Oh boy

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Just not a good evening in our house. J had a birthday party today - 12 til 4 running around with children from his school at a play centre. When I picked him up the birthday boy's mother said he had been fine, no problem, had listened to her and the other adults. But when I was standing there this boy came over looking upset, saying "Mummy, J says I am not allowed to follow him!" - they are supposed to be best friends but seem to have this curious love-hate relationship all the time. Then another little girl came up saying "J has just hit A!", A being a little girl he is friends with at school. When I asked J about it, he said A had hit him first but who knows what the truth it... Typical, though. Just to smash my illusions of everything being just fine... Then we went to buy some shoes for J. It is SO obvious to me in these kind of situations that J has ADHD or something similar - he just has no ability to wait. Everything has to be now and if he has to wait for more than a few moments he will say "but it is so LONG!" Again, typical four year old behaviour but, as always, just that much more intense. Anyway, afterwards tennis - no problems. But when we got back he wanted to go on his bike outside. And this is the way it goes with J. He does not ASK if he can do this, most of the time. He just announces "I'm going out on my bike." If I say no, or try to stop him, he will run away outside or he will just start crying loudly like a 2 year old. More likely just run off and do what he wants anyway. So it is constant negotiation in the face of this ridiculous situation with a 4 year old who wants to act like a full grown man... I therefore say he can have quarter of an hour but when I call him, he has to come in. When supper is ready and I call him... he does not come. Just starts walking up the hill away from the house. I feel myself getting tense and angry. Finally, after about 4 or 5 repetitions and me getting increasingly cross he very reluctantly comes in. But is then impossibly rude and argumentative. And I really got cross with him, in a way I am (of course) not subsequently proud of. He ended up sobbing and saying he would listen to me. Also crying that he wanted to speak to his daddy... They spoke and had a really affectionate conversation so I suppose that was one good thing out of it. I feel so abusive or potentially abusive in these situations. In all honesty, whatever I may say about the theory, I just don't "get" this oppositional and defiant behaviour. It is so damned hard to see it as an illness. I don't know... Most of the time these days with J it's okay but then he starts behaving like this arrogant, smart-alec teenage lout again and I just don't handle it well.
    The child psychiatrist said to me that I must remember he is not oppositional on purpose. Trouble is I can't really "remember" that in the circumstances.
    Not good tonight :tinfoilhatsmile:
  2. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I'm sorry you had a rough night with him. He does sound sweet when he isn't in his 'moments'.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I remember feeling exactly the same way. Sometimes I think it is a miracle that I never "lost it" with GFGmom. It's exhausting. It's frustrating. It tries you to the core...and there is very darn little relief! Since I'm "mature" now and seem to be full of wisdom, lol, I hope it helps you to know that there were many days I barely survived the stress of my first difficult child preschooler.

    Probably you've figured out in retrospect (as most of us do) that a party shouldn't be followed by an outing. The party alone is overload for young hyper kids. In my experience going to a park alone to wind down helped alot more than going home. Room to run, swing etc. and no walls enclosing and if carefully selected no other children around either.

    Sending understanding hugs. DDD
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I HEAR you. Really, it is hard to put into words because with these stories, people outside of difficult child world will say, my kid does that too. You are so right, it is the degree, the frequency, the intensity, etc. And it does push one to the brink. Hard not to feel that way when you sometimes feel like you have so LITTLE control. Last night when difficult child just walked off calling me names (right in front of other parents and kids he is trying to desperately to have a relationship with) I just sat down right there in the middle of the court yard, I said, well...you know what will have to happen then tomorrow. He said, yeah yeah, I don't care. Now, I KNOW that is not true because as soon as this moment of getting his way is over he is going to be begging for relief from the anxiety of not seeing friends (now it would be tonight). Sure enough he finally comes in, asks if he can switch the tv show I was watching to his show...HA! Now I am feeling like I want to give him every punitive consequence I can think of so no tv, no staying up, no friends, no bus to school, no dinner...Not that I would do all that but inside...arrgggg.... So I reminded myself of the logical consequence and how he could earn some of it back. Sure enough he was too anxious about it during school to function so had to say again, if you can show you can follow directions first at school and for a while after school with me then we will see. He is fine with that. (would drive other kids over the edge not to know but it is worse for him for me to say one thing and have to switch it). When they are that defiant, what to do? i have to pick and choose so carefully. Why did I really want him to come in? well, because I thought he was a little revved up and was worried about it going to far but also because I have to sit out there supervising constantly and was tired of it, and the gnats so....was it worth trying to force the issue? I just dont know sometimes. We try an try and 20/20 hindsight tells us if we screwed up too badly but sometimes we just have to give ourselves a break.

    Can I tell you what is so impressive? 1. he is invited to birthday parties 2. you can leave him there 3. he can play outside without you right there 4. you did not cross a line (ok you are not proud of getting angry but it is not abusive in my opinion) and you came here and vented it

    Hope you can steal a sweet moment out of the evening with him. stories or something he likes (so tempting not to give him one, right?).

    Would you ever be able to do a "social story" of sorts about coming in when called? He seems to have responded to a warning before coming in--even though he was not happy to comply--, can the story include a "rule" that you will give 15 then 10 then 5 minute warnings that time is up? Maybe you have already done this kind of thing?? If you make it a little story then he can read it over and over (if he doesn't rip it). smile. This play thing for us is new...but once we have routines in our rules it makes life much easier. He then complies without all of the fuss and anxiety. I wrote a one page "social story" today about coming in. I have LOTS of copies because he will rip them but will read them too. I am going to give one to theILS worker to review while they are out.

    Take care, love buddy
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ditto to DDD...
    It takes time to figure out what works or doesn't work for your kid - difficult child or not.
    But I haven't met very many kids who can handle a shopping trip after an all-afternoon party.
    They are just too overloaded.
  6. Chaosuncontained

    Chaosuncontained New Member

    OMGosh... I SO feel your pain. This sounds exactly how Carson would act--and HAS acted. If he tells me he is hungry (even after a snack--but before sinner is ready) and I tell him dinner will be ready in 20 minutes? He frrrreaks out. He is dying. Starving to death and it's all my fault. I even WANT him to die. No patience.

    It IS hard, most times, for me to remember that most of this isn't on purpose. And I get so tired of creeping around on eggshells. Waiting for the cookie to crumble and the fit to begin. And once he gets good and wound up? If I calmly tell him he needs to go sit on his bed until he has control again? He CRIES like his favorite pet died.... And then 5 minutes later he is sneaking out of his room, apologizing and trying to hug/kiss/love all over me. I feel like a water faucet that he turns on, off, on, off constantly.

    Big hugs...you aren't alone in this. I hope that gives you some sort of comfort...
  7. keista

    keista New Member

    ((((HUGS)))) Malika, have you researched Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) as it may pertain to J? I never really saw it before in your posts, but in my opinion this one has a lot of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) "flavor" to it. You've always stated that he "acts like an adult", and that is just one flag, but this post? Just sounds so very much like son when he was that age.
  8. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Just want to send my sympathy.
    Although I don't fully understand why V can be defiant, I know that it is no real defiance like a teen. V simply does not understand everything that happens around him.
    If he gets overstimulated, forget it. I know NOTHING is going to work and V will not be able to voice it either. I'm just going to have a kid that bounces and through a tantrum over ANYTHING.
    It is not a behavior that he can control...
    Does it make it any easier for me?? NO!!!
    I get sooo upset because I feel trapped. The only thing that seem to work is keeping his days as simple as possible.
    J is not V, but that might a successful stategy: not too much in one day.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Chaos - maybe he really IS starving... hard to believe, I know - but he's at a major growth point. He's a BOY, so you're going to see this more often than not, for the next 10 years (so they tell me!)

    Try this... keep some really healthy but boring stuff around... I usually aim for bananas and carrot sticks. Stuff high in food value, but only tastes good if you're hungry.

    Hungry within an hour of supper? You can have a banana, some carrot sticks or a glass of milk. (sometimes he gets all three!) My logic with this is... it doesn't "spoil" his supper - its all heathy stuff that just becomes part of supper.

    Guess what... 9 times out of 10, he takes the healthy stuff. Doesn't even grumble. THAT tells me that he is listening to his own body, and we want him to do that. 1 out of 10... he's stressed and wants extra carbs - in which case, what he really needs is something else (like attention). He's learning how to read his body that way, too.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ktlc - even our almost-easy child needs this strategy. How much is "too much" varies by kid... but EVERY kid has some limit.
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thank you for this support. In moments like this, it feels valuable indeed!
    I feel like... there are two things going on here. J's "stuff" and my "stuff" - past traumatic experience of mine which is set off by J being unacceptably rude and disrespectful in his way of talking to me (not a constant occurence). This is the real trigger for me. I got angry and behaved in a way that was not acceptable to me. Or good for him. And I know that I scared him. It is an odd coincidence of fate that I should be given this particular child to raise because on the face of it it seems all wrong... but I did not "choose" this. I did not know. I am not beating myself up, being hard on myself when I say I feel I need deeper and greater support with this, some form of counselling that is actually to do with my stuff and not to do with J at all.
    I don't think J is on the autism spectrum. And have been told by a woman who worked with autistic kids that he is definitely not. But I guess we have to remember that many of these behaviour overlap and reproduce each other...
    At the moment J is four and very cute and sweet much of the time. With increasing age, he is going to be less cute and sweet and the disrespectful, insulting talk is going to be more and more problematic - for him and others. If I had a child psychiatrist who was half way decent, I could talk about this but really seeing someone who is always rushed and overloaded once every two months who just delivers platitudes that I already know (in a very pleasant way) is not really helping either of us.
    Thanks for listening... :)
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to say a word more about this, if I may (rhetorical question, of course...)
    To speak of something I rarely speak about, in the past I have had pregnancy losses. I experienced and still experience deep sadness, grief and loss over these. When I came to adopt a child I had such a feeling of longing to give love, to be a mother... and still do. And when he is (as he often is) so sweet, funny and affectionate, it is easy to love J. When he is challenging, like any child is challenging, it is less easy but still it is done because of course it must be done. But when he is outright aggressive, rude and nasty, in a sense, it feels like nothing makes sense any more and as if it is very hard indeed to love him properly. I am sure that everyone here is familiar with that feeling in some form.
    Tonight I found myself thinking,I don't think my baby would have been like that... I fear also what it does to our bonding, this thing in his brain that doesn't work as it should... I turn away from him in those moments when he most needs my love. And I know again we all know what that's like. I do it just because I'm human and flawed. I want to love him as he deserves, as an innocent child who has come to me and sometimes it is just so... damned... hard. You know.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes, the whole adoption experience adds a twist to this.
    But, don't kid yourself... there have been times when I almost wondered if somebody did a baby-swap on us in the hospital.

    Instead of "I don't think..." so often I find myself with "I didn't think...".

    And even parents of non-difficult children - adopted or not - go through this.

    The only parenting course we ever get, is from the kids we raise.
    So, of course we feel inadequate sometimes, or try to reconcile reality with the dream.
    We all get there sometimes.

    Be kind to yourself.
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    There is a little bit of extra pressure I think because you probably have heard from people things they mean in kindness but you know are just ...well, not true, like "you are such a saint to adopt a child...". It can make it hard to go easier on yourself when you know you chose this. I have heard that too, "well...you chose this". Then in my sanity I think, WHAT???? Everyone who is parenting ...on some level, chooses it. It may have been due to a not so great situation, even an "accidental pregnancy", that does happen....but the choice in the end to have a child live with them and to parent is still theirs.
    My sisters help me get a grip when I hear them confess there are days they "hate" their kids. Even have a hidden place that wants to hurt them (they dont). They each only have bio kids. Bonding is a life-long process. It is not all uphill for most parents. I remember being scared that though I had love for my son when he first came home, what if I didn't really LOVE him like a mom loves a child. And even through the abuse he dishes and heart ache, my heart couldn't love him more. Do I feel numb and a lack of loving feelings at times, yes. And it sounds so awful to say that but for sure I do.
    It has helped me here too, to see that there is just as much heart ache and hard feelings toward bio children (and grandchildren) in these kinds of situations. It is just a different road but this kind of real stress can happen in adoptive and bio situations. I know you know that, but it can feel sad and make you doubt yourself in moments like this.
    It is ok to still grieve for the loss of your babies. I've never lost a child, but still have dreams that I am pregnant and can't believe it finally happened. And I chose adoption not out of a lack of choices, I just didn't have a hubby I wanted to have a baby with and for me, that was the only way I wanted to make baby come into the world. It really was a choice but I still admit I grieve for the loss of a dream to have a bio child. I wonder if it would be all rocking chairs and sweet stories with singing in the bathtub and many other things that didn't happen with difficult child. He had different ways to have fun and bond with me. That's ok too.
  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I do feel a curious detachment and numbness towards J when he is being so difficult (and actually, in terms of what it could be, it isn't even that difficult - but really that is not relevant in a way) that alarms me. Like looking at the heart of darkness, if that makes any sense... Underneath the apparent frozen lack of feeling or caring about him in those moments a lot must be happening. That is why I speak about the need for further counselling.
    Of course I chose to commit to this child and to be his parent. I didn't know he was going to have these issues. Would I have turned away from this particular child if I had known? In all honesty, yes, probably - but that too means nothing... To turn away in fear is just a refusal to engage with life, really. This is life and how it is. Sounds like a platitude, perhaps, but it is something that goes deeper than that.
    I do not regret having adopted J. I just do not know if I am up to the challenge sometimes... Tomorrow is another day, as I said to J when we kissed goodnight...
  16. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I have never adopted but I have lost a baby... Still hurts and he will always be with me.
    I do all th feelings of hate/love with V. And that makes me cry too.
    Just 2 days ago, just after talking to husband about V. I said "when we made a baby, we never thought of a child like V..." And we really did not.
    But then I remembered how I felt and what I was thinking when I lost my baby "please, please, give him back! I don't care how he is as long as he is alive and back with me!!please...." (chromosomic issues, he died...)
    I guess it helped me put things in perspective to remember those feelings and thoughts.
    What we all wanted is a child. Nobody gets to chose what kind of child, that is not our decision.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You have no idea how often I've had that same feeling... tomorrow IS another day, but so often, I had no idea if there was any way to refresh ME with just an overnight! Up to the challenge? ummm... Wasn't it Churchill who said something about it not being enough to do what is possible, that sometimes we just have to do whatever is necessary... implying, of course, that somethimes we must - and do - do the impossible.

    {{more hugs}}

    And yes... If I had known what kids would bring... would I have chosen to have kids?
  18. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Your feelings are honest and ok...again sounds like a platitude, but it IS deep.

    Funny, I am sure we all have had teachings from our kids but difficult child has said things like:
    "You know God made me like this, I am doing the best I can do!"
    "Tomorrow is a do over day"
    "You need to let it go, MOM!"

    And he is often right in those moments. I have gone too far.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't know if this helps, but I have one biological son, then deliberately decided to adopt (for many reasons). My biological son was very difficult to raise and had many issues. It is hit or miss and if you want to talk logical talk to yourself, when you get in the mood and start thinking "my biological child would not be this way"...you may want to add, "Actually, I don't know how my biological child would be. He could have even worse problems." Children give us no guarantees. I am the closest to my two girls, both adopted, and the most like my youngest adopted daughter. I am least close to my biological son.
    Don't beat yourself up for feeling cold toward J. when he is acting up. I really think this is common. That doesn't mean you don't love him. YOU get hurt too. We ALL get hurt. And who can hurt us more than our child? Feeling hurt does not lead to feeling affectionate.
    Have YOU ever considered counseling to sort out your feelings? That can be a lifesaver and really help you put everything into perspective. Have you ever seen this prayer? I do not know if you believe in God or not, but it can help you either way (if you don't have a God, just take God out of it and substitute it with something else:"
    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And the Wisdom to know the difference.
  20. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thank you all again for your input and supportiveness. What helps in these moments is not really "advice" it's just the understanding and the validation...
    I think you are right, buddy - I think these kids do understand and see things. Last night for his bedtime story, J asked for "Zak has ADHD", a book we have for children about a zebra (!) with ADHD. He has dozens of books and we rarely read this one - so why this, out of the blue? It was as if he was telling me, reminding me, that his difficultness is not his fault...
    This morning we had a damage limitations exercise. I talked about last night and what had happened, how I had felt and how I had not wanted to hurt him but had felt so frustrated and angry. I asked him how he had felt and he talked a bit about that. We talked about the rule of coming in when I ask and the rule of talking to each other nicely. Some of the hurt was healed and he was clearly trying so hard to please and to "listen". But I do feel diminished and depleted by these episodes - I also feel like I need more input with J than I am getting. For me to try to organise it... I feel he needs help with social skills. He has friends and makes friends but there are always these incidents of him upsetting other children by saying hurtful things. Again, all children of his age do that, but he will do it more intensely than others, and probably more often. I do feel going to school has helped him tremendously in terms of socialisation. No way he would have absorbed all the social rules he has by just staying at home with me...
    As for being invited to birthday parties, buddy, he could hardly not be! His whole school was invited (just 20 children!), so he could not be left out. Also the boy concerned is his best friend, though like I say they have an on-off kind of relationship (which slowly seems to be becoming more on than off). But... the boy in the village who lives near us and who J sometimes plays with outside - and who is such a sweet kid, really your dream 7 year old - has told me, with that disarming childish honesty, that his mother does not want J inside their house because she finds him too irritating (because of all the hyperactivity and shouting as he rushes about, I presume)... So there will be this kind of thing in the future... I think J is actually high-functioning hyperactive, to coin a phrase :) He could be a lot worse. But we don't live in a world that's geared up to difference and his differences, in a society that has almost no popular understanding of ADHD, are of course not assimilated.
    I would like a very gifted and experienced therapist for him... Wouldn't we all...