He lost it tonight

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, difficult child worked his A** off Fri. eve. And yesterday to get back enough privilege to have one friend over for dinner yesterday since he'd lost the privilege of birthday party and sleep-over. All that went well and he was happy with gifts. Although, when I asked him if he'd call to give others notice that his party had been cancelled, he told me there was no one to call- no one but this one friend had planned on coming.

    Background- he's been on lithobid a while; it didn't seem to do anything except eliminate raging at first then it started looking like it wasn't helping so well with that. In the mean time, depakote was added and it seems to have helped with all other symptons, so psychiatrist and I tried lowering lithobid dosage a little. psychiatrist said to go back to normal dosage at any signs of trouble.

    difficult child started beginning band this year- trumpet. At the time, the only thing available to rent was a beat up old trumpet. He was happy to get it at first, and then felt embarrassed about it, I understand. Last week I asked the store if anything else was available to rent yet- they had a brand new- same rental cost- I took it. I told difficult child to treat it like it's his own because if he stays in band, I might buy it for him. He was thrilled.

    Tonight, time to practice. The here comes 'I can't play at all- I s*** at trumpet'. I say the typical, no, you're doing well- even the band director says so- and, you joined for the year so you have to live up to that commitment and stay in and practice for this school year- if you don't want to do it next year, you don't have to.' BOOM! There goes the trumpet across the room. It's bent in at least three places- one is VERY bad.


    OHHHH- so then, I'm " well, you won't be staying in band now.

    He becomes a basket case. He's crying and saying OMG why do I do this; I can't help it; I destroy everything; I don't know what to do; I'm ruining my life; and so on and so on…


    I just tell him to put it up. That's it- I can't afford it (the price tags on those things are around $1000). I told him he's going to be selling some things of his to pay for it but it's going back and he can figure out what to do about the class at school. He keeps on being a basket case. I say, well, if you can't help it, there is help available. You have to start with a new therapist and go back up on the medications a while.

    He cried and cried and went to his bedroom when I told him to. I took him his medications- back on higher dose of lithobid- and he took it- between tears.

    Now, I'm second guessing myself and still thinking, yes, he should have to sell some of his belongings to pay for what I hope can be repaired- but maybe he should still have to live with this trumpet (as a rental) and stay in band and practice whether he thinks he's any good or not. Otherwise, couldn't he get the message that if he rages over and destroys something, he can get out of his commitment?


    I hear him say over and over that he doesn't think he's any good at it- but everyone else, including the director, says he's doing well. He also tells me half the time that he doesn't want to do it anymore.

    The only good thing about this day is that I finally got laundry caught up, I got to take a really nice long hot shower, and I figured out how to get back here and I finally got my emoticons back.

    Opinions- suggestions??
  2. Jena

    Jena New Member


    We all lost our signatures......LOL.....so i don't know what he was diagnosed with. anyway i agree i don't think he should be able to get out of band, yes work out something to cover financial loss of trumphet. how old is he? anyway my little one does same thing but i tell her no bc even though she has issues, lots of them and low self esteem also i dont' want her to be a quitter. life's about pushing through and standing by our committments, right?

    so yes i'd keep him in band is the trumphet able to make noise now??? or did it totally break?

    good luck,
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    No question he should pay for the damage. For the rest, I'd apologize for losing my cool and tell him that he was still in the band and why I thought it was important that he finish at least the year and repeat that even his teacher thinks he is doing very well.

    It is hard for our kids to not get things from the very beginning. It makes many of them feel like they are failing. The concept of try, try again is just not in their mindsets. I know it wasn't in my daughter's. Some of it was the simple if it's not easy, I don't want to bother laziness. The bigger issue was the low self-esteem. Any lack of success or sour note meant total failure, not something to conquer.

    I found that letting her stop when she was frustrated was wise (piano for mine). Then, when she had calmed down, I'd have her try again. If the frustration won again, I'd have her quit for the night. It wasn't worth the pain it was causing at that point but frequently the break would do wonders.
  4. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    If you acknowledge that the problem was the result of the lower dose of Lithobid, how can you hold him responsible? If he could control it, why is he taking the Lithobid and Depakote?
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Part of the problem is that I can't tell when he's practicing if it's the typical mumbling and grumbling or if he's really that frustrated. And, the only things he has to sell are this year's Christmas and birthday presents. If we have to buy the trumpet (because it can't be repaired to mint condition) selling these gifts used will not cover it. You bet, he's going to think he's paid for it whether or not it can really cover all the cost. It is very tempting to say 'you just bought yourself a trumpet, at the cost of this year's gifts', which is about all I can do. OTHO, my gut feeling is that it could backfire. It's like he feels more comfortable screwing up. I had a ed spec tell me that he needs to learn what living 'normal' feels like- because he's been in so much trouble.

    Yes, I want him to stay in band, although I didn't push him to join and I didn't choose the instrument- he did. But it is very good for him and it has lead him to try teaching himself to play piano (we only have a small one, but he still likes it).

    I'm not sure about the lithobid- it completely stopped raging for the first 6-8 weeks. Then, there were signs of raging coming back, but he was able to keep himself reeled in and stop it from getting out of control. I couldn't tell if lithobid was gradually becoming ineffective or if it was still doing anything. I just raised him back to normal dosage of it tonight (he's stayed on regular dosage of depakote through this). If raging doesn't come back, I have to believe it's the lithobid. If it does, then the lithobid is no longer effective. What makes this sticky is a sticky diagnosis. One psychiatrist thinks it's clearly all cycling, although questionable if it's prozac induced. Another psychiatrist thinks yes, he's cycling, but his bigger problem is depression and he needs to be on an AD with a mood stabilizer to keep manic reactions under control. He is currently not on an AD.

    And to make it worse, my difficult child is usually fairly close to being a easy child from April until December. From Jan. through March, he has been out of control- actually, it's like he can't control himself- this will be the third year we've gone through this. It's so bad, if it happens this year, he will be out of home and mainstream school- by order of the court. So, I guess I don't think he's on the right medication mix yet. At least, this trial should make it obvious if lithobid is even helping with rage at all at this point. - it should also help him see what medications are helping him keep under control. If it is helping, I will reduce or eliminate his punishment .

    And now that I read my own post- if he can't control it, then being on the wrong medication mix isn't reason to hold him fully accountable. on the other hand, he has to make some effort here- I do think he takes advantage of (and tries to manipulate) the "I can't help it" portion of this.
  6. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Honestly, I wouldn't sell his Christmas and birthday gifts to pay for it. Gifts are given with no expectation. He seems to be already struggling so much for some kind of control and seems to really beat himself up when he loses it. I think recognizing what happened and working on the why's and what he can do in the future to try to maintain some control is the better lesson.

    I understand that it is expensive, but maybe contributing part of his allowance (I seem to remember you saying that he works around the house for money during the week) would help. I wouldn't say it's so much punishment as just accepting responsibility. If I break something that belongs to another - intentional or not - then I need to step up to the plate and do what's right.

    Poor guy. I see similar behavior in my daughter. She expects perfection from herself on her first try.
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    He has a few months before it will have to be paid for. Maybe he can earn extra money doing chores for neighbors. On the plus side, he'll have all summer to practice with his own trumpet (band camp?) and you won't have to rent an instrument next year. Let's hope he keeps up playing and practicing. It will do wonders for his self-esteem as he keeps getting better and better (and there are some great scholarships to college for band players nowadays).