Holidays and difficult children... exhausting!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I'm really, really hoping that difficult child 2's ramping hyperactivity and impulsiveness is due to the excitement of the holidays and interrupted sleep, and not some new twist in the course of his illness.

    He was noticeably wound up last night at sister in law#1's house who we drove to see since mother in law/father in law are in town visiting. And today was much, much worse. He's making noise just for the sake of it, pacing, twirling, swinging around, climbing, rocking, hanging on stuff/people, hyperactive, silly and goofy, provocative of the sibs, pouting and almost growling, and then laughing... yada, yada, yada, this sure looks hypomanic to me.

    He hasn't missed any medications and everything's been dosed fairly close to the usual time. I'm not going to change anything until I see how this next week plays out. He's been inside a lot, and maybe tomorrow he needs to just get out and get some exercise.

    The other two kids are getting really fed up with him, though. And my patients waxes and wanes, too.

    And now the in-laws are stopping in to visit tomorrow (not looking forward to that. They think everything is a discipline issue. Can you say "clueless"?) I snapped at father in law last night when difficult child 2 hurt his neck wrestling with husband (it audibly popped) and he was wimpering/moaning about the pain and father in law gave him a sarcastic retort "THAT doesn't hurt!" I get very angry when adults try to brush off kids' distress as insignificant.

    Lord, grant me the strength to get through the next few days!
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I'm sorry. It sure sounds like things are ramping up, but of course it is hard to know with all the extra people, activities, sensory input, etc... and the lack of ordinary routine (aka school).

    I hope your time iwth your inlaws goes without too many comments from them that upset you. I get very upset with my parents/inlaws when they make comments similar to your father in law's.

    Please find some time, each and every day, to relax and recharge your own batteries.

  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree that it's hard to know if it is the holidays or not. He does sound hypomanic to me. I really hope that the day goes better with the inlaws than you are thinking it will. Sorry that father in law was so insensitive yesterday with his comment.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Parties and family get-togeters have always done it to our kids, every time. difficult child 3 especially. He was difficult and noisy on Christmas Day, then upset andwhiny at dinner last night when he was complaining that he never gets to do what he wants to do, never gets to play with difficult child 1 like he wanted to etc. He was complaining about it so much he almost blew what opportunity he did have, to play. It was getting on mother in law's nerves which meant she began needling him more than usual which only made him worse, then it began to spiral out of control.

    Today he was a bit better even though he didn't get to bed until after 3 am. But as the house emptied, the noise level dropped and it was easier for difficult child 3 to not get caught out by unexpected things.

    Then it was difficult again tonight - mother in law was stirring him up over dinner, she was in one of her moods where she is deliberately contrary, saying the opposite "as a joke" and then getting upset if the person she is needling doesn't find it funny. She does this even more when she's out of balance herself, and at the moment her own health is worrying her (and us).

    What I'm saying - don't be too quick to see the problem as a child coincidentally developing a new problem or having a new episode. Never underestimate the problems caused by a lot of noise, a lot of change in routine and the need to fit in with so many other people and their own wants, desires and activities. It can be a very stressful time.

  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    This is what I'm hoping is the case! He was better today -- I let him sleep until noon. But in the early evening he started to fall apart again. I'm going to try to get him to bed earlier tonight, and maybe that will help for tomorrow. Time will tell.

    The in-laws were well-behaved today :p , thank goodness. We kept things quiet and all watched a movie here at home together, which helped difficult child 2, I think.
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    The holidays certainly weren't designed with our kiddos in mind, huh?

    I'm sorry its been tough. I'm right there with ya. We've been stuck inside for 4 days now...OMG.
  7. Been dealing with the same here - difficult child just can't handle Christmas, never has; Sat and Sunday were much nicer than the actual holidays. In some ways, it's a relief that we live out of town and don't have to visit with a ton of family - just Grandma and Grandpa that live with us. difficult child was up for 3 nights running prior to Christmas and he had his first major rage with physical assault in well over 1.5 years.

    I'll take difficult child to visit family out of town in a few weeks; AFTER Christmas.

    easy child and I get a bit of a break tonight. We're at our small cabin in the woods, easy child is out of Concerta and easy child and difficult child cannot co-exist in the same place without easy child on his medications. easy child just gets hurt because he is so impulsive with difficult child without it. husband took difficult child home with him. medications for easy child due in tomorrow, I hope.

    Hope things get better for you; we know from experience that difficult child is likely to be much better after Christmas than before. I always try to take off the week after since that is when we tend to have fun here - week before is miserable; I'd rather be at work.

    by the way - even with the rage and everything else, difficult child announced this the best Christmas ever, go figure . . .
  8. sonrisasmile08

    sonrisasmile08 New Member

    ugh. It has been constant complaining and whining here too. First he couldn't open his presents yet. Then I made the holiday meal and my parents and boyfriend came for dinner. This is the first time in several years that my parents have come for dinner, usually they come over for a little while on Christmas morning, but they came for dinner. difficult child wouldn't eat anything that I cooked. All he ate was a dinner roll. To see his excitement over Christmas, you would think he was 5 not almost 14. Because money was extremely tight this year, he got 2 presents to open, and a couple of things in his stocking. All he has done is complain.

    To make matters worse, I started feeling awful Christmas night and woke up yesterday with an awful cold. I am absolutely miserable and still feeling awful today. Of course, this doesn't matter, he keeps asking about going to rent a game. Yesterday, he gathered up a bunch of old games and a PSP and wanted to take them to the store to trade in. Doesn't matter that I don't feel good. I am not going anywhere, I keep telling him.

    Of course, I caught the cold from him and he STILL kept going outside in shorts and no coat. He never seems to dress appropriately.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Something to cosider - Christmas, and other holiday gatherings of extended clan, put your family in close contact with other difficult children, including adults who demand respect even when it's not earned.

    mother in law is very GFGish a lot of the itme. I understand where it's coming from, but it's too complex to explain to difficult child 3. mother in law will only listen to (or hear - she IS badly deaf but doesn't like to admit it by wearing her hearing aids) some of what is said. She gave us money for Christmas to buy a new flat screen TV (Aussie networks have just gone digital and are switching off analog signals soon, we need to upgrade). husband had take measurements and yesterday when we were busy in the supastore, we sent difficult child 3 to the TV department to find where the flat screen TVs were that were the size we wanted. We sent him over with a tape measure.
    difficult child 3 came back and said, "I found what you wanted me to look for, I'll show you."
    mother in law misunderstood, thought that difficult child 3 was (once again, in her mind) telling us what to buy with OUR gift, for HIS pleasure. We tried to tell her, he was only doing what we asked and wasn't telling us what to buy, just telling us which ones fitted the measurements we'd given him. But she till insisted on taking him aside and telling him to back off and stop telling us (his parents) to buy what HE anted. Naturally he got upset by this and tried to tell mother in law that he wasn't donig anything of the sort; then mother in law got upset with his "tone". But since she herself was using the same "tone" this didn't wash with difficult child 3 at all.

    We keep trying to tell her - treat him with the same rspect you want from him, because that is the only way he will learn. But old habits die hard and she keeps snapping back to, "Thisis how I was raised and how I raised my children. Don't tell me how to handle kids; to do so is to accuse me of being bad at parenting."

    So the troubles at the moment that we're habing with difficult child 3 getting rude and irritable with others he's around, is being badly aggravated. husband then feels pressured to support his mother and he snaps back into "male disciplinarian" mode (it's an instinctive reaction, worse when you're tired) and it all begins to escalate.

    So I spend a lot of these family gathering situations trying to hose tings down, head problems off at the pass and generally referee interactions. I know I just mixed metaphors badly but I'm sure you know what I mean.

    End result - exhaustion!

  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    So here's a question I have...

    Once somebody's triggered into a little cycle, so to speak, how long can it take to get back to baseline?

    difficult child 2 is now on his fourth, possibly fifth night having trouble sleeping. At first, I thought it was all the excitement over Christmas. But we've kept things low key here the past few days. We weren't out late Christmas Day, only spent 3 hours at my uncle's and got home by 6:30pm. Sent difficult child 2 to bed by 9pm. Let him sleep until noon the next day. Despite giving him his evening medications at the same time, he's going to sleep later each night it seems. And this morning he got himself up earlier than he normally would... about two hours at least.

    I'm wondering if this is just going to get worse on its own and whether I should bump up his evening Seroquel XR to see if that helps... Our psychiatrist is closed until Jan. 6th.

    The week of 12/14 psychiatrist had us lower the evening Seroquel XR by 100mg (to 600mg) and increase the afternoon dose by 100mg (to 500mg) -- so he's getting the same amount each day, just distributed differently to manage symptoms better (he was too sedated in the morning and not focused enough in the afternoons).

    Why, oh why is stability such an elusive and fragile thing for this kid?
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Maybe letting him sleep in next day is part of the problem - especially teens, they can rapidly get into bad habits sleep-wise. We're fighting this battle with difficult child 3 at the moment. He will stay up late, sometimes until 3 am (I'm not happy about it) and then want to sleep in next day. And if he sleeps in late, then he is refreshed for longer, can again stay up late (or may even have trouble getting to sleep again) and so it continues.

    I remember reading some years ago about research into sleep cycles; people who are permitted to set their own day/night sleep/wake schedule when there is no way they can determine whan daytime really is, often fall into a 25 hour day rather than a 24 hour day.

    What we were told to do with difficult child 3 (and we did it previously with difficult child 1) was to wake him fairly close to the normal rising time, regardless of when he went to bed. And if possible, to discourage him from daytime naps. with difficult child 3 it's not too much difficulty because once he's up, he tends to stay up until bedtime. Our problems are worse when we have to go out early and leave difficult child 3 on his own. Today for example - it's still holidays here, husband & I had planned an early start to get to the stores, difficult child 3 had told us he didn't want to come. We woke him as we left, told him to get up and take his medications, although I didn't have a lot of faith that he would do this. And as we discovered alter, he did roll over and go back to sleep. husband rang home late morning to find difficult child 3 playing computer games (as usual) and asked him, "have you had your medications yet? Then go take them NOW." We needed difficult child 3 to take some measurements for us.
    We got home at about 3.30 pm, difficult child 3 had of course forgotten to have lunch. Our arrival home broke his concentration on his games and he realised he was hungry. I know, because at least he remembered the risotto I'd left for him to reheat, he brought it to me to ask how long to heat it in the microwave oven.
    It's almost 11 pm and he is still up. He may be in bed before midnight. I hope so.
    Tomorrow I will be home and I will make a point of waking him, and making sure he gets up, by 9 am. I have found that when I do this, he is more likely to be in bed earlier that night.
    Letting him sleep himself out is not a good idea. Not only does it disrupt his sleep cycle ongoing, but it also avoids the natural consequences of him having a late night. Life does not generally allow us to indulge ourselves with a sleep-in after a late night - our responsibilities generally mean we have to get up at the usual time and go to work. Or look after the kids. So don't let him sleep in too long. Maybe compromise and give him an extra half hour, as long as there is nothing planned for that day. Otherwise - life goes on, kiddo. You have to go on with it or get left behind.

  12. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Guess I should have read this earlier this morning! He's still sleeping and it's 11am. I think you may be right about the internal clock on some of these kids. I'll go wake both the difficult child's now (difficult child 1 was up until after 1am last night) and we'll just try to get them to bed earlier tonight rather than let them sleep later. I think that's probably the best solution.