I don't know if this is really a special needs issue or just a parenting issue... but my oldest daughter, the one with the ADD and learning disabilities and amazing rock-star personality, is not a morning person. Never has been, ever. This was not such a big deal when she was a baby, but since she started school (she's 10 now) it's erupted as more-or-less chronic morning tantrums. There are a few things I can and do try to do to alleviate this---consistent morning routine, making sure she gets lots of sleep---but there are still days (like the other day) when I have to practically drag her to the bus stop. And probably more days involve shouting than don't. I don't like this, and I certainly don't like sending her off for the day steaming at the ears.

The cycle goes something like this: I announce it's time to do something (get breakfast, find socks, but most usually start putting backpacks together and coats on). She acknowledges me, but doesn't take action. I give another announcement a few minutes later. She makes a move to do the thing, then forgets about it. All of a sudden we only have two minutes to be out the door, and I start yelling---and then she's upset because I'm getting mad at her "for no reason" and starts yelling back, and before I know it it's like I'm dealing with a two-year-old again.  Other routes to a morning melt-down include the grumpy one picking on her little sister (for such sins as looking at her, or humming, or being too happy) until she gets in trouble for that, or her little sister "showing off" how quickly she's getting ready... obviously just to piss the older one off. (they are good at pushing each others' buttons, I will give them that).

Now, in my ideal world I would send the ten-year-old to her room to cool down until she's rational again (this can take up to two hours), but this isn't feasible in the morning. I might even jolly her along, which works better than yelling but usually ends up with me doing most of her morning prep for her---which irritates me as I have plenty of my own stuff to pull together in the mornings and she's 10, for pete's sake. Adding more time doesn't even seem to help, as the "announcement... inaction" phase just ends up being longer. I've thought about lists of things to do in the morning, but I feel like I'd be reminding her to look at her list fifty times, which wouldn't really be any different.

Thoughts? Ideas? Strategies? Commiseration? I feel like I'm beating my head against a brick wall here. Their dad's answer is to "be more tough with her." If I were any tougher, I'd be beating her... which is tempting but really not where I want to be as a parent.

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