But I don't like your rules

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JJJ, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Kanga is all excited about coming home. She totally does not get that she has more work to do (as in any work at all on her actual issues). When I pointed out that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us in our upcoming family therapy sessions, for example going over the rules of the house and being sure she accepts them and agrees to follow them, she got quite irate. We only touched on two simple rules - go to her bedroom at 8:30pm at which time she can choose to read or listen to her cds with her headphones with lights out at 9pm (she will have to get up at 5:45am for school, at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) she is lights out at 10am for a 7:00am wake-up so it is the same amount of sleep) and a reminder that we do not allow radios in the house (but we do allow approved cds and she has quite the collection).

    She then started in on how she plans to go out in the neighborhood and hang out (NO) and how she plans to play with her siblings out of our sight (again, NO). I explained to her that we would work with the school and the park district to be sure she had a fun activity everyday with her friends but that she was not going to run wild and unsupervised and that the safety plan is still in effect with regards to her siblings.

    She DEMANDED to speak with husband because she was going to get him to say that those weren't really the rules. I refused to let her talk to husband and told her that she was not to manipulate us and that if either one of us made a rule, it was the rule.

    After she hung up, I reminded husband that this was his chance to be strong and not take the path of least resistance with her. That if we did not take advantage of her being in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) with a good family therapist to get her to accept the basic rules of the house, that we were setting her up for failure. That if he wanted an easy life when she returns home, that he better get with the program now.

    I'm still a bit worried about him, because she can still manipulate him. He calls it "not being in her face" and I call it "giving in so you don't have to teach her that there are rules" (Can you tell why she is able to triangulate us LOL?)

    She says she accepts the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s rules but she doesn't like our rules. :faint:
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Oh, I hope husband can find the strength to hold on to the rules. My non-easy child diva has become an expert at knowing which parent to go to. It amazes me with all of my husband's complaining how I give in too much that if you look at the most important things (aka:the things I will say no to), he is the worse offender of the two of us. How is it that girls really do have their dads wrapped around their finger?

    You are absolutely right - the lines have been drawn - let the battles begin! Warrior mom armor to the ready. Get an armored suit for your husband also.

    When is the first advance?
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I wish you luck. I've got my fingers crossed.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree with all of this except the time for her to be in her room. It might be all the same but I can see where if she is trying to fit into the typical, maybe some compromise needs to be made. Could you go for 30-45 mins later in the scheduled times?
  5. compassion

    compassion Member

    It will be a transtion. She sounds a lot like my difficult child. Your husband sounds a lot like me. I am the heavy. He really can't stqand up to her like I can but it has gotton a lot better becasue I do not take over everything but I ultimately am the limit setter. last night I had him tell her why she can't be here (violence/refuses to follow safety rules.) I know around here, i ultimately have more of the burden. Compassion
  6. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    Home is not Residential Treatment Center (RTC) , we just don't have the structure to enforce rules . What we really want is that kids indentify and internalize the rules so I think working together with a therapist and your child , to establish understandings and expectations, talking how the structure in place serves the family and child. If she has concerns , I think it is important to discuss them and see if they can be met , see if mtually accepted solutions can be found so her concerns are being addressed. Kids who invest in helping establish rules and expectations have an interest to follow through. A kid who feels pressured into accepting rules will intime rebel , I don't think setting up ourselves for a power struggle is going helps anyone. it is not easy , home is not Residential Treatment Center (RTC) , and trying to be conditional and contingent means more confrontation. it is not easy. In today's world we can no longer control the behavior of people , when they feel respected , understood , supported , when there is relationship , there is hope. I would try and find a mentor or buddy-tutor for her and encourage her to spend one on one time with you , just connecting , chatting etc
    Good luck
  7. Janna

    Janna New Member

    Yeah, home is not Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and boy we learned that the hard way. What kinda carrots do they dangle, or don't they? D - he got trips to laser tag, movies, Wal Mart, McDonalds ...I mean, what kid isn't going to listen when you have a chance to play laser tag? LOL!

    I would really be talking to her therapist about your concerns, early. Because, the therapist should be able to work with Kanga on a behavior contract, PRIOR to coming home. This is where therapist would sit down with you, husband, and Kanga to establish rules with fair consequences and reinforcements. I'd do this LONG before discharge, J, so that you can continue to remind her of rules, AND reinforce them when she's there on home passes. If you get it started now and issues arise, you can bring those back to the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) and they can work with her.

    Hope things work well for you. Keeping positive thoughts for you guys.
  8. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I too think you need to be working with the therapist at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) on the rules--all of you together. In fact this is part of the transition process that I remember when my difficult child was in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). We had to come up with a plan together, with the therapist taking a major role as facilitator.

    Sorry, sounds like it is going to be a rough road when she comes home! I think Allan is right if you are talking about a easy child kid--a difficult child will eat you alive if you are trying to connect with them and all that--perfect opportunity to manipulate you. I know with my difficult child she had her outpatient therapist eating out of her hand because she was so good at pretending to be working on her issues in a collaborative way. It was a perfect chance to thumb her nose at her therapist and pull one over on her. Kind of like Eddie Haskell....

    Anyway, you sound like you are not going to be bulldozed easily and I raise my hat to you!

  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I had a copy of RTCs rules before either of the tweedles returned home from their individual stints there.

    Saying that, we practiced before they come home the "stop & think". It was a literal stop, drop to the floor & think when either of them acted out. Before they could get up they had to tell staff why they were in a stop & think, listen to the adult's point of view & apologize before they could get up. It's a very succinct way of doing things & it did make a big impact at home once kt &/or wm believed we meant it. If they didn't comply the world, as they knew it, stopped.

    Slowly, very slowly, we let up on RTCs rules however kept the ones that worked the best in place. kt survived; wm ended up in another setting than home. Sometimes it works ~ others it doesn't.

    What is working for your difficult child at Residential Treatment Center (RTC)? Something you & husband can work on together. difficult children siblings are going to have to learn to "take their places" when difficult child gets out of line. This takes a lot of planning & support from outside resources if you have them.

    As for husband caving, it can't be. You know that. If difficult child tries to triangulate you could use a "stop the world" each & every time so she knows that you & husband are on the same page. The tweedles would get caught staff splitting at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) & boy did the world stop.

    In the meantime, a difficult child will need a lot of building up ..... she has to believe in herself & her family. AND that may be a hard sell.

    Is psychiatrist willing to offer a PRN for Kanga? Is crisis team in place & ready for her return to the community? Has there been research into group homes or foster home for Kanga if this blows up? It's definitely cheaper than Residential Treatment Center (RTC) (I'm sure funding is a huge part of this).

    Good luck, my friend.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  10. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hi JJJ--

    Our difficult child was very good at the "play one parent against another" game...and it was frustrating for us, too, because it took us a while to catch on to the game. Many times we work opposite shifts, and so difficult child would simply ask Dad for something when Mom wasn't home (and of course, last minute) so that Dad would think the issue hadn't already been handled by Mom (who said "No") the day before.

    Finally, we institued a "Two Yes" policy. She does not have permission to go anywhere without receiving a "Yes" from each parent....and we do not give an answer without the other parent being in the room. So if difficult child wants to go to the movies with a friend on Saturday...she had better ask about it during the week when both of her parents are home...because if she waits until Saturday when Mom is at work--she will not be able to get an answer from Dad.

    It works for us...and it makes us much less vulnerable to being divided and conquered. Maybe husband would be willing to be on board for something like that at your house?

  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    After reading this over again, your husband sounds a bit like mine. Sigh.
    It is SO easy just to give in.
    I'm sending strength.
  12. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    Both giving in or using power /insiting on your way are both win-lose situations. Internalization usually takes place where the kid has bben helped to problem solve and take perspectives. One parent may perceive the other parent giving in - it could be he is not interested in a power struggle , he would prefer to try and problem solve and work through an issue rather than insisting on a behavior , he may feel dealing with the issue has a negative effect on the parent child relationship. I recently heard a therapist share a parent's description of a child , the therapist then asked the mother - what kind of relationship do you have with your child. Sometimes we are so busy with rules and behaviors that we forget to work on the relationship.

  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Not to hi-jack the thread here, but I find it so much more difficult to nurture the relationship with difficult child than I do with my son. For one, just having a normal, rational conversation with my daughter is difficult--there is a disconnect somehow between how she interprets the world and how most other people perceive it.

    And if many of the parents here are experiencing that same sort of "disconnect"--no wonder we are looking for ways to keep order and sanity in our households!

    So how does one negotiate household conduct with a child that does not see any of their behaviors as problems?


  14. WSM

    WSM New Member

    :mad: Sounds like our difficult child too. You catch him in the act of doing something and ask, "What are you doing? Why are you doing that?" and he looks at you like you are really dim and says coolly, "Because I wanted to." or "Because I didn't want to follow the rule."

    "So do you want the consequence?"

    "No, I hoped I'd get away with it."

    And it's all so cool, matter-of-fact, and like, DUH, how stupid are you, "I wanted it, so I took it, and then I lied to cover it up." Like, umm, duh, dude.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    there is a disconnect somehow between how she interprets the world and how most other people perceive it.

    That really says it all.

    I resurrected an old thread on Temple Grandin. It's amazing that her mother was able to "connect" with her in any way, much less all the way! I want to know how her MOTHER'S mind works! :)

    I had to chuckle tonight ... we were at the dinner table, and I had asked difficult child's tutor to stay for dinner. husband, L, and I were talking about what he had learned that day in math, and asking him how to figure out volume. We had him point to the length of the room, and then the width (using his arms to point is helpful; he is very kinesthetic and just doing math on paper doesn't always work). Despite that, when husband asked, to clarify "volume," "What would you do to fill this room with water?", difficult child said, "First of all, you'd have to get rid of all the windows and doors."
    I mean, it was totally logical, coming from his point of view.
    Except we were talking about math ...
    talk about a disconnect. :tongue:
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  16. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Oh Terry, that is classic! See, our difficult children have a different level of details. They see obstacles most people take for granted are no problems at all but our difficult children need answers for before perceeding. Then they don't understand why we are not taking these levels of details so seriously. Why we don't address them.

    And to clarify, when I mention ready for battle, it is not necessarily a seen battle but may be our inner struggle to stay strong and steady and hold the course. Many times holding your own and doing what is right is a battle.

    I didn't mean to suggest preparing to engage in an actual fight, just to gather strength to do what you feel is needed.
  17. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Thanks all. I'm very, very concerned about her coming home. Those two rules are house rules -- everyone follows them. There will be a few rules from the safety plan that apply only to her, but she can't even agree to follow the rules everyone else follows!!

    It sounds like we may be losing our funding -- a combination of what Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is saying and stricter rules on renewing the funding. So, she is going to come home without any supports other than weekly therapy!

    We have tried letting her have input into the rules - but if she doesn't get 100% of her own way, she rages. She has no ability to compromise. We will, of course, go through the exercise of having her give input toward the rules and try and come up with things she can do (eg. no one else is allowed music at night as they read, but since she can't read, we will allow her to listen to music). She is also getting a tv/dvd player in her room -- something we are completely opposed to but we need it to convince her to stay in her room when necessary.

    My top concern is the safety of my other children. We will have just over 3 years from the day she comes home until she turns 18. That is too long to just survive, too much of their childhood has been lost to her already.

    Linda - I love the "stop and think", I'm going to try that with my boys as they aren't violent but so very impulsive!
  18. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I think that you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT on all counts!!!

    Some things are just NOT negotiable! And if you have to step in and be really strict to protect your family then that's what you need to do.

    Sending you prayers and support...

  19. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    She has no ability to compromise.

    That's what I think people don't seem to get (other than parents of difficult children). Yeah, it is great in theory to negotiate and let them have input, etc. Again, this works for easy child kids--difficult children are a different breed and unless you have one you can't really understand that what works for easy child kids does not work for difficult child kids!

  20. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Idealy I think a transitioning back into your home at a slow pace , tackling problems, etc.
    Long lasting solutions are rarely found on the first attempt in real life situations.
    There is a huge difference between problem solving , addressing concerns and then looking for mutually satisfying solutions than the process of negotiation. Negotiation , like bartering or ' dueling solutions' is very much a power struggle , so giving in is losing , but when we first focus on undertanding concerns , perspective taking without any preconceived solutions we are in a better position to foster cooperation and perspective taking.
    If we have a fixed mindset for our kids , all there is to do is medicate and treat the systems with reward and punishment , but if you believe that compromise, perspective taking , empathy , problem solving are important life skills to provide our kids and in deed they have many deficits in these areas like executive functions, language processing skills, emotion regulation skills, social skills, cognitive flexibility etc despite the mistrust our kids might have for problem solving , despite their lacking skills we cannot say all this is for pcs , because reward and punishment does not work with difficult children , so why just give more of the same. When problem solving does not work , the child still benefits from the process and when you go back , you have got something to build on. It takes a lot of practice , lots of problem solving experiences to develop the skill and trust. How does one start - learn to enjoy a one on one conversation , perspective taking , you listening , kid speaking.
    Talk about non-emotive issues , general stuff , how you feel , how you think others feel , talk about other peoples problems , empathize etc . if something does happen - say I am not going to blame you , I am not going to abandon you or ground you , I just want hear what's up. Instead of lying , a kid will come to you for support . If we want to deal with the whole child and their feelings , their thinking we cannot just look at behavior , we need a lot of information from them in order to understand them. It is not easy , it is not overnight . Ross Greene talks about 30-40 problem solving experiences to start getting it right. But in the process you are building skills, building a relationship . I don't know if it is possible to build a relationship with a person if you deal with problems by ' doing to them' rather than working with them. It is not what we teach our kids , it is what they learn .
    I recommend mentors , buddy -tutors , the most impotant tool we have is just speak with our kids , let them talk to us , we listen - just one on one bonding, perpective taking , expressing what makes us happy, sad, frustrated , how we handle frustration etc

    If you check the Parent Emeritus forum here , one sees that our problems with aour kids don't disappear when the become 18, it is not easy to kick a kid out of the home.