Falling apart...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by nlg319, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. nlg319

    nlg319 New Member

    I don't think I am strong enough for this...Last night, difficult child#2 was horrendous. It was 9:00pm. He was playing xbox. I was in the boys room reading difficult child#3 a book and I told difficult child#2 to turn off tv(he was in the next room) and come to bed. He didn't listen. After 3 more times of telling him, he came into bed with an attitude. Flopped on his bed,and started his fresh talk. It continued after the lights were out. I stay with difficult child#3 until he falls asleep so I asked him to stop talking so difficult child#3 could settle down to sleep. He just kept going. I told him no video games for a week, his reponse, I don't care...ok, no phone, I don't care..on and on it went. Then he called me a b#$%^... So, this morning, I picked up difficult child#1 at 6:45 to drive her to school from the foster home. She was equally delightful...with her usual attitude. Didn't say " hey, thanks for the ride Mom" Just switched around the radio stations, and asked me to buy her mousse for her hair. I said you have money that you earned helping foster mom with yard work. She said, I don't know when I'll be able to get to the store. I said, well, You'll have to figure it out. She said, as she got out of the car, Oh, you're a real good mother, NOT!

    I am so sick to death of these kids. I hate to feel this way. I feel like a failure. I wish I could run away and start over. husband is no help. Doesn't understand me. I think there is more to difficult child#2 than ADD. I am afraid he's bipolar. But I am in denial and just wishing my life was not so complex. And that I had children that were actually nice to me and appreciated things I do. I get so upset that I am underappreciated, that I tell them not to ask me for anything as they do nothing for me. No kind words etc. I have my own issues with depression and wake up every morning wondering why did I even have these kids?????

    I am so sad, overwhelmed, unhappy,scared, and just feel like giving up. The only good thing about today is that I see my therapist at 2 pm.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    Have you talked to your doctor or therapist recently about how you are doing? Having difficult children is difficult enough, but having your own issues unanswered can make the situation untenable. Now, my child is a lot younger so please take what I say with a grain salt. I found it completely ineffective for me to heap on consequences when Duckie was locked & loaded or in vapor lock. It was much much better when I stated an obvious consequence once and, if that didn't work, that we would discuss her punishment when she calmed down. The problem with heaping on the consequences is that then you have to follow through. I think it may be better for you (& husband) to sit down and list various behaviors or infractions and a reasonable consequence for each. Keep the list handy so you both can refer to it as needed.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    With N I learned that in the heat of the moment she never cared about squat. Come time she wanted to do the things I'd ground her from it was a whole other ball game. So I learned to state one punishment, appropriate for the situation, and stop. Otherwise she'd have multiple groundings for what was basically the same thing, cuz I'm not prone to removing punishment once I've handed it out.

    difficult child 1 was trying the average teen manipulation. Mine have tried it a couple of times. It got them nowhere fast. I grew up around a Mom who was the Queen of manipulation. lol difficult child 1 will survive without her hair product. But why are you driving her to school if she doesn't appreciate it? If it's within a mile or so, I'd make her walk.

    LOL Walking to school was the big issue with my kids. Most of the kids around here either bus or their parents drive them. I made them walk the mile to school. Told them it was healthier, wouldn't kill them, and by gosh I walked 2 miles to school everday when I was young and I survived.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Honey...your kids wont appreciate you until they are grown and have a few kids of their own...lmao! Then you will reap the rewards. Until then it is just work.

    Even my easier kids werent all that appreciative. They werent as hard as Cory but they had their moments.
  5. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I can relate. You have described how I have been feeling. I would love to sit down with husband, but he avoids any confrontation with difficult child and will not say anything.
    What kind of medications is difficult child on? Have you seen any improvement?
    I feel so sad for you, because I know how it breaks your heart to see difficult child feel that way, act that way. I am the target, I get sucked into all the arguments. I feel so much guilt.
    Another day. It has to be a good one. I try to remind myself, one day at a time. sometimes it is one hour at a time.
  6. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    Quote - I said you have money that you earned helping foster mom with yard work. She said, I don't know when I'll be able to get to the store. I said, well, You'll have to figure it out. She said, as she got out of the car, Oh, you're a real good mother, NOT!
    in my humble opinion your daughter's response was expected , you were not being helpful or empathetic, pretty top-down , and this made the ride for her unpleasant.

    The going to sleep incident - Ask yourself what could you have done different. You started threatening your kid with consequences , so he took you on, do you expect to say to himself , I prefer to be not grounded so I better keep quiet or I am going to fight and resist. it takes a lot of creativity and sometimes its just riding out the evening the best we can.

    see my post- my kid is not a dog or rat

    i hope this helps. it is not easy, we need to nurture ourselves


    see my post
  7. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    my difficult child 1 didn't care about consequences either while I was threatening her with them and she didn't much care when I followed through (taking away computer, phone, tv, etc.). These power struggles are a no-win thing--no way a difficult child is going to back down.

    I don't think it is realistic to expect your kids to appreciate you and what you do for them (til they are grown and out of the house). I think they probably see you as weak if you are expressing any of the sadness and neediness you are feeling. I understand it--I used to feel that way too and the worst thing I could do was show it around them. They really need a strong parent who is not depending on them for their own self-esteem. They need to see that you have a life and you go about it regardless of what they are doing--your moods don't depend on them (I know, much easier said than done)!

    I am glad you are seeing your therapist today. You do need help and you need empathy--you just aren't going to get it from your kids. I sure do understand the feeling of wishing you'd never had them and feeling trapped by them. You will get stronger and you will feel better, I promise!

  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Maybe I'm reading this wrong, and if I am please correct me, but I find the implication that mom made the ride unpleasant to be insulting. I don't think mom made the ride unpleasant. in my opinion, this is flat out sense of entitlement on the child's part. And maybe that is just a touchy subject with me because I deal with that attitude with both of my children everyday. It's exhausting to be the punching bag for your child one minute and the next be expected to bend over backwards for their every whim. It's not happening as far as I'm concerned and I would have reacted exactly like nlg did. Where is the child's empathy for mom? 15 years old is not too young by any stretch of the imagination to be expected to take the thoughts/feelings/responsibilities of others into account.

    I understand where you are coming from as far as if X (as in consequences) isn't working, then you need to quit banging your head against that wall and think outside of the box. But you do reach an age where society in general, not just parents, have certain expectations of us and if we want our children to become successful members of society then we cannot pussyfoot around them and allow them to think that certain behavior is acceptable when it's not.
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I'm really glad you're seeing your therapist today. I understand how easy it is to get sucked into these battles...especially so when you're not feeling strong yourself.

    For what it's worth, even the best children don't appreciate their parents until well into their 20's...or beyond. Motherhood is a thankless job. Mothering difficult child's even more so.

    Take some time for you. Even if it's only 10 minutes a day. I found that if I could have 10 uninterrupted minutes after I got home from work to change clothes and just switch gears that the evenings were much smoother. If I didn't get that 10 minutes, generally because of kids making demands on me or kids fighting, etc., it set the tone for the whole evening. We're human, too, and can only take so much before we hit our limit. When that happens you need to decompress, rebuild and find new ways of dealing with things.

    Hugs to you.
  10. oceans

    oceans New Member

    It is a long, difficult road and some days are worse than others. What I have learned is that it helps if you can show empathy to their concerns and invite them to come up with ideas to solve the problem. Easy to say, but not as easy to put into motion.

    I agree with using only one consequence because you need to follow through with being consistant. It will matter when the time comes regardless if they say it doesn't or not.

    Hang in there! There will be better days. Glad you have the appointment for yourself today.

    There is so much controversy about diagnosing bipolar. The important thing is that the medication and therapy are helping. If they are not, keep searching and evaluating. It took us years to find the right medications, but things can change for the better!
  11. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    Alfie Kohn said in my humble opinion an amazing thing - Discipline is the problem , not the solution. We never see our role in a conflict , the kid is always wrong and we assume the problem is merely rebelliousness and motivational so bring on the ' Tough Love ' Ross Greene says we have to examine whether our demands and expectations are compatible with the kid , good parenting is being responsive to the hand being dealt. We deal with perceptions , how the kid perceives us. If the kid perceives we were not helpful and leaves the car upset , we have to examine our role , the question is not whether we are right or wrong , but what responses are actions generate .We have little power to control behavior and absolutely no power to control or manipulate a kid's thinking. We might be able to get him to ask what's in it for me by using extrinsic motivation , but true reflection of what's happening and trying to come up with a better plan comes once you reach out to them , get them onto your side and in the words of I think Oceans ' What I have learned is that it helps if you can show empathy to their concerns and invite them to come up with ideas to solve the problem.' So the kid accepted she would have to pay , maybe the mom could have asked for the money and buy the product, get money later , or mom could invite kid to examine her schedule together etc , the idea is to keep the conversation going , be helpful and yet address your own needs as well. In the moment it is pretty difficult to think this way , but it comes. The other night my kid came home pretty late , he knew it was late . All i said - did you enjoy himself - he then apologized and asked if he could help me with some cleaning up I was doing. If I would have said he was grounded or just told him off , he would have become mouthy , there would be an escalation in the conflict. I would have committed a biblical transgression of ' Putting a Stumbling block in front of the blind. Even if I manage to enforce the consequence ,I have won the battle but lost the war , I have just reinforced his perception that I am unfair , the focus is now on me and the consequence and there is absolutely no reflection on the issue at hand. How do we get our kids to take perspectives , empathize , be reflective ? When a kid feels understood , sees you as a help , trusts you , sees you model empathy , perspective taking when you communicate with him using dialog questions you have a chance to change the dynamic from a win-lose to win-win one. See Myrna Shure site.
    I have presented one approach and intervention which revolves around how we perceive our kids and the knowledge that we have little ' power' to influence except 'bonding' with the kid.

    There are many reasons why I don't advocate ' Tough Love , Riley etc. One of them is that you have to be Tough , be prepared for months of WW3, enduring far worse than you are now as your kid resists you even more in the hope that he finally will get it. we don't have the structure of RTCs and in any case when you go to war you need a united front , which in practice never works.
    Most parents who come here are already stressed out , cracking under the pressure , why create more tension for them.
    The starting point is to relax the atmosphere , one on one time , start talking , perspective taking, talk about yourself , what makes you happy , sad etc non- emotive stuff , other peoples problems and then move into problem solving . Not easy , at least 30-40 problem solving experiences to get the feel , skill and trust the process. But you are working on life skills. Helping a kid , work through his problems , not relying on external reinforcements is real influence over a kid. When our buttons are being pushed , it is easier to yell , use threats etc harder to control your feelings and think what is the best way I am going to help my kid think , be reflective and work this through. It so much easier when you see your kid as a kid with difficulies and not a difficult child , it puts you in a working with mode rather than a ' doing to' confrontation mode and be in control of your feelings
    My way is only one way of looking at things , understanding the dynamics of parenting difficult children.
    I hope this clarifies my message. Wecome here to learn , take what we like, being a good problem solver most of the time , being in control of our feelings , responsible for our own happiness is tough , we don't get it right all the time.

  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Good parenting does indeed involve parenting to the individual child. I cannot effectively parent my children in the same way. They have different needs, different understandings, perspectives, and reactions. However, it doesn't have to be black or white. It is possible to teach a child problem solving, empathy and critical thinking while at the same time expecting rules to be followed and enforcing consequences. You used the example that your son came home late. Had he been late to class at school, there would have been detention. If it continues after the detention, kids can get in school suspension. If an employee is late to work enough, his/her job is in jeopardy. These are the so-called natural consequences because society has certain expectations of its members. You can't go through life avoiding conflict because it's unpleasant. Conflict is a part of life and is also another process that children need to learn how to handle and work through.

    However, consequences for the sake of consequences are not very useful, in my opinion. A conversation needs to happen so that the child knows why an issue required a consequence. When my son comes home late, there are consequences. However, I don't just fly off the handle and say, "You're late. You're grounded", and be done with it. I explain why this is an important issue...that I worry when he's late and have no way of knowing if he is safe, responsibility to self and others, etc. I certainly wouldn't feel he's learned anything simply because he knew he was late and apologized and a conflict was avoided. Certainly not empathy.

    If a 15 year old kid gets out of the car upset because things didn't go her way, that's life. We don't always get what we want and we don't always feel good about it. It's not always the parents responsibility to make kids feel good about things. Beyond a certain age, and I think 15 is definitely there, we become less dependent on others to make us feel good and more on ourselves.

    There is definitely a need to rethink how we parent when it comes to parenting our difficult child's.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    NLG, I hope it went well with-the therapist and that you got some good ideas.
    Do not expect your kids to be grateful. It won't happen. Maybe when they have kids, they'll "get it." In the meantime, try looking at it as some sort of a job (unfortunately, you can't go home at the end of the day!) but at least that may help you to distance yourself emotionally.
  14. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    It is after 1am here in Israel , so I will be brief.
    Problem solving is a paradigm shift in your relationship with your kid , is it a working with or a top-down doing to dynamic. it is not whether you just teach skills or not. It is not that I would never impose a consequence but it is rare. the 2 approaches don't combine very well - both Ross Greene and Alfie Kohn talk about this.
    Consequences make no impact on intrinsic motivation, the focus is now on the parent and the consequence , at most the kid asks what's in it for me and there is absolutely no reflection on the issue at hand. see http://alfiekohn.org

    And of course the kid can make her choice and prefer to suffer the consequences. We know how good juvie is , the kids are in and out , in and out. Suspensions and detentions might get behavior . But do we ask why a kid does or does not do something ?
    The mom said to the kid , its your problem , you better figure it out in my humble opinion the response that she is not a good mother was coming. So instead of the ride enhancing the relationship , they have become further apart. If that is not important , tell the mother to detach from the kid , be in control of her feelings , she is responsible for her feelings and take the natural consequence of speaking this way to your kid and don't fall apart.
    Lon Woodbury the educational consultant from the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) site strugglingteens.com says , the most important tool parents and caregivers have is their relationship with the child. Parenting is dealing with perceptions , changing a kid from the inside.
  15. nlg319

    nlg319 New Member

    I will respond in full when I am finished with dinner, but what do I do when my daughter is not talkative, has never been one to talk, is not emotional, doesn't open up to anyone, doesn't share her feelings, even with the little friends she has, has NEVER shown empathy, comapassion, sympathy, shall I continue??
  16. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Have you ever had daughter evaled for bipolar? What you described in your last post is N all over again, unstable.

    When N is like that I engage as much as she will let me, then I drop it as I'm usually not getting thru at that time anyway. I've learned that what comes out of her mouth when she's like that isn't usually her true feelings. It's a reflection of where she's at with the bipolar. Looking at it that way helps me stay objective and not take her remarks so personal.

  17. nlg319

    nlg319 New Member

    Thank you all who responded. I feel better after talking with my therapist. She helps me put things in perspective as I have a habit of thinking black or white about my parenting. If I do this I'm a good parent but if I do that I'm a bad parent.

    With my daughter, talking is not something that works with her. I tend to agree more with daisylover and wyntersgrace about it not being my responsibility if the car ride didn't go well for difficult child#1. Personally, I think I did the right thing with her. She had money to buy mousse. She knew she needed it over the weekend. She should have asked foster mom to drive her to the store. Also, she is in a foster home through a CHINS(Child In Need of Services) and juvenile court. So, if the car ride was unpleasant, OH WELL!

    Another example of her being her usual self, and perhaps it is ME expecting too much out of her, but anyway...I picked her up from softball game this afternoon. Drove her back to foster home and as she got out of the car and took her things, she said a half hearted "bye". I rolled the window down and asked her to come back. I told her that I am providing her with transportation to and from school until DSS sets it up with the school(should happen in day or 2) and that otherwise, she would be sitting in DSS office all day, as both foster parents work, and that I think she is old enough to recognize that saying Thank you is in order. She said " Thanks" and walked away...

    Anyway, I did have talk with difficult child#2. He is much easier to talk to, can say he is sorry. I told him that I thought that we both could have done things differently last night and that DSS will work with us as a family so that those kind of instances don't happen! It was a good night overall...

    Thanks for all who listen to my rambling...I need this forum so much!

  18. nlg319

    nlg319 New Member


    As part of her placement in the foster home, there is a 45 day assessment period. I have already talked to the SW about bipolar. She had a discussion with school psychologist who indicated her belief that difficult child#1 has a "mood disorder", I am smart enough to know what comes next. I want the psychologist seeing her now to arrange for an evaluation with psychiatrist.

    Thanks for your input and experience!
  19. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you are doing better this evening.
  20. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    *bold added

    I think that is the crux of it right there. That is very narcissistic thinking. I've been reminded of an article I recently read throughout this entire discourse, and I finally found it:


    Beyond that, we are going to have to agree to disagree. I do appreciate you taking the time to try to explain it so that I may better understand. It is always good to think outside the box and to try to find alternative ways to parent when what you are currently doing just isn't working.