Drama at the polling place

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by KTMom91, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Yesterday Miss KT worked at our local polling place. It was an extra credit opportunity through her government class. She was there with a classmate, and the older couple who were running the place. Apparently it started badly, and got worse. She felt the old man was yelling at her, that he was being mean, she didn't know what she was doing wrong or what she was supposed to be doing, and she was afraid to ask. She messaged me several times, then called all upset, and since I had to vote anyway, I went down there.

    I noticed the old man had hearing aids in both ears, and I didn't get the impression that these were mean people. I felt that Miss KT just didn't know how to act and so her rudeness and hostility were coming out and making things uncomfortable. She takes everything personally, as an attack, and is unable to just let things go.

    Anyway...about 8 pm she called, crying hysterically, and wanted to be picked up RIGHT NOW. Hubby and I went down, not to pick her up, but to try and calm her, because she was out of control. She was sitting with her head down, hood pulled over her head, just sobbing, and when the old woman tried to calm her, she screamed, "Don't touch me! Don't touch me!" She'd been crying off and on all day, and when she accidentally cut the old man's thumb on a box, and he made a comment, she lost it. I managed to calm her enough to finish, but now I'm confused.

    I've seen the tantrums at home, but this is the first time, as far as I know, that she's "flipped out" in public. I know she was tired, she'd been there since 6 am, she was probably hungry, it was her first day working and she was nervous...it seems to me that this was an extreme reaction, and it worries me that her ability to maintain is slipping as she gets older. Any suggestions on what I can do to help her?
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    She sounds a lot like easy child 2/difficult child 2, it's very hard to make her understand that it's not personal. It COULD just be ADHD or there could be more, such as some level of Asperger's. It would be worth mentioning to her therapist with perhaps a request to review her diagnosis.

  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    when you get right down to it, she had been working 14 hours! On her first day of working ever! I'm sure she was nervous and anxious.

    I believe I would not worry unneccessarily yet. This sounds like an extreme situation. You don't know how she would react were she to just work 2 hours somewhere she felt excited about. Just a thought.

  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I agree that the long hours and probably not enough food and rest are a large part in this one. Even if there were breaks, you never truly relax at an unfamiliar place.

    My first step would be to work with her on the importance of healthy meals and snacks and making sure she has something at certain times of the day. Teach her that even in excitement we need to pace ourselves and if she starts to become overly excited she should do some calming down activities. If she feels hungry, she needs to try to find a healthy meal or snack.

    My kids are also overly sensitive to people giving directions. They will say someone yelled at them when that person was only asking them to do (or not do) something. The people who run the polling places are very serious about their part and as they share how they see something should be done, it is just an instruction, not a personal attack. Many if not most kids are still learning that information can be exchanged with no need to make it personal. They think the world revolves around them and everything is either a personal attack or a compliment.

    And, since your worry mode kicked in, do keep an eye on this. You are mom and your instincts are there to help.
  5. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I don't know if she is losing self control but if you put me in an unfamiliar situation with 2 elderly people I didn't know for 16hrs with little food, a guy who is hard of hearing on a day when excitement was overflowing, I'd probably have a meltdown too.

    It's up to us as parents to help our difficult child's set limits and plan. No way would anyone work a 16hr day. It is an unreasonable demand. Help her learn how to express herself without the drama. How to deflate a situation before it gets to meltdown stage. Make sure she knows how to get herself the nutrition she needs and to know when she needs a break.

    Most important we have to help them to learn how to behave publicly as a teen and young adult.

    As my difficult child got older I told him if he acted scary then people would be afraid of him. (even though he is harmless-lots of bark with no bit.) I told him that it is natural for people to shy away from him if he was acting unusual or dressing unusual. These are basic rules of self preservation that are instinctive. If they want to be liked they must act likeable.

    So Tuesday was a day when many lessons could be taught to difficult child. If she chooses to hear you it could be a turning point in her self care. difficult child's being difficult child's they tend to be deaf to anything but their own thoughts.

    Hang in there.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I think practice makes perfect. And she was out on her own for the first time.
    I'm not sure if the medications you listed incl anti-anxiety, but I would incl that in her medications.
    I would wait a day, then discuss with-her what she could have done differently.
    (One main thing to emphasize is to communicate. Ask questions if you don't understand. And don't assume it's all against you.) Maybe you can role play.
    P.S. Old men often have gruff voices, partly because of age and partly because they can't hear so it comes out louder, ergo, scarier. Explain that to her, too. :)
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    First of all -

    Did ANYONE acknowledge that they were totally proud of her for WORKING? OMG and then to top it off 14 hours, with a person who is hard of hearing?

    Lemme tell ya kiddo - I am a seasoned worker. I'm putting in 15 hours every day, and some days I dont' get lunch, and then I have to put up with living with a man whom I am SURE is fond of the words "WHAT? HUH?" and by the end of the day, somedays; I could chew people up. spit them out and not think twice about it.

    So....in review - KUDOS on working - ANYWHERE, but extra Kudo from your auntie Star for doing a civic/patriotic duty (bonus points to me)

    Next? PACK A LUNCH - you are part of the work force in the world now and to look and BE cool? Mom and Dad should not buy your lunch - the cool thing here is brown bagging or cooler lunch. If you eat Micky D's every day your butt will be bigger than a freight train caboose - so pack GOOD things - mmmm k?

    Finally - If you are not used to being around people who are hard of hearing it WILL BE frustrating. In our hearing world we often forget that we mumble, talk while looking away and then I can't read your lips - and the fact that you are YOUNG you may not understand it - but try working just in your house with ear plugs in - and watch HOW frustrated everyone gets with you when you have to repeatedly ask "WHAT WHAT?" give the old dude some credit for living that long....more than likely he wasn't being mean to you - he's just OLD, TIRED, hard of hearing, and you are young, pretty and quick - (frustrating things when you work with younger people really and I'm like 44) pft.....Getting older is not fun. Seeing youth run circles around you? Even more not fun. The brain stays young, the body gets old. You'll have YEARS to heed my advice on that!

    So in review - BRAVO on working a patriotic job, remember to pack a good lunch and 2 snacks....every day, HEALTHY ONE - and gummy bears do NOT constitute as a .....wait a minute - yes they do....healthy snack..and when confronted with hard of hearing persons - SPEAK DIRECTLY AT THEIR FACE and allow them to see your lips move.....SPEAK LOUDLY and dont be afraid if it sounds like you are shouting (but dont yell) and then adjust your voice to their response as in "I can HEAR you or COULD you SPEAK UP?"

    Congratulations - and finally - always remember that you DO have a great Mom and Dad - BUT part of growing up is sticking it out, so maybe next time....wait like 20 more minutes before calling - go find a place to cry, get it out of your system, get a drink and go back with your head up....

    YOU ARE AFTER ALL - MY CYBER NIECE - uh huh......uh huh, uh huh.

  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your input. She was in a much better frame of mind after a good night's sleep and food...she had ice cream instead of dinner...and was worried about homework etc. Since she didn't want to discuss it, I have no idea what she learned from the experience :slap: if anything at all. But she did complete it, and I am proud of her for that.
  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    One of my first jobs was in *bath house* in Mill Valley... yes! I worked the night shift... so I just let people in and out. It was an awesome job. I just took peoples money. Picked up towels. Did homework. Closed the place up at night.
    Very calm and quiet for a difficult child like me.
    Sure it was very weird, but it fit me perfect! My next job was at cleaners. I took peoples money, clothes etc. But I would sit for hours just folding and washing clothes.... very therapeutic. I didn't realize it then, but both were great entry level jobs for me. I think I was 14 through 18.
    Sometimes the weird calm different jobs are good for us G'sFG.