An Update from DaisyFace

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Good morning all--

    I am sorry that I have only been posting and commenting sporadically. Things have been a bit stressful....

    At any rate, I wanted to share what's been happening. I like to think that someone reading or lurking might learn from us. ( sorry, this is long....)

    As you know, we found out that difficult child was continuing to sneak out of the house on Saturday (and when we confronted her, she threatened to kill us again, so that was the first report to the sheriff's office). In addition to assigning her extra chores, husband curtailed all priviledges. He changed the passwords to her email account--she may now only send or receive messages when he enters his password and then screens all messages first. In this way, he has intercepted emails from strange men and responded to them by typing "Please be advised that all messages to my daughter are subject to parental controls and will be reviewed by her parents."

    husband is similarly monitoring her mail and telephone calls. (She does not have a cell phone). The freaky 17 year old "boyfriend" has been advised to stop calling...and yet he continues to call. husband told him that his next step will be to report him for making "harassing" calls.

    So that was the weekend...

    Wednesday, I was on the phone in my home office when I heard a fight break out in the next room. My son was screaming "Stop hitting me!!". I dropped the phone and ran to get my son out of there. It seems that they had been playing cards, and when difficult child lost, she beat her brother over the head with the cards.

    So that was another report to the sheriff's office.

    Also, I signed husband and I up for parenting classes. A woman at CPS advised me that this was a really good way to earn "brownie points" with Department of Juvenile Justice and the court system. It will be a way of demonstrating to law enforcement and/or Family Court judges that we are doing everything we can to be really good parents....and when it comes time, we will be taken more seriously when we request placement at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or mental health services to be ordered by the courts.

    The first night of parent class was earlier this week, and we were instructed to make sure that we were demonstrating to our children that we loved them. Our assignment was to make sure that we did a loving act every day.

    So that night, we had a family discussion where we talked about the whole family doing loving things for one another. I had each person say what others had done for them. Even difficult child had no trouble coming up with a long list of all the things that I had done for her that day. But when it came time to describe what difficult child might have done for anyone else...that was a bit harder. No one could think of a thing. Finally, difficult child offered that her loving act for the day was "Well, I didn't hit you."

    Day 2--DS and I had run across a used book sale while we were out running errands, and so we bought books for himself and his sister. I put the book we selected at her place at the kitchen table so that it would be there when she arrived home. husband and difficult child walked in the house together, husband saw the book first and made a loud comment about how nice it was that there was a present for difficult child.

    difficult child looked at the book and offered a begrudging "O, thanks", but wondered what other books were available and how come we didn't buy one of those instead. husband felt bad that the gift was being met with such contempt and insisted that she give me a proper thank you. Well, she repsonded, maybe after I read it.

    So that night, when we went around the family and asked each person what nice things we had done for one another--again everyone seemed to have a long list (yes, my book purchase was on the list). And what did difficult child say? "O, I guess I'll do something nice tomorrow."


  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    I can't think of anything else. But I do like the updates... Even if I can't help!
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911

    This may be seen as "lame" but....

    Sit down with a jar, and some paper and pens.

    Help difficult child write things on the paper that count as her "one nice thing" each day.

    Let her put them into the jar -

    At the same time every day - ask her to select on - (blindfold on) and complete it.

    For every one she completes - give her a reward of some sorts.....put a star on her task and pin it to the wall or tell her she gets 1 extra phone call.

    Something like that ????? :D
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Thanks, Star!

    Did you notice what I did? The class we are taking is to improve our "parenting" skills. The assignment was to "show our children we love them".

    But frankly, I am so sick and tired of difficult child telling counselors "my parents don't love me" (and of course, then the counselors telling me that this whole situation is all my fault :mad:)....that I decided to make the assignment apply to the whole family so that difficult child could see for herself that she seems to be the only person NOT actively engaged in trying to help HER.

    My goal is for difficult child to realize that she (and she alone) has to take responsibility for her actions and interactions.

    Two days in a row she had aboslutely nothing to say or to offer as a demonstration that she loved her family.....and yet she herself had no trouble identifying all of the things the other family members were doing to demonstrate love for her.

    Today is day three....

    difficult child made me a ham sandwich and brought it to me while I was working on the computer in my office.

    How huge is that?


  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Oh. Oh. Oh.

    That is ... I hate this word but it fits ... GINORMOUS!

    Tonight will be great when you discuss what you all did for each other today because she won't be "left out" at all, there is something there!

    So sweet... One baby step at a time...
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Now the question is....will she identify that as something she did to show love? I often found that kids like ours cant recognize or accept positive feedback.
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    How appropriate. This is kinda what difficult child's therapist was getting at last night.

    The ham sandwich is HUGE. Maybe she did really want to have something to share about what loving thing she did that day.

    Hang in there.

  8. compassion

    compassion Member

    My difficult child according to our psycolgist cannot give empathy and is not able to have a reciprocal relationship. You cannot reason with her. Consequences do not work. She decompensates to rage when demands are not met.
    I have learned to keep the focus off of me. It really is, in my opinion a brain disorder. I do not react, I have compassion. It is exhausting, Compassion
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That sounds like a huge step forward.

    And what you're doing, involving the whole family, is also really effective. Not only will it risk showing difficult child up as the main non-contributor, but it also is making sure the family is functioning as a unit, as much as possible.

    And yes, brownie points. If nothing else, there's always the fact that you have been able to show that you really have been trying. All of you.

  10. Jena

    Jena New Member

    the ham sandwich speaks volumes, it sounds like an attention seeking thing also. i've lived it, everyone else can come up with a loving gesture yet guess who can't because they want to draw attention to themselves?

    so the ham sandwich is where the true feelings lie. very sweet :) sometimes you gotta measure progress in baby steps iv'e come to learn :)
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    WOW!!! The ham sandwich is a great step!! Especially as it was aimed at YOU and not aimed at husband or sibling.

    Taking the class in parenting is a great pre-emptive strike. It will do all sorts of great things for you as things progress (unless things get much better super fast).

    It took me a couple of years to figure out that Wiz could process compliments to his siblings, but not to him. NEVER did he realize that we appreciated things he did, no matter HOW MUCH we said or didn't say to him.

    He just felt that the other kids got lots of praise and he didn't. Sadly, it was actually the opposite, because we wanted to keep reinforcing the good stuff.

    FINALLY I had a brainstorm. Instead of telling Wiz how proud we were, or what agreat job he did I picked up the phone and called my parents (or pretended to call them if they were not home). He seemed to internalize and accept praise if it was told to someone else. That sort of stuff said to him just didn't register.

    After a few years he grew into the idea that we were not faking it or lieing to him when we praised him.

    I don't know if that will help or not.

    Star had great suggestions also.

    Give difficult child an Attaboy!! for me.
  12. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    When we all had our meeting at the end of the day, and everyone listed what they had done to show love....difficult child, in fact, did NOT identify making a sandwich as an act of love.

    You were so right, it never occurred to her that something like that would be an act of love. In her mind, it was time for lunch....she was hungry....Mom did not seem to be making the sandwiches (remember, Mom was on the phone)....and so difficult child made the sandwiches exactly as Mom would have....lay out three paper plates, make three sandwiches, pour three drinks, set out three napkins and everyone sits down to eat.

    We structure our meeting so that each person is listed in turn and the question is put to the group: "OK--what did Mom do for you today that showed how much she loves you?"

    And the answers will be she hugged us, she made dinner, and I might add "O, I also paid the cable bill so you can watch all your favorite TV channels."

    And when we get to DS, we usually list the chores he did such as taking out the garbage and sweeping the front walk.

    So when it was difficult child's turn, she was very proud to list that she had done dishes and helped make dinner--but the rest of the family chimed in about the sandwich.

    difficult child was really confused and admitted that she didn't "get" why that would count.

    So now I'm back to thinking that we are looking at an "Aspergers" type of diagnosis instead of Mood Disorder and ODD...

    I am also so impressed with this were so right about the fact that she probably wouldn't understand. I didn't realize that would be the case. I guess I have been falling for the advice that I have received from too many useless tdocs (There's nothing wrong with her, she's just being stubborn to get her own way!)

    So for now, we are going to continue with these meetings and hopefully difficult child will begin to learn how to act more lovingly with her family.

    And in the meantime, I wonder whether I should once again be trying to pursue testing for Aspergers? At the last two phosps, I was treated like some kind of idiot for even enquiring about further testing. Pediatrician referred us to useless psychiatrist...doesn't think there is anything more than typical teen issues.

    Any suggestions are more than welcome....

    Thank you all for everything you do! You support and your incredible insight is so appreciated!!

  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I agree, GINORMOUS....even if difficult child doesn't really understand yet.


    What you describe about your daughter lacking empathy and being unable to enjoy a reciprocal relationship seems to fit. That's what I think I am seeing in my own difficult child.


    You are exactly right! I feel as if we have all been bending over backwards to shower difficult child with attention, praise, love, and give positive reinforcement...and she will still tell tdocs that her parents don't love her and her brother seems to get all the attention. Even ridiculous things will be interpreted as being "slighted".

    I've learned that if I serve difficult child three scoops of ice cream and give her brother only two, she will STILL claim that he got more.

    I will try that compliment via a third party trick.....perhaps that will have some impact?

    Flutterby, Marg, Jena.....thank you all so much for your ideas and support!

  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    DaisyF, if you're looking at Asperger's once more, see how she scores on the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on You can't use it to officially diagnose, but you can print out the results (whatever she scores, even if 'no Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)') and take them to a therapist who hopefully isn't so useless.

    Maybe whoever is teaching this family therapy course can give you some pointers.

    Isn't it funny? You did the course for brownie points, you are already good parents - and yet you're getting something wonderful and unexpected as a result.

    Serendipity rules!

  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I think you are absolutely right!


  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    the third party trick was a true blessing for us to learn. I think it was the start of some real emotional growth from Wiz. He started really seeing that he wasn't useless or unworthy or terrible. something deep down inside had him feeling so terrible about himself that he was INCAPABLE of seeing the really positive things he did. I know how much of the lack of self-anything (esteem, respect, etc) started, but it does not explain all of it.

    I really think it is so awesome that your difficult child made the lunch. I didn't know she had also done it for your son. That makes it even MORE awesome!

    Sad as this next trick sounds, it still might help you with difficult child.

    difficult child would get into the rut of telling me I hated him, slighted him, gave him less, and "never ever ever did anything at all nice to him" . That is exactly how he would phrase it.

    I would then go about saying, "you are right. I never gave you swim goggles, or fixed your breakfast or lunch or dinner. I never let you play on the computer. I never set up fun lessons for homeschool. I never took you to the park, the movies, or a friends."

    I usually only listed 4 or 5 things that I did. ALL of them had to be done in the last day or 3, and I only came out with this when the bean counting started (she got more than me, you love her more than me, etc...).

    I did this at around the same time I did the third party praise. difficult child was confused the first few times I did it. It sort of jolted him out of that path to the rages. He became able to really SEE the things I did for him, and to see that it was part of how we expressed our love. After several months he even began to say "I never did X for mom, y for dad, q for Jessie and thank you."

    That, in turn, helped him see what he did for us as part of how to show love.

    I just thought I would mention the "I never" thing because it was really effective with the other thing. and both lead to some real emotional growth.