Another newbie, at end of wits

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Sammik, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. Sammik

    Sammik New Member

    Hello, My name is Melissa.
    I think I have one of your children! It has bought me to tears reading the different messages. I know how you feel. I feel it too. I am in New Zealand and we are about 4 weeks into our main holidays with another 2.5 to go. My difficult child has me absolutely at my wits end. His father is punishing him currently but not allowing him to spend time at his house (can't see how much I need that break). I have had my own copy of The Explosive Child for years, and often go back to it and other ODD books. I am intelligent and many pscyhs have thought they could sort my difficult child out, he always manages remain defiant in the face of great odds. He is extremely defiant and angry, and when he is not he is generally one on one doing what he wants to be doing and he is a gentle lamb. But life isn't one on one in a bubble of doing as we please so life is mostly volitile. I know you know him. It is just so wonderful to find a new site, I belonged to a forum years ago and really need somewhere to talk again.

    God Bless you all
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    So glad you stumbled upon us! Isn't that special that ex is punishing YOU! Awful convenient that he doesn't have to deal with difficult child.

    Your difficult child sounds like he deals with a lot of issues. You've found a great place to vent, share information, and get support.

  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome, so Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) you found our corner of the world, it really is a soft place to land. I'm sorry your ex is handling things the way he is. Do you get any chances for breaks at all? It is so important to take care of yourself when you have kids like ours. Hugs and again welcome!
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    You've found a great place for understanding and support here. I'm still relatively new myself and I practically live on this site now.
  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Melissa and welcome! So glad you found us.

    I'm just in awe that you are able to homeschool your son. He sounds like quite a complicated kiddo. Are you planning on continuing to homeschool throughout his high school years? Do you get supportive therapies (Occupational Therapist (OT)/PT/Speech Language Pathologist (SLP))? Is he able/interested in being involved in recreational activities with- other kiddos? And most importantly, what do you do for yourself, to keep your batteries charged?

    Again - welcome!!
  6. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Welcome to the board! I also have a son who was diagnosed wth ODD, but he was also diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. Have the psychiatrists said anything about your son, other than ODD? Is there anything else that is driving the behavior? Is he taking any medications for anything?

  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    G'day from across the ditch. We've been where you are. Explosive Child has helped us a lot, we changed our methods to act towards him the way we want him to behave towards us. When he gets it wrong we don't shout at him, we ask him to do over and do it right. Sometimes we model for him - do it this way.

    Re homeschooling - difficult child 3 does a state-based correspondence school, but they got us onto Mathletics, which has been really good. It's also cheap and should be compatible with the NZ academic program.

    How did he cope with the earthquake last year? How does he handle stress and change in general? Do you have more problems with him when it comes to changing tasks?

    I'll talk to you more in the morning.

    Incidentally, we were in NZ a few years ago, absolutely loved it. We were caught in that really bad "worst for 30 years" blizzard. We still loved it though. NZ is a beautiful place.

  8. Sammik

    Sammik New Member

    Hi Marg,
    Not sure if this is how I reply directly to a message,

    But difficult child is also doing corrospondance school here in NZ and we belong to mathletics also. I am lucky that I have got a teacher aid for 5 hours a week now, and was even more blessed when we started last year by managing to get difficult child's previous headmistress/teacher from his special school as his corrospondace school teacher. It is going quite well for him. He has certainly produced more work than what I have seen before which is great. But it takes constant one on one effort to achieve anything. It was a needs must situation though.

  9. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    Gday Melissa,

    Marg's man here. Marg is the posting demon in this household so you won't actually see me often but I see pretty close to every post she makes.

    You've got the right way to answer a thread. Really private stuff (that cannot be seen by others should be sent by Private Message aka PM). Just remember that everything on a thread can be seen by every one who views the forum so keep personal details to a minimum in the forum. Get either of his fathers (especially the one who can help best; whether this your husband or his bio-dad) to lurk here if not join like I have. It will help keep you both on the same page when it comes to handling him. A consistent united front is needed. If you disagree do it away from from him.

    Good news that you have him in a correspondence school and on Mathletics. I'll point your post out to Marg and she will be along to answer later.

    Christchurch is two hours ahead os us in Oz. Time zones are a problem because all the time stamps are based on the Server clock which uses California time about 17-19 hours BEHIND us.

    Marg's Man
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    What helped us (and should help you) was having a strict routine. School work during school hours. Most important. Outside that, I do allow all sorts of other things - he can do his schoolwork in his pyjamas if he wants. He can do it on the floor, on his bed, or on the dining table. I have found that different subjects are done in different places.

    Sometimes he's not able to cope with his usual subjects (he mighty be having a bad day for all sorts of reasons) so I have my own mental priority of what subjects to get him to do, when he needs to be grounded. The last resort is to let him watch a documentary or play a computer game that is also educational.

    Before we made the switch to Distance Education (the kind of correspondence we are using - state-based, so it's cheap but very good) difficult child 3 had been struggling in mainstream, and also mysteriously ill. It turned out to be severe anxiety, but he spent most of one year at home with me. I was not going to reward him being sick with a holiday, so regardless of whether he felt sick or not, he had to do schoolwork during school hours. The only way out of it was for him to be in bed asleep. He rarely sleeps unless he really is very sick, so this way there was not a payoff for him to say he was sick and stay home.

    While I was trying to educate him myself informally, we discovered his knowledge was woeful. At 11 years old he had no idea of where Australia was on the globe. No idea where Europe was, where the US was or anything. No concept. A lot of other stuff he's allegedly been taught, was just not in his head. So I let him loose on "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" and although it mostly plays like a game, it helped begin the mental connections to various places in the world. I was horrified that we had to do this, but glad I did. So even though it was school hours, I was letting him play a game. He liked that - I made it clear that it still qualified as schoolwork, and there are a lot of other fun things that qualify as schoolwork. As a result, I let him suggest things he wants to do.

    Something else we do - on Aussie TV on the ABC, we have on weekdays during school terms, some good educational stuff. It's between 10 am and 11 am weekdays (Aussie time). I know some of our TV programs do make it across the ditch - does the ABC stuff make it to you? I do know a lot of it can be also obtained via podcast or similar.
    These TV programs span from K-12. difficult child 3 watches all of them, including the baby stuff. We have noted that a lot of his early learning was missed, so we let him watch the baby stuff even the early reading stuff. He seems to learn holistically, so it has helped him consolidate his learning. Some of the shows, though, have been senior high school Chemistry and senior high school Poetry. He's watched them over and over, even though I didn't think he was able to understand it. Then when his schoolwork caught up with the poetry (last year) it paid off big time.

    Our routine - difficult child 3 gets up at about 8.30 am, takes his medications. I try to get him started at 9 am - tricky. The first hour is transition time. Whatever he gets done is a bonus. At 10 am he stops and has breakfast while he watches the TV educational stuff. Then from 11 am, it's back to work on whatever subject we've chosen for the day. He does best when we don't change topics, but let him complete a unit in one piece.

    When we need a break - sometimes we go for a drive to somewhere nearby to do some practical stuff. For example, one day difficult child 3 was watching the educational TV and said, "I'd like to have a look at mangroves too." So we went for a drive (five minutes away) and walked through the mangroves. When we've been on holidays difficult child 3 writes a journal, trying to cover as many school topics as possible. He also takes photos and puts it all together. When we were in NZ he wrote about 20 pages (including the photos) and covered geothermal energy, vulcanism, continental drift, bungee jumping (we were at AJ Hackett!), gold mining, the weather (freak snow storm), Lord of the Rings (we took photos near where they filmed Hobbiton but baulked at going there), Waitomo, Rotarua and Lake Taupo. It was a month-long school excursion for him. In the evenings and mornings he did his Maths work (not Mathletics, but bookwork).

    The routine is what works for us. It took a while but over months to years, difficult child 3 has become much better at organising his own learning. I can now go out for the day and leave him at home, knowing he will get some work done even if he is alone. It is better when I am home, though.

    I do spend a lot of time and energy on this, but given his problems, I consider what I am doing to be an investment in his future.

    I use his favourite subjects to help calm him, and to a certain extent to encourage him to get the more challenging work done. "When you have finished that page of English, you can start your next Electronics project." I've even used MAths to calm him, especially if he's getting anxious while we're on holidays. He was really terrified at Rotarua, had a strong sense of dread and was feeling like he was dying. It was a difficult day for us, but looking back I am glad we went through it and he is glad to have been there and seen it all.

    These kids can be very intense, in the effort we have to put in. I'm further down the track and beginning to see the payoff.

    I also had difficult child 1 studying and finishing his schooling via Distance Education, so I have seen this work before.

  11. april222999

    april222999 New Member

    your son reminds me of mine also seems all these kids do. He is overwhelming and exhausting and I could never homeschool him because honestly he is to much I need the break. hes defiant and impossible to get through for anything.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member


    Others have already given you great advice! I agree with-the routine. And I know what you mean about being on holiday. Not a holiday at all for the parents. :(
    So sorry about your ex. That makes it all even worse.

    Glad you found us.