Does nothing work for your kid like it does the rest of the world?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterbee, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I don't mean medications and therapy. I mean normal everyday stuff.

    Tonight (as has been other nights recently since it's been so cold), Wynter is cold. The house is on a slab and the ductwork is run under the house. It's very efficient. Except that the house is 40 years old and the ductwork that goes to the back of my house - my and Wynter's rooms - has rusted and collapsed. We could have it fixed by running ducts through the attic, but it's really not that big of a deal. I leave my door open so the heat from the rest of the house circulates into my room and I have flannel sheets on my bed.

    Wynter, on the other hand, keeps her door closed except when she is sleeping when she has it cracked. She's always complaining that she's cold. Her 'fix' for this is to turn up the heat to smoldering - which I don't realize until I feel like I'm going to melt. She still doesn't get heat in her room, so it just makes the rest of us hot.

    We have flannel sheets for her bed. She doesn't want them. She won't wear long sleeve shirts at all, although she will wear sweatshirts. She has lightweight jammies. She won't put on socks because they just make her feet sweat. :dont_know: She says the space heater - the one that will run me out of my room - only warms up the air under her bed. Put it up on your desk then. She says she did. Well, heat rises. Apparently not in this case, she says. :rolleyes: Yeah, because physics is going to completely change just for you, my dear.

    It seriously gets old. According to her *nothing* works for her that works for the rest of the population. From aches and pains to being cold. Nothing.

    So, now it's unfair that she has to be cold because I won't let her turn up the heat. Yet, she's the one that won't do the things that could make a difference. She doesn't want to. It's inconvenient. But, using the excuse that it doesn't work is what she goes with because she knows saying 'I don't want to' isn't going to fly. She just wants to turn up the heat and melt the rest of us. Yet, it's unfair to her.

    I'm so over this stuff. If she won't do the simple things to make her warm how is she ever going to do the hard things that it'll take to overcome her issues and be successful in life?

    I swear, I've never met someone so stubborn and so headstrong in their own self-defeat.
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh, she sounds SO much like easy child 2/difficult child 2! She also feels the cold a lot and also insists that the rest of the family adapt to HER needs.

    Maybe it's an Aussie thing (temperate zone) and maybe it's because here it doesn't get cold enough to be life-threatening (as a rule), but we were raised with, "If you're feeling cold, put on another layer of clothes, don't turn up the heat until everyone needs it."

    husband feels the heat, I feel the cold. So we sleep with him in lightweight cotton pyjamas and me in full thermal layers with double layer of down doona over the top. We adapt, so we can still manage to be together without making it intolerable for one, to make it acceptable for the other.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 bought a cooking thermometer which she used to measure the temperature of the bath water. It had to be 42 degrees C at the tap. She would then leave the bath for up to an hour, then add more hot water because it had gone too cold. Meanwhile we could have run several other family members trough the bathroom while we waited for her.
    When she finally DID go to have her bath, we had to wait almost two hours at times, especially if she planned to both wash her hair and shave her legs.

    Naturally this generally meant we had to turn on the hot water heater (which costs) because the solar-heated water would be used up fast, when she ran her very full bath.

    husband & I are very happy now she's moved out. She and BF2 have to manage with a small bathtub with a small quick-recovery heater, which apparently is not only no longer recovering quickly, it is collapsing form exhaustion. It is also getting very expensive with power bills, as she empties the hot water tank entirely into the bath then has to wait half an hour for it to get up to her required 42 degrees C. Only it has to get up even higher now, because after half an hour, the amount in the bathtub has cooled to tepid.

    At last she has to organise her bath and it cannot be our fault.

    As for the "headstrong in her own self-defeat" (love that line) - that's easy child 2/difficult child 2. Only there's nobody around to rescue her. Nobody to hurt at either, most of the time, because BF2 works very long hours (to pay the power bill?).

    Heather, I really don't know what to say except stand your ground politely (even when she isn't being polite) and weather the storms. Make alternatives available, introduce her to thermals but make it clear - if SHE won't use the sensible options you provide, then she has no right to complain.

    Part of it, too, is the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) component of Asperger's-type symptoms. They are single minded in only seeing one possible solution pathway and cannot think laterally, especially when they get into the histrionics and panic about it all. I saw it on Saturday in difficult child 1's new mother in law - she was brilliant at planning a lot of the wedding, but on the day when things refused to go exactly according to her plants, she began to get very difficult indeed, I hear her snarl at the best man, "This is what happens when you refuse to have a wedding rehearsal!" (this was a very informal wedding, the bride was barefoot, we didn't NEED the formality or fuss and a rehearsal just wasn't going to be possible).

    Heather, one possible solution is to get a ceiling fan installed in her room and your room - I know it sounds bizarre, but a ceiling fan will move hot air at the ceiling, back down to the room. husband & I have this in place. We have no central heating but will use a space heater in winter on really cold nights and have often turned on the ceiling fan (low is all you need) to help the space heater warm the room more effectively. I even got easy child 2/difficult child 2 to do this.

    If all else fails, tell her it's good practice for living in a crypt (she's still Goth, isn't she?)

  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This a time that logical consequences should rule. Take an index card and write the highest temp the heat can go, and the lowest it can go. Tape it up by the thermostat.

    Then tell Wynter that the thermostat is HER responsibility. If it is set higher or lower than the temp, then SHE will have to do a chore to pay for the extra cost of the electricity. DO NOT let her off the hook with "X did it" or whining about the chore. If she has a tantrum, wait until it is over and then have her do the chore. She will try to wear you down, but just ignore her tantrums adn whining. Wear HER out. Go to the Love and Logic book or website and look up the "broken record" technique. use it on her.

    Then, if she is cold simply say, "Oh, you will feel so much better when you are warmer." DO NOT offer suggestions. Make sure that the thermostat has a significant consequence, and don't back down. But ask HER how to solve her problem. She is a teenager. Part of that is knowing EVERYTHING and knowing your parents know NOTHING. Some of the sock/shirts things are probably sensory. But make sure she has teh sweatshirts and maybe sweatpants (if the elastic on the bottom bugs her take it out). And if you know she has plenty of things to make her warm, then ignore her fussing.

    Let HER find a solution, but make sure she knows she cannot get away with making the rest of you miserable. (when she whines the phrase my mom used to use comes in handy "If you are going to howl, go howl in the hall." - only use whining and her room.)

    Sorry this is such a battle. If you absolutely can't get her to leave the thermostat alone, go to the hardware store and get one of the boxes restaurants use to cover the thermostats so that customers can't change them. Then she won't be able to change the thermostat and boil you and make your heat bill outrageous.

    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Marg - ROFL at "If all else fails, tell her it's good practice for living in a crypt (she's still Goth, isn't she?)"

    This is a GREAT response to her!!
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Vampira can always wear long johns under her flowing white robes...

  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sounds a lot like my difficult child-only not with the thermostat. Nothing works for difficult child-we make suggestions but he doesn't take them (over anything) because that won't work for him. It does get frustrating.

    by the way-I have to admit to having heating wars at work. I'm ALWAYS freezing and I dress warm. I layer and everything and still there are days when my feet are numb and I'm shivering. I turn the heat up to 75 which really means about 70 in my classroom. My co-teacher is ALWAYS hot. She comes dressed in short sleeves and is still roasting-she turns the heat down to 65-brrr. We try to turn it when the other isn't looking (all in good fun). Most of the time she isn't in the room so I have it set higher.
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Qut. making. suggestions. It took me three years to learn that one. Sympathize -- "I'm sorry you're cold." -- and leave it at that. Let her figure out a way to get warm without inconveniencing the rest of the family.

    I really like SW's idea of making her responsible for the thermostat with a note saying minimum/maximum and consequences if it goes higher/lower. The one thing I would add is the times the higher/lower setting is applicable. Something like 8 am-10 pm no higher than 72; 10:01 pm-7:59 am no higher than 65.

    You really and truly do have a clone of my daughter. There is no way you can fix things for her. She already knows what she wants YOU to do about the problem (turn up the heat, do the homework for her, take her to the mall to get the only necklace in the world that will go with that top, etc.), she doesn't care if there are other solutions. She'll find a reason why nothing works but what she wants. So, quit trying to fix them. Let her suffer. Do let her know you care but don't give in and let her have her way. Acknowledge that her room is cold and then admit you just can't afford to have the heat up high enough to satisfy her needs.

    I was amazed that when my daughter saw that I really and truly wasn't going to try to make things right for her any longer, she did start doing for herself a lot more. It took some time since we both had habits we had to break but what a difference. She really is old enough to take responsibility for herself. Tell her it is time for her to start growing up and she is going to have to come up with solutions that will get her what she wants without making the rest of the world miserable,

    In the meantime, major HUGS. I know how draining the "it won'Tourette's Syndrome" are.
  8. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    Yes, MB has it right. I don't think it is going to matter what you do about the heat, her loneliness, her not wanting to do homework, etc. Nothing is right and it is all your fault and you have to do something about it. When you are able to stop taking responsibility and let her fix these things herself (or not) she may change but not before. I would say there has to be a clear message to her that you are not responsible for her misery, only she is. As long as she suspects you feel the tiniest bit guilty she will hone in on that and try to make it all your fault. You will have to be very neutral at all times and very nonchalant even when you are seething or feeling sorry for her, etc. It is so hard--took me forever to learn this with my difficult child 1.

    Hugs for you--on top of all this you do not feel well--I cannot imagine how you cope!

  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I don't know.... My think sometimes my difficult child likes to gripe just to gripe.

    In this instance, I'd sympathize, require that he not touch the thermostat, and him 2 options:

    1) leave the bedroom door open
    2) my blessing to take his sleeping bag and sleep where ever he thinks he'd be most comfortable.

    He'd have to figure out the rest.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911

    noooooooo......but it sure sounds like ME!!!!!:D:tongue:
  11. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    Wynterthersgrace: I am a hates socks person myself...and I suffer in the cold. I like ugh boots, though and I have piles of light comforters and one wool blanket and I do not live in a cold environment.
    My grandmother was a cold hater and she also just didn't get wearing the garmets that just make sence. Having her around in the winter ment one sauna quality room and one shivering and complaining elder when she wasn't in it.
    My sister, on the other hand, is a very warm person. She doesn't like the smell of
    a closed up heated house. The air bugs her.
    The important thing is to do as you describe...learn how to take care of onesself in a world where no one but ones mother is going to fuss with you over it. My stradegy for the person who is uncomfortable is to try EVERYTHING I can think of and then look for more if I do not find the solution.
    Hot water bottles?
    Heat up rice in the microwave and warm up her bed?
    Cozy hats?
    Once when I had moved out on my own I insulated a walk in closet with newpaper and fabric and put my bed in there and used a heating pad that that warmed my bed up befor I got in it. It had a window that opened for the freash air that I need
    when I need it.
    What about gloves and mittens?
    And then there is my favorite remedy for what tub! After a soak in hot water, which my body abusorbs like a spunge, I am relaxed and radiate heat for awhile.
    And then there is the lamb skin(s)...they are washable, they are cozy and warm and I personally love sleeping on one or on one and one on top.
    When dealing with someone who is actually having a problem as a parent I baaare in mind that my tone and my quality of attention is what my child will internalise and carry with them as they cope with life for a lifetime. With that in mind I have found that grace to use my words and deeds without feeling reluctant
    or burdening my child with that reluctance.
    With bills so high this winter I hope you find a solution with her.
    I found it useful to ask my teen to write the large amount the cell bill was driven to when he was texting hundreds of times in mere weeks onto the check. That way when other food, gas, and toiletries became A PROBLEM the matter hit home, for him. Not from the mad place,,, I let him see the "I just do not have the inner strength myself" side.
    Hang in there Mom! Oh..and silk is really warm and light and soft...
  12. Woofens

    Woofens New Member

    Just a idea.... not sure if it is feasible for you or not. I am chronically cold. Even with the temperature set at 68 here my hands ache from the cold. In the summer, if the house gets below 70 I am freezing. Last year for Christmas, SO bought me a heated mattress pad. Ours was expensive because we have a king size bed, but I think for a twin you can get one for under $30. I love mine, and can't imagine winter without it.

  13. Heather,

    Wynter sounds like my daughter. When she gets in one of her moods, nothing works. Her medications, life, everything. No matter how many times I try and explain to her, it doesn't work for HER.

    No suggestions, just hugs!

  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    And again, I have to ask...when did Miss KT move in with you?

    Since I am the stupidest person in the entire world, I would look at Miss KT and ask, "Well, then, how do YOU intend to solve that problem?" Freezing, starving, no clean clothes, whatever...I was so tired of hearing her voice that I just turned it back around on her. My suggestions were just stupid. OK, then. NOT MY PROBLEM.

    Sending hugs, strength, and lots of luck. Oh...and earplugs so you don't have to hear it.