance Day" at our house. I've been looking forward to this for a few weeks. He had done some big jobs around the house (not regular chores) and had some cash coming from those, plus his allowance and report card. I laid out his earnings in ONE DOLLAR BILLS! This was impressive to him, until I began to ask for "cash back."  He also knew that debts were paid on Finance Day! "Please give me $5. for the shampoo bottle you emptied just for fun in your bath. And I'd like $2. for the gum you took from the car without asking. You climbed on the rocks you've been asked to stay off and broke a very nice fern plant to shreds. I'd like $10. for that. You owe your uncle $10. and let's remember to put some into savings."  At the end of our discussion, half the piles of one dollar bills were gone. He still had a nice chunk for something he's been saving for (more fishing gear) but he SAW how much cash was used for restitution.

We discussed how he could actually KEEP all of his earnings next month. Did we cure impulsivity with money? NOT ON YOUR LIFE! But this is one more step in the longgggg path to guiding a busy boy. We can not let up on our vigilance for a minute. Every "plan" contributes to reaching a successful goal!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Will the Farmer Miss Just ONE Cantaloupe Plant?

I swear Bobby thinks we're stupid. Does he really believe he can pull this stuff right under our noses and have it go unnoticed? This sort of caper doesn't occur as often as it used to fortunately, but as far as we're concerned the fact that it EVER happens is frustrating beyond belief!

We each have a garden patch in the family garden this year and our son has enjoyed having his own tiny plot. He helps in the bigger patches but his own section is his responsibility. He dug it out and took care of it all on his own. He chose to grow green beans, beets & radishes.

Just across the ditch from our property is a wonderful organic garden started a full month before ours & thriving beautifully. We admire the farmer's garden as we work in ours. I suppose we spent a bit too much time admiring his work. Today, Dad found an enormous cantaloupe plant growing out-of-place in Bobby's little garden. No detective work needed here. None of us has a plant THAT big! Upon inquiry Bobby admitted he crossed the little ditch while we were inside the other evening & bravely uprooted just one plant so he'd have a nice one all for himself! We explained to him that next year when the farmer began planting he should just remind us to get an earlier start and we will. Then our plants will be the same size!

Back in "the day" a good visit to the wood shed and emptying of the piggy bank would have been the all-too-fair treatment for this awful behavior. (The woodshed might have been a good idea!) We chose to discuss, have him write the apology letter & we are now waiting for the farmer to be back in his patch. Bobby has some cash ready he was saving for a fishing pole. He knows he has to offer the amount of $ that plant could have brought in for the farmer. He fully understands his wrong (but goodness knows we've not seen the end of these sort of escapades!) Gotta love this kid. I sure do!!!

UPDATE: The farmer dropped by and had a serious discussion with Bobby. (We had called him ahead and explained to him that we didn't want him to tell our son it was "ok.")  He charged him for the seed and what each of the 8 canteloupes would have brought him at the store. Bobby handed over the $15. and promised not to do it again. The farmer told him he would like Bobby to one day work for him!

Monday, June 20, 2011

3 Months of NO Homework?

Kids aren't the only ones who quiver at the sound of the word, "HOMEWORK." While some parents comfortably fit the homework routine into their already crowded evenings, I'm thinking the majority breath a silent (or maybe not-so-silent) sigh of relief when summertime rolls around! I'm a teacher who assigns a minimal amount of evening paperwork for kids & I'm THRILLED when there is none of it at home June, July & August. I guard heavily the "family-fun" concept.

However, there are plenty of hours in every summer day to read and brush up on the weaker skills.... So, between swimming lessons and camp how 'bout we squeeze in some multiplication tables? Not talking copious amounts of worksheets here. And....I think we'll bring back some earned screen time. How about Bobby learning his 8's in order to have 30 minutes of computer time? (We "banned" computers & Wii over a month ago.) Would this be a big enough carrot? Think I'll ask him...

Absolutely incredible!!! Bobby's older brother is already "on it." His "cool" older brother is a natural at getting Bobby to do anything he suggests.  Homework during the summer takes a bit of a different flavor. Won't Mr. C be surprised when homework-dodging Bobby returns with those dreaded multiplication tables mastered?!  (One can hope we get them mastered!!)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The "Family Meeting"

We put this "family counselling session" off as long as possible. Why should we pay a doctor to listen to our cute-but-creative son pull responses from the clouds? No, this would be a waste of money. We may have been wrong. Time will tell, but the first session went remarkably well. It was the "get acquainted" session, filled with questions about why we were there. Fortunately our doctor has a pretty good clue as to why we were there, since he worked with me 6 months and has been working with Bobby's dad the past two. 

Our goal is to gather tools, pull-together more on the same page and listen to someone from the "outside" as he puts some objectivity into our relationships. None of us really has time to sit in an office for the rest of our lives, but it can't hurt to try it out for a bit.

Bobby seemed to enjoy the hour. He listened to our doctor & responded appropriately (most of the time). I had explained beforehand he just needed to give his honest answers. Nothing was "right" or "wrong." The doctor asked, "Why are you here, Bobby?" to which he quickly replied, "to learn to make good choices & be honest."  Great! We're off to a terrific start!

Many parents feel bringing a counsellor into the picture is a sign of weakness or is admitting they aren't perfect. There you have it. We're admitting we are weak in this situation & NOT perfect. So, a counsellor's office is right where we belong! We've raised 3 kids (now in their 20's)  who appear at this point to be fairly strong, secure and stable & all of that without the use of family therapy...but we need it now! (Not that it wouldn't have been helpful back when the older 3 were younger!) ADHD has thrown our son a curve ball but darn it, we're hoping some more good skills will help him hit it out of the park! Thanks, Dr. M!