difficult child 1's goal in life?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TeDo, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    It seems that lately difficult child 1's goal in life is to prove me wrong any and every chance he gets. If I use the wrong word then correct myself, he harps on my mistake and reminds me that I'm wrong. If I accidentally call him by his brother's name and correct myself in the same breath, he has a fit because "I'm Not difficult child 2!!" Then there are other situations such as tonight, I told him to pick up his garbage from the den floor. It was a natural assumption because 98% of the time he seems to "forget" where the garbage is. Tonight, it happened to be difficult child 2's garbage which is a very rare occasion. difficult child 1's response as difficult child 2 was picking it up (without being told to) was "HA! You were wrong! You ALWAYS assume it's mine when it's not." I reminded him that MOST of the time it is his garbage so I assumed based on prior experience. He went on and on about how I ALWAYS assume it's him when it's not. I reminded him that I don't ALWAYS assume anything. He continues with things like I ALWAYS make him pick up things that aren't his and I ALWAYS make him do all the work and I never make difficult child 2 do any and yada yada yada. When he does 1 out of 6 lessons for school and it's 2:00 and I tell him he hasn't done anything, he focuses on the word anything. If I correct myself and say he hasn't gotten much of anything done he says "HA!!! See you were wrong again. I did do some work and you said I haven't done ANY."

    How do you deal with this kind of low self-esteem? I make a point of praising him to high heaven when he does anything well (which is more often lately) but it just doesn't seem to be enough. I know part of it is his literal thinking and my using the wrong words but I am so tired of having every single mistake become such a huge issue. Please tell me this is typical teen stuff that will go away at some point (I don't even care if it's years I just want some hope here)?\

    Thanks for letting me vent.
  2. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    I have a child who does exactly the same thing. If I misspeak he pounces on it. If I am not 100% correct I get corrected. He argues everything. and no, he is not on the spectrum at all. Is it low self-esteem? A reaction to constantly having the world tell you what a lousy job you are doing? I dunno, I am afraid it is not going to go away.

    So I hear you, sister, but have nothing useful to say!
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Words don't cut it.
    You can't counter his extreme on one hand, with a different extreme on the other.

    This can be really hard to do... but the best esteem booster there is, is to be a valued, contributing member of the family.
    (no ROFL icons here)

    It can be stupid little stuff, but its gotta be stuff that the others *can't* do... not as in "not allowed", but as in actually *can't*.

    Example 1: If he's the tallest... he's the one who has to take down - and put back up - all the stuff on those high kitchen shelves when you need access. "Oh tall one, I need those long arms of yours..."

    Example 2: If he's strong and coordinated... give him all the "heavy lifting" jobs... carrying in the groceries, hauling the garbage bin to the curb, retrieving the bags of flour and sugar from the bottom shelves at the store, etc. "Oh strong one, where are you..."

    (forgive me for using he for all of these... the individual in question on this thread is a he...)

    Example 3: If he's the big musical talent in the family, then he has to get up before the rest of the kids, and wake them up with his... trumpet/tuba/sax/drumset... (from the living room - not in their faces!)

    You see the trend? Make use of whatever little thing might set him apart... and then use it consistently.

    Yes, this is Johnny... My he's getting tall. You know, he's the greatest help in the kitchen now that he's tall - I don't need to grab the stepstool anymore. (Watch his shoulders straighten... its fair bragging rights... tallest in HIS family, not in the world!)

    If he's really shy, you have to praise him directly rather than indirectly. But he'll get the point. "You don't know how you managed without him being so capable".

    (yes, we've actually had to do this, and it actually has impact - not total solution, but positive impact)
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Insane, I am sorry but I do have to ROFL at your examples simply because difficult child 1 is a foot shorter than his twin brother. His twin is musically talented and academically gifted. difficult child 1 barely weighs 70 lbs (he's a teenager) and has no muscle tone whatsoever. That's part of his struggle. There really isn't anything he can do "better" than his twin. He is in his twin's shadow in almost every way. THAT is where the self-esteem stuff comes from. difficult child 1 struggles terribly with academics. He is too short to reach some of the cupboards in our house without crawling on the cupboard. Get the picture?
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Got it! Think in REVERSE!

    1) He's the short one... he's in charge of all the LOW stuff.
    Don't know what your kitchen is like, or linen closet... but those LOW shelves are really tough to get into, because my knees are getting old. Boy, what I wouldn't give to have a specialist at getting that low stuff out for me. There's no way his brother can out-short him!

    2) Teach him to cook one or two specialty dishes - and his brother is NOT allowed to learn THOSE ones (his bro can learn to cook his own specialties). Can he master soft-boiled eggs? Then he's in charge of making those for Sat a.m. breakfast (or whatever schedule). Pancakes? Cookies? biscuits? Ideally, one of the specialties can be something good enough for company, so his handiwork gets "shown off" and the complements come directly back to HIM.

    Get creative... CREATE some talents for him.
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    You could try - if you are strong enough (don't think I would be) - agreeing with everything he says, no matter how "wrong" it is.
  7. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    We have that, too, and I agree with you that it drives me crazy.

    One thing that I have found that helps is to include difficult child in things that I do that he likes to do as well, which for him is helping me in the kitchen. Cooking, baking, making dinner, whatever it is. And I use it as a carrot. If you are not going to be nice to me, there is no way I am going to let you cook with me. It's given him self esteem that he can do something for the rest of us, and it's given him some attention from me that he felt he was not getting otherwise.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Malika has a point that I have read in several books about attachment disorder, obviously not his issue but in terms of this behavior and one thing to try.... (maybe love and logic too?? I really can't remember)

    But one thing they say to do is to not give the expected answer. So when he argues with you or points out your horrific flaw, you agree, thank him for pointing it out. You will work on that. And they emphasize that this is not a sarcastic comment. You need to dig deep and make it sincere (sounding at least).

    I see a part of this as deflection off of the real issue at hand. Do you think this could be part of it? If you deflate the comment by not getting into it, he is not going to listen to the truth anyway (maybe because he can't--like you said he is literal and probably pretty rigid on a rule about following a rule that he thinks is to be followed), and then steer the issue back to what is going on. You needed him to do the work, he has no interest in doing that, so how can he further stall??? This may not be deliberate. He may just be so stressed about getting things his way that he goes to his default behavior.

    Just more thoughts, you are so good at getting down to things. But for sure you are not alone. And I suspect that it is not typical teen behavior only, but it IS in part. Also just part who he is, temperament wise, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) wise, etc. I wish behaviors were easier to figure out.

    I chuckled too when I heard IC examples of being tall, but understood her concept (just smiled because you had already described them to me and I had the benefit of that picture in my mind). Poor dude, can't be easy to literally get lost in his brother's shadow.