Monday, 18 January 2016

What's the Plan Daddy?

Having a Dependant Personality Disorder has meant that I love and live by a routine.
In most cases people assume that I am solely dependent on people and although there are elements of this there is the attachment to a good routine. If then the routine is broken or it is unexpectedly changed It does knock me out a bit.

I am not sure then if this is my influence upon the Boys, the fact that we have been building a routine up within our Time numeracy topic or if the Boys have their own needed structure. What is clear is that, like me, if the boys routine changes or breaks they struggle massively and subsequently start playing up more.
I have noticed more and more that when I either pick the Boys up or when they are dropped off to me that the first thing they say to me is “What’s the plan Daddy?”

My concern though is that they are becoming increasingly dependent on it and if that routine is then broken they lose all control and if I am completely honest end up being difficult, disruptive and at each other’s throats.
I know that there are 100’s of benefits for children to follow a routine.

Routines built upon our time topic has clearly shown that it eliminate certain level of power struggle that they might normally try. In such case where I might be met with a “But Daddy” comment.  I have found within this that structure of activities like brushing teeth, turning off the TV to come to dinner or getting ready for bed is just what we seem to do at that time of day; rather than me becoming the Bad Guy by moaning and nagging them constantly.
I also know that certain routines help both the boys and I cooperate better by reducing stress and anxiety for everyone. We all know what comes next, we get fair warning for transitions, and no one feels pushed around.

I also love that this helps at bedtime where I find that the regular routine helps the Boys settle at bedtime because they have followed a schedule, so that they fall asleep more easily at night.

Although there are rare moments when routine is broken it is within that where I see a continual fall back on their behaviour, especially with James.
It is clear that there are extra sensory needs with James and without playing Doctor or Specialist it has always been apparent that he fits in to an Asperger’s spectrum; something we are getting tested for. 

He seems to have utter meltdowns when something changes so I try to be as consistent as possible. If, as I say, the routine changes he really just cannot cope and not in the same way I would react because of my D.P.D
Everything needs to be done at the same time, in the same way, every day, as much as possible, to give a sense of safety and security. When there will be a change in routine, I have to tell the Boys as far in advance possible and then explain what will happen.

So have I done the right thing by allowing such a regulated routine to be put into place? Is the concept of them depending on asking me “What’s the Plan?” a normal thing for children to do?
Or should I, with certain limitations for James, try to have more spontaneous days where the standard routine is something different for us?


Unknown said...

I think routine is a positive thing. 'What's the plan?' is a saying in our house every time we consider what is going to happen throughout the day. There's certainly no harm in breaking the routine once in a while though. Interesting post! It really made me think because I live by lists - everything I must do is on the list and I can't rest until it's done. Not exactly a routine as such - but it can be unhealthy because I sit up until 3am, because during the day I decided to go out or watch TV when I was supposed to be working or studying, lol.

Someone's Mum (Danielle) said...

I love routine. My son is diagnosed autistic too, so we have also had to have strict routines with him. I think having strong routines for the big stuff, the stuff that happens every day, is so important. When you have that it place, I then find doing something different every now and then, but with a few familiar things in place still too, works really well. I have been criticised for too much routine but everyone does what fits best with their family. Don't worry too much.