What do you do when difficult child is pushing your buttons?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tryinghard, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    The last few months have been more difficult than normal for me. My company closed in December after 11 years of employment and it took me eight months to find a job in another field. I started looking in July. I just started my new job. difficult child was just diagnosed with type one diabetes two months ago which has added another layer of resposibiliy (and worry\stress) to my daily load. difficult child has severe learning disabilities so homework takes up my ENTIRE evening because he needs my assitance. That is after working with a tutor for an hour each day.

    I have lost my temper with difficult child more in the last six months than I ever have. I HONESTLY stay calm for HOURS yet he will push my buttons until I explode. Then after I explode I feel so much guilt I go into a depression. I warn difficult child, I tell difficult child to stop....95% of the time he does...but the other 5% just drains me.

    Anyway....what do you do that may help me deal with this in a more constructive way.

    The odd things is that every time I have exploded...difficult child stops behavior immediately and complies.......does this happen to you too?

    I was in the process of getting a Neuro Physc when difficult child was hospitalized for diabetes. I will try again in the summer when I have some bearing again.
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Helping each night with homework like that would send me over the edge! Are they modifying things? There is no way you should have to be doing that every night!

    I too get frustrated when I finally lose it and yell. I don't do it often because unlike your difficult child mine gets way worse when someone yells. He absolutely hates it and it can send him over the edge so knowing that I rarely get to the point where I yell but the frustration is there.

    Hugs to you.
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I had to get out of the house entirely. If possible, I'd take a short walk (rarely was an option because she would follow me). My "retreat" was usually in the car -- I'm amazed I didn't run over her in my rush to get away before she could position herself so I couldn't back out of the driveway.

    Mine would push and push and push. She truly wasn't happy until I had lost my temper. For some sad reason, she felt she had won when that happened. I think her logic was that if mom lost it then we were on equal footing -- I was a little less perfect (don't I wish) and she was a little superior because the big person had become a bully. If I tried to go to another room, she would follow. If I closed the door, she would scream through it. So, the only option I had was to leave the house entirely. The advantage is that it would give me a break and a chance to regroup before I did lose it. I never left for more than 30 minutes (usually only like 10 or 15 minutes) but it really did help.

    Like yours, mine would quit once I had gotten angry enough. On more than one occasion, I saw a secret little smile on her face once I started yelling. I can't imagine feeling I'd won when someone I loved was angry with me but there is no question that this was a victory to her.
  4. happymomof2

    happymomof2 New Member

    I leave the room or house. Does it work every time? No.

    I really feel that is exactly what they want, they want us to lose it. They want that reaction from us. Why???

    I get mad at myself when I do lose it because I feel like I am giving them what they want.

    Oh well.... tomorrow is another day eh??
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I try to go to another room, but this is an 800 square foot house, so there really IS no other room. Miss KT used to just keep going, and going, and going, and when I was beyond angry and screaming, she'd stop. Now she just rolls her eyes, and says, "I'm not discussing this with you right now, since you're just going to get angry." Somehow, that makes me madder than ever. The arrogance!
  6. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Sorry for your situation. It is so hard, I know. I have found myself on the verge of a nervous breakdown on more than one occasion and of course, my being over stressed has caused me to be short tempered with difficult child and makes a meltdown worse.

    Admit to yourself and to husband and anyone else that you can't do it all. My husband will do anything I ask him to do but usually I have to ask. Men are not always so perceptive. Is husband home and available to share the burden of homework? I agree with what others have said about modifying homework. There should be a limit to how much time you spend on it. Is it possible that the tutor could work with difficult child on the HW?

    I know you mentioned that you recently found a new job and I certainly understand that two working parents is often a necessity. husband and I both worked for many years and thought that we needed both incomes. After finally deciding that school was a disaster and if difficult child was going to learn academics, I would have to home school him. We made the financial sacrafices necessary to quit my job and teach difficult child at home. This was done primarily for difficult child's benefit but it has been wonderful for me. I love not having the burden of a job, not worrying about taking off work to take difficult child to the various doctors and thearapists, letting the grocery shopping go until tomorrow if it has been a tough day, it has done wonders for my sanity. I know that this is not always an option but raising a difficult child is a full time job so if it is at all poossible, consider it.

    Good luck to you. I hope things look up soon.
  7. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    Thank you all for you postings.

    My husband is a wonderful man in many ways but he basically refuses to help with any homework. I think husband is so tired of dealing with difficult child he bascially works 50-70 hours a week and offers very little support. Honestly, it is better sometimes because he does not agree with how I handle difficult child and we usually end up arguing which only adds to my stress.

    I am scared to modify homework because difficult child is SOOOO far behind where he should be for his age. I am scared if I modify the work he will only be that much further behind.

    The good news is the job I now have allows me to work from home and basically take time off as I need to. The really BAD news is that it is commission only and I use to be the major bread winner.

    I know that almost everyone on the board understands this...but I honestly am so overwhelmed I barely make it through the day. I am not sure medication will help because it does not change my situation.

    and most of all...I feel bad for difficult child and the daily struggles he endures and I can not fix it for him....

    I appreciate everyone who posted...it makes me feel not so alone. No one understands unless you have a difficult child...

    Thanks everyone.
  8. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    I too think if the homework is taking up that much of your time, it's time to look at modifying it. It doesn't necessarily mean he will fall behind. You could work with the teachers to figure out how to give him homework to prove he understands the material, but that he can do in the proper time frame for homework. I would think an hour or two is max for homework. I don't know how teachers think, but any longer than that and my difficult child would lose it and it's not worth it.

    I used to lose it all the time, still do occasionally, but I've come to mostly just refuse to engage. I've found just talking in a calm voice and refusing to get into it works with my difficult child. He was doing something to be annoying 2 days ago, and I asked he to stop. He said "why"..."because it's annoying" and he just went "ok" and sat down. I just looked at him and said "you just like to push my buttons don't you" and he got this little grin and said "yes". Do they do it for attention, just to know they can, make you lose it just like they feel they're losing it -- I don't know. But he admitted sometimes it's on purpose. ARGH.
  9. Tryinghard,

    I am so sorry that you are caught up in this pressure cooker situation. While my situation has certainly not been exactly the same - it is similar. My difficult child has a physical disability as well as a developmental disability. It really complicates things.

    I noticed that your difficult child is 12. Is he in middle school? I don't mind saying that middle school was a real nightmare for us. We had all of the difficult child issues layered on top of our difficult child's adjustment to his physical disability, becoming a teenager- whew! I would never relive that scenario. However, there is one big thing that I would handle differently if I could "do it over". I felt it was my responsibility that difficult child do well in school at that time. husband did not feel that it was his responsbility or my responsibility. We differed in that area.

    difficult child and I spent many frustrating hours haggling over school work. Honestly, at this point, I think that husband was correct about this. difficult child really needed to face the natural consequences of his behavior. I think that we would be at a better place now, if we had let the chips fall where they would. I'm not saying that I would have pulled away totally - just that I would have offered assistance and stepped away if difficult child didn't want it. I now realize that I can never "make it right" for him. He's going to have to walk his own path. That is a very hard lesson for me, one that I am still incorporating.

    Our difficult child never really meant to frustrate me, he doesn't want to now. He is just being himself. That is another lesson that I am still incorporating. Now, if I find myself reaching that "breaking point" I go outside to my garden. I either work in the garden or just sit still and enjoy the fruits of my former labors. This is something that I can "make beautiful" ,and besides, it is beautiful on its own merits. I can cast away my fears that I am not doing "enough" or missing something "really important".

    I hope that you can incorporate some peaceful moments into your day! I'm sending forth prayers and gentle hugs for you. Things do change as kids get older and transition to high school. Hang in there...
  10. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    One Day,

    Thank you for sharing. Your words did bring me comfort.

    I am so scared to let him try and do it on his own..because...he won't. School is so overwhelming for him now..if he sees no positives I am afraid it will get worse and he will completely shut down.

    He has an IEP but honestly I have never felt the teachers or anyone at the school care. My son appears "normal" so they all believe he is just being lazy and can do it if he wants. I asked him last night what he thought about school. He said he did not like it. I asked why and he said, "Most of the time I do not understand what the teacher teaching. I forgot so much it is hard".

    So, that means that I (and the tutor) end up teaching him "one on one" the concepts of the day in almost every class. He is frustrated and so are we.

    So my fear is if I stop...he will not learn and thing and will fail.

    Yes I have brought this up to the school..they just give me a blank stare and tell me that he is lazy and he wants to have to do the work and learn. I tell them that of course if it is hard he struggles and doesn't want to try. Poor kid..every day he sits in the class and struggles for six hours. Who would want to do that!

    I do not know..I am afraid that without an instruction manual for him (gosh I wish he came with one) I do not know what I am doing wrong and what I am doing right.

    I guess I feel that if I give 1000% to him and he fails..I least I can look myself in the mirror and say I did my best. If I do not give 1000% and he fails...I will feel guilt for the rest of my life.

    My stepsons mom did not help him very much. She felt it was his responsiblity. He is now 26 and struggles to find a job and function because of his lack of learning. He has learning disabilities too. I could not live with myself if my son is like this and i did not feel I did everything I could to help.

    Does this make sense to anyone else...or I am just taking this too far?

    I am sorry to go on and on..but I only feel that the people on this board understand. No one else does...
  11. Trying Hard,

    I hear you, and understand your concerns. It sounds like our difficult children differ in that our difficult child picked and chose what he wanted ,and did not want to do. It sounds like your difficult child truly wants to do it all, but is frustrated in his efforts. In that case, it really sounds like the school is not meeting his needs . Has the school system conducted an evaluation of difficult child? Does he have any learning disabilities?

    If they haven't done this, that needs to be at the head of the list for the next school year. He may need to be moved into different classes with a different teaching style. difficult child needs to be able to perform his work as independently as possible.

    Our difficult child has encountered that same observation by school personnel - he looks "normal" and on a good day he is quite "with it" - so he must just be lazy... We had the school evaluation completed but it was not adequate - so we dug deep and purchased our own. It has made a big difference for difficult child.

    I hope that you can get the school district to cooperate with you, it definitely takes persistence...
  12. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    Yes, they have tested him in first grade (when he first qualified for ISP) then again in fourth grade. According to his paperwork he has no official learning disabilities. He qualified because his "performance in class does not match his potential". I asked how they measured this. They said his performance does not match his IQ.

    What type of testing did you get done from outside the school district?

    I am thinking of hiring an advocate for next year and trying to get some testing done over the summer. I am just not sure what to do.

    I appreciate any advice.
  13. tryinghard,

    I highly recommend an advocate! That's something else that I would have done differently. I tried to carry the load by myself and there was so much that I just didn't know about. Trust me, the school district unfortunately wasn't about to share...

    We had a complete neuropsychological evaluation done. It was very comprehensive and took 3 visits to complete - but it has been worth its weight in gold. The school district has not been happy with accepting the evaluation and its recommendations but they have had to do so. Interestingly enough the school district head of Special Education recommended the neuropsychologist to me after I met with him and difficult child's principal out of sheer desperation. I don't think he was really expecting this type of outcome, but he did save the school district a lot of money by suggesting that we do this ourselves. I do have mixed feelings about that.

    I found a listing of local special education advocates on the Wrightslaw website. I'm sure they would have listings for your area. I don't know if you have a Parent to Parent group in your area. They are very helpful as well. Some advocates are attorneys and some are not. Our neuropsychologist will also attend IEP and 504 meetings as well. The person who does your testing may also do this. You can probably find lots of info from the experts on the Special Education Board here. I think you have a plan that could help next year to be a little easier for you both.
  14. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    Thank you so much for your great advice...I really appreciate it!
  15. happymomof2

    happymomof2 New Member

    It makes perfect sense, but we aren't perfect. I bash myself more than I should about things I do/don't do for both my kids. Guilt - guess it's a mom thing.

    Hubby says I do too much for them. Maybe I do. I love my kids and want them to grow up to be productive decent citizens.

    No one else is going to look out for our kids but us. We do need to guard against total burn out. I know when I get to feeling like I can't do any more and just want to give up trying, I tend to tell them yes to something when it should be no.

    Do something just for you, even if it's taking a small walk, reading a few pages of a book or magazine you enjoy just a few minutes for you. That helps me - sometimes!!
  16. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    It makes me so angry to hear that when you go to the school for help they are saying "he is just lazy and doesn't want to do the work". what a cop out! I see that translated as "we (the school) are lazy and we don't want to put forth an effort to help you". Does your son recieve any in class services or one on one time at school? I had to request this in our IEP a few years ago and it really helps difficult child. Especially if he is having a hard time with math or something. I communicate that to the spec. ed lady and when she has him a few days a week for an hour or two, she will help him with that.
    I would contact the Special Education director at your school and ask for suggestions from her/him.
    Oh, and also, we have had an advocate since difficult child was in kindergarden. Alot of them are free, I was surprised to find that out. They are a huge help with suggestions and ideas and they will make the school accountable.
  17. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If he has severe learning disabilities then you NEED it documented for the school to provide the proper supports.

    Trust me when I tell you that school will only get worse if he is not being taught during class. If he gets used to being retaught by the tutor later in the day - the class time will eventually become a time for acting out. He will be so frustrated at not getting things, he will tune out. Well, I guess that is not a guarantee, but it does seem to be the natural progression for a lot of our kids.

    Homework battles are not fun. My difficult child and I ended up in tears most nights.

    Ask the teach how long it should take him to finish on average and if it is taking longer, have him stop and enjoy some play time. If the teacher sees things are not getting finished she will be more apt to agree to difficult child needing help.

    As for the title of your post. This took me way to long to learn. It is OK to walk away, tell difficult child that you will be taking a break or just ignore him. It is OK. It is part of parenting. You will be teaching him how to handle his own anger with his own children some day. Hopefully, he will be able to learn from it now and use your tools in the same respectful way now. He should be able to recognize his anger is getting out of control and know what to do in that situation. Taking a 10 minute break is a good tool to have.
  18. fosterparent

    fosterparent New Member

    Big hugs for you. I have twin 11 year old g'sfg with learning disabilities (speech issues, dyslexia, dysgraphia, as well as ADHD/Mood Disorder and ADD, respectively). I used to spend hours every evening "doing" homework. It got so bad that they were bringing the papers to me and going to get a snack waiting for me to do it. It was a huge source of frustration for all of us. My husband (even though a lot better in math) just didn't do homework. His philosphy was it is their homework and their responsibility. So-- I finally put the responsibility of "doing" homework on them. They are allowed 1-1/2 hours per evening. After that, they've pretty much lost the focus and it's impossible anyway. I've explained to their teachers my rules and my reasons. That is the way it is. I of course look it over and yes sometimes on really bad days, they have been at it for 40 minutes and may have just their name and date on the page, but they have to go to school and explain why that homework was not done. I have and do explain pretty much on a daily basis how important education is if you want to do anything in life. They also know that even if they don't immediately tackle homework when they get home from school, there is no tv, no outside, no video games, etc. until the homework is done or at least attempted. You have to pick your battles to keep your sanity. Please know you are NOT alone.