Double Standards?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tiredmommy, May 11, 2011.

  1. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    There seem to be several threads active right now which talk about difficult children having different standards to meet than their typical peers. Do you see difficult children being given a break because of their conditions? Or are they judged more harshly because their behaviors put them on others' radar? How do you reconcile this with your kids? Is it fair or unfair? Let's talk about standards!
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think thats a real hard thing to answer TM. On some level difficult child's are given some breaks because school work is made "easier" in some sense like no homework or reduced work load but also the kids on the staff's radar so anything that goes on is most likely going to get blamed on a difficult child. easy child's can push a difficult child's buttons without being seen and its the difficult child who gets into trouble.

    This works in adult life too. I may be considered "lucky" to be receiving disability because I have bipolar (along with my other disabling conditions) but no one will cut me any slack because of the bipolar.
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I'm struggling with this one, TM. A lot.

    Seriously's post about the boy choking another boy...granted, these boys are older, but that could be my difficult child.

    And on one hand, he has to be accountable for his actions. On the other, he doesn't learn like typical kids, and this is the ONLY YEAR in his entire school career that he's actually learned diddly squat because the kids and staff weren't provoking him. Putting my difficult child in a punishment-based juvie system right now would ruin any shot he has at making it in life. He may not, anyway, but his only shot lies in those who will teach him using the way he learns.

    So I think of the boy who did the choking, and my first response is hold him accountable, but a very close second response is what else has gone on to get to this point?

    And in the case of my difficult child? How do I hold the adults accountable for their repeated failures to him? We know what works, but yet so few will actually use it....If you can boot the learning disabled kid out of school and charge him legally for "failing" to maintain himself, why can't you boot the teacher who refuses to use the tried and true methods with him? Isn't that person at least somewhat responsible, too? I mean, they are the person that is supposed to be "teaching" this child...

    I'm torn.
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I guess this is what ultimately happens when the system fails so many.
  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    TM - it is a really difficult thing to define, because I think in some instances our kids are given ridiculous amts of slack, but in others they are scrutinized much more than a easy child.

    For example, at the height of thank you's behaviors at home, he called me every disgusting name in the book (*every* name). At that point, if he wasn't physically assaulting me, I let it slide - it's all relative. If Diva or Wee even *thought* about calling me one of those names? Their lives would end. Period. Also, interestingly, Boo at this same period of time picked up one of thank you's favorite phrases (fxxx you). In spite of his really horrible/unintelligible speech, this particular phrase he mastered quite well (impressive because it's a fricative sound and he just doesn't do fricatives - of course, he was hearing it about a gazillion times a day back then, LOL). The only other person who caught on was his teacher (wonderful guy who really got that Boo is more on-target than not). Everyone else was hearing it, but they didn't give it a second thought because no *way* could a kid as involved as Boo say that. He was. Teacher, husband, and I were the only ones who reprimanded him for it, even after we tried to educate other staff involved.

    I was really worried about the therapeutic approach versus real-world logical consequences in thank you's case. My goodness, so many people (myself included) spent so darn much time trying the "talk therapy" approach to his really dangerous behaviors. Let's "process", or have him write up a "life skills intervention" sheet. The reality is, if thank you goes off in 7-11 because they don't have his brand of gum, no one is going to "process" with him. I have thought for a very long time that, especially with our teens, we are setting them up with some very false ideals of what consequences are going to be for their behaviors as adults. No, you *don't* get to go to the hospital when you assault someone other than a family member - you will go to jail. Don't pass go, don't collect $100, and no one gives a good gosh darn that you have mental health issues. You're not generally so psychotic as to be unaware of what you're doing. Aware of the consequences? Maybe not, since they've never been applied before. And I think that is really a huge disservice we do to our kids.

    I think really the only place where they tried to keep a tight rein on him was in a couple of school placements. They were on him pretty darn fast for things that a "typical" kid may have gotten away with, but considering that those placements were all self-contained Special Education, I understand their scrutiny.

    You know - Boo has a real fondness for women. A *real* fondness. He's been reaching out and grabbing them for over a decade - again, an impressive skill given his really lousy motor skills. But try to get staff to understand it? Darn near impossible. You can watch him - it's very intentional. He *knows* what he's doing and he also knows that, unless I've forewarned people very forcefully about it, he will get off scott free. I think that just defines the tendency to allow a disability to define the person and by extension, allow that person to not be held to basic social rules. It's the same with our difficult children. If they get taken to a hospital for their violent behaviors (and obviously, my opinion is very much colored by life with a kid who was violent to the max but was also, the vast majority of the time (though not 100% of the time), completely in control of his actions), why would they expect anything different as adults? It really bothers me.

    At the very end of the day, rules apply if you live in a community. Period. There are no exceptions. You cannot have a separate set of rules for appropriate behavior for an adult with BiPolar (BP), or CP, or whatever.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Those double standards have been an ongoing concern of mine, and is one reason I did not want Miss KT on an IEP or 504 in school. When employers look at you, they want to know if you can do the job or not. Period. I was afraid that too much modifying would give her even more of a sense of entitlement, and then she would expect everyone else to make the job easier, lighter, or whatever. And since she presents very well, an uninformed person can't tell she has various issues. Once she settles in, however...

    What really bugs me as a sub is the ones who are proud that they don't have to do as much work as their classmates, and they insist on telling me and the rest of the class every flippin' time we get another book out. There's a huge difference between a factual statement and a ha ha ha, and the factual statements are fine. I just tell the kids, "That's fine, you know what you need to do then," and they go back to their desks happy that they have been trusted to do what they need to do. Same thing with RSP..."That's fine, you know what time you need to be there." Makes me wonder if the ones who seem to be bragging are the ones who really don't need the modifications.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Perspective matters...

    If we applied the approach most want to take with our difficult children, to people with physical disabilities... then:

    1) the kid in the wheelchair would have to NOT use the wheelchair for phys ed - because how else will he learn to walk?

    2) the blind girl isn't allowed her white cane inside the school, because she might trip someone else - but if she bumps into someone and they get hurt, then we should throw the book at the blind girl... SHE hurt the other person, right?

    So, when is it an appropriate accommodation?

    I struggle with that, too - untimed tests and technology supports are NOT unfair - the intent is to level the playing field so the students can compete "fairly". Cutting slack for behaviour... depends. History. Exact circumstances. Whether supports are in place at school, how well they are working etc. Its a really, really difficult call.

    At home... the same "expectations" apply to all of us (like "responsibility") - but, exact implementation is tailored to the person... one kid's "neat room" may not be the same as the next kid's "neat room" - but each is responsible to get it to a certain level of neatness...

    At school - its really tough, because the supports that are available work against the kid, and the supports the kid needs are not available. And then he gets in trouble for "not making use of the supports avilable to him".
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont understand where you are coming from insanecdn. We are not talking about taking away accommodations or anything like that. Yes, people who have disabilities need help but help is not an excuse or as what I have lovingly called it, the bipolar card. That get out of jail free card. They certainly never sent me one when I got my diagnosis. I also need a wheelchair most of the time so its not like I dont understand the concerns of the physically disabled either.

    Accommodations are fine and dandy and I am all for all of those that we can get in this life. I think we need as many of them as possible. We need better instruction in schools to help kids learn not to bully other kids. We need to have more teachers so they can always keep an eye out for situations like this. We need better Special Education departments and programs. What we dont need is to give kids excuses for their behaviors. Like Slsh said, we need to teach them that life will deal them consequences when they act out in the real world. That matters not if they are blind, physically disabled or mentally disabled.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Janet -

    Here's an example:

    If a student is hearing impaired, or has Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) (central auditory processing disorder), they are eligible for a mic system that takes the teacher's voice (mic) directly to their ears (headphones or earbuds).

    BUT, if the student has a problem with auditory filtering, they are NOT eligible. So, what happens is this...
    - all day, student is bombarded by every sound there is - and while he tries to focus on whatever the "important" sounds are, its hard to fight through the fog of noise.
    - so, he misses important instructions, due dates, assignments, etc. - and gets in trouble for "not paying attention" because the teacher told the class at least twice (note... nothing written, even on the white board - just verbal instruction)
    - then, he gets to the last class of the day, and he's too overloaded mentally and emotionally from trying to do what is expected, and he can't quite hold it all together, so he falls out of his seat, or drops his pencil case, or... whatever the distraction is, and is instantly punished for creating a ruckus in the class...

    If he had the mic system, we'd cut half of the problems almost immediately. But the "system" makes no allowances, and you can't even provide your own, because the teachers will not use them unless it is "school-sanctioned equipment".

    And that is FAIR? Sorry. At that point, the teachers and adminstrators need punishment, not the student.

    THATs what I mean when I compare to taking away a physically-disabled person's wheelchair. We intuitively understand that we just can't do that. We give them what they need. If we don't, we expect a huge rucus - and rightly so.
    But other needs are NOT met... and neither the student, nor the parents, are allowed in any way, shape or form to make waves. Its "just" a behavior problem - either a bad kid, or bad parenting, or both.


    (and this example is only ONE of dozens of unmet needs - all getting similar responses from school)
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  10. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    TM, I'm in total agreement with slsh.

    The tweedles have been given so much slack in the school system, in therapy & heck in day to day activities. I started out thinking my poor traumatized children need all the supports in the world & in a way I may have crippled them to real life. To be honest, I didn't trust my mom's instincts to push the tweedles harder ~ I let the mental health professionals lead the way.

    Saying that, their disorders do come into play. I don't know how you can reasonably expect a difficult child who is dissociative to function in the real world until/unless she's able to keep herself connected. wm, on the other hand, is operating on a 7 y/o level emotionally, social skills & life skills wise. Did all the interventions create that ~ I'm not sure. The interventions were sorely needed.

    I'm pushing kt to reality more & more. Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) staff is pushing her to more adult like & good choices & situations. The same can be said for wm. Aside from the PTSD & Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), the bipolar can & generally is under control with medications. If kt &/or wm decide they will no longer take their medications in my humble opinion all bets are off. All interventions are out the door & personally, I'm done.

    It's a conundrum.
  11. ML

    ML Guest

    It's both I think. I think accommodations are more likely to be made in school than in "real life". But it truly is a double edged sword because the very thing that sets them up to receive "help" also signals to everyone they are "different". Those with good self esteem can handle that; some cannot. Manster would rather die than have an accommodation and it's worked so far but MS is in the fall and I predict he will have a harder time.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    For behavior, yes, more likely in school than in "real life". But for some of these kids, they need a safe window of time to catch up with the rest of the world - developmental delay doesn't equal permanent disability. So, we need allowances in school to enable them to learn these life-skills and to keep them safe until they have time to grow up. But I wouldn't expect an employer to cut them the same slack.

    For other needs, not necessarily... for example, if a person is up-front about a writing disability, the company isn't allowed to discriminate against that (as long as the job isn't obviously a heavy-writing job!)... so, they either modify the job or allow an accomodation (access to a computer, for example, rather than paper). I have a hearing problem, and that's been accomodated numerous times. Know of a person with a really bad stutter - job was modified to remove the need to answer phones.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Onyxx mentioned once, about 3 years ago, that there was no point in behaving, doing homework or classwork, etc. because so many other kids got away with not doing what they were supposed to. And when she DID what she was supposed to? No one cared.

    Unfortunately, she's right. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    So now - she gets accomodations such as reduced workload. She doesn't need this, she's smart as a whip. But due to her "anger issues" they feel it is best not to make her do too much work.


    So she's bored... And has time to get into trouble.

    on the other hand - she complains that other kids wear whatever they want and she's the only one who gets "talked to" for her appearance. Well, after being in the school for her IEP last week, I can say I did not see ONE SINGLE GIRL dressed like she was. Boy either, but that's beyond this.

    She's on the radar - I told her - keep your head down, you'll make it.

    We'll see.
  14. Peace Please

    Peace Please New Member

    I understand the allowances in school for kids who need it, but I worry about how this will help them learn to be working adults on their own. Little has an IEP which allows him timeouts from class to calm down if he loses his temper, no homework and extra time to complete work in school. What worries me about this is:
    - Not having homework is not preparing him for the demands of college.
    - College professors will not allow extra time in class to complete a test or work.
    - He can't fly off the handle at a professor or another student and expect to just walk out of class to calm down and return later like nothing happened.

    - No job is going to allow him timeouts from the workday if someone else upsets him.
    - No job is going to allow him extra time to complete assignments.
    - He will be fired if he flies off the handle at a co-worker or customer.

    These are just two examples of where I think giving special help to these kids is helping them now, but may be hurting them for the future.

    Another thing I worry about is whether Little uses some of these accomodations to his advantage. He knows that if he gets upset in class and has to leave, he misses whatever is going on in class. Strangely, he always needs a timeout whenever he's asked to do something he doesn't want to do or isn't ready for. But, since he can't be given homework, there's no way to make up the work except in school, which has to move on for the rest of the kids. I think he just doesn't want to work and knows that if he acts up he can get out of anything. I hope I'm wrong, but this is him m.o. at home too. If I can take a timeout at school for getting upset, I can take one at home and get out of doing the dishes.

    These things concern me for the future.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    In fact, some accomodations are definitely allowed in college - including untimed tests, taking tests in alternate environment (goes with untimed...), note-taking services, etc. - i.e. non-behavior accomodations. I've even heard of allowances for time required to hand in assignments (not sure how that works at the college level, or whether that is fair). So, if the student needs these services in school, teach them how to use them well because they will be able use these same services going forward.

    Behavior accomodations are harder to get as you get older, and definitely don't exist in the work-place. And these are a catch-22 situation... yes, they need to learn self-control, etc. - but when the are not learning these skills the way most kids pick them up, do we leave them to "sink or swim" or do we find a different way to teach the skills? Its a tough situation, both at school and at home.
  16. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Insanecdn, that's exactly where I'm at with Wee. He can learn these skills, but he learns best by ignoring the negative behavior and reinforcing the positive - and even tho the school's OWN HiRED BeHAVIOR SPECIALIST came in and said this same thing? We have trouble getting staff to do it.
    He's functioning at a 5-6yo level in social skills...but he CAN catch up and he CAN do it...but you CAN'T expect it right now... And if they don't start doing what works and keep doing what triggers him to rage...rage is all he'll ever learn. And then we're
    All screwed. Especially him.
  17. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I never "give him some slack" , what I do is set the bar high for HIM, each child has their own high standards that I expect them to reach within reason for them. They are so different and each one is capable of their own specific and unique milestones and talents. The goal is for all the kids to be successful, and difficult child certainly has a very different set of expectations. In comparison to the others, his bar is set lower, because he can succeed that way.

    If a child has an auditory proccesing delay and is not using a voice output system, there is a reason that child isn't, and another child is. There are other things in place for that child, we know it's not just going to be nothing, right. I'm sure there is an IEP, and whatever is in that is what WILL work for that particular child. Less supports are better if possible, and the child has to be slowly weaned of of it, so they can learn to do it themselves- or maybe that kid will have the support his whole life and use it always. It's different for everyone. The child who succeeds with breaks or time-outs absolutely should have them. Yes, you DO get breaks at work. After your break don't you always come back better able to do the job? The same with difficult child's! Slowly as they grow, the breaks throughout his school career can be shortened, etc..The child will learn the appropriate time and place for a break. But if they need it now- GOOD! They can do their work! And I don't think all our kids are going to work. If the job requires x,y and z...and he can't do it, for whatever reason, you can't work there. If the child can't do college work, then accept it and find what he can do! I'm not talking about something like having TTY for a hearing impaired, or something easily fixed, but clearly some disability that would impede them from doing the job. You have to be realistic, why should a college allow you extra time? That is not fair, if you can't do it, that's it. I understand in grade school, yes I think he should have all the extra time needed to learn the college there isn't IEP's, special-ed, etc....
    I love my difficult child to death, and he does work, and lives on his own, he's still a difficult child, but things are much harder for him than they ever will be for my other 2. He wouldn't be able to go to college, even though he is so smart, he was in the GEM program all through 1st-8th grades, but we have to be realistic here.
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Exactly. And that's exactly what the non-difficult child kids think is NOT fair. Somehow, they figure out the normal age-difference allowances - but the rest of it comes across as "not fair". Whether its at home, or at school... the individual allowances cause problems.