Are we having fun yet?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterbee, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    This post may ramble a bit, but I'm thinking 'out loud' here.

    difficult child comes to me with various complaints (can't sleep, etc), but systematically rejects any possible remedies out of hand. Her response is usually, "It doesn't work. Why don't you ever listen to me?! I've told you it doesn't work." And we're talking about things that I've witnessed working, but just like the lexapro and therapy SHE either doesn't see it or doesn't want to.

    For me, the fact that she says they don't work when I know they do is only part of the issue. The biggest issue is that she refuses to help herself. I told her last night that she must be the only person in the world that nothing works for. I told her that doing nothing obviously wasn't working so why not try something else. I explained that she has to be willing to help herself. Of course, she covered her ears and hunched down and said I was yelling at her when I wasn't even raising my voice. My tone was stern, but that's it. It was a combination of the tone and the fact that I wasn't babying her that she didn't like.

    Now, what I think she is really looking for is sympathy. And, while I understand that and do offer sympathy, it's only to a certain degree. I'm not going to continue to offer sympathy to someone that is completely unwilling to try to help themselves. That's just not who I am. I will tell her I'm sorry she's feeling so bad. I will commiserate how hard it is to do this or that. But I don't go for wallowing and that's what she wants. She wants to wallow in how bad she has it and how no one has it as bad as her. She doesn't want to do the work. I see SO much of my aunt in her and I do not want her to live her life like that. I want her to want to help herself.

    I know that most of you think I should force the medications no matter what. Believe me, it would be much easier if I did. But if she doesn't see a need for them, this pattern will continue. Even if she takes the medications for years, without therapy - which will be of no benefit if she is an unwilling participant - it's only a partial fix and by no means permanent. If she doesn't see a need for help now, she will be dealing with this well into adulthood and once she's no longer under my care...I don't know.

    I even had my son - who NEVER agrees with difficult child - telling me that difficult child just wants me to sympathize with her and I don't do that. Instead, I'm offering suggestions on what to do and that's not what she's wanting to hear. Well, I know from experience that all the sympathy in the world isn't going to fix anything or make one feel better for any length of time. I don't invalidate difficult child, but I can only hear the same complaints over and over for so many years before enough is enough. DO something about it or shut up. She's had access to many resources in order to be able to do something about it.

    Maybe I'm too harsh. But she's not going to get better by me allowing her to wallow in her own misery that is partially self-inflicted by refusing medications and therapy. And I'm not going to allow someone who is refusing to help themselves pour their misery onto me and expect me to feel bad. I don't feel bad. If the medications weren't working or the therapy wasn't working, then I would. But I don't feel bad when you've essentially brought this on yourself by refusing to do anything to even try to get better.

    Told ya I was going to ramble. :wink:
  2. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I hear you, Wyntersgrace, that is how my difficult child 1 was. I remember telling her the same things you have told your dtr and none of it had any impact. Nothing worked til she was on her own and made the decision herself to try to help herself. I remember her telling me she wanted to be like a normal person and she actually just began acting as if she was normal. She quit her medications, got a job, etc. She had so many diagnoses from a young age and I still don't know what is or was wrong with her. I do think she is "off" somehow but she is able to function normally so I guess it doesn't really matter.

  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Well, I absolutely think you are doing the right thing. 100%. You can only lead a horse to water, you cannot force him to drink.

    The only thing I was going to ask is, didn't you mention she was doing the homeschool thing? How do you feel that has impacted her, better or worse? I know when we did it, slowly, it caused my difficult child to get more depressed, which caused him to turn into himself more, and dwell on every possible thing that was bothering him. If I had it to do over again, I would have tried to keep him in school (although that was/is a whole other story). What is your take on it for your daughter and her issues?

    Also, just thinking out loud of ways to maybe modify her environment that would help her take the focus off of her dramas and issues for some time each day. What about mandating she volunteer with elderly people, or mentally challenged people? Or the soup kitchen? Or babysitting or tutoring some of the neighbor kids? Something that helped give her some perspective on life, and balance, to hopefully see her problems in relation to others.

    Take care
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    While I do think medications should be non-negotiable in certain instances...that is up to the parent to decide. I went that way in my house but I have no idea if it was the right choice now. Maybe not in hindsight.

    Bigger switches might have worked

    I can absolutely agree that not allowing her to wallow in her own misery is the right way to approach this. She has the tools at her disposal to help her make a difference in her life but she chooses not to use them. It is like a drowning man screaming for someone to save him but when you toss him a life preserver he throws it back and wants something else! Hello?!?

    I think in your case I would offer a few suggestions, some sympathy, and then just tell her she is old enough to figure out how to fix her problems on her own now. Maybe tell her that you are sure she will be able to come up with a solution to her problem now that she is older. Lay it in her lap.

    This cant be easy.
  5. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    It has been my experience with difficult child, easy child, and myself that the therapy doesn't work if the brain chemistry isn't right. difficult child and I don't even need the therapy now that it is right. easy child is still a work in progress as far as getting the right medication but she's willing to go to therapy but unable to do the work at home needed. Even her psychiatrist who is also her therapist thinks there is no point to doing the therapy until she is medically under control. She sounds similar to your difficult child with high anxiety, every injury is a crisis, etc.

    My daughter has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and I think she gets kind of obsessed with every twinge. In her case, I have told her I'm sorry it hurts but I've also told her that I believe it hurts but that I think her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/anxiety is making her focus on it more than it needs and that most people would be able to move past it. I know your daughter isn't diagnosis'ed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but it could be a similar thing.

    How was your difficult child when she was on the medications? If she was better, I would offer some big incentive for taking the medications for 2 months and hope she felt better enough at the end to continue and that she was able to see what she needed to do to take care of herself. We shouldn't have to offer "bribes" for medication compliance but sometimes these kids make us do things we shouldn't have to do. I would just be concerned about a downward spiral that would be hard to overcome. Just my $.02.
  6. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I can't offer advice. Going through many same issues here. Just saw the topic of this post and thought I want to have fun too!

    I think all us parents need a break. One month of school and seems like a year already. Believe it is time for fun.

    Hang in there.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    fairlyoddparent had a very good idea.

    Sometimes I dont think of good
  8. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I would offer the incentive if the medication was working before and if she didn't complain about side effects, especially at the time. If she just stopped taking it because she "didn't need it", that is different than if she stopped taking it because she didn't like the way it made her feel.

    If it had a side effect she didn't like, then I would offer the incentive for working with the psychiatrist to find a medication that worked.
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    been there done that with the medication bribes. Either she decides that it's not worth it or after she gets the prize, we're back to where we started. It's a temporary fix, not long term. I've tried this from every angle. medications were only intended to be an aid in therapy. If they ended up being required for long term stability, then so be it, but that was not the original goal.

    She has to have the desire to get better and to help herself.

    Willow - I have thought about the impact homeschooling has had on her. It probably does contribute to her depression significantly. However, school kept her anxiety through the roof which kept her near crisis level almost all the time and made treatment almost useless. She was in constant fight or flight mode. I guess it was a trade off, although I didn't look at it that way when I made the decision. She was on medications and in therapy and doing well. I didn't see this coming at all.
  10. Mrs Smith

    Mrs Smith New Member

    We're having the same problem with medications right now. Mr. 15 has decided he doesn't want to take them even though he says they help - he just doesn't like the taste (they're flavored chewables cause he won't swallow pills)

    I've decided to let him crash and look for opportunities to point out that life would be easier for him if he took his medicine. I'm hoping he'll learn his lesson now while he's still under the protections of being a minor. But it stinks for the rest of us. Here we go again. I feel your pain.