is the summer worse or better

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by amy1129, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. amy1129

    amy1129 New Member

    Finally got the OK from insurance for psychiatric testing, they approved 12 sessions/days. I have no idea if that is what the dr asked for or if this is enough to cover what tests they want to do, we'll see. I called the dr to get a date but I think she is on vaca, I remember her saying something about a vaca but I cant remember when, since I havent received a call back yet, I am assuming she is on vaca now. :)

    Anyways, I was wondering if the summer months/days are better for your kids. It seems mine is worse. He goes to camp with his sibling 4 days a week, they come home, we eat dinner, we swim, we watch tv and wind down. I would say just about every night, we have this breakdown that lasts and lasts. I am thinking its because he is soooooo exhausted and overstimulated and or overwhelmed, but I know that is probably just the tip of the iceberg. My easy child does the same as him but she just kinda slows down and vegs out, not him. he screams, he is never happy no matter what the options are, nothing seems to go his way, even if it goes his way he wanted it to go another way. we end every night in tears, sobbing that he hates his life, no one likes him etc. The I want to die comments are still there and I am still a little concerned but social worker isnt because difficult child said he was just being sarcastic when he says it. But a few nights ago I just asked him why he says that and he says he wants to be with _____, ______, and _____. 3 family members who have passed. I realized he sorta understands what "I want to die" means. Last night he had trouble opening a go-gurt so I got my scissors and cut the top off, he asked for the scissors to he could stab him self....I completely ignored him and said "here is you go-gurt", he took it and went to watch tv. I am 50% of the side of he is saying these things to get a reaction from me and 50% on the nervous mom side. I really truely dont think he would harm himself but I dont want to pass it off either.

    I was just wondering if your summers are better or worse with the schedule change.

    thank you
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Can only speak for myself. I was a very depressed kid and thought about suicide. I was told to take any suicidal reference seriously and I would at least tell his psychiatrist. Kids CAN be very depressed (it often comes out as tantrums and spastic behavior (can't sit still/nailbiting), and it can be treated young too so that it doesn't get worse. I do not mean just with medication as I don't believe medication is the crux of any treatment. Your son's neuropsychologist will tell you a lot. Huggz :)
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    In my experience, summer's a mess, because kids have all this freedom and no structure. And when parents work...

    I really hope the testing helps you get a handle on things. Only when you know what to treat, can you begin treatment.
  4. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Speaking for our family, yes it goes both ways to some extent.

    Generally speaking, schedule changes bring problems until a new schedule has been in place for a while.

    If you want my advice, I would do whatever you can to de-compact his day. I would shorten his camp day, either by having him only go 1/2 day or pick him up 1 or 2 hours early, with or without sibling. If he still seems over-stimulated, it may just be too much for him to go to camp right now. You don't say what kind of camp it is, but for a kid who has trouble with transitions, summer camp can be a nightmare. There is, from their perspective, a near constant shifting between activities, leaders, and location within the camp area that is not like school (especially for a 7 yo) who typically has one teacher and stays in one classroom, indoors, all day every day.

    I suggest that you put up all sharps like knives and sharp scissors, letter openers, razors, sewing basket/scissors and anything else in the living area that he could use to hurt himself. Lock the garage if there are sharps out there. It's OK to keep safety scissors out. If you have to use sharp implements like scissors, perhaps you can find a way to do so out of his sight. I can't explain the comments but they are certainly not "normal" and, regardless of the reason, you have to take them seriously I think. It's a huge pain - we are currently living this way - but given that the alternative is that your child hurts himself or someone else seriously is much worse. Once you've gotten some psychiatric assessment you will hopefully be in a better position to judge if this is necessary.

    If possible, you want to stop the daily melt downs. They become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy after a while - both because of habit and because they are affecting the way his brain works. The more often he rages, the more likely it is that he will rage because that pattern is being reinforced in his developing brain. This is why it's important with young kids to try to intervene effectively and early.

    I think that ignoring the comments is exactly the right tack. I would not ask him "Why" questions about anything frankly. A 7 year old doesn't really know "why". They just do - they are still to young (as a general rule) to have any real insight.

    You can try asking him to draw you a picture about his life, his family, his feelings. You can ask him to tell you a story about a little boy like him going on a trip, for example. Things like this - indirect ways for him to express his feelings and perceptions of himself and his family - often give very helpful clues to what's going on with a child. Much more than asking them straight out.

    If he is overstimulated, unless it's very clear to you that TV/electronic stuff is calming to him, I would turn them off in the evening. Reading to him from a low key story that his sibling would also enjoy - Stuart Little or My Father's Dragon come to mind, a warm bath with a little lavender oil, other evening/bed time rituals may produce a big change if they are done consistently every evening for at least 2 weeks.

    Hope you're able to get some help solving your mystery and getting the help needed.
  5. seriously

    seriously New Member

    PS: (you are probably not going to like this advice)

    you and husband would be wise to plan now for one of you to drop back to at least part time work. And I would assume it is a permanent change, not a temporary one.

    difficult child's take an enormous amount of attention and care if they are to be successful in life and if your family life is to work at all. It's nearly impossible, in my experience, for a family with a difficult child to function if both parents work full time on the same schedule.

    One of the things I think is hardest about having a difficult child is coming to grips with the much bigger sacrifices and changes parent's must make because they have been blessed with a difficult child.

    It's hard to graciously accept that you can't watch TV at night until after the kids are in bed because your difficult child will go ballistic all evening if you do.

    it's hard to graciously accept that you have to spend lots of time, money and attention on difficult child and greatly reduce the amoung of time, money and attention you spend on yourself. Not that you should do nothing for yourself, just that you didn't get a kid you can "armchair parent" and that means you have to be there to directly supervise, to directly intervene, to directly instruct. This is a very real sacrifice and hard to adjust to - especially if you have other kids who are easy child and know that raising a kid isn't always this hard. Reality - this kid is not like your easy child and you DO have to make sacrifices if you want to be a good parent and take care of your family.

    This is why I strongly suggest couples therapy when you have a difficult child in your house. You will be angry, you will feel isolated, you will need to lean on each other for support in ways that will stress your relationship as it has never been stressed before. Everyone I know has needed help adjusting to the reality of having a difficult child and has needed help developing good communication skills, handling hurt feelings and getting "on the same page" in terms of the tactics and goals you as parents are going to use and/or pursue.

    Best wishes
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Seriously is SO right.

    Little things, when they pile up on one another, cause HUGE rifts.

    And if husband had been working full time - Onyxx would probably be dead by now.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Summer is a catch-22. Its either so much better than during the school year that the result is 2x culture shock (transitioning into summer and then back into school), OR its even worse than school partly due to differences in schedule etc. and partly due to the kinds of activities...

    In my opinion, camp is just about the WORST possible place... maybe, sometimes, school is worse, but not by much. Large groups of kids with inexperienced supervision (think university students, at best), chaos, noise, etc. Most "normal" (i.e. neurotypical) kids can barely handle it... difficult children don't have a chance. So, they get massively overwhelmed/overloaded/worn out/frustrated/etc. And then either blow up THERE (and sometimes get kicked out of camp etc.), OR, blow up at HOME.

    So, I'd totally second Seriously's comments about camp... and about part-time work for at least one of you, IF NOT BOTH. been there done that. Doing it again. difficult children requlre full-time parenting - which may or may not allow for part-time work! Yes, its REALLY hard on the wallet. These kids cost way more to look after, to start with (medications, appointments, special equipment, replacing stuff that gets damaged - whether intentional or not - etc.). And then to take a major income hit? And the tax systems don't recognize the kinds of problems these kids have as being worthy of tax breaks, even. Its really tough, some days. But, as Step said, its either that or something way worse.

    We look on summer - and for the rest of the year, evenings, weekends and holidays - as "recovery" time - the only chance we get to try to build up the reserves and skills they need to survive another day/week/year of school. We pack the summer full of GOOD stuff - but carefully planned to avoid the overwhelmed/overloaded/worn out/frustrated minefields. Our kids can handle huge physical and mental challenges but not chaos. So, NO CAMP for us. Which means... NO down-time for US. The advantage is that while we're not getting down-time, we're also not getting the GFGness nearly so much - so, it doesn't take as much out of us emotionally. (mentally, trying to stay ahead of them for 10 weeks, the planning, etc., is HUGE)

    Sometimes, though, MINOR changes make a big difference. There was one year when camp actually went fairly well... but it was 90% OUTDOOR - so, while the kids were still "loud", it doesn't generate the same issues for our kids. It depends on THE KID. And the only way you're going to really find out what works, what doesn't, and why... is to BE THERE. No one else on the planet is going to care enough to do what has to be done for your kid(s).
    (except maybe the occasional really, really exceptional step-parent... we have some of those around this site!)

  8. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey! Many hugs to you...I know what the wringer is like with this and you're DEFINATELY in the wringer!

    I'm still on the page of some social skills issues as well as sensory for your little guy. Would the social worker be willing to explore with him HOW he goes about making friends and how he plays with them? She could do that simply with role-playing (ie: Hey! Let's pretend I'm a new kid at camp that doesn't know anyone - how would you make friends with me" and so on). This might explain why he's claiming he's got no friends and she could help him figure out a better way would be to get to know someone new). The other thing to consider would be to ask your doctor for a referral for an Occupational Therapy evaluation. If he's got sensory issues and you're not aware of them, this could be fueling the inability to wind down at the end of the night. The good news is that sometimes a weighted vest or blanket, a brushing regimin and some cuddling could be a very simple solution that would also allow the two of you a little bonding time.

    I don't know about you, but there are times that bonding is tantamount to allowing a tarantula to lay it's eggs in my ear rather than spend time with one or more of them after a particularly horrible day! :groan:

    I would keep my eyes and ears open on the suicidal talk, but not over-emphacize it with him. If you see it escalating or your level of concern increases - take him in and have it evaluated. I'd keep a running list of times that he makes the could be simply a bad habit, a real concern or something to get a rise out of you. It could also be his final declaration of: "Ok, I'm having trouble and I need you to pay attention RIGHT NOW, so I'll just say something to alarm you" syndrome. Keeping a record (jot quick notes kind of thing) might give you some insight.

    Hug yourself often - once the neuropsychologist is completed, you'll know what tree to bark up! And always remember: we're here for you!

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  9. Confused

    Confused Guest

    Hi amy1129,
    I would definitely keep a close eye on your son about the death comments. Sometimes they are just sarcastic but, just keep him close! As far as if the summers are worse? Oh yes! For mine, they are only at home and no camps. They have their once a week lessons and my son has games on Saturdays still, of course family and friends, but entertaining them so they don't get into too much trouble is harder! I try to keep "fun schedule" for them arts, yard, outings- which i dread, and so on. They change them, then they complain! Good luck.