Horrible spring break



difficult child had a horrible spring break. As my recent posts have explained, he is so lonely, so alone, that he lets anyone who will "hang out" (I prefer "play") with him..walk all over him. They shot him in the face with an airsoft gun, difficult child said about a foot away. difficult child isn't angry. I am. That was among all the destruction the other two boys did.
difficult child haven't spoken in two days. After he screamed at me, and I screamed back (we were yelling over each others voices) we haven't spoken.
#1. I was calm when this all started, regarding a button on his camera not working. I tried to explain he can load the pictures to the computer and delete all pictures on the device. (he was complaining with this button broke he cannot delete pictures off the camera.) He would not let me finish my sentence. Then I lost it and he just would not believe me for anything, telling me I am wrong, blah, blah.
#2. husband stood right there and let him scream at me without so much as a word. (If I would of spoke to my parents, or any adult like that, I wouldn't be able to sit down for a week).

I told husband when I left for work tonight that He had better have a talk with difficult child. He said he did. I told him that he is NOT allowed to speak to me like that, and I was upset that he allowed it. (husband is upset with me for saying that). I informed husband if he has spoken to difficult child regarding this, he must not have a conscience because he has not said a word to me.

I tried to get difficult child to do homework throughout the week. It turned into a big fight each time, with difficult child just scribbling on a paper answers that were wrong just to get it done. (I TRIED to read it..) He has such issues whenever he has to physically write something. Anyway, He had an english assignment, which difficult child told me he couldn't do because he didn't have a book. (English teacher will not give him one.) Now, I listened tonight to husband tell difficult child it was time to do his work. difficult child said "OK". I asked how he can do his english, he told me he couldn't. He said he read the story, only had to answer the questions. Now I am really mad..again...because I am the one that deals with all the school phone calls, teachers, meetings. I emailed his Special Education teacher and english teacher and said difficult child would not have that assignment done because he does not have a book.
I am sorry to say that husband will always side with difficult child. Always believe him, even if there is proof. difficult child lies so much, but husband will find some excuse as to why he did, and just let it go. (too bad we have sides).
School begins again tomorrow, and I told husband when I left tonight that I refuse to accept any phone calls from school. The fact that he lied to me regarding homework, the way he yelled at me, I cannot defend him when he yells at teachers that way. I told husband either he will have to find a way to answer the phone, or they will have to find another way to deal with him. (I DO expect phone calls tomorrow).
I need to apologize for one of my posts. The spelling was so awful, it was as if difficult child did it. I have not been feeling well, and took some pain medication, I had just gotten into it with difficult child and husband, I had just purchased a new keyboard(not an excuse but it took a little bit of getting use to). I had locked myself in the computer room, was crying and turned to this board. Sorry for the spelling.
by the way, many years ago when difficult child was 4 I was on this board. husband would not allow it and made me stop. I wish I would not have. So, husband does not know I am here. difficult child has seen me typing and flipped out when he saw the title. I just told him to give me a few minutes to do some research.
sorry so long.


Active Member
You and husband need to be on the same page. My husband trawls here and reads all my posts, so I'm always careful to be scrupulously complimentary about him (just kidding - he's a darling).
But by him seeing what I write, it's added an extra dimension to our communication, which I HAD thought was as good as it could get.

But even before you get there, there are some things you need:

1) You and difficult child screamed at each other. You both showed lack of respect to each other. You can't punish him or criticise him without accepting the same for yourself.

2) husband just stood. Chances are, he was probably in shock. And if he HAD stepped in to chastise difficult child, what would it have achieved? I think I can pretty much guarantee, it would have escalated things to Hiroshima proportions. And would that have got through to difficult child with any positive message? Or would it just have made YOU feel better, because he had been punished? Remember, punishment is pointless unless it teaches.

So, in summary from 1) & 2) - don't be so tough on difficult child & husband. difficult child's a kid, he should know better. You should be setting him an example. And maybe husband should have tried to control both of you, but you know yourselves better - would this have worked? Or would he have gotten hurt, even more than he has been?

Now to continue -

3) Don't fight the homework battles. Walk away. Do not get involved at all. Let the school know that you are just not going there. Let THEM sort it out. This is a hard one to do, but you and difficult child need to work on your relationship and you can't do that when you are also part of "school" and all its issues, at home.

4) Sit down with husband and write a list of all difficult child's problem behaviours. Be as thorough as possible. Then analyse the list - where do you think these problems are coming from? be honest with yourselves. If you can identify a predisposing incident, do so. Remember, no blame is involved in this analysis, no part of "If you hadn't said that to him, he wouldn't have exploded like that". You can note down that one of you said x and difficult child reacted with y, but go no further with blame.
Once you have your list, and especially if you also have triggers, try and connect behaviours that tend to happen together. See if you can work out why he is reacting this way. I'm not saying difficult child is right - far from it. But if you can see what tips him over, you can work to prevent, at least in part. Where you can't prevent, you can see the chaos begin, recognise the signs like an early warning air raid siren, and either walk away or cut the argument before it gets too far out of hand.

5) Look at your list again. Which behaviours do you want to see gone, first? Prioritise. Include husband's thoughts here. And also include WHY you want each one gone, what you hope to achieve as a result. And I would strongly urge that difficult child shouting abuse at you should NOT be number 1 priority. I know it's not nice, we've had that one too, so be aware, I AM telling you this from personal experience. I think you all have a lot of other things to work on first. But as you do, you may find this one evaporating on its own. It did for us. I hope it does for you too.

By grouping like with like, you may reduce the quantity. It may also help point to an over-riding problem which, if dealt with, could fix a dozen others.

Now tell yourself - these problems have been here for a while, they're not going to be eradicated instantly. This will take time. How will we do this?
Go back to your list. Only look at the top four. Ignore the rest. Make an agreement with yourself and tattoo it on your foreheads in letters of fire - "I will not react to any other problems, other than the four we have chosen."

Then, and only then, sit yourselves down with difficult child for a CALM talk about these problems. Tell him that you want to help him grow to be a successful, happy, independent adult but currently this isn't tracking too well from your point of view. You want to work on this as a team. Ask HIM what problems he wants to work on. If he's not being real about it, then tell him you worked on a long list, but you only want to deal with the top four, for now. Tell him what they are, ask him how he wants to proceed.

Through all of this, stay calm. Pretend to yourself that he is an employee that you're not allowed to sack, or a flatmate that you can't evict. You have to work to get along. Keep this image in mind. He can no longer be treated as a naughty child, even when he IS one, because IT IS NOT WORKING.

Draw up a contract (if you can get this far). Stick it up in the kitchen somewhere. Make sure the contract includes difficult child's requests too, in terms of "If difficult child does x, he will be granted y." Try and use motivation. Always be consistent and fair. If he begins to shout at you, swear at you or be abusive in any other way, DO NOT DO THE SAME BACK. Instead, walk away. Deny him your presence to argue with. Put THIS in the agreement too, for both of you - no shouting at each other to make a point, and you will walk away when shouting begins.

And finally - be prepared to use professional guidance to work this out. You may need a trained psychologist to sit with you all and work out a mutual contract. I really do think this may be too big a task on your own.

And please - read the book! It really does help, more than I can.



The book Explosive Child, MAGIC 1,2,3 and so many others have already come and gone long ago.
husband would never discuss difficult child issues. He doesn't see anything wrong, and when he does he tries to justify it.
We talk with difficult child about school, respect, anger. We (difficult child & myself)use to be much closer, this year that has changed. I stick up for him...he lies to me. Doesn't work. Respect, He is a child and he is to respect adults...even if he feels he is right. Keep the comments to himself. I am his parent. He is not to raise his voice. He would Never do that to husband because he is scared of him. School tells me this all the time, they make it sound as if husband would harm him, when in fact husband would do anything difficult child asked for. I start off calm. difficult child just finds those buttons and just won't stop. I walk away, I walk the dog, i go for a ride, I just go sit outside. Come back in and difficult child will throw something, yell something, will just be waiting to continue. I can only stay calm so long and I just stop. I tell him I am his parent an he needs to stop. That is the point we start yelling.
husband was angry with him over the weekend with the damage his friends did. difficult child was literally shaking, threatened to run away. husband told him to go. Then after difficult child mouthed off husband grabbed him and he yelled at him. My complaint with husband is that difficult child is always yelling at me, throwing things, lying, using bad language and it doesn't matter what I do, he does as he pleases. Then when I tell husband he thinks I am the one lying. difficult child listenes to husband. He may cry but he listenes and keeps his mouth shut. difficult child will not do that with me. This makes me think I should just leave. How am I to stand up for him at school, when he lies, and shows me he doesn't want me there.


New Member
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #990000"> the truth of the matter is that nothing will change until you change how you react to difficult child.

yelling at him because he yells at you is not how you want to present yourself to him. you need to be the one who models the appropriate way to express anger & frustration. he won't learn how to react differently until you show him how. all you do when you yell back at him is escalate a bad situation.

i think the reason he is with-drawing from you is the fact that he is 12. he's a young man now (tho certainly not acting like one) & he's struggling for his Independence. it's a developmental milestone.....and a difficult one for the adolescent & the parent.

you may have read The Explosive Child when difficult child was younger but i think it bears re~reading now. in fact read it twice because there's a lot to absorb in it.

respect....yes, he needs to respect you. that being said you need to behave in a manner that inspires respect (back to the engaging him in screaming fight again). he may look at you & see himself as treating you as he is being treated. truthfully it doesn't matter who starts the screaming the fact is you sink to his level time after time.....remember MODELLING.

i agree....but out of the homework war. let him face natural consequences for not completing assignments. i know this is just the opposite of what the schools want us to do, but they are not the ones living in homework h*ll. you, difficult child & the entire family are. that has to stop.

maybe if husband could see you making a real effort to change the dynamics between you & difficult child he might be more willing to support you. he may feel like SOMEONE has to be on difficult child's side with-o thinking about how that makes you feel.

bottom line....you, as the mom, bear the most burden to help change things. it's not reasonable, nor is it fair. it just is what it is.

</span> </span> </span>


Well-Known Member
Well, I think you have answered your own questions regarding your son. I would contact the school (THIS MORNING) and give then husband's work/cell number and let them know that all future calls regarding your sons work, behaviors, etc., are to directed to your husband. Then, as you have threatened, let him deal with it.

Second, you need to disengage from the arguing, yelling, and screaming. Save the homework battles for either husband or difficult child's teacher. Don't get sucked in. Natural consequences at school and the intervention of husband should do the trick.

In regards to other issues, in a molment of calm, tell your son that if he begins to raise his voice in either anger or frustration towards you, you will walk away and disengage. And then, FOLLOW THROUGH! Do not get sucked into his drama. Walk away and go to the room you lock yourself in to use the computer, or lock yourself in your bedroom.

Show both husband and difficult child that you will not be browbeat by disrespect and violence.

Now, I hate to add this to your plate, but who set up your husband as your lord, master, and boss. Why does he get a say about what websites you visit? This is a little scary to me. Sounds like the two males in the house have total control. Take it back in baby steps.



New Member
You have gotten such good advice already. If you don't want to go back to the explosive child, then get Ross Greene's collaborative problem solving instead. It is a very good new read. Do you go to therapy? You might work on some of these issues there. I found that when I got husband to go in with us, he actually did a better job with getting on the same page as me. There is a cycle going on that needs to be broken, and the only way to do that is to react differently to the drama that is going on around you. If you act the same way, than you can't expect the drama to unfold any differently then it is right now. Why doesn't the school give him a book? I got it written in the IEP that my difficult child got copies of all his books at home, because he could never remember them and always lost or misplaced them.


I do walk away, I do leave, I do call someone. I go to another room, I go do laundry. I do not know what makes him think he can say and do what he does to me. He and husband just do not want me there. I cannot do this anylonger. For the past 13 years I have done everything. (was sick every single day I was pregnant). I cannot handle all the finances, make all the phone calls, deal with all the school issues, do all the medical appointment.'s., work full time, laundry, groceries, meals and be yelled at when I try to help. I sleep about 3 - 4 hours maybe.
Currently I am not feeling well, hope to stop and get a strept test on my way home from work today. My partner missed last week due to strept. And where is husband?? He does practice (soccer and baseball). I wonder what it would be like to just get up and go to work without a list of errands to do.
easy child is 24, he and i were always close. Only problem is easy child expects me to take care of HIS finances TOO. Little do all of them know what I really want.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Kjs - STOP! Go on strike! For goodness sakes you're surrounded by a group of adults who are used & demand being waited on.

School can call husband. easy child has to learn to take care of his own finances.

difficult child is becoming a young man - he's going through typical teen things with the ensuing mental health issues. Makes for an ugly situation.

Your reaction is key - walk away! Don't feed into the anger that difficult child spews in your direction. Seriously, it's the only way you will come out the other end sane.

Yes, you deserve respect - if you're not treated with respect in the general public you don't hang around for more abuse. The same can be said for your difficult child.

I'm hear to tell you, this is hard. It sounds as though this has become a real pattern & difficult child expects your angry reaction.

Get your rhino suit on!


New Member
Sign up for a class or activity that YOU want to do. Tell people in the household that you are no longer doing everything. Get easy child to take over his own finances. Get husband to take on the phone calls from the school, help with the laundry and meals. You need time for yourself.


Active Member
I know you're trying really hard, Kjs. The thing is, he's hit the typical teen stage to add it on top of everything else.

I'm wondering - it's fairly common for a lot of us, that our kids are worst for those they feel safest with. He's angry, he's depressed, he feels overwhelmed by everything that goes wrong around him (and when you're on the edge of adolescence, that's EVERYTHING - multiply it by anything from 10 to 100 for difficult child factor). But you have had a history of being close. he knows you love him unconditionally. part of him is testing that, part of him is using that (not necessarily in a deliberate way).

You talk about him lying - try to analyse what sort of lies. The "I didn't do it" category, such as when his 'friends' trashed things, or he says he's done his homework properly when he hasn't - are very different to more serious lies such as "my teacher is molesting me." I'm not saying that some lies are acceptable and others aren't, but if you have some understanding of why and when they're likely to lie, it's easier to put a stop to it by simply catching them out. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids can generally lie with "I didn't do it" but they're really bad at lying with, "the bus driver said I was his best-behaved passenger, he wants to nominate me for an award."
Now I know your difficult child doesn't have a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) label, he has a BiPolar (BP) label, but there are similar distinctive characteristics. And I believe one of them is lying.
You need to ask yourself - is he lying to get himself out of possible trouble? or is he lying because he really believes things happened that way? Or is he lying because he is bored by the reality and wants to invent something more interesting? or is he lying for personal gain (not associated with fear of discovery or feat of punishment)?
These are different and need a different response. Simply punishing for lying - it won't help. Normal parenting techniques just don't work on some kids. You have a easy child, so you are capable of parenting well. This is just a kid for whom your previously established techniques are just not working right. You need to dig deeper, change tack, think outside the square, and somehow involve husband.

I hear you when you say that difficult child shows more respect to husband. You lay this at the feet of husband being more strict - you may be right, but it may be more complex than that. You say your easy child still wants you to help with his accounts - you are maybe too much of a pushover, and difficult child knows this. So it may not be strictness you need, so much as consistency.

You said you walk away from an argument. You need to keep doing this. You come back and it picks up where it left off - why? What would happen if you walked away again? Are you running out of places to walk to? (I know it sounds like I'm joking, but been there done that, it's only funny 20 years later, AFTER they turn out OK).
You say you think you should just leave - if the fight is continuing every time you walk back in, then if you keep walking away every time the fight begins again it will seem like you've had to leave for good.
What would happen? Think about this unemotionally. I suspect right now, difficult child believes you wouldn't REALLY leave, because you always come back. What if you left and simply didn't come home until the next day? What would happen?
I know what would happen if I did this - who would be in touch with the evening routine? Who would make sure difficult child got bathed, teeth got cleaned, meals were prepared, chores were done and life went on? In my absence I can see chaos, fighting, arguing and problems escalating, not quieting down as I'd want.

The thing is, sometimes this has to happen. If it doesn't ever happen, you get taken for granted, even by PCs. You need time for you. You're not well right now, you said - you need to GET well. What if husband, or difficult child, were as unwell as you are right now? Would they go to bed? Would you be feeding them chicken soup (or whatever)?
Talk to husband about getting yourself well, for now. If you need to put in a little organisation first, go ahead, but get yourself to bed and put yourself on the sick roster. If people are hungry, they can boil an egg.

I know I've put in a lot of questions - I don't know the answers, nor do I need to know them. You might not know the answers either, but you need to think about them, do some digging. To help solve this one, you need to be able to think creatively and laterally, and when you're not well you simply haven't got the mental resources to do this properly.

And about "the book" - the newer edition is very different. I must admit I'm still reading through it, but I'm still using the stuff from the old edition which I feel almost memorised. A lot of it doesn't help us, but a lot of it does. Then time moves on, there are changes, and I find that the stuff that simply didn't seem right before, now is exactly what we need.

I seriously suggest you see a psychologist, or therapist of some sort, who can work with both you and difficult child. I suggest you mainly, because of both your past closeness to difficult child, and the current focus of his conflict. While you're laid low like this you need help from outside.



What a great idea, I am going to run that by school. Getting a copy of all his books at home. They have a website "schoolnotes.com" that all the schools, grades, teachers post their assignments on. That is one of the biggest homework issues, "I forgot". He said his English teacher took his book away in the beginning of the year because he was "messing" with it. Spec. Ed teacher has given him one once in a while to take home. Most school issues originate in or because of English/teacher. Just happens to be the first class of the day too. He gets A's and B's in English, but he inisits it is only because Special Education teacher does the grading for English.


As my recent posts have explained, he is so lonely, so alone, that he lets anyone who will "hang out" (I prefer "play") with him..walk all over him.

My son is the same way, I am so sorry, for me I have to worry about what difficult child II does to these friends once they set him off, they have mastered pushing his buttons.



Well-Known Member
Im gonna ditto what everyone else said. Step back from most of this chaos.

You dont have to be the "fixer" of everything in this household. Let homework be your sons domain. Get the copies of the books and if you wish to give him one reminder...do so, but then back off. Dont get into a battle with him.

Find a therapist. I think this would do you a world of good.


Active Member
Just the English teacher, eh? If this is the main trigger for him, it can still cause a great deal of upheaval. Just one difficult teacher can be enough to really throw out a lot of good stuff happening elsewhere.

He really sounds like he needs you and to be working WITH you, but if he's learning to be oppositional on principle he will be undermining himself. A certain amount of opposition is typical teen. Throw in the difficult child component and it's no wonder there are clashes.

At the risk of annoying people by mentioning Dr Phil, he says that in a conflict scenario like this, someone has to be the hero.

You're going to need to do a lot of walking away. Travel light, keep your toothbrush packed and always keep your hiking shoes handy!