Why is it we are expected.......

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mstang67chic, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    to take the attitude, disrespect and mouth that we get from our difficult child's just because they are kids? I guess I'm just beyond fed up because of difficult child's attitude and treatment of husband and myself lately but it has me thinking. If that were our husband/wife or SO treating us this way, or even a roomate, we are encouraged and expected to remove either ourselves or the other person from the household as that is verbal abuse. But just because it comes from our kids, we are expected to take it? "Oh, he/she doesn't really mean it.....It's just the *insert diagnosis of choice here* talking....waa waa waa waa waa *insert Charlie Brown sound effect here* If husband treated me (or vice versa) the way difficult child has and for the same amount of time, one of us would have been loooong gone.

    Do I love difficult child? Yes. Do I like him? No, and I haven't for some time now. Nothing we have done in the eight years we have had him has changed his attitude one iota. As he's gotten older, it's just gotten worse and yet we are just supposed to ignore it/don't let it get to us/let it roll off our backs. Why?????
  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I, for one, don't think any of us are expected to just lie down and take it because it's coming from our child. Who do you feel is expecting you to do this?

  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Both my difficult children will tell you that this mother certainly didn't "let it roll off her back". And I never ignored it. Punishment for that type of behavior was always major, and swift. No excuses.

    Mine are both adults now and still wouldn't dare treat me that way, even during a meltdown.

    Just because your child has a mental illness doesn't give them free reign to treat you like garbage. Respect has to be taught.

  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I think it depends on the kid and the age of the kid. Sometimes it is just easier to ignore it as much as possible to keep the peace. I pick my battles. My daughter's words are an irritant but I can live with them.

    If it were a SO speaking to me the way she does at times, he'd be long gone. Why isn't my child? Because she didn't choose to be my child. She had absolutely no say-so in being born nor in being adopted. My SO would have had a choice -- to either treat me the way I deserve to be treated or leave or be kicked to the curb.

    My daughter has learned that since she is an adult, I will no longer tolerate the verbal abuse. She has learned to not use them most of the time because she knows that unless I think she has been provoked, I know where the door is and I won't hesitate to show her where it is. However, before she was 18, I had to tolerate them -- morally and legally.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is one of the issues I think I failed miserably on. I let Cory slide way too much on verbal garbage using the excuse that I was picking my battles. I think I would have been doing him a much greater service demanding respect and no verbal back talk from a young age. Now he treats everyone with disdain.

    He cant hold a job because he cusses like a sailor and doesnt seem to know the appropriate place for it. I have also heard his friends say things to him on the phone about how he talks in front of me and his comeback is that he learned it from ME! HA...well there is probably truth in that in the fact that I allowed it all these years.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I cut mentally ill children slack because I often don't believe they can help it. And they AREN'T adults so they are not responsible for getting their own treatment and learning to fight the demons that make them who they are. I often feel the kids are wrongly diagnosed and medicated by the doctors who are supposed to help them. It's up to us to help our kids or they could end up those abusive spouses/adults that we'd never take anything from. So my take is different. I'm more focused on getting help than the garbage that they don't mean that comes out of their mouths. However, that doesn't mean it needs to go unpunished or that you should put up with it, even though the child likely doesn't mean it and is spouting it out of his own misery. I don't know how much good it does to discipline, but it should certainly be addressed. You can't divorce yourself from a child so, in my opinion, the best route to take is to try to get all the help you can for the kid until he is legal age--THEN it's up to him to get help that will allow him the control to become a more acceptable person. As one who parents took my words too seriously (I was very out-of-control when I'd say things like "I hate you"), we never reconciled, even after I was stable and tried so hard to explain and make it right. My mother refused to think of me as anything except "bad." When she passed, she still hadn't forgiven me for things I had done thirty years prior. She had never met my three youngest children. She didn't mention me in her will (the only reason I cared is that she acted as if I had never existed as her child). Trust me, I wasn't so horrible to her either. I would implode maybe once a month and was always remorseful. For some, maybe that was too much, but I had unmedicated bipolar and the moodswings were horrific and rendered me half insane sometimes. So I have a different take on it. I wouldn't just put up with it, not saying anything, but...you don't want to detach so much that you totally lose the child. My siblings are appalled at my mother's lack of understanding--I haven't abused anyone emotionally since about age 30 and I'm 53. My mom died two years ago, still talking about my mishaps when I'd been a teenager, which were my worst years. I loved my mother very much, but she chose to believe what I said when I was so sick that I hated myself. Of course, most of the difficult children here are a lot worse than I was. I guess it's a personal choice what you decide to do. When my daughter took drugs, I was more concerned about her welfare than her ugly words. We are best friends now. I refused to be my mother all over again. JMO
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Mstang-You are right that we wouldn't put up with this from a spouse. I think what mwm said about them being mentally ill does make a difference. Also what meowbunny said about the child not choosing us matters. That being said I have started taking a much harsher stance with difficult child and his verbal abuse. He is getting timeouts every time he does this. Luckily for us he is now at the point where he will take a timeout and not destroy his room. His usual response now is that he isn't taking the timeout. I say fine but then you are choosing something much worse for a consequence such as no desserts or no tv time. That usually gets him to his room fairly quickly. The timeouts seems to be working a bit-not perfect but at least the verbal abuse is down. Part of that may also be due to the most recent medication increase we did as he appears more stable than he was.

    Hugs to you because I think that the verbal abuse does wear us down-at least I feel it wearing me down.
  8. Mrs Smith

    Mrs Smith New Member

    MWM - I had a similar experience as you growing up, just not as extreme. I knew my mother hated me during the teen years and she couldn't wait till I left the house. I still feel like I'm being judged by her even today so it's a strained relationship and one I do not want with my own child. I agree with you completely.

    difficult children all seem to have a keen sense of other people's emotional states and tend to focus on the negatives more than the average person. That's why I think it's really important to discipline but without judgement and anger cause they will pick up on it and your relationship will be that much more violatile. It's all in the presentation. Follow the advice of the autism experts and use "low expressed emotion" when handing out consequences. Have you ever heard of the traffic cop method of discipline? You need to be the traffic cop - state the rules, hand out the consequence and get back in your car.
  9. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with those that said that they would not tolerate such verbal abuse from anyone ~ including (and especially) their children.

    Sometimes I think allowing such behavior using mental illness as an excuse is an easy way out. Or maybe I just never had to deal with a child with such severe issues.

    My own difficult child generally knew that there was a line that she could not cross.

  10. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Interesting question.

    I used to say "I would NEVER let my kid treat me like that".

    Here I am with a 6 year old difficult child who does just that. I cannot believe the things she says to me. I've gotten everything from her pointing to her own eyes with 2 fingers and then pointing them at me (I'm watching you) to clapping her hands twice for me and saying "chop chop" when she wants something, to repeatedly telling me NO when I ask her to do something. I've gotten the hand, I've gotten "whatever", and just yesterday, I was called a "p*ssy". And I don't mean a cat. Okay, so now me, Miss I would never let my kid treat me like that, now has a kid who people stare at when we are in public, a kid who no other neighborhood kid will play with, and yes, a kid who DOES treat me JUST like that.

    So what the heck do I do about it? "Tink, clean your room please." "NO!" OKay, options:

    1 - yes. NO! yes. NO! yes. NO!!!!! (like beating one's head against a wall, it accomplishes nothing except elevated blood pressure.)

    2 - pick up her hands and make her pick up her items in the room like I did when she was 18 months old. (Right. I can't walk to the toilet without getting winded. I'm gonna walk around her room, crouched over, making her pick up her mess. Yeah.)

    3 - what? spank her? (please.)

    I never MEANT to have a kid who treats me like this. And she is only six. I am trying to put the brakes on it so she is not still doing it at 16.

    Heaven help me.
  11. guest3

    guest3 Guest

    I can relate I was about to grab difficult child I by his hair last night because of the mouth I was getting (I refrained)

    And his mouth and attitude can be seen being mirrored by difficult child II which really scares me.

    Sad thing is I have an Aunt who got all kinds of mouth from her son and she took it with a smile and passive attitude. And now he and his wife want nothing to do with her or the rest of our family.

    I say alittle bit of "back at ya" can be healthy sometimes.
  12. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I think as parents of difficult children we have to evolve a bit. I think with younger kids we put up with more of the verbal junk because we're trying to find answers, strategies, medications, treatment, *anything* that will work. Yes, the MI plays into it - an unstable kid will do unstable things. But, and this is just my opinion, I do think there should come a time when we start drawing lines in the sand. By not responding to the junk, by continuing to let it roll off our backs, I think we are sending a not so subtle message that it's acceptable and okay. I very strongly believe that by early teen years at the latest, we need to at least start more forcefully addressing these behaviors regardless of diagnosis. No one is going to give a darn that thank you's BiPolar (BP) if he goes off the deep end and mouths off to his boss. He will be fired, period. What a shock to him and really how unfair to him if I've allowed the mouth all these years.

    I agree with- Mrs. Smith that it needs to be a neutral response to the behaviors (any emotion on my part is just gasoline to thank you's fires) but at the same time there *does* need to be a shift to consequences for and intolerance of the behavior.

    Remove the audience. Walk away. Leave the house. Go see a movie or shoot pool or buy a new dress. If he gets an allowance, spend it on yourself because he's just lost his "job" by mouthing off to the boss.

    I very strongly feel that it's a huge disservice to potential future functionality if you excuse the behavior because of the illness.
  13. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    As I said originally, I think age of the child is a huge factor. Whether it is something the child can control is also a factor. When my little one gets angry, she truly has no control. She is finally learning some, but she still has a long way to go. So, I let it slide when she is truly angry. I do not, however, tolerate abusive language when there is even a modicum of control.

    When my daughter was under 10, I would simply tell her that her language and tone were not acceptable and she would be sent to her room if it continued until she was able to control. From 10-15, I let it slide. There were bigger, more important issues. 15-16 she was in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and it wasn't an issue. 17-18, I let her know I was forced to tolerate it now by law but the second she hit 18, I would not tolerate it any longer and she would be gone. Again, her being out-of-control angry was the exception.

    Today, the rule has been somewhat modified. If I do something to push her into out-of-control anger, if she is PMSing, if she is overwhelmed, I can understand her anger and I remove myself from the scene. Otherwise, she has to remove herself, just as I do if I am the one angry. This is working well for us.

    So, I think there are a lot of factors to be considered as to what and how much verbal abuse any parent should be willing to take. That doesn't mean we have to fully accept it, we just have to decide on the course of action that works for the age and mental makeup of the child.
  14. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    For me, how I would react would depend on the kid, situation, and illness.

    I know that Daughter usually gets very mouthy and beligerent when she is experiencing more anxiety than usual. I cut slack where I think appropriate, but for most part, disrespect, and insults, ain't tolerated in my house.

    Generally, I take away what she values most. Computer, phone, or a piece of clothing she adores.

    For me, using my sense of humor is a huge sanity saver. I try to use it at every opportunity.

    About a year ago when we were in therapy session, she got very nasty and told me I was fat and ugly, and she was embarrassed to be seen with me. "Okay, fine, you do not have to be seen with me anymore". As fate would have it, I needed to go to the mall to get something after the session. Mall=Daughter's favorite place in the world. I figured why not start with the "Can't be seen with Mom" here?

    I ordered Daughter to sit in the car (doors locked, of course) while Son and I shopped. Oh, she pitched a huge fit. "But, Darling, I'm only granting you your request not to be seen with your fat ugly mother". She threatens me with going inside the mall anyway. "Okay, fine", I say, "It won't be much fun without "the wallet" accompaning you. Plus, if you are not here when I get back to the car, I leave, and go home, without you (20 miles from home and I meant it)". I do not believe in empty threats.

    When I got back about 90 minutes later, she, and an apology, were waiting for me.

    For me it as much about respect as it is about being able to function in the world. A boss, or supervisor, isn't going to be so understanding about stress being the reason why you just insulted him, or her.
  15. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    That's how I feel as well. My difficult child has to understand that because she isn't feeling or is tired is no reason to behave inappropriately. I'm hoping that by starting young (I cancelled her 4th birthday party because of a hateful attitude) she will learn to self-regulate. At this point, she knows there will be consequences if she goes off on me and she's come pretty far in curtailing her rage toward me. As a result, she's doing well with others overall.
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Mustang - big big hugs! Our kids are about the same age......and I know I can barely make it another year with the constant chaos mine creates in my life. I will keep you in my thoughts.
  17. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I think we all need to find what works for our respective families. I doubt there will ever a moratorium on such statements. And there should not be. No one has said that you have to parent the way that poster has, and she is just entitled to voicing her opinion as you are. We all are. And frankly, that's what makes this forum work. We all have different perspectives to highly difficult child-rearing. It's allows us to see outside our own worlds and contemplate different methods that may work for us. We wouldn't get the quality of advice from parents that we all benefit from if we had some sort of status quo we adhered to. The essential sameness of our children is that they don't respond to traditional parenting methods, so why should we only offer a cookie cutter approach in our advice and opinions? Take what you can use, and leave the rest.
  18. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I guess I should clarify a bit. Yes, I am terribly frustrated by his behavior, but, No, I won't be kicking him out until he's at least 18 and there is a suitable living arrangement in place. With that said though.....I guess I am just sooooo frustrated with it all. Yes there is the diagnosis issue but at the same time, he knows what he has, his medications work and the parts of it that he can control.....for the most part, he doesn't. I think THAT'S what gets me the most. Maybe I'm off on this but to me I kind of look at it as being (somewhat) similar to a medical issue such as Diabetes for example. If you know you have Diabetes and you take your medications, you know you also have to, at the very least, watch your diet. You have to put some effort into it even with the medications. He knows what he has, he takes his medications, knows they are working but refuses to put much effort into his own behavior. He blames everything on others or trys to say that his medications need adjusted. Again, I realize some of this is also a symptom but there ARE parts he could control/work on if he chose to. He doesn't choose to.

    husband and I have tried various techniques to deal with his mouth and attitude over the years. Nothing has really worked at all. And at this point there is little we can do to him. He doesn't participate in any extra ciricular activities at all, no sports or hobbies, he doesn't really have anything in his room of interest anymore because he doesn't take care of it. He doesn't go anywhere so grounding is pretty ineffective. Spanking....aside from various other reasons why that wouldn't work, he's 6'1 and I'm soooooo not. Extra chores or things of that nature are ineffective becuase you would have to literally physically make him do it and agin, he's 6'1. Ask him to do something at home or even just ask him a question...all in a normal tone of voice and you get your head bit off. He will sit there and ignore you and then yell at you when you keep at him to do something as simple as fill the dog's water bowl or even move his feet out of the way. I will talk to our team members about it and basically just get vague comments along the lines of "Yeah, that's hard to live with" or "I agree, he shouldn't be doing that". That's part of my frustration too. They all know exactly how he is. His counselor is the only one who can talk to him effectively about it but the results only last a day or two at most so it's the same thing over and over again. Sometimes I get the impression that, while the team members are all good at what they do and are good people, difficult child is such a challenge and no one has a clue that they are all just kind of going through the motions until he ages out of their area. (I don't mean that in a disrespectful manner towards them at all, by the way....we've all come to the conclusion that we've done all we can and at this point it's up to him)

    I'm just so stressed and frustrated by him and I don't know what to do but hang on till he's old enough to make other arrangements. Then I feel guilty because we've only had him for 8 years. I can't even begin to imagine how things have been for those of you with difficult child's his age or older and have had them since birth. Right now I can't picture that we will have a "typical" relationship at anytime, even after he grows up and is on his own. I know it could happen but I'm in a place now that doesn't put an optimistic light on the future of us as a family.
  19. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Willow - I think it really depends on the kiddo. My pcs *might* try it once at some point in their lives but they get the message fast when Momma pulls the plug on their fun stuff. I'd feel fairly comfident in saying, with them, that I wouldn't tolerate it - and I'd have a decent chance of succeeding.

    With thank you, the horse left the barn so long ago that it's probably dead and buried now. :wink: He may speak to me this way again someday but at the same time I think training him that it's an inappropriate way to address *any*one has made an impact. With him, it has less to do with respect or right and wrong (unfortunately) than it does with actual training. He still slips, mostly with teachers. I'm really focusing right now on what *he* gets out of self-control, how it pays off for him if he bites that wicked tongue. Respect and civility are meaningless to him as a principal - but by getting him to see how they serve his own wants and needs, I hope he will continue to improve in the mouth department.

    I do understand what you're saying, absolutely. There have been times when some board members have laid down such a hard and fast line in the sand and I think there *must* be something wrong with my parenting because no sooner would I lay down a line than thank you would come barreling across it, guns ablazing. How come it works for them??? When you have a kid who could care less about consequences, who doesn't respond to discipline in any remotely "normal" fashion, you do the best you can.
  20. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    WW ~ If you are going to qoute me, please read my entire answer.

    I still believe that I would not tolerate a child cursing at me or hitting me. But I qualified my answer with the possibility that I might feel that way because I never had to deal with a child with severe issues.

    I also still believe that consequences are important whether there is mental illness involved or not. A child who curses or speaks disrespectfully at home will not understand why it is not allowed at school or in the workplace.

    Again, that is my personal opinion. I'm sorry if I offended you.