Hartley's New Life

I started blogging four years ago, when I was still learning how to navigate life with three boys, learning about their challenges, finding them help, and processing it all through writing.  Over the span of those years, the journey has given us a list of acronyms a mile long, many challenges, and most recently big changes in our lives as a family.  All of that led to me putting writing aside, and focusing on managing our daily life.  But I've realized that writing is essential to how I process things; so it is time to turn the page, close the last chapter of our life, and my blogging, and begin a new one….Hartley’s New Life.

I have been very lucky to have you all follow along my journey, and I'd love to have you along for the next chapter too - so come on over for a visit - we have some catching up to do! :-)


Halloween - a Sensory Success!

Halloween is another one of those holidays that requires special planning when it comes to having a kiddo with SPD. Technically, I can’t think of many holidays that don’t require some kind of planning on my part…maybe Veteran’s Day? (Actually, that is a NO, because my father served in Vietnam and my boys are concerned that we honor him appropriately, so I don’t even get to take that holiday off. Ugh.)

All of that aside, my kids love Halloween. Which has made me start to like it too. : )

I don’t think it is just the candy (especially since we don’t eat it, but I’ll get to that in a minute), I think it is being up past bedtime, running around with their friends in the dark while pretending to be, this year, Police Officers - all three of them formed their own SWAT Team.

This guide is aimed at those of us who actually want to have a Halloween, similar (not exactly) to the one we grew up loving. There are obviously better ways to handle sensory overload if your child can't do this (example being go to a friend's house so out of the way no one will ring their doorbell).

That said, here is what we do to make sure that Halloween is a success for everyone.

Is the Art of Parenting Lost?

I have regular conversations with people who are seeking my advice on parenting, something I have grown accustomed to over the last 14 years (hard to believe I was teaching parenting before I had children of my own, but alas, I was…).  That doesn't surprise me anymore, but what does continue to surprise me is that the definition of parenting (not to mention the execution of it) seriously seems to be lost.

The misconception I see the most is that parenting is just a mixture of supervision and discipline – perhaps sprinkled with a healthy dose of ‘eat your vegetables’ and ‘take your medicine’.  But that’s not parenting.

Parenting is not supervision alone.  Parenting is not discipline alone.  Parenting is not simply giving rules and enforcing them.  Parenting is what happens in between rules and discipline.

Let me explain.

Most people parent the way their parents parented them (for better or worse) which is usually a Behavioral based model of parenting.  It works, loosely, like this:

If you like your child’s behavior – reward it.
If you don’t like your child’s behavior – punish it.
Up the ante on both rewards and punishments until you have achieved the behavior you want.

Does this sound familiar?  Here’s an example in case you are unsure if you fit into this group:

Nick isn’t doing his homework after school.  He would rather play with his friends, or be on the computer, or just listen to his iPod.  So, his homework isn’t getting done, and he is behind in school. 

You walk in his room, “Nick, you need to do your homework.  Put your iPod away.”
You leave. 
You return in 30 minutes, “Nick, I said it is time to do your homework.  Put away your iPod and get your books out NOW.”
You leave.
You return in 30 minutes, “NICK!  I told you to do your homework NOW!”

Parents that fit into the Behavioral based parenting model usually start down one of two paths now: