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sross24 05-28-2006 07:06 AM

Helping our kids deal with disappointment
Today I woke up feeling great. It is my 30th birthday, and I looked forward to spending the day with my husband and four kids. My 6 year old PDD-NOS daughter and my 7 year old (being evaluated for possibly ADHD), are very upset, and I don't know how to help them. They were going to go to a summer camp sponsored by the local school system. The summer camp was going to be filled with all games and fun, and a lot of their friends were going. We later found out that the summer programming that the special-ed department is having is at the same time. Unfortunately, both of our kids really need this special-ed over the summer. They are both really behind their peers in learning, and both their teachers feel that they will be lost next year without the programming. We tried to make it sound exciting like it was another camp, but they are having a difficult time, as they really want to be with their friends. I know that the socializing is important too, but they really need the academic assistance.

They are having very frequent meltdowns about this. Especially my 6 year old PDD-NOS daughter. She has always had a really tough time dealing with disappointment. Are your kids like this as well? Have you found anything to help them handle this disappointment? Any input would be appreciated.

I found myself crying one hour into my 30th birthday because I feel so bad for my kids. My daughter has already had 3 meltdowns about this today. I hate to disappoint her, but I feel like this is the best long term decision for her.

Thanks for listening to me vent.


elmhar 05-28-2006 09:15 AM

Re: Helping our kids deal with disappointment
Hi Steph,

I have one thought to get out of the way first: IME the nonacademic summer camp may have social benefits for your kids that may actually enhance their eventual academic achievement. Do not underestimate that. And if the motivation to attend is already there, it's a plus. It is much easier to do academic catch-up w/kids at home, than to compensate for lost peer-social opportunities.

Could you use the fun summer camp as a "carrot" for getting the kids to do a little home study each day? Ask their teachers for the "learning goals" -- both longer term objectives & the "little steps" to the larger goals, and as much direction as possible ... ask straight out for home programming. If you need more help, a homeschool special ed consultant could direct you. Or your school district may have someone on hand over the summer if you get stuck. One-on-one w/a child almost always trumps group programs,in terms of progress.

But, if that's just not gonna fly & you're set on the special ed program over the summer camp:

It really helps if your kids understand that [B]you hear what they have to say.[/B] I have many times posted a note on our fridge like this: I (Mom) understand that DS feels "_______________________. " Your feelings are important to me, DS! I plan to make this up to you by: 1) 2) 3) .

I realize your children are young, but even a young child can often recognize their name in print (and you would print this, not use cursive). When you call a child over to help you write the note, to give you actual "quotes," it demonstrates your sincerity.

I can't speak for all meltdowns, but sometimes there's an OCD factor that is esp. strong w/disappointments. Recognizing the feeling in writing helps to remind your child that you have not forgotten.

The next step is working together to figure out what exactly will be missed most (from your child's point of view) -- friends? specific activities? special treats? -- and find ways to compensate.

Good luck.

sross24 05-28-2006 06:20 PM

Re: Helping our kids deal with disappointment
Thanks elmhar. That is great advice. I'm going to talk to my husband about the different options. Thanks again!


Willstrideryder 05-29-2006 06:45 PM

Re: Helping our kids deal with disappointment
Happy Belated Birthday! Turning 30 was hard for me. (I'll be 34 next month). I hope your birthday turned out better than it started. I was thinking--my kids have meltdowns alot when there is some sort of change coming up. Like a change in the routine-even summer break. I kind of have to ease them into the change like give them plenty of warning. Maybe this could help before they attend summer camp. Camp sounds like fun! Sounds like there are alot more opportunities back East for DS kids. Also--I'll get a calendar out and show them which day the "change" starts. We'll talk about how school ends and summer break starts when the leaves on the trees are green. I even have to get a globe out and talk about which direction the earth is tilted, etc when it's summer or whatever. Then in the Fall, when the leaves turn starts. (Our 7 year old is obsessed with seasons and trees and- Oh all right, nature in general! Hope this helps.

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