disgusted with my difficult child 2...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by confuzzled, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    i've pretty much HAD it.

    until this year, we were "normal" parents, with "normal" discipline, "normal" rules, etc....

    once she had her "break with reality" (which may or may not have actually occurred) and her alphabet soup diagnoses which may or may not be accurate, life has gone to h$ll in a handbasket. husband and i are walking on eggshells around her so as not to "upset her". we tried to relearn how to parent her--we were nice, then empathetic, then tolerant, then more flexible with overlooking the small stuff....courtesy of all of our "professional" involvement.

    and now it feels like i dont just have a difficult child-- but that i have a spoiled brat on my hands.

    she carried on in school over an assignment (i'm beyond embarrassed at this point too). fine. so she had to do it for homework. she carried on in hysterics for TWO HOURS. for NO reason--it was a simple, three paragraph letter to next years teacher...who she is, what she liked this year, and what she is looking forward to next year. this was not hard. this was a literal 10 minute assignment. the teacher even gave her a graphic organizer. and yet, she chose to act like a 2 year old.

    so she's majorly punished. i dont CARE what the prof's say at this point...i'm sick of hearing she "cant control it" or she "cant do X" (when she was more than capable for the last 10 years of her life)...

    i completely lost it. and i'm no longer sorry. i've never hit my kids, but so help me, i almost started today. i had to leave the room. i NEVER lose control--but thats how far this year has pushed me. and i'm quickly out of patience and ideas with the situation. my own PTSD/Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is so off the charts that i'm not even sure how i function anymore. and i really see no end in sight to this nonsense...although i'm liking the mattress only in a room idea more by the second.

    pass the cheese--my w(h)ine needs a snack. :anxious:
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    JMO. I agree with the professionals, and often I don't. But I don't believe that any "typical" child would blow up like that in school in front of teachers or peers if he was just a brat. That's so over-the-top as far as behavior goes and so socially unacceptable that I have to think something is definitely wrong. It's unfortunate that you haven't gotten the right diagnosis yet. I love NeuroPsychs for diagnostic purposes. Her "quirkiness" makes me wonder about Aspergers Sydrome.
  3. ML

    ML Guest

    I think anxiety plays into much of what we perceive as our kids just being difficult for the sake of being difficult. But, regardless, we have to teach them what is acceptable. It's so hard. I'm really sorry to hear your anxiety is surfacing bigtime but it's not surprising in the war zone of life with difficult children. You're sure not alone.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    THrowing a big tantrum over a school-based task like tat - yep, that fits with Asperger's. And we found we had to totally change our mind-set on this. Yes, you do feel at times that you now have a spoiled child on your hands (on top of a child who is still just as dysfunctional) but this takes time, patience and no backsliding. Sorry. This is really difficult, especially when the parental mind keeps sapping back to "She shouldn't be behaving like this AT HER AGE. She should know better..."

    The thing is - they can hold it together, with considerable effort, sometimes. That is why it is easy to think that they are deliberately being a problem. But if you can get inside her head you can see why X will trigger her (and so severely) and why Y does not.

    You try, you make accommodations - and maybe there's some slow progress. But every time you blow a fuse and throw your hands up in the air, you undermine all your progress with her. It's back to square one, unfortunately.

    I would suggest you consider Asperger's as a working hypothesis. Because using that model, I can understand why she would throw this tantrum, and why it needs a different kind of handling.

    Yes, panic is a big factor here - panic and anxiety. How I would have handled this would depend on which kid of mine was throwing the tantrum. Because each of them had distinctly different problems when it comes to writing tasks.

    difficult child 1 - he can't mentally multi-task. For years, this meant he did NO writing tasks at all. He simply couldn't do it. We tried everything, including being rigid, strict and determined he was going to do the work. We have a large spare room which is separate to the house and has windows all round. We put him in this room with his books, his writing tools, his hi-lite pen and told him to get the work done. He was allowed out for meals and toilet, then bed. At various times either husband or myself would go in and sit with him, trying to help him work through the task. What he was supposed to do, was go through a text and summarise the important points, so he could use the points to write an essay. That was when we realised that he was simply incapable of looking at a text and finding what was important, and what was not. Because in order to do this he had to mentally manipulate several pieces of information in order to compare them, evaluate them and decide which was relevant and which was not. It was just too difficult for him.
    We did tis over several weekends, he would spend the entire weekend in that room and although he was compliant, he could not achieve anything. We had to find a new method. We found, for difficult child 1, that mind-mapping helped. Unfortunately, he hated having to do it because he quickly associated mind-mapping with "I can't do this the usual way, therefore it is difficult".

    Now to difficult child 3 - he CAN assess a text, although he does have difficulty determining what is important because unlike his brother, difficult child 3 can't understand anything which is abstract. But he can mentally multi-task. So difficult child 3 is able to create a story, for example. He can do writing tasks. He likes poetry (he told his teachers yesterday, in front of the class, that he likes poetry). He understands and can use various poetic devices. But he HATES writing tasks, especially handwriting, because he sees them as confronting, time-consuming and if it's handwriting, physically painful.

    There is a subset of Asperger's which overlaps to hypermobile joints. This can mean that the person is more flexible, is able to touch toes (or at least reach a lot further) and is seen as being a good thing. it is not, because later in life these people develop osteoarthritis. Not always that much later, either - easy child 2/difficult child 2 showed osteoarthritis symptoms while still in her teens. difficult child 3 also sometimes chooses to wear a wrist splint because of pain. We noticed these problems in difficult child 3 when he was a pre-schooler - his pencil grip was very immature, but it was because it hurt him to hold a pencil the normal way. With a kid like tis - you look at their hands as they hold a pen, the finger joints at the tips bend the wrong way. Not all the way, but definitely beyond 90 degrees. This means that to control the pencil, they have to grip it more tightly. This causes fatigue and pain in the hand and when they have to do this every time they write, they soon learn to avoid writing tasks. They're not always aware of why they are avoiding writing tasks. Also, they can't understand why others don't also complain - this is normal for them, you see. We found that allowing use of keyboard to do writing tasks helped a lot. Also I have offered to type while the child dictates, then he will read what I have written and edit it.

    Another problem - the child may have difficulty with the written word. Dyslexia can also be connected with Asperger's. Thankfully, not in the case of my kids. But a nephew or three of mine have the dyslexia component as well. Dyslexics can get very good at avoiding letting anyone see their problem. They would rather be seen as immature or badly behaved, than for people to discover the problem they have with the written word. Because to not be able to read properly, is to be considered "dumb".
    So again - when your child is beginning to ramp up in distress over this, suggest you work as a team. The reasons for the difficulty can be multifactorial, but the first thing I do, is offer to type while the child dictates. If this resolves the issue, then consider your child has an added problem with physically writing (or typing).

    If the problem is still a hassle, then your child may also have difficulty because:

    1) the task may be too open-ended. difficult child 1 & difficult child 3 had trouble making value judgements, in choosing the validity of this over that. This meant they could not decide what to write about. Trying to decide became very time-consuming (wasteful of time). So (after checking with teachers) I developed some 'tricks' to help the kid make the choice. Sometimes it simple is a matter of you helping the child choose.

    2) the task may be too complex to carry out mentally. In which case - find a way of helping draft, on paper, some ideas. difficult child 3 won't do his own mind-maps, but he will talk me through doing one for him. Mind you, what he ends up writing often bears little resemblance to the mind-map we drew, but it doesn't matter - we got him started. And once these kids can make a start, they can usually keep going.

    When the child is raging, or upset, is not the time to try to sort out your concerns over disrespect. The level of panic or distress is extreme and these kids WILL express their panic just as we would if we felt that bad. But that doens't mean you have to let the bad behaviour slide - not at all. But you choose your tome, and make your own (fast) mental list of what you want to achieve, right now.
    In your case in the above incident - the first thing you want to achieve, is to stop the tantrum. or wait it out. The second thing you want to achieve, is your child getting the writing task done. Never down-play the task or belittle the child by saying, "Goodness, I don't understand what the fuss is about! This is so easy!" Because at the moment, for your child, it is NOT easy. Instead you say, "Take a deep breath. Let me help you. Let's try yo find a way to make this work for you."

    Disrespect comes last. A long last. Once the child is calm and the task out of the way, then you can try to talk. Then you say, "When you get upset, it makes me sad too. And it hurts me when you say those things. I try to not disrespect you; I don't shout at you. Please try to not shout at me or say rude things to me. It doesn't help at all, it only makes more trouble for you."
    It is not achieving anything, if in sorting out your disrespect concerns, you make your child upset again. Because an upset child feels justified to be angry and upset. Therefore any reason you try to apply, gets absolutely nowhere. But if you can help your child stay calm, but still make even half a point, that half point stays made and stands a chance of sticking in that very jumbled and highly strung brain.

    And as husband & I used to tag-team when sitting with difficult child 1 in the "outhouse" - when you've reached your limit, leave the room. Walk away. Leave the house if you must. But remove yourself before you blow up. By doing this you're buying yourself time to cope, plus showing your child that walking away is better than staying and raging.

    When it is suggested you walk around her on eggshells, you shouldn't feel the need to let her completely take charge. There are ways to make this work, and still keep your home working according to your rules. But you do have to change your "she's the child, I'm the parent" approach which is how we all would normally try to parent. You can still be the boss, purely because you have more experience at living in this world, but you need to move your relationship with your child to a different footing. I've found the flatmate approach can help you begin to find a way through. If you consider yourself to be someone sharing the same living space (as when you were first living away from home and having to share with other people) then you try to remember how you behaved towards your flatmates. Your attitude to your child should be similar. Stop and listen to yourself when you speak to other family members in your household. Would you speak that way if it were your mother-in-law? Your best friend living with you while her house is being remodelled?

    Of course as parents we should be allowed to be the parents we believe we should be. It's not fair - but neither is it fair to be foisted with difficult child as a child. This isn't about what is fair. it is about what IS, and the best way to cope with the situation.

    If it's any consolation, this parenting method is also the one likely to teach your children the fastest, how to live independently. It's a fast-track to adult responsibility for them. It can also help you sidsestep the worst of the teenager traumas.

    Read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. Find the older editions and read those also, they are actually quite different. But all useful. And hey - what else is working?

  5. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    yes, she has anxiety. yes, she's most likely on the spectrum.

    and we have modified and accomodated to the Nth degree.

    but like i said...she functioned reasonably fine for 10 years, or prior to all this "help".

    now its starting to feel like more of learned behaviors. if she carries on, then she will get out of doing whatever. if she carries on, everyone will bend over backwards to appease her. if she carries on, there are really no consequences. (this meltdown koi is only a small part of it, we have typical teen mouthiness and attitude on top of all of it)

    she does have pyschomotor delays and executive functioning issues. and there have been plenty of times where an assignment *IS* overwhelming and difficult for her, and trust me, we break it down, we work with her, sometimes we even scrap the assignment all together, etc. this was not one of those times--when i say it was a 10 min. assignment, i mean it took HER 10 min. to do, once she calmed down and did the work. during her 2 hour meltdown we tried breathing, we tried relaxation techniques, etc....what i refused to do was let her off the hook. there was no real reason, not even a self perceived one, for her to act like she did.

    life is not going to put up with her nonsense. bosses arent going to put up with it. husbands and children arent either. all of us have things in life we dont want to do, or are difficult for us, but we do them. at some point she cant use all her diagnosis's as an excuse...nor does she get a free pass on self entitlement. she cant live her life focused on what someone says she *CANT* do....she's been given every opportunity for help, and she's VERY capable of a great many things.

    and believe me, i have the patience of a saint. husband was flabbergasted that i finally lost it...its so out of character for me that he just couldnt believe it. and his answer was that it was a long time in the coming....
    and i just cant take another year like this one.
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I am so sorry! I decided long ago not to walk on eggshells around my kids. In doing so, I was only allowing them to build a life of pampering that they THOUGHT they wanted. So, it makes for ugly moments but I tried to do what was right even though it made them angry and upset. They soon learned that Mom would discipline when she thought it was necessary and stand up for herself when they tried to be manipulative even if they didn't like it.

    Check out the book "The Manipulative Child". The information in it in my opinion is awesome. It helped me to learn to focus on issues and not emotions. Keep the focus on the situation at hand and not how your child feels/reacts about it. An example was when I used it on Diva to get her to do the dishes. She wanted something and I told her not until she did the dishes. She would try to convince me that she needed that something because, and I would bring the subject back to, "Not until you do the dishes". I stayed focused on that one statement, "Not until you do the dishes" and ignored every thing under the sun that she tried to pull to get out of doing them. Things got a bit ugly but it didn't end until she did the dishes.

    Our kids use their emotions to pull on ours. They are very successful at it to the point that many times we as parents just give in. I also believe that diagnosis can cause it to be more difficult for some kids to maintain control but I also believe with you that we have to give the kid tools to help with that control and giving in to them is taking away tools. If we can work hard to keep those emotions at bay and get the child to focus on what the true issue is it will be easier to help them grow.

    When your child starts tantrumming, focus on helping her help herself calm down. Do not try to solve the issue at hand as a way to calm her down. For example, if she wanted ice cream and was throwing a fit because she couldn't get chocolate, do not say, "We can go to the next store to see if they have chocolate." Your focus during a tantrum is not the issue of her not getting what she wants but the time for her to stop everything and calm down. So, if you were trying to get her to do something, you can either ignore the behavior with, "Not until you do this" or you can put everything aside until she calms down and then revisit what she is suppose to do.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm just sending a cyber hug and caring thoughts. In reading your post I wondered if maybe...just maybe...you have reached a stark reality moment. For me it took years to actually accept that my difficult child was not "fixable". Everyone admired me so for my patience and my advocacy etc. etc. Then after certain unexpected circumstances I had a "light bulb" moment and realized that difficult child was probably never going to be "normal". I didn't rant. I justcrumbled and had a hard time getting myself back together.Your difficult child may be doing the best job possible at those terrible moments. Obviously I have no answers to help you....but, like many in the CD family, I understand the frustration. DDD
  8. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Boy do I know how you feel...I just got difficult child 1 out of the hospital and I'm ready to knock his block off!

    All I can say is that she's on a really low dose of Abilify - she might need to be re-evaluated for an adjustment.

    If she does have Aspergers, I'm not at all surprised that she's doing this stuff. Try and make yourself recognize that while we look at something as a 10 minute assignment, for a kid with your daughters issues, this type of homework is the worst. The meltdown isn't about the homework - the anxiety is associated with the content. Now this is a guess on my part - but any time our kids have to write something about themselves, the don't "get" it. "What if I sound like a jerk" "What if I can't sound smart" "What if someone sees it and thinks blah, blah, blah". The subject matter isn't tangible - it's not something that they can look up and understand. She's at an age that they want to be popular - she's also at an age that she's starting to see that she's "different" than other kids.

    Trust me - I understand how you feel - it can be torturous sometimes -

    We're here for you!

  9. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member


    maybe i overreacted. it's looking like she's ramping up with the mood stuff again...i really had to sit and think about whats going on, and after speaking to the para, yep, it looks like its baaaaack. crud.

    but i'm human too, Know what I mean?? i can only take SO much.

    beth is pretty right....i have zero idea if abilify is doing squat, if she needs more, or something else, or what. regularly scheduled psychiatrist appointment friday---who knows if he'll do anything or just keep staying the course. why he isnt rx'ing a mood stabilizer I don't know. after looking back at my notes, i realized she really hasnt had more than a handful of "good" days since fall. i also made a therapist appointment for friday too...whether it'll help is a shot in the dark (i seriously cant see how playing cards will help if her mood is unstable, but hey, i didnt get a fancy degree!). if psychiatrist doesnt do *something* i'm seriously thinking of finding a new one...because i still think the majority of this requires medications.

    i *DO* think she is quickly figuring out if she melts down she'll get out of X. she's a confusing kid....some of her symptoms are subtle (like suddenly using way too much conditioner in the shower) and some are blatant (meltdowns). but because of the alphabet soup, who knows what goes to what, what is a legitimate issue, what is misbehaving, etc.....

    honestly, it feels like she's gone backward instead of making any progress with all of this professional involvement.

    oh well....pray for me that there is no homework today :)
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sending good thoughts your way. Many of us have found that homework is not included in the survival mode necessary. A number of family members, in fact, separate school and homeresponsibilities when their difficult children can't cope with the stress. I don't know your child or the issues but thought I'd share that sometimes there are alternatives. If you dread it then your difficult child probably dreads it even more. Perhaps the school would agree? DDD
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You are right to be concerned, if tis is happening. If we're right and this is Asperger's, they learn habits FAST. And the habit you don't want them to learn (and, frankly, one the school taught difficult child 3) is that if you stall enough, the work goes away. That is a bad lesson and you need to get on the same page with the school, fast.

    The problem is - NEVER give an ultimatum you can't be certain of winning, every time. it's better to not have the confrontation and the ultimatum, than to lose. That is the biggest reason for avoiding raging and confrontation - you get further if you lead, than if you push.

    What we had to do - we cut back on the workload and made it as specific as we could. But then - the work sits there and still has to be done. I do offer incentives to get work completed, it does help. I also have helped develop strategies to break the task down into manageable bits. Mind-mapping has helped. For writing tasks, Aspies often have trouble if ANY task is too open-ended, something teachers don't get. You'll have a teacher saying, "I don't understand what the problem is - she can write about anything she likes, it doesn't have to be what I choose." Sometimes they do better if someone else specifies exactly what to write about.

    Something that is bugging difficult child 3 at the moment with school topics - he wants to know how it is relevant to him. For example, Shakespeare - he sees it as "chick stuff". So today his English teacher & I both explained to him that when Shakespeare wrote his plays, they were written for a male audience, with male actors (even in the female roles). The only woman he ever wrote plays for was Queen Elizabeth I, who was an honorary man. I think explaining this helped him. I listened in on the lesson (I was in the next room but I could hear) and I know difficult child 3 was giving his teacher the right answers. But it took a one-on-one lesson with his teacher, plus the teacher being very patient and also knowing him well, to get any results. Hard work But positive results, any of them, set the framework for more positive results.

    In your situation - let her rage. Wait her out. But then when she calms down, tell her quietly, "I know you don't like to hear this, but this has to be done. So let us work together to find a way to help you get this behind you."
    Some tricks we've used besides showing her how to mind-map - offer her a very small reward (I use those mini-chocolate bars that are about two bites each) for half an hour's solid concentration on the task. Sometimes the objection is, "It's too much! I can't do it, it will take me forever!" and I get out of it by saying, "OK, let's just spend half an hour on it. But you have to be honest about it and for that half hour, really focus on it. Then after half an hour, we can take a break and play a short game together."

    The school needs to cooperate also, and only send home the essential work not done. Also, you may need to keep her home from school for a day now and then and when she is home, use tat time to catch up. "School work during school hours" is a vital rule we used.

    Aspies generally have a very keen sense of injustice, and if teachers are sending home work which she feels is make-work, if it's stuff she already knows well, she will be feeling resentful. But she is also likely to be reacting to tasks she finds challenging, and letting her get into the habit of avoiding it because it is too challenging, is setting up very bad habits for life. So if the class teacher can identify which really has to be done, and not make a fuss about the rest (for now, anyway) then you all might have a chance of getting somewhere.

    In other words - in the sae way "Explosive Child" sets up a system of choosing only the essential behaviours to focus on, the set work should only include the stuff that MUST be done, rather than make-work or "let's make sure she really understands this."

    An example here - difficult child 3 is good at maths. He also does NOT do well with revision. He can get very cranky if he's given the same problems he's done before. Because of the way his school works, there have been times when he's been given work that he's done in previous years. He will remember, and when the teacher has checked (after difficult child 3 insisted, "I've done this two years ago!") the evidence is there, difficult child 3 was correct.
    And with the full agreement of difficult child 3's maths teacher, difficult child 3 was let off having to do every problem in his set maths work. All he was asked to do was the LAST problem in every set. if he found it easy, he could move on. If he found it a bit tricky, he was asked to do another, to make sure he understood the technique. Often the last problem was an optional "extension" problem - they were the ones the teacher wanted difficult child 3 to do. He could leave all the rest, because if he could do the extension work, then clearly he would be able to do the rest. But he is so slow in doing his schoolwork that it can quickly get away from him. So for the last four years, this is how difficult child 3 has done his maths schoolwork. And in his exams, difficult child 3 has still done well (apart form being slow to finish a paper).
    From the point of view of difficult child 3's maths teacher, it has been more important to cover the curriculum material more broadly, than to only cover a small part of it in slower, more minute detail. And it seems to have worked.

    Homework in general is often a disaster for these kids. We have a ghastly time trying to get difficult child 3 to do homework, or any schoolwork outside school hours. However, there are times when he wants to finish what he has begun and will continue after school hours have finished in order to complete what he started. The issue isn't keeping him working, it is getting him started in the first place. It's a task transition issue, mostly. Add in anxiety, and it's a big problem for anyone to overcome.

    I try to think of things that can help ease anxiety. difficult child 3 is skinny, so I have no problem shoving food at him. Being hungry adds to anxiety (especially with teen males!) so I keep feeding him (finger food), especially when he's beavering away. He can nibble absentmindedly while he's working. Popcorn is good. Or if he has to watch a film for school - I make a bucket of popcorn and we snuggle under a blanket (it's winter here) to watch ti together. It all helps.

    The easiest way to think of difficult child 3, is as a five year old genius. Some things he's really good at, but socially he's a little kid and lags a long way behind.

    Hang in there. always have somewhere to walk away to, when you need your personal space or you feel you've reached your limit.

  12. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I haven't read all of the replies.

    Your signature says "spectrum flavor" and she held it together for 10 years. That sounds a lot like NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) (Non Verbal Learning Disability) which a lot of people consider to be very high functioning autism. It's those tween years that they start to fall apart because more is expected of them as they are expected to be more independent - and they just don't have the resources to handle it.

    Just a thought. Worth looking into.

    Good luck.

  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Heather has a good point. Especially with girls - they can cope, often seem to be doing really well, until things academically start to get more abstract, more "fuzzy" and they simply can't cope. It's like they have slammed into a brick wall.

    We have seen the "brick wall" with all three of our younger kids. Not with easy child. One out of four ain't bad!

  14. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Some days are definately better than others.

    Couple of things.

    1 -- if puberty is kicking in, it's going to get worse before it gets better. ACK!!! Puberty just complicates things even when there are no neurological problems.

    2 -- I don't know your story, but it's not uncommon for kids to be able to cope in school until they start advancing in grades. An article that will tell you why is in the archives at http://www.conductdisorders.com/for...increase-children-advance-through-school-434/