I let him push my buttons, then I paint him in a corner.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    difficult child 1 went off to school today without putting his patch on (took his Focalin, but that only lasts 4 hours) or taking any of his other morning medications. We realized this half way to school, and if I'd turned around, both he AND easy child would have been late. So I told him that I'd bring the medications at the morning break and he could meet me out front of the school.

    I show up, he's not there. I text him. Nothing. I wait. I text him again. Nothing. Bell rings. I call him. He texts me back and is says he's in class (then calls me an idiot for calling him) and that break is over. Fine, I said, no medications for you -- buh-bye!

    I pick him up at 1:45 and of course he's a little bit edgy because his Focalin is loooong gone out of his system. We get home, he gets something to drink and plops down on the couch to watch some TV. I give him his medications and tell him that in 30 min. he's to start homework, thinking the Focalin will be working by then and he shouldn't have any trouble doing that. He says fine. I go out to the back hillside where I start to pull weeds.

    Not TEN minutes go by and easy child is up at the top of the hill shouting down to me that difficult child 1 has done a number of really mean things to her (hair pulling, stapling the papers in her backpack, throwing stuff, pushing, yada, yada, yada) and essentially, they're fighting. I trudge back up the hill and into the house where I lay into difficult child 1. He's standing there with an ice pack on his hand telling me easy child broke it. (Hardly).

    I send him to his room but he's continuing to argue and escalate. And I'm hot because of the work I was doing just prior to this, and I'm ticked that I can't leave them alone for ten minutes without all hell breaking loose, and I'm angry that he's nearly 5 years older than her and is always provoking her when he's off his medications, and I'm feeling stupid for not realizing that I cannot trust him even partially medicated around her (I should have waited like an hour before I went outside).

    So difficult child 1's in his room and I can hear him scraping the door (it's already got nail gouges in it) and making some other noises. I was tempted to get up and take the door away, but I resisted that urge (I'm taking it away later). He's mouthing off to me and I react (instead of thinking first) and tell him he's not going to his lacrosse game tonight (because I know that will hurt him -- and I instantly wish I hadn't said that, because I want him to go and I know he'll settle down later...)

    Within about 10 minutes, he was calmed down and fine and acting like it never happened and apologizing to easy child and asking her if they could "start over". And I am still quietly seething. And now mad at myself for making the statement about the game.

    So how do I NOT follow through on this without completely undermining myself? :whiteflag:
  2. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Maybe it's a good time to tell him that parents make mistakes too? They have to understand that we have feelings and respond to pain, because your heart had to be hurting after doing what you could to help him and got insulted in return. Sheesh! Weeding is supposed to be a calming , meditative process...
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I know you want him to go, I understand that. But! He allowed this problem to brew all day... HE forgot his am medications, HE didn't meet you when you drove all the way back with them, and then HE taunted and beat up on a 10 year old and disrupted you from doing work around the house. Then, HE damaged property and didn't pull himself together until something important was taken away. Personally, I think he should spend the evening thinking about how he should take his medications on schedule so he doesn't undermine HIMSELF.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I agree with TM. Even though you're mad at yourself, and you want him to go, HE needs to take some responsibility for his actions. Had he come out at break, remembered his medications this morning, chosen not to pick on his sister, etc., this would have been a non-issue. Logical consequences are the best lessons.
  5. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    I went through this exact same thing with my difficult child and football at the beginning of the year.

    He just couldn't keep his school work done and his attitude good while doing sports. Sports were also like a miracle semi-cure for his depression and social anxiety. It was scary and broke my heart but he HAD to be accountable for his actions. Bad grades meant no sports, end of story. His academics fell apart, it was a disaster.

    The guilt was horrible. I knew I took away the one thing he loved because he let me and himself down.

    It's now 6 months later. He has made huge improvements. He was angry for a time but in the end he did finally make the connection. He understands personal accountability. I don't have to fight him over homework anymore. He understands that when he fails it isn't anyones fault but his own.

    Making that painful choice was the best thing I ever did for him. Do bear in mind we got his medications stable and I work much harder on how I interact with him. He has made actual behavior changes that are positive and lasted long enough to almost be habit.

    Next year he will be ready to try sports again. He knows he has to earn it and that it requires real effort. He matured from the experience. I thought it would be torture but it paid off in the end.

    Don't be afraid to do the right thing. Sometimes the right thing isn't the easy thing. If you compromise in a way that isn't appropriate it will undermine you. These difficult child's are good at using maternal guilt as a weapon. Don't fall for it.
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I know you want him to go, and maybe with a easy child you could say "I shouldn't have said that, you can go to your game", but I think allowing that can of worms to open with a difficult child (mom doesn't always mean what she says) is just way too high a price to pay for one game...

    just my 2 cents.
  7. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    in my humble opinion the reality is that we often cannot follow through with consequences , the kids don't have the skills to process the possibility of a consequence and change behavior , the focus moves to why the parent is unfair and the punishment mean instead of focusing on the problem and finding a durable solution. Consequences also undermine ' trust' . We try to help kids learn to trust us so that we can help them .

    As a parent I make mistakes and apologize . One thing that I have learned is just to try and calm the kid and then focus on his concerns , then my concerns and start the problem solving process. It is not easy

  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thank you all for the thoughtful responses.

    In the end, I went with what the minority suggested and I did apologize and explained my reaction and allowed him to participate in the game.

    Like Allan-Matlem said about some kids not having the skills to process the possibility of a consequence and being able to change behavior -- in the heat of the moment, without the support of his medications, that's exactly how he is.

    I talked to him extensively about the damage he does when he's like this. That although people can forgive in time, the words and actions are already out and he cannot take them back -- and I cannot simply turn off my emotions just because his medications are finally working and he's able to control himself now. He has reparations to make with easy child and with me, and some physical things to repair as well. That will take time and I believe that will reinforce the lesson better than keeping him home from his team game.

    Being a member of this team is so important for his social skills, because this is a kid who would otherwise have no friends at all. He does not get invited to parties (has not since about the 4th grade), he does not get phone calls from kids to socialize outside of school. Ever.

    He is still apologizing to me today. Hopefully we've both learned something over this...
  9. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Another thing you do can do and it works in a pinch: Tell him you have changed your mind. You don't have to give reasons. I think that is how I am going to handle the cell phone with Son. He won't question it because he'll be too happy to get it back.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I don't know the rules of Lacrosse, but at baseball games, the kids can be benched. (And whatever it's called in football.) Can you take him to the game, and have him apologize to the coach in front of you, and explain that he expects to be benched? We do that a lot. The coaches are used to it. ;) That way you both sort of win/lose. :)
  11. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I am with the crowd who says to tell him that parents make mistakes too. I have done this with both kids many times, and they still know I mean what I say. Sometimes for me, I just get so incredibly angry and frustrated that mount mama blows. It happens. How it is handled depends on the situation and the kiddo, in my opinion.
  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    FWIW, even tho I was one of the "he loses it" crowd, I never used difficult child 1's sports as a punishment for the same reason. He neve had a group of real "friends" and the "wrong crowd" was just always there, waiting in the wings...he associated with them in the off seasons, but the on-seasons, he knew he had to stay clean to play, and I beleive it was those teams and that camraderie that he lacked everywhere else that made that happen.

    husband always wanted to ground him from sports. I never could do that...the price that I was afraid we ALL would pay was way too high. Maybe I was wrong, but he just danced that edge, too...wasn't a chance I was willing to take.