First post: Frustrated with dumb advice

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by loveandwar, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. loveandwar

    loveandwar New Member

    Hi all,
    this is my first post. I just found your forum this morning. My difficult child is 11, and she has not been officially diagnosed because of her age, but her psychiatric and therapist have used the phrase Borderline (BPD) several times. I am just so frustrated with well-meaning people asking me things like, "have you tried a sticker chart?" My daughter has progressively gotten worse since I first took her to the doctor at age 2. She bites me, she stops traffic in grocery store crosswalks to have a tantrum, she now weighs so much I cannot drag her out of said crosswalk etc., she eats peanuts which she is severely allergic to if she'd like an exciting ride in the ambulance, she is very foul-mouthed to me, she breaks things, puts holes in the walls and doors, throws heavy objects at her older brothers and me, and can SCREAM for up to two hours. "Sticker charts" have never worked. She has never earned a reward, and not because the expectations were too high. I know you guys understand this, but I am so tired of trying to explain to any new "professional" that we come in contact with. Is there an easy way? Last time the police came to our house, it was fairly easy when I started with "My daughter has emotional disabilities. She sees a psychiatrist and therapist regularly and is taking medications, which the psychiatric is constantly trying to adjust for optimum effect."

    Last night, at a new womens' group, the facilitator spent an uncomfortable amount of time on me asking me things like do I use "I statements", have I tried to hug her when she's angry, have I set boundaries regarding the names she calls me, etc.. I just wanted to scream. These are good questions, I guess, for a person with a normal child, but OF COURSE I have tried these things! If I say so myself, I am good at these things. I have two older boys, and I am a teacher who has a reputation of being patient and able to work with troubled kids.

    Argh! Please, any suggestions for being able to just cut them off immediately, in a way that tells them I've tried all those things, but my daughter is mentally ill? :faint:

    me - single mom of 3, teacher
    difficult child - 11 years old, middle school girl
    pcs - twin brothers, 15 years old
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Welcome. I'd suggest that you make a parent input report and have a copy available for each new professional. You can find more information on that in our FAQ forum.

    Just curious, when was her last evaluation? And has anything ever improved the situation?
  3. compassion

    compassion Member

    LIke I said recently, kina hard to communicate when daughter is choking me in a bipolar rage. I have foudn it helpful to share honestly only with poiple that it is safe with. This board is one place. Nami has been great (support group for family of mantally ill) Al-anon is OK but I can't get into details.
    The more undertanding and acceptance I have of my daughters illness, the more tolaerant I am of most people not getting it. I know the rages my dauhgter has are terrifying and I CANNOT reason with her. She currenlty is in Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I do not yet feel safe visitng with her outside the hospital. She wants me to take her to a medical appointment. tomorrow but I am having hte techs do it.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's so funny in a sad way!! I understand. My thought was that the behavior contract goes out the window when the knife is near my neck. And do they really expect that I can stop the situation to have a called-in therapy session in the middle of that? I'm repeatedly shocked at even the professionals who don't get it and keep trying to use methods like that. And every time my son is unstable, I have to go thru the ultimate parent scrutiny. I'm tired of it.

    I hope I'm not making you feel worse- I just wanted to let you know that I understand how you feel and can sympathize. Welcome to our world!
  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to the boards. You might try to focus on groups with other parents/family members of the mentally ill. I think people in a "normal" group therapy session (i.e., your women's group) probably are not going to get it.... and your frustration is just going to grow. NAMI is a great place to start.
  6. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Ask the facilitator to come over to your house and show you how to implement the program. You just need her to show you how. After 5 minutes with the child she won't say a word.
  7. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Borderline (BPD) is sometimes an abbreviation for Borderline Personality Disorder.

    Is it bipolar disorder you are referring to or borderline?

    roflol Excellent advice in my opinion.
  8. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    Sometimes the "professionals" are more trouble than our kids - keep in mind some of the "professionals" are difficult children themselves.

    I concur with the advice to invite the well meaning "professional", family member, or friend to come to your home, and put their great idea into practice - while you sit and watch. When they begin to explain it's not possible, just say, "thank you, I'll file that in the same place I put the last great idea someone told ME to try."

    Sending you a hug for strength and another for patience.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    11 isn't too young for a diagnosis. I recommend a neuropsychologist evaluation on top of what you are already getting. Their evaluations are more intensive and all-inclusive of all possible disorders than just seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist and they can find things that others can't. Bipolar has a few mimickers and can also have co-morbid disorders.
    I think it would be worth your while. In the meantime, can you give us more background on your child? How was her early years? Any delays? Social skill problems? Any quirks? Any psychiataric problems or substance abuse on either side of the family tree? Has she ever suffered from abuse? Is she your biological child.
    Welcome to the board :)
  10. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I remember my daughter at 11. We had just finished a therapy appointment with a therapist that I found out later truly felt she was dealing with a child with a conflict with her mom rather than a mentally ill child. We drove the 15 minutes home and as we got out of the car she snapped because I wouldn't let her go run around the neighborhood (it was bedtime). I called the therapist who by some miracle answered the phone. I let her listen on speakerphone for a while (Me: Kanga it is time get ready for bed. Do you want to take a bath or a shower? Kanga: You *&*^@%#@^%* I'm going outside and you can't @^#^@ stop me. Me: Kanga, please don't use that language with me. It is time to get ready for bed. Kanga: ^@#$^(&@^$(@(*@#* I'm going to ^&^(& kill you. You wanna get stabbed with a ^(*^$@* knife.) At that point the therapist spoke up and asked Kanga why she wasn't using the coping skills she taught her. Kanga was ticked to realize that the therapist had heard it all. therapist never talked to me about sticker charts or warm fuzzies again.

    The parent report is great in that it gets the new pros up to speed on what you have already tried and how it worked or more often didn't work.

    If it is non-pros (family, neighbors, etc), I'd just say she's mentally ill, she is seeing a doctor, we hope he can help her. And then ignore those that don't get it.
  11. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    My same type experiance was when my son climbed up on the roof of the new house we moved into and the property manager had me forsed into a parenting class because my son "was not safe".
    I sat through the confedential session with the woman working toward her clinicals in psycology as she was praising the out comes of 'contracts' with children of a mother who was not happy the therapist had let and encouraged her children to jump on the furniture.
    And then she turned to me "why are you here" she was chewing and poping her gum. so i said that the property manager felt that my son was unsafe and wanted me in parenting classes. "what did he do?"
    "He climbed onto the roof of the house "
    Then she said "That is not safe"
    and I said "I do not see it that way.'
    She turned with big eyes and asked "How do you see it?"
    "Well, after he climbed up there he was afraid to climb down because he said the trees he had climbed to get up there are to spindlely. Actually I feel that he made a break through and is finally showing a sence of fear . I made him wait up there for 45 minutes so he would not forget to stay on the ground in the future."

    A couple days later the property manager admonished me "Do not ever do that again!"
    " Do what?"
    "Correct the therapist."
    "I beg your pardon, but that was a confidential session and she had would loose her chance to get liscesed for her breach of privacy."
    Then I was sent a letter and told that I need not attend the parenting classes.

    How do you cope with adults who want to fix you with unsolicited advise? In a good mood I will listen to them talking to me and say hm and oh and what a good idea.
    In a bad mood I will ask them if they have children and what are they doing these days and switch the topic.

    I am not so certain that telling people that a child has a mental illness is actually a good aproach. Especially if your daughter is right there. I do feel that saying what you want the child to do is always the best route because sometimes they just start doing it. Lilly is learning to ask nicely by throwing this tantrum now. I can see that she is making great progress to the polite request we have been working on together for sometime, but first she is tearing up this display case.

    I have had some fantastic moments with children who catch on over something really unexpected that gets them to laugh. Whining back, for example, using instructions but following their cadence. Throwing myself on the floor and having a temper tantrum....that really gets some kids attention. And one way or another it is finding a way to get them down that path.

    maybe, i am still looking for the thing that is just what she will take to, is an honest answer.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    WHile I do my best to not respond aggressively or negatively with idiotic advice (or advice that has been well and truly tried and found wanting) there are also times I want to choke the living whatever out of people who state the bleedin' obvious.

    Thev trouble is - they have to say it. Because there ARE idiot parents out there who will go to a therapist and whinge, but who haven't yet tried the obvious. I count myself in this - sometimes obvious options get bypassed at an early stage and it can be a long way down the track before someone says, "How did he go when you tried...?" and I look blank because nobody ever told me about it.

    So for the sake of those rare occasions, I tolerate the bleedin' obvious.

    However, when I know I'm going to see someone who either keeps re-stating the obvious or who I suspect will throw at us a huge list of "solutions" which we've already ruled out - I prepare my own spreadsheet.

    On the spreadsheet - I list down one column, the range of things we've tried. (To make my list of what we've tried, I take notes of all the bleedin' obvious ideas that keep getting suggested. Thatr is my raw material starting point).

    Next column - when it was suggested/tried.

    Next column - outcome.

    I do this on the computer, because this file can only grow with time. You don't remove things from it. As ideas are suggested, you add them to the spreadsheet. Because sometimes, something will work, at least a little or for a while. It's ALL valid data.
    Because it's on the computer, I just print out a fresh copy whenever we're seeing someone who I think needs it. It saves so much time and servers two purposes -

    1) it informs them in detail of what we've tried and how well it worked (or didn't). and

    2) it sends a message that I'm fed up with stupid suggestions and have developed my own strategy to cut through the time-wasting crud and get down to stuff that has a chance of working.

    You do need to realise - these people are trying to help. They are desperately hoping that an easy answer will fix things. Because they want to help, they will get disillusioned and feel you're being overly negative, if every idea gets shot down instantly. You do need to not seem too oppositional. I know I would hate it if I were a therapist trying to help, and the person on the other side of the desk was sitting there arms folded, just waiting to shoot down everything I suggest (because that can be how it seems).

    The therapists need to know that it's worth making suggestions. I also know that although many suggestiopns can seem stupid, sometimes a stupid suggestion can lead to a really good lateral-thinking helpful one. So you need to seem open, even as you try to cut through the obvious stuff to the more useful possibilities.

    If you can say, "We did try that but it didn't help; however, we did find a little improvement for a week or two when we tried X. Maybe it was because of Y."

    Something else I have tried - I actually held up my hand with one therapist and said, "Stop. Let's see if this saves time. We have tried ..." and I rattled off the list. Like a verbal spreadsheet. I then continued, "Now, you have a list of what we've already tried, does this speed things up to know we've already eliminated these?"

    People need to know that you're willing to try things. But I agree, we don't want to be reinventing the wheel each time.

    I hope this helps.