Being Direct with-difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I keep remembering little things from the soc wkrs at the psychiatric hospital and another conversation snippet jumped into my mind ...
    We were discussing difficult child taking the neighbor's undies and I said that difficult child has serious boundary issues.
    The soc wkr corrected me and said, "He was stealing. Use the word STEALING when you are talking to him."
    Oookay. ;)
    Hey, I have used that word, and difficult child flips out but like it says in The Manipulative Child, I'll keep at it.
    I think it's kind of funny that I am seeing a slight turn away from political correctness and back to old fashioned basic language. Refreshing.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think that using very clear and direct words are good for our difficult children. If they can tell themselves that it wasn't stealing, it was a "boundary issue" then they can blow it off as not serious. The social worker had a very good point, in my opinion.

    I am sorry your difficult child "flips out" when you are direct, but it is probably because he doesn't like the consequences or that he feels guilty.

    Glad that the sw was able to help some.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    He flipped out because he knew it is wrong and doesn't want to be reminded that he did something wrong and worse, that you know about it.

    Boundary Issues covers so many things. Continue to use that term in finding the best treatment plans for difficult child and use the direct action words like "Stealing" with difficult child. He needs to know exactly which boundary he crossed.

    Next time he flips, tell him that you get just as upset as he does, however, he is the one that has to face up to it and take the responsibilities of the action. If he doesn't like it, don't steal again. That is what people usually do when they are faced with consequences, they learn not to do the action again.

    And like the Manipulative Child teaches, don't let his flipping out take you away from the issue at hand. If you focus on his flipping and trying to settle him down, you have just switched your attention from the action he doesn't want you to address.

    You are doing GREAT!!! :)
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Back to the book ... :)
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree you are doing great, I may have to get a copy of this book!
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Wow. I think I like this social worker! :D
  7. ML

    ML Guest

    You're doing great Terry. Sending hugs xoxo ML
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think this is fantastic. I think when we sugarcoat things and couch bad behavior in easy child terms we do our kids a disservice. Stealing is stealing. Its not borrowing or being boundary challenged. Lying is lying. They arent just making up stories.

    I think the more we call them on their bad behavior...and most especially illegal behavior...and show them that we are disgusted by it and wont stand for it, that we have the most ability to help them change that behavior.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all. It helps to have all your support. Amazing, the power of one word.
  10. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    And like the Manipulative Child teaches, don't let his flipping out take you away from the issue at hand. If you focus on his flipping and trying to settle him down, you have just switched your attention from the action he doesn't want you to address.

    Where were you when I needed you 5 or 6 years ago?! My difficult child 1 "flipped out" whenever caught in bad behavior and I always took the bait! I sure wish I had found this group back then, probably could have dealt with her a lot better and saved a bundle of money too! :)

  11. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    I have seen the same kind of thing with my difficult child 2. He likes to "hide" behind easy child excuses and sugar coatings and gets extremely defensive if you put the "real" labels on his choices/actions. (Like "boundary issues" instead of "stealing.") I can also see now, looking back, how often his meltdowns were more choice than anything - a way to deflect attention from his wrong-doings.

    I have to agree with everyone else - call a spade a spade and don't give a difficult child the opportunity to slide out from under what he/she has really done by calling it something less "offensive," if you know what I mean. Their challenges make their actions more understandable, but by no means does it make them excusable. If anything, making any such allowances (no matter how slight) for a difficult child just makes it that much harder for them to understand that they have consequences too, just like the rest of us. At least that's my humble little opinion. And it's hard sometimes for me to realize I've enabled one of my difficult children to sugar coat their actions by calling them something else. It's so easy to make excuses for them - even in our own minds. We don't do them any favors that way.

    For me, at least, especially now that my difficult children are getting older and much closer to adulthood (scary thought!) I can truly value the advice another parent here once gave me about preparing the child for the path, not the path for the child. I try to keep that in mind when I find myself slipping into sugar coating or trying to be "easy child" about my children's' actions/choices. I'm not doing them any favors that way.

    Keep staying strong. Keep reminding yourself of the big picture of your difficult child's future and how what they learn now will affect them in the future. Looking back I can see how my mistakes have played out as my kids have gotten older. I can see times where my willingness to slide into "boundary issue" kind of thinking instead of "stealing" kind of thinking has come back to bite me in the rear. I don't know that it would have made any difference with difficult child 2 in regard to using plain, straight-forward language...but I can see where it would have made a difference with difficult child 1 if I had been a little more "realistic" with the way I phrased things or viewed things. If that makes any sense. :)
  12. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    To me, boundary issues are not respecting the fact that my room is private, borrowing my clothes (too typical of a teen girl thing to call it stealing), getting into my space and face. If you take things (other than clothes and makeup) without my permission, you're stealing. If you deny taking them, you're lying.

    We don't help our kids by making actions sound better than they are, in my opinion. Just like we don't help our kids if we use their illnesses as an excuse for bad behavior. The reality is the rest of the world truly doesn't care that someone has a mental illness -- they care about what that person has done and want the punishment to fit the crime. So, the more we can get our kids to understand the seriousness of their actions and, hopefully, teach them how to control those actions, the better chance our kids have of succeeding in the future.

    As painful as it is, we need to push our kids. Sadly, our kids will be held accountable even when they truly can't control their actions. So, I believe the more we make excuses, let them take the easy way out, pretty things up with easy child words, fight for our kids when they've truly done wrong, the more we hinder them into becoming responsible adults in the long run.

    I am a firm believer in picking your battles with your child. When mine was in school, I absolutely refused to force her to do homework. She refused to do it, she flunked the class, she quit school because she was so far behind, she cannot find a job that gives her a living wage. Where possible, I let natural consequences give the lesson -- she learned much better that way. If I felt the school was expecting too much from her, I fought the school tooth and nail. When I felt she was not doing her best, I let her fail on her own.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Our daughter can be this way as well.
    Words are very important to her. She can be very sensitive.
    This got a little better as she got there has been an improvement here of late.
  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Terry, I like your soc wkr too.

    I love the fact that your SW is encouraging you to use straight talk with your difficult child. It tells him in no uncertain terms what he did wrong, what you expect of him, and what he needs to do to fix it.

    My difficult child loves to hide behind the language of therapy. "It's not MY fault. Bio-mom mistreated me." "I was a bullied child. Of course I have issues!" Blah blah blah.

    Stealing is stealing. Lying is lying. There's not a lot of mystery there.
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Okay I was curious how I am a sock snob and you got a soc worker. THen like a ton of IHOP pancakes - it hit me.

    SOCIAL worker.......groan......

    I like calling a THIEF a THIEF - STEALING IS STEALING......

    yeah - I like your soc worker.
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member