Daddy's girl and Mommy's boy

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by RhondaVoos, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. RhondaVoos

    RhondaVoos Rhonda

    Hi there!
    I am new to this site, but after reading some of the posts here, I feel like I am home. Tonight, actually all day today, as far as husband is concerned, difficult child son could do nothing right. Everything that came up was greeted with a sarcastic accusation as to his "true" motive or just plain grumpiness. I mean it was horrible. I had a great day with him. He got his chores done, got dressed and ready for his day without prompting and we went to the movies with his sister and another child from the neighborhood. I had people comment on his beautiful manners! I mean it was a GREAT day. Then, we got home. husband helped difficult child daughter with her homework, that she "forgot" until it was almost bedtime, cheerfully and with relish.

    She has worked through most of her issues with "Mom's" She was first abandoned by her bio Mom then her Bio Grandmother. Then by 4 Foster Mom's and 2 "Adoptive Mom's" before she and her brother came to us. She had big time Mom issues. She and I talk plainly about those women and the mistakes they made and what they could have done differently. We work hard together to reinforce that it was nothing wrong with her that made these women not hang in there, but something wrong with their choices.

    difficult child son bonded with me almost immediately, but still not much with husband. It has been 6 years and husband most days will not even meet him halfway. With difficult child daughter she bonded with him immediately, and well.

    I have tied a knot in my rope and am hanging on for dear life. husband is a caring and gentle man. I do not understand what his problem is. I can't take much more of hearing how manipulative our son is, how much of a liar he is, how he is a control freak etc. difficult child daughter can do almost no wrong in his eyes. I have worked my butt off to get through her walls, but it is as if difficult child son isn't worth the effort.

    Just now, difficult child son went to the bedroom (next to where I am writing this) and told Dad he had a bad dream. husband just growled at him to go back to bed. No cuddle, no assurances that it was not real, just a growl. He will admit that is how his Dad would have handled it, and that he hated it, but does it anyway??!!

    I admit that difficult child son and I have a stronger bond, and that in spite of his many behavior issues, I actually find him easier to be with. But I struggle every day not to let difficult child daughter know it. Does anybody have any advice? husband is not an uncaring man, I think actually that his feelings were hurt that our son held him at arms length for so long. Help!
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think you need to find a therapist and openly discuss this with your husband. You also will probably need PROOF he is this way - he won't want to believe he is. So get a voice activated tape recorder or other tape recorder and set it somewhere it wont' be noticed one evening. Then you can both listen to it and see if you are right. It is hard to dispute something like that.

    But a good therapist will help a lot.

  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Rhonda!

    Is it possible that husband thinks that is the way he is supposed to parent a boy? Sometimes men feel this need to make a boy into a man. Harden him, toughen him up.
    But, not the delicate little flower his daughter is. She deserves to be pampered and loved just right so she never leaves him for a husband someday. Sounds silly, but I do think it is what goes through some dad's minds.

    by the way - if that is your last name, I would remove it for privacy. You can contact the board admin to change your screen name.
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey Rhonda! Welcome to the site! We're a pretty good bunch and over time, you'll really pick up a lot of valuable information. The weekends are generally pretty slow, so you'll probably get more feedback as the day goes on!

    As it stands, it sounds like husband is your "old school" type o' Dad. You know, the daughter is the apple of his eye and the son needs to be handled with "old fashioned discipline". I say this because, I go through it myself from time to time. Right now, husband has been on top of difficult child 2 because he's "being messy when he eats". Honestly, it drives me to the point of insanity! :tongue:

    Unfortunatly, I've yet to figure out how to make him knock it off completely. When it really gets to the point of total frustration to me, I just get out and out rude. It's not unheard of for me to let out a heavy sigh, roll my eyes (which I hate when people do it to me!) and say "Oh dear God!". husband gives me a look, asks me what the problem is, and I'll say something smart alecky like "will you take a full page ad out when he finally does SOMETHING right?!!!". He usually stops it until he can turn it around on someone else. But never our daughter - uh-uh - she'll get hollered at when she is out and out defiant, but gets a heck of a lot less negatives than the difficult child boys. And secretly, she gets on my last raw nerve CONSTANTLY! Very clingy. It's hard for me because I'm not a very demonstrative person.

    Keep letting your son know that he's the apple of your eye. Let him know (as often as possible in front of husband) what a great job he's done. Talk to husband and tell him you want him to start out giving at least one compliment per day to your boy. It's important for his self-esteem as well as what type of man your son will grow up to be. Point out that he's not going to want to sit back and watch his son treat his grandchildren this way when he's older.

    Again, Rhonda! Welcome to the crowd!

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. I'm a multiply adoptive mom. It sounds like those kids went through a lot before they came to you and it is natural they would have attachment issues. Have they ever been totally evaluated by, say, a neuropsychologist? We did that as soon as we got our older adopted children (one came at two, one at six) and kept doing it. You may be told to see an attachment therapist. Your hub would participate. From one who has been through it, attachment to an older child does not always come as easily as to an infant who adores you. Men are often a lot less willing to work at it than women. I think a good evaluation would be a great start.
    The child who came to us at six was different to us than our other kids. I did not always love him, nor did it come as easily as it did for my younger kids (the one I gave birth to and the ones who were two and under when they came to us). I'm sorry we didn't do attachment therapy. We are not close now...he really had a hard time with his identity and he's thirty...I'd explore this further. This particular son of ours went his own way as an adult and we don't see him. I'm very close to the kids who came to me as infants (and the one who came at two is close to us as well).
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Rhonda, welcome. I gather that is NOT your last name - I like a good pun, too.

    You've had some good advice so far. I would like to post at length, so I'll have to do that later, it's very late for me and I'm so overtired! I'll come back online in the morning (my time) and then I'll have my wits about me a bit better, to give you my proper consideration.

    g'night, family.

  7. RhondaVoos

    RhondaVoos Rhonda

    We have had a phsych evaluation and son was diagnosed with ODD, ADHD and attachment "issues" Considering that the more that is wrong with a child, the more foster care pays, we had him re evaluated after adoption. The only thing that "stuck" was ADHD. I think for the most part, we had worked through attachment issues by this time. He makes friends easily, and is firmly bonded with me and his sister, kind of wobbly with Dad. I was laying awake thinking last night, and realized that sons biggest triggers with Dad are stealing and lying, something Dad just does not do or accept. The more he likes you, the more likely he is to steal something from you. Hardly surprising in a child that was on his 8th set of "parents" by age 4. This is a reason, not an excuse. Probably wants something to remember you by when you abandon him too. He has now been with us as long as he was in foster care, so is having to come to grips with the fact that we might actually be keeping him. So this year has been as bad emotionally as the first one. We (mostly I) use Love and Logic with him and works pretty well. Dad forgets.... Maybe find him a refresher. Therapy in our town is a joke. All I hear is he needs play therapy which involves him and 8 other kids tearing around a room like chimps at the zoo while somebody takes notes. These sessions always left him exhausted and hostile. I am a firm believer that our son must adapt to the world, because the world is not going to adapt to him. Some one here wrote that you prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child. I agree. I love the idea of taping husband growling at him. One of the smartest purchased I made when they came to us was a security camera on an 80 ft cord so that I could supervise them without rewarding their attention seeking behaviors with attention. Hooks up to the vcr too, have made them watch their behavior, but never thought of using it on husband. This kid has come a million miles, but still has anger issues. Who wouldn't? We are working on appropriate ways for him to display temper other than escalating until hysterics. Thank you all for the support, I may be here a lot this week. Feeling ancient and defeated. Son was a little charmer this morning, but the day is young. Daughter was sullen. husband is feeling guilty about last night so is being falsely cheerful this morning ugh! I am feeling detached.

    by the way- Voos is not my last name (good catch Marguerite) rendevous....RhondaVoos....get it? My big brothers used to drive me crazy calling me that, among other things.....
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Remember, guys...adopted kids who come at an older age react differently than kids who were in your care since infancy. Trust me, it's a whole other thing. Cya all later :)
  9. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    Welcome, I have one of those husband's that don't admit fault but just acts extra nice and cheerful too, frustrating trying to get thru to them, huh.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I totally LOVE Love and Logic. It was the first parenting guide that I could get my husband to participate in. It let us work as a team, rather than me working iwth the kids and husband doing his own thing regarding them. He caused some HUGE problems with Wiz, esp by NOT stepping in when Wiz was first violent with Jessie and I. Wiz somehow got imprinted with the notion that it was just fine to hurt Mom and Jess and any other females. husband always treated me with respect and care, but didn't step up to stop Wiz. (It took a LOT of therapy for our marriage to survive this, as you can imagine).

    I think a refresher Love and Logic would be great for your husband. Do you know you can get audio cd's AND videos of their stuff? I found that having my husband listen to the audiobooks made a HUMONGOUS difference in how he acted. He has a long drive home (1 1/2 hours) and he could really get the stuff pounded into his head. Made life a lot nicer. Just a thought.

    Anyway, preparing your child for the path is a wonderful idea. And it is very realistic. I hope things get smoother soon at your house.

    Many hugs!
  11. RhondaVoos

    RhondaVoos Rhonda

    I am lucky in one respect, most schools where I live have Love and Logic classes:beautifulthing::beautifulthing:. I had so much success with it with my "unadoptable" kids that San Bernardino County recommends it to fost adopt parents. I will have to borrow some cd's from the lending library at the kids school (also a Love and Logic school, all the teachers take L&L training) For husband to refresh himself on. We both love watching their little heads spin as they try to get around L&L!!! Having a much better day, hold on while I don my cape.....
    SuperMom to the rescue!!!!!!
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As one with older adopted kids, I would keep evaluating. I'd do a neuropsychologist. If these kids had eight homes before they came to you, it is pretty hard to believe that nothing worse than ADHD/ODD is going on. Of course, it's possible, but I wouldn't accept it (and didn't). I don't really think therapists diagnose that well. I'd want the whole nine yards. Stealing is worrisome...I don't know. Eight I know this is sensitive, but we were told that over 90% of the foster kids are sexually abused, even if they don't say anything or the social worker doesn't's best to find out all you can because these can become issues as they get older. You may also want to join an adoption group for parents of kids with special needs and older adopted children. They are a wealth of information.
    At any rate, this is what worked for us.
    Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
  13. RhondaVoos

    RhondaVoos Rhonda

    I am aware that my daughter and possibly my son were sexually abused in the first foster home that they were in. Son was kept in a playpen with a plywood lid, I can't begin to tell you what they went through. It's hard to tell what of their experiences has any bearing on this current issue between husband and difficult child son, so I didn't include that. I don't think it has any bearing on this situation.

    The kids were diagnosed with lots of things, mostly just missed clinical criteria, but Phsychiatrist concluded that there were "issues" with conduct, attachment, personality etc. Most of these issues are not currently being displayed. (they have been with us for 6 years) I know that they will continue to struggle with this, but for now, the biggy is the battle between husband and difficult child son.

    I see the phsychiatrist Wednesday and am going to tell him that we need to do something with the medications (currently taking 54 mg of Concerta, 52 lb child!) Last visit when we talked about the anger problems and defiance, he wanted to add Risperdal. I balked at adding more medications, but now am ready to try. My son's quality of life stinks right now. He is not succeeding in school or at home and it is affecting his self image. He was doing better at school with 72 mg of Concerta, but his rages were legendary! His record for a tantrum was 4 hours and 20 minutes. Does anyone else have this problem? Get the hyperactivity under control only to lose control of temper?

    Most of his stealing at home is food, which I understand from this site may be called amphetamine rebound. He does always steal sugar or carbs in the night. Usually he takes a bite or two and hides the rest. He eats like a farm hand during the day, the medications don't seem to have affected his appetite.

    I think that difficult child son doing things that he knows husband is going to react to in a predictable way makes him feel powerful and in control. Like he is the puppet master. I get why he does these things, I don't get why husband can't see it and stop responding to it. He was able to do it with difficult child daughter (he told me when they first came that 6 year old girls were not manipulative!!!) and he think the sun rises from her backside. This is the first year that I think so sometimes too. She still occasionally falls back on the role of victim, using what she has been through as an excuse for the things she does. But mostly, she is just happy to have a forever family. Still manipulative sometimes (she is female) but she is really shining this year emotionally, we are still struggling in school, progress reports came out today, 2 Fs and a D+(boohoo) the rest of her grades were Bs! (woohoo)
    She was more disappointed than I was in the Fs and D, so I just asked her what her plan was for bringing the grades up. She already had a plan. How great is that???

    Sorry this is so long, it has been a long road for all of us.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, I'm awake now!

    Actually, it's been longer than I expected, difficult child 3 was doing his online schoolwork today.

    To summarise what I've got so far - GFGson and GFGdaughter are both adopted, not as newborns. There is likely to have been some degree of abuse including sexual abuse very early on, with also (and related?) attachment issues which are currently not apparent. And while GFGdaughter is doted on by her adoptive dad, he and GFGson clash and this isn't doing either of them any good. GFGdaughter is rapidly turning into a easy child( which shows the benefits of unconditional love and preferential treatment) while GFGson is still a big worry, especially with raging, his ADHD and stealing of food, especially. Plus he seems to be playing puppetmaster with his misbehaviour as if to find SOME way to control the responses of husband.

    Am I close?

    Also, you've found some techniques tat work for you especially, that seem to be making a big difference - but you can't get husband on the same page, he's got a short fuse especially where son is concerned.

    OK, Rhonda. Here goes.

    First - the suggestions to video the interactions with a view to walking husband through his behaviour - I think it's about time. Of course, your main motive for filming has to be to do a random spot-check on GFGson's behaviour, to grab a record of how he is behaving now compared to how he used to be. To support this, keep a diary on both of them/reactivate the diary, if you already have one. You use the diary to note down any problems, what you did, what helped, what didn't, who you saw, what they said, etc. Encourage husband to contribute to the diary, keep him involved.

    Now, suggestions for husband and for you - you each have connected to one child and not the other. Although society indoctrinates us to feel that this is wrong and unnatural, it is actually very common. My husband admits to me often, that he and easy child can really talk to each other, but he just can't connect to easy child 2/difficult child 2 in the same way; trying to talk to her is hard work.
    So, for you and husband (if you can get this across to him) - you each need to take one-on-one time with the child you need to bond with. The time you spend needs to be short enough for it to be a positive experience - if it is NOT a positive experience you have to do it again and have TWO positive experiences for each negative one. In other words, the 'reward' for having a bad time, is MORE time. So there are no excuses, no easy 'outs'.

    An example of positive time - you and GFGdaughter could cook something, prepare a meal together or even better - find a recipe SHE wants, and you both work on it together. Or you could do each other's nails. Who cares if she scrapes it off almost immediately? It's the time together that matters most. And for GFGson and husband - playing a computer game together, having GFGson teach husband how to play it. Another example - have husband supervise/teach GFGson how to make something with tools. I know this sounds very sexually stereotyped, but a bit of this may be needed also.

    We began doing this with difficult child 3. His reward for a tantrum-free day was fifteen minutes of playing a computer game with someone. We chose Mario Party, because it works like an interactive board game. But a board game is another good one (don't choose Monopoly!). Or a card game. Finish on a good note, with a promise of playing another game next day.

    If you're doing this as a way to bond, then you need to keep it up. But you can (especially later on) bring this in as a reward for good behaviour. Or better still, expand it in a different direction.

    A good book we often recommend here - "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It has helped a lot of us find a better way to manage and even improve our difficult children. And I would go further - I would, in your shoes, use the same techniques on husband.

    Your son - the problems are complex. The ADHD needs to be dealt with, but you're right, he's on a big dose. But then - so is difficult child 3. However, a factor you might not be aware of and which you perhaps need to consider - could at least some of his problems be related to rebound? We had this with both boys. Some kids get rebound with one stimulant, some with a different stimulant. With difficult child 1, he got rebound on ritalin but not on dexamphetamine. He was changed to dex about the same time difficult child 3 and easy child 2/difficult child 2 were diagnosed, so they never were on ritaliin.
    Then we changed to slow-release (privately compounded for us) and we found the kids did even better.
    Concerta is a slow-release form of ritalin. We recently tried difficult child 3 on Concerta and found problems with rebound. We switched him back to the slow-release dex and he's much better.

    The rebound problems - difficult child 1 would get aggressive and violent. He attacked easy child with a screwdriver, and on the way to school one day he smashed a bottle and tried to attack another kid. Also a factor - caffeine. He was testing his limits by ingesting sweets and drinks loaded with caffeine (and 'guarana' - another name for caffeine, as far as I can tell) and this was blocking his stims. Result - rebound again.
    difficult child 3's rebound effects were less aggression, more mania and pressured speech. He would talk, non-stop, like free-association. He was into everything, it was as if all the day's hyperactivity which the medications had blocked, was now coming to the surface, all in one go. Not pleasant.

    We discovered the problem with difficult child 3 one weekend when we went away to visit family. difficult child 3 had forgotten to pack his medications and I didn't have his new medications (ie Concerta) in my bag as spares, I only had his old medications, and not enough of that. So we rationed his old medications and slid by over the weekend.

    The difference in difficult child 3 was amazing. No rebound. Yes, a bit more scatterbrained, but otherwise not a problem.

    We did try risperdal. It was very different for each boy. It was also expensive. We have now taken them both back off it - for them, any benefit was minimal and not worth the expense. Going on it difficult child 1 doubled his weight in six months. difficult child 3 didn't seem sedated like his big brother, he did gain a little weight but was still underweight for his age.

    I would be considering rebound possibilities, before trying another drug.

    So my suggestions, in a nutshell -

    1) get "The Explosive Child". read it, or read summaries of it (in "Early Childhood"). Try it out on both kids and husband. The book should help find a different (hopefully much more effective) ways to deal with tantrums.

    2) Spend quality time (brief but frequent, always positive) each of you, with each kid you have least connection to.

    3) Later on, consider rewarding a tantrum-free day with a 15 minute quality time reward. Don't reward with material things, reward with your time.

    4) Others have suggested you videotape the behaviour of the kids. If this also tapes husband with the kids so you catch the problems on tape - great. It gives you a chance to talk to him about his favouritism.

    One final thing - if you can get husband to lurk here or post here, so much the better. It has really helped me and husband, but if your husband isn't ready for this don't push him.

    Stick around. Help is here.

  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Welcome Rhonda,

    I'm not going to get into any of the abuse issues in the foster home or any of that. I'm going to respond to your original post.

    My twins were adopted from foster care - our daughter is doing very well. Our son is (& has currently for 3 yrs now) lived in a therapeutic foster home, hospital or Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Not in our home - for safety reasons.

    Lately, our ktbug has been blossoming. We're seeing a mature young lady making plans for the future, really trying in school, etc. wm isn't even close to attempting any of those things.

    My husband becoming more & more angry; he takes wm's failures out on kt & it's ugly. Very very ugly.

    Boys do come around ~ takes them a bit more time. I do know the harder husband is on wm the less wm wants to spend time with husband. It's a natural.

    Something to consider. Good luck & keep us posted.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It is possible that the Concerta is making your son rage. Stimulants can do that, depending on what is wrong with the child. The child that we adopted from foster care would get mean and aggressive on stimulants and he is NOT like that. He has outgrown most of his ADHD inattentions and we mostly use school interventions. It's been great the past three years. He actually does much better off all medications.
  17. RhondaVoos

    RhondaVoos Rhonda

    You are all angels!!!!!

    He has been fine for a few days, even took kids on a bike ride last night. He has been lurking over my shoulder trying to see what is going on here, I think he knows I have been posting about him! He is making an effort!! I plan to Love and Logic him into keeping it up. I have done what was suggested and spent scheduled quality time with difficult child Daughter all of the last 5 years, and we are now way more comfortable with each other. it is hard to admit that although I love her, I do not always like her. That has gotten far better. I had to force her to bond with me, she wasn't going to do it on her own. My relationship with her is now precious to me, I want the same for husband and difficult child Son. I will nag him into it if I have to.

    A question about Risperdal, my son is VERY small and thin even though he eats like a full grown man. If it causes weight gain and allows the dosage of Concerta to be raised back to where he is attentive in school, what do you recommend? He seems to develope rebound after 2 years on any stimulant. We have been through them all now. Start over at Adderal and see if he still rebounds with it? Stay with Concerta? Seeing Dr tomorrow.:confused:
  18. My children are both adopted - although both as infants. While my husband is very loving to both children; I'm definitely more connected with difficult child vs. my husband - he struggles with him no matter how he tries - he just doesn't "get" him-too emotional for a boy. However, what he does do well is trying to follow my cues and ideas (he has plenty too - of course) even if he can't connect emotionally at a given time.

    For my difficult child, nobody even had a clue what to do with him when he was younger; and we had no choice but to try to figure out for ourselves what was happening as much as we could.

    Regardless of the behavior, one of the best way we found around our house in the short term while trying to implement things like love and logic was to take the ability for difficult child to engage in certain behaviors. This is more neutral for difficult child and gets us out of the you can't make me mode. For example, locking the pantry door and keeping food we didn't want him to steal in the middle of the night (carbs, in his case).

    Right now, due to a recent death in the family, we have moved from incredible difficult child during crisis mode to the fall out. The rule is he has to stick around the house for a few days and be supervised when playing with friends as much as possible by adults for the next few weeks once we caught him "talking" about getting into fights with other kids who are spreading rumors (his viewpoint - I'm still open). difficult child and friends have been told that this is for his "safety and protection" so that people can't come to me with something I know is not true - it's neutral and he accepts it because he dislikes having a bad reputation.

    Obviously, we're very lucky that he works with us - but for us finding the neutral ground was one of the turning points overall.