Monday, July 7, 2014

Did you give your adopted child Benadryl for the plane ride home?

Short Answer: No, I didn't.

Long Answer: I was a new mom and I didn't feel right about it. I know it is perfectly acceptable, but I was a wimp. I wanted my daughter to experience her first plane ride without medicine. My daughter did feel a little "antsy" halfway through the long plane ride but overall it wasn't so bad. For our next big plane ride, I will definitely consider it.

If you are wanting to give Benadryl to your child for a big plane ride, do a trial run 1 week before to see how your child reacts to the medicine (some children can get really hyper). If Benadryl doesn't work, try melatonin. I have a whole big post on it here.

Did you give your adopted child Benadryl for the plane ride home?

Parenting With Love and Logic

As adoptive parents, we are constantly adding tools in our "tool box". Parenting with Love and Logic is a great book for ALL parents, not just adoptive ones.

This book has been a really big help to us as we parent an adoptive child with trauma. I could almost even argue that this book is the best book to read for adoptive parenting with a couple of modifications. There are plenty of books out there to help you with your adoptive child's behaviors and emotional issues and you should read all of them-the majority of them are about the adopted child and not you the adoptive parent. This book has helped me (specifically) to feel in control while my daughter feels like she is in control. It teaches you how to give choices and consequences that overflow from the situation. I could keep going on and on about how great this book is, but you should just read it for yourself to find out.

After reading this book, I feel like I am not losing my hair as much as before. It has made that much of a difference. Using Parenting with Love and Logic and The Connected Child,which are both different books, has helped us with parenting our daughter and keeping us sane at the same time! And staying sane is really important when you are parenting the easy to love and hard to raise child. I couldn't have imagined my life without these 2 books.

Ok, so let's get back to Parenting with Love and Logic and how much I LOVE this book. One more thing about this book. It has taught me to give choices that make my daughter think-not argue, which is great for a child who is prone to getting upset. When I give her 2 choices that end in the same result, she is much happier than when I only give her one choice. I even use this technique with other children and it works! Especially if you are a teacher or if you are around a lot of kids. Who can argue when someone is asking you a question? No one! You are too busy thinking about the choices! This book has given me the tools to stay sane when handling situations with my daughter.

 If you know someone who is about to become a parent via the bio way or the adoption way, buy them this book as a gift. This is a must read for all parents!

And guess what?? They have youtube videos! I love to hear the speakers from Love and Logic talk. They are both entertaining and informative. They make the hardest of parenting situations into funny stories. We all have to laugh about it or we will go crazy parenting the easy to love but hard to raise children!

For those of you who are parenting teenagers, they make a Parenting Teens with Love and Logic.

What are your thoughts on this book? Have you ever heard of it? Read it?

Help! My Hypervigilant Child Won't go to Sleep!

I think this cry could be sung in almost every adoptive household!

How do you get someone who is on flight or flight response to go to sleep? The answer is: you don't. You can't control the uncontrollable-that is what I am learning from the book, Parenting with Love and Logic. There is no right answer in this. Every child operates differently and you try 110 methods before you've found the magic method.

Here is our experience and solution with our hypervigilant child who can't sleep:

Our daughter is on constant alert. Her first years of life have formed her brain into staying constant alert. It's like her brain's button for the fight or flight response was used so much that it is now on constant mode. I can tell most of the time when she is hypervigilant with her eyes (her pupils get huge!). And naturally going to sleep in our house was a bit of a nightmare from day one. She would lie awake until her body forced her into sleep or she would just pass out. Who knows exactly how much sleep she actually got with her adrenaline going. And when we left the room, her pupils would get really big. We would hear her playing in her room and not resting, even though her body was tired. I'm guessing she got about 5 hours of sleep each night and children are suppose to get around 10 hours of sleep. No wonder she has behavior problems during the day-she is exhausted!

I've tried everything under the sun: meditation, deep breathing, rocking, playing with lavender scented playdoh, waking her up early/going to bed at a normal time, and benadryl. All of which didn't really work, except for the last one (benadryl)! But I felt bad dosing her up with benadryl every night to help calm her mind to go to sleep. It was the only thing that worked. I talked to a doctor read some online suggestions and came up with Melatonin. It is a supplement that helps calm the mind and bring on sleep. Doctors prescribe it to patients with ADHD, jet lag, adopted children, and others with sleep disorders. We tried it out and it was wonderful! It calms her mind to be able to relax and go to sleep. It is our magic pill. She now gets a good 9 hours of sleep, which hasn't cured all of her behavior problems but it has helped with some. When I rock her before bedtime, she actually falls asleep most of the time in my arms! Amazing! And I get my 8 hours of sleep each night too (sleep is very important for me to be normal during the day)! It is a win, win for our family!

If you are looking for an alternative to benadryl (especially for that plane ride home), melatonin is a good substitute for it. Of course I have to give the disclaimer that I am not a doctor and that melatonin has not "technically" been approved for children, although there are studies currently being conducted on children and melatonin. Talk to your pediatrician about giving melatonin to your adopted child who has sleep issues.

And I know as soon as I send this post I will be getting emails about the melatonin dosaging for children. Well, it hasn't been approved for children so there aren't any approved dosages for them.

Ok, so how much do you give your daughter? I give her 3 mg each night (she weighs 50 lbs.). I crush up one 3mg pill with the back of the spoon and scrape it on top of her night time yogurt 1 hour before bed time. From my internet research, it is best to give it 1 hour before bed time for children. That is when the melatonin is at it's highest peak. You can find melatonin in the supplements/vitamin section at your grocery store or pharmacy. It is pretty cheap. I bought a bottle for 240 pills for $4.

Do I plan on giving this to my daughter every day for the rest of her life? I sure hope not! I hope we can re-circuit her brain and dis-arm this fight or flight response. She has gone through some trauma and it might take awhile for us to combat her brain's response.

Here is a great study on sleep and the traumatized child:

What are some ways that have helped your adopted child to calm down or sleep?