feeling very hopeless

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by CactusK, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. CactusK

    CactusK Guest

    Hi. My difficult child son, age 8 had appointment with psychiatrist yesterday. This is after Learning Disability (LD) testing where psychologist thought he had ADHD/ODD tendencies. (note: we did not do adhd testing; I was looking for help in making school choices and to find out if he really has dyslexia)

    Our counselor was concerned about difficult child talking about death and dying, so I took him to psychiatrist for evaluation, also to see if she thought he would be helped by medications for attention.
    Psychiatrist said he was OK but if he started talking about how he was going to do it, to go to the hospital. difficult child talks like this when he is bored.
    She suggested counselling for his behavior, and sticker charts on fridge to improve one behavior at a time. Counseling she said we're probably looking at 6mos, either weekly or bi-weekly depending on how the counselor works, and it's fun for the kids as they do play therapy. She said the counseling was VERY important (I knew my husband would want to know) for his success in school and success in life.

    Then we went home and difficult child had a tantrum (difficult child has had 3 tantrums in the last 3 days) Threw a cordless phone and hit me in the head. I have a goose egg and it still hurts. He also threw a rock at my back and hit me in the face2x with a nerf gun bullet.

    THEN husband and I had counsellor appointment last night and I told him in the appointment about the tantrum. husband is upset that I took difficult child to the psychiatrist because he missed some school and I didn't learn anything. The counseling appointment was about us being consistent and working as a united front. husband almost always intervenes when I am trying to parent the kids- and did it again right after we got home from the appointment.

    And all husband could talk about later was how things were bad in his life. I never got a supportive word after getting injured. I never heard "OMG, I am so sorry I've been tearing down your credibility with the kids! I'm going to start supporting you right now so we can turn this situation around."

    The bottom line is that difficult child does have some Learning Disability (LD)'s but his behaviour issues are mostly caused by the mixed messages at home and husband contradicting me and undermining my authority. I know it and husband knows it and still does it.
    We'll see what today brings but if husband goes off into his depression thing again I'm going to tell him off.
    CactusK, 52
    husband, 54
    difficult child son, 8
    easy child daughter, 5
    both adopted as newborns
  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey Cactus! Wow, sounds like YOU'VE had better days! I'm sorry to hear about all the hassles. husband's never tend to get it when it comes to this stuff.

    Does your difficult child have any type of diagnosis?

    You may want to read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. A lot of us have had some success with his way of handling things.

    By the way: with the husband depression bit - this is a frequent call to arms!

    Feel better! We're here for you!

  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry your husband is not on the same page as you-that makes things so much more difficult. The level of violence is very concerning-a rock at the back sounds very scary! Does the counselor or psychiatrist know about the level of violence?Sending gentle hugs your way.
  4. CactusK

    CactusK Guest

    Tonight was the fourth mega tantrum in four days. We had put the kids to bed when my son thought husband said "no" to him about a toy and flew off the handle. husband thought he couldn't keep him under control and yelled to call someone, so I phoned the police. They came and got him calmed down. Told us at 8 he could be arrested, and if they were called and it was obvious he'd injured someone, or property, they'd have to arrest him.

    My daughter was really scared. I've seen him do things for the last four days and totally deny doing it, for example kicking his sister. "What? I wasn't anywhere near her."
    I called the counselor recc. by our counselor and got in for next week. I'm going to phone back and see if we can get in any sooner.

    We have no idea what's going on, he must be really anxious about something. Whatever it is, it's escalating, and a family friend said that tooo.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Things do seem to be escalating. It is very important to keep seeing the counsellors and even the psychiatrist, even if he misses school. He can make up the schoolwork.

    My husband undermined me all the time too. Part of it was because things my son said/did to each of us when the other was not there, partly it was because my husband hates to follow through on anything discipline related, so if I wanted him to do something I was often SOL.

    One therapist recommended that I read "Parenting with Love and Logic" and tell her what I thought of it. She had just heard of it, though it was not new, and was trying to see if it had realistic advice/methods.

    I STRONGLY recommend getting a copy of "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Fay and Cline. Read it and have your husband read it. Talk to him about how the undermining is going to tear up not just how you feel, but your kids AND your marriage. Let him know that it hurts you and your kids when he does that. THe L&L book, and other books they author, seem to be written in a way that men "get", more so than any other parenting book I have encountered.

    Ask your husband to sit down and work out how to present a truly united front to the kids. Ask WHY he undermines you. Use specific incidents. If you can figure out WHY, then you can figure out how to get him to change. THe L&L book seems to bridge that "mars vs venus" gap between moms and dads, at least for quite a few families I know. It also has very effective tools for parenting. L&L uses natural and logical consequences while strengthening the loving bond between parent and child. You can learn more about their various books, and what they are about at www.loveandlogic.com.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do you anything about the biological parents? Trust me, it's more nature than nurture (mom of four adopted kids here). If the bio. family has mental health issues, your child could have inherited them. If there was drug use or alcohol exposure in utero, that can cause A LOT of problems. Do you know if this was the case? I suggest neuropsychologist evaluations. These are psychologists with special training in the brain. They do extensive testing, not just the surface stuff. Our adopted kids are more complicated than our bio. kids (I have one of those too) because the genetic background is so important and sometimes we don't know it. And difficult children don't tend to respond to typical parenting methods. in my opinion, you should take it a step further than just trying to undo this with behavioral therapy...you should find a real expert to see what the children may have inherited from their birth relatives. Studies have shown that adopted k ids are more li ke their birth families than their adopted families and I agree!!!! It doesn't happen 100% of the time...some may be the child of a drug addict and never use drugs so their behavior is how the birth parent would have been clean...but genetics is always a big factor!! Never discount that this child is wired differently than you and hub and may be totally different and need a different parenting approach, especially if he was possibly exposed to drugs or ESPECIALLY alcohol pre-birth.
    Welcome to the board and good luck, whatever you plan to do.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Cactus.

    I think you hit the nail on the head in regard to the necessity of husband being on the same page.
    Not only that, but he is actively working against you.

    We'll see what today brings but if husband goes off into his depression thing again I'm going to tell him off.

    I accidentally read this as "sell him off." I like that one better, LOL!

    You two do need to go to counseling together, just the two of you. For him not even to notice the goose egg or express concern is a very bad thing. He's into his own depression and needs direction, and the ability to open his eyes and look around him. Once you're in there, perhaps the counselor can persuade your husband to go to counseling alone to talk about his own issues. And brother, he's got some.

    I am so sorry.

  8. Jena

    Jena New Member


    just offering a hug and saying i'm so so sorry that you got hit in the head and the face. your a good mom my knee jerk reaction wouldnt' of been good. just breath, and yea your right husband should of. sometimes it's better they either get on bored or just let you totally do the repremanding. this way you aren't undermined infront of them.

  9. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Hi Cactus,

    Sorry you got hurt. Shocking, isn't it?

    Both our kids are adopted as infants (not newborns) and both have trouble with rage. In your research, maybe do some reading about the effects of attachment on adopted kids. Attachment issues can manifest in different ways. Not the whole picture, definitely, but a part of it.

    I agree with Midwest Mom about nature over nurture, that the kids are wired differently than us and may need a different parenting style. It's hard to sort out. Your son may be following a pattern his bio parents might recognize as familial (and maybe not). We don't have those clues.

    Can you say some more about what your little guy was like earlier on, as an infant and up to now? Not pursuing any line of thought, just wondering, looking for clues that led up to this. Also -- can you think of any little thing of why he may be escalating? Is there a pattern? Our gfg17 starts to escalate every Feb -- his adoption month. This happens a lot with adopted kids. Also there is March madness -- kids can escalate/decompensate when the light changes (not sure how long yours has been escalating). Could your son be worried about school starting?

    So your husband doesn't get it. Is he in denial? What is his motive for intervening with between you and the kids (for example, I am a relentless peacemaker and I can often cause lots more trouble by trying to make peace between husband and the kids). What kind of parenting style did husband's mommy and daddy have for husband? My husband and I were pretty entrenched in our own parenting styles until we reached somewhat of a happy medium. husband wanted to parent just like his mommy and daddy, and I wanted to do everything different from mine :~)

    Moms are usually the ones who do the grunt work for difficult children and it can wear you down.
  10. CactusK

    CactusK Guest

    Hi everyone. Thanks for the replies. It's been a rough couple of weeks- and I'm still figuring out how to navigate the site. My difficult child had 4 tantrums in a row that bad week. He's seen the counselor once; had a good time playing, and is eager to return. We are anxiously awaiting some input from her - on how to handle him.
    I have been reading "The Explosive Child". It seems to fit my difficult child to a T. The thing is that Plan B seems to annoy him, and he wanders out of the room. It does defuse the situation, and I've also used it on my easy child.
    I loved the "Love and Logic" book. Will try to get husband to read it. He is on a downward spiral with his mood. At this point we are just people raising two children together. He says the most rude, unkind things to me and I hate for my kids to see and hear it. And we are in counselling. At one point she almost fired us because nothing was changing. husband is pretty out of touch with reality and I probably need to do some video taping so he can watch us all together.

    I have decided that my son is not defiant because we are not on the same page. He has issues because for some reason- prenatal substance abuse, genetics, whatever- he has issues. However, the dissension is tearing us apart. husband gets angry and upset and never gets "over it." He's been in a funk most of the time for the last 3 years.
    Apparently his Mom let his Dad do the discipline (wait until Dad gets home) and Dad didn't do anything.

    The funny thing is that generally difficult child's mood is better- though he flies off the handle faster these days.

    My psychiatrist things difficult child needs to be medicated so we are safe at home. husband won't hear of it. I thought most kids were medicated at school, but our difficult child seems to keep it together until he gets home- then rants about being bored and provokes his sister. So far our solution is to put him in the school's "aftercare" which he loves, on the days when he doesn't have after-school activities.
    Sorry if I rambled, didn't sleep well last night.
    me, 53
    husband 55
    difficult child 8
    easy child, girl, age 5 just became a client of the "House Fairy"
  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    cactus, sorry to hear that husband is having such a rough time of it. Please know that you aren't alone in this. husband's seem to want it fixed immediately on their terms. When everyday parenting didn't work my husband went off the deep end. He wanted his children & the white picket fence. Was never going to happen.

    Sounds like husband needs some one on one counseling addressing his depression(?), moods, whatever before marriage counseling will help. I do know that adopting kids later in life puts quite the strain on your marriage - it certainly did mine.

    Love & Logic seems to work very well with adopted kids - can't really say why. I guess giving them some control in their lives where there was no control before helps.

    Keep in touch, my dear & updated on the situation. If nothing else if just to let off steam. This board has some of the broadest shoulders in the world, we can handle it.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    husband's "depression" is obviously an issue, but his behaviour is not what I would associate as primarily depression. It sounds far more passive-aggressive. To be so focussed on himself is a warning flag; for him to interfere and undermine you is NOT consistent with depression. He would be more likely to ignore ALL problems and not have the energy or interest to stir himself to do anything, rather than actively taker over and send things in a different direction. Why do you label this as depression? Is it because husband says he's depressed? Because frankly, he sounds more angry than depressed. It is possible to get them mislabelled; I remember when I had PTSD badly, therapists kept trying to tell me I had post-natal depression and when I read up on it, I knew it didn't fit. I wasn't depressed (even though I would easily burst into tears); I was ANGRY.

    I'm wondering if husband is feeling resentful of the time and energy (among other costs) involved in raising difficult child. And he then tries to take over from you so he can blame you - "You're a lousy parent, that's the only reason he's a problem, you're doing a lousy job as a mother, move over and let ME fix it" is a way for him to at least partly feel in control, but also express more anger. Because when he does step in and take over, he makes a mess of it and gets loudly out of control. Am I right?

    It sounds to me like your husband wants to be in control, wants to be the boss of it all, but hasn't got a clue about what to do really, or how to make the right decisions. But he's throwing his weight around anyway because that is what fathers are supposed to do - lay down the law and be in control.

    If difficult child is throwing tantrums, that needs to be dealt with first and learning outcomes come later. Seeing a therapist frankly is more important, especially at 8. A kid who has Learning Disability (LD) issues will learn better if those issues are being looked into. Your husband needs to be on the same page, which means he has to listen to you, discuss things with you and work with you to jointly make decisions. Failure to do this means he has lost the right to step in and lay down the law. If he wants to have his way all the time with difficult child, then he can be the primary decision-maker and primary carer. But if he expects you to do as much of the work as you are doing, then he has to back off and respect your experience with difficult child.

    If your husband is so out of touch that he didn't notice the bump on your head, then again, he is not sufficiently in touch to make sound decisions re difficult child's medical care. And if husband DID notice the bump on your head but didn't give a toss, then again, he lacks the empathy needed to help difficult child.

    Stand your ground with him. While I don't discount the need for someone with depression to get the right sort of help, and it IS a serious condition, I do think that in this case your husband needs to be told to pull his head in, to grow up, to shut up if he can;t support you. And if he whines, "But I'm suffering from depression, that's why," then don't take it. ell him that if depression is making him behave badly, then it also disqualifies him from controlling the decisions.
    He can't have it all his own way and the sooner he gets this through his thick skull, the better.

    I'm in no way a husband-hating feminist. I have a supportive husband who isn't perfect, but still does his best to work with me as a team. He's had his moments in the past when depression, or passive-aggressiveness reared its head. But we worked on it, we resolved it. Because he was prepared to change, prepared to work with me. We are a team, which is what you need. If you haven't got that, then all you do have is one more difficult child.

    Keep reading. Then use the techniques on husband too.

  13. Klissy

    Klissy Guest

    All the best.
    "The Explosive Child" is a great resource but if your husband is not a reader go to the website www.livesinthebalance.org and you can look at about 6 short presentations which summarise the book. Not as good as reading the book itself but maybe an easier for him. They range from 5 to 20 mins each.

    Good Luck
  14. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Cactus, My husband was in denial about our difficult child for a long time and also did a lot to undermine my authority. Finally, my therapist recommended that I go away for a weekend. I needed a break and husband needed to see reality. So, I left a reluctant husband home with both kids (they were 6 and 3 at the time) and visited a friend for the weekend...It worked like magic. When I got home, husband was suddenly on board for medication. I was away for less than 36 hours, but he had had enough.

    husband and I still disagree on discipline sometimes and I have to remind him that we shouldn't disagree in front of the kids, but overall we are on the same page. He just needed a reality check before he could get there.

    Good luck.
  15. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    These kids have real issues and are lacking skills to act adaptively when demands placed on them outstrip their skills. It is not a way , a win-lose situation that one needs a united front against the kid.Plan B is not easy . We need to start to have conversations on general stuff , enter his world , show some interest , get him to speak , we listen and direct conversations with dialog questions focusing on perpective taking, identifying concerns , brainstorming