Everyone "Stop" and take a minute

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by nvts, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Just about this time last year, difficult child 1 was driving EVERYONE nuts. School, home, neighborhood kids, store clerks, etc. His moods were getting worse and worse, his attitude was unbelievable.


    Knowing that transition was a key with him, we checked into EVERYTHING to try and figure out what was going on.


    Low and behold, December 26th came along and he was a different kid. Outgoing, funny, conversational, warm and we could talk to him.


    At bedtime, he told me that he was feeling so much better - I asked him why he was so relaxed. He told me that it was because he saw a Christmas commercial right after his birthday and he was sure that because he'd been so bad all year, he wasn't going to get anything for Christmas and that made him mad.


    Since he'd gotten gifts, he decided that he wasn't a bad person after all. Quite an eyeful from an 8 year old.

    So here's my question: Could some of us be having a tough time because of our difficult child's anticipating the worst? Not just Christmas, but how many of us are telling them that they'll have consequenses if they don't "whatever"? Could this be "fueling the fire"?

    Just curious if anyone else might think this valid.

  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Thought provoking topic. Thanks for starting it.

    I think it plays into it. I know my difficult child has told me before that she knows she'll not be able to do whatever it is, so why bother trying. That creates a lot of negative self-esteem, I think, and sets them up for future 'failure' because no matter how hard they try, in their mind it will never be good enough.
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I do think kids feed into the messages received. If all that is offered are consequences for "bad" behavior, there's not much reason to do good. Sooner or later everyone does something wrong and kids do wrong more often than adults. If the message they are getting is that they are bad and then bad things happen, there's no reason to be good.

    It took me a few years to figure that out. When I did, I changed strategies and quit giving consequences except for major issues. Instead, I let natural consequences take care of as much as possible. I set out a jar and whenever I saw my daughter doing something good, I put a dollar in it. We would decide what treat we were saving up for -- ice cream, movie, amusement park, whatever. When enough was there, it would be spent. We even saved enough for a trip to Disneyland (she would count it weekly and when there was enough, you should have heard the yell). It didn't make for a perfect child, but it did make for a child who was better behaved at least 40% of the time. More importantly, it made for a happier child.
  4. pnuts

    pnuts New Member

    Brilliant thought!
    Maybe, that would be why my difficult child is a wreck at school, but okay at home. School has been threatening to kick him out since the end of last year. The old "if you melt down again, blah, blah, blah." The doom of it...
    I never really thought of that until I read your post. Thanks you, Beth! :thumbsup:
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow, Beth. We've never had anything that sudden or obvious.

    Our difficult child has always been negative. Loud and angry and negative. Even as a baby.
    Yes, we are aware of how the negativity can be fueled by "our" consequences ... but he is learning that it's his behavior, not ours, that causes problems.
    We do tell him when he's doing well. We reward him. Of course, he loves it. But ...
    The first few times I told our difficult child "Good boy!" he got mad and slammed the door. I finally got fed up with-his attitude and told him I wasn't going to say nice things to him any more. His response was, "You're just being sarcastic. I don't believe anything you say."
    I told him that I truly meant it when I said he was good. Then each time I told him thereafter, I paused and said, "That was not sarcasm. I meant it." I tried to keep my voice mild but I wanted it to be firm, too. IOW, this is a new rule.
    The next time I was sarcastic, to something on the radio, I told him, "I was being sarcastic. And it wasn't directed at you. I was talking to the radio."
    I wasn't sure if everything was so literal because he was an aspie, (the neuropsychologist said no) or if he was just generally negative, but at any rate, it is much better now.
  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey Terry! Don't get me wrong...he can be unbearable throughout the year! :smile:

    But I happened to notice the "escalation" with him was so huge, and whenever theirs anticipation of a negative, his behavior gets worse and worse and worse.

    then during a lot of the year, he's still a wicked handful, but the meltdowns and outbursts can be disengaged a lot faster. When he gets nervous that he's "blown it" these can really get ugly.

    That's why I was wondering if anyone else noticed it!

    These little buggers keep you guessing all year long!


  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I think my difficult child 2 tends to dwell on negativity or possible negative outcomes more than most kids. So does his father (an undiagnosed difficult child for sure)!!! :crazy2:

    For example, he had a lot of homework tonight and thanks to a therapy appointment and soccer practice, it was looking like he was out of time to get it done, unless he were to stay up till the wee hours. So after his bath, he was getting emotional about this. I told him not to worry, that I wasn't going to make him finish it (I made that mistake last week, giving him an evening booster of stims to get him through the homework, and it messed him up for days). If I'd pushed it, I'm certain a meltdown would have ensued at some point tonight. But once that pressure was lifted, he suddenly was viewing the situation in a different light, telling me that he thought he could get the work done. And guess what? He got the rest of his work finished in about 20 minutes! And with no tears or drama at all!

    He was all smiles with the high-fives I laid on him when he finished, so I am hopeful that the more he has positive outcomes like this, the easier it will be for him to remember them and not become overwhelmed by his natural negativity.
  8. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    K has said, when I ask her how she is able to hold it together at school so well but not at home, that, she is afraid of getting in trouble at school. She is afraid of everyone seeing her lose control and she is really afraid of losing control and hurting someone... she tells me this quite often. While it makes me sad that she has SO much anxiety and feels so out of control a lot... it blows me away that she is very in tune with herself and her emotions.

    Some who have no idea about Mental Illness and anxiety would say well if she can control it and all of that... but we all know the truth... she is falling apart as soon as she is stepping out os the school building!!!
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I got this line fairly often from Travis, and less from Nichole but she'd say it too.

    Boils down to frustration. And I usually dealt with it that way.

    I'd tell my kids I had high expectations because I firmly believed, even if no one else did, that they could meet those expectations. But what truly counted was the effort. To try and fail is a learning experience. To never try at all is what I saw as a loser. (I probably didn't word that latter part right, but you get the idea)

    Without those high expectations neither of my difficult children would've come as far as they have, or achieved the goals they have. They've had plenty of "failures". But they knew the only time I was ever disappointed was when they failed to put forth their best effort.

    I do remember it taking alot of reinforcing that idea to both the difficult children during the years. Heck, even now at times.

    I recall Travis being especially sad on xmas season. He eventually told me it was because he didn't think Santa would bring him anything but coal cuz he'd been so bad. I told him that if he'd done his best to be good, even if he didn't always manage it, Santa knew and it counted the same.

    The attempt has always been important in our home.

    The only thing it ever sort of backfired on me was with Travis driving. He wanted to TRY, make the attempt. And sadly we had to tell him no. It devastated him. Threw him into a emotional tailspin. But it was simply too dangerous to think about due to his vision loss. Took me a several years to convince him that a physical disability gave him no choice with driving.

    Especially good topic!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We've had to train ourselves out of using sarcasm, or at least explain it to difficult child 3. The smartest Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid will be badly misled by sarcasm, and it's used so much around them, especially at school (where they should know better).

    Another thing - the way our kids are dealt with by others (school, in our case) can, if badly handled, teach them that punishment is inevitable, simply for who they are. The clearest example is from the highway school where difficult child 3 was transferred, so he could be safer from bullies.
    A kid in the school playground was sassing him, calling him names like freak, weirdo, nutso, retard. difficult child 3 just stood there and said, "Are you going to hit me now?" This delivered with the expressionless Aspie face, made the other kid interpret this as a threat (as in, "I know you're going to try to hit me and if you do I will pound you so hard..." but in fact it wasn't. It was just difficult child 3 wanting the beating to be over and done with - because in his experience, first comes the name calling and then comes the hitting.
    The other kid, to his credit, saw things getting out of hand and fetched a teacher. Luckily, the teacher was someone who had a bit of understanding and with careful questioning, worked out what was happening.

    It's taken a lot of continual positive reinforcement for difficult child 3 to 'unlearn' this negative stuff. I already knew things had been bad for him; I never realised it had been THAT bad.

  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    The tweedles escalate from Halloween until after the holiday rush. It's a terrible time. Having said that, last year was better than the year before & I expect this year will be even better.

    I think part of it is a maturity factor - when a child is younger, there is such a high level of expectation on Christmas morning. There is such a high level of anxiety - heck, I remember going to sleep Christmas Eve night & being terrified. I wasn't a difficult child but I wasn't an angle throughout the year either.

    I've spent many years working with kt & wm on this; ask them for a Christmas list & let them know that (now that Santa isn't a factor) there will be one "big ticket item" for lack of a better term, then other fun things to open. There may be clothes (ughhh).

    It really has gotten better - kt has already made her list - knows what she wants & what she can expect. At least once a week, she goes over it & says to herself "I'm okay with that, I'm okay with that". We're working on her level of anxiety & by Christmas, she will be okay - no matter what.

    Just my take on the situation
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I knew my kid was the odd man out -

    A month before Christmas his behaviors dramatically improved. Everyone was wondering if it was new medications, the shadow in school and on and on. Of course no one gave difficult child any credit for improving HIS behaviors - it had to be external. (sigh)

    The morning of Christmas we opened gifts, it was a small exchange and went quickly. difficult child got a PS2. It's all he wanted. It's almost all he got.

    Two hours later? We were back to the tyranical-rex child.

    EVERYONE then assumed (this is so funny) that difficult child must have held it together on his own in anticipation of "presents" and after the anticipation wore off, gifts were given he was his usual self.

    -Um hello (tap on glass) everyone before said it was everything else making him behave and NOW all of a sudden because he didn't behave well it MUST be his behavior? (insert silent scream and try to herd everyone on the same page)

    I cringed every time a doctor would do a medications change because difficult child would be in the room and hear "this should help you" or "We've had great success with this pill" = when it didn't work for us - difficult child would become more depressed. Now after 64 different pills? He refuses to take them, and I don't blame him - what works is HIM understanding he IS able to control his behavior and getting the CBT type of therapy long term is what will help him be successful.

    So in answer to your question - do I think our kids anticipate things and set themselves up? Yes I do. Do I think it's preventable? Yes, but not unless you can effectively communicate to a difficult child that "it is okay to be angry if it's done appropriately"
    THAT for us seems to be the long haul.

    Hope this helps
  13. carolanne

    carolanne Member

    My daughter Rebecca said that because her difficult child sis was so messed up at school that she doesn't bother trying to control herself. She's already pre-judged by the school and some of the adults around our home that it's easier in her eyes to follow that rotten path.

    Her outbursts at school are very minor...she saves them for at home. She'll ask to do something and before I even get a chance to think, she's all negative and screaming :grrr:

    I do make a point of noticing good behaviour but get so tired of looking for anything to praise or even say good job to. And she's gotten this idea that all good deeds, no matter how tiny, like picking up her socks in her own room, should be rewarded with major cash(she has a friend that is paid to get out of bed :smile:)

    I have one more daughter than a boy to go through all this with...sigh...

  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    These little buggers keep you guessing all year long!

    That's for sure.

    And yes, Star, I do think they set themselves up. Everything they do is exaggerated, good and bad.