How much having a difficult child influences on how you parent your PCs? (Joy being typical teen brat)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by SuZir, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    My difficult child has always been borderline difficult child, troublesome kid but not enough to meet any diagnose and not clearly special needs. He only came clear difficult child when he turned 17, became compulsive gambler and started stealing. So of course I think did I parent him wrong. Of course no use to cry over spilled milk, but it has made me more wary with my easy child.

    One of difficult child's more bothersome characteristics even before gambling was his smugness, entitlement and arrogance. His crash and burn has helped with an attitude considerably but it is certainly not an experience I would want to my easy child, who is a good kid. Today I anyhow went totally off on him, because something he said really reminded me of difficult child's attitude. Now I'm wondering if I was too hard on him.

    There we live kids under 15 can work very limitedly and even after that kids usually work only summers (we have very few kid suitable part-time jobs available and it is also considered that school is their work.) With this economy many companies are seriously limiting their summer intern programs. That brings college students to typical High School student summer job markets so anyone under 18 is seriously out of their luck when looking for summer jobs. Almost only way for them to get a summer job is that parents get them one through their connections. My husband's employer gives employees' kids some summer jobs. For younger ones they have four week landscaping job opportunities and husband got one of those for our easy child (yes, easy child made an application, had an interview etc. but it was a done deal even before that, they just pretend to recruit to teach kids the skills.) It will teach easy child a lot and start his CV and help him to find work next summer and summer after that and when he really has to try to compete internships, he will have a nice CV to show. So easy child is very lucky little boy to have that job. Collecting garbage, mowing lawns and tearing up weeds is of course not very glamorous job, but it is much more than most of his peers have.

    Today I overheard him at the phone talking with a friend and complaining how it sucks that he has to work and all the others are on vacation and can hang out on the beach etc. How stupid his job and boss is and how stupid me and husband are for making him to apply for the job. On and on. I flipped. I have been very stressed because of difficult child on the last few days and it may have something to do with it, but I would have been angry anyway. I yelled at him about his attitude, how ungrateful and entitled brat he was behaving like etc. And grounded him for a week and told that I would seriously discuss with his dad on suspending his monthly allowance. easy child got teary and shouted on me why I was punishing him on something so small, when difficult child is being 'the bad kid' and that it is not fair that he is treated harshly because of difficult child and how he is not difficult child. Apparently part of it is, that he feels that he is compared to difficult child in his sport and because everyone in those circles knows what difficult child did and because it is considered so against 'the code' also easy child gets some heat because of it. But mostly it was that he thinks I was too hard on him because of difficult child.

    Ugly fight all together and made me think, if easy child does have a point. Am I too harsh with him, because of difficult child? Or is he just being typical teen and not liking to be called on his bad attitude and trying to shift my attention? What are your experiences on parenting PCs along with difficult children?
  2. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi SuZir,
    If easy child was always easy child-ish and not borderline difficult child-ish, then it's probably typical teen. The landscaping job IS a godsend, and working IS the right thing to encourage any able bodied person to do, but for him, it does suck. He'd rather be hanging out with friends, the job is physically hard, and let's face it, he'd rather be enjoying his summer. You are trying to teach him responsibility and self sufficiency, and he is complaining.

    The thing is...if he's showing up for work, working diligently, but blowing off steam to his friend who doesn't work...then I think you probably did overreact in this case. If, however, he's not waking up for work, sluggish and typical teen-ish while he's there, has a bad attitude twd boss/coworkers, etc., then it's another story. If not, just let him blow off steam.

    He probably does resent your reaction, and probably feels like you were intruding on a private conversation. It's hard to be a easy child when you go through your teens, and it's so hard when you have an older difficult child who has a reputation, etc. I would just calmly talk to him about responsibility, etc., and maybe admit you came down too hard. Explain that in this economy, jobs for people his age are like finding a needle in a haystack, and that he should be proud that he has an oppty to earn his own spending money, and that you understand it's a sacrifice giving up time in the summer, but everything worthwhile comes at a price.

    Being a typical teen, he will probably not appreciate it, but don't're doing the right thing! I might also tell him that you overreacted because you truly do not want him to follow the same arrogant path his brother followed, and experience all the negative consequences difficult child experienced. You always have his best interests in mind, etc., etc.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well said, CJ, I agree with everything you said.

    SuZir, I have to tread carefully raising my 16 year old granddaughter who is a easy child. Her mother, a difficult child, sometimes gets in the way of my being able to distinguish the behaviors of a typical teen with a difficult child. I applaud you for having the insight to reevaluate your position and ask for support in seeing it all clearly. You're doing a good job in your parenting choices, it does take a village.............Hugs to you............
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    You are a really caring mom....I love that you can check youself. I can totally see where all that emotion came from, and maybe even add that there could be a pretty deep prayer that your easy child not be like difficult child (in the neg. ways) so desperately that anything that looks similar may cause an over-reaction. My God daughter/niece was pouring her heart out about how when she screws up she has such terrible punishments (not really but....geesh) and her easy child/gfgish bro who is really screwing up right now is getting no serious consequences (NOT TRUE)....but she sees it that way and hates how his behaviors make the gossip rounds etc. She said that she always gets amazing grades and the only time she really got attention was when she struggled in a class but she pulled the grade up (she doesn't have any pressure to be the stellar student she is, she just does well). I know my sister brags on her all the time, but it is my nieces perspective and I think she is asking for more attention in some ways.

    My sister then ends up taking time to do what is suggested here. Sits and goes through things. Explains how proud she is, and tries to connect more. I think for you, talking about why you felt so disappointed (regardless of difficult child) is appropriate. But maybe explaining that your strong reaction is maybe in part due to your worry and issues with difficult child. Maybe letting him know you appreciate his point and will consider it. But, that doesn't mean he can just blow off responsibility. (not saying he is of course)...

    I loved my job but I sure had many days when I blew off steam to friends.

    Dont be too hard on yourself. His reaction was probably a combo of typical teen behavior and sib. of difficult child issues....There is never an easy answer, right?
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    One of the things my teens appreciated was my heartfelt apologies...when I realized I had overdone it. Sometimes in lieu of mea culpa I just kept it simple and said "I think I went overboard today..if so, please accept that I know I'm imperfect but I'm doing my best cause I love you to death." A couple of my adult easy child's have commented that they use the method with their teens too. Hugs. DDD
  6. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    I have two difficult children, one typical teen and one fledgling typical teen.

    My tool for distinguishing the difficult child vs. typical teen is their heart. Is their heart good? Can they (eventually) acknowledge they did something wrong? Are they able to feel badly about it? Can they feel shame, guilt and remorse? Can they empathize with others? If they can do those things, you can help them learn and grow.

    My difficult children fail on all of those. I believe they are psychopaths. :-(((((

    Screamo is an excellent example of a typical teen. He does and says stupid things, but his heart is good. When caught up in the moment, his emotions and passions rule his decisions, but once he calms down, he can see the error of his ways. Change is slow with him, but it happens. He is a good person who will do stupid things. I know, with time, he will mature and he will learn to not jump right in the pile of stupidity but will learn to spot it and step around it. I don't believe my girls will ever change. They just hone their skills.…
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I think I have an apology to make first thing in the morning. That is not that far away here, I'm way past my bedtime, luckily easy child has been in bed several hours already, he too has to be up right after six.

    easy child has lately been his self mostly, the most perfect child any parent could hope for. Even in work. husband talked with easy child's boss at Friday and asked how he had been doing. His first week in real work ever and all that. easy child's boss had nothing but praise for the kid. He has been smiley, brisk with his work and been even initiative that is quite a lot to ask from the kid his age in the first job. So no bad attitude at all, just being a good kid he is.

    We will not have time for the long chats before he has to head to work, but I will apologize for being too harsh with him and promise to think again about his grounding. I think I want to talk with him about how, to whom and where you can talk about your work especially in negative manner. To warn him about ever venting in social media and even thinking hard what to talk with people in general. These are things he probably don't really understand. Whining and venting about your work is not the same as doing so about school or something like that. It can really come and bite your butt. And that is something I think it would be advisable to discuss with him at. If his attitude is not horrendous, I think his grounding ends to that chat.

    And I have to remind him that it is not at all bad. He has three weeks work left and after that he still has six more weeks of his vacation left. And best beach weather here is always in July anyway.

    I think that chat about him and difficult child and how difficult child and his reputation affects easy child is something I have better take a rain check on. But we will need to go back to that later. Just now I'm not sure if I'm up to it though.
  8. MrsThomsen

    MrsThomsen New Member

    Methuselah, very interesting point about the heart. My easy child is a strong-willed teen whose personality doesn't allow him to apologize. Not a teen thing, he's always been like this. Also, wont take direction or suggeation. Basically never.
    My 5yo difficult child is violent, hyper, demanding, aggressive, borderline explosive but will apologize from the heart when wrong. Weird. Maybe I have 2 difficult children.
    It is really hard on my easy child having a little brother who makes it hard to have a relationship with, go anywhere with, have anyone over with, do anything with. He knows it is sad to miss out in that brother relationship. Family dynamics are stressed.
    The thing I find is I got a little less hard on my easy child when my difficult child came along. He sort of helped me figure what was actually important and what wasn't. I used to get super embarassex when 12yo easy child had to be reminded to say 'Thank you' every single time he got a gift. I didn't know what embarrassed was!!!