easy child Overcompensating for difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Wonderful Family, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. It’s so nice to be able to ask nagging questions to people that will understand.

    difficult child had a horrid weekend since he was sick (and yes, we "forgot" just how bad it used to be). Bad enough that easy child wanted to know if we needed to back to the way we used to do things (when difficult child was truly unstable and we had to protect easy child since he was so young).

    easy child and I left to run an errand at one point this weekend and easy child proceeded to tell me that he has some really neat talents. Exact quote from easy child: "It's not math, reading, or sports (although I'm really good at those too!); it's making people happy. Mom, I just have an awesome talent for making people happy." (Of course, I couldn't cry when he said this).

    A few minutes later he asked, "How come I can’t make difficult child happy and love me again?” easy child then spent the next 30 minutes walking through the grocery store trying to figure out just what makes difficult child so unhappy and why he couldn't help him (he went through a whole list, moving, not getting the toys he wanted, etc.). Unfortunately, easy child is extremely persistent and won't let go of an idea until he has a solution; but even he couldn't find one this time - he told me he just doesn't get it. Of course, all the other shoppers got to hear this discussion too; easy child does not know what an inside voice is and told me it was always important to discuss his feelings anyway :)

    FWIW, easy child spends an inordinate amount of time worrying about difficult child; but is also very verbal in explaining his feelings when he gets away from difficult child for any period of time and can let down a bit. (A relief, nobody is yelling, he can relax, I don't have to worry, etc.).

    easy child was even more verbal than he normally is about difficult child this weekend; but it's a running conversation we have several days a week anyway.

    How do we explain difficult child in a way that easy child can start to comprehend and accept? How to teach him not to overcompensate for his brother?

    husband says I’ve nothing to worry about. But I grew up with a difficult child mother and sister; and know the damage they can inflict, which is why I think about it.
  2. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Wow can I barrow that kid? I could use someone who is good at making people happy.

    First thing is to make sure he knows you appreciate him. Then I would continue the discussions. Sounds like he needs to and is willing to talk about it. My PCs just let it build up. I would explain things like I understand them. The first part of this is to explain that this is just the hand you were given and it is not a part of how you interact with your difficult child. (i.e. you are a good mother and he is a good brother). Talk about frontal lobe development, and the techniques all the books you have been reading recommend. How did you decide on the strategies you are currently using? At 8 he won't understand everything you are saying, but he understands more then you know.
  3. With easy child's overall attitude, husband and I understand how people want to have 5 kids; and he comes with his own sack of learning disabilities and the like to boot. It's the attitude that makes all the difference. It's scary because easy child can verbalize the difference between him and his brother at his age; and could much younger.

    Talking about a small family vacation this summer; easy child is already talking about doing what difficult child is used too; it's easier he says. (e.g., no tamptrums and meltdowns)

    We love difficult child just as much, if not more in some ways because he is special and he works so hard. Definitely a difficult child; but he's always tried to do what's right in the midst of all the trials; or at least never realized the events that would occur as a result.

    Any strategies we've come-up with were based upon major crises and trying to explain that not all people handle angries like difficult child does and how he has to somehow learn to be happy; because we had no help or diagnosis for difficult child until the last couple of years beyond severe ADHD/ODD. With easy child At 3 and 4, we had special difficult child days defined that were the horrid days so that easy child would know what to do, x would mean a terrible day and so on. We tried to do it in a way to help easy child avoid engaging with difficult child when he couldn't handle it. No real clue what we were doing.

    To be honest, it's been easy child for the most part, he just gets the situation; for his age-always has. First sentence was, "Where's my brother" and he's devoted to difficult child. That's where our struggle comes in and why I worry. He's watched his brother sit catatonic and not be able to respond for weeks at time. I pray this never happens again; but after the last several days; it's driven home the message that instability can happen in the blink of an eye; and we have to help prepare easy child and ourselves as much as possible - as well as difficult child.

    difficult child is still a crank; but no where near where we were late Sunday night.
    I hope that doesn't sounds too harsh for difficult child. We control as much of his environment for him as we can to help him learn to succeed; but there are limits; especially as he gets older.
  4. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    My difficult child plays the harp very well. It is just wonderful. I'll sit and lessen to it and have the most difficult time believing this is the same kid I delt with last night? He can fix a computer and is the first to offer help. He would be perfect if he could only learn how to manage his frustrations.

    But, he doe not always do that. Our youngest one was internalizing a lot of the frustrations he was experiencing when difficult child exploded. So we keep them apart for much of the time. This has helped kid #3. He has more confidence, and seems genuinely happier.