Posted on 2 Comments

Motherless on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. Mother’s day is bittersweet for me. I dread it every year, along with a few other choice dates that have very little significance to others. My mom passed away fourteen years ago. Every year, I am just as sad as I was that first Mother’s Day. Although, I have my threefold to celebrate with me on Mother’s Day, it’s just not the same anymore. I’m motherless on Mother’s Day, but I shouldn’t be.

I have so many regrets and at the same time, I feel cheated out of so much time. We should still have plenty of years left to spend with my mom. I was just at the beginning of this journey when I lost my mom. I never knew that losing a parent would leave me so lost too.

Wherever you go mom goes

Gone Too Soon

My mother passed away at 48 years old, suddenly and completely unexpectedly. She left behind a family who would cling tight to one another in the months after her passing. However, that tight family would drift apart years later.

When my mom passed away, I was 23. I was 23, married, I had a four year old, and was 7 months pregnant with #2 of my threefold. I thought I was an adult, but honestly, I was still such a naive girl. My brother was 27, married and the dad of a two year old daughter. Then there was my dad, he was distraught, and unsure of how to be alone after losing the woman he had married over 25 years previously. We were all so incredibly lost in the aftermath of my mom’s death. In many ways, we still are.

It was too soon. It is unreal. As a result, I still to this day feel cheated due to how much my mom has missed. I still feel that sadness and pain I felt over a decade ago. Along the way, I’ve learned there is one saying that is so true: “no one on earth can ever replace your mother.”Make the memories because one day that’s all you’ll have left

The Truth About My Mother

My mother was not a saint. Although, it’s easier to glorify her now that she is gone. Furthermore, my mother and I did not have the relationship of a tv sitcome mother-daughter duo. We fought like crazy. At times, I wondered if she even liked me. In addition, I am sure that I said the words I hate you on more than one occasion. My mother and I had a love-hate relationship.That tulmultuous up and down relationship left me with many regrets and a tremendous amount of guilt after she died.

The Not So Pretty Side

My mom was never much on affection, she was overly concerned with her appearance, what others thought of her and was very much that mom. She loved shopping and other materialistic things that brought her very little joy. In addition, she was chronically depressed and anxious. She slept more than any person should ever need to and was only social if she had a few drinks. In addition, she was highly critical, petty, dramatic, and had the RBF that made you think she was pissy.

The Good Mom

On the other hand, my mother was generous. My mom opened her home to my friends in need. She often dontated to charities. She was a fierce protector of her children. She stood up to injustices and treated people with kindness. I watched her give money to the same homeless man on the corner everyday she saw him. I witnessed her pay for people’s groceries and the car behind us in the drive thru. She had so much good. She loved animals.

My mom wasn’t perfect, but I know she tried. However, I know my mother suffered from mental illness. I understand it much more now, than I ever could back then. As a result, that mental illness is one of the things that killed my mother and stole all of my time with her. If we would’ve known, we would’ve helped her before it was too late.Mother’s Day without your mom

Life Goes On

I vividly remember those days after my mother’s death. Everything felt surreal. It seemed as if I was moving in slow motion. However, everyone around me was still moving at normal speed. It was like a nightmare that I was just waiting to wake up from, but never did. I wanted her back. I needed her. The truth is, I didn’t even know how much I would need her.

After her death, I couldn’t help but selfishly think about all the many moments I would need my mom and not have her by my side. I didn’t know at the time just how many of those days there would be ahead of me. Furthermore, I didn’t think about the many, many milestones she would miss in my life and the lives of her now five beautiful grandchildren. Although, each time we come across one of those milestones, I still find myself aching for her to be there with us.Mom is doing her best

Memories

Memories and old pictures are all we have left now of my mother. I hold tight to those. It’s not fair. Although, it’s not easy finding the way forward, somehow we keep going. It’s not easy being motherless on Mother’s Day. There is a piece of me that died when my mother did. However, I’m still not sure what piece I lost when we lost her.

I took the time I had with my mom before she died for granted. If I can offer one piece of advice it would be if your mother is still in your life make the call, go visit, send the flowers, and show her all the love and appreciation you have for her. After all, she won’t always be here and one day you’ll wonder if she knew how special she was to you. In the end, all you’ll have are the memories you made.

Happy Mother’s Day. ☮️❤️😊~M

Motherless Mother’s Day

Make me a happy mother and follow along on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest! It’s fine you can push all my button just like my kids do! I’m totally used to it! Support a mother and buy some merch from the stuff~n-~things shop 😂❤️~M

Posted on Leave a comment

Kids Aren’t ‘Mini Gods’ to be Worshipped. They are Human and Deserve Respect.

This post has been floating around the social media scene. I’ve seen it shared many times already. I have posted it in its entirety for you to form your own opinion on the piece and it’s message to the parents of the world. However, it’s my belief that this type of post leans towards conditional love in parenting and how we as adults set unreasonable expectations on kids. No, Mr. Merrell, kids aren’t ‘mini gods’ to be worshipped. However, they are human, and deserve to see their value, be respected and loved.

You are your own worst critic

The Original Post

O/P by Walt Merrell, District Attorney: If you raise your child to believe that they always deserve a trophy; or that they always do a great job; or that they never fall short or do a mediocre or less than job; or that they lost the game because the ump stole the game; or that the failed because someone wronged them; or that they don’t have to go to practice; or that the teacher is always out to get them; or that the coach is always wrong….

Then one day when they have a boss who doesn’t accept their less than eager efforts, then your adult child will be frustrated by the constructive criticism… and then they will steep in their own pride of believing they couldn’t possibly do any better because they are always right or they are always the victim, and that their boss is wrong and just out to get them.

And then they will get fired and never understand that you lied to them far too many times, and to their own detriment.

Children are minds and souls to be taught and molded. They are not mini-gods meant to be worshiped.

Don’t build their future in false beliefs, for it will only result in resentment based on yesterday’s lies. Instead… teach them well. End of O/P

I don’t agree with people who are wrong

A Different Perspective

If parents are overly critical, whom only show affection to the child when the parent feels the child has ‘earned’ it or ‘deserves’ such positive attention, where does this leave the child? What happens when a child doesn’t feel the unconditional love and acceptance from their parent(s). When a child always feels not quite good enough? If a parent doesn’t express pride for the child doing their best even if it is second best or twenty first? How does it affect the child when a parent can’t make a child feel they have value in this world? Isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to help their children find their strengths versus always notating their weaknesses?

The Other End of the Spectrum

As a result, the likelihood of children who grow into adults who have self confidence, are independent and secure, and able to go after their true passions is hindered substantially.
Instead, you have children who become adults who aim to please others. They can grow up to believe they deserve mistreatment, abuse and aren’t worthy of praise, respect, acceptance or love. Furthermore, they have that same negative self talk inside their heads that they heard growing up.

They don’t feel accepted by their peers, colleagues, or partners. These children have grown to believe their family doesn’t even value them. In turn, they don’t feel comfortable being themselves nor do they gain a sense of autonomy in the world.
In conclusion, there is a higher chance that these adults will give up all hope of success because they feel they will fail before they start. Therefore, what’s the point of trying? Another path this could take is they will become perfectionists who pursue external validation from others and are discontent with the trajectory of their life.
As you can see, it’s not all option ‘a’, ‘b’ or ‘c’. It’s child-specific. It’s a balance of reward and consequence.
It’s an ever changing process this parenting game and NO ONE hasthe guidelines or rule book. You can mess your kids up by being hard and strict. Guess what? You can mess them up when you’re parenting style is soft and lenient.

Kids are human and deserve love

Unreasonable Expectations

I feel as parents we are often holding our children to unreasonably high standards. In most cases, I would say these standards aren’t even attainable by the adults who are setting them. How many times have have you held the bar above your own capabilities and expected your child to jump?

I have done it. I’ve fussed over my child not keeping their room tidy. Yet, my room may be in disarray. In addition, I’ve told my kids a million times to lose the attitude or even to suck it up. In all honesty, I would catch an attitude or get upset over that same situation if I was the one in their shoes. Furthermore, I’ve given my kids hell over a bad grade or performance. Guess what, if I was the one graded on my work each day, ha! I doubt if I would have ‘A’s’ marked on every single assignment.

Failure is part of life. It doesn’t mean we throw up our hands and say ‘to hell with it’ or don’t figure out how to fix it. We do have to teach our kids to be responsible for their actions, but they will fail. It’s inevitable. My goal is to show my kids that failure is only the beginning of the journey, not the end. This is when they need us to help them to embrace the challenge of getting back up.

Kids are Humans Too

To pretend there is some science behind predicting a child will be hyper sensitive to criticism if never criticized is just as plausible as its counterpart. That being said, is it not as plausible that a child is just as likely of becoming hyper sensitive to criticism after being constantly criticized?

Do they always deserve a trophy? NO. Do they always need to have an excuse or a bad guy to blame? NO. We can teach accountability and responsibility. Meanwhile, we need to also teach finding the strengths within oneself with the ability to identify weaknesses. This is how they learn to improve upon both of those aspects of themselves. We teach accountability and acceptance of their shortcomings. It’s equal parts of both praise and constructive criticism.

There isn’t a one size fits all parenting strategy it’s like folding a fitted sheet.

It Ain’t Easy

Mommin’ ain’t easy! Being a parent is hard! Regardless if you are a mom, dad, step parent, foster parent, adoptive parent etc…it’s a struggle and a lot of hard work. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with glitter glue embellishments. It’s the hardest job you’ll ever love. In addition, being a parent is probably also the most underpaid and under appreciated blessings you’ll ever curse at times. There isn’t a one size fits all way to get it right when parenting. The emotional and mental needs of a child are just as unique as we are. While physical needs are mostly standardized, the other facets of parenting are much more complex.

They aren’t ‘mini gods’ to be worshipped but they are people who are deserving of love and respect.
Teach them to be humble and to hustle, while also teaching confidence and character. No worship required, just respect and positive reinforcement that outweighs the negatives the rest of the world will be shoving in their face.

Teach them right, not well.
Teach them they’ve got this, because they’ve got someone who believes in them.

☮️❤️😊~M

Mommin’ ain’t easy we are the glue that holds it all together.
Posted on Leave a comment

Parenting Hacks for Raising Teenagers

In case, I haven’t said it recently, mommin’ ain’t easy! If I’m the judge I think I would take the stinky diapers, tantrums, and baby proofing my whole home over raising teenagers! This level is hard! However, as a mom to my threefold <my three daughters> and the bonus mom to another, I have a few parenting hacks for raising teenagers. Yes. That’s right! Honestly, I’ve probably been lucky so far, but I have my days. In fact, there are days when I am screaming my head off while pulling out my hair!

Mommin’ Ain’t Easy

If you have a teenager you know! The truth is, raising Teenagers is hard work! If you have a rocky relationship with your teenager I know how you feel. On the other hand, if you have an awesome relationship with your teenager, I also know how you feel. Furthermore, if you have a relationship that could go either way from one day to the next, I’ve been that mom too. That’s the curse and the blessing of having four girls. Honestly, if one acts one way the other two act differently and with girls there is always drama! If I’m not in the middle of it, the cause of it, or have to fix it then that’s my idea of a good day!

The Mommin’ Manual

If you know me, you’ll know, I’m the mom who repeats ‘I love my kids. I love my kids. I love my kids!’ Obviously, I do, but this is my mantra as when I am increasingly irritated and want to fly off the edge of patience into momster mode. I didn’t get a mommy manual. Furthermore, the mom/daughter dynamics we hear about and see seem to be made-for-tv BFF bullshit or rivalry and rebellion. There is rarely an in between.

Real talk. We all have our own parenting styles and that’s ok. I’m more of the overly involved, anxious, pushover but with rules. In the end, I want my kids to come to me if they have a problem, not be scared. However, am I right in being that way? Hell if I know. I’m winging my mom life, remember?

Parenting Hacks for Raising Teenagers

No, I don’t have a mommy manual and yes, I’m winging it as I go. However, winging it has helped be successful even it hasn’t gotten me any mom of the year awards. As a momma to three girls and a bonus daughter, who all range in age from 10-18, I’ve had to learn a few parenting hacks to save my sanity and my relationships with these four girls.

Hacks and Hand Me Downs

  1. To start, my number one hack when I need to figure out how to handle my teens is to remember to be the mom I needed when I was their age.
  2. Next, I remember what being a teenage girl was like for me. Even though, it was over 20 years ago!
  3. Another way, I parent is that I listen before I react or respond. 9/10 a thoughtful response goes further than a screaming match ever will.
  4. Wifi passwords can change. I have fallen in love with the app that controls our wifi that I can pause from wherever. I can assign devices and the kid who hasn’t acted right can have their service suspended, Meanwhile, the others can continue living with the luxury of access. Best invention ever!
  5. I gave my kids prepaid phones, no contract. That phone has become the best and worst thing in our lives. It is a wonderful tool if needed. Yes, I resort to bribes when necessary.
  6. In addition, if you miss school you do not have a social life. Don’t say you are sick and then ask if boyfriend or bestie can come by. No.
  7. If my kids want something from me, then they better be willing to work for it. I’m not rich, if they want me to flip the bill for their movie night with their friends or birthday gifts, then they need to do their part. After all, nothing in life is free.
  8. In my opinion, one thing has helped us connect is my threefold and Ione on one time. We do what they are into. Since I have three, I usually aim for one day each per month and one family day all together.
  9. Something else we’ve done is family dinner. Sometimes, this ends in frustration and irritation. Mostly, it end with laughs and communication about the highs and lows of each child’s day.
  10. Like most teenagers, my threefold need to hear the good things about them. Do they make faces and huff when they don’t want to do something, absolutely. However, I do too!
  11. Cut them a little slack. No they can’t get away with skipping school or failing grades. But, hey, if they get a C or even a D on a test, it happens! If they say they need ‘a day off’ and that’s not a regular request, let them. It’s not the end of the world!
  12. Stop holding kids to standards you as an adult can’t reach! If I was graded for my job, I definitely wouldn’t have straight A’s. My attitude is sketchy sometimes. I don’t want to get up in the morning either. I don’t clean my plate. I don’t watch my mouth. I’m not going to make my child feel like perfection is attainable. It’s not.
  13. Finally, let them be themselves. If they can’t be comfortable at home then where are they supposed to be? Honestly, don’t allow your short sidedness hinder them feeling able to be exactly who they are. In addition, know that as a teen that identity will change multiple times.

How My Mom Skills have Helped Me

#1

I know nearly everything my 18 year old does, not because I read her messages or track her phone location, but because she tells me. In fact, I would say she overshares with me at times! When she knew her and her boyfriend of 2 years were headed towards the main event when she was 17, she came to me. We talked about it and took the necessary actions.

#2

My 14 year old has always lacked a filter, but at least she is honest {mostly}. However, as she has begun to mature, her communication got better. For example, when she came out and said she was attracted to other girls, I was able to process the information. This led to more inclusivity of her friends and others. In addition, as a family we were able to support her and boost her confidence in sharing her once secret with others in her life.

#3

This child of mine, she is still young , at only 10. Not all of my methods work for her yet, because she still has less independence. However, I do know that my patience and consistency are key to her feeling heard when she expresses herself. In addition, validation and not feeling like perfection is necessary to please me allows her to feel more comfortable to be herself.

#Bonus

As for my bonus daughter who is 16, I feel my not being overly critical has made us closer. If I have an issue, I will address it mostly with her dad before her. However, we have some heart to heart conversations as well. I don’t try to be her parent, but I try to treat her like my own. That’s a hard balance. In a way, I’m not overstepping but I’m making sure that she is invited and involved in family days, outings, and our routines when she is with us.

Hacks for raising Teenagers

No Method is Perfect

My methods have worked out for me in many ways on this journey. It’s far from perfect and I screw up sometimes, too. I’m going to keep doing me, and you can do you! There isn’t a one size fits all parenting style.

My teenagers test me with their smart ass mouths {that sound just like mine} and quick comebacks quite often. At the end of the day, I know that my threefold isn’t afraid to talk to me. That’s the beauty of it. As always, stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M psss: follow My Threefold on Facebook

Posted on 3 Comments

19 Truths about Raising Teenage Daughters

Mommin’ ain’t easy y’all! Raising teenage daughters is comparable to being a personal assistant that is on call 24/7 and has an unappreciative and entitled employer. I wasn’t prepared for many things when I became a momma. This level is harder than I anticipated! Moms walk this fine line of love and hate with their daughters.Honestly, if you have a teenager it’s like all the rules change. Anyone who thinks boys are harder, well they haven’t spent a day with my threefold.

Daughter

Teenage Daughters…(sigh)

I was a teenager, ya know, once upon a time. My mother and I weren’t the mother/daughter duo of tv sitcoms. To be honest, we barely tolerated each other and I never wanted to have that relationship with my threefold. When I became a mom, I was determined to be a better mom than my own. In ways, I am but in some ways I can see why my mom was the parent she was too.

My mom wished threefold upon me before #2 of my threefold was born. {thanks again mom} After my mom passed away I was only 23 and had no preparation for what motherhood would actually be. What I have found is that it is the hardest job on the planet. The truth is that a mom is equal parts of feeling like you are never enough and feeling like you are always doing too much. All. The. Damn. Time.

Moms do their best

You Are a Good Mom

In case no one has told you lately, you’re a good mom! You are doing a great job and you are appreciated. I tell myself that when I am kicking myself in the ass for yelling at my threefold or stressing over all the things that moms worry about. However, it’s hard to see the appreciation through the eye rolls and sighs of discontentment we receive from our offspring. It’s there. Even if it isn’t said.

I know what my threefold love {and hate} about me. I know my strengths {and weaknesses} as a mom. One thing that has come to light as my threefold have grown is that they each need different things from me as a mom. They are unique individuals. Mommin’ isn’t a one size fits all gig. Even so, all we can do is give our best everyday and hope our best is good enough.

Hot mess mom

Raising Teenage Daughters

I didn’t receive a guide for raising my threefold. I didn’t even have a person to go to and ask about this whole mom thing. My parenting style is just me winging it, almost as much as my daughter wings her eyeliner these days. Most moms think they know what to expect, but you definitely don’t. If you did then I would argue that you should write that guide for the rest of us moms who are out here running on caffeine and chaos!

For the moms who are just starting out, the newbie on the mom scene this list is for you. May the odds be ever in your favor. Stay strong, like that coffee you will be drinking in the morning to fuel your motivation for motherhood. To the moms who are in the trenches raising teenagers, I hope this gives you a sigh of relief that you aren’t alone. This list will make you laugh, cringe, and maybe even shake your head. Whatever your reaction, just remember, we get threefold what we gave to our parents…and so will our children get that too!

Mom life

19 Truths I’ve Learned Raising Teenage Daughters

  1. Hoarding. Yes I said it. 2 out of 3 of my threefold seem to be hoarders. I have a mine field on two of the bedrooms of our home. Not cool. Afterall, trash goes in trash cans, not under beds. It’s like going into A Marshall’s department store. You just go to browse, but you leave with a bag full of clothes, a random set of cutlery, some dishes, and a headache.
  2. Wastefulness. The amount of food I find wasted is obscene. The drinks left half full and you hear the same thing. However, they want to blame everyone else except themselves. You wonder why you have a grocery bill that is equal to a mortgage payment each month and then to see the waste. It’s infuriating!
  3. DRAMA. This one! Wow. I don’t remember being this dramatic when I was a teenager, but I’m sure I was. If you want to strike up a conversation with a teenage girl just ask how their frenemy is doing. The result will have you lose an hour of your life with this one question.
  4. Know it All. They always say ‘I know mom’ but still manage to not know. Regardless of what they say, ‘I know’ in teenage talk means ‘shut up’
  5. The Switch. When it’s just us we are comfortable and safe to be ourselves. It’s inappropriate and hilarious. The result is us acting goofy and silly. Once a new friend is over, and I’m still me, but they switch on the exasperated embarrassed and too cool persona.
  6. So Gross. If it’s gross I have encountered it throughout motherhood. You expect that to change as they get older, but it doesn’t it just becomes a different gross.
  7. Hygiene. Why do teenagers want to smell like the back of a Chuck E Cheese in the middle of July and McDonald’s onions? This is one thing I will never understand. Just shower! I could fry chicken with all the grease in their hair! In addition to that, that breath is rank. There is a bathroom with a sink AND a shower in addition to that toilet that is often abused.
  8. Dating. Yes you expect this, but what I didn’t expect was the different types of dating. You have talking, going out, crushing, and commitment. I mean what happened to you are dating or you’re not?
  9. Speaking in code. Have you received a text from a teenager and spent an hour just decoding the message? Then you know what I mean. It’s just emojis and random abbreviations. Idk…SMH.
  10. Bathroom Banter. I thought farts and talking shit about your shit was a boy thing or something small children giggled about. I was wrong! Descriptions including size, color, and smell weren’t on my expectation list, yet I still get the updates.
  11. Sex. Yes we know this will happen, eventually, but once you open Pandora’s box and you have open discussions to address questions for your teenager shit gets real. In fact, you may find yourself with a pen and paper taking notes. They know a lot more then we did at their age. Thanks google.
  12. Meanagers. Teenagers are assholes. They are mean, selfish, rude and disrespectful at times. If you didn’t expect to hear loud sighs, see eye rolls, or hear a loud ‘you are ruining my life’ then think again. In all honesty, I don’t know any mom that has not heard the words ‘I hate you’ at least once.
  13. Expensive. We expect our mini me masterpieces to cost us a small fortune, but I didn’t expect raising a teenager would be like paying for a house in cash. Consequently, keeping them in name brand clothes, Nike shoes, make up, hair products, events, extracurricular activities, and the list goes on. It all adds up! The end result is that I feel like I work these days to fund my threefold’s ever growing needs.
  14. Insecurity. I remember being a teen and hating my body and having negative self talk. I just didn’t expect my threefold to have that warped self image. Furthermore, being a teenager is hard and being confident as a teenager is even more difficult. If only they saw what we see.
  15. Mental Health. It would be easy to assume that because I struggled with mental illness starting at a young age that my threefold would too. However, I didn’t expect to be Mommin’ mental illness on the daily. Nor was I prepared for the level of care needed for myself and my threefold.
  16. Guilt. How much mom guilt do you carry? An average amount? None? A lot? I didn’t expect to feel guilty as a mom. I do though. All. The. Damn. Time.
  17. Inappropriate. I have always been pretty inappropriate. Afterall, I didn’t stop using the f word just because I had kids. For example, my jokes containing ‘your mother’ and ‘that’s what she said’ never ceased to be hilarious to me. I didn’t expect that my daughters would have the wildly inappropriate sense of humor they do. It’s true you’re a product of your raising and I’m ok with that.
  18. Individuality. If you were expecting that because they are all girls and all siblings must mean they are similar…WRONG! They may have similar characteristics but they are so different. Therefore, they also need different things from me.
  19. Love. You will never expect the love that comes with being a mom. You will find, that as they grow so does that love. Moreover, you may not always like their behavior, but you will always love them more than anything or anyone else.
Got it from mom

Breathe

In the meantime, relax a bit and enjoy this crazy ride. Besides, soon enough they’ll be off living a life that isn’t reliant upon you. These teenage know it all’s with their hoarder tendencies and inappropriate senses of humor will be raising their own little minions. You’ll be flaunting your bedazzled velour running suit and they’ll be the ones wearing the yoga pants that have never been worn for actual yoga.

I’ve already said it once, however, its worth repeating. You’re doing a great job. You are a good mom. One day, you’ll be laughing and wishing threefold on them. Guess what? They’ll get it. In the end, these mouthy teenage girls will become women bitching about their own little crotch goblins that they created. What about you? In the end, you will be laughing and saying I told you so. The final result will be you saying “Mommin’ ain’t easy is it? That’s right I bought that t-shirt. You can borrow it!” In the meantime stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M PS: Follow us on Facebook!

teenage daughters
Posted on 1 Comment

Being at Odds with a Child with O.D.D.

Oppositional defiance disorder is an often misunderstood mental disorder. it is perceived to be a child being a brat because they didn’t get their way. I get that, but there is always more to these fits and it’s all about a child’s inability to regulate, filter through and communicate their feelings. YES! O.D.D. Is selfish just like most mental disorders and illnesses are. These kids do act like brats and as parents we are pulling our hair out to figure out the fix to the problem.

If you have ever dealt with a child having an outburst and sat as they screamed at you ‘I wish you weren’t my mom!’ Then you might understand this illness more than you think. If you’ve ever been cussed out by a ten year old as they slam their fists into the wall then I feel your frustration. If you’ve ever sat and cried wondering what you did wrong to end up with a child acting this way then I know your pain. I too have sat silently biting my tongue as I wanted to throw a fit that matched the ferocity of my child. I also have looked in her eyes as she stared blankly at me as she told me that she wished I was dead. I’ve cried the tears of hurt from those words and fought against my feelings of anger towards my child for being so spiteful and disrespectful. I’ve also held the child as she cried after and loved her through the crash of the comedown. It’s not fair.

As a mom to my threefold who all suffer from mental disorders and illnesses, I know the pain, fear, challenge, and chaos that comes from Mommin’ mental illness. It ain’t easy! You are THAT mom. Being THAT mom means you deal with the judgment, scrutiny, and guilt that results from your child’s illness. You are also THAT mom who is willing to try just about whatever to take away the pain your child experiences and find a path to peace for all of you. Being THAT mom means going above and beyond for your child, advocating for them, seeking help, and learning about the issues they are experiencing and how to mom mental illness better.

Oppositional defiance disorder is just one disorder that two of my threefold suffer from. It also may be one of the most difficult that I manage. Due to its aggressive and volatile nature and the violent behaviors that come with the uncontrollable anger it is often difficult to find the right way to parent this problem. At the end of the day I always try to find solutions that will help us shorten the outbursts and maintain safety during these situations. If I can pass along advice to other parents who are trying to find a way to manage mental illness by telling our story I will. The following will hopefully shed a little light on what oppositional defiance disorder is and how you can manage the meltdowns.

Understanding & Parenting Tips for Oppositional Defiance Disorder

What is O.D.D.?

Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a mental health disorder in which children are unable to regulate their emotions properly and display those behaviors through outbursts. These outbursts are often aggressive, violent, destructive and are marked by angry and vindictive actions. The behavior displayed is usually seemingly disproportionate to the situation that triggered the reaction and their age.

Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a disorder that affects roughly 16% of school aged children according to NAMI. Oppositional Defiance Disorder ranges in severity from mild to severe and the severity is dependent upon how many areas of life are affected. These different areas are family, social, and school environments. The severity is also determined by the frequency and intensity of the outbursts.

Diagnosis

Determining if your child has O.D.D. requires a diagnosis from a mental health professional after an assessment of their behavior and a thorough history of the behavior from parents, teachers, and if possible the child exhibiting the behaviors. Usually a history of one or more outbursts per week that are not age or situation appropriate is the largest determining factor in a O.D.D. diagnosis.

A thorough family history of mental health disorders and illnesses along with any other behaviors or symptoms the child may display can help the evaluation to find the proper diagnosis for your child. O.D.D. is often linked to others disorders and illnesses that need treatment and to be addressed in addition to the anger. Childhood trauma, parenting, stress, bullying and lack of control of environmental factors can also be found to be root issues that have your child unable to express or comprehend the complex emotions they are having. Mental illnesses such as mood disorders, ADHD, anxiety, and PTSD are also linked to oppositional defiance disorder. Therefore an evaluation would bring more understanding as a parent to what factors are playing into your child’s behavior.

What is an Outburst?

If you don’t know what an anger outburst is then you probably don’t have a child with O.D.D. A child with O.D.D. can get irrationally angry and aggressive when a parent denies the child’s request for candy before dinner. They could react in a violent manner when asked to complete simple tasks. Disrespectful and vindictive behavior can be shown when a teacher redirects the child from continuing talking out of turn. A rage fueled argument could arise with a friend of when the child feels that the friend is not following their interpretation of the rules. This emotional ineptitude is expected in children younger than five, but beyond that age they should have began to filter their emotions and communicate them in a healthier way.

If you think of a toddler who throws a tantrum when you remove a toy from their hand or say no that would be similar to how a child reacts who has O.D.D. ‘Don’t take candy from a baby’ comes to mind as the type of fit a small child has. While it’s understandable that a two year old throws themselves on the floor, hits, screams or cries in response, it is not acceptable for a ten year old to throw a fit like that in response to a similar undesirable outcome. ‘Don’t cry over spilled milk’ would be a good example of the triggered response of a child with O.D.D. has to unwanted outcomes and minor inconveniences.

Outbursts consistent with those seen in oppositional defiance disorder often involve the following characteristics:

  • Extreme anger out of proportion to the situation.
  • Yelling, screaming, and crying.
  • Destruction of property
  • Cursing or other obscene language
  • Hitting and kicking objects or others in their space.
  • Throwing objects at others or in the vicinity.
  • Berating the person who has redirected, reprimanded or refused the child.
  • Manipulative, spiteful, and vindictive behavoids exhibited.
  • Self harm or threats of suicide.
  • Lack of care of consequences given or stated.

Parenting the Problem and Seeking Support

I know how challenging parenting any child can be at times, but it’s a completely different ballgame when you have a child who suffers from any form of mental health disorder or illness. An explosive and potentially violent or aggressive child is anxiety inducing for everyone involved and can feel hopeless for a parent who is trying to handle this behavior. It’s important that you are aware of the possible triggers, the surroundings for safety and how you can help to deescalate the outburst quickly and effectively.

As a mom to two children who were diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder at the age of eight and nine, I am going to give you my do’s and don’ts for managing the meltdowns that come with oppositional defiance disorder. These are merely my experiences, my understanding, and the suggestions I was given from articles, books, therapists, and parenting coaches.

What DIDN’T Work

I would’ve tried just about anything to stop the spiral that consumed my daughters and I multiple times each week. I didn’t want to feel like the failing mom who couldn’t control her kids. I would’ve paid anyone to step in and just ‘fix’ the issue. I was tired and nothing seemed to be working. I tried to find the fix, but everything I was doing seemed to trigger my child. I would beg for a quiet day and walk on eggshells in my own home to keep the peace at home. Many of the things I tried didn’t help but instead only intensified or lengthened the outburst. I felt like I had a tiny tyrant in my home who was holding my family and I hostage. She expected us to all bend to her will. I don’t recommend the following actions when trying to overcome the outbursts of O.D.D. :

  • DON’T give in! Don’t give your child what they want to avoid the outburst. Doing so will only cause them to use these outbursts to get their desired outcome quicker.
  • DON’T threaten without follow through! Do not threaten to ground them from electronics for a month knowing that’s a consequence you won’t uphold. Threats are empty and lead to lack of consideration of consequences.
  • DON’T scream or yell back. Do not engage in an argument. Do not match their behavior. Doing so will likely not only throw fuel on the fire but it will also demonstrate the behaviors you are trying to deter.
  • DON’T take it personally. Do not allow the spiteful words of your child become your truth. Your child doesn’t hate you or wish you weren’t their mom. They just want you to hurt as bad as they are in that moment.
  • DON’T leave your child unsupervised or with someone unprepared for the possibility of an outburst. Do not allow others who are uneducated about your child’s disorder to care for your child. Do not leave them unattended for lengthy amounts of time {more than 30 minutes} and not at all when experiencing an outburst.
  • DON’T react with aggression or physical punishment. I don’t disagree that you can protect your child from himself but don’t use corporal punishment to have the child comply with your commands during an outburst.
  • DON’T give them the attention for acting badly. Do not react or respond to their every distorted reaction, aggressive advance or their requests for you to do or stop doing whatever they are demanding of you in the moment. Giving attention to the negative behaviors will give them a sense of control over you. Attention whether positive or negative is still rewarding to a child with O.D.D.

What DID Work

Now that we have discussed what we shouldn’t do we can move on to the tips that may help you calm your child while having an outburst from O.D.D. I’ve tried these and although we haven’t completely eliminated the outbursts, I can say my ability to control myself and my reactions and understand the root cause has been extremely beneficial in managing the meltdown when it arises. I’m not going to pretend that O.D.D. is cured in my threefold, but it’s makes Mommin’ this mental illness a little more manageable than it was previously.

  • DO give your child consequences that you plan to uphold. When giving consequences make sure to speak to your child after the situation has calmed down. Ask your child ‘what consequences do you think you should get for acting this way?’ Take into consideration their age and the root cause and be firm that this is unacceptable behavior.
  • DO make sure to let them know that you love them. You don’t have to like their behavior, but you always love them.
  • DO let them know when they have hurt you. If they said something particularly nasty during the height of their anger then tell them later. You will most often hear them say they didn’t mean it. This will help them to see their behavior hurts you, but also their response can ease the sting of the words they said to hurt you.
  • DO attempt to keep the child away from other members of the family during the outburst. Safety is key for not only your child but anyone who could be impacted intentionally or unintentionally by the outburst. Keep other children in an area out of sight and earshot of the child having the outburst. One triggered child is enough, adding another could intensify the outburst making it even harder to manage.
  • DO cut yourself some slack. You’re there, trying to support them and help them through this. It takes a lot of patience and love to be the parent they feel safe to express the good, bad and ugly emotions to. It’s hard being the safe parent sometimes.
  • DO encourage open communication instead of acting out. Brainstorm ways you and your child can deescalate the situation together. Ask your child how you can help them best during their outbursts and if you can’t oblige offer an alternative.
  • DO promote healthy coping mechanisms for when these big feeling arise. What can your child do to calm down when they feel tgat they are becoming agitated?
  • DO hug your child and comfort them after they have calmed down. You don’t have to understand the behavior to offer compassion. They are still just a child who needs your comfort, because the guilt will be heavy for their behavior and they need to know you are going to love them through the hard parts.
  • DO tell your child what they did that was unacceptable and how you don’t reward bad behavior. Come up with ideas together of rewards for positive behaviors and talk about ways to earn those rewards.
  • DO set routines that your child can adhere to. Chores, homework, bedtime, and other obligations the child has should be scheduled along with the free time. Once the child becomes accustomed to a routine then they can mentally prepare for what they are supposed to do and when. This structure will allow your child to feel like they know what to expect as well as what is expected of them.
  • DO seek support from teachers and therapists, partners and siblings as you navigate. Communicate warning signs and solutions that work well for calming your child.
  • DO seek therapy as a way to help your child learn to better process and communicate their emotions. A therapist can help give you insight into the child’s behavior and also act as a safe place for your child to release troublesome emotions. The therapist can also help your child to develop coping mechanisms that they can use when they have intense emotions.

It’s important to understand that Mommin mental illness isn’t a one size fits all parenting style. You are the person who knows your child best. I would love to hear your tips and tricks for taming down the tiny tyrant who is terrorizing your home too! Share in the comments or send me an email at mythreefold@gmail.com

Mommin’ mental illness ain’t easy! Finding the balance between permissive parenting and authoritative parenting while maintaining awareness of mental illness is difficult to fine tune. Trauma informed parenting teaches us to be mindful of our children’s mental health and their current stressors while maintaining an authoritative approach. As a trauma drama bipolar momma bear I am uniquely familiar with how mental disorders like O.D.D. can make home sweet home leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It’s not going away, but staying consistent with your child is key. Stay patient and stay positive. You’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

Resources:

  • NAMI.org
  • AACAP.org
  • Childmind.org