Friday, January 11, 2008

How Do You Parent an Odd Child?




Landrie is an odd girl. I say this with the utmost respect and love for her. After all, she is my flesh and blood and, therefore, some of the oddity must come from either Cody or me. But she is odd, and I'm not sure how to parent her sometimes. Dr. Dobson's book, The Strong-Willed Child, talks about using discipline to "break the will; not the spirit" and this is a philosophy I subscribe to. But I'm not really talking about how to discipline....just what to do when Landrie's being...odd.
There are countless examples, but here is one of the more recent events. Every Wednesday, I work with our church's youth group on a project called, "Motion." Since Motion begins so early in the evening, my kiddos have to hang out with me in the sanctuary until they can go to their activities. It took Landrie a few weeks, but she has now completely warmed up to the Motion kids/parents/volunteers and she is free to be herself...in all her splendor and glory.
This past Wednesday, her full splendor and glory was on display for all to see. You see, Landrie has a big imagination. She loves imaginitive play....pretend play. So during Motion, she asked me to take her potty, which I did. When we returned to the sanctuary, Landrie bounded up on stage and sat quietly on the choir steps.
"Cool" I thought to myself, and I returned my attention back to the Motion kids. A few minutes later, out of the corner of my eye I saw Landrie stand up and do something that took my breath away. I can barely write it....but here goes. From the corner of my eye, I see Landrie stand up, bend her knees, and PRETEND TO WIPE HERSELF...front bottom AND back bottom. Then she pretends to wash her hands, and sits back down on the choir step to repeat this imaginary process of going "poo-poo" and "pee-pee".
Keep in mind she is on the stage....in the sanctuary...in the pulpit...God's holy place! Parents are watching...teenagers are dancing...I am crying.
Okay, work with me here. Who does this? What kind of child pretends in this way? Really. I'm not looking for comforting answers here...just honest truth. And, honestly, I was laughing inside, but pretty mortified at the same time. My friend, Adrielle, was there to witness the show the second time Landrie performed it. She was laughing, too, but I bet she secretly thinking, "Oh my gosh! I cannot believe that child just did that!!"
There are other examples, too. Landrie can sometimes be bi-polar. If she sees a friend outside of school, like the grocery store, she is oftentimes ugle=y. A normal child would run up to the friend and hug her or smile and wave....something friendly. But not Landrie. She will look at the friend and then say to me "Her look at me. I don't like her." See? Odd.
Another example is that she has an un-natural attachment to Cody. The first thing she says to me each morning is "Where's daddy?" Then she cries when I tell her he's at work. Then she will ask for him repeatedly throughout the day, and as the day draws on, she will begin to countdown the time until daddy comes home.
A final example is that she loves to wear clothing that is....um, how should I say this?....a little tramp-ish. Hooker-like. Her favorite is a rayon skirt of Kellie-Laine's. She will pull it up under her arms and wear it like a strapless dress. You can tell by the look on her face that she thinks she's pretty beautiful....twirling around...sashaying her bare, naked shoulders around the house. She knows better than to even ask to wear such atrocities in public, but the moment she gets home from school, she'll put it on. And, no, we do not let her watch Wives of Orange County or The Hills....I Tivo those and watch them when she's asleep. (Just kidding!)
There is an endless list to the odd things Landrie does. I just need to know how to parent them! Any advice? I took drugs when I was pregnant....legal ones. I was on Phenergen for about 18 weeks when I was trying to kick the morning sickness. Could this explain her abnormal behavior?
I am certain God uniquely designed Landrie to His liking. I'm just trying to figure out what grandiose plan He has for Landrie....wiping her front bottom and back bottom in the sanctuary of our church.

10 comments:

Juli said...

LOL!!!!!!! She's a hoot! It must be a second child thing (this is coming to you FROM a second child!) because my Lulu is a ring-tail tooter, too. But to answer your question, BOTH of mine have moments like that. Madge just usually only has them at home, as she's a little shy in public. Lucy, on the other hand, has never met a stranger, and has no problems doing anything anywhere. I say start taking your video camera everywhere and just enjoy racking up all of that blackmail ammo for later in life! :)

KarenD said...

With baby #1 on the way, we occasionally have conversations about how many children we want. (Then hubby stops short and says, "Well, we'll see how this first one goes.")

I've thought about three... but I've wondered about the middle child "syndrome." There are quite a few sets of three siblings in my family, and ALL of the middle children are ODD. That's the only way I can think to describe them. ODD. Does Dobson say anything on that?

Nicki W. said...

haha! she sounds a lot like me as a child--does that scare you?? i used to act out the most bizarre things, but i was so so so easily entertained by myself.
maybe the dress situation means she will be a fashionista beyond her years!

Adrielle said...

Girl, I thought it was HILARIOUS!!! I say good for her that she's confident enough in herself (or confident enough that no one is watching) that she can be so "creative" in her play. Plus, this was a great revelation to me that you are one successful mommy at potty training!! WHAT AN ART! :) In all seriousness, I can understand your concern, but I think you're doing great. You always speak nicely, you don't lose your cool, and yet you set boundaries for behavior. I am certainly not the one to offer advice, but I'd say, keep hanging in there. I'm starting to think parenting a child is more for our modification than theirs!! :)

jennifer ross said...

It sounds to me like you have a little drama diva on your hands! Our Elle will be in drama, I'm sure. She does similar things, and she's NOT a middle child. ;)
Ang, don't you remember how wierd your neighbors were growing? The ones with 3 girls who dressed ratty and acted out everything from Annie to 90210? Seriously, I think you do! :)

Robinsnest said...

I feel your pain. I have a son he is 8 next week. We had him tested for everything , and they settle on anxiety disorder and ODD. He is the third child of 6. He has always had the odd things, He had to have his pants so tight from age 3 until he started med. that they left bruises on his hips. Once at the fair we meet some friends he had not seen in a awhile and had not see him since he was a baby, well, he took off running and slid across the floor and started barking like a dog, argues with friends, siblings , gives me a fit when his dad is at the fire dept for 24hr. Just recently he bugged us about wanting to play football, and he is always asking us to throw the ball with him. Well, over 200.00 later and three hard parctices he decided he is going to quit, I had to try and take him tonight and I am the one that gets the anger, and most of the defiant behavior.
I tried to offer a reward nothing worked, I think that we should not let him quit nothing bad happened he just does not want to run, and do the conditioning. He means he is not going to do it, I told him he could not go to a fun park with his friend on Th and he said I don't care, but come Th is will and throw a fit about it. I told him he had to go and tell the coach himself and he said no, I picked him up and put him in the car but not without a fight. when we got to the field he was under the back seat hidding. I told him if he did not get out I would call the coach to the car. He got out barefooted and went in front of all the other children and players marched up to the coach and said I quit. I really do not know what to do with this one. Somedays I am so tired by the end of the day I can't stand it. It is physically and mentally tiring. should I make him

Robinsnest said...

I feel your pain. I have a son he is 8 next week. We had him tested for everything , and they settle on anxiety disorder and ODD. He is the third child of 6. He has always had the odd things, He had to have his pants so tight from age 3 until he started med. that they left bruises on his hips. Once at the fair we meet some friends he had not seen in a awhile and had not see him since he was a baby, well, he took off running and slid across the floor and started barking like a dog, argues with friends, siblings , gives me a fit when his dad is at the fire dept for 24hr. Just recently he bugged us about wanting to play football, and he is always asking us to throw the ball with him. Well, over 200.00 later and three hard parctices he decided he is going to quit, I had to try and take him tonight and I am the one that gets the anger, and most of the defiant behavior.
I tried to offer a reward nothing worked, I think that we should not let him quit nothing bad happened he just does not want to run, and do the conditioning. He means he is not going to do it, I told him he could not go to a fun park with his friend on Th and he said I don't care, but come Th is will and throw a fit about it. I told him he had to go and tell the coach himself and he said no, I picked him up and put him in the car but not without a fight. when we got to the field he was under the back seat hidding. I told him if he did not get out I would call the coach to the car. He got out barefooted and went in front of all the other children and players marched up to the coach and said I quit. I really do not know what to do with this one. Somedays I am so tired by the end of the day I can't stand it. It is physically and mentally tiring. should I make him

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Anonymous said...

Hello,

I am looking for some form of help! I have absolutely no one to talk to and vent about what I go through dealing with my ODD step child. I want someone who can hear me and give me some tips and be able to relate with me.

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