I know this is a little thing

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterbee, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    ...but it really grates on my nerves.

    difficult child was going to make some instant mashed potatos and became very angry and started to slam things around, saying she couldn't make them because all of the measuring cups are dirty (the boys were cooking earlier). Sigh....

    So, of course I tell her that she can hand wash a measuring cup. Well, no she can't because the last time she tried it just kept foaming up when she rinsed it. I ask her, then, how she could have handled this better. She doesn't know. So I said, Instead of becoming angry could you have asked for help? She doesn't know.

    Then she's decided that she doesn't want to make anything and leaves the room.

    This is how difficult child works and we've had this conversation and others similar more times than I can count. Any ideas on how to redirect this line of thinking and get her to be more proactive instead of reactive? Cause what I'm doing hasn't worked.

  2. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I need help on this one also... Especially with K off of medications.
    I am so tired of hearing... "I CAN"T" even if she can, and we figure it out the procces takes SO long... It is such a knee jerk reaction. Know what I mean????
    it is like their brains shut down, before they can even consider another option. Seems difficult!!! SHUT DOWN!!!
  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I'm with you Heather..........I wish I had the answers too. I can't is almost difficult children mantra at this point - it saddens me some days - and frustrates me others.

    Hang in there, and I hope others come along with more wisdom than I have.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    If I have a practical tip, I share it. Like rinse the measuring cup with cold water -- it gets the suds out quicker.

    Personally, I find it very condescending when someone asks what I could do to make something better and it gets my dander going. I won't slam off but I'd like to. So, if possible, I offer practical solutions or choices. That is, well, you can quit doing what you want, but be sure to clean up any mess you made or I can help your brother can help clean up his mess so you can bake.
  5. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    MB - She doesn't often like practical tips. She's too busy being stuck on I can't. I do continue to offer them (such as hand washing the cup), but when she keeps telling me she can't no matter what I suggest, it's time to ask her for ideas. So, I ask her how she could have handled it better to get her thinking and out of stuck mode. I also want her thinking about the inappropriateness of slamming things around and yelling because something didn't work out right away.

    Occasionally, offering a practical tip helps, but what she'd much rather happen is for me to take over and I'm trying to avoid that, too. I'm trying to only offer assistance when she asks for it instead of reacting to her outbursts.

    So, that's my rationale for approaching this the way I do, but it's not working either.
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    A couple of ideas:

    When you hear slamming in the kitchen, you can pop in and say:

    "I'm happy to help if you need me."


    "No kitchen until you're calm" and walk away.
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I just would tell mine that when she was ready to ask, I was available but, for now, maybe it would be better if she left the kitchen until she calmed down. Wouldn't want something to break and cut her. But no way would I ask her how she could make it better when in frustration mode. As I said, I'd be pretty mad if someone did that to me at that time.

    As to the "I can'Tourette's Syndrome," I wouldn't argue with mine when she got in that mode. I'd suggest she take a break for a few minutes. When I saw that she had lost a level or two of frustration, I would try to help her get on track and give her any tricks I knew. If I know she can, then she gets THE look without anything being said. (She hates THE look!) (THE look is the one that says I know you can do it, you know you can do it and don't push me to prove you can do it.)

    But I stand firm that no way are you going to get her to listen when you ask me how I could have handled it better. I'm just going to get mad and have a very stiff rod up my you-know-what.
  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Yeah, if someone asked me that I'd probably tell them where they could go. I was just trying to get her to think about what she's doing before she's doing it.

    I do offer to help, I do offer suggestions, I do tell her to stop and start again when she's calmed down. But, what I really want to happen is for her to start regulating that herself. She's 13, not 3. I don't think it's unreasonable to start expecting her to work on monitoring her own behavior.

    I don't want her to just stop the behavior when it's happening. I want her to be able to stop it before it starts by being proactive and instead of just reacting asking herself what can I do now to fix this.
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Heather, I think you need to talk to her at a time other than when the upset is occurring. See if she and you can brainstorm some ideas for what she should do when she's getting all worked up about a troublesome issue.
  10. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Smallworld, you are right, but I see Heather's point. Right then and there, she has a meltdown ready to boil over, and what can she do?

    "try this."
    "I can't."
    "how about this?"
    "no, blah blah."
    "well then (gritting teeth) why not THIS?"
    "but MOOOM, blah di blah."

    Tink is well on her way to the same. She has much less responsibility, considering her age, but you'd think I was expecting her to balance the checkbook while cooking a 7 course meal. I, too, wonder what is a good solution to try and (A) get them out of "I can't", (B) try not to have my own meltdown, and (C) not give in and just do it for them.
  11. Loving Abbey 2

    Loving Abbey 2 Not really a Newbie

    My Abbey is only 8, so you can take my advice with a grain of salt. When she starts to get frustrated I offer a hug. She accepts so long as I catch her soon enough, if she's already in meltdown she doesn't even hear me. But I give her a tight hug, and then she can tell me what's wrong in a calmer way and I can offer suggestions or ask if she needs help, and she is more likely to respond. It gets her to see that I am on her side-there to help her.

    There is this one thing that have learned though my current job, and it is that teenagers need as much attention, support, supervision and affection as a toddler. They may act like they don't but they do. I get wanting to help her to regulate her emotions and problem solve (we all want that!) because adulthood is not far off, but in a lot of ways she is still a kid.

    I agree that sitting down with her to talk about it at another time is a good idea. And the one thing that I always forget that is very helpful to remember is that difficult child's don't enjoy feeling the way that they do. She might be old enough to voice her own frustration with her reactions and may welcome a better way--when she's not in the moment. Maybe just saying that she needs help in a way other than "I need help".

    Good luck! I'm not looking forward to teen years!
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Wasn't the question about what she can do better, or however it was phrased, a suggestion of your daughter's counsellor? I might be thinking of someone else.

    Personally, I ask to have them leave the kitchen. They can come fix something when they are calm. We have a tile floor, so anything dropped breaks. Usually the only breakable things are MINE, from gifts. And that is what gets broken.

    So, outbursts go on in other places.

    I do later ask what they want ME to do when they are that upset? I ask them later what they want me to do when they are that upset. Then, for a while, I do it. Especially if it is reasonable.

    Sorry I don't have any more ideas.

  13. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    kt's 13 as well - there is nothing we can say or do to correct this situation. We know nothing, are nothing see nothing......:talkhand::bigsmile:

    Personally, I ask for a "redo" or us my "excuse me"; when I got that "redo" I would be glad to help her with whatever problem is making her loose her friggin head.

    Our difficult children live so in the moment - you're right it's always very reactive.

    My goal is to teach kt to stop & think; if she cannot be her own brakes than I or someone else will step in with reminders (redo) so she doesn't explode to crisis team or 911 level. Just asking kt to leave a room isn't going to clean up a situation like this - it's going to take a whole lot more.

    While I remind kt that she is 13 and can work this out, I always remember that her emotional/cognitive ages are so out of whack with her physical. I still work on getting her ages closer together & I make no excuses for non 13 y/o choices & behaviors. It's just a reality with my kt - AND with many of our difficult children here.

    Another option & I love this one. Get a different colored set of measuring cups for each of your children - make them responsible for them. If their cups are missing they cannot make whatever it is they want to make (pudding, whatever). Might help them with organizational skills - might not. I would just find it fun to watch.

    Have a good one - let us know how you're going to handle this next time.
  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT does the same thing. The slamming around of pots and pans is why my kitchen counter has several missing tiles. She refuses to read directions or ask for help, nearly burned up the microwave making Easy Mac with no water in the bowl, has made mac-and-cheese soup because the side of the box says "makes two cups" so to her that meant "put two cups of milk in the pan", and she did this twice before I got home that afternoon, and then got mad at me.