the hardest part

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by elisem, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. elisem

    elisem New Member

    Went to the park today with a good family friend, T. difficult child (7 yo, probably bipolar, taking forever to get diagnosis) was at his worst, screaming, hitting, kicking, throwing huge tantrums when he had to wait for two minutes to get water, etc. You all probably know the drill. The park was full of other people, including other parents and kids, all looking at us funny--ah well, I'm used to that, right? difficult child, upset because I said we were going back due to his behavior (we were about a mile into the woods) took his water bottle holder and swung it around and hit me with it, so I told him if he did it again I would take it away from him and throw it away (the holder is very special to him; he plays with it all the time, calls it his emergency bag), so he backed up and ran at me to get the maximum impact when he hit me with it. So I took it away from him and for the rest of the walk he kept trying to hold my hand, telling me how much he loved me and saying he was sorry. When we got back to the parking area, I threw the bottle and holder in the dumpster. He fell onto the ground howling as if in physical pain (he always reacts this way when he finds out I mean it.) He was truly distressed, of course, as I knew he would be. But I couldn't back down! T got back to the car a little while later with my 3 yo easy child, and Charlie started screaming and kicking and throwing easy child's water all over T and easy child. We managed to get everyone in the car and buckled in (difficult child busied himself with pulling down the ceiling fabric in my car). T suggested a little music to help calm everyone down, so I turned on the radio. difficult child immediately started screaming that he wanted the music turned off (easy child was crying because he wanted the music on). After a while I turned the music off (we couldn't hear it over difficult child's screaming anyway); difficult child didn't notice and kept screaming that he wanted it off. I actually managed to laugh when I told him that it was already off. So then, of course (could you see this coming?) he starts screaming that he wants it on. I'm able to get him calmed down enough to ask nicely, then I turn the radio on. Only all the stations are playing commercials. What does difficult child do? He grabs my hair in both hands and pulls with all his might. Thank God there was no other traffic on the road! The car weaved all over like mad, but didn't actually leave the asphalt. T coaxed me to pull over, which I did. Then T worked with Charlie while I burst into tears. Bless T! She's a social worker, but don't hold that against her--she works with troubled teenagers and is the sweetest most comforting person imaginable!

    Eventually we all got home in one piece, and T, after many hugs, left to go to work. difficult child is in his room for the rest of the afternoon, with the understanding that if he sets foot out or hollers down to us, he'll be locked in until his father gets home. easy child is watching a video while I type this.

    So what is the hardest part? That's what will happen later, when I tell my husband about the day. Why? Because husband will feel that I should have handled it better. Oh, he probably won't SAY that, but he'll make it obvious nonetheless. When he's home with the boys, he sometimes does handle it better than I do, but not always--I'd say he's about 50/50 on that one. And I'm quite certain that if he were home 24/7 like I am, he wouldn't be any better than I am.

    Anyway, I want to send Charlie to school (we've been homeschooling because I'm well aware of what we're setting ourselves up for)--I'm desperate enough for a few hours of peace everyday (and I'd like to see if it would lessen easy child's stress behaviors that have been cropping up lately). But husband says "no". He points out that we don't even have a diagnosis (we have our FIRST appointment with a pedpsych dr. in a little more that a month, and then you know better that me how long it will take after that before things start to improve) yet, and reminds me how difficult school will be for difficult child (academically he's either right on target or a little advanced for his age, thanks, I am sure to the homeschooling which has allowed us to work with difficult child rather than trying to force him into someone else's schedule), but there's a small charte school nearby that takes exclusively ADD, ADHD and asperger's kids, and I was given to understand that they would take difficult child even before the diagnosis, while the diagnosis process was going on. DO I think difficult child has any of those? No, I'm pretty sure he's bipolar, but a lot of his behaviors are similar to kids with those afflictions, and I think the school might be good for him. I know it would be good for me! But husband says no way. He wants difficult child at home. With me.

    *sigh*

    Anyway, thanks for letting me vent.

    C
     
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending some cyber hugs your way. I have experienced some of
    "your day" experiences and they stay in my memory. I surely have
    had an Ex who thought he had the answers.

    I don't know a thing to make you feel less frazzled except to let you know that many of us have been there, done that and thank
    God with each day that we don't have to relive it.

    Here's hoping tomorrow is better. Hugs. DDD
     
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    If you think difficult child going off to school each day would be good for you, then tell husband to stuff it and get the boy enrolled asap! husband isn't having to stay with difficult child 24/7, therefore hasn't a clue as to what it is like for you.

    Odds are if you let the school district know difficult child is in the process of being evaled then they'll start up the IEP process. Depending on your district they might even toss in a few evaluations of their own. You can call your MRDD and find out the qualifications for the charter school.

    If your stress levels are going thru the roof, odds are homeschooling difficult child is only going to make them worse. And you know the old saying.... If Mom ain't happy, no one's happy.

    I'd never consider homeschooling my difficult children when they were young. :faint: Too often watching them ride away on the school bus was all that kept my own sanity in tact.

    Hugs
     
  4. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I totally agree with Daisy. We have 1 week left before school starts and I'm counting the minutes! I am a much better mom when I get a break.
     
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with Lisa too. I'm a teacher and there is no way I could ever teach either of my kids and especially not difficult child.

    I'm sorry husband isn't on the same page as you. That makes it harder.

    Be sure to be documenting all of the behaviors (especially the car ones-those scare me-been there done that) so that when you see psychiatrist you will not forget what you want to tell him.

    Hugs.
     
  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! I'd send him to school. It cracks me up because going to the bus stop to get my daughter on a Friday afternoon I listen to all of the "Mom's of easy child's" saying "Thank God it's Friday" and I'm thinking "Oh dear God it's Friday"!
    :smile:

    Seriously, he's going to need to learn social interaction with others and he's not going to do that working in your living room. It would be one thing if you had a diagnosis and experienced problems in school, but he hasn't really had a chance to try. If you do, make sure that you look into school evaluations and a neuropsychologist evaluation on the outside (privately). You will most likely need the school evaluations for an IEP.

    Try reading "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. He has some great ways to showing how your child's mind works and gives some strategies to try and curb the behavior. Most of the people here think it's a great book. It's not a lot of "technospeak" and some of the scenarios made me laugh.

    Good luck!

    Beth
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Jeez. I'd tell hub that if he wants the kid home that much, I'll get a job and he can homeschool him. I'd put him in the school for your own sanity. There is no way I'd listen to husband if he tried to force me to do that. in my opinion that's unreasonable.

    I hope, when you have your appointment, that your psychiatrist diagnoses him right and that your son can gain some self-control, which will give him AND you a break! (((Big hugs)))
     
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I would have confiscated the water bottle but not thrown it away. Something I've found is a HUGE trigger, in itself - possessions. difficult child 3 is outgrowing clothes fast and we need to empty the house of all unwanted/unusable possessions, but he simply can't let go, so I give them away to people we know. As long as he knows he can't use them himself (he no longer fits his clothes, for example) and he knows they will be nearby, he can cope. He soon forgets and moves on.

    If someone had ever done that to me, even if my behaviour had been as bad as that, it would have triggered an entirely fresh crisis.

    Confiscating the bottle - if the first hit was clearly deliberate then immediate confiscation without warning can be justified, by saying, "I will hold you bottle so it doesn't accidentally hurt anyone - you could have hurt yourself or damaged the bottle."

    Continued misuse and clear abuse of the drink bottle shows lack of value for it and you may be able to justify giving the bottle to someone else who will value it more. And you need to find something you can do for longer term, because he's going to get worse, not better, as he gets older. You won't be able to do this when he's in his teens - he will just dumpster dive.

    As for grabbing your hair while you're driving - does he do that often? Is it a small car, that he can reach you? I'd be looking at moving his child seat further back in the car, or over to the passenger side, so he can't reach you. A good five-point harness should be tight enough so he can't reach you.

    I remember we had to install a big sheet of cardboard between the child seats in the back, so the kids there couldn't get to each other. And child restraints were a lot less rigid back then - we have really strict rules now, the booster has to be solid and not merely foam, and even the booster has to have a five point harness now. But we would refuse to drive anywhere, put music on, do anything at all, until all belts and harnesses were on and fitted correctly. Any child undoing belts or harnesses while the car was moving - we'd get to the side, fast, and put hazard lights on until things were done up again. And we used to spank for that one - times have changed a lot!

    With complaining about the music - we often would put it on to drown out tantrums and if the tantrums got louder, we'd turn up the music. The car stereo could out-shout any four kids. They soon learnt that if they didn't want their ears blasted, to shut up. And if they said, "That music is so loud it hurts my ears," we would reply, "And you think your screaming doesn't hurt me?"

    Another rule we have - it's up to the driver, whether music is on (and what music). Keep the driver happy. Do not interfere with or ague with the driver, or we could take a wrong turn or have an accident. And if you're whining about wanting to get home - a wrong turn or accident will delay things A LOT.

    Good luck with getting a diagnosis, fast. And get into Ross Greene - your son fits the description, with his extremely high level of frustration plus his short fuse. You may need to change tack to handle him more effectively.

    Marg
     
  9. elisem

    elisem New Member

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the support. This is a really great group!

    A couple of things:

    first of all, difficult child isn't like this ALL the time. He has periods of being hyper, but basically normal. He can even be very sensitive and sweet. But then he has the bad times. The main reason we're seeking a diagnosis is that the bad times have been getting worse. The hair pulling in the car is an example. That's new--he's often kicked my seat or screamed in the car, but never has he come so close to causing an accident as he did yesterday.

    My husband would love to stay home. Even when difficult child was a baby, before all this started (it really kicked in when he was three), we agreed that we'd both like it if he could be the one to stay home. The problem is, he's a very clever, technical person and earns $70,000 a year at what he does! Me? I'm a librarian--a great job, but where we live it tops out at $14 a hour, and the health insurance is lousy. We couldn't live on that, I'm afraid--no way, no how, and we're VERY good at scrimping and saving (we live in a 900 square foot cottage, for example). It simply wouldn't work.

    About homeschooling--we started when difficult child was kicked out of kindergarten for punching a teacher. So it's not true that he's never tried school. I've become a big fan of homeschooling in general--and when difficult child is stable, it works out great. (Like I said, he's hyper--homeschooling allows me to work with his kinesthetic learning style, and it has worked very well for us, academically.) I'd like to keep homeschooling him when (if?) we can get him stable.

    It's a misconception that homeschoolers aren't socialized--there are so many socialization opportunities out there that I've found myself having to turn down interesting looking things right and left just so that we spend at least a little time at home! We belong to a co-op that meets for classes and play time every monday, and difficult child gets along pretty well with the kids there. There are a couple of boys very close to difficult child's age that also have issues--one is bipolar and ODD and the other is ADHD. So the other parents are pretty understanding when difficult child acts up and has to be taken home. In the fall, if we're still homeschooling, we'll also start homeschool swim lessons (I decided against group music lessons, although that was awfully tempting!).

    Anyway, ladies--this is my day off, and I'm leaving. difficult child has been acting up and I feel a little guilty about not staying and helping husband, but I'm going out with a girlfriend, and I'm going to try hard to squash the guilty feelings.

    Cheers!

    C
     
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Good on you for getting a break!

    I do agree with you about socialising and home schooling - because difficult child 3 is autistic, the school district fought really hard to stop us pulling him out, ALWAYS using the socialisation argument. I pointed out that I no longer felt that ANY of the social interaction at school was positive in any way - it was all negative and having a very bad effect on his behaviour. I would meticulously teach difficult child 3 to not hit other kids, including to not hit back. But he would be goaded, and goaded, so badly, including other kids hitting him, kicking him, tripping him up, calling him names and when HE hit the other kid - it was always difficult child 3 who was in trouble, not the other kids. We would get others telling us a different version of events but the teachers always chose the easy way out - blame the weird kid. difficult child 3's scripture teacher was a mine of information about the ongoing bullying, often happening right under the class teacher's nose - but it was difficult child 3 who got into trouble even when the scripture teacher said, "But I just saw L stick a pair of compass points into difficult child 3's back..."

    So she told me instead.

    Now difficult child 3 is older, plus he's learning that life needn't be like that. When he goes in to his correspondence school for study days they are so quick to defend him it made me realise how much I had been brainwashed by the system too.

    Back to what I was saying before - I would be insisting on full seat belt harnesses being used in the car while it is moving. For ALL occupants. And if difficult child is getting worse with the violence of his outbursts, I would be worrying about his apparently increased level of frustration. Why? How come? What is triggering this? How can you deal with it more effectively?

    Get the book ("The Explosive Child") - it should help. There is another book called "The Bipolar Child" which I haven't read (n/a for us) but is very popular also on this site.

    Marg
     
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow, does THAT all sound familiar!
    Yes, I would definitely send difficult child to school. I agree, husband doesn't have to deal with-it all day, and sure, maybe he could have handled it better, so why doesn't he do the homeschooling? :smile:
    You've gotten some good advice here. I can't add much more than support and agreement.
    I totally agree that you should read The Explosive Child. I hated it at first, but once you tweak it to your own situation, you'll find that it really does help.
    Good luck.

    And let us know what husband says about the day you had.

    Oh, and don't ask him about homeschooling. TELL him. Women ask things. Men make statements. That's just a little tidbit from Men are From Mars. :smile:
     
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