Update and Vent

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tessaturtle, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. tessaturtle

    tessaturtle New Member

    Thought I would update you all since I have been replying to posts but haven't been posting any updates recently. I also wanted to vent and needed some perspective.

    So difficult child had been doing pretty well all summer, just the 'usual' rages and melt downs over being told no or being asked to do a chore (that he had previously scheduled for himself). He was thrown into a tailspin by two things: having to go to the bigger summer day camp for the last week of summer and his mom going away for work and not telling him that she wouldn't take him on her weekend with him (thereby not seeing him for a month!) Added to that was the new school year starting. He ended up biting a kid one day at summer camp, and then the next day threw a kid to the ground. He earned a day off for the second offense and we took video games away for a week. He was also terrible at home and with his sister. He had not been physical with anyone in over a year. He has not bitten anyone in 2 or 3 years, just not his M.O.

    He had a weekend recently without his little sister around and he was WONDERFUL! He was compliant and overly helpful. He was a little giddy and manic, but no melt downs. No sooner did easy child step out of the car when she came home and he was all over her again.

    Well school has started, so that means the absolute, screaming melt downs about homework. Its ridiculous. He is smart and knows this stuff, he just has ZERO self esteem. He asks how to spell EVERY word he has to write. Lately he has had homework of making sentences with words. He gets EXTREMELY angry and says he can't do it. He asks for help. SO you give him context clues and break it down as simple as you can...no, he is not satisfied until he hears a sentence from your mouth. We explain that for us to say the sentences, that is not helping, it is doing it for him. After an hour of giving him clues, telling him the dictionary will help, practically giving him a sentence (but not the full one!) he finally says (or shouts) what we knew all along "I don't want to do it."

    If he is given 10 words, he will do part of it and then the refusal gets worse and worse. We (and his teacher) have already explained to him that he receives WAY less work than he would at a normal school. He still only gives half of the effort. It really worries both of us to think what the future may hold for him with him constantly doing half of what is asked or expected of him.

    Tonight was frustrating because he being really disrespectful to both SO and myself regarding his homework. Finally, after being sent to his room for a time out (this after sitting at the table for 45 minutes refusing to finish the homework), he comes back up...and is able to finish his homework (that was "too hard") very easily. He then asks me if he has can play his gameboy again after he finishes. I said he earned it back for tomorrow (after homework is done per the rules) but I said that he could not have it back tonight due to the disrespect. He started to pout (literally) and I said (to him and to SO) that he had to have some sort of consequence due to his disrespect and behavior. Just because he finally did what he was supposed to do did not make everything right.

    SO then makes a deal that after he finishes and is done with-dinner and shower, then he can eat ice cream while he watches animal planet. difficult child then starts complaining that we never let him watch CArtoon Network and I hear SO say to him, well, we'll look at whats on and maybe pick something. ARGGGHHH
    I felt like difficult child manipulated the situation!

    Also, his eating issues remain. He is skipping lunch, and often complaining about or refusing to eat dinner for different reasons . I don't know even where to begin with that!

    Sorry this is so long, could be even longer....
    Thanks for reading if you got this far!
     
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry difficult child is struggling right now. I absolutely hate homework battles and for the most part haven't pushed the issue in quite a while. I'm sorry you difficult child was being the great manipulator-I know how that can be. Hugs.
     
  3. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I hate homework with my middle and youngest difficult child. For that matter, I hate homework with my middle easy child too. I don't really understand half the stuff they send home. Writing their spelling words 5 times each in cursive? I mean, more than half of my kids are gifted students, they have additional projects on top of regular homework and this is what you want them to do with their time? I know they say it helps them recall the spelling and helps them with handwriting, but with my gifted kids, this DOES NOT help. It makes them cranky over busy work. It causes more problems/frustration at home. With my 1 non-gifted kid, homework is the biggest headache EVER. I get the same BS the teacher does of "I don't know." with more than half of the questions. Or halfas* answers because he doesn't really want to put the effort into writing the answer out.

    I am soooo with you in that battle! I'm sorry you feel manipulated. I've begun to have them do all their homework on Monday when they get it for the week. If they don't get it for the week, I ask for it for the week. Then Monday is a bear of a day, but the rest of the week is homework battle free.
     
  4. Mrs Smith

    Mrs Smith New Member

    You just described our homework nightmare. Mine has the same pattern: can't get started, complains it's too hard, refuses, melts down, finishes easily and quickly. I just don't get it.
     
  5. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    Tessa,
    You're right, he's manipulating.

    I had a teenager in training at 5 yrs old and was being manipulated to there and back. Putting my son on a token economy at home broke the cycle you just described. Everything he is expected to do he earns tokens for - and he only earns them if he follows directions the first time he's asked. Anything he wants to do, e.g. computer time, TV time, ice cream, etc. he has to pay tokens for.

    It took me a long time to realize how structured I had to be for my son. My SO wasn't so sure about the token system at first, but after 3 months on it, 2 month break (he was out of state for court ordered visitation with Ex), difficult child fell right into line within a few days being back on such a structured system.

    I know many people here really like "The Explosive Child" but I really found that for me, Russell Barklays' "Your Defiant Child: 8 steps To Better Behavior" (once I got over how dry the author can be) was more helpful.

    Right now I'm making minor changes to my system. One of which is every time block (e.g. morning routine before school bus) is written down in list form, each task has a token value next to it, and I found these neat wallet sized self lamination pockets from 3-M that I used to laminate the routines. So every day, difficult child is given his list, I give him his visual timer (a timer that has a large red circle that slowly disappears to help him visualize the passage of time)and he sets it for how long he thinks it will take him to complete his list, and then he races himself to beat his time. If he does, sometimes he gets a bonus of extra tokens. This helps me not be constantly harrassing him verbally, but also he races himself, not doing a preset time I just picked for him.

    I know for myself, I have additional training that unfortunately most parents of kids like ours don't have. But I've also spent lots of time educating myself, trying different systems, and working closely with difficult child's therapist to create a behavior system that works for him and for us as a family.

    I wish you the best and hope that you can find a good system that works for your family.
     
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I refused to fight over homework. I told the school that I wouldn't fight nonstop with my son and destroy our peace over homework--I could see my son was too stressed out from a full day of school to do it, and I cared more about his mental health than homework. His IEP now states "no homework." Six hours of school was tiring enough for him. Adding to the day made him fall apart. Not saying YOU should do it,b ut it's an option if you feel your child is like mine.
    If your son is bipolar, it's normal to see him getting too happy or too sad. I'd maybe talk to your psychiatrist about the medications. He's not on a mood stabilizer and antidepressant can activate bipolars and cause even more moodswings. Notriptylene was one antidepressant I took (I have bipolar). It's not as strong as some, but in certain people with BiPolar (BP) it could activate.
    Mood stabilizers are Lithium, Lamictal, Depakote, Trileptal and Tegretal. Seroquel is an antipsycotic and they don't usually hold well as mood stabilizers over the long haul, espsecailly with an antidepressant in place.
     
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