Have any of you.....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by timer lady, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    just asked your difficult children what it is they want from you?

    After a particularly intense 2 weeks with the tweedles I sat kt down & asked her how much she wanted me to continue to "fight" for her. Plain out asked kt if she needed the level of help from me that she needed 2 years ago or 6 years ago.

    What could I back down from; in what areas did she need more?

    Turned out to be an interesting (albeit short) conversation. kt would like me to trust her to handle her friends & the varying situations they bring into her life. The same goes for school & her treatment plan.

    I've stopped attending therapy with kt tho therapist is in contact with me. I've given kt the tools she needs for success in school, including, yup you guessed it, a timer to help her stay on task thru her class & then when to get back to work after her break.

    kt would like me to trust her with her clothes purchases ~ I can do that within reason. There are just some styles I can't abide.

    This all started out to clarify in my mind the needs of ktbug. I'm pushing her to be more responsible & I know she has the tools, the skills to do what any 16 year old can do.

    It's helping me redefine my role as parent - helping me step back & watch. I know when I need to step in again; I have that part down pat. The letting go is more of a problem.

    Have any of you just asked this of your difficult children? I'm going to have the same talk with wm.
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Mine has generally been pretty verbal about when I should back off because she's "got this," though it's not as complicated at 9 as I expect it will be when she's a teen. If I ask her what she wants? She wants no rules, more junk food, no bedtime... you know the drill. But I will try to remember when she gets older to have that conversation with her.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I think it is a really good question! I've done it in the past and have not done it recently. My difficult child is over 21... things are different. However.... it is definately stil foodl for thought! Thank you.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I have asked my difficult child this....trouble is - her answer and her actions do not match up!. She wants to be trusted with the responsibility of this, that and the other....but then does not handle any of it.

    So for us, it has been a series of trusting difficult child with various responsibilities...only to have to get back involved when none of those responsibilities and expectations are being met.

    It's an ongoing process...
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yes and mine said about the same thing. However, mine has robbed me, held a knife to me, let his friends burn him, burn himself, done drugs, and has to abide by PO's rules. It doesn't seem quite so feasible to stand back and let him make his own mistakes if I'm supposed to feel comfortable sleeping in the same house anymore.
  6. HowMuchLonger

    HowMuchLonger New Member

    I have tried this as well, but as others have said, his age may be a factor in not being able to realistically answer this. Also, as daisy and klmno have said the actions don't match the requests. He continues to blame his behaviours on his brothers, father, me, teachers, peers, GOD, anyone and anything and although there are plenty of times his brothers instigate a fight...99% of the time it's him. So he'll say he wants to spend more time with me, when in fact I spend the greatest amount of time with him compared to any in the family. Or he'll say I don't spend time with him yet as soon as school's out he runs out the door to play. Comes in, eats dinner and then goes to play on his computer or video games when I'm there ready and willing to spend time with him. But suddenly at 8pm when its almost bedtime he'll ask if I want to cuddle with him and watch tv but it's now bedtime. Or he'll come in from playing and say "let's do xyz" and I'm now in the middle of making dinner so say "give me 20 mins" and that's not good enough. So it has to be the exact minute he wants it and that's just not realistic. He wants me to stop his brothers from "picking on him"...reality - they don't, or don't start with him until they've had it with HIM picking on them! He wants me to buy him a special mattress, memory foam pillows, duvet, etc etc etc etc etc to help him sleep better because according to him "i dont sleep well thats why I rage". reality - every night we check on him repeatedly and he's sleeping soundly and gets an average of 10.5 hrs sleep at night.

    I'm hoping once he comes back to reality or is able to actually express what hsi problems are rather than making them up or repeating what the "experts" have put into his head we may be able to get somewhere
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    For some of our kids, this might be feasible...

    Right now we're fighting the temps battle. I don't think she's responsible enough. husband concedes, but wants to keep things "normal" for her and not give her any hint about Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    Errrrrmmmmm... Since when is this NORMAL? She's not had them before... So it's not normal.

    And lying to Daddy about where you're going to be does not constitute good behavior as far as I am concerned. She's supposed to keep up the good behavior - but she is not sticking to her agreements. Now some of this is typical teen - but if she were a typical teen - I would still say - gotta keep the behavior up!

    ...Not a happy stepmom right now...

    So, if we asked her? She'd have the run of the house, do whatever she wanted and we'd pay for it, 100%...
  8. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Kanga would want all of that plus access to a car.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member


    Welcome to Virginia's idea of parole and probation- and when it doesn't work, the kid gets incarcerated while the parent makes payments on what is owed and a PO comes by the house every 90 days and calls every 30 days while the kid is incarcerated even though the latest GAL and all DSS agent's testimony in court has said this had nothing to do with anything going on at home, then orders the terms for the kid and parent upon return home- which of course, if the parent doesn't agree to then it's another court hearing and the parent can be held in contempt, charged with abanodment and/or the kid sent to extended family who tried to molest the parent as a child.

    I'll let you know how it turns out this time.
  10. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I was just curious if & when or how many times you've visited this with your difficult children. This is the 3rd time I've approached this with kt & while her level of reality the first couple of times was a total disconnect this time around she's a bit more realistic.

    I'm not handing kt the keys to the car anytime soon nor am I giving her carte blanche on her academic responsibilities & she's lost her cell phone for the unforeseeable future. I just find myself more willing to let go of the reins a bit more even tho she's giving me a run for my money. kt is well aware of my line in the sand ~ she also knows that her choices end up with consequences good & bad. I see this as practice for upcoming adulthood.

    All I ask from kt at this point is for the non stop arguing to stop. And for the most part she is complying (knock on wood). Will it continue? I doubt it. I'll take what I can get for as long as it lasts.
  11. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    My son's therapists have both used the expression with us that we are working harder on his problems than he is himself. It's a sign that something is out of whack somewhere. I think that is what you are getting at in part--that it is time for parents to back off. She has told us to start asking more questions about what he wants to do etc rather than planning for him. I think this general approach can work where there is some level of realism and responsibility. When they are approaching 18 soon enough we have to start turning over the reins to them unless they are totally irresponsible--in which case it is a whole different ballgame and there is probably little realistically we can do anyway.
  12. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I've had this conversation with difficult child a couple of times. It was an eye opener each time, and helpful in a lot of ways.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Linda, I think this is a balancing act that most parents do with all teens, we just dont actually verbalize it. Its that rope and hanging thing. We hope we give them enough rope but they dont have enough that they can actually hang themselves with it.

    When they are baby's we dont just throw them in the floor and walk away figuring they will somehow get the bottle in their mouths. No, we feed them but eventually we do hand them the spoon and a cup and teach them how and then let them have at it. Sure it gets messy and there is more food and milk on them and the floor than they probably get inside them but its a learning experience. They get better with time. Same with walking, talking, riding a bike, and all else that our little wonders do.

    It just gets more important or scary as they get closer to age 18. They can do so much more damage to their lives. We really cant save them anymore. We cant catch them when they start to stumble and fall. We cant kiss the owies away anymore.

    I remember that we started letting Jamie have more freedoms as he started into HS. He didnt need as much supervision from us because we knew who he was friends with and we knew pretty much where he was always going to be. However, when he messed up, he got that trust revoked bigtime. Cory was so insulted that he wasnt allowed the same access to freedom that Jamie was. Oh well...

    If I asked Cory that question today? He would still want me to baby him...lol. I am NOT asking him!
  14. Star*

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

    Hey Linda -

    At varying times - We did approach this with Dude and we did it under the guidance of his therapist or counselor, or probation officer (as klmno said) and depending on the time it? Some things were used as a tool for maturity. It was part of the rewards system under long term goals. For Dude however it was most definitely a 'should be under' short term goals and self-gratification.

    As in - part of his chores were to include - take out trash, sweep drive, pick up white clothes on Wednesday in his room for - XX minutes of bike riding each week. When we asked what did he want to change on his chore list? He said WE should just take out the trash, but he could sweep the drive, and pick the whites up - for XX minutes of bike riding AND time with his friends, plus I could stop monitoring what he wore to school. ( I used to pick 2 outfits and allow him to have a choice). He always worked a better deal for himself. lol - Never failed.

    What it ended up in for us most times was a power struggle. I'd try to give him more choices in his life - thinking he was ready for the responsibility of a little more - and what I would get is --
    I will do LESS now - and YOU will do more for me - and I will GET more. I told DF constantly - "If that kid doesn't go and sell cars when he grows up? It will be a waste of pure talent."

    Hope it works for you - I mean if you find a niche? Go for it.