Found a file of picoisms

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Below are a few posts via Pico and members. Most of these posts come from HopefulDucky, who has long since disappeared. I would love to know her standing in life.


    I have a couple to add if I may that Lynda shared with me. The First is this one:

    I got this today from a really sweet lady who works in our office. I know
    you will enjoy it!

    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Monday, July 17, 2000 6:17 AM
    Subject: FW: Lunch with God

    -----Original Message-----

    Subject: Lunch with God
    Lunch with God

    A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six pack of Root Beer and he started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word. As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.

    When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

    Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?" She replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." However, before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected." Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

    People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime... Embrace all equally!
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This one also from Joy:

    This is also one that I have cherished for a while and it was sent to me after I had been in hospital once again with Congenative Heart failure and swelling and I was told to keep my feet up and stay off my putter {Which had become my life saver} and my family from the ODD Board who were always watching out for me to do what I was told by the Doctors. Thank you Linda, I will cherish these with all my heart. Love you Hun.

    I wish you were able to have a visitor a day to sit and chat, to hug and laugh, to eat scones and drink herbal tea. And when, 3000 days from now, you ran out of us, at one a day, we could all start over again! You might even get tired of us, after twenty or twenty five years! Nah!

    We sure wouldn't get tired of you! Your sweet hopefulness is an ingredient I hve come to need, and anticipate on the board. When everyone is in chaos, you are that calm voice that keeps the bed from spinning.

    Reflections of Love is a little piece I wrote last night and hope to include in my book. I thought you might enjoy having something to read that is not a problem for a change.

    Am going swimming today. It's therapy. Fuzz and The Bear can play in the pool while I work on range and motion. Am up to walking with a cane now, and hoping to be on my own two feet very soon. I know that you are one who can appreciate how frustrating it is to be stuck and immobile!

    My hollyhocks are blooming. I didn't get them planted as early as I should have. They have their blooms looking like tiny dancers, rippling in the wind..

    Take it easy my dear sweet friend.

  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    A reply from Pico concerning a certain "angel" who helped her on her journey:

    I've read several notes here, on various threads, from newbies, who have said they wish they could have gotten to know me.

    I've also changed systems earlier this year, thanks to an angel who helped me get a real computer. So my old system went away, with most of my archived picoisms.

    So, dear ones, if you have copies of old stuff lurking in files, stuck to fridges, clipped in notebooks, whatever, can you please bring them here? I've forgotten many of the things I've written on the fly, and it would be precious to me if you have something that touched you, to put it together here for inclusion in my stuff. Know, that even if it doesn't get in the "book" I am hoping to print out Pico's House and put it in a special notebook for my family here. Your love will help sustain them, perhaps for years, as they have your stories to remember me by.

    I cannot thank you too much, for all of this. There simply are not words to define, measure, quantify, formulate this kind of love. You have given me strength and peace this night. All of you. Thank you.

  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    A reply from Seffersmom (where IS she???)

    Sweet Pico- this is the Pico-ism that remains in Pookahs school file to this very day. It was written June 8 1998 (from the old board);

    Open letter to Teachers

    I am happy that you've come here. I hope you spend a few hours reading these archives and getting to know the families of ODD children represented here.
    We are not stereotypical in any way. We are not naturally predisposed to dysfuction. We are from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds--although due to the enormous costs of seeking treatment for our children, many of our families are at or approaching poverty at this time. Some of us are single parent families. Some of us are two parent families. We are just like you or your neighbor next door.

    But according to statistics in Dr. Douglas Riley's book THE DEFIANT CHILD, we are the neighbor somewhere on you block. 15% of the children in your classroom could be diagnosed as ODD. That means if you are lucky, you have one or two children with this problem. If you are in my son's public school, you have 32 children in your classroom, 2 known ODD and 3 other probables; on top of the other individual issues, personalities and problems that other children have to deal with. If you have my son in your classroom, you are fortunate. His only diagnosis is ODD. He is definately not suffering from ADD, ADHD, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), HIV (or COBPD). But you probably have a child who is a multiple diagnosis child.

    From a mom. Call me. Talk to me. I am a human being. I love my son, but am painfully aware of his shortcomings. Will you reach out to me, hold my hands, as together we wrap our arms around my child and let him know that we both care about him too much to let him destroy himself? Will you stick with it when he is spitting on you, cursing you, calling you dirty names in front of the other children? Will you help him succeed when he can't understand what is on that piece of paper in front of him? Will you work with me when I tell you that he can learn double digits with beans in an egg carton better than he can with dots or pictures on paper? Will you try to find something good to say during our parent teacher conference? If there is a special service available that will help my child, will you help me get it in your classroom? If he needs extra attention, will you allow a teacher's aide to be in your classroom to help out? If he just can't sit still any more, can you have him help you in the classroom, straightening books, inventorying supplies, cleaning eraser or whatever until he can sit again? That works so much better than kicking him out into the hall for "someone else" to deal with. And last, dear teacher, thank you for reading all of this. For caring enough about someone else's child to look for answers to problems you may never have in your own home.

    Pico honey, you will never know how much your words have meant to me over the years. I know I have at least one more for you, possibly more. When I find it I will post it, ok? Get some rest, get some hugs and eat anything and everything fattening that you want!
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    And more from D's Mom:

    Pico, here's some advice you gave me when Doug, who was 31 years old at the time, and I were having some problems. I filed this in my "support" folder in February of 1999.

    D's Mom:

    Boundaries. That was a very very difficult concept for me, too. And when difficult child came along, it got even tougher. He was such a demanding little soul.

    My sister, Blondie, finally got it through my thick head. And since she is at this particular moment, under the influence of some pretty hefty drugs (She's having knee surgery as we speak), I'll try to jump in on this one.

    I was able to breast feed Fuzz. It was a really neat experience for me, as I'd not been able to do it for easy child because of his cleft palate. So, it was really fun to do it with Fuzz.

    However, the demands of an infant to be fed what he wants, when he wants it, on the side he prefers, is a whole different thing from the demands we should expect from our children as they grow up and presumably away from us.

    I would not expect my 4 year old to yank up my shirt for a drink of mommy. Nor should I expect him to demand my lap any time he pleases, my attention any time he pleases, my me any time he pleases.

    The boundaries are, I am available for you for the things you cannot deal with alone. And I will share with you good times and love and family ties. But I am not here to make your life infantile, nor am I your emotional punching bag. It is not my job to MAKE YOU HAPPY. That is your job. It was my job to do the best I could to give you the tools to seek happiness on your own. If I failed, it's too late now to fire me. So you are welcome to go talk to a therapist or a friend or a mystic on a mountain and see if they are more effective in helping you find those tools. But happiness is yours alone to discover within yourself.

    I love you. I will always love you. But love and happiness are not necessarily the same thing. My love is something you get just because I choose to give it to you. You don't have to do anything at all for it. It is free. Happiness, however, is yours to build, find, discover, grow into. It is not an event, it is a process. And if you're lucky, you'll spend your whole life finding all the variations of it. But that is up to you, my child.

    Anyway, D's mom. If he were my son, I guess that's what I'd tell him. And I'd hope he could understand it.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Reply from Pico:

    Dear ones,
    I sit here, in my mother's house, in western Iowa, reading your love on my house, and thanking God that you all are with me. I've spent these two days with my parents, talking about the past, and the future. My mother pulled out a page from a desk drawer, and handed it to me. It was a poem I must have written about thirty years ago, when I was young and nearly everything came out as poetry. (Oh, seventeen was such a good year for verse, Rod McCune, and all that stuff).

    So, here is one very old picoism, for the collection, compliments of Pico's mama.

    Mama Said
    Mama said, "We don't act like that."
    "That's how white trash act,
    and we're not trash."
    "We're middle class."
    The badge of courage for Mama.

    I didn't know we were poor.
    Mama didn't tell me we were poor.
    Mama said we were middle-class.
    Sure, we wore hand-me-downs.
    Didn't everybody?
    What else do you do with clothes
    that aren't quite wore out?

    Mama said we had to work hard to have a house
    of our own.
    Didn't everybody?
    We built it one cement block at a time.
    And the rains came and flooded it.
    And we swept the water with a broom.

    Navy beans and oatmeal every day.
    It got boring, but it was food.
    And we were never hungry.
    We didn't know we were poor.
    Mama said, "Be thankful for
    what you've got. Children
    in Africa are starving."

    Mama didn't tell us we were poor.
    Mama knew, but she didn't tell us.
    I'm glad.
    Because we were richer than
    many who had more things.
    We had each other.
    Maybe that's why Mama didn't say
    we were poor.

    ODD kids are the ultimate optomists! They'll try to break the same rule a thousand times, if they think they might have a chance once.
    Fuzz, difficult child, 11 yo m, diagnosis ODD, Risperdal, .5 mg/day pm.
    easy child, 14, male version of mom.

    Blondie is my sis.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Another from HopefulDucky (another MIA):

    Dear Pico,
    I want to thank you for the love and wisdom you have shared with us. You have truly touched my life for the good, and helped me to be a better mom. Thank you.
    I have a lot of postings that I have saved. Here is one, and I will look for more.
    Author Topic: When you're at the end of your rope: Pico, Administrator

    Dear ones.

    I have noticed that a lot of you are at the end of your rope, particularly some of our newer members, who are struggling just to understand what these diagnoses are.

    Several folks are reading Douglas Riley's "The Defiant Child" at the moment; some are reading Ross Greene's "The Explosive Child"; and others are cowering in front of their computers hoping that Jesus will save them quick, before the kid comes home!

    (Sorry for my sacrilidge, folks. Lighten up a bit, OK?)

    Now, from the Been There Done That Hated the Shirt, Threw It Away, It Came Back, Shreded It and Burned the Pieces Department:

    I have learned a thing or two in the last three or so odd years, while I've been a Twisted Mother with an ODD kid.

    One. You have to be willing to prove to your kid that you gave him his stubborn gene, and the proof is that you are going to out stubborn him. Now that does not mean you are going to resort to physical confrontation over dirty socks or bad breath, but it does mean that you are going to make a short list of what you ARE willing to go to the mat on, and suffer a meltdown over (for me it was bleeding, fire, and willful injury) and then you tell little Mr. Short Britches just that. You will not worry about dirty socks on his bedroom floor. It's his floor. It's his socks. It's his problem. Not yours. Don't look at it. BUT, you will not have anyone in your house abusing people, hurting animals, playing with fire, using drugs, or endangering anyone, including themselves. Period. And ANYBODY who violates that is going to be very very miserable. No good stuff will happen to them. None.

    As for the teens who think the home front is a place to stop and take a pee break, and restock from the fridge: Put a sign on the fridge and the bathroom door.

    For Use By Residents Only. Not A Public Facility.

    Then tell the kid, either you live here, or you don't. Let me know before supper. If you live here, you will be home by (xx:00 pm.) or I will know where you are and that you are there for the night, and I can verify it if I choose.

    Don't lie to me. I hate a lie worse than the ugliest possible truth.

    Dear ones. You can do it. You will not necessarily all win the battle. Some kids just don't get it. Some kids will resist your parenting to the bitter end. It doesn't mean you failed. It just is a tragedy that we all are risking every day. Bring your grief here, and we will try to help you carry that load.

    Some of you will make it, and your kids will turn out OK. Not necessarily what you had planned umpteen years ago, but not likely to end up in prison for life or even extended periods of time.

    Some of you will have kids that finally get it, and grow up into respectable if not scary conservative human beings. You will be the lucky few, I fear.

    But you will also be the proof that for all of us there is something to keep trying for, that there are some kids who will win this **** shoot; that there are some parents who will be able to look back at these years and say, It Was Worth It, but I never want to do it again!

    Welcome to our world. We're an amazing bunch of folk. And you are too, 'cause you cared enough to look for answers for your kid.

  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is a post on the subject of homework:

    I groaned when I read your signature block, where you put "no one wants to label him". I really get upset with that. It is ONLY my opinion, because I know other kids have been labled and then dumped. But I had to FIGHT to get my kid diagnosed, and then get his diagnosis recognized by the school, so I could demand the services he needed. And what a pain in the butt!!! I don't care what you call him! Call him Fred Flintstone, if that gets him the help he needs!!!

    Anyway, you are dealing with some very typical ODD behaviors, and Ritalin is not likely to do you any good at all.

    There are several different approaches to medications and diet for ODD. Some parents have, by trial and error, and a lot of hard work, figured out that their kids are sensitive to the point of allergic to some common food substances like wheat, and have put their kids on very carefully constructed diets, with some success. There are other parents who have had their kids on different medications, and have had to do what I call pharmacological roulette, to get a combination that works right for a time.

    I was fortunate that my son spent about 6 months on medications that did not do him any good, including Paxil (a Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitor, commonly perscribed for depression), and Tenex (perscriped for high blood pressure, sometimes given to kids to slow them down), and then finally we discovered here that Risperdal (an anti-psychotic) was sometimes effective in managing rage. It worked for us.

    Fuzz at 10, would experience a minor frustration, like a pencil lead breaking. Within less than two seconds, he would be screaming and throwing things, including furniture.

    The Risperdal, in conjunction with intense therapy, helped a lot.

    At that same time, I got him moved out of a regular classroom with a teacher who couldn't cope with his outbursts, to the point that she would initiate them to get him out of the room; and I transferred him to a behavior disorder classroom in another building, where he was in a class with 6 children, and two staff. Sometimes three staff. He thrived.

    He is now 12, in junior high, mainstreamed 5 of 8 periods per day, and supported the other 3, with the option of being pulled back into the supportive environment if needed.

    The Risperdal gave him a few seconds delay between the onset of frustration and the adrenaline rush that the rage is simply the expression of. The therapy was focused on how to evaluate the source of the frustration, and think of a reasonable alternative to throwing the tantrum or chair. In other words, how to use those few seconds constructively to arrive at the startling conclusion that the broken pencil could be sharpened, with permission from the teacher.

    It was an epiphany.

    We have few homework wars. Homework is handled simply like this:

    1. I already went to school This is yours. You have to do it, or you will fail. That choice is also yours.

    2. If you need help, you may come to me and ask me for help. I will try to clear up what you do not understand, but I will not do your work for you. If you don't know what a word or question means, I will explain the word or the question. But I will not draw the picture, write the sentence, or fill in the chart. That's your job.

    3. I will not cry, fight, argue, yell, or worry about whether you do your homework. If you refuse to do your homework, 7th grade will be the longest four years of your life.

    I love you. But I'm not loving if I don't let you get up and learn how to do this for yourself.

    I'm here to put ice on your head when you get a lump, but I'm going to let you land on your butt when you lose your balance, and cheer you when you get back up. That's how you learned to walk. That's how I learned to let you.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is some insight you gave us when the board was in one of its temporary uproars.

    I've not been here as much lately as I should, nor as much as I wish I were. I've been just a tad busy with some personal stuff.

    But, I thought I would drop in and have a quick fireside chat, so to speak, with a couple thousand of my closest friends.

    I find this place to be astonishing, remarkable, almost miraculous, for a variety of reasons. The first, of course, and most remarkable is that there is such instant support and honest validation that each of us can usually receive when we come here. Most of us arrived here the first time, in a fairly fragile condition. We were confused, frightened, even downright scared, of our children, our communities, maybe even ourselves. Because of our children's difficulties, we found ourselves living in a world that was becoming openly dangerous and hostile.

    And then we found this place. And many of us, I know, were immediately wrapped in the warm arms of total strangers who were ready to extend themselves, to hear us, to comfort us, to advocate for our children, and to educate us so we could advocate for ourselves.

    There was no membership fee. There were no barriers to our access. There were no walls dividing us or signs on doors telling anyone that they were not welcome in this place or that space.

    We were home.

    Imagine that. Stop and think about it. Over two thousand people in one place, and it is home.

    Well, ladies, (and gentle men), this place is what it is because of all the kindness, the willingness of people to be considerate, even if they do not necessarily agree with each other. I know. Because I am a person who has had a life long struggle with tact. It is just not my nature to be tactful. So Blondie ( my sister) has had to do many many lessons on remedial manners on me. And I have had to struggle to be tactful in situations where my instinct was to level the playing field with a rototiller, and let God sort them out!

    I have come here tonight to ask you, all of you, to please forgive me my harsh tongue, which at times must hurt the feelings of the more sensitive folk.

    I also ask you all, each of you, to remember that there are so very many of us, and we each have come here, imperfect beings that we are, to ask for community guidance and support. I don't ask that people agree with me just to make me feel good. I hope that's not what we are about! I do ask that we each carefully think about how our words, imperfectly delivered in this way, may be taken, and that we be kind to each other.

    Some of you are very religious, and to those who are not Christian, I beg your forgiveness and indulgence here for a moment. But to those who are Christian, I want you to think about this for a minute. I am unable to recall a single instance except in the temple when he kicked the moneychangers out, when Christ was rude, unkind, or nasty to anyone. He made every effort to look for the good or even the potential for good, in every person he encountered. He brought out the good in them, not with criticism, but with kindness. He taught them strength, not by beating down on them, but by shouldering part of their burden. He taught them compassion, not by making them miserable, but by carrying their misery away with him.

    So, my dear friends, I ask you this night, as kind folk who all have felt confused, lost, exhausted, overwhelmed, angry, betrayed, or afraid, to be especially aware in the coming days and weeks, of how important it is that this place be a place of kind words and open minds. I am not asking anyone to lie, to withhold the truth. But I am asking each of you, as you read and write in this place, to ask yourself, "Is this the best way I can say this? Does this really need to be said? Will this do anyone out there some harm?"

    I thank you each for being here for each other. And just as I grew up in a small midwestern town with fewer people than we have here, there were divisions and "groups" in that community. Not everyone agreed with each other. But, there was a sense of belonging to each other that prevailed, especially during sports events at the local school! LOL

    Since I don't know how to play cyber basketball, I guess we're going to have to settle for this. The best darned writers workshop outside of Iowa! (Inside joke, sorry) And in that light, do no harm, and please, be kind to each other.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here are more of your homework hints, Pico. These were to Sue C re her daughter and their battle with Algebra.

    Repeat after me. S - L - O - W - L - Y.

    I MUST give my child the opportunity to grow on her own.

    I MUST give my child the opportunity to fall down.

    I MUST give my child Ownership of her choices.

    I MUST give my child room to land on her ass, because her head don't want to hear it.

    Now. Repeat after me, a little faster.

    I cannot be right, with a child and a husband both determined to undermine and sabotage every effort I make to help this child.

    SO, when she cries because she doesn't understand her math, tell her that it is now her father's job to tutor her, since he agreed with her that she shouldn't have to change her schedule to get the help at school. Then go take a bath.

    I KNOW YOU'RE NOT THAT DIRTY!!! Dry skin will only happen if you don't add "Spoil Me Rotten" bath oil, so indulge! (Work with me here.)


    If this young lady lands on her butt with a great big F, in red, guess who earned it?

    And just how far would all those "Mommy Propped Me Up" A's get her in college anyway? Are you going to go to college with her so she doesn't fail there, too?

    Are YOU going to be the one learning brain surgery so she can become a doctor? Let me know, quick! I need to know which one of you I really want that appointment with! LOL!


    If you don't let her fall down, she'll never learn to skate, ride her bike, dance, fly. It's up to her. You can give her opportunities. But:



    So let her own her stuff. And if she cries because you won't help her, help her by telling her to go talk to Daddy about her math.

    And take that bath. With a good trashy book. And a candle. And a glass of some yummy liquid. And soft music.

    Damn, I'm good!
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is a reply you made to the question of, "If ODD is a true mental illness, how does punishing the child make sense?" The concern was with using tough love with an 18 year old nephew who got mad, and is now living in his car. "I am having such a hard time with this "tough love" that I feel so bad for him too, because I know he has this disorder, and I try to separate the kid from the disorder. He can be such a great kid at times. It just breaks my heart to see him like this. Are we doing the right thing here? What else can we do? I keep thinking, if he had diabetes, and needed his insulin, we would make sure he got it, and make sure he was safe."

    OK, Carol.
    Are you done? Sure?
    Take a really deep breath.
    I mean INHALE, girl!
    Now, Exhale!
    Now, do it again!

    OK. Now that you have some oxygen in your lungs, and maybe you even smiled, or maybe you scratched your head wondering who this NUT is that jumped in here --

    Following up on the analogy you so aptly introduced -- namely, if he had diabetes, you would make sure he had his insulin. Yep. You sure would. And so would every other parent I can think of that is here.

    BUT, if he is 18 and stomps out of the house screaming in the night that he "IS SO GONNA EAT EVERY CHOCOLATE BAR THERE IS ON THE PLANET!!!", there would be precious little you could do even though you KNOW that overindulging in chocolate bars will do bad things to a diabetic.

    It doesn't mean you failed. Nor does it necessarily mean difficult child failed. It means that you have hit a critical point in the relationship that everyone hits.

    He wants to go out there and do his thing. You know it's stupid, and dangerous. Probably on some level he does, too.

    But you can't change the fact that he is doing it. He is going to go out in the world and make his own choices. Many of them are likely to be poor choices.

    The best thing you can do is keep loving him, but set realistic boundaries. If you would let any other kid you have ever known use you for the free shower and laundry -- aka the "Y", -- then OK, let him treat your house as the drop-in and de-grunge zone.

    If, on the other hand, you don't feel like maintaining a public toilet, say so.

    The point is:
    If you're gonna play with the big dogs, you gotta get off the porch.
    And once off the porch, don't expect mama to keep the milk warm just for you!

    Along with his right to make his own choices, comes the responsibility to live with and deal with the results of those choices. He chose to live in his car rather than in your home. Gee. I've never seen a car with a washer dryer unit in it. Guess he's going to have to use some of the money he earns at one of his jobs for laundry-mat money.

    His car doesn't have a shower? Gee. Guess he and his car will have to avail themselves of the local car wash?

    His car doesn't have a television? Oh well. Since he is on his own, he's going to have to spend most of his time dealing with real life stuff, so he probably won't have time to watch the tube anyway.

    His car doesn't have a refrigerator? Gee. that's what houses are for.

    He doesn't have a house? Gee. I thought that was what he wanted to get away from.

    It's hard out there. Yep. Real hard.

    And fools will learn by none other.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The topic was "Guilt, is it appropriate?"
    The context of it was parents who had done everything they could, and yet felt guilty.
    "Anyway, any suggestions on dealing with the guilt and reassuring one's self that they are doing the best they know how to do, would be helpful."

    Let's turn it around and look at it from a slightly different direction, here.

    Guilt. This is a very strong emotion. One that all of us feel, if we are wired normally, upon occasion. My first memory of guilt, was when I was probably about three. I lied to my mother. Boy! That guilt button really worked! I felt so bad I just KNEW I was now lower than snake scum in a wagon rut!

    Guilt. That's what you feel when you've screwed up. That's what you are supposed to feel when you've done something you know you aren't supposed to do, or when you've avoided doing what you knew was the right thing to do. And boy, is that uncomfortable!

    On the other hand, along with her yellow mitten, you have no reason to feel guilty if:

    You are doing the best you can with what you have;
    You are doing the best you can with what you know;
    You are doing the best you can to not screw up;
    You are doing the best you can based on anything anybody else can think of to suggest!

    Guilt. There's enough of it going around that is deserved. Don't drag around a bunch that you don't deserve.
    You're doing your best. If that means you have to search the kid coming and going, then you go right on and search the kid. It means you care. And NOBODY should EVER feel guilty for caring. in my humble opinion
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Dear Pico,
    From what you say at the beginning of this thread, it appears that you hoped it would be archived. But I checked the archives, and it isn't there. So I am posting the whole thread, for the benefit of all. I also shared this thread with some of my friends at my local Tough Love group, and they found it helpful. Thankyou.
    Author Topic: On homecomings

    Several of you have kids coming home from various alternative situations. Many of you have asked for advice. I decided to write one piece, in the hope that this may become an archival thread from the been there done that department.

    My most significant thought and advice for parents of a child who is coming home is simple: make it as seamless as possible.

    The child has most likely earned the homecoming, by learning how to behave differently, and by living within a very structured environment. Many of these children have significant difficulties with transitions. Change is verry unsettling for these kids. And any major changes are an open invitation to meltdowns and relapses.

    If the child has done well in a very structured environment, please seek as much information as possible from that facility, so that you can do as much as possible to continue that structure. If bedtime is always at 9:00, keep bedtime at 9:00. If meals are served on a particular schedule, do it. If each person has specific kinds of after dinner chores, do it. If the kid has been required to do his own laundry, keep it up. If the kid has been required to do specific kinds of household chores, incorporate that into your routine.

    The more closely you can replicate the routine of the environment where your child has learned how to thrive, the more likely you are to be able to bridge for the child that distance between Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and real world.

    It will be inconvenient. But not nearly as inconvenient as visiting him in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), dealing with courtrooms, waiting up all night wondering if the kid is coming home or not.

    And for all the families coming back together, I do hope you all find success and a new definition of family. Hang in there. oOOo

    grotius, posted 07 August 2000 06:51 PM
    This is such good advice! The transition from a structured environment to one less structured may be difficult. Sometimes the abrupt changes derails the progress.

    Marla S, posted 07 August 2000 10:53 PM
    Pico that's wonderful advice!!!! May I add a few more things as one who has had a homecoming?? (if not just tell me and I will delete).

    Keep consequences the same. If the facility had a specific consequence for an action (i.e. not doing something as told the first time), and its feasible to do, do it at home.

    Don't threaten to send them back to the facility or somewhere worse unless its actually an option. They may just test you on that.

    Two things from personal experience:
    When I came home, I was scared that if I slipped up even the tiniest amount, that I would be on the next plane back to my facility. Reassure your kids (if that's not going to happen), that it's OK to slip up on something small (i.e.: swearing, if that's a no-no), as long as they recognize what they did, and they won't be on the first plane back.

    I did turn 18 just 2 months after I came home, and I did really rebel. But since I was never into the drinking, drugs, party scene before, my parents just let me do my thing. I think they also contributed it to be turning 18. And they were there for me when I straightened out. Then again, I was never involved with the police.
    Those are just my suggestions. I hope they can help someone.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is a great Picoism about privacy, and talking with our kids about things having to do with sexual behaviors. The context is a mom who found some things in her daughter's diary about doing things with boys. The topic was about snooping, and feeling guilty about it, and how to communicate about these things.

    "The talk" is not one conversation. It is hundreds of little ones.

    Because STD's are now deadly, not just inconvenient; and because STD's are now the most frightening result of unwise sexual experimentation, where pregnancy was the big scare a million years ago when I was young; you might do well to have "mini" impromptu chats with difficult child.

    If you are watching television, and you see a girl acting slutty, say something, like "that kind of behavior can get that girl into a lot of trouble".

    difficult child is not necessarily going to agree with you. And if she did, you'd be the last to hear it from her! But you will have given her a little sentence to put in that mental collection that in years will be known as "Stuff my mother taught me."

    Privacy is important. But knowing what our kids are doing, thinking, and looking to try is our responsibility.

    Where is the line between the parent who is clueless, and their kid blows up a school; and the parent who is so anal that their kid is a victim of emotional abuse because the parent will not let the kid out of their sight, and he is 47 now!!!

    (And those plaid pants have GOT to go!)

    OK. I'm saying this pretty extreme. But when you look at those examples, it puts you in a little more of a normal range of behavior.

    Now, if it was not a diary or journal. Let's say your child had e-mail from someone you didn't know. Would you read it?

    If it was another kid of the same gender, ranting about how unfair a teacher was for flunking them for cheating on a test, would you feel bad for having invaded that privacy?

    If it was a person of unknown gender, and age, and they said they were looking forward to a movie at your local mall this weekend, would you feel anything in particular?

    If it was an adult, that you did not know, who was planning to meet your child for sex, would you feel bad for reading this mail and invading this privacy?

    How can you know which of those people it is before reading it?

    My kids deserve privacy. They also deserve my protection. I HAVE TO KNOW what is going on with them for me to be able to provide that.

    If they get mad at me, that's OK. I hope they have another 80 years to be mad at me for being the kind of parent I am.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    [FONT=&quot]Here is Pico's response to a new member who is asking, "How to stop meltdown when you see it coming?"

    Walk right in; set yourself down; baby let your hair hang down.

    If you recognize it, you know I'm ancient!

    Fuzz seemed to have meltdowns out of the clear blue nowhere, until I learned to look for some pretty small and ordinarily insignificant things.

    Example: He came completely unglued one night when he was supposed to be doing a math homework sheet. He knew how to do the work. He wasn't fighting about getting it done. So why the hysteria? Because his pencil lead broke.

    Complete meltdown.

    My ODD kid used to come totally unglued over the smallest frustration. So if you can get past the boobs=brains problem, you might also find that Miss B=B is reacting to something so small most of us would not notice it.

    Then what you do is help her evaluate it as a challenge, and solve the problem. DO NOT TELL HER SHE IS UPSET OVER SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT MATTER. In her perception, that means she doesn't matter.

    You have to acknowledge the "problem" before you can teach her how to judge whether it is a big problem, or a little problem.

    'Nother ex: Fuzz came in the other day with a swollen red thumb. He was hammering, and he accidentally hit his thumb. It really is a painful wound. Mashed that sucker good!
    My response: Oh, wow. That looks like it really hurts a bunch! I always hated it when I missed and mashed my thumb! The popcorn pack might do it some good, if you think it can stand the cold.

    (Explanation: we have frozen popcorn kernels in a double bagged zip lock bag that lives in the freezer. It's the best cold compress in the world. And no messy melting gunk.)

    Well, I've had to re-admire his war wound daily since then, and note its progress from red to purple, to black and blue. But no hysteria. No accusations of insufficient concern, or love, or the need for an immediate ambulance ride. And he's dealing with the frustration of it sometimes hurting when he forgets it, and re-bumps it doing ordinary stuff.

    I don't remember for sure, but I think the whole validation response thing is something Fuzz's counselor taught me, and I think it is based in Adlerian theory or something -- all I know is, it works much of the time.

    So, if Ms. B=B goes into a total meltdown, you might try pasting your best "calm but concerned" face on, and putting a very calm hand on her shoulder or back, and saying, "I can see you're really upset. Can you tell me what happened to make you feel this way?"

    It's a fair question, and there is absolutely NO value judgment there for her to object to.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    [FONT=&quot]This topic was about relatives who do not have a clue what we are dealing with in regards to our difficult child's. Most do not understand, and many don't want to find out what we are going through either, let alone be supportive. But Pico was able to communicate with her parents, and help them to understand. And they have been a support to her.

    First of all, each of us must recognize that the relationships we, as adults, have with our parents and our in-laws, are based on varying histories and lengths of acquaintanceship. My mother, who raised me, has a different concept of who I am and who we are as a family than my mother-in-law, who only got to know me as an adult. Our history is different.

    Add children, some of whom are pretty close to perfect in the eyes of their grandparents; and others may appear to be little demons in the very same eyes.

    How do we, as adults, explain to our parents that our children, the hope of the future, are not what everyone expected, anticipated, hoped for? How did this happen? Who is to blame?

    My parents, bless them, thought Fuzz needed to be spanked more. So, one day when they were visiting, I spanked him, for being unbelievably rude to them. And then I sat back and let them see him go totally ballistic. While he was screaming in the background, I calmly turned to my mother and explained, as gently as possible, that spanking him was teaching him one thing: big people get to hit little people. And although he was in the other room dismantling a quarter of my house at this point, the day would come, not too far down the road, when he would not tear up the room -- he would hit me back, or beat me up completely. So, I needed them to listen to me, and help me help this kid, before he became someone we all were afraid of.

    And we began.
    My mother, bless her heart, is an avid reader. She also knows that there are a lot of holes in our systems, as she has encountered her share of frustrations with bureaucracies over the years.

    I gave her the Chandler Papers one evening, and said, I'd love to get her impression of them any time she felt like talking about it. The next morning, as my father drank his coffee, my mother and I began talking about ODD.
    She is now one of my staunchest allies. She has seen a remarkable change in Fuzz over time. She was openly and obviously astounded about a year ago when he started to go off on me, checked himself, spun on his heel and headed for his room at warp speed, only to run smack full on into my father's legs. Fuzz, stopped, apologized for running into his grandpa, excused himself, and walked around my father, into his room, and closed the door like a civilized human being.

    I could hear him venting through the door, but even at that point, he was working really hard to use the alternatives to common swear words, as he knew that his grandparents do not swear, and do not respect those who do.

    (My father actually said DAMN YOU once -- to a horse that tried to roll over on me -- and to this day, the irony of the situation tickles me. My father jumped the fence to yank that horse off me, and yelled at her that simple two word expletive -- and the next sound we heard was the window of the dining room sliding up and my mother yelling, "Richard! Don't you swear in front of the chi----, Oh my Lord!"

    Well, as you can see, my parents are not used to the brilliance of the colorful language our difficult child's are capable of painting our ears! So I had to stifle a chuckle as my difficult child was in his room, punching a pillow, and through his gritted teeth, muttering, "God Bless It! Can't Do Anything Anyway! ......"

    But the fact that he had stopped and turned himself around; he had apologized for running into Daddy, and he excused himself to vent in the other room, was the proof my parents had never expected to see, that this child who really does have a problem, could benefit from the support.

    I talked to my mother plainly. I told her right out that I needed her help. I explained while we were visiting them for a holiday, that I needed her to tell him things plain the same way she would have told us when we were kids. That he needed to know that my rules weren't something dreamed up by me just to make his life a special misery.

    So when mother went down to the basement for a jar of pickles or something, and she saw my kid jumping on the bed (because it has such delightfully squeaky springs!) she said, almost without thinking, "You don't jump on the beds, young man!" And he stopped.

    Fuzz has benefited a whole lot from having his grandparents show him the same standards of behavior are expected by them, as are expected by me. My folks have been wonderful in not taking the kid's side against me. I don't know how to solve that one other than to give them a real good taste, and let the kid stay with them for some time in the summer till they see his true colors.

    My folks were not in that group of people.

    I don't know if this will help anyone, but if it does, great. I know that my mother had always thought Fuzz's behaviors were simply a brat going off, till she read Chandler, and discovered that we were in for a long haul. She has since been very supportive, albeit from a distance. No respite care coming from that corner!!

    But the folks have been excellent in giving Fuzz lots of calm, but good attention when he is acting reasonably, so that reinforcement has been wonderful.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is more on the same topic:
    Author Topic: How to explain difficult child to family and friends

    Dear ones,
    I am starting this one because I just read a request for advice on the topic, and I think probably many of our new friends could use some pointers. I know this place sure helped me with the problem!

    How DO we deal with friends and family, when they have a difficult time even being around our children, much less understanding the myriad issues from medication to FAPE, to therapy, to psychiatrist appointments, ya dah ya dah ya dah.

    Well, my mother, poor dear woman had raised a bunch of kids, and had also had a bunch of foster kids, at least one of whom was probably ODD or CD, but that was back in the early 70s when he was simply viewed as a little terrorist.

    He was returned to sender the next day or so. She had a baby in the house, and his "temporary" placement ended up being even more "temporary" than originally presumed.

    Anyway, suffice it to say that my mother is no shrinking violet when it comes to difficult children. But she did not have a CLUE when it came to Fuzz. She thought that with enough spanking, you could eventually get the kid's attention, and then he would believe you when you said he had to mind you.

    Of course, she had no idea how to react when said spanked child pressed charges of child abuse, or even battery against said adult in charge of -- holy cow!

    Well, I had to settle for one of two options, as far as I could see it.

    Option 1. I have to put up with hearing the same criticism every time I am around her, for the rest of my life, and if my kid turns out to be a criminal, she will be first in line to say, "I TOLD you that you needed to spank that boy more!" At which time I would kill her. (Not really. I'd just move several thousand miles away and not leave a forwarding address.)

    Option Number 2. Enlist her. Make her part of the solution, instead of another problem.
    I selected Option number two.
    And here is how I got my mother on board.

    I printed off the Chandler paper for Fuzz's diagnosis. And gave it to her, with the request that she read it, because I needed to talk to someone who knew me, and she might be able to help me figure some stuff out. (This means you are "needing" the other person's perspective and wisdom.)

    A few weeks later, when we were able to be together, I sat down with her late one night when the kids were asleep, and said, "I can't do this by myself. I really need your and Dad's help on this one. You see, my kid is never going to believe anything I say, if I'm the only one who says it to him."

    She looked at me like I just said Cows are Blue. She had sort of a mystified look on her face.
    So I continued, as I believe a confused person is far easier to take advantage of, than someone who knows right out that you are full of cow pies.

    "Mother, I could tell that child that the sun comes up in the east, and goes down in the west, and he would argue with me. He needs to know that EVERYBODY on this Planet with any sense at all believes that the sun comes up in the east, and goes down in the west, and that's just the way it is."

    At this point, I had effectively enlisted my mother as a key player in the future mental health of my child.
    She asked me what I wanted her to do.
    Hooked! Gotcha!!!! (happy dance = /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/)

    Well, Mother. I need you to tell him exactly what you think, the same as you did us when we were kids. If he's doing something here, in your house, that you don't like, tell him so. Because he needs to hear that from you.
    She looked a little askance at me. And then she said, well, I did kind of scold him awhile ago. I went downstairs to get a jar of beans for dinner, and he was jumping on the bed, and before I even realized that I shouldn't say it because he isn't my kid, I said, "Don't you jump on the beds in my house!"

    I grinned, and said, "And did he quit?"
    She said, "Well, yes, of course!"
    And I said, "And did he argue with you?"
    And she said, "No. He just got off the bed."
    And I said, "But you see, you showed him that his mother is not the only one in the world who doesn't let him jump on the furniture."
    She said, "Well, I can sure do that. I can even snap my fingers and point at the same time, and give him 'The Look' as you kids used to call it."

    We both laughed at that point.

    The point here is, that if you explain to your friends and family that your child has a disability, and they need people to help them learn the way the world works, and specifically how people can help with that teaching process, you will get one of two reactions most of the time. They will either get with the program, or they will run away as fast and as far as they can. Either way, you know pretty quickly which way they're going, and you can then operate accordingly.

    It does take other people for our children to be able to see an identifiable community of people around them sharing a value system that is clear and predictable, and in the child's view, fairly universal. People who are not prepared to share that community standard with our children, are simply wasting our time. We are in a battle here, to keep our children from doing things that hurt people, and even destroy our children themselves. We don't have time to waste our children's futures because we are trying to placate the feelings of people who have not only not walked a mile in our shoes, but they wouldn't be caught dead in them, because they don't match the handbags!

    So, dear ones, hang in there, and keep teaching each other and the rest of the world.

    A personal note. Tonight, we attended the variety show at Fuzz's elementary school. A man in the audience was one of the staff members from the inpatient psychiatric unit that saw Fuzz two and a half years ago and recommended he be locked up. The man was astonished to see the changes in that boy. Tonight, Fuzz was a regular sixth grade kid, singing, and performing with all the other kids.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is a discussion of tantrums, and dealing with them. I love her label of it, "King Baby Syndrome!"

    About the middle of 1991, Fuzz turned three, and the terrible twos hit their second full year. He'd started the so-called "terrible twos" at about 18 months.

    And, yes, sometimes his mad was just because he wanted to be mad. At that age, kids are not verbal enough to be able to say everything they're feeling. And they are not developed enough mentally, to understand a lot of what they feel.

    But they have mastered "King Baby Syndrome" to a fine fair thee well! And, guess what?!?! It WORKS!

    Things I would have done if I'd known then what I know now:

    1. Tantrums must be met with absolutely no emotional engagement.

    Imagine that his mood is a flame. And you are the fireman. You are not going to put out a bic lighter with a butane torch, right? No, you're going to cut off the fuel to the lighter. Or you're going to cool it off with a cool, wet washrag. So, if he goes "red", as far as his mood -- if he is raging; you go blue. Cool, calm, even cold. You interact with him only as much as is absolutely necessary.

    If possible. put him in a room alone. Leave the door open a crack if he needs to know you are still there, but if he throws things through the crack, close the door.

    2. Continue using 123 magic. Time outs may have to be modified though if he dismantles his room, particularly if he shares it with another child.

    In our case, Fuzz got to take his time outs in a really boring corner of the living room. And it didn't take me long to utilize natural consequences there, either. You see, I have a house that is 70 years old. While it is not a Victorian wonder, it does have nice woodwork, and I'd like to keep it that way. Well, Mr. King Baby was into kicking my woodwork when he got mad, and got his little attitude sent to the corner. So I took off his shoes. He only kicked the wall once after that. And his toes taught him what all the sermons in the world had not!

    3. Time out of five minutes is not too much for a three year old. Set the timer, (you can get one at any discount or hardware store just for the time-out kid!) and that is that. You do not argue with him about when or whether he can come out of the corner. The timer starts when he has settled down and is quiet.

    4. Be prepared for him to try to wear you down. The only way to beat that game is to pretend that his efforts are not even happening. Learn to actively dis-engage from him. I'll explain how. I call it the Restaurant Theory.

    If you are in a basic family restaurant, you know the kind, chain with Formica tables and vinyl booths; and at a table near you, there is a family with a little darling who is having an absolute field day making everyone else miserable -- running around, jumping on the seat, smearing maple syrup everywhere, whining, yelling, tantruming -- what do you do?

    Since this precious little specimen is not your child, you have to ignore it, unless it actually manages to make physical contact with you, and get maple syrup on your "Dry Clean Only" jacket! In which case, you may speak to an adult at the table, but you are still not likely to address the child directly, despite your natural inclination to choke the little darling till it looks like a Smurf on a bad day!

    Because it is not your child, you ignore it.

    OK. To dis-engage from your child, is to do exactly the same thing. Other than making sure there is no real and permanent damage happening to the real estate, or the other inhabitants, you do not interact with King Baby when he has decided to have one of his pointless tantrums. You say as little as possible.

    Dear, it is time for bed now.


    Good night. (as you are closing the bedroom door)

    BLAM! Matchbox car has just hit the door.

    (Open the door. Pick up the car. Walk back out with it and close the door. If this becomes a big enough problem, no toys that are hard will be left in the bedroom.)

    If need be, turn the room into a soft stuff only zone. No one deserves to be hit in the face by a flung metal car. Ever.

    Keep your calm, and keep reviewing the basic principles of 123 magic. And read Riley and Greene, because since he's likely to live through this stage, you're going to need them, and you might as well get ready now!!!
    Meanwhile, hang in there! You're not alone!
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is Pico's reply to "What works, and what doesn't?"

    Do all pro football players break the law, beat people up, get arrested for guns and drugs? Do all blondes end up dumb?
    Each of these kids will respond to something, the problem is finding out what that is. The boy I have today, will respond to calm negotiation, but a year and a half ago, he could only stop raging after he was totally overpowered and intimidated. In handcuffs at ten! And Arguing with the cops!

    There is hope. There is always hope, unless someone has died.

    But it is not likely to be an easy road, and there will be some losses. That's the bleak truth. We won't be able to fix every kid. But we have to try. We have to approach every single kid as if he or she is the one that is going to become amazingly well adjusted eventually.

    We also have to realize that it is an overwhelming task. Last evening in counseling, Fuzz's counselor put me in my place. She said, "Not all parents are like you. You can't expect everyone else to have your results. Some people cannot put themselves as totally into that one kid as you have been invested in Fuzz."

    Hmmmmm. Never really thought about it, but she's right. I have two kids. The easy child is fairly low maintenance, all things considered. Some of you have so many more obstacles in front of you every single day, that it is totally unrealistic for me to claim that if you just do what I did, your kid will be just fine. Not necessarily so.

    But the good news is, here, in this place, we can share the joys of the successes, even those little ones; we can shoulder the burdens of the sorrows together; we can hold each other up when we are too sad to know what we need; we can hold each other down when we are too mad to make sense; we can hold each other, period, when we need those hugs that don't come walking through our own front doors.

    And that, dear ones, is success. The fact that here, in this place, each of us can be restored to feeling human; can be loved; can be praised; can be validated; can be inspired; can be encouraged to keep looking for answers.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am writing to clarify something. The definition of "family."

    You see, I didn't come from one. Not in the sense that the Ozzie and Harriet, Ward and June, Dick, Jane and Sally with Spot in the corner definition of "family" was crammed into our collective consciousness. No, I came from something totally different. Instead of a family tree, we have a hedgerow. For those of you who have not seen one, a hedgerow is different from a tree the same way prairie grass differs from a "lawn".

    And in that delightful permutation we call our family, there are a number of different kinds of folks. Really different!!

    We have the genetically impaired, orthopaedically challenged, optically diminished, ethnically mixed, culturally pureed, neurologically damaged, socially delayed, and one or two who have at times been generally regarded as morally bankrupt. Some of those same folk are also musically talented, academically gifted, empathetically advanced, and generally cool folks.

    We have had some pretty interesting conversations over the years. And some pretty amazing disagreements. Ladies, when we fight, it is something to sell tickets for!

    But the lesson I have had to work really hard to teach my son is this: just because you come from a family that looks like an Andy Warhol jigsaw puzzle, does not mean that you have the option of leaving. You are stuck with us. We are family. Resignation is not an option. Defection is not accepted. Escape is futile. We'll come get you and drag you home to be hugged till there is no stuffing left in you, so don't waste your energy on that one, boy.

    We will always love you. Regardless of how irritated we may be at something you may have done or said, you can't make me not love you.

    We will always need you. Regardless of how sad we may be about something you have done or said, no one can take your place in my heart.

    We will always pray for you. Regardless of how much you think God has let you down, I reserve the right to ask Him to hold you next to his heart, when my heart isn't enough to make you feel safe and loved.

    So, this motley crew, as crazy as it seems to be some days, is your family. For better or worse, you are stuck with it. And if that is the biggest problem you have, you are truly a fortunate person.

    Be sure this day that you are loved, or I have not said it well enough."