Didn't do as well today

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TeDo, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    difficult child came home again today with some homework. Not much but he needed my help. I sat down to help with a worksheet from the class he is having so many behaviors in. Guess he's been a little better during class because they are finally following ALL of his IEP and BIP. However, he still struggles with the work in this class. I tried to show him HOW to do the work. He thought he knew how so did many of them totally wrong. I politely asked him if he wanted me to show him how or if he wanted to turn it in with so many wrong. That started it. He hates being wrong but I gave him the choice since it is HIS homework and HIS grade. He started with yelling, arguing that he was right, telling me he hated me and that I am the worst mom in the world. I walked away to help easy child with his homework. This time, difficult child followed me and continued to the point that easy child wanted to leave the house. I got upset with difficult child because of what he was doing to easy child. After a little bit, easy child left the room and I went with him. difficult child stopped immediately. He sat down and let me show him HOW to do the rest of the worksheet. He actually went back and corrected the ones he'd done incorrectly. This "battle" lasted about 30 min and caused easy child some stress but I am very proud of easy child for not getting into it with difficult child and also with difficult child for the shorter battle and for "turning it around" again. Upset with myself for even the short battle but happy it was short-lived. Affecting easy child is the one button difficult child knows I won't put up with.....yet. I praised both for the good things they did. Things might be getting better in our house (hold my breath).
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hey, that is still good progress. difficult child is learning that you will walk away and not engage him. He is also learning to finally knuckle down and do it.

    You also learned that a common trigger for difficult child is to be told it's wrong. He sounds like he responded out of panic and anxiety as much as anything. And he needed to calm himself down from the anxiety.

    Something to work towards now - later o, when the work is done and he is calm, ask him what upset him. If recalling it begins to make him angry, tell him it's OK, you just wanted to know so you can help him learn how to stay calm. It is a steep learning curve for both of you, and it will take time. Let him know that you are trying to change direction, to find ways to help him learn how to best help himself, and these two days show it is worth the effort. Be gentle and encouraging, but always prepared to walk away or pull back before he rages. As you do this you will learn the early warning signs; over time he also will learn his own early warning signs and will learn to let you know.

    Great progress!

  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Our kids aren't going to get it right every time and either are we! Don't beat yourself up.

    Homework is a stressors for may kids, difficult child and easy child alike.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Thanks for the input. I know difficult child hates being told he's wrong but he hates it even worse when the teacher marks it wrong when he KNOWS that they are right. Then the teacher is "stupid" and he acts up for them in school. That is why I took the brunt of it by letting him know before he did them all wrong. He's big on choices for a sense of control so I gave him the choice to leave them (he said he didn't care if he got an F) or let me help. I knew he cared but he needed to figure out that he cared. The issue with talking about it after is that even mentioning the situation later causes a meltdown. He usually cries afterwards and is genuinely embarrassed by it. I can include details in my praise, what he did right, but "discussing" the situation sends him on a spiral. That's one of the issues we have with school. They have an actual form they fill out with the student after every negative situation, NO EXCEPTIONS. In our case, that just causes another, worse spiral. Teaching him that it is okay to be wrong is going to be hard but necessary. I have gotten to where I admit every time I am wrong so he realizes how often that is and that it is okay.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    So even if you ask, "Can we talk about how you felt before?" is likely to cause a meltdown?

    What works, is a gradual desensitisation, where you get as close as you can without the meltdown. Of course you don't want to trigger the meltdown, but you and he need to work together to develop a kind of code, or some workable solution, where you can guide him to check certain answers.

    Perhaps if you set up with him, that he may or may not be incorrect in a few answers, but you feel it would benefit him to check those ones. Would he be able to work with this?

    Of course over time, he will be better able to accept the label "incorrect". As I said, you work towards this.

    We had troubles with difficult child 3 over the years, because the word "law" would upset him. If I said, "It's the law," or anything like that. He actually told me, mid rage, not to say "law". I don't know why. It was bizarre. Again, desensitisation is what worked.

  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I can try your suggestions. The problem with him is that if you ask him to check his answers and he "knows" they are correct, his response is "I know they are right so why should I?" The struggle is that he is ALWAYS right. I will have to try waiting longer to broach the subject that caused the behavior. Maybe after more time has lapsed, he will be more open to at least try to talk about appropriate ways to handle the situation. I am just happy that he is learning to turn it around after shorter periods of time. That alone is progress but would like to be able to teach him to handle things without a meltdown. One step at a time I guess.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    What if you say, "I need you to show me why I am wrong."? Would that work? And if you ARE wrong, accept it cheerfully and congratulate him not only on being right, but on being able to demonstrate it.

    Your easy acceptance of making a mistake will set the example for him to eventually learn that it's OK to not be perfect.

    As a former perfectionist, I know how easy it is to get stuck in this very unhealthy loop, and give up rather than face the shame of having got it wrong.

  8. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I did that tonight with a different homework. He enjoyed proving me wrong when he WAS right. We had a few good laughs. A couple times, I gave the wrong answer first and then he gave me the right one. It was awesome! Had a great afternoon. Came home with lots of late work but got right down to it and got all but 1 done. I praised him for his extraordinary effort and his willingness to just get it done. Then I rewarded him by giving him extra play time with his friends. I think we may be on the right track at home. Now, we need to start figuring out what is going on in school that he's refusing to do anything. There is LIGHT at the end of the tunnel ?!? :notsure:
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You're already seeing that he needs flexibility, love and compassion. If he's not getting that at school, he will respond to inflexibility with inflexibility in turn.

    You keep making notes of what works and what doesn't, then when you have got it worked out, communicate this with the school. Better still, begin a communication book with the school. Ask for a teacher meeting and set it up. Let them know what is working for you. There could be other problems at school (there were for us) which involved a much more heightened level of anxiety coupled with a much more distracting environment. The most supportive, understanding teacher in the world was not enough to help difficult child 3 get his work done. It was only switching to correspondence that helped difficult child 3 complete his schoolwork quota. Given the homework battles we had had, I was concerned this would be a disaster. But it has turned out that during school hours during the day, difficult child 3 will work at home, and work better than he used to in a classroom. He still argues over homework outside school hours, but I use a lot of bribes too (I call a spade a spade). A good bribe is the promise of time with me, playing computer games together. I currently owe him two hours' gaming time (maybe this afternoon!).

    You are making marvellous progress!

  10. rainyseason

    rainyseason Guest

    Wow....your kid and mine could be related! Not making a joke, it's just refreshing to hear a familiar story. I found this board yesterday and I'm amazed. I thought I was losing it and that there couldn't possibly be anyone else with the same problem. I guess talking about your difficult child kids issues isn't something moms typically chat about at the PTO meetings!
  11. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    You'll be amazed at the commonalities you find here. Welcome to the board. I find myself on here until late at night because of all that is so common with us. Dealing with our difficult child's different but same behaviors is very taxing and it is nice to FINALLY know you are not alone and you are not crazy. Again, welcome.