Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Following Directions

Following Directions...Ryland's latest struggle.

Ry's been having a hard time at school and is consistently bringing home reports of "Not Following Directions".  Dustin and I know this is all our fault.  I hate to admit this and I do feel lazy, but the fact of the matter is that we haven't been staying on top of him enough.  We ask him multiple times to do things before he actually gets around to doing it.  He doesn't follow directions clearly and usually responds to our directions with "but ____________."  We're just tired and we don't want to fight all the time.  So I may ask him 4 times to set the table before he actually gets around to doing it.  I don't like that, I want to change...I just don't want to have to "police" everything with's exhasuting.

It's clear, the time has come.  He has to learn to follow directions at school and the only way he is going to learn that is if we enforce that behavior at home so he can learn the proper way.  Dustin and I have cracked down.  We're on day # 3.  We're tired.  But we are confident if we stay on top of him and get through 2-3 weeks of hardtimes, he'll be set.  It will become habit.  It's hard, and there's part of me that dreads coming home from work now, because I just want to come home and relax and have a fun evening with my family...not come home and put on my Officer Mama badge.  Hardwork pays off, we know this works with Ryland - we just have to do it.

To the other parents out there...does this happen to you too?  Do you know that what you are doing isn't helping the situation, but continue to do it anyway because you don't have the fight in you?  Help me stay motivated and focused over the next couple weeks.  I can do it...I mean, "I bleed Tiger blood".


  1. Yes, this happens a lot with us. It sounds like you have a good plan and you are picking one battle. Be willing to go easy on the other things and just focus on following directions. With Emerson his issue is hitting and being too rough. We made a deal with him that he if he gets good notes all week at school he gets a movie night at the end of the week. (mind you we completely took away TV because of other issues, so a movie night is his only TV.) Now that it is routine he has not gotten a bad note from school in months. I am also working on meanigful concequences for the boys. If they don't pick up their toys in the 10 min window I give them, I put them in a time out box for the week. If they don't set the table, I leave their place without silverware ... It sounds harsh, but it also make the reason for the task much more clear.

  2. Great advice - thanks! Sometimes it seems harsh, but I have to remember it's our job to teach him these things... no one else is going to do it!

  3. Courtney,
    You are definitely not alone. The other week Lukas was horrible at staying focused and following directions and we blame ourselves because we realized we had slacked off for the same reasons as you. And it was showing in his behavior at school, home and martial arts. It was time to get tough again. I hate to admit it but our routine had gotten to be we come home, Lukas watches tv while I get dinner ready, we eat, then get ready for bed. It was becoming a bad pattern. He has soooo many toys that toy time out such as Karon mentioned wasn't really doing the trick. TV was what he wanted most so I decided it needed to become something he earned. We tried behavior charts which worked for a while but he is a very visual boy and needed something tangible to understand consequences. So I got a jar and labeled it Lukas' reward tokens. Essentially, he can earn one or more tokens for listening and good behavior. Each token is worth 5 mins of tv time or some other special activity he wants to do. He may also cash them in for something from the store. So as he uses them up we take them back and he starts over earning more. If he is good he earns tokens, if he is bad he loses tokens. In the first few days we have found he does not like losing tokens! His school is helping by giving us feed back on his daily report. She will give him 10 circles for morning and 10 for the afternoon. She then fills them in over the course of the day with smiles or frowns. With the frowns she notes what he did wrong. When we get home I give him a token for each smiley face and we discuss the frowny face behaviors. It has worked fairly well so far and I have been amazed at how he has found better ways to spend his time other than tv. I frankly don't miss his not watching tv. He has also been better behaved and actually done some things without our even asking. We started out being fairly free with giving out tokens just to get him use to the idea and see how it would work. We are gradually getting a tougher with giving them out.

    Good luck with the tough cop drill...I know exactly what you mean and how you feel.

  4. We have that issue too. Mainly with picking up her room and sometimes at school. Her room looks like a tornado hit it and that is why she has no t.v. in it and had her Barbies taken away. We do the same thing as Karon if she has good behavior for the week then she gets a reward (nothing big and usually a book). It has to be at home and at school. She will usually whine and cry for me to help her clean her room, but she will be 7 in May and we are going to have a new baby in August. She needs to do it herself, it doesn't have to be perfect it just needs to be done. She also knows to get her silver ware and cup for dinner or she won't get anything to drink or have something to eat with.

  5. Good Luck! I was tough on my dd at home and she followed directions famously. But she did not follow directions at was easy, because there's one teacher to 20 kids. Now it has become an ingrained habit at school, and one that she tries (unsuccessfully) to port back into the home. Unfortunately she still gets away with it at school, where they are now convinced that she is 'confused and clueless'.
    If only she knew the damage that she is causing to herself. And yes, I am the tough cop at home, but that doesn't change what happens in school. Adopted at 4.5 and she's now 6.5. We're now into the ADHD investigation.....but she will show one behaviour (bad) at school and another (reasonable) at home. ?????

  6. Looks like you got a lot of advice. We go through this too. I have to make sure Nicholas is looking at me and I can only tell him one direction at a time. Sometimes I have him repeat it back to me. He has been diagnosed ADHD, so most of it has to do with this. We also try to follow Beyond Consequences. When following this, kids will want to do what you want them to do. I know Nicholas wants to please me but sometimes it's just hard. Mostly, I'm beginning to understand in Nicholas' case that he has an attention problem (ADD) and that is a neurological problem, we just have to work more at helping him. Yes, it is exhausting!

    Otherwise it sounds like Ryland is doing great. Think about where he has come from and see how far he has come, our kids are amazing and resilient!