Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by victorearose, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. victorearose

    victorearose New Member

    I am so confused.
    SO thinks 8yo difficult child is running the house. Thinks I let him. Thinks I need to be tougher and give him consequences. Says I actually reward his bad behavior.
    I am so confused. Maybe I don't do anything because I don't know what to do.
    She says I do fine with 5yo easy child. She says I am on top of her and that I tiptoe around difficult child to keep him from having meltdowns.
    At the same time she says things that antagonize and make the meltdowns worse.
    She blames me for his bad behavior and says if I keep doing nothing that he will be in prison someday.
    Read "The Explosive Child". Plan B seems to help sometimes. Other times it just seems like psychobabble and SO doesn't believe in it and does Plan A+ all the time and interferes with me trying to do Plan B.
    She says that he doesn't act this way with just her. He knows he can't get away with it.
    Ex says he doesn't act this way with him. He says tis because he is with the kids more ... and nips it in the bud ... I don't know what he means by that. Mostly, his house is such a mess that they all stay in one room together with the tv on kids movies all the time.

    I'm the one making the appts with neurologist and wanting to see neuropsychologist, thinking that maybe difficult child isn't just a product of my bad parenting or the product of divorced parents and now-lesbian mom.

    Maybe I'm the one that is crazy

    So the big thing today was ... we were playing miniature golf and difficult child is getting upset cuz he is always last when teeing off. I try empathy ... he keeps getting upset. SO takes him off the course and they turn in their clubs and balls and apparently, he threw his cup of coke and it splashed on some strangers and almost hit a ladies laptop. He is screaming and she covers his mouth with her hand and he later tells me that he couldn't breath when she did this (I didn't see this). He tells her that she is mean and she says that he hasn't seen mean. She admits to putting her hand over his mouth and losing his temper and saying this to him.

    Maybe I should go back to plain simple discipline. Maybe i think bout it too much.
    Maybe I need to simply point out that a behavior is unacceptable and what the consequence with be if he does it again.

    SO offered to move out tonight and let me raise him by myself and visit him in the pen in 10 years.

    His anxiety, I think, is up. School starts next week. He has been ticcing like a clock for the past week. We went out of town for the weekend. Why is she surprised that he had some meltdowns. We should have anticipated them. So, do we alter our life to accomodate his inflexibility or do we punish him that he can't handle the frustration of not being perfect?

    Then, we get home and he is helping unload the van ... making four or five trips in and out with heavy stuff without being asked and without complaining. I am thinking now, he was back home and comfortable again. This is the child he is when he can be ... not what happened earlier.

    SO is a school nurse ... works in the developmental center. She wouldn't get angry at one of those kids for acting out. She would understand that they can't control their behavior. Why does she feel differently about difficult child? Because he is above average intelligence?
    Can he really not control his emotions and behavior?
    If he can't control it, I guess I have to control it for him? How do I do that without "punishing" him? Does he just need good old-fashioned spankings?
    Is he manipulating and controlling me? Why does he not tantrum with SO or ex?

    Is forcing him to do something just for the sake of asserting her adult will over his child will teaching him anything?

    Thanks for listening ...
  2. wldinnh

    wldinnh New Member

    What has helped with my SO is to just be very clear that his role is my SO. My child has a mother (me) and a father (my ex), so there is no need for my SO to have a parenting role with her. He is there to support me in my parenting efforts, not be a parent to her too. There are times when I'm at my wits end and I want to say to him "please help", but I don't because it only has caused further conflicts for us when he intervenes. If he does make a negative comment now and again about her, I don't respond, and that's the end of it. It's so hard to feel pulled between the love you have for your SO and the love you have for your child. Many a professional has told me that kids are worst with their moms. Unfair, but it seems to be true. Tell your SO that if regular discipline worked for your difficult child, you'd be using it happily. But until you find out what exactly is going on with your difficult child and how you can best manage him, it's going to be a difficult time. Let her know you'd appreciate her support and encouragement to pursue answers for your son, but her criticism has to stop because it clearly isn't making anyone happy. Don't beat yourself up. You're dealing with an extremely challenging child and you're seeking answers and you're doing the best you can.
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I will never believe than an 8 year old child is bad for the sake of being bad or because he's a "bad seed". Being in such a strong, constant emotional state doesn't feel good, so why would they go out of their way to behave that way? The behavior is a symptom and, in my experience, all the spankings and time outs in the world aren't going to change it. Traditional parenting isn't effective with our kiddos. Every parent here has done the guilt thing - blamed ourselves...too strict, too lenient, too anything. You're not alone there.

    I encourage you to go ahead with the neuropsychologist evaluation. Get some answers and some guidance. If SO can't be on the same page, that's her decision. Whether you can live with that is your decision. I've been divorced and single for 10 years and I can't imagine parenting any other way. Being pulled in two directions has got to be difficult.

    Hang in there. Post as often as you need. We're here for each other.
  4. victorearose

    victorearose New Member

    It sounds like you have a good arrangement with SO.
    May I ask if he ever watches the children for you?
    Maybe I have expected too much from her.

  5. victorearose

    victorearose New Member

    Thanks so much for your words of encouragement.
    It is hard to not feel the guilt at the end of the day.

    What can I expect from a neuropsychologist evaluation and how was it helpful to you and your family?

  6. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    We got more answers from several hours of testing from a neuropsychologist than years of psychologists, social workers, therapists, etc.

    Neuropsychs do testing - anywhere from 6 - 12 hours depending on what they find. Others here have a lot more information than I on the specific tests they do...I don't remember any specific names of the tests given other than an IQ test.

    From the neuropsychologist we learned that my difficult child has strong NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) (non-verbal learning disorder) characteristics, but not quite enough to carry the label, Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) (sensory integration dysfunction), and executive function disorders. The NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) and executive function can really only be determined via neuropsychologist testing, or so I was told. Also, because the testing is much more in depth than what you get at a 45 min psychiatrist appointment, they can determine between such things such adhd, bipolar, autism spectrum. It's just more thorough. The neuropsychologist then gave recommendations on therapeutic interventions, school interventions and recommended further testing to rule out (rule out) Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) (Central Auditory Processing Disorder).

    It's not cheap and you should check with your insurance re: coverage, but it's well worth the money. It's actually money saved from going down the wrong road in the long run.
  7. victorearose

    victorearose New Member

    How has learning more specifically about what is going on with difficult child improved your lives?
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I can only answer this for my two difficult children.

    Travis it helped us actually get a grasp on what the world was like for him, what he had to struggle with throughout each day, his limitations, his strengths, ect. Travis is highly intelligent, but due to brain damage he is unable to do certain tasks. His impulse control is outta whack, he tends to fixate on certain subjects/interests. In the end it helped us learn to work around the problem areas.

    With Nichole, it discovered her dyslexia.

    evaluations help you pin down what's going on with the child so that a treatment plan can be put into place both at home and school to best fit your child's needs. It should give you a more accurate picture of the types of behaviors your dealing with and even some reasons for those behaviors. And knowledge is power.

    Most important is for you and SO to be on the same page with difficult child. You need to sit down and agree on rules and consequences and stick to it. Consistancy can make a big difference, and it makes it easier if you have things though out before they occur.

  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    It stopped me from trying to put a square peg in a round hole which, in turn, has eased the frustration on both of us. It showed us her areas of weakness and limitations and allowed us to put in place therapeutic interventions to help her compensate for those, plus gave me a much better understanding of what she can and cannot do, what she needs help to do and what steps we need to take so that she can one day manage on her own.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I agree that you must clearly explain that there are consequences for certain behaviors. difficult child may not know that whining because he's last in line for golf is not appropriate. You also have to give him one warning so he understands what kind of whining you are talking about. (Maybe even imitate it at home where no one else is listening.)
    We found that we have had to explain every little thing to our difficult child or he has meltdowns.

    You and your spouse have to be on the same page or your discipline will not work. It's got to be consistent.

    The fact that he helped unload the van means that when he has an incentive, he can be very helpful and have a good sense of purpose. That's a very good thing! It gives you something to work with.

    No, you're not crazy. You've come to the right place.
  11. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I recommend the neuropyscho evaluation too. We just had ours, but previously were diagnosed by a psychiatrist who had his PA see us every month. All she ever did was up doses and add medications. The kids were all wrecks by the end of this school year. We go in this week to hear the outcome of all 3 of our difficult children evaluations from the neuropysch. So while I technically don't have the knowledge under my belt yet, our neuropysch definately put more time into our kids than our psychiatrist in 1 visit vs. 1 year of montly visits with the psychiatrist. SAD!!!

    Okay, onto you and SO. As for wldinnh's advice, I guess to each his own. I truly feel you and SO need to discuss your parenting strategies and come to a common ground. I dated a man for 3 years that couldn't get along with my oldest, but loved my youngest. I don't understand how a committed relationship can work, with children involved, if you don't work out your parenting together. You need to be a united front or the kids use that to their advantage. This is just my opinion, so take it for what it is. One thing that may have worked with this man, that I tried with my current husband is making the marshmellow the bad guy for a bit. What we did was if I felt the answer needed to be no (I was the bad guy usually and husband was the marshmellow) that I would say "Go ask Daddy" and he knew if I did this, he was to say no. It sounds like your SO is trying to tow the hard line here, why don't you let her have some time to soften up some. Let her decide if the answer should be no and if so, say go ask you and you say no. This gives you practice in how she thinks things should run and it lets her be the good guy for a bit. She may need this for a little while so her and difficult child can stop with their power struggle.

    On the bad/hard side of things, in the beginning you need to avoid things that may cause meltdowns. If outtings seem to bring them about, it may mean you are renting a bunch of movies from Blockbuster for a bit.

    If you and SO are committed to being together while the kiddos are young, I don't see how you can do anything but co-parent. To do this you have to come to a common ground.

    My second suggestion is that you need to be your SOs "cheerleader" with difficult child. If they are having hard times dealing with eachother, you need to let difficult child know that you trust this person and that she does so many things for difficult child. Whatever it is, cooks, cleans, laundry, taxi etc. I've typed all this recently to another member and I'm having deja vu.

    When the kids are in bed for the night and you and SO are relaxed and not upset about stuff, sit and talk about what she thinks and what you think. Let her know you want her to help you raise the kids, but you also want to be sure you aren't asking your difficult child to do things he isn't capable of. Like Ross Greene says, you can't ask someone who's wheelchair bound to walk up a flight of stairs, you have to figure out a way to get up there without using the stairs.

    I am a self admitted control freak, I strongly believed if my difficult children were just parented right and I was just strict enough all would be fine. I've tried that for 4 years and realized, while the stability of our home helped tremendously and black and white guidelines did too, I still had to find a new way to parent them. Towing a hard line just made for more meltdowns and worse meltdowns.

    Hope this helped some! Sorry for the book!
  12. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    If you read Ross Greene carefully, it's not just about empathizing. It's about working out a solution together (Plan B), or dropping the issue entirely if it's not worth it (Plan C). In the miniature golf episode you mentioned above, your difficult child was melting down because he was last teeing off. Why couldn't you take turns being first? Why couldn't he be first all the time? Working out a solution with him would have prevented dragging him off the course and having him throw a coke (and having SO put her hand over difficult child's mouth, which is totally unacceptable discipline, in my humble opinion). Honestly, this episode is not about safety or going to school or taking medications (which are our Plan A items). Teaching him to work with you instead of melting down will stand him in much better stead over the long haul than forcing him to tow the line, which ultimately will lead to more meltdowns.
  13. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I feel it important to note that your SO is 52 - and typically the older we get the less patience we have at least from my experiences.

    She needs more patience. No kid deserves a hand over their mouth to the point of not being able to breathe. Does she not understand that it is abusive? His actions were not appropriate, but neither were hers. I would not allow her to discipline any longer. She either supports you or stays quiet and uninvolved.

    I can not even imagine how difficult child feels having this other person try to control him! How long has she been in your life/his life?
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When my hub first moved in with me, we had an agreement in advance that me and the kid's bio. dad did the parenting. My kids were teens and refused to respond to him, and I personally didn't feel he should have the same power over them that I had or their dad had. I picked him, not them, and it was hard enough for them to deal with me in another relationship. Can't speak for others, but that worked great for us, and we're still married and pretty happy twelve years later. A SO that isn't a wife in my opinion has no authority at all, and I'd question her methods. Seeing that she has some issues herself, perhaps her mood disorder makes her nervous around high strung kids. It may be a poor match for your child. PLus her undermining your parenting, in my opinion, is unhelpful on every level. She doesn't sound that supportative. I would have a long talk with her about what she can and can't do...sounds like she wants to run the show. That's just my opinion, but it's a strong one.
    I totally urge you to see a neuropsychologist. The testing they do, and the help that comes from knowing what is wrong, is gold. My son's life turned around completely after we finally figured out why he was such an "odd duck" who didn't respond to normal parenting. He's a teen now, and such a great kid. We no longer have behavioral issues-he is easier than one of my easy child kids!
  15. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    OMG! My 5 yr old is also a princess and in the throws of mimicing! She spent the last 2 weeks of kindergarten with the threat of suspension looming over her head!

    Don't get me started on the "fur" calamity that is within a house with pets. I can vacuum and 2 minutes later the hair tumbleweeds are so thick that you can actually hear the coyotes howling in your head!

    Our 8 year old has Aspergers and cannot handle any type of transitions. End of school, vacations, beginning of school, different teacher/para, family parties, ANYTHING! If he has prior knowledge, it's a crap shoot: sometimes it helps, sometimes it is talked to death! And the meltdowns go on and off for days!!! :crazy2:

    Personally, I think your SO needs a break if she's threatening to leave and visit him in jail. Gimme a break: the kid is young and you don't need to be reminded that he's having difficulties. Granted: when you get soooo frustrated, you can often "shoot from the lip", but take it easy. Your son is probably just as frightened of his overreaction and you and your SO are frustrated by it. I think you need to let her know that the last thing you need is to have your relationship thrown in your face right in the middle of the outburst.

    Lesson 1 to husband's and SO's: Don't add stress to an already stressful situation! (they're all so good at that! :biggrin:)

    And yes: they do almost always misbehave worse for mom than anyone else. There are people on this board who go nuts with therapists that think we're out of our minds because we're saying one thing and they're seeing a perfect child sitting there in front of them. Ahhhhh, aren't we so special! :rofl:

    Anyway, a real diagnosis will at least give you ideas to help you handle the ups and downs.

    Post away! This is a great crowd of people - you'll learn a lot from their experience!

  16. wldinnh

    wldinnh New Member

  17. victorearose

    victorearose New Member


    So many advices and opinions. Thank you all so much!!

    I think it may be a good idea to ask neurologist for neuropsychologist evaluation.

    SO and I talked a little last night. She knows that she lost it and touched him when she shouldn't have.

    I like the idea of letting her be the marshmallow for a while. I will re-read that and see if I can propose it to her. I think she gets tired of seeing the struggle and muscles in to stop it.

    Today I am watching my kids and a friend's kid (that is probably undxd AD/HD+). I am doing a 3 strikes and you loose privledges thing with all of them and plan B. So far, no one is loosing privledges. difficult child has 1 strike and easy child and Friend both have 2.

    by the way, do any of you combine plan B with a Plan A like above?
    I have been trying to anticipate and forward difficult child of what is coming up ... he is doing better. Had a little meltdown at breakfast when he found out that where we went didn't have what he wanted.

    Another question ... does anyone have difficult child with Tourette's and Aspergers?

  18. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    If shes anything like my husband, he just wants to help and make things better, I'm sure she does too. It is so hard to deal with difficult children and if you have a mindset like I do, you just need to get that kid under control it can get more out of control. I still have this mindest and I have to catch myself and stop myself from being the normal stubborn mule I am. I'm an old fashioned parent, but this doesn't work with my difficult children. It is very difficult, but it helped when I got to be the good guy for awhile.

    I hope your SO likes the idea of her being the marshmellow. I wish you luck.

    We go to the neuropsychologist tomorrow for our diagnosis of our 3 difficult children. I'll let you know if he determined Aspergers. I think my oldest fits the bill and my youngest may be on the spectrum as well.
  19. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    A neuropysch evaluation is not performed by a neurologist, rather it's a neurospyschologist.
  20. Janna

    Janna New Member

    I think it's good that you let SO be the marshmallow for now. In all honesty, it doesn't sound like your SO is ready to deal with your difficult child, and her doing so may cause more problems down the line.

    My SO and I have been together a long time. We make sure we are on the same page for every rule and every consequence across the board. It used to be everything was clearly written on construction paper or dry erase boards so that all children knew exactly what to expect for each behavior, negative or positive.

    We don't do Ross Greene. Smallworld's suggestion of letting your difficult child go first all the time is, in my opinion, not okay. Yes, taking turns, one thing. Allowing difficult child to always go first means difficult child is always going to want to go first all the time. I've read The Explosive Child and read many of the posts here regarding such, and I don't have a desire to prioritize rules. The rules are the rules are the rules, end of discussion. I don't care what my child's diagnosis'es are.

    I think you should make the same rules across the board for easy child and difficult child. I have a easy child and TWO difficult child's, and they all three have the same rules, same privelages, same consquences. They all earn equally, and lose just as equally.

    The more you allow your difficult child to slide due to empathy, the more problems you are going to have later on down the road. You should have clear rules with clear consequences that are the same every single time.