Newbie crash landing

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Farmwife, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    I'm struggling with two thoughts right now and was hoping for some advice from you guys.

    1. I'm frustrated and starting to be resentful of ongoing difficult child drama. I do not appreciate the fact that I have to go out and get the stuff needed to lock up half of my house. I see that most people such as mayo clinic have a softer, gentler approach to dealing with behaviors. I understand and use the concept of positive feedback, choices etc. I just find being so accomadating as going against what I feel is right as a parent. Society won't accept this deviant behavior. By compromising and running circles around an abuser I feel I am enabling and reinforcing behavior that must stop. I know a power struggle is a bad thing but it seems modern parents are powerless around kids who get the impression that compromise is an option. What happened to kids just doing hwta they were told and shutting up about it? I'm not an unreasonable person but sometimes it feels like this kid needs a reality check not some bleeding heart who lets him get away with murder by being understanding. Long story short I feel our entire family is emotionally terrorized by the difficult child and don't think it's fair that we should have to walk on egg shells to make things work, we aren't the problem.

    2. If my sig. line worked you will see I have a 9 month old. difficult child is my easy child's FAORITE person. They play well considering 14 year age difference. they are like magnets and gravitate toward one another. difficult child is generally wonderful with young 1/2 sibling. The problem therin lies with her observing and being around a host of dysfunction and toxic behavior. I am very concerned that the tension and issues surrounding difficult child will have a deep and lasting impac on easy child during formative years. I am feeling as if I am forced to choose between which child is saved. I DO NOT want daughter growing up with difficult child model of male behavior toward women. (I know first hand how a bad first few years can damage a girl). I want to keep family intact but need difficult child to be a responsible and accountable for himself. Aside from my fears for other child husband and I are suffering from a host of difficult child causes stress related health problems. Our lives feel as if they revolve around difficult child. We do not have our own time, time to relax or time to be happy. No respite care. Never ending cycle of drama that is slowly eroding away at my marriage. Not that it matters but it just isn't fair that difficult child may potentially ruin the lives of 3 other people.

    I'm weary, seeing minimal if any progress with lots of steps back. i'm feeling like time is of the essence for results due to infant. (she is VERY perceptive, learned patty cake in one session) I love my difficult child desperately and feel lost. I do NOT want to send him away, we have limited means and options. I want my family to be whole and healthy but I am at the point that I may have to make some heartbreaking choices. difficult child wants to try and I hate to let him down but he always falls short of being a decent person.:sad-very:

    Below is some history if it helps.

    My son has had extensive testing recently and we are waiting for results. Not sure if it was a full neuropsychological test or not. I was so happy for some potential answers that I didn't think to ask. I know it was a full 8 hour day of testing and the results come in the form of 20+ typed pages.

    We have a predetermined mood disorder diagnosed, strong suspicion of a central auditory processing disorder but at his age is nearly impossible to diagnose. That includes difficulty with instructions over one step and not "hearing" things well. Preliminary on recent testing was average intelligence (I disagree, he is brilliant but not in a bookish way) slight learning disability, slight issue with memory and fine motor skills. For all intents and purposes a funny kid who is clumsy, an underachiever and forgetful. Most people are unaware of his condition. Major behaviors besides lack of academic progress are reserved for immediate family.

    difficult child does not deal well with changes in routine or stress. Always tired. Irritable in early morning and toward bedtime. List of acting out is extensive and pretty typical of odd from what I have been reading. Not diagnosed as odd but I'm seeing that may need to be handled as if he was. He is Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Can be the sweetest funniest kid ever and shift into abusive, manipulative, dishonest and destructive behavior.

    In school he is capable of doing well if he applies himself. He is smart but does have to work harder than most students due to his Learning Disability (LD). Academically he nose dived but is slowly getting motivated as we approach being stabilized on medications. In process of IEP, met with the team. Really need the results from his testing to know where to go with him. He has some frenemies but real friends are not common. He has a mouth on him. I feel his moods impact relationships. He is preoccupied with the social structure at school even if he is floundering but does not have any friends outside of school and refuses to try. We are rural so he would have to call to make plans or behave enough to earn his 4 wheeler (and be motivated enough) to go see kids down our road.

    Our biggest odd symptoms are tantrums and rages usually following getting caught doing something bad. Sometimes a bit sadistic. MAJOR problem with lies, lies as a habit and defends his stories fiercely?!?!?! Began to steal food. We feed him well but he is like a swarm of locusts. Is offered healthy snacks but chooses to eat junk. (hunger is a cause of outbursts by the way) Rather than eat what he is allowed to he charges up his accout at the school snack bar (they can't close account?!?!?) or steals from my pantry. Refuses to comply with instructions even when given choices, likes to just stand still and silent in protest. His biggest problem is feeling that he must be right all of the time and seeing us doing our job as reasonable parents as an inconvenience and a nuisance. Is a master manipulater acts charming to get his way and then becomes abusive afterwards or if he is called to task. Likes to bully and use his moods to create negative environment at home. He wants everybody to be mad and miserable with him and stops at nothing to get there. Would rather have a 3 hour fight than do a sink of dishes some days. Uses escalating anger turned hostility tactics to get out of responsibilities or to deflect accountability for wrong doing.

    *deep breath*

    Sorry for the endless vent and info. Being on the verge of crisis almost every week is exhausting.
  2. ML

    ML Guest

    Welcome Farmwife. Wow. I'm so sorry to hear of all you are dealing with. I don't have any experience or wisdom to share but I wanted to welcome you to the group and tell you that often weekends are slow here but more folks will come along on Monday to help! Glad you found us but sorry you had to.

  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome...

    My daughter has a Central Auditory Processing Disorder....and so I am a little confused as to why you say it is impossible to diagnose at your son's age. ??

    The Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) was detected by an audiologist who gave her a battery of hearing tests (we were permitted to observe the whole thing) and it was very clear that my daughter was missing as much as a third of the verbal information she was presented. For example, they would play four words and ask her to repeat them back--and she only managed to repeat back two, sometimes three out of the four words....and often got them wrong! The test seemed very clear cut to me, she was definitely not processing correctly.

    As to your feelings of resentment....I think we ALL struggle with those, some days worse than others.

    How are your son's therapists advising you to handle him...?
  4. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green


    I'm not real familiar with the diagnosis's your difficult child has but VERY familiar with your feelings. I too had trouble with the positve reinforcement because as you said....those are things everyone is SUPPOSED to do. And with my difficult child, if you give him an inch he takes a mile and then expects praise for breathing. :slap:

    If you haven't read it already, I would really suggest you get the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. He has a way of looking at things that can help you see things in a different way. It is basically a pick your battles type of thing but is very helpful.

    As for the last paragrah in your you secretly live in my house??? LOL THAT sounds sooooooooo familiar. The best thing I can tell you, and I know it's hard, trust me, is to not engage when he tries to get things fired up. Ignore, walk away, say general but short statements (I'm sorry you feel that way) but do NOT let yourself be drawn in. As I said, it's hard to do, I know but can be verrrrry effective. (and if nothing else, it ticks them off even more which can be kind of entertaining sometimes :tongue: )

    As for the food....I hate saying this but....lock it up. Not ALL of it obviously but anything that's an issue. Cereal, sugary snacks, junk food, chips, etc. We have a deadbolt on our bedroom door and shelves in our room specifically for these things. If there is something on the "trouble" list that needs refrigeration, I rarely buy it. I'm right there with you about hating to live behind locked doors in my own house but it, unfortunately, has become a necessity. It took me awhile but I look at it as similar to a medical issue. If there was a physical reason as to why husband and I needed to adjust our house, such as difficult child being in a wheel chair or blind, we would do it. In this case, it's frustrating, inconvenient and irksome but needed. Also, check with the one point I was able to limit what difficult child could buy to a point. It didn't work 100% the way I would have liked but it did help.

    Is difficult child in counseling/therapy? Ask the provider or start calling around. Some places and/or programs offer respite if you don't trust difficult child to stay alone for a couple of hours. Sometimes it's only for a few hours and sometimes it is for a weekend but look into it. You and your husband HAVE to have some time together or simply without difficult child. With us, when difficult child was younger he would spend spring break and a week or two during the summer with some members of his bio family. (We adopted him from foster care). As he got older, this fell by the wayside unfortunately but we lived for those nights he slept at a friends. And, sad as it is to say, hospitalizations and his two stints in our local juvie facility. We didn't like the circumstances but took advantage of the break whenever we had the chance.

    I would also check to see if there are any programs in your area for kids like your difficult child. Sometimes there are social groups, acitivity or even tutoring groups and those can both help difficult child and give you a break now and then. Even if there is nothing like that in your area, you may find a lead to something else that could work to your advantage. Unfortunately, it seems that programs for difficult child's aren't well advertised and a lot of people don't know about them.

    Again, welcome. You have found a great place in this board. Not only is it a wealth of information and advice but for me it's been a sanity saver. The people here understand, share the twisted humor difficult child parents develop and best of all THEY GET IT!!! That alone was huge for me. Be sure to check out the Watercooler as that's where all of the funnies usually wind up. If nothing else, the stress relief/support factor alone is enough to make this board worth it for me. The rest, while fantastic to have, is a bonus. Know what I mean??
  5. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    Thanks for the feedback guys, it means a lot. It's nice to know some people understand. Sometimes I even struggle when it comes to explaining things to the professionals. He has such an Eddie Haskel exterior and none are the wiser. Makes me look like a crackpot.

    As for the Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) test: We saw an audiologist from a major childrens hospital. According to her, she was positive he would test to have the disorder due to my questionaire and history paperwork. She was very shocked he did not test to have it. Her best guesstimate unofficially was that she strongly suspected he did have the disorder. She stated that many kids learn tricks to cope and although the underlying cause may be there it isn't always detectable. Not especially helpful to me. She also mentioned that the goal of any therapies she could offer would be for him to learn to cope much as she suspected he had. Yet again, not especially helpful. Doesn't help him maintain a good reputation at futrue jobs if his employers think he is lazy but he may just be "forgetful".

    We have had top of the line care by the grace of God for almost a year now. Having personal experience for self and dex sometimes even the pros have cases that make them scratch their heads, you know? It's like so many behaviors cross over from one thing to another and there are no clear answers with the cause, the label or the treatment. It's like a game of blind mans bluff.

    The testing we are waiting for was from a specialized agency I colided with by complete luck. I live an hour south of Saint Louis and this agency actually flew an expert in from Chicago.

    Our medicating psychiatric is like a local celebrity amongst people in the field. They ALL know of her and all sing her praises. She is fantastic, even tolerates a handful of calls in a row after hours to her cell phone. i've had her call me at 9 p.m. on a Sunday after she JUST got in the door from a vacation. No one gets on her "list", no one. She is that in demand. Not even sure how we got her, just dumb luck and perfect timing. I get admiration from just being a parent of her patient. :whistling: She is affordable too, go figure.

    I don't mean to boast. It was a 3 year battle of being desperately lost needing help. We live in a village of 370 people. We are as rural as rural can get. The limited local resources have to be imported on small contracts. Anything "plentiful" is a minimum of an hour drive so weekly counseling is hard. I am sure you know what a nightmare coordination of services can be, how hard to get in appointments, how limited the availability of adequate services to cover difficult child needs. Imagine all the endless phone calls and dead ends you had to get past but imagine it in a town that has one convenience store..........most places don't accept clients from out of their area. Insurance providers in network are a joke.:faint:

    I guess my long winded pointis that i have been doing so much already. It isn't perfect. There is a lot I need to do and not make excuses for. I need to learn to parent a difficult child. I am understanding now that needing classes doesn't make me a bad parent although the suggestion irks me. It takes special skills to handle a difficult child, skills most parents can get by without. I know I need to force difficult child to have a healthy social life. I know I have to take care of my own needs to be effective. I don't want it to sound like a cop out thought it very well may be. I am just so weary. Some days are good and I get a false sense of peace. Then an event happens and it breaks me down all over again. Sometimes I am just so demolished that I get depressed or just worn out. It is so hard to muster the reserves to keep on fighting when things seem hopeless. Sometimes I just miss what I imagine is a normal, happy family evening. A high needs teen, an infant and 10,000other responsibilities in life have me burining the candle at both ends.

    Somedays I want to run away from home and have a vacation from my life. Everyone has problems, I'm not unique or special. I just miss the feeling of goals and purpose in my life. I miss things to look forward to. Most of the ways I find happiness difficult child finds a way to sabotage. As a good mother I have to sacrifice a lot of my own needs. Sometimes I wantsomething just for me, you know? Then I feel guilty for being selfish.

    *oh bother* Whats the code in here for alcohol/relaxing drink? I need mine with a little umbrella, a warm sandy beach under my feet, my difficult child happy in the surf and quiet, just good old fashioned peace and quiet......especially in my soul.

    I'm just so tired.............not sleepy just tired.
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome Aboard. As we often say "glad you found us but sorry you had to". Although I haven't had the same issues I know the exhaustion of living year after year on edge. It can wear a saint down.

    It's great that you have completed the eight hours of testing and based on the time frame I am assuming it was a neuropsychologial set of tests.
    The results should be helpful in finding avenues to help your family. At the least it will reassure you that the problems are real and not your fault.

    You've found a great source of support here. Feel free to vent, whine and cry as frequently as you need to. Hugs. DDD
  7. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    If you look for classes of some sort, look for specific ones. We had to take parenting classes when difficult child was in legal troubles. The class was, as a parent to a difficult child, a complete total joke. If it hadn't been court ordered I would have walked out after telling the instructor a thing or two. She commented to me a few times after I would question a method, that I was doing it wrong or not being consistant.

    Really? :rofl:

    Fortunately (for her) the classes were held at an agency we were dealing with and they knew difficult child. I think they pulled her aside and explained because after that she never said another word to me. I mean seriously, when the agency has ME view a parenting video to see if I think it would be helpful to "normal" parents, don't you think your pidly, common sense class is worthless??? There were also a couple in the class who smirked at everyone and said "Well WE do .....blah blah blah" and then would sit back like they knew it all. Uh're such perfect grandparents doing your daughter in law such a favor by raising her child for her (the mom was in the class too and was treated the same way by these people) but yet....YOU are in this COURT ORDERED class too. Hmm.....guess you're not so perfect after all. People like that tick me off but you have to chuckle too. Obviously they are "bad parents" too otherwise they wouldn't be where you are. Idjits.

    There's nothing wrong with wanting something for you. Parenting is a hard job anyway and when you toss a difficult child or two in the get us. Don't feel selfish for wanting a chaotic free home or time to yourself. We all feel the same way.

    I don't know a code for a nice stiff drink but how's this? :wine:
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi and welcome!! I am sorry you need us, but happy to meet you. Most of us have been through similar/same things, so you won't get those clueless looks or have things brushed off as "all teens do that, you are overreacting". We KNOW how far a difficult child takes them.

    The books we recommend may at first seem like they are taking the authority out of parenting. They are counter to what our parents did. But they WORK. I know that The Explosive Child can be very helpful. In your case I strongly suggest getting a copy of Love and Logic Parenting for Teens. Love and Logic (L&L) was the first parenting book that my husband "got". He read many others, but none of them were things he thought would work with Wiz. L&L has a website and many book titles. At the website ( you can listen to podcasts, explore all of the titles, and learn what it is all about. L&L primarily works to help you raise your child using natural, logical consequences while preserving and strengthening that loving bond between parents and child. (When we first started with it, L&L saved my marriage. If my husband didn't get on the wagon and start to help me discipline our difficult child I was going to take the kids and leave. Counseling also helped us.)

    Some of the methods can SEEM like you are giving in, but if you give them a chance, a wholehearted try, you likely will see what we see, that they WORK to help improve our child's behavior and to try to repair the bond between us.

    I hope you can begin to carve out time for you. It really is true. If mom isn't happy then no one else truly is. Part of caring for your family is caring for every part of it. YOU are a part of the family and you need as much nurturing and recharging time as the others do. Drop whatever you can to carve out time to exercise, or read a book (just for you!) or go get a pedicure or haircut. Whatever you need, use your creativity to find a way.

    Welcome to our group
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Susie has already answered some of this.

    I do understand your feelings of frustration, the sense that you are giving way when you really should be nailing rules in place and insisting on the letter of the law being carried out. You, like me, are thinking back to how you were raised and "it never did me any harm".

    The thing is - the parenting methods that we were raised by are NOT flawed. For most people. But like a lot of things, it's not always the best fit for every person.

    Example - many classes at school teach by rote repetition. When I was a kid, our class was drilled on times tables. We would all recite the tables together, the whole class. Over and over. Every day. We learned them.
    It's not done tat way these days. I also know it would not have worked for difficult child 3, because anything aural just doesn't sink in with him. Also, anything done as part of a large group is just too distracting for him, there are too many things happening at the same time and as a result, it is too jumbled. BUT - we found a way that worked brilliantly for him - he needs to see it written down. Whatever is written down, stays in his head. It's brilliant. Even when he's watching his favourite TV shows, he understands it better if the subtitles are on. Even though his hearing is perfectly normal. So to help him learn his tables, we printed them out and stuck them up in two places - 1, on the wall in his bedroom right beside where his head is when he's in bed, and 2, behind the toilet door (a very important learning space in our house).

    What we did was a bit unconventional, but our aim was the outcome - learning of times tables.

    And that's the thing, when it comes to the 'softer' approach Occupational Therapist (OT) child-raising - we look at what seems to be working and what seems to not be working, and make our choices. Some kids are different and respond better to a different approach. If you forget about the "us and them" feelings, focus instead on your desired outcomes, it makes it easier to work with this.

    At no stage in your use of 'different' parenting/child-raising methods should you feel you are in a battle of wits against your child, because with kids like ours, they have more resources of strength, of energy, of determination than we often have. We have too much lse on our plates while they can focus intensely on what THEY want, to the point where they can batter our wills into mush. So never engage in any battle you can't win, that sets you up for long-term failure in the discipline stakes. It's also darned hard work.

    Instead, what generally works better is to focus on our long-term goal - we want our children to grow up to be independent, contributing, socially acceptable and happy members of society. That is the goal. SOme kids are going to take longer to get there and need more help along the way. The usual markers and milestones will happen in different ways and at different times. Like a kid learnnig to walk - as they learn to walk, toilet-training or talking may take a brief backward step, and different kids learn to do this at different times; so with our kids, they may learn how to work with you to get their laundry done and at the same time make great progress in personal cleanliness, but go backwards in their behaviour towards you and other people. You can't make it all work at the same time, you have to choose just a few things to work on at a time and for a while, leave the rest.

    difficult child 3 is doing marvellously, according to so many people. He just got a big citizenship award at school. But the same day he got it, he was getting publicly angry - with me, with the State Rail Authority, with people around us. The reason - things went wrong and he was getting agitated. He didn't have the social skills to know how to handle the situation. mother in law was with us and is very "old school" - she kept chiding difficult child 3 for his "insolence" towards me. But I was ignoring it, it wasn't insolence, it was anxiety.

    That doesn't mean I let him get away with it - but it wasn't the battle of the moment. What I needed FIRST from difficult child 3, was for him to get his anxiety back under control. "It will be OK, here is what we will do to cope with the situation," was goal No 1.
    After that I was able to say, when he was a bit calmer, "You were sounding a bit impolite back then. Anyone who didn't know you would have been scandalised to hear the way you spoke to me. Now, I understand, but you do need to learn how to control your tongue, even when you are anxious."

    The thing is - our difficult children are generally worst with us. They feel safer with us and if they need to vent, it's us who cop it. And this is actually a good thing - because if they stayed good with us but vented to other people, they would be repeatedly getting their heads kicked in.

    Example again - difficult child 3, today, was working on his computer in the meeting room of husband's club. There was a big event going on, a lot of furniture had been shifted around. I was sitting outside and overheard the club president verbally attacking difficult child 3. "I'm telling you this for the last time, difficult child 3 - do not move that wooden table that was here, it must remain here and not be taken away."
    The voices were sounding very angry, coming form the club president. The guy is volatile and I was really worried what would happen if difficult child 3 began to loudly protest or got angry in return - he will speak to people using the exact tones they use to speak to him. Because his social skills are poor and he doesn't learn to behave merely by being around other people (the way 'normal' people would learn) he tends to use other people as the templage for how they want to be treated by him. So a teacher being sarcastic and cutting, would find difficult child 3 being sarcastic and cutting back (ie rude).
    But in this case - difficult child 3 remained polite. I went in to help adjudicate but found I wasn't needed. difficult child 3 simply said, "I'll look around for that table. I will remember what you said about it."
    Later on difficult child 3 even went to ther club president and said, "Did you find that table yet? I haven't seen it but I have been looking."
    Club president (who really had been badly out of line, difficult child 3 would never have been able to move it by himself, he's just a kid who's been brought along by his parents) said to difficult child 3, "It's OK, it's been sorted out now."

    The thing is - if husband had spoken to difficult child 3 like that, it would have been WWIII. But already, our softer methods have helped reduce difficult child 3's anxiety PLUS set the example for him, "behave this way."

    The teamwork approach also is what works best for him, because it shows him that we're not simply asking him to do chores as make-work, but because work needs doing. If we work as a team, he sees US working too, so he knows it's not just him slaving away. He's also less liable to take our own hard work for granted.

    As for rewards - sometimes the best rewards can be the gift of your time. We do have a voucher reward system (not too expensive) but we also hve a "time playing games with mum" reward system, as well as sometimes just spending time together this way, just because. It is amazing how much improvement we can get, if we relax back a bit plus spend time together with no strings attached.

    Yes, it is hard work sometimes. And walking on eggshells can be exhausting. But we found that trying to maintain a very tight ship with rigid discipline, was even harder work, with less predictable positive outcome.

    And the outcome - in my family at least, this is working. And working better than what we used to do.

    Read the book. Get a library copy first if you want to save money. I did.

  10. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Welcome. I am the parent of the ultimate difficult child. He brought me to my knees and to this site years ago, but over the years I have learned a lot from these wonderful mothers and fathers. I am a high school teacher...I have taught for 23 years in the same community. My first year of teaching was when I was pregnant with my difficult child. He will be 22 in May, and I will finish my 23 year of teaching in June. I was not prepared to parent my child. Nothing I had ever learned gave me tools I need to prepare me for the issues I would deal with as the parent of a difficult child. I have learned so much from this site and from my own research of mental illness and emotional disorders. My advice is to learn what you can, use what is practical for you and your situation, and file the rest away for future use. Never say never. Find a higher power and learn to lean on it in time of powerlessness...and believe me, there will be those time. Let your difficult child learn to accept repsonsiblity for his actions early. Learn to ignore advice from parents of easy child's. Develop a thick rhino skin---in a small town, where everyone knows your business, it is important. Good luck.
  11. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Welcome, I struggle too with bending rules for difficult child, but reading the explosive child has given me a different perspective on difficult child's issues.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Farmwife!
    Wow, your difficult child sounds just like mine, minus the auditory issue.
    VERY much like mine.
    Maybe it would help to remind yourself that in regard to his compulsions, he really can't help it. I try to remind myself, and try to teach difficult child that he can control things. Because "he can't help it," just means it's hard--not impossible. Handicaps should never be an excuse, in my humble opinion.
    I agree with-the others here, to not get into it with-your son. The last time he really lit off, I "started it." Granted, he'd worn me down, and anyone would have snapped, but if most parents shout at their kids, discipline them, spank them, or slap them, the kids cry and are hurt. Not so with-a difficult child. It's a call to arms!!!