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Our Orchid Kids test our limits and our patience. A lot at times. 

Orchids with sensory processing issues need their environment to be just so. Certain clothing; certain foods; certain lighting; certain toys; certain music at a certain volume.

Orchids with attention challenges often have a hard time following through. On homework. On chores. On following directions.

Orchids with behavioral challenges rebel whenever they’re told to do anything (or so it feels to us). They fight back. They sass. They refuse.

If you’re a parent who feels like their child just won’t listen or won’t behave or won’t follow through, before you lose your cool completely (which I don’t recommend doing anyway), try these things first.

Make sure they heard you

We sometimes take for granted that our kids are always listening to us. Even as I write that, I’m laughing because it sounds ridiculous. And yet, if I yell from across the room or across the house, the implication is that I expect my child to be paying attention to my voice in the midst of whatever they’re doing.


Making sure your child can hear you might mean

  1. Going into the same room as them
  2. Tapping their shoulder to gain their attention
  3. Saying their name and waiting for them to look at you
  4. Then (and only then) telling them what you need to tell them

What happens when you try things this way? 

Make sure they understood you

I’m talking here mostly about very young children, but also about older kids who have any kind of speech or language delay. 

Did they understand the words you said (once they could actually hear you)?

It’s worth asking the question. And if you don’t know the answer, ask a speech therapist to take a closer look.

Change the environment for success

If you’re having trouble keeping your Orchid Kid off of screens, ask yourself: how can you make the screens more difficult (hopefully impossible) to access? 

If your kids can’t play together for more than a minute without someone getting hurt, how can you separate them so that people get hurt less often? (recognizing that nothing is 100%).

If your Orchid Kid chews on toys that are choking hazards, how can you make those toys unavailable?

Making changes to the environment is a way of allowing your child to succeed. Maybe they should be able to resist grabbing the ipad when it’s sitting on the couch. But they can’t right now. Why let them fail? Maybe they’re “old enough” to play nice with their sibling, but they just can’t right now. Why let them fail? Maybe they know they’re “not supposed to” put small things in their mouth, but they still do it. Why let them fail? 

If a simple change to the environment means the difference between success and failure, why not do it?

Decide (BEFOREHAND) if you really need them to do the thing you’re asking them to do

I call this the “Is the hill you want to die on today” question. Is it really that important? Really? Right now? Today? 

Maybe the answer is yes. And if, that’s fine. Put your seatbelt on and go for it.

But often the answer is no, it’s not necessary to force compliance. No, it’s not necessary to get into a big fight that you can’t win anyway. 

Better to avoid the conversation altogether than get halfway in and realize that you’ve got to turn back.

Schedule some more Time In

Time In is time spent with your Orchid Kid where you are available to them on THEIR schedule. On their play agenda. On their lead. It’s time spent where you don’t try and teach anything. You just try and follow your child’s lead by being available and a willing participant. We sometimes forget how powerful Time In can be in building up our relationships – all of them. Particularly with our Orchid Kids.

Ask for help

If you’ve been struggling with your Orchid Kid, and the strategies you’re trying aren’t working, it’s time for a change. Don’t get stuck in a cycle of “yuckiness”. Life with an Orchid Kid does NOT have to be yucky. It will challenge you, yes. But it doesn’t have to be awful, or even hard.

The Raising Orchid Kids Practical Strategies Class begins on April 23rd (running through June 11th).

You’ll learn about yourself and your Orchid Kid; you’ll learn some new strategies; and you’ll connect with a tribe of parents who are experiencing many of the same things you are.

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