I lost it, now feel stupid, honest opinions needed

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok, I'll try not to make this too long. difficult child was sick today so we stayed home. He was very congested so I called pharmicist to see if a certain over-the counter medication was safe with other medications he's on. She said physically it was, but it might make him hyper. I gave it to him anyway because he used to have asthmatic wheezing when he was very young and I was worried about so much congestion.

    We have our moments sometimes because I'm a single parent and he's getting ready to turn 13 so we have to discuss who's the parent and who's not on occassion. Anyway, I worked on tree decorations since he started the tree last weekend after completing homework. He helped a little to finish it today. Then, I suggested we eat early in the living room and watch a movie and get a good night sleep so he'd feel better going to school tomorrow. Great- and he asked if I'd eat dinner with him. Normally I don't do this during the week because there is so much to do and once I eat, the day is over for me.

    Then, I fix his plate of food, deliver it to the living room, and ask if everything is ready while I'm fixing my plate. He says yes, except he needs to find the remote control. So, I asked him to look for it where he was just sitting. He tells me he has and "come on". I fix my plate, leave it in the kitchen to see if he's ready to turn the movie on. No, he doesn't know where remote control is. Has he looked? He says so. So I start looking. Here I find wrappers (garbage) from snacks EVERYWHERE- which drives me nuts because he won't put them in the garbage can.

    Here comes my lecture to him about picking up after himself, he's not 2yo anymore, etc., etc. The whole time I'm looking, he keeps saying "I've already looked there", my dinner is getting cold, THEN I find the remote control at the side of the cushion he'd been sitting in before. So, I toss it on the sofa and make a smart remark about how "he's looked everywhere" and how can I plan to eat with him every day when he needs to be taken care of so much and that we couldn't watch a movie. (Really, I think the restitution I have to pay for his crime spree, the time off work, the efforts I still have made to get him gifts, etc., was getting to me after seeing him make no effort to do anything). So, then he lost it and said then I couldn't watch TV either. (And who's is this and who paid for it??)

    I walked outside and when I came back in, he was in his bedroom and the new, expensive TV was no longer connected to cable and it's caused by more than a cord being taken off. I told him he had 30 seconds to make a better decision and fix it and he did nothing. This is when I could only think of last Christmas when everything was going well but he couldn't hold it together, and the year before when he first "lost his mind" and became a different person. In my mind, I gave up. I took down the tree and all decorations. I went to his room and told him this Christmas was off. I told him if he didn't get himself up for school tomorrow, on his own, and get to the bus on time, he'd be truant. He made no move. So, I say "here's another effort to scr** your own life up to get back at me".

    Any thoughts on what should I do now are appreciated.
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, do you think you over reacted? Are you regretting what you did?

    I think taking the tree down was an act of frustration. Not rational in my opinion - but I do understand.

    What do you want to do? Take back what you said? I am not sure what it is you want to know.
  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Welp, let me just say been there done that! So don't beat yourself up. We all lose our cool with these kids, and end up in left field.

    I think the consequence of taking Cmas away was probably more than both of you could handle at this point...and it is not exactly a natural consequence for being lazy and vindicative. It seems it was more an irrational attempt to assert your authority, coupled with fatigue and resentment (which, again, been there done that).

    So, I think I would go back and apologize for blowing up in an irrational way - but let him know that that there will be consequences for his actions (insert your A, B, and C consequences here.)

    I think it is perfectly acceptable to let our kids know we are human, and that sometimes we makes choices that in hindsight we realize are not the best ones.
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Well, don't feel stupid. I grounded difficult child this evening and already ungrounded her because I had lost it, too. They seem to make it so easy for us to do that. :hammer:

    Other than that, I agree with WW.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok, what would good, acceptable consequences be? I don't want to take Christmas away from him. I think though, I'm still trying to find my time to grieve over everything and come to terms with the fact that , well, everything is just the way it is.

    Do I stay up tonight and put the tree back up? Do I leave it down and act like I don't care what happened to the main operable TV?

    This is why I feel stupid right now...

    I know he's felt bad. But how do you get the point across that if he loses a priviledge, he doesn't have a right to try to take one from me?
  6. Janna

    Janna New Member

    I think you may want to take time to think out consequences ahead of time for your son's actions and post them somewhere or make them clear.

    That way when something like this happens, you already know which way to go, instead of acting a little irrational like you did, and taking Christmas away (only to give it back).

    I'm a little lost as to what he actually did, originally, other than be lazy and not really look for the remote when you asked him to. Then all that spiraled into him doing something to the television. I think I read that right.

    As far as him not looking for the remote, he just wouldn't have watched TV LOL!

    Sounds like you are pretty stressed. I have all the major rules (i.e. getting up for school in the morning, no hitting, no name calling, doing chores) on construction paper in the family room where every child can see it. Beside those papers are papers that state consequences for non compliance.

    Maybe you just need a plan. It's much easier to have the same, consistent consequence every time. Really. Then you don't have to stand there in the heat of the moment and try to conjure up something you're going to only regret later (been there done that).
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Leave the tree down for tonight. The two of you can put it back up tomorrow. Just let him know that Christmas is on, that you're sorry you lost control of you and let him know that you love him regardless. As to a consequence for the TV issue, I'd say for every hour that the main TV isn't working, he loses a day of TV. Seems fair to me.

    I would have eaten my dinner and then looked for the remote. It's amazing what a little food in the stomach can do for your frame of mind.

    What could have been a nice evening together ended up being a disaster for both of you. Because he didn't look for the remote as well as you feel he should have, he got a lecture and then was told no movie. He takes the TV away from you since you took it from him, you take Christmas away from both of you. It is easy to have things escalate, especially when you're tired, stressed, depressed and frustrated.

    I know, I've been there done that. It took therapy for me to find better ways to react. I wasn't being fair to my daughter or myself. The punishments (they weren't consequences) didn't even remotely fit the crimes.

    Single parenting is hard at the best of times. Early teens with a child with issues is definitely the worst of times. You have to find time for you. You have to forgive yourself your mistakes and you have to forgive him his mistakes.

    Have fun putting the tree up tomorrow. Find something to laugh about. Give him a hug or tousel his hair or just smile at him because you can.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I agree with Janna. It is so much easier when you've thought out ahead of time rules and consequences, as well as punishments for certain types of behavior. It's extremely helpful when you're feeling especially stressed and makes it less likely that you'll go overboard. And it helps the child to know what to expect as well.

    Sound to me like Tonight should be a do over. Remember when you were a kid and you'd want a "do over" when something got messed up?

    Don't be afraid to let difficult child see you're human too. If it were me, and it has been on occasions been there done that, I'd apologize for over reacting to the situation and put the tree back up.

    As for the TV, if it belongs in the livingroom, then it belongs in the livingroom. If he can't keep it there, I'd lock it in my room. If you don't want a scene, do it while he's at school.

    But in my house when we have a do over day, the tv thing would be forgiven too.

  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you all! I know I am stressed and have tried hard for him NOT to see how much of an impact the restitution, custody case, etc., has had on household finances and me personally. So, I guess I can't expect him to understand or show gratitude for it.

    I will apologize to him tonight if he's "half-awake" when I go upstairs. If not, I'll do it first thing tomorrow.

    We've been emphasizing and working on problem-solving skills for him- this time, I'll try to use this for my behavior!!

    More than anything, I'm just glad he's home, where he's always lived and been loved, and where we stress that "we can't prevent all problems, but we can work through them".

    Thanks to everyone who keeps me on track with that!!
  10. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is not the issue tonight. The issue is he did not look for the remote good enough. Does that really sound like an act that deserves punishment? You found the remote. You could just have said with a smirk and maybe even a little tickle, "I guess you did not look hard enough." I know, it is tough to have this reaction with a child that tests your every last nerve. But, if he were a easy child that would have been your reaction probably.

    Had that scenario played out, you would have had a lovely evening watching a movie together. Or maybe not, maybe he would have given you trouble about going to bed. Anything can happen with a difficult child! LOL!

    But, you still would have had the movie. A nice memory for both of you.

    Should you put the tree up tonight? No. Do it together tomorrow while you discuss that we are all human, all make mistakes, all get angry, all overreact, etc. but we can also recognize our mistakes and apologize.

    Now you bring up the fact that he sabotaged the TV and how that is a mistake he made. It is not his to disable. It is not a proper reaction. He should apologize.

    It is important that you not beat yourself up or sound too sappy while having this conversation. Keep your self respect and confidence very obvious during this situation.

    Now, I have a question of why you do not eat with your son? I, for one, would give my left hand to have dinner with my difficult child every night. She refuses to eat with me. You should cherish those moments each night. I am a single mom, too. I know just how hectic things can get. But, we go to bed later than we like. Just one more sacrifice we make for our children.
  11. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I'm sorry you had such a rough time with your difficult child tonight.

    We all experience situations with our difficult children that we regret later, and as others have pointed out, it's a powerful learning experience for our kids to see us make a mistake, apologize and move on.

    I think the whole situation escalated because you felt as if you do everything for your difficult child and he does nothing (or doesn't appreciate what you do). One of the ways to stop that feeling is to let him do for himself what he is capable of doing. When he can't find the remote to watch TV, try not to rescue him. Simply say in a non-confrontational tone, "As soon as you find the remote, we can watch the movie together" and sit down to enjoy your dinner. Don't comment or offer help -- just let the situation play itself out. You might be surprised at how much he can handle if left to his own devices.

    I hope tomorrow is a better day. Hugs!
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    All I can say is that you are in good company. We all make mistakes, it takes a real mom to admit it. I don't know that I would jump into putting the tree back up.

    I would carefully consider reasonable consequences. I don't know your house, so I don't know what that would be. He took your time that night and wasn't grateful. He also took your entertainment. Explain it to him, and have him give you some of his time with a chore. Make him fix your entertainment.

    But if it were me, I would tell him that I was sorry for losing my temper, that it's just something that we all do, we're all human, and you regret it but you can't undo it. Christmas is on, and you're sorry for threatening to take it away - because you really are sorry. Ask him what he wants to do about decorating. Honestly, we haven't decorated our house in years. No one comes here for Christmas anyway, and we just sit here alone. Decorations would just make us miserable. Maybe a tree isn't what he wants anyway. Maybe you could start a new more sensible Christmas tradition.

    Big hugs...
  13. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    We've all over reacted.

    It wasn't about the remote. It was the culmination of frustrations. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back.

    When I was at wits end - it helped me to think this: "Am I REACTING or ACTING?" to a situation. Reacting is taking down the tree and canceling Christmas (I did more than my fair share of reacting). Acting is thinking things through and offering appropriate consequences.

    If it were me, I would apologize for reacting - I would put the tree back up. I would give appropriate consequences for the whole TV thing.

    We are human. We have limitations on our patience. It's OK for our kids to realize that. There is also great value in making mistakes, owning them and apologizing for them. Our kids learn great lessons in that too.
  14. Many gentle hugs kimno,

    I'm sorry that your evening was so hectic and difficult. I agree with everyone else - we've all been there. I weigh in with meowbunny. I think she put it perfectly. Tomorrow is another day, and a fresh start.

    Most of all, be kind to yourself. You're doing a good job keeping it all together. An occasional "night off", not doing the things that you are "supposed to do" is definitely in order!
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    These are great responses and I appreciate the honest feedback. difficult child was still up until midnight or so- probably a combination of medications and my meltdown. I apologized and told him I'd put the tree back up, asked if he'd help. He cried and wanted to put it up then, which I wouldn't agree to. He's still sick and seems worse now so we're home again today and will try a "do over day"!


    I went to a counselor in my early 20's because I was pretty confused- coming from a very dysfunctional family, which rarely ate together. It's one of those things I never wanted to carry over to my household, but it has become more a norm than exception to the rule. I think it became a habit from always being a single parent and making sure difficult child was fed, diapered, clean, etc., before being able to stop and eat when he was a baby and toddler. Now, once I eat dinner my body shuts down and I'm useless afterwards. I do love it when we can "get away" and eat together and talk a while without me being worried about everything that needs to get done. I have to change this somehow- is it metabolism?


    I've been working on getting a family therapist, (or therapist for me) involved to help me with parenting difficult child issues. I think now that I need it for my own mental health issues too. I'm back feeling like I'm being held responsible and accountable for too many things that I feel like I don't have control over. My therapy before taught that responsibility and control for ones self go hand in hand. This is fine when it's only yourself, but how does that work when you're a parent? I think I better call for that appointment. soon- maybe after the tree gets put up today!!

    :ill: :coffee: :santa: :doctor: :sleeping:
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If it makes you feel better you are not the only one who has taken down a tree. I have tossed mine fully decorated out the front door twice! I wont go into the "why's" of the situation but needless to say it wasnt a pretty sight...lol.

    I have done alot of apologizing in my later years.

    I didnt realize at the time that I was bipolar only back then I thought I was a very stressed working mom who was dealing with one ADHD kid, one bipolar kid and one who wouldnt move off the couch to save his life. Not to mention a husband who worked out of town half the time and a mother who could drive me insane at the drop of a hat.

    No one was really helping me much. husband tried all he could when he was home and did his level best but when you are out of town or dont get home till 8pm...its just not happening.

    Ya know...in your situation you may not be doing your son any favors keeping all the info from him about what has been going on with the custody stuff and the restitution. Let him know its a problem and that you guys are pulling together to solve it together. You are a team. He may surprise you by being more supportive than you think. If he understands why you are stressing about things he may want to help out more.
  17. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Ohhhh......I just have to say, I so understand klmno. It is funny, as a single mom, and coming from a dysfunctional family, I never eat with my kiddo either. Something about never being able to relax until "the work is done"......and actually slowing down to eat......I totally get where you are coming from. I have never taken the time to analyze it fully, and we spend tons of time in other ways, so I have never been too worried about it.

    It breaks my heart that he cried. He must have been so sad!!! I am glad you were able to get the tree back up, it sounds like that is very important.

    As far as a counselor - my counselor, Erin, has literally changed my life. I have been seeing her for 5 years, and she is the only stable, healthy voice in my head sometimes. It took me years to find her, but they are out there, and I would whole heartedly suggest finding someone like her that can help you, and help you with techniques for parenting your difficult child.

    Hang in there.
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have to luv ya, Janet! Nothing has perked me up more since making a "rear" out of myself than picturing one of my neighbor's front door opening and a fully decorated Christmas tree flying straight out into the yard! I hate to think what could have driven you, as strong as you are, to that point, and BELIEVE ME, I feel for you over it, but it made my day to hear that and get that image in my mind!

    Other than, getting our tree back up and decorated- LOL!

    difficult child fixed TV last night and helped with tree today. No movie. We're happy anyway.

    Many people on this forum say things that hit home or are just plain helpful to me. Willow, you and smallworld seem to have walked or be walking in my shoes quite often. It's quite a comfort! Sometimes, I don't even have the energy or time to come and post what's going on, but knowing you guys are here keeps me sane many times!
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    ME???? Strong??? You have got to be thinking of the wrong member...lol!

    I think both times the trees went flying was because I came home after work to find that the boys had snuck into where I had so carefully hidden and wrapped the presents and tore into them and didnt even bother to attempt to hide the evidence.

    So I had a hissy fit of my own and said they ruined the thrill of Xmas for me since they had already seen their presents, why even go through the whole charade, opened the door and tossed out the fully decorated tree!

    One would think that 1 time of that would be enough for my boys to learn that particular lesson but they are stupid...it took them longer!