How do you get your partner to go along with CPS & calming down?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by allhaileris, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    husband is a mess when he's dealing with Eris this summer. Constantly snapping at her for stupid stuff. Making a bigger deal out of things than should be. Last night we went into Trader Joes for a second to get a few things. She grabbed a hand cart when I did. I think no big deal, she can carry it around, who is it hurting. husband told her to put it back and it set her off to be upset at him. The entire time in the store she was playing the game where she hides on the other side of me. THis just made husband more upset. I really don't care if she circles me in the store and moves around, as long as she stays next to me. husband wants her to sit still and not move at all. I keep telling him to stop acting that way and all he thinks is that I'm shutting him down (of course it's all about him right?). I'm not, I'm just trying to defuse the situation before it gets worse. I don't want a fight while I'm in line for food!

    He does these things all the time and is super controlling of her. It's all these little things that she does that just annoys him so he blows up on her unnecessarily. I keep telling him to calm down, stop yelling (not yelling, but being too stern), etc.

    I'm half way through "the explosive child" and it seems to be backing up what I thought all along - that he's too demanding of her, and wont' take the time to sit and talk to her about what's going on and instead just demands action. How do I get him to go along with the program? He says he'll read the book, but I'm not so sure he'll do it. Even if he does, I'm not sure if he'll belive it! Ugh.
  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Get him the video. This may have a little more impact than the book. Other than that, the best you can do is remind him (constantly) that his way is not working, so it really is time to try something new. I wish you luck.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    So sorry.
    I understand the need to keep your child under control at the grocery store, but if it's not bothering YOU, then why can't he go down a diff aisle and p/u things you need, and toss them in the cart, and then go down anothe aisle, etc.

    Never mind. That's not the point. I can see this is an ongoing issue.

    It takes time and practice. Maybe you can get him alone on the weekend and tell him how much it means to you to have him loosen up. Or something.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I don't have any clue how to get husband to stop being the way he is. I do think the video of Explosive Child might help.

    Maybe if you work on using the Explosive Child strategies with HIM you could make some changes happen?

    Sorry I can't be more helpful.
  5. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I used to have the same problem. I met my husband when my difficult child was 8, she is now 17. In the beginning I explained to him that my daughter was very difficult and that he would have to have more patience with her than he would with the average child. It took time for him to get used to her. I used to feel as though I was stuck in the middle and that I had to constantly monitor them when they were together. I always felt I had to defend my daughter, I guess thats also because my husband is not my daughter's biological father. It is much better now. For the most part him and I both pick our battles. Not everything is worth the fight!!! We are human, both of us do lose it from time to time. The irony of it is, now my husband is more patient than me. He is usually playing the "good cop" and I am the "bad cop".

    I think that parents have a natural tendency to want to be in control. It is not logical for parents of difficult child's to expect to be able to control everything. It is hard to let that go. As children we were taught to obey and respect our elders, so we in turn expect our children to do the same. When raising a difficult child sometimes we must be more flexible and figure out a not so traditional way to discipline our kids.

    Keep on trying, he'll get it someday. Hang in there.:)
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I like the video suggestion. Do you all go to the therapy appts? That might be helpful too.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Bran, you said it very well. As parents we tend to assume a controlling position almost instinctively, but for some kids that can make them worse. Their lives are so difficult anyway, feeling as if everybody else is in control of their lives and not them, that any control they can LEGITIMATELY have can reduce their resentment and stress, making it easier for them to cope when they DO have to toe the line.

    I often use the analogy of treating the child as you would a flatmate, or housemate, someone you are friends with but not necessarily related to. With your kid (or maybe your sister) you might deal with a problem differently.
    "Sis! You did it again, you left your undies soaking in the bathroom sink! That is so gross! Now get in here and clean it up! I've got to get ready for work!"

    Compare that to "Janette, are these your undies in the sink? Could you possibly do that in the laundry in future? Maybe if we put a bucket in there for the purpose, it might help. That way you can just throw the lot into the washing machine when the undies have soaked long enough, it gets all the washing done in the same room. What do you think?"

    Sometimes we need a template to help us (or help our recalcitrant partners!). It's hard to change our behaviour when we don't have a clear idea of what to change it TO.

    Like your husband, mine also was a strong authority figure. We also have done our best to avoid undermining each other in front of the kids. So if we are out shopping, for example, and a kid says, "Can I have an ice cream?" and one or other of us snaps, "No, you can't!" the other will NOT say within earshot, "What harm can it do? I was about to say that an ice cream was a good idea, the kids have been good and earned a treat."

    The trouble is, the snapped, "No, you can't!" is an automatic response, especially when we're feeling tired and frazzled. To respond unthinking like that actually undermines THE OTHER parent, because ANY such strong, immediate response immediately prevents any discussion, any possible consideration that a different opinion might exist. But THAT is a separate issue.
    It's vital that even if you disagree, you do not publicly undermine your partner.

    It IS OK to take your partner aside and quietly discuss the issue (if it's important enough). Then any change of direction should come from the person who said no, otherwise it looks like they have been undermined.
    "On second thoughts, I think an ice cream is a good idea. Mummy thinks so too as well. But only a small one, you still need to eat your dinner this evening."

    I found that even while reading "The Explosive Child" I could see difficult child 3's behaviour improving - for me. To a small extent this helped for husband as well, but as soon as he tried to control him or snapped at him as had become almost second nature for both of us, husband became an even stronger target for difficult child 3's hostility.

    husband was willing, he was wanting to modify his techniques, but he just couldn't "get into" the book. I guess the easiest way of describing it is, his mind would "glaze over".

    So I did my best to explain it to him. I also wrote a sort of book review, like a summary of the technique. This wasn't just for husband, it was for the other kids as well, plus teachers. I couldn't count on them all taking the time or making the effort to read the book.

    Then I found that by taking the time to do this, I had developed my own grasp of the book even further. I'd had to really study the book in order to be able to accurately explain the techniques. So it helped me even more.

    A good thing - because the more automatic you can be in your responses, the better your progress will be.

    With your husband I suggest you sit him down and explain that you have been told of a new technique which has been developed by someone experienced and qualified in working with difficult, impulsive children and has also been tested in the field with generally very positive results. It is not a cure, merely a different way of approaching discipline and communication with your child(ren). It can be used on PCs as well as difficult children.

    The underlying disorder will still exist, but the more you can reduce the stress and other problems, the easier life becomes for all concerned.

    A great deal will depend on you and husband sitting down quietly and working on lists. First, observation of the child over time should help you draw up a list of triggers. What sets off the bad behaviour? what upsets him? What are the early warning signs? What, if anything, can we use to de-fuse a developing problem before it explodes?

    Next step - what behaviours do we want to work on as a priority?
    The aim is to put it into one of three baskets (note - I believe the newer editions do not refer to baskets. Well, the one I read did, so just put up with me!).

    Basket A - for all the behaviours you will do ANYTHING to change, even if it will provoke a meltdown.

    Basket B - behaviours you want to work on as a priority, but you will back off from a meltdown if you see signs developing.

    Basket C - the "too hard" basket, we're not even going to go there. yet. Maybe some time in the future, something can be moved from Basket C to Basket B.

    When parents first put together a list of what MUST be dealt with, it's often far too big a list. You keep it brief, you keep it simple. Easier for the child to remember, easier for you to remember. When you're training a puppy, you work on one skill at a time. You do not try to teach the dog to sit, play dead, roll over, fetch, shake hands and bring in the paper from scratch all at the same time. You will end up teaching nothing and confusing the dog if you try. Instead - one skill at a time, at least to a stage where you can keep practising what has been learned while you begin to learn another skill. And if the creature cannot respond as expected (does not seem able to understand, or learn that skill just yet) you drop it and try a different one for now.

    It's the same with kids. With people, really.

    So, by the time you have finished you should have -
    Basket A - the only things in here should be immediate safety and school attendance. In other words, if you see your kid about to dash out onto the road in front of a truck you WILL grab the child even if you know it will provoke a meltdown. Better a meltdown than a collision. But if your kid is swearing at you and storming off in a rage, this is NOT a Basket A problem.

    Basket B - your choice, but keep it to no more than about three or four. For example, you might decide that keeping a tidy bedroom comes in here (your choice - we STILL have that as Basket C). Or eating meals using cutlery instead of hands would be a Basket B issue. So at meal time you would remind, gently correct but back off if he begins to get worked up.

    Over time you find ways to make it work and avoid the meltdown. And surprisingly, the child generally picks up that your aim is to help him stay calm. But you will still try to modify his behaviour, within that frame.
    Kids come to appreciate this, as a rule. They don't like raging either. And you find your relationship changing, as you respond to one another differently. Adversarial communication reduces and conversation comes back in.

    I'll give you an example from our (home) school day.

    difficult child: I hate doing English! I just can't work out what this teacher wants me to do! [throws book across the room].

    My bad response: You get back here and pick that up NOW! You have to do your English, it is a compulsory subject. Stop trying to pick a fight just to get out of work!

    A better way now happens.
    difficult child: I hate doing English! I just can't work out what this teacher wants me to do! [throws book across the room].

    My good response: Go get it for me and let me see. Because if I can't work it out either, then maybe something is wrong. We can always ring the teacher and ask her to explain it to us.

    Another good response: I'm sorry you're finding it difficult today. Go get it and put it away for now, pick another subject to do for an hour, then after that we can both look at the English work and see if it makes any more sense.

    Can you see the difference? And by the way, the possible good responses also got him to pick up what he had thrown. But the problem wasn't the temper tantrum that had him throw the work - the problems was, He was having trouble concentrating and finding the work frustrating. His response to frustration was immature, but that immaturity cannot be fixed with discipline. All we can do is model and teach better ways of expressing that frustration.

    While talking about difficult child 3's schoolwork, let me point out a BIG advantage we've found to using "The Explosive Child" methods on difficult child 3. Because he's had much more control handed to him, he has learned to make better decisions. He gets practice. With his schoolwork he can choose what subject to work on when he wants to. But the work never goes away, until it's completed. Plus it's numbered. So if he only does his favourite Maths & Science until he's done up to no 24 in each, but still is stuck back at no 15 in English, then he has to work out for himself that he needs to put his favourites aside for a while and catch up on the other stuff. He's learned to do this for himself and to plan his weeks. So if we're having a busy distracting day (tradesman in the house for example, or we're planning to go shopping) then difficult child 3 chooses his better subjects. But if he knows it's going to be a quiet, undisturbed day, he will choose his more difficult subjects to work on because he knows he does better with fewer distractions.

    Another example from just a few minutes ago -

    difficult child 3: It's late, I'm tired, it's cold, I think I'll pass on a shower tonight.

    Me: That's your choice. But if you skip tonight, you MUST shower tomorrow or you will be really stinky. And tomorrow night will be even colder than tonight.

    difficult child 3: Hmm. Then I think I will shower tonight after all.

    He made the choice. But remember, this is after we have used "The Explosive Child" for a couple of years now, he feels safe discussing this sort of thing because he feels confident that I'm not going to shout at him for suggesting he skip his shower.

    Again - it's the same response you would make to a flatmate who said, "I think I'll skip a shower tonight, I'm tired, it's late and I'm cold."

    If you can get your husband to lurk here or read posts here, would that help? Would he do it? My husband does. It has helped us enormously. He still snaps at difficult child 3 sometimes, almost out of habit, and difficult child 3 resents it. But despite this we are ALL making progress.

  8. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    Something Marg didn't mention that I think matters too.

    Marg spends a great many of her waking hours with difficult child 3. So she gets LOTS of practice at 'handling' difficult child 3's behaviours, I don't. In addition I tend to only interact with difficult child 3 when he is effectively unmedicated. If I see him in the mornings, it is before his medications have kicked in (if he has even taken them yet) and when I see him in the evenings, the medications have worn off and both of us are tired from a long day. As a result even though I know, intellectually, what works, I am not as she is at good at putting it into practice. difficult child 3 often claims to hate me because he sees me as authortitarian and obstructive to his desires. He has a didactic way of continuing an argument even after it should have been finished and I often find myself in a situation where just blind stubborness (his AND mine) prevents any kind of satisfactory resolution of whatever the problem may be.

    For example (of this sort of situation):
    A constant argument we have involves the use of his Wii to access 'information' from the internet. This information is simply advertising usually in the longer infomercial format which is available as video streams (same as You Tube videos). These videos chew up a LOT of download bandwidth and we can only afford a smallish amount of download which must be reserved for schoolwork (he is home schooled and many of his lessons are on line) plus other things like email, Marg's access to this site and so on. Any video download must be carefully considered to see if we can 'afford' it this month.

    I just can't make difficult child 3 see that his infomercials must come a poor second (or sixth or seventh or whatever). He is always trying to make me change my mind about the no video downloads rule but always seems to pick a bad time when I cannot discuss it with him. Generally this is just as I get home after being away from home for the last 12 hours (or longer) and Marg is trying to talk to me about other matters. Even when we do discuss it we just chewing over the same bit of gristle with no resolution in sight. My only defence then degenartes into stubborness because he cannot see the logic of my reasons. I said 'cannot' not will not' because he truly can't see it. No wonder Marg sees herself as needing to play peace keeper between us all the time.

    I KNOW I am not handling him well but there is a very big difference between knowing it and actually achieving it.

    Marg's Man
  9. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hello Marg's man and welcome. Kudos to you for joining the group!!! I love to see dads on here. :)

    Dealing with our difficult children is not easy. You are not the only one who intellectually knows what to do but has trouble actually doing it. We all struggle with that at times. These kids aint easy!!!

    I do give you lots of credit for trying and being pro-active in helping your difficult child, heck my husband wouldn't even think about posting on here!!!

    Everyday with our children is a learning experience, we all are pretty much learning as we go. As time passes it does get a little easier to handle. So keep your head up and hang in there. I think Marg is a lucky lady. :)
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Thanks, Bran. We're a team.

    As you can see, it is important to know what he is experiencing too. husband & I do try to work together but it's never perfect. All we can do is the best we can, we shouldn't beat ourselves up for not always getting it perfect. We make mistakes. We talk about it and then pick up and go on from there.

    husband has been posting here (but only occasionally) for over a year now. But he's been lurking a lot longer, he reads posts here almost every day. It has really helped us stay "in sync" with meeting difficult child 3's needs. And even though we have thought we were communicating effectively, we found we were doing even better once he started lurking here. Sometimes I put something in a post which I thought I'd already said to him, but reading it has made it more obvious to him. And sometimes when we write it down, we put it more clearly, too.

    That's why I recommend encouraging our partners to lurk or post, where they can manage it. But not to be too hard on them if they can't, for whatever reason.

  11. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    My husband is a major difficult child, and I have noticed that sometimes he and difficult child just bounce off each other. Sometimes I just try to keep them away from each other for awhile, especially since I work and husband does not so he is with difficult child more which escalates the situation.