Boss Behavior

We are struggling with Executive Function (Boss Behavior), and when I say we, I mean we—though our struggles with boss behavior are quite different.

From my perception of Hope’s view of things (we’ve talked about this so I think I’m being fair in my interpretation) goes a bit like this:

  • Most homework gets done when I remember it.
  • Hey I manage to do about a third of my chores each week.
  • I know that there’s a test coming up in one of my classes, but I don’t know which class or when the test actually is.
  • I manage to take my meds most days of the week when mom reminds me.
  • On a day home from school, I’ll still be cramming to do my homework at 9pm at night.
  • I just don’t like school, or chores, or the lists that mom makes me or well, anything that requires much organization.

Here’s my take on things:

  • Holy HeyZeus, according to ParentVUE, Hope didn’t do her French homework for a week.
  • Holy Batcrap, Hope didn’t do her math homework for two weeks.
  • I wrote her a list of things to do on her day home, one thing got done today in 8 hours.
  • Good gawd, I have to tell her to do EVERY. SINGLE. THING, will she ever function independently?
  • I’m so glad she’s cooking dinner, but whycome did she need a recipe to make a grilled cheese and her sudden need to follow details has resulted in an ice cold sandwich—I mean really, why does it take 2 hours to make a sandwich with a side of apple sauce????
  • But I told her to tidy her room and now I’m yelling and she’s pouting because this joint is messier than when she started because she is overwhelmed.
  • Impulse control and freak out = $7-$8 school lunches with pizza, a couple of chicken sandwiches, fruit snacks, candy and a stop at the 7-11 for more candy after school.
  • WTH????
  • WTF????
  • WT??????????????????

Yeah, so…all of that.

I flipped out again yesterday because I had provided my lovely daughter a list of things to do, and she accomplished 2 things on the list and could not for the life of her describe how she spent her day. I had forgotten how she struggles with organization, following lists, following directions. I seethed.

I worried.

We are in a dangerous spiral at school, which also has me freaking out. Her teachers are struggling with the right thing to say to me about her behavior in class, that is until I said, “so are you trying to tell me that she’s just checked out?” They all sigh and say, yeah.

We’ve tried tools. We’ve tried different kinds of lists. We’ve tried memorization techniques. We’ve tried all kinds of things: meds, apps, cognitive strategies, etc, etc.

Yesterday I finally popped off emails to the school counselor, the Absurdly Hot Therapist (who is looking mighty fine) and the psychiatrist.

We need help. I have done all I can do and I can’t drag her to the next level of development. I just can’t.

This is tough. I’ve gotten better about asking for help since Hope has come into my life. I see so much return on my work with her. I’ve marshaled all kinds of resources for her.

But figuring out this Boss Behavior thing has just got us stuck. I only recognized that it was really an issue a few months ago. I have read copiously. I have tried to figure out where the boundaries of her limitations are. I’ve tried to help her manage her stress so that she can better cope with her areas of functional difficulty. But I finally concluded this week, that I can’t do this.

Heck, half the time I shoot first, think about it later, meaning, I nag and needle her about what she didn’t do and later remember the pattern of the behavior that triggers one of those limited boundaries. It’s like when you see where the surveyor uses those little sticks with the flags on them to mark the boundaries, but you don’t really know where the boundaries are?

Yeah, that. That’s what it’s like.

So, I’m tired of wandering across the boundary and then kicking, screaming and cursing because I hit a tripwire. It hurts, and it makes me sad. It makes us sad.

This journey sucks sometimes.

I’m hopeful that I can get Hope the support she needs. I’m hoping I can build her confidence and that as a team we can help her be her best self. I am hopeful that I can inspire hope in her.

I totally want her to grow up to be a Boss Chick.

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2017. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

3 responses to “Boss Behavior

  • My Perfect Breakdown

    Good for you for reaching out and asking for help from professionals who know best. I hope with their help you can find the right strategy to support Hope. Wishing you the best as always!

  • Cherese S.

    Finally caught up to reading your blog! Youre such an awesome mom and an inspiration! With you as her mom Hope is definitely going to be a boss chick! Side note: OMG I cant believe you got rid of the mini *insert open mouth face*. Also your gifs crack me up! Miss ya lady!

  • K.

    Please take this for what it’s worth, because I’ve only been following recently and sporadically so I am very possibly not up to speed on everything you’ve already tried. I’m wondering if you have determined what motivates Hope. We’re each motivated by different things, and what motivates you may not at all be what motivates her. Case in point: my son has many of the same school issues as Hope — doesn’t care about homework or studying, goofs off, etc. Like you, I spent a couple of years trying everything I could think of to keep him on track. Then one day he and I got into an argument and he told me I make him feel terrible about himself, because he can never met my expectations. I was always pointing out what he hadn’t done. And he called me out on why I cared so much when it was his life. He was right. I was too much in his business, keeping track of every detail of his school assignments. So I backed off. And I had to admit to myself that my son was not like me. He was never going to be motivated to keep his grades up the way I had been. He is biding his time until he can get out of school and into the real world. He did not see any connection between his schoolwork and the life he hopes to lead as an adult. His goal is to get through school doing as little as possible, which is exactly opposite to how I always was. His attitude is foreign to me (but actually very much the attitude my husband had in school). I have had to step back, realize that there is more than one path to success in life, that my way isn’t the only way. My son is very smart, but most of school turns him off. He is not motivated by the idea of good grades or learning for the sake of learning. He is motivated, though, by money. I never thought it was a good idea to pay kids for grades, however that is exactly what we’ve been doing with my son for the past year and a half, and it has been working! Also, I no longer ask him every day about assignments or tests. I check his grades once a week. He gets paid for A’s and B’s, nothing for C’s. And there are set consequences for D’s and F’s. If he chooses to do his work, he gets paid. If he chooses not to, he knows what the consequence will be. He was right to say this is his life, not mine. And I was wrong to make him feel his worth was tied to his grades. I have stopped blowing up at him over low grades, because now I can implement the consequences we agreed on. His confidence has grown and he is becoming more responsible for himself. I’m not saying it’s a perfect system or that we never have to remind him to stay on track. But things are definitely better now than they were when I was overly involved in his schoolwork. As I said, I obviously don’t know all the details about your situation, but I thought I’d share this with you in case there’s something in my experience that might help. Best to you!

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