What works for you? Help with lying/manipulative teen needed.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TargetPractice, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. TargetPractice

    TargetPractice Fakin' it 'til I make it!

    Hello, everyone!
    I've been lurking here a little, and have to say I love how supportive everyone is. I was hoping to find some tips from some of you to help with my 14 year old son.
    He is the oldest of 3, and there is definitely disturbance in his early childhood, divorce, moves and continued problems related to their father, who was and is an emotional abuser (his communication skills include deflect, gaslight and steamroll). He is diagnosed with moderate childhood onset conduct disorder, 6 months ago, and has continuously been diagnosed with adjustment disorder since the age of 6. The most recent evaluating Dr's believe the adjustment disorder is ongoing because of continued inconsistency and conflict surrounding their father being a trigger. He is not prescribed any medications.
    My son is in counseling, with limited success. We have made several changes at the suggestion of the counselor, but it seems the calmer and more reasonable we are, the angrier and more hostile he gets. He has a history of violence towards me and his siblings, which we curbed by threatening to involve the police if he put his hands on us again. He lies about doing homework and chores, and gets angry when called on the lies. The main problem is the storytelling. He routinely makes up horrific stories to try and punish us for the slightest correction. He tells people he's been hit, cursed at, whatever he thinks will gain him sympathy. It's tearing our family apart. I know for a fact that this boy hates me and wants to have a negative feeling associated with me. He will not talk to me or answer when I talk except when he wants something, or wants someone to listen to him talk, never about anything "deep, usually just what he did in PE or something. He will sometimes talk to my husband, the only honorable father figure he has. Then he gets all put out if he has to wait because someone else already has my attention (I work like the DMV, take a number and get in line, first come, first serve to be fair) and will say I ignore him. He is horrible at social cues, and often kills conversations trying to join them, so I know school is hard for him too, especially since he views teachers who expect him to show up prepared and do his work as "mean" or "hard". He just started hs, and I've already had an email about him being disruptive in class and not doing his work. He has currently been ignoring a long term assignment for nearly 3 weeks because he chose a book that is ill suited to the project. He seems to be at his happiest when he has made someone else hurt. I'm getting ready to give up and send the boy to his father's to live, even though I know he will only get worse under his father's care, because his father does all the exact same things and will not even consider the possibility that there is a problem. I know this would not be best for him, but the way he treats us is not good for the rest of us. I struggle every day to choose to love him, but I'm afraid my feelings sometimes show, in a sigh when he speaks for example, or an impatient answer when I'm irritated with him.

    How do you deal with teens who lie or manipulate to hurt and attack, and maybe, more importantly, how do you deal with your own feelings of hurt and resentment your teen's behavior brings?
     
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Target Practice. Glad you found us but sorry you needed to.

    How do I deal with my own feelings of hurt and resentment from my son. It's hard. My son will put me down, yell at me, etc... (it's much better than in the past) and used to be violent as well. I choose to be sure I am taking care of myself: for me that means exercising, reading, spending time with friends and alone time with my husband. This allows me to be in better form when dealing with him. I remind myself that he has a disability that is not his fault (this does not mean we don't hold him accountable for his actions). I also focus in on his good points. He has an incredible sense of humor and makes me laugh and he has shown so much progress that I focus on those things. Also I tend to try to tune it out as much as possible. I think I am only able to do this since it has gone on since I was a kid. It still hurts but I pull on my rhino skin and try to let most of it roll off.

    Sending gentle hugs your way.
     
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  3. TargetPractice

    TargetPractice Fakin' it 'til I make it!

    Thanks for the reply, Wiped Out. I try my best to take care of myself, which can be a challenge due to my fibromyalgia, which the kids don't know about because their father would use it against me (unfortunately, stress, and therefore my son, is a major pain trigger for me--another reason I struggle with resentment). His good qualities....we try, we even create foolproof opportunities for him to succeed, but haven't found his special niche yet. We're still trying. His most engaging qualities are never visible anymore, he is all anger, defiance and arrogance. We all walk on eggshells, especially if we have to ask him to do something or discipline him. I've recently added writing out my negative feelings and reactions so they can get out of me in a safe way to my usual coping strategies. The hardest thing is getting through those days when he's in full defiant, manipulative form. Those are the days all I want to do is let the brutally honest truth about the effects of his behavior fly free, and frustration with the fact that I cannot assert my basic human right not to be abused in my own home. Those are the days I struggle the most. He gets to hurt, and I get to take it without being able to protect myself. I feel like so much is bottled up. I have talked to my AMAZING husband, and to a therapist, but they're not the ones who have hurt me, or can do anything to change it. Only the boy can, and we have talked to him about empathy and respect. He feels that if someone is hurt by his words or actions, that its their fault for feeling hurt, not his for engaging in cruel behavior. His counselor said he will only change if he decides to since his disorder is purely behavioral, so I feel like I'm stuck. If I could afford it and if I thought there was a snowball's chance his bio dad would agree, I'd send him to one of those behavioral boys' ranches, hoping it would help him, but knowing that the rest of us would have a chance to heal. I'm afraid he'll never change. His father is exactly the same, so is father's mother, and her mother before her. They can all turn on the charm when they want to, so I wasn't aware I had gotten myself in with a nest of abusers until it was too late. I find myself wanting to give up on him frequently. Right now, he's on a video game because that's all he wants to do and its the only time he's too busy to antagonize everyone.
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You could take away her electronics if you don't like her behavior. Also allowance.
     
  5. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    Go to a parenting class. Your local school counselor should know when/where these are in your area. Other parents there can give you tons of support and ideas!

    Then also try a "time in". That is if he breaks a rule (post family rules*), make him spend time with you and follow you around. Time outs tend to reward them as they can go in their room and cause trouble when no one is watching. A "time in" can wreck their day! (Good boys get to do fun things, naughty boys get to follow mom around!)

    *search google.com for family rules for examples.
     
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  6. Go slow mama

    Go slow mama Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum, I am new here too.

    Reading your story reflects a lot of my own story, my son is now 17 but when he was 14/15 we had the issue with anger and aggression that he directed mostly at me. I did curb the aggression by consistently calling the police and child welfare. Sadly, although he is no longer violent we've moved on to other challenging behaviours. I hear you when you say it's hard to choose to love them; difficult to admit but also fair when you're being emotionally/physically abused. I won't offer advice, it's a learning curve for all of us. Just know that you are not alone and you do not deserve to be treated this way.
     
  7. TargetPractice

    TargetPractice Fakin' it 'til I make it!

    Thanks to all for the support and ideas. I will try the "time-in", as I have not tried that yet, even though the idea makes me very nervous because of the way he lashes out, maybe have his stepdad do it since boy lashes out at me mainly, the others less often. We usually do go for the time out because of his temper, it became sort of a go-to since he cannot be around people without antagonizing them. He does not earn an allowance, his counselor agreed that since he does not have an age-appropriate level of responsibility in the household (his only non self-care chore is taking out the kitchen trash; we cut his other chore of dusting the living room once a week because he claimed the "expectations were too high" when he had another chore) that an allowance is neither earned or appropriate for him. We do remove privileges/ground him, but with caution, and only if its worth a fight because he will go to his bio dad and tell a wild story exaggerating the discipline and denying any wrongdoing. His father swallows it hook line and sinker, and in turn will freak out on me, threatening to go to court and cursing at me. He refuses to believe that my son could ever misbehave or lie, and definitely doesn't accept his conduct disorder diagnosis so I must be a monster. So any discipline I try is directly and deliberately undermined, and my son has learned that he can hurt me by unleashing his father as well. He smiles while his father yells at me. All the kids tell me their father said he hates me, among other things. Otherwise, he will make up stories about his home life at school, because he has learned that that gets cps called. He's already done it once this year, and did it 5 or 6 times last year. Never any findings, of course, but still a stressful situation to say the least, and it drags his siblings into it (he also lies to them about me)! Sometimes I almost hope they'll take him so it'll be over. He has stopped being physically violent for now, because of threats to involve the police, but his behavior has shown itself to be cyclical, so its only a matter of time. Next time, I will live up to my promise and report him. And I will be asking his counselor about next step options, because I'm no longer willing to allow this in my home, or to allow it to continue harming my health. Its time for boy to decide whether he wants to improve his relationships and be part of this family or not.

    I hear you when you say it's hard to choose to love them; difficult to admit but also fair when you're being emotionally/physically abused. I won't offer advice, it's a learning curve for all of us. Just know that you are not alone and you do not deserve to be treated this way.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks, Thea, this made me tear up *hug*
     
  8. Go slow mama

    Go slow mama Member

    I can empathize with your situation so clearly. Some part of me wishes I had given up custody to child welfare when I still had that option, here in Canada that's under 16. Now, without child welfare as a possibility I am without resources. I wish I could tell you that it gets better, my son also has the conduct disorder diagnosis. All I do know is that they keep us afraid, afraid OF THEM and afraid FOR THEM. And when in a place of fear we are paralyzed and disempowered. I don't have any answers, but do listen to your instincts, do not self doubt, do call upon your resources for support and do not feel self blame. I am with you here and this forum will continue to offer you support and comfort. I wish you courage, love and conviction in your journey.
     
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  9. TargetPractice

    TargetPractice Fakin' it 'til I make it!

    Knowing I'm not alone helps, sometimes it feels like mine is the only family going through this, and most days its all we can do to just batten the hatches and weather the storm. I will still get up each day and choose to love him, I will do everything I can to keep everyone (including him) safe from his behavior, and I will do everything I can to show him a better way. I have the best husband I could ever hope for, and he is always willing to try with the boy when I either can't get through or just feel overwhelmed and need to step away. Planning to visit a Dr for myself soon as well, the stress has been feeling more like full blown anxiety for a while now, and I think maybe I need to help me a little to help him.

    Thanks, everyone for your thoughtfulness and compassion.
     
  10. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    With what you said about the dad... I would now say something different. That is if he pulls any more stunts like turning his dad against you, then he can go live with his dad! Period!

    Anything you do, even if it is the "right stuff", simply will not work with dad undermining your efforts!
     
  11. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    In addition to taking away his electronics have you thought, instead, of making him "earn" his screen time through appropriate behavior and chores?

    Like dusting, for instance. If he dusts the living room to your standards her earns 15 minutes of screen time. If he completes his homework without prompting her earns 15 minutes per assignment.

    If he talks back, he loses 15 minutes. etc.

    Personally, I don't think time out as a punishment works much past kindergarten or so. After that you have to find their "currency" so to speak.
     
  12. TargetPractice

    TargetPractice Fakin' it 'til I make it!

    We do something a little more general with the screen time. In our house, its not even an option until all chores and homework are done, and we don't really have a time limit. Other than boy, they usually keep it reasonable on their own. It can be lost for the day for backtalk/defiance/bullying etc. as well. The screen is probably his number one, but he also hates bedtime, so if he's already lost the screen I make bedtime earlier by 10 minute intervals (I do these things with all the kids, my gut says it would just be more confusing if he had a different set of rules. He already has expressed feelings that his sibs are favored because he gets disciplined more often than they do (they do not have any serious behavioral issues--typical kid stuff here and there, so they require less correction). Those are his biggies, but he fails to see his behavior as a problem, so any and all consequences are unjust in his eyes.

    Our time outs are not so much a disciplinary consequence as a cool-down period. Once he gets angry, there is no chance of reasoning with him until he calms down. Once that has happened we talk and he can either correct himself or have a consequence.

    I also try to find tempting "carrots" to dangle in front of him. Before school started this year he asked if he could start bringing an mp3 player to school for the bus. Since he was starting hs, I agreed, on the condition that the privilege would be gone the first time I heard from the school about any problems with him. He understood and agreed. I hoped it would motivate him to do right at school at least. Unfortunately, he has already lost his mp3 player. Money doesn't matter to him, the prospect of a guys night with his stepdad, who he actively likes and somewhat listens to, didn't do it. He wants to play baseball this spring. I agreed on the condition that he spends the year until then showing me he can handle the responsibilities he already has and maintain good grades. Even that and he's already slipping in 3 core classes. Not due to difficulty, just not doing assignments, many that were supposed to be done during class. He insists he's trying. He seems to really believe he is trying.

    I have, many times, wanted to throw my hands in the air and send boy to his dad's, Praecepta. Problem is, that's what he thinks he wants. Dad has been grooming boy to think he wants that by letting him do whatever he wants, use language, watch inappropriate movies while subtly bashing me. It's not so much that boy turns his dad against me. His dad was already against me, has always actively worked against me and will believe any wild story boy tells him without question. Boy has figured this out and just uses his dad's hatred of me to his advantage. Its not a good environment, for many reasons, or I may well have already sent him. His dad admits he's "relaxed", but claims he would be different if he wasn't just a weekend dad. I managed not to laugh in his face, maturity points to me! So if I put that out there as a potential consequence, he will put all his energy into achieving just that. I'd like to avoid sending him there also in the hope that he can still change his behavior. With his dad, that will not happen. I'm as concerned about the man boy will become as I am about the boy he is now. That's my last resort option for him.

    For now, I'll keep watching for "currency" and digging carrots. There's got to be SOMETHING that matters to him
     
  13. MommaK

    MommaK Member

    My 14 year old daughter is very similar. I wish I had answers for you, but we still haven't figured out how to handle things in our home. Just know you are not alone.
     
  14. My son had conduct disorder. He has graduated to antisocial personality disorder, unfortunately, since he is now 18. As a parent of someone whose brain is not wired to feel guilt, remorse, or to be able to imagine how others may view things, discipline was very difficult, since punishments were meaningless. They didn't make him feel bad, but were instead something to just wait out. We had to device a structured system for him that involved rewards only.

    So...no "if you do X you will be grounded/lose privileges/have to chores." That never worked for him.

    But instead, "If you do X, you will be able to have TV time tonight/go for ice cream on Friday/rent a video."
    We drew a hard line of absolutes for a few particular behaviors that were extreme (our son's were extreme and involved child pornography), but he knew these hard lines in advance. If you do ___, I guarantee that _____will happen as a result and you won't like it.
    The problem with that is he eventually began to measure if the consequence was worth the infraction, and it often was.
    We also didn't deal with any kind of attacks or violence, either physical or emotional. Our son is very chill, strangely.

    Counseling NEVER WORKED FOR HIM. My son, despite his low IQ, was able to manipulate every counselor into thinking he was doing better, and had made changes at home, etc. He used sessions to feel good short-term (like a day or two) because he loved talking about his problems and hearing his counselors talk about him, but he would never do any of the work it required.

    At the risk of becoming co-dependent and protecting him from natural consequences for very bad behavior, you might have to think about when you are going to draw a line for your own and your family's safety. Sometimes the natural consequence is the only thing that will help. For example...if violence becomes an issue again, call the cops. Your son can deal with the consequences.

    Something else I did -- and this will speak to how I handle my feelings about our very, very difficult child-- is I have pretty much divested. I kind of treat him like a patient at this point. I am kind. Loving. Attentive. Emotionally distant. When he does something bad, I no longer have emotions about it.

    If something is going on, I mostly respond with logic, like it's a problem to be solved at work. I treat him like a client. "Ok, so you stole an electronic device from a relative and hooked it up to our WiFi and downloaded child porn again, even though federal agents can literally bust in our door at any moment because WE ARE ON A LIST...okay. I will log it in behavior log I keep, so when the cops come, my husband won't be the one going to jail."

    When my son downloaded child porn at school and the school called me, I told them to call the police. I would meet them and discuss it only when the police were there. I then invited them to press charges. My own health, which has been fragile ( heart surgery in this year), is not worth damaging for a child who will never change.

    All kids are born on their own trajectory, and some won't accept our steering or guidance, sadly.
    I cry about this at night sometimes, but I don't let it get to me from day-to-day if I can help it. I treat it like a job. My son did not ask to be born with the brain damage he has. I must treat him with compassion. He is not happy that he is a sociopath. He wants to be like everyone else, so this is very, very sad. Still, I can't coddle him, and I can't get angry at him for his behavior because it has never changed, no matter our herculean efforts, and the older he gets (now 18) the more we realize it is truly a brain disorder, and not a behavior choice, in our case.

    I guess if you can get to a place where you don't have to react emotionally to his behaviors, you will have more energy to protect your other kids, and he can still get the support he needs from you, but it won't drain you to death.
    Don't let him go to his dad right now if you guys are the only ones fighting for him.
    Best to you. Stay in touch.
     
  15. TargetPractice

    TargetPractice Fakin' it 'til I make it!

    Otto, thanks for sharing your story and your ideas. While his IQ is in the upper half of the average range overall, his logic/reasoning categorical score is barely in average range. He is capable of learning facts, but struggles to put facts together to form a conclusion, idea or solution. My son doesn't seem to understand that the things he does are wrong, or why they're wrong, and shows no remorse or desire to improve himself. Whether that's because of poor reasoning skills or because he sees his bio dad acting the exact same way and is validated by that I may never know.

    Consequences don't really matter to him, he usually sulks, sometimes retaliates with more bad behavior. We have tried rewards, with pretty much the same results. He will know and claim to want the reward, do well initially, but ultimately fail to earn the full reward (we acknowledge any sign of effort, even if the end result is failure). Then he is resentful and hostile because he feels he should get the reward whether he earned it or not. Above, I told about how he wanted to play baseball in the spring, and how I was going to allow it if he made responsible choices until then. He did well the first few days of school, then fell into his usual habits. I reminded him that baseball would be off the table if it continued. A few weeks later, he announces he doesn't want the play baseball anyway, because freshmen mostly sit on the bench while older more experienced players get most of the playing time. So he is failing one class and close to failing two more. He's unwilling or incapable of putting in the effort to achieve or earn what he wants. The moment something gets difficult or uninteresting, he stops trying, and his expectations regarding rewards are unrealistic, so if he does earn a reward or experience a positive result, he feels it wasn't worth his effort.

    I'd love to be more detached, the stress is definitely affecting my health. Any advice on how to get to that place? I'll think I've done it, only to be set spinning the next time he acts out.
     
  16. "My son doesn't seem to understand that the things he does are wrong, or why they're wrong, and shows no remorse or desire to improve himself. "

    Yep. Totally resonates with me. My son sounds similar. He had to write a letter to the child he sexually offended (offense was by text message, not physical, thank God), and he couldn't complete the letter. He kept getting angry that we (the sexual deviance expert, and myself) wanted him to apologize. He couldn't see where he had done anything wrong. He kept saying that they were texts and he didn't hurt anyone.

    "I told about how he wanted to play baseball in the spring, and how I was going to allow it if he made responsible choices until then."

    I'm wondering if this is too long of a time to expect him to sustain a behavior in order for a reward. Also, "responsible choices" seem to abstract for a kid who struggles to put together conclusions or see abstracts. Not trying to pick on you, just trying to help. I have tried many incentives that have failed and ultimately, for us, simplifying everything into day-to-day management has helped -- both for my son's understanding and ability to sustain a behavior, and for my husband's and my own mental health.

    We admitted my son to psychiatric ward of hospital yesterday. He is hearing voices, has been for some time, but just told us on Friday afternoon. We got him in right away. He has medication reactions and doesn't do well on them, so they are trying some medications out in the hospital where they can monitor him. I went and saw him tonight and it was very difficult to see and had to be ten times worse for him. He was terribly unhappy. I told him the thing I always tell him:

    "We just have to do today today. Tomorrow we do tomorrow." This allows him to not think about tomorrow, and the potential failure he will experience. He can simplify. He just had do do the right thing today, and in some cases... simply get through the day.

    That helps him keep the focus on the immediate.

    I don't have any advice on how to get to a detatched place. It may sound alarming to some people. I mean, I am his mother, but it's something that I felt I had to do. My husband and I talked about this tonight. We both sometimes feel terribly detached, like we are workers in a hospital unit or something and we worry about it, and worry that we are bad people, but we decided that it is healthy, and self-preserving. If we got upset over his behaviors instead of handling his behaviors, then we would be upset all the time, and he would still have the behaviors.

    I don't think we made a decision as much as we did evolve...

    We have 5 kids. 2 of them are very similar....you just have to look at them funny, or tell them that they disappointed us, and it would break them down...it wrecked them to know that and our disapproval was enough incentive to make them strive to be better in some ways. Some kids don't respond to that. Two of our other kids are also similar to each other in nature. If we said we were disappointed in them, they would say," Oh yeah? Tell me the ways you are disappointed, and we can debate the merit of your feelings..." LOL. Totally different kids. They would rationalize us to pieces, and got value from intellectual discourse and analysis. It was tiring. If we tried that on the other two kids, they would have zoned out to where time was wasted.

    Our last kid...our Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) kid, none of that mattered because he cannot connect to the emotions we were having, so we stopped exhibiting the emotions. Once we stopped exhibiting the emotions, we realized that we could function without anger, disappointment, etc. some of the time. We just told him what he needed to do, or what was wrong, and we listened to his end of things, because this is a child we are trying to encourage to share feelings.

    Of course, some of the time it still gets to us terribly. We are not robots, but our way of communicating with him changed to be very logical, matter-of-fact, no guilting, no real emotion. Just real straight shooting. It took a long time to get there, but it is better for us. He also has Asperger's, by the way, so this helps him very much to keep things simple with the emotions.

    It takes time. Also, I don't know how to handle some of the particular difficulties you are having, as our son is pretty passive, low energy, and, sadly, also not bright, so he can't really rationalize, can't process quickly, and doesn't often connect things. I do think you have to find a place where his manipulation doesn't affect you, and doesn't get a reaction out of you. I'm not saying be so flat you are not responsive. That is mean. I'm saying don't let him see that he is getting to you emotionally. Storytelling for effect is manipulative. So is appearing to change his mind about baseball.
    I think natural consequences is best. If he is failing class, let him fail. He can repeat the grade. If you are reminding him, giving him the academic support he needs in and out of school, and he chooses to not work, it's okay. Ninth grade might be more fun the second time around. DOCUMENT ALL THAT YOU DO TO SUPPORT HIM AT HOME with a log, so no one (school or ex) can say you are not supporting him. Ex: "Tuesday, November 4, during homework time, he refused to sit down at table during homework time/refused to show me his planner, etc." Don't tell him you are keeping log, just do it quietly.
    If it gets bad enough to where things are breaking down, then perhaps the school will step in with an EBD placement for him, or some more support.

    Does he respond to logical talking? Like legit logical talking (that is not a lecture )when he is calm?
     
  17. TargetPractice

    TargetPractice Fakin' it 'til I make it!

    Don't worry, I didn't take anything you said offensively, you've been very helpful. :)

    "He couldn't see where he had done anything wrong. He kept saying they were texts and he didn't hurt anyone."

    ^^^This. Except his favorite response is "it was a joke, I didn't intend it to be mean." Ever since we asked him why he smiled and seemed to enjoy the hurt reactions to his words. Its terrifying to watch him, the more upset his target becomes, the bigger, colder and harder his smile becomes. Its a villain smile.

    I was not as clear as I could have been about the baseball. The actual expectation was that he maintain his grades above the academic eligibility for sports cutoff, the logic being if he could buckle down and do his schoolwork (something we've struggled with for 7 years now), maybe he could handle the added responsibility and commitment of a sport.

    Keeping the log is a goods idea, I'll start right away!

    It is amazing how kids in the same household can be so different! My oldest, well, I haven't found his kryptonite yet, but still trying. Unfortunately, logic doesn't work well with him. An example of a typical exchange:

    Me: Your dad texted. He can't do your visit tonight.
    Boy: So basically, you're not letting him have the visit.
    Me: No. The time is available for him. He is unable to do it today.
    Boy: But its fair to say that you're not letting him because he can't.
    Me: No. I have no control over your father's schedule.
    He is the only one in control of that. I had no hand in him being unavailable today.
    It continues, but just goes round and round.
    My youngest responds really well to positive reinforcement, basic praise when he does well, doesn't really even need tangible rewards. He's a pretty well-behaved kid and a straight-A student. Middle likes to negotiate, and has strong logic skills. She responds better to tangible rewards-a small gift or special privilege or activity. Once her logic is satisfied, she is also pretty well-behaved, and is also a good student. Both youngest and middle are willing to put in the effort to earn the reward and succeed in doing so often. This may be an issue for oldest, because he sees them getting more positive reinforcement. I've explained to him that he can earn the same things by (insert examples of ways he could earn a reward). He chooses instead to view it as favoritism. He cannot handle admitting a mistake or apologizing, yet self-rates his own self esteem and confidence as very high. It doesn't help that youngest has announced that he's trying to be better than oldest, because oldest is mean to him. He and middle often stick up for each other when he's targeting one of them, so he probably thinks they're ganging up on him. Sometimes they do, and I have to discipline them while secretly completely empathizing with their reasons for doing it.

    It's long been decided in my house that the goal is to survive this child until he launches (probably not to college; he says he refuses to continue past hs and his grades will limit his options even if he changes his mind later. He is aware that his grades now will be part of his hs transcript, and colleges look at them to help decide who gets in and who doesn't. He doesn't care).

    I understand what you're saying about the detachment, it's not so much a withholding of love, affection or positivity, but a refusal to allow yourself to be affected a certain way by certain behaviors, refusing to let that in. That doesn't sound terrible at all. And, like your son, whether I'm calm and logical or emotionally reactive, he will still have the behaviors. I want to handle my son's behaviors, and support him, without constantly feeling hurt, upset, angry, etc. I currently walk away or have my husband take over when that happens, but I find myself doing that a lot. I'll keep going through, "do today today"--I like that, by the way--and maybe with time I'll evolve, too.

    Thank you so much for sharing, so much insight and things to think about! All the best to you and your family, your kids have great parents!
     
  18. Hmmm....a few things... first I see a typo in my post and I can't find an edit button. I put in "Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)" abbreviation, and I meant it as antisocial personality disorder, not auditory processing disorder ( though my son does have that, too, actually). I think a program automatically changed it or something. I hope it comes out correctly.

    Second, sorry for misunderstanding the depth and breadth of the baseball thing. I know you know what you are doing.

    When you say logic doesn't work well, I wonder if it would help if things were in writing. One of our other kids was pretty tough...one of the negotiators. She is extremely bright. Her IQ was measured once at 146. Very into the battle, especially when she was young teen. Very into justice. Now she is going to be a lawyer, so she can sic herself on the world in the name of injustice and she won't send that energy our way anymore, lol. Those guys on death row are going to get some good representation.

    When she was 11-15, exchanges sounded like the example you gave. She got so emotional, and she was an angry kid, so her emotions clouded her ability to think through things. So I put things in writing. She liked contracts (surprise!). Then if something went wrong, and she tried to blame me for it, I could pull out the contract and say, "See...you agreed to do this, and you agreed to not be mad at me for any of the results of your action." IT REALLY HELPED, because she could read what she agreed to and it stopped her focus from lashing out and trying to hurt me. We had divorce issues, too, and this child got hit hard by it. My devoted hubby is my kids' stepdad.

    What if you tried writing and proof? You need to stop the round and round. That is a death spiral and never works with kids who like to make you feel bad. You can say something like:

    Me: Dad texted. He can't do your visit tonight.
    Boy: So basically, you're not letting him have the visit.
    Me: No. Not at all. I like when you have time with him. I want that for you. Here read our text exchange (assuming he won't try to grab phone or throw it or whatever).
    Boy: But its fair to say that you're not letting him because he can't.
    Me: No, that's not fair to say that. I'm going to say this one more time because it seems like you are not hearing me, and I'm going to write it down for you to read, because I won't fight with you anymore about it, and you don't get to try and hurt me. Your father told me he can't see you tonight.

    That might be a crap example and what the hell do I know what will work for your family, lol. It's just something that worked for us with my hot-headed kid.

    Show him the proof. Type out the exchange if needed. Give him a copy to read when he cools down. You have to shut down his attempts to hurt you because that's where his power lies right now.

    It's so hard. You are a good parent, doing a nearly impossible job. It will help this child launch more successfully and not be an :censored2: to the world (a title we once jokingly gave my daughter and she loved it!) if he can listen through a time when he gets bad news and doesn't try to hurt someone. He will be able to keep jobs and roommates better if he gets that skill.
    My daughter did get it. She is much better, but it took lots of laying down the rules, and I think her brain had to mature. She's now 22.

    My mantra was: It's in writing. If you try to hurt me while we are talking, the conversation ends now and won't resume for at least 2 days (This was terrible for my hot-headed daughter because she got pleasure from the fight, and from lashing out).

    Oy. Hang in.
     
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Kids like these do not normally respond to logic and dispute proof. I think the best response is not to try. Those are moments of your life you can't get back ;)

    You: Your father can't see you today.

    Son: Which means you won't let him.

    You: Love you. Have to go.

    Ignore any further e-mails. Why fuel the fire? Best to put out the flame in my opinion. Trying to get them to admit you make sense won't happen and just gives them more fodder to unjustly attack. in my opinion best to just cut the back and forth down with a few benign words.
     
  20. TargetPractice

    TargetPractice Fakin' it 'til I make it!

    Things regarding his father are especially difficult, boy also has an adjustment disorder which the psychologist believes is actually being re-triggered by the difference in environments and continued hostility towards me from their father every time they have visitation. His father, of course, believes there is no problem, that I "manipulated" the counselor, psychologist and psychiatrist (I must be quite skilled, manipulating all those professionals!). Boy has learned that he can tell his dad anything and, as long as it puts me in a negative light, he'll believe it. He uses this frequently to punish me for disciplining, correcting, or denying him a privilege he hasn't earned. He sees his dad as an ideal, and simply can't accept his dad canceling on him, and therefore not living up to that ideal, so he tries to make it my fault somehow. I refuse to accept that blame.

    I would show him the texts, unfortunately his father is verbally abusive in the way he communicates, and I cannot show a text without something abusive being on the same screen (for some reason, I'm still trying to be somewhat honorable and not undermine their relationship with their dad). I read him the text last time, and while he stopped arguing, he did go the next time and make up a bunch of stories so his dad would lash out at me. I may well be wasting my time explaining and proving, since the result is the same either way.

    I like the idea of a behavior contract. I will do some research and talk to his counselor to make sure its fair, appropriate and has no loopholes (he's a "silence means consent", " ask forgiveness instead of permission" kind of person). I've also considered recording some of his hostile interactions and illogical responses to play back (he will deny everything, even when caught red handed-- he once tried to say his brother bit himself on the back of the shoulder blade to cover up the fact that he actually did it, despite bite marks and the physical impossibility of biting your own shoulder blade) but being proved wrong only makes him retaliate more, and more viciously, while refusing to discuss it further will result in him feeling like he has won, or gotten away with something, and we see the villain smile again. There is literally no approach that leads to acceptance of facts with this kid. Maybe a contract will serve as an inarguable reminder of his obligations and responsibilities as a member of our household, including honesty and respect, and contacted consequences he has previously agreed on. No one to blame but himself if he violates the terms. Also leaves no room for debate.

    I think since I get the same results no matter what, I will stop trying to get him to see facts when he doesn't want to. Something like,"I'm sorry you see it that way" and done. Walk away, refuse to discuss further. He may be one of those people that spends years learning things the hard way before getting it, which is unfortunate for him, and for those of us close to him.

    Thanks for all the ideas to try!
     
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