Activities for Kids and Parents With Misophonia

Anyone with children can tell you that occupying our little monsters can be a challenge. You need to get creative, be engaging and make it fun. It is so important to build that relationship, but if you suffer from Misophonia, it is safe to assume that many of these activities can be very challenging.

Naturally, some people have more triggers than others, as well as different kinds of triggers. Let’s be honest, most “kid-friendly” places are NOT Misophonia friendly. There are so many activities that I used to be able to participate in that are now unfeasible. For example, a bowling alley, a jump park, even a playground.

Even movie theaters are a challenge, but there are some accommodations available. A few simple rules to follow for going to a movie:

Never see a movie on opening weekend. That is just asking to be triggered by the crowds! Consider going to a movie at an “off time”. Most people do not go to the early morning matinees, which would be prime time for a Misophone.

Many theaters offer assigned seating. This is a wonderful way to see how crowded the theater will be, as well as allow you to sit in the back row. This will enable you to avoid those foot shaking, seat kicking jerks behind you. (not to mention the snackers!)

In the US, movie theaters are required to offer hearing assisted headphones in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. These are a total game changer. Simply ask for a pair of hearing assist headphones at the box office. There is no charge for use of the device, and there is a volume control to adjust to your own comfort level. The movie will stream through them. (Personally, I take some disinfectant wipes prior to use) and often will wear my earplugs with them for added protection. They can tune out those insufferable snackers that seem to check their manners at the box office.

Don’t want to risk it? I cannot say that I blame you, I will only go to the theater is there is a movie that I absolutely want to see and I do not want to wait for the DVD. Why not have a family movie night? With so many choices, cable, Netflix, Amazon, etc. you can enjoy a movie in the comfort of your own home, without the triggers. You can’t beat that!

What are some things you can do at home with your rugrats? Depending on their age(s) there are so many fun activities to enjoy together. If you have younger children, Play-Doh is a wonderful activity. It is quiet, creative and you can literally play for hours, not to mention that the feeling of the Play-Doh in your hands can be very relaxing and therapeutic for most people. (Sadly, it may be a tactile trigger for others). Older children may enjoy making and playing with slime. Let’s face it, are you ever too old for Play-Doh?

Some activities can be designed for children of all ages. For example, coloring is no longer just for “little ones”. There are so many coloring books for all ages including teenagers and adults. Throw in some gel pens or glitter pencils for your older kids and it is actually a lot of fun! I have always found coloring to be a very relaxing activity. I would strongly recommend skipping capped markers, since taking the caps on and off can be a trigger. Crayons, colored pencils, even paints can be used. No one said you have to be an artist to enjoy being creative! Who cares if that picture of a family on the beach looks like your paint exploded all over the canvas! Use your creativity as an outlet for your feelings and emotions. Express yourself! I doubt your child will critique your work, they are just happy to be creating with you!

Arts and crafts can be customized by the age group, as your child grows older, scrapbooking not only helps reminisce but you are using your energy creatively while creating a beautiful memory. Perhaps you can try making your own beauty supplies, lip gloss, bath or shower bombs. (Products you can enjoy later for relaxation time). The possibilities are endless. Most of these activities can be done with things around your house so you are not wasting money.

Let’s not forget about doing puzzles together. A past-time we enjoyed as children have become a thing of the past. Bring it back!

Go unplugged! Video games often have an abundance of audio triggers. Go back to the good old days. Time to dig those board games out of the closet and have a family game night. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised at how much your children enjoy board games

Just because you have Misophonia does not mean that you cannot enjoy spending time with your children. Having Misophonia means finding different and creative ways to make memories. Even if your condition keeps you “locked in” doesn’t mean you should be “locked out” of making memories.

What Do I Do If My Parents Don’t Believe I Have Misophonia?

This is a hot-button topic that I have seen on support forums, as well as through comments and questions on Misophonia International. Now, I wish I could give you a magic wand, wave it, and then have your parents believe that you have the disorder. Unfortunately, this doesn’t exist… we’re working on it (kidding).

Now, let me tell you – there was a time – a few years ago, when my parents didn’t believe I had misophonia. My mother was quick to change her ways, and accept my disorder when she realized it truly was something that was more than just an annoyance. My father took a bit longer, and there are still days were we trifle. For the most part though, he’s on board too.

In my book, [amazon_textlink asin=’1517018706|1517018706|B014ED2GMI’ text=’Full of Sound and Fury: Suffering With Misophonia’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’misophoniaint-20|misophoniai0b-20|misophoniaint-21′ marketplace=’CA|US|UK’ link_id=’1f12b94f-1c67-11e8-ab01-67584b6f16cd’], I discuss in length having ‘the conversation’ about misophonia, and I realize that family, friends, and coworkers all have different requirements. This conversation might be uncomfortable at first, but it’s certainly worth it.

Try not to get angry with them

In general, most parents want the best for their children. It can be difficult for parents to accept that there is something “wrong” with their child. It can take time to realize that their child is not making this up, and that they have a disorder. Often, parents might be reacting negatively because they are afriad what it might mean if it’s true that their child has an unknown condition.

Use resources to explain your condition

This guide for parents can help you to explain misophonia. Alongside our other resources and materials, it’s our hope that your parents will come to terms with their child’s affliction. For younger children/teens/preteens, there is the website www.misophoniakids.com.

If at first they don’t believe, keep trying!

This also falls under ‘don’t get angry’. Sometimes changing perspectives takes time, and getting into an argument is not the right way to convince somebody that you’re in pain. I know this can be frustrating, but unfortunately it might take patience and perseverance to explain to a parent that misophonia is a real condition.

Dr. Jennifer Jo Brout perfectly explains in her Psych Today article how mothers might be deemed crazy for saying their children have misophonia:

While it can be difficult to refrain from the natural urge to make everyone you know understand Misophonia, think of it more as a process (i.e. allow people a learning curve).

  1. When faced with other peoples’ misconceptions about Misophonia (and your child’s behavior) don’t tell, ask.
  2. For example, even though you are disappointed, hurt, angry and heartsick, try politely asking the person if they know anything about Misophonia.
  3. Often this “disarms” the other person, as they actually don’t know much and  are willing to learn.
  4. Supply others with links to websites you like, research articles and/or popular press articles that you find useful. It frustrates us that the research on  Misophonia is in its infancy. However, a little information may go a long way for   someone who has never heard of the disorder.
  5. If you find yourself in the “defense trap” again with that same person, kindly remind them of the information offered. If they haven’t read it, maybe they will now.Remember the learning curve.

Parents, like all other people, are people. They may require some time to understand the disorder. Dr. Brout’s advice can be helpful with your parents, teachers, or friends.

Keep trying! I hope in time, the world will come to a better understanding of misophonia! 

“A Family That Eats Together” with Misophonia

Does your family eat together? Kelly Bruno offers an explanation on why it’s okay if they don’t! 

I ran out the kitchen door with a skip in my step. It was my turn to ring the dinner bell. Dad was up the hill, across the field, and deep in the garden, weeding. My brother was building a bike jump out of a random chunk of cement and plywood on our dirt driveway. I reached up as high as my little arms could stretch and gripped on tight, pulling down with all my might. The sound echoed for miles around.

Soon, we all sat around the dinner table. Bowls were placed in the center to be passed around and the food quickly filled our plates. Metal spoons hungrily scraped the mushy mashed potatoes off from our plates. Mouths opened and closed, working hard on their steak. The words and laughter filtered through our moist, broccoli stuffed teeth.

“Kelly, close your mouth when you eat,” my mom said, then sipped her tea. She always taught us our manners.

Our dinner table was the picture of family values, “A family that eats together, stays together.” Maybe you have heard the quote before.

Today, I cringe at the idea. Not because I don’t like it, or think that it is untrue. Eating together as a family can be a beautiful thing: a time to come together, talk about everyone’s day, relax, and laugh. It can. Or, it can be a nightmare. A nightmare if you, or someone in your household has Misophonia.

Misophonia. Where every sound and sight through a meal can switch your brain instantly into a fight or flight response.

The metal spoon scraping across the dish, mouths opening and closing, the moist, smacking chews or crunch, the words, their sound as they mesh together with food being chewed, and even the slightest sip from another, just politely taking a drink: all of these things, these normal, everyday actions and sounds that we see with our eyes and hear with our ears, they each have the potential of destroying the very heart of that family value quote.

So for you, the family with Misophonia, I offer you this instead, “A family that eats together, will most likely not stay together.” I do not apologize. It is a hard fact, and one that is lived by many.

For us, we have come to accept that family meal times are times where the family can eat where they want, when they want, in separate rooms, with music and televisions playing loudly, and sporting big, bulky noise cancelling headphones. And, that is ok.

It is ok in this day and age to be different. We can find other ways in which to connect. We can go for bike rides, a hike in the woods, swimming, to a concert, and so many places more. We can connect through understanding, that sitting together at a table with food is hurtful to the sufferer, and so, we will not participate in it. And for that, we should be proud.

So the next time you are in the process of filling out that random questionnare, and the question pops up of whether you sit as a family to eat your meals, remember, it is ok to check, “No.” It does not make you a bad person or make your family of a lesser value. If you, or a member of your family suffers with Misophonia, for what you are doing (or, not doing), I say, “Hooray!” And, “Good for you!” It is ok.

Let us stand up for ourselves and our families. Let us tell others about what Misophonia is and what it means to live with it. Because the more we do, the more we can finally shine the light down on our own family values and ways. Let us lead the way.

Written by Kelly Bruno, author of Sound