Monday, 20 May 2013

Son won't answer when he's spoken to - update

So, in my previous post about this subject, I was having a problem with my son not answering when spoken to. This was a problem others were reporting too.

I have worked with him on this, gently reminding him every time he forgets, and making him happier in general. We have become closer as a result of this, which is much better than just shouting at him.

His behaviour in this respect is much better, and his behaviour in general is much better. We are still having occasional bits of misbehaviour as you might expect, but they can be dealt with much quicker, and without them escalating into something more serious.

Toilet training update

So, in my last post about toilet training I identified that my 5 year old daughter is still wetting herself during the day and at night.

Since that post I have been diagnosed as having testicular cancer, which has moved my focus somewhat. The cancer treatment is ongoing, so it is now time to get back to helping my children. See my other blog for more details about this.

One of suggestions for her wetting was that she may be constipated. We didn't know how often she was doing a poo. We now know (beacuse we keep asking) that she poos most days but not all. This seems normal and is therefore ruled out as a cause.

That leaves reminding her every hour - which worked well for the first few days, then events overtook us. We will return to this.

Also, we were trying to make sure that when we give her a drink, she drinks it all. This should give her a sensible quantity of fluid in her bladder all at one time, instead she has been sipping from cups as she feels like it, which means she probably never feels like she needs to wee. We will start this up again immediately.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Teaching times tables to my son

My son, aged 7, is currently learning his times tables at school.  He will be learning the tables starting with 10s, 5s and 2s and then doing all times tables up to 12 times tables.  He is learning up to 12 x whatever the table is.  So 12 x 5, 12 x 10, or whatever.

His teacher is suggesting that parents help with this as it is such an important thing in his life.  I agree.  The children need to understand how to work out the times tables if they forget one, but basically there is still no subsitute for just learning your tables "Parrot fashion".  Just like we all did as children.

The real thing here then, just the same as my previous post, is repetition and consistancy.  I have to make sure that my child is encouraged to do his times tables each day.

The test of whether he has really remembered is whether he can recall answer to times table questions at random.  This is what his teacher has said is the test, so this is what I am aiming at. 

I will be giving my children a folder each which they will be responsible for.  In this folder will be a list of everything that we would like to do each day.  The times tables will be on my son's list.   He will be encouraged to remind me that the times tables need doing each day.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Helping my daughter write the numbers from 0-20

At our last school parents' evening, my daughter's teacher told us that our daughter needs more help with recognising and writing the numbers from zero to twenty. 

She is right!  On a good day, our daughter will write the numbers correctly, and on a bad day we see backwards 7s, 9s and other numbers.  We need to practise.  This should be easy to solve as any of the adults she has contact with can help, and so, supervised, can her older brother (he is 7 years old). 

The key to this as far as I can see is repetition and consistancy.  So I need to make sure we do some of this every day.  I can see that there are going to be several things for each of my children that I want to be helping them with, so I am going to sort out a folder for each child to have, with a sheet of paper detailing the various things that I want to work with my child on each day.  I will let the children take ownership of this folder, and encourage them to come to me to ask me to work on the things.  This should have the added benefit of making them more independent and making them think about their own lives.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Son won't answer when he's spoken to.

I'm having a challenge with my 7 year old son.  He often doesn't answer when he's spoken to.  Sometimes he has heard and can tell me exactly what was said to him, other times he has no idea what was just said. 

It sounds like it isn't much of a problem, like the sort of thing all children do.  This is more though - people who look after him are telling me it is a problem for them.  People are less likely to want to look after him because he is being percieved as difficult.  He is also struggling with cocmprehension tasks at school and I think this is a result of not always listening.

I know where he gets it from - his mother does exactly the same thing to both our children, and everybody else.  Other people have noticed this, and commented to me, so I know it's not just me blaming her.  The truth is I have allowed the situation to continue, so I have a definite share of any blame too.  I don't think it helps to blame anyway,  but it might help solve the problem if we can understand why he has it.

The ideal solution would be for both my son, and his mum to work at the same time to make sure they always answer (and therefore always listen) when they are spoken to.  This is difficult because their Mum doesn't share my enthusiasm for making changes to become a better person. I just don't see her making the changes - and she really doesn't have to if she is happy.  So, I have to focus on our son.  I can make sure I always get an answer from him when we are together, and I have spoken to his Mum to suggest she does the same. She agrees, but may not follow through on this.  My aim here is to see if, calmly, I can change my son so that he understands why it is important to listen to and answer other people when they speak.  I think the best approach to son and mother is for me to tread carefully to avoid alienating them.  This will be my challenge!!! 

I will track our progress on this blog, so come back soon.

Toilet training

I have just been confronted with a challenge with my daughter. She is 5 years old, almost 6 year old and has never really mastered staying dry, either during the day or night. She will stay dry sometimes - when we remember to remind her to go to the toilet regularly, but she is not doing it for herself.

The issue came to a head when my daughter's mother announced that she has booked her into the Doctors "to get it sorted". When I probed a little deeper it seems that she just wants to make sure there is no medical problem causing her to be wetting. I am fine with this, but I am not expecting it to solve anything.

I do suspect that she simply hasn't been given enough consistent help to allow her to become "dry". I have done a little research and here is my understanding of some other things that could be contributing.

  • She could be constipated and this could be causing problems with wetting.  I had not realised this, and I quickly realised that I have no idea how often she goes for a poo.  I know that I can't ask her about anything other than the current day (because she is 5 and won't answer accurately), but I can now start to ask if she has poo'd each time she uses the toilet.  I can also ask her whether she poo'd at school today and hope to get a reasonably accurate response most of the time.
  • The time she spends on the toilet needs to be relaxed and unrushed.  Well, I know we are not helping here.  She is often told "quickly, go to the toilet, we are waiting" before we go out somewhere.  In retrospect, this isn't going to make it easy for her to actually go.
  • We aren't reminding her often enough.  The site I looked at suggested that I remind her once an hour, then less frequently when that starts to work.  When she was younger, we were remind her every twenty minutes or so, but now we tend only to remind her when we are ready to go out.  We are going to remind her every hour now.  We will use alarms on the oven clock and mobile phones to remind us to do this.  We cannot do much about the time when she is at school, so I will view any accidents there as different for the moment.  Hopefully, if we can sort her wetting out at home, it will stop being a problem at school.
  • Interestingly, we sometimes go out to a pub or restaurant to eat.  It these places she enjoys going to the toilet and she will go several times while we are there, so I know she can be dry.
  • The last one suprised me - she could be not getting enough to drink.  It sort of makes sense when you think about it that you have to drink sufficiently, and regularly, to train the bladder to work well.  Both children have access to drinks, we tend to have a drink poured for each of them at all times, and they help themselves to s swig when they are ready.  I am going to change this so they have a drink, which they then sit and drink, then the remainder of the drink is thrown away, and a new drink made a while later.  This will help us know how much is really been drunk and how often.   I suspect little and often is not helping with our daughter being able to tell when she needs to go to the toilet.
So, wish us all luck.  I'll give these changes a proper try and report back as to how we all get on.

Thursday, 18 April 2013


I am taking a year to change everything in my life.  See my main blog here for more details.  My children are of course a huge part of my life, and I can't think of transforming my life without doing my best to improve my children's lives too.

As with all parents, I want my children to have the best start in life - to be happy, healthy, intelligent and have fun.  My children are 5 and 7 years old and enjoy their lives, but as with most things, I could be doing better.  This is my statement to the world that I am going to try harder, and am going to do better to give them the lives they deserve.

This blog will be my account of how I, and my children, get on.

Wish us luck!