Suggestions for raising a difficult child/ and my difficult child progress report

Discussion in 'General Parenting Archives' started by Fran, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    difficult child seems to be making the gradual transition to semi independent living. He is handling his own medications,schedule,hygiene,contact lens,life skills with very little problems. I am greatly relieved.
    husband noticed that difficult child was appropriately dressed and well cared for.
    difficult child has several buddies.Whew! and is engaged in activities.
    He seems to be doing fine with some problems with frustration.
    Evidently, he complained of homesickness the first 2 weeks,which I believe had to do with anxiety over an expectation more than sentimental reasons. (didn't complain much to us)
    I do see him able to do what is necessary to live independently but he still has this need to be tethered.
    I am hoping that won't become an insurmountable problem when it is time for him to return to the full program in Sept.
    So far,he gets the big thumbs up for managing the transition.

    I think I am doing a big roadtrip,the early part of Sept. to take difficult child to school and visit mom on the return trip. When I know more,maybe I can stop for a coffee along the way with some of you.
  2. Applause Applause and a Big Thumbs up for You and husband

    I am sure your relieved and happy all at the same time. You and husband did great Happy for you all.

    Glad to hear someone had a Good Weekend. Will be looking for more posts of good news from you as the months go on. The road trip, would love to be added to the list for coffee
  3. kris

    kris New Member

    been waiting for this post, fran. actually it sounds like he's doing very well. homesickness is so very normal. frustration with-transition is too....even for easy child's i think. living away from home is HUGE!!! hopefully the transition back in september will be smoother still. glad he's doing so well.

  4. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Oh, Fran - what a great progress report! Yes, homesickness is usual for many. He's coping, handling the day to day things, and has friends. I think the progress report sounds like an "A"!

    Good for him, and good for you and husband - for helping (and nudging) him to see that he can do this!

  5. DeeRW

    DeeRW Active Member

    What a wonderful report. It really does sound like all your hard work has paid off. I couldn't be more thrilled for you. You, husband, easy child and difficult child have truly worked a miracle. difficult child has come so far. Yes, he has farther to go and will take his missteps, but he really sounds like he is on his way to becoming a young man who will be able to function in this society -- on his own terms but still part of it.
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999


    I think this is phenomenal progress, truly. I remember it was only a year or two ago you were contemplating his future, would you need to take guardianship, would he ever be independent. Boy... he has sure proven the naysayers wrong! To be honest, sounds like he's managing much better than I did my first try at living away from home. I think it's in the realm of "normal" to need the tether still.

    You guys have done a wonderful job supplying him the supports and opportunities that he needs to make the transition. I'm just so happy for you all!
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sure that is a huge relief Fran. As I get older my biggest worry is to get my kids independent enough to live on their own, happily and with some success. It sounds like difficult child is well on his way.

  8. Elise

    Elise Active Member

    I'm grinning from ear to ear reading your update.

    Several buddies and engaged in activities! WOW!!! This is a huge step for an AS kid. I am so happy for him, you and husband.

    Give yourself a pat on the back, Fran. He's doing it!

    So when are you going to change him to easy child status?


  9. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Thanks everyone. Your are right,slsh, it wasn't very long ago that I wondered what direction our nudging should go.
    It took a year to earn a driver's liscense.
    A year to be independent with contact lens.
    12 yrs to get the hang of school(last 6 mo. were the only part that seemed to click for difficult child)

    He just needs more time to master his daily living skills. He seems to know the answers and what to do but there is a big stumbling block. It's almost like the effort causes him to increase his anxiety level. Eventually, he goes along with it but it is constant nudging.

    I don't think his homesickness is like my homesickness would be. I suppose I shouldn't discount his emotions. It seems to be to be based on wanting to be cared for as opposed to missing my company. Guess that is pretty normal too. Think I'm expecting adulthood in my difficult child?

    I think we all worry that our kids live too pampered a life and can't handle the world on their own. It really did take me stepping back and asking myself,how am I preparing them to handle the tough knocks that life will dish to them. Reality is a good teacher. I try not to bail them out of their dilemma's.
    I think I'm going to have the sentence "so what are you going to do to fix this problem?" on my tombstone.

    Nomad, my difficult child is in a private program in Long Island. It is called introduction to Independence. It is 7wks long. the kids have average or above IQ's but are not quite ready for the overwhelming changes of independent college life. They work 12hrs, must budget the money for their needs with no financial help from me (except for the tuition) They have time management classes,organization,social skills, financial planning for a student etc,etc.
    They also have tons of organized extracurricular activities to keep the kids engaged. The campus is relatively empty. It gives the kids the opportunity to get to know the place without being overwhelmed.

    In Sept., he will be a full time student at a program within the college. It gives each student (30) basically an individual education. It can be straight vocational, vocational with some credit classes(with academic support) or full credit courses (with academic support). They do not take kids who have major behavior problems. It is a campus and dorm like any other except with supports for living and academics. They are assigned a counselor but the thrust is independent living.

    I hope that explains it.
  10. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    so glad it is working out. I wondered how YOU are handling missing him. can you call him when you want?
    dont forget to LMK when you are going paast my house.
  11. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Elise, it is an impressive transformation in the last 2 to 3 years.
    I'm not ready to go to easy child status but we are closer. It will depend whether he will have the ability to follow through with the assignments and school work without being spoon fed. There is a big emphasis on natural consequences. It is time for them to start to grow up. Yikes!

    So when he has a full time job and a wife and lives independently will I rest a little easier.
  12. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I can call any time except when he is in class or work, just like regular dorms. The summer program is a little restricted because not all are h.s. grads or 18. It's open to all kids in preparation for their future.
    In Sept. it is exactly like the rest of the campus. It's just that they have most of their classes in the building across from their dorm. They are welcome to be part of the sports and social clubs,fraternities etc. They are considered the same as every starting freshman.

    Janet,I'm doing fine. I don't thrive on chaos and temper flashes. I am greatly relieved to have him assume more of the responsibility of self care. I have flashes of missing "the family" being together but about half the time it wasn't as successful as you would hope based on difficult child's behavior. I don't miss that at all.
    I have been preparing for a few years to have a full life when my kids are grown so that I don't make myself use them as my crutch. They will and should leave me in the dust to pursue their own lives. Once they are older and have families of their own, they will reconnect with their parents. hopefully.
    In the meantime,I am going to take a class in a language and continue to nurture my easy child and grow my friendships and continue to explore the things I need to know.
  13. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I haven't ever used an Easy Child but I have been pretty successful at digging out a program that fits my difficult child. So far. We will see.
    I know that most parents use an Easy Child with good results.
  14. Hexemaus

    Hexemaus Active Member

    Fran I'm just tickled pink for you and difficult child!! I think it's wonderful to hear how well he's doing. Pretty soon you'll be sending easy child off to college. Then whatcha gonna do? Travel? Go back to school? Come raise mine? lol.

    Any chance we can get you to write a manual for us? So our difficult children can become pcs-in-training like yours?
  15. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    What a great report!! I bet you are thrilled, and relieved.

    It's scary, yet fun to watch them grow up, eh?

  16. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Hex, I'm looking forward to a life with adult children. I'm sure there are different way to parent an older child.
    I'm still trying to figure out what the priorities will be with parenting. I'm bound and determined to not be overbearing.(difficult for me to relinquish my mamabear tendency)
    I have some things in mind.

    I don't know about other folks kids but I feel like I know my difficult child well. I have spent many hours learning how he thinks. I try to view the world through his eyes. It has helped me make choices that have been in his best interest.
    I wish I had a recipe that would work for everyone but our kids and our family dynamics are such that it is difficult to have a one size fit all treatment plan.

    I could think of a few things that helped me.

    1.If something is a concern,don't dismiss as not important or boys will be boys. If a red flag rises you should observe for progression

    2.When there are developmental delays-notify pediatrician. Not all kids develop at the same rate but they should be in the ballpark.

    3.Get good evaluations as soon as you can. At some point you should have a second opinion.

    4.Read about a diagnosis. If it doesn't quite fit, read about other conditions that overlap.

    5.Dump the guilt. It's not about you but about you getting your child what he needs.

    6.Trying to maintain, what appears to be a pp for appearances is a wasted effort. Just accept that your family will be viewed as different.

    7.I believe that you should enlist the school as a team. Ask their opinions regardless of whether you follow their suggestions. Compliment what they do right. Admit when you are wrong. No one is right all the time. Treat teachers with humanity until the time that there is a reason to go the other way. Keep the big guns for when they are necessary. A raging parent who is always in a state creates an attitude of dismissal.

    8.Use a physician who is receptive to questions and suggestions. You want him to be the biggest advocate on the team.

    9.Provide chances for difficult child to have success.

    10. Hold them accountable for their behavior. If they are acting like butt heads, they need to know that. Let them know you have feelings. That if they want a friend, they need to be a friend.

    11. Try to keep gfgdom from overshadowing your whole life.

    12.Teach and reinforce a code of ethics. In our home the ten commandments are simple and to the point. It works.

    13. Try to figure out why difficult child will do what he does and work with difficult child to change the pattern.

    14. Try to have times that are just fun. I like to laugh with difficult child.

    15. Allow them their own personalities and idiosyncracies, within acceptable limits. Being strangled and forced to fit a mold of what parents want will kill any desire to succeed in a second.

    16. Make sure you act the way that you want your child to act. If you do not want violence-don't expose them to it in their home. If you don't want foul language-don't have it in your home.

    17.Our kids are to be treated with dignity and respect but they need to know that you are the parent and the final word until the time that they are handling responsibility. Letting the grip loose a little at a time. Having them totally dependent and then releasing them to a college atmosphere will surely create a disaster.

    18. Love them and know that no one wants to be miserable but they have to take some responsibility. If they are miserable,they need to identify the problem and institute changes. I absolutely hate when I am given a ton of excuses of why something can't be done to change a situation that makes someone unhappy.
    If you complain,then find a solution.

    That's it off the top of my head. I love my kids. I don't want to do anything to hurt either. My long term goal is to have law abiding, employed, well rounded independent adults with as full a life as they want. All my interventions are aimed in that direction. If they love me that's gravy. If they want to be close to the family it's their choice.
  17. KRice

    KRice Member


    I'm so glad to hear that difficult child is doing so well. I've been anticipating the report, but to be honest, I didn't expect anything but good news. You've equipped him well.

  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member


    I am proud of both of you. Your hard work paid off!
  19. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I used Peterson's. I asked everyone. If one program wasn't right, I asked if they knew of a program that would be more appropriate. It was basically me networking.
    I asked the dr.,guidance counselor, the transition specialist at the school, parents, I checked out an school I read about in the articles I read. I have a stack of school brochures from when difficult child went to egbs.
  20. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Sounding really, really, really good.

    He seems to be doing extraordinarly well. Grg has some complex issues and he's come such a long way. It gives us hope.

    I agree that there's not a recipe that would be applicable across the board, but your outline has great information that could benefit many parents with-special needs children. Would you consider arciving it?