View Full Version : Children's Behavioral Problems

09-13-2004, 08:15 AM
This is an unusual question but one that has concerned me more now that our time to cruise is drawing nearer. Five of our children are adopted--all of them were victims of an often chaotic foster care system that moved them from home to home. As a result, three of the five suffer some emotional trauma (two lived with us from birth so they've never known other "parents"). With medication, working with schools and at home, we've gotten bad behaviors under control (imagine the child who was most disruptive in your classes--talking out of turn, not listening and that would be one of ours). But aboard DCL this will be a differenty story, I'm sure.
1. How do we go about warning counselors of potentially disruptive behavior when, I'm certain, the counselors change regularly.
2. Should the children become disruptive, how will DCL handle this?
3. The children take medication during the course of the day--is this something we need to do or will the couselors make sure this is done?

09-13-2004, 08:22 AM
I think the registration form for the club leaves room to indicate any special issues involving your child. The counselors at check-in are also available to discuss them with you. I would guess there is a field on their data base where special concerns could be listed. The new counselors would have access to this information whenever your child checks into the clubs.

If your child became too disruptive, the counselors would page you to have them removed. But I am sure they are trained to deal with a certain amount of disruptive behavior and would only page you if it was out of control.

I am not sure about medications, but I think it would be better for you to stop by the club when medications are to be dispensed.

Good luck!

Denae :sunny:

09-13-2004, 08:30 AM
We just cruised on August 12 with our 9 year old grandaughter who takes Ritalin for ADD.

You are issued a pager the day you check the children in and they will page you if the child wants you or you are needed. The only place the pagers didn't work was if you got off the ship in Nassau.

And as far as my grandaughter said, she had the same counselors all the time, any time of the day or night because she knew them by name and always talked about them. And no matter what time we were there, I always saw the same people.

And as far as the medications, you are told at registration to the clubs that the counselors will NOT issue any medications. If your child is in the club at a time when they need to take meds, you must go and administer them - they are not authorized to do so.

I hope that addressed a few more of your concerns.

09-13-2004, 10:04 AM
I cruised on 9/2 ... I was paged once to come and get my grandsons (9 & 10) ... they were running around and not listening rather than participating in the current activity.

The counselors were very nice, but told me the boys "needed a break," but to bring them back later.

I took them back to our cabin for a "time out" ... they ended up napping for several hours before asking to go back. When I took them back the counselors were glad to see them.

09-13-2004, 03:24 PM
I've been in your position also. Six of our children are adopted with the older ones going thru foster care. They all have various LD issues, ADHD, behavioral, etc.

Disney will NOT give meds, but you can feel free to stop by and give them yourself anytime.

Disney will TRY to handle discipline, but will not put other children's safety or fun at risk.

Fill out the form the first day AND ask to speak to the head counselor for their age group. They are very accomodating.

The first time I took my girls on a Disney Cruise, they were just 9 and 10 and had lost their Daddy and brother just a few short months before. I talked to the counselor regarding this, and they were incredibly sympathetic and gave them extra attention when it seemed they were zoning out. One sat with my older girl one afternoon talking about them and hugging her when she cried. THIS is what Disney is all about!

Last but not least, remember that there is always a honeymoon...hopefully your kids will last exactly one week!

Relax...have fun!

09-13-2004, 03:48 PM
Thank you all for your help--it's great having so many knowledgable people who are willing to help on these boards. The advice on the database and working with the counselors helps tremendously. As does the information on medications. We'll simply set time aside to make sure one of us arrives to do so. Fawn, when you mention the "honeymoon" period, I can tell you've been through this--the term "honeymoon" and the time period is something parents of foster children really understand and depend upon!

09-13-2004, 06:21 PM
If you don't mind additional advice. I work with families of children with special needs, and am also familiar with protocol on other cruise lines for our kids. Make the counselors aware of your childrens' issues, but do not overstate the severity of the behavioral issues. I can't overemphasize being aware of what you say within the child's earshot. I've heard parents go on and on about how disruptive their children are right in front of them. The children end up being very deflated, and difficult to draw out, because they feel that now these new people will be judging them harshly. Leave the kids in for a limited amount of time the first time you drop them off, and then longer for following visits to the club. Try picking them up around the time you would dispense their medication, or give it to them discretely, so that they are not singled out among their new friends. Also, if you are paged for disruptive behavior, bear in mind how stimulating this new environment may be for them, and try to be understanding, and supportive. Tell your kids, in a very upbeat, and positive way, what is expected of them. If you can find out from the staff ahead of time what the kids will be doing in the club, you can "prime" them with the activities the day before. "Tomorrow you're going to get to be a pirate....." and then help them practice what might be expected of them in a fun way.

Have a great vacation! And once the kids are in the club, don't worry. They will be in good hands.

09-13-2004, 06:51 PM
My 13 year is adopted and has special needs. We cruised DCL when she was 11, 12, and 13. I mentioned that she had some delays, and they never seemed concerned. I did not go into detail. This year I kept her in the lab, as she is definitely NOT ready for the teen group. They had no problem with that!!!

09-14-2004, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by ma2patrick
bear in mind how stimulating this new environment may be for them, and try to be understanding, and supportive

THANKS for this thread. In June, my husband and I are cruising on a 4-day with my sister, her husband, AND SIX "teens" (ages 12-18). Four of the kids are adopted and two are biological. My sister is VERY worried that the 12 & 14 year olds will be way over stimulated and just not be able to control themselves...........I told her that I am out of control with stimulation from the second I get to the port and I had never been thrown overboard, so she didn't need to worry :-) I just believe we can make the trip work so everyone has a great time. I may check to see if the 14 year old can stay in the younger club because she is no bigger than an 8 or 9 year old and she is a couple of years behind in school because of coming from an orphanage where care was minimal to say the least/language barriers, etc.

I am going to create a "buy in" or contract or whatever you call it so that expectations for the kids and adults will be laid out way in advance. The kids aren't finding out about the trip until Christmas so I will wrap up their "cruise contracts" for their "trip reveal." Also, that is when my sister will start teaching "elevator ettiquette" (?sp?), hallway manners, etc. She works on table manners on a daily basis but with six kids, mealtimes are kind of survival of the fittest!

I wish everyone well on their cruises.


09-14-2004, 11:19 AM
Curt...if it weren't for honeymoon periods, foster/adoptive parents would never get to go anywhere!! :crazy: It is funny how we try and plan everything thinking "OK, now in this situation, how many hours or days will I get of a honeymoon? What can I do to stretch that honeymoon?"

Grits...most of mine are grown now, but you brought back memories also. We always started well before any event or trip going over acceptable manners...day after day after day! As far as meal time, remember the breakfast scene in Cheaper by the Dozen? That was pretty much standard for my Gang!

The great news is that the servers make mealtimes so much fun that the kids are entertained all the way thru!

Lynda Silk
09-14-2004, 12:22 PM
Just wanted to say how much I admire all of you! I know how hard it is to raise a family these days, but when you have other challenges such as special needs and unsettled family histories, well, my hat goes off to all of you!!!!

Hope all of you have a wonderful cruise! I'm sure the kids will have the time of their lives and so will you!

09-14-2004, 12:36 PM
My husband and I are also foster and adoptive parents and have several children with special needs. We were hesitant to take then all on a cruise, but after alot of research we decided that they could handle the trip. We leave on the 26th Wonder, and everyone is so excited! we are going to try the clubs and labs, but will check on them from time to time. Meds won't be an issue for the times they will be in the labs,etc. so we won't have to worry about that. Have a wonderful time on your trip!

09-14-2004, 12:47 PM
Fawn--very, very true. We're just hoping that, as you said, the honeymoon period lasts the entire 7 days.
Grits--our group is much the same way. I believe our picture is in the "Do Not Do" section of the "Etiquette for Dummies" book! We started in April covering just the basics--you do not rush linebacker style out of an elevator, most foods are to be eaten with utensils (and there is something called a fork), food dropped ont he floor should remain there, and how to behave in an airport and on an airplane (we avoided the ten things not to say to security because they would utter all 10). We've a little ways to go, but I think we'll be ready by sail time! I think the fun of this cruise is watching the kids--they've never been on an airplane or even seen a cruise ship, so it will truly be a magical experience for all of us.

09-14-2004, 01:19 PM
I just wanted to add that for those concerned about how well their children will do in the Clubs, the kids can stay with you too. I expect my kids will only be in the Clubs a couple hours a day. I will love the break, but for us, it is a family vacation and we'll have lots of fun together at the pool, beach, exploring the ship, etc.