We defined typical teen. Why not define traits of a difficult child?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We'll see if anyone wants to do this. I'll start with my own list and see if it grows. I think young difficult child's share a lot of traits of adult difficult child's that we have in our lives too :/

    1. Extreme impulsivity, inability to think outside the present (I want it NOW, I'll do it or get it NOW). Risky behavior. Acting without thinking.

    2. Lack of self-discipline, quick to anger and act on it. Inability to just take that pause and think things over first.

    3. Allergic to the words "no, you can't." Inability to allow anyone else to have power of him/her.

    4. "I'll worry about it when it happens." Inability or unwillingness to think about the future.

    5. Self-sabatage: "Your idea won't work." "I'm not going to try it because it won't work." "It can't work." "No, it's a bad idea." "I won't even try. There's no point." "I know my grades were better when I did my homework, but it's too hard. I can't keep it up."

    6. Inability to take the blame. "You made me do it." "I wouldn't have done it if Dad hadn't taken away my computer privledges." "If you didn't have so many rules, I'd follow them. You're too strict." "These cigarettes belong to Paul. I'm holdling them for him."

    7. Inability or unwillingness or both to understand how other people feel. Sometimes, like in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), they don't get it. Sometimes they won't get it. "Big deal if I took Jane's stupid book. She doesn't even read the book so why is she making such a big deal out of it now?"

    8. Lack of boundaries. Going into the rooms and purses and drawers of others.

    9. Rigidity. Unwilling to accept or unable to accept change. Having a much harder time with any sort of change, be it new school, new house, new neighborhood, new furniture than other people. No understanding of how to go with the flow or how to make the best of things. Although all kids dislike this sort of change, these kids can not or will not adjust to it in a reasonable amount of time or they get so nervous about it that they don't succeed.

    10. Rebellious nature. Automatically ready to say the sky is red even while looking at it.

    This is my list of ten. I"m sure I have more. But I'm sure you do too and I'd like to compile a list like we did for typical teen. Newbies who only have one chld or never raised a easy child really don't know the difference between a typical child and one who is wired differently so maybe it could help them.

    Of course no difficult child has every single trait, but I believe the ten markers I laid out will make life much harder for the child (or adult) and his/her family. Any other suggestions? I don't know if anyone else will want to do it, but thought I'd give it a shot.
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Everything is magnified with a difficult child. Collecting becomes hoarding, a fuss becomes a meltdown...

    Rules are for other people. difficult child's are different.

    difficult child's always have an excuse for whatever behavior you call them on, and it's usually your fault.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Very good list MWM, you've really got it down!

    Off the top of my head.........

    1. a different perspective on their personal freedom; in some cases would rather live on the streets then deal with what they consider severe limits.

    2. can be extremely manipulative, clever, cagey and secretive.

    3. can be very bright however use their intelligence to do battle rather then apply it to something which will benefit them

    4. sexual promiscuity, acting out sexually.

    5. tendency towards mood altering experiences, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.

    6. very resourceful when left to their own devices

    7. severe reactions to any kind of authority (see #1)

    8. excel at finding other difficult child's to hang out with

    9. often depression, ADHD, ODD, mood disorders, PTSD, learning difficulties, brain damage, mental illness and more are involved

    10. Strong resistance/reluctance to get help, take medications, admit to their issues
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You have the pre-teen/teens nailed down to a T.

    I would also have to add "erratic behavior" and "deal in cycles."

    You are always waiting for the other shoe to drop because they don't maintain good behavior, although they can fool you into feeling they have turned a corner and then...BAM!...the other shoe drops! So.....moodswings?

    "When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid!"
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I'd add contempt for themselves which is projected as contempt toward others.

    A lack of belief and even sometimes hostility toward a higher power. Thinking that God is some kind of genie, and if their wishes don't come true immediately and without effort, that God can't possibly exist.
  6. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    What is typical teen?

    Here's my addition to the list: emotionally immature; response & reaction to minor perceived irritation or slight is extreme & disproportionate.
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    My add ons:
    - Reactive instead of proactive. Often extremely reactive.
    - Low self-respect and also turns that to low respect of others
    - Self-sabotage or giving up in verge of success
    - "Keep your jack"-attitude (I explained the story behind the proverb recently in on post), but it means pessimistic attitude, there you make yourself to believe something is not going to work out or someone will not help/co-operate with your, before even trying/asking. And lash out because of that perceived rejection (that never happened except in your head.)
    - Passive-aggressive or backstabbing revenges for perceived 'wrongs.'
    - "Fear aggressiveness"
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Great additions. Suz, you're da bomb (hope you know that US pre-teen slang).

    I thought of one more. Rejecting people before they reject you. Negative about people they don't even know. "He looks stuck up." "She's mean." "He stares at me in class like he hates me. I'd rather eat by myself t han ask him if he'd like somebody to eat with so that he can tell me to get lost."

    typical teen---Typical teen
  9. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    It's like reading an exact description of my difficult child 1. *cry* I still am having trouble with-acceptance.
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    When approached for a discussion of where they erred, a tendency to react with violence/odd noise/"I know" but no change in the behavior itself.

    Bathing/showering might be a contact sport in your household. Also usually approached with much fuss, and generally used only as needed due to the extreme potential for destruction.

    Eating is also to be approached with caution if you have not worked out ways acceptable to both you and your difficult child.

    Vacation planning is done with a degree that would make the Pope or Secret Service proud.
  11. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    typical teen, but more so.
  12. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    Holy cow - you guys nailed it!!

    Mine would always try to deflect her wrong doing with a story of her being a victim.

    If we told her she couldn't do something, she absolutely did it anyway.

    No fear. She does not fear a thing.

    Has absolutely zero concern for how she is perceived by the rest of the world.

    Expects to be taken care of and not work for a thing. An entitlement issue like I have never seen!!

    I am sure I will think of more....
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    For those with younger difficult children: If the school calls or you see a teacher walking in your direction, you cringe. Almost always seem to do worse than their IQ dictates, either for lack of trying but more often because they truly can't.
  14. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, the dread seeing the school's phone number pop up....ugh. I still have ptsd...thankfully my son never gets into trouble. The kid does absolutely no wrong and is the sweetest, kindest, most awesome person I know. I told him that. I mean, there is just nothing but good in him. It is crazy how different they are...
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Then maybe I don't belong on this forum.
    Most of what you all have written doesn't apply to difficult child - not now, and only a tiny bit of it, at one major crisis point.
    Some of it, I can relate to... from experience with GFGbro, when I was growing up... through the druggie years.

    To me, the definition of a difficult child is simple:

    "A difficult child is a child (or adult child) who does not or cannot respond to normal parenting and or teaching approaches."

    K2 is mostly NT/easy child... rarely even close to typical teen. She responds well to the approaches that work for difficult child... but she also responds equally well to "normal" parenting. If we had two like K2... we wouldn't be on this board.
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, that seems an excellent definition, IC.
  17. buddy

    buddy New Member

    For us.....some things I'd add or restate, on the negative side....(many of the things listed before apply to us too, but obviously not all)

    Circular arguments

    Impulsive and acting indestructable way beyond typical teen's...and has been that way forever.

    Able to change the operating mode of their parent in fundamental ways, from emotions to career. (some difficult ways and in some ways that force us to grow)

    Not able to link action to consequence in the heat of the moment, sometimes not at all

    Highly egocentric

    Verbally and physically aggressive in an impulsive/reactionary way

    Over reactive fight/flight reactions

    Rigid, rule bound, schedule and routine bound (also a positive)

    Vulnerable but not obvious to the public and some that work with him because invisible issues are not protected like those of people who have more obvious difficult child issues.

    Some of the characteristics of my and other g'sfg i know that i thought of while doing the above list..... not so bad, and at times GOOD things:

    Every day is a new day. Sometimes every minute. When "it's" over, we are on to a new situation....no need to carry on with negative behaviors and feelings. (even if mom still feels upset)

    Likes everyone and Everyone probably likes him. (his opinion) (but as was mentioned of there is any doubt....I'll reject you before you can reject me) Still, if you smile and give a high give, just s little attention....he thinks you are the best-doesn't matter what you look like etc.

    Always tries again, doesn't have a sense that maybe this is not something he should try because it's not cool, too hard, etc.

    Believes most anything anyone says ...especially "not the mama"...so can talk him away from some typical teen issues but that also means he is super vulnerable to predators and those who are a bad influence.

    Makes me appreciate the little successes and joys in life.
  18. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Calamity Jane, we are dealing with just that issue this year. It is like they compare a higher power to Santa... if you asked for it, and you didn't get it... he must not exist! KSM
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    To me, difficult children don't respond normally to anything. Not parenting. Not teaching in the normal sense. Not their peers. Not a birthday party (their wiring makes what is a fun day for a easy child, an overstimulated, possibly violent ending to a difficult child). They don't respond normally to the world because it is different to them than it is to a easy child. Their entire experience is different, which makes life hard. If not addressed, it can cause trouble in the workplace as well.

    As a difficult child from childhood to adulthood, I know that things came much easier to others than they did to me. I'm sure part of that was my own differently wired brain. Frustration, anger and even rage come quickly to a difficult child brain. So does mood dysregulation. difficult children tend to need a lot more outside help understanding how to navigate our world. And often medication too.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
  20. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    MWM - I love your top ten list!

    If I had to describe what GFGdom is NOT:

    responsible for actions
    empathetic towards others
    organized and set goals
    self control
    follows rules
    repects authority
    can have a disagreement without a meltdown
    sees the best in others