How do you guys develop thick skins??


New Member
My difficult child is so hurtful. Everyday he says he hates me, tells me "shut-up B*&^h, calls me a f'g b, calls me idiot a-hole, and tells me to "get my a&^ over here", etc. I've been told that this is just his condition, and that he doesn't mean it so not to let it bother me. But I'm teary eyed right now because this morning (5 hrs) ago was so bad. I just can't seem to not let these things bother me. It sucks the energy out of me, and causes me to go back down into the bottomless pit of depression. I'm trying so hard not to hit rock bottom with depression again. I've been there after difficult child was born, and it's aweful. How do you guys do it? How can you be happy? How do you NOT let it effect the way you treat them back? difficult child and I are just in this nasty, hurtful dance and I can't seem to stop it? Even when I tell myself that when I pick him up from the babysitter it's going to be differnt. But it never is. I'm happy to see him, and within a few seconds he's destroyed my happiness and the torrment starts. (YES, he's still with the babysitter and not in school and this is the beginning of week #9. So as you can see I'm still battling the SD.) I jsut don't know what to do anymore. I'm very upset with the hospital for dumping him back onto me without any services or school lined up. And I have over $20,000 in hospital bills....for what? What did they do to help us? He's back to the way it was. So I'm throwing away alot of money for nothing, and difficult child is the same.

Oh, still at the job. Boss didn't have the 2nd meeting with me, and he's never brought anything up. I didn't write becuase I didn't want to jinx it. All that emotional stress and anguish from him for nothing. Geez, I never get a break.


Well-Known Member
I havent developed such a thick skin. Im sorry. I cant take such talk, especially from such a young child and just say its a disorder. I did get mad and it did effect me and I did punish him for such talk. Did it help? I dont know. He still talks that way but he knows he isnt getting squat from me when he does. I dont listen to it and I remove myself.

I wish I had done more over the years to squash it.

Im probably not helping a bit. I do hear you and I really feel for you because it is so hurtful and it really makes you not like the child.


New Member
I never did develop rhino skin at all, not against the kids insults and not against any outsiders who seem to think they could do it all better.
Mostly over the years what I DID develop were rearranged priorities, better understanding, compassion and patience. My husband has several mental/emotional disabilities, some quite profound, and then I got ill myself and became bedridden and unable to do even the most simple daily hygeine etc for myself. Prior to that I worked as a nurse for Alzheimers and dementia patients in a long term care facility and later as a Hospice nurse....and those personal experiences changed me. BUT it6 did not come easy or quick.
My husband has been ill since 1990, my dtr has been ill since she was born,(1988) and I first got so ill around 1999......
The various types of disabilites and my experiences working in a dementia unit 20 hours a day 6-7 days a week affected me. SO did my best friends and mothers brain cancer. And my late first dhs brittle diabetes and related mood issues etc (and then his stroke, heart attack, loss of hearing and vision all before age 30)

I was at one time EXTREMELY "take charge" and "do it MY way" and "do it NOW" and was immaculate in my home, our lives, our schedule etc. Over the years I grew into what our life is now. Necessity is the mother of invention. For 2 years I could not walk, use my hands, feed myself, or anything, and with my very ill husband and kids, from my bed I could not MAKE them do ANYTHING.
Currently I am simply so happy to see we all lived thru that time.........(altho during that time, my mom died, my best friend died, 3 children very close to us died, all my uncles and aunts died,) I learned we would NOT die if the kids brushed their teeth their own way, I learned even if they do not brush their teeth they would not die. (and neither would I) I learned even if they play videogames, they can still learn what they need to learn to be "intelligent" and even if they have red and purple striped hair the grocery store chain in town will still hire them. I also have recently learned that my easy child and HER activities keep me every bit as busy as any difficult child and their needs, and I can find them every bit as unpleasant to me personally as all the difficult child stuff.


New Member
Um.I suppsoe I also had some of a quick wit. On occasion my kids would tell me they hated me, and I would burst into tears, my heart broken and cry and grab them and pull them close and tell them how sorry I was they hated me, and that sometimes I was not sure if I liked them or not either, but no matter what I did love them anyway, cuz they were mine, and I had them cuz I wanted to........and maybe someday they might decide to like me and I hoped it would be soon.
If they got mad at me cuz I would not let them go somewhere, I might sometimes tell them well gosh darn, I get lonesome, so thats why you cannot go=----------I miss you today and I want you here with me, not over there today. I gave birth to you so that I would sometimes have someone to play with, too.


Well-Known Member
There is a really good book about Boundaries. I can't remember the author, but it helps.

The way that I have dealt with difficult child in the past is to realize that I have no control over what he says or does, only over my reaction to those things. When he was stable, there were consequences. When he was not, well...I worked to get him stable. Understanding that you can only control yourself really helps when dealing with difficult children or anyone else. What they say is what they say. Doesn't make it true. It doesn't mean that they mean it. It's sometimes the only way they can deal with the frustration or overstimulation that they are feeling. Learn to look for triggers and avoid them. Learn to re-direct when you see behavior escalating. Learn to walk away. When he yells, get you #### over here, walk the other way.


New Member
You've gotten some great advice. I will try harder myself to focus on myself and how I react. I know how hard it is. I am not a fan of supernanny, but I admit I do occassionally watch it. They recently had an episode with a child with ADHD on. One thing supernanny did , that I actually thought was a really good idea,she had a picture of the ADHD boy on a posterboard, then she told the mom to write everything around the picture about what she loved about her son. The nanny told her when she was frustrated with him to visit the picture. I haven't done it myself, but I do find if I look through pics of good times and of difficult child smiling , it does seem to help.
As far as the hospital leaving you with no services. I would call the administrator . This happened to us. I know the therapist tried,but services are limited in our area. I was lucky enough to get in touch with one of the places she had been trying to reach and get some. You need to be a squeaky wheel, really push for the services. Its a real pain,but it is necessary. So I would definitely call then and make waves. For all of the money you spent , you and your difficult child deserve better. Good Luck.


Well-Known Member
So sorry, Hangingon!!! {{cyberhugs}}
I know exactly how you feel.
You've gotten some great advice here. This is a great group! I love this note because I still need to work on this area and I want to see what people suggest.

I give myself a time limit. If I've got an appointment somewhere, and it's with-a friend or colleague who knows what's going on, I can vent for 30 sec. and then compartmentalize, and save my tears for later. I was trained at a very early age that you don't cry in public, and I stick to that. (Of course, then I give myself a headache or stomacheache, but one can see that.)
If I don't have an appointment. and am home alone, I can throw myself on the bed and cry for 1/2 hr and take a quick nap, but a part of me always says, "The house is empty. You're home alone. Take advantage of it!" and I do something productive, even if it's a load of wash. But just the idea that he's out of the house, just the feeling of "ahhh," with-my back against the door, hearing that lock click, is enough to set me free. I've learned to transition better than he does!
Thick skin... not really.

I do find that I am worse with-PMS. Everything affects me more. So I try to schedule a babysitter and stay away from difficult child more during that time. Sounds weird, but hey, whatever works.
I also am used to difficult children, especially difficult child 2, calling me every four letter word he can think of, screaming them over and over again... His favorite is f*ckin' B*tch!!! According to my difficult children, nothing is ever their fault. They always blame someone else. That someone else is usually me.

I've had to learn the hard way. I used to yell at them, dish out consequence after consequence with no positive results. In fact, the way I handled things only made matters worse.

I've learned through talking to others, as well as to difficult children therapist, that staying calm, unemotional, and unfazed is the only way to obtain any positive results at home.

In my house, my difficult children have a written list of simple rules they need to follow. Basically, these are just common curtesy type of things - Sort of like the golden rule. If they break these rules, they know in advance what the consequences will be.

I ignore them totally while they are in the midst of a tantrum or rage unless I feel they're getting too violent. I NEVER try to talk or reason with them when they are being totally irrational.

When they are finished raging/tantruming, I give them the consequences for their negative behavior. They already know what the consequences will be. This makes giving them the consequences easier.

In order to remain calm as I'm listening to yet another round of YOU F*CKIN' B*TCH, I have to get in my morning workouts. I find that lots of exercise helps me the most.

Unfortunately, lots of times I feel resentment towards my difficult children. I am always being verbally abused by them. It definitely makes it harder for me to want to spend any quality time with them.

I think I daydream alot about life without them living in my house anymore... I know they need to live somewhere else when they're adults. For me, this is the only option. I WANT MY LIFE BACK!!!

I know that I just can't throw them out after high school and this scares me!!! This is why I'm so excited that difficult child 2 can start an after school daily living skills program in September. I hope my daydream about difficult children not living with me as adults is not just a daydream!!! I think I would have lots less patience if I thought they were going to be sucking the life out of me forever...

This board also helps me. Even if I don't respond all the time, just reading others posts lets me know I'm not alone... If others can handle it, then so can I. We don't have any choice!!!

I make sure that I get "ME" time whenever I can. Sometimes, I'll just sip a cup of tea and cuddle with my 80lb sanity saver - my dog!!!

If I'm really having a bad day with difficult children, I get an extra workout in. This is basically the only way sometimes that I can be around them without exploding.

And, when things are really BAD, I try to take out a photo album and remember them as babies, on vacations, etc... Sometimes I have to do this alot!!!

I think I've rambled on enough... This is an excellent post. I'm going to be following it... WFEN

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Ahhh, our little wonders terms of endearment. Brings a tear to a proud mother's eye. Sigh.....

I developed my rhino skin early on in the game. My response has generally been no response or to thank my difficult children for sharing their feelings.

As the tweedles get older, I ask them to "redo that" with a very stern look in my eye. Many times, they back down, apologize & we move on.

On the whole, the only thing you can take personally when parenting a difficult child is the weather. :rolleyes:


Well-Known Member
OK. I will tell you what I do. Some may not agree, but it truly helps me.

I get to a place in the house where difficult child can not see me, if I am talking I continue to with a sweet voice. Meanwhile, I throw her the finger. I have done it in the car - with my hand hung down between the door and the seat, under the kitchen table, etc. Most times it is in another room of the house. I have never gotten caught by her - I think that would be the end of it. Sometimes it is with both hands.

I hope it helps someone, because it was difficult to admit to. But, it really, really helps me.


timer lady

Queen of Hearts

I've never flipped the bird behind the tweedles backs; however I have muttered some not so very kind terms of endearment of my own (out of tweedles dee & dum's hearing). Can't repeat it here - though attachment therapist's both love my somewhat perverted sense of humor!

You've got to have a group/team who can understand the stress of a difficult child to appreciate the dark humor we tend to use. :smile:



New Member
LMAO...I think I've thrown the bird (behind something) maybe once. And that made me remember, that once or twice when he was calling me something I surprised MYSELF by having a sense of humor and I said back to him in a snotty kids voice, "I know you are, but what am I". He stopped in his tracks he was so shocked, and he started laughing. That defused the whole meltdown right then and there. I wish I always had that sense of humor, becuase 99.99% of the time it pisses me off to where I react or it hurts me to the core and I walk away with tears.


Well-Known Member
I like to think of my rhino skin as callouses caused by Duckie's behavior. :warrior: It still hurts when Duckie is hateful, but in a less intense way. I realized quickly when I first started coming here that I was going to have to get in front of this behavior before it became ingrained in how Duckie reacts to me (Duckie was only 3.5 years old at this point). I actually sat Duckie down at 4 years old and told her it had to stop, that it was hurting how we felt about each other. I told her I didn't want to not like her anymore :frown: and it helped at least some. I didn't want her to grow up to hate me. :(I've virtually stopped yelling/nagging at this point and I can now tell her that I'm reaching my boiling point and she'll back down most times. :bravo: We (as a family) also implemented a team approach. We were Team XXXXX (our last name) and Duckie began to learn when she was on our team or Team Duckie. Team XXXXXXX was a much more happy & fun team to be on than Team Duckie. My husband also stepped up and told her she was not to speak to his wife that way (the wording is important because children often can't recognize that we have roles outside of motherhood/martyrdom :rolleyes:). We put a ban on the words "always" & "never" as in "You always!" or "You never!" :nonono:. That took away a lot of her steam. I instituted "Do to get", if she wanted something above the basic necessities she would earn it. :smile:
Fast forward to today, she had a play date after school. The kids made a mess in her room and I asked them to clean up. She told her friend it was their job to clean it up because they had the fun making the mess together. No fuss at all. Now she's not a easy child, mind you, but she's doing a lot better. :salute:


member since 1999
Pretty much, it took a lot of practice for me. After hearing whatever his choice words of the day were for me umpteen gazillion times, I just turned off my heart. You have to. My heart is pretty hardened with most of his antics these days - it's sad because I probably don't have the good emotional reactions either but we have to adapt to survive.

If my husband had spoken to me *once* the way thank you has a million times, he would've been kicked to the curb in a heartbeat. We can't do that with- our kids, so we have to just become very deaf. For us, what thank you said was always a basket C item because his violence was basket A. His mouth was the least of my problems, you know?

It's hurtful but also I've rationalized it this way: thank you doesn't have a clue of what he's really feeling or thinking most of the time. He knew in the bad old days that calling me (insert choice) would push my buttons - not that he really thought I was a (insert choice). The frequency of his foul name-calling decreased dramatically when I stopped reacting.


New Member
I have a feeling, having not much experience with this, but once it starts and the child gets the reaction, and it continues, you're probably pretty much up sh*t's creek without a paddle, unless you're going to get military style and start setting some hard consequences in place for the verbal abuse (which, knowingly or not, is what it is).

Someone else mentioned (I think Janet) she consequenced for it. In full truth, I would not tolerate it. I wouldn't sit back and ignore it, but my children would be severely consequenced for it. It doesn't matter to me (just talking about me now) if what is coming out of a difficult child's mouth is because they "can't help it". I personally do not believe if your child calls you an f'ing b, they don't know what they're saying.

I would start making difficult child write apology notes every time he says something negative. Write 100 times, "I will not call my mom _____". Time in the room. Reading a book at the table. Washing dishes. "Oh, you think I'm an f'ing b? Well here, take this vacuum and get to work, I'll show you what an f'ing b I can be".

Your difficult child is entirely too young for you to sit back and ignore this. I would absolutely, positively not.

Just my .02 - worth what you paid for it (and I really am sorry you're going through it).


Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
This is a tough one as I am still working on it. Some days I've got on the rhino skin and get let it roll off my back. I attribute it to his illness. Other days it takes all I have to remain calm.

Exercise helps me a lot. I love Busywend's idea-I've used imaginary kicks to the :censored2: but not the finger-may have to try that.

Sometimes I wonder about the long term effects of the constant verbal abuse.


Well-Known Member
Oh Janna, I was once on that line of thinking myself. All it managed to do was escalate things to a dangerous level. I did/do speak to my difficult child about the way she talks to me, but not during the event and NOT with an emotional tone. Because, at least with my difficult child you are right about not showing them your reaction as it feeds the fire. I wait until I have the authority back in my voice and for her to be calmed down before telling her she is not allowed to speak to me that way.

I know after years of abuse from my difficult child what works now. It takes time and it will be different for everyone. I figure if one other mom in the world has to throw the finger to make it less painful, so be it. It will not help everyone the way it helped me.


New Member
I agree with Busywend. My son wasn't a problem in this area until he was in his midteens, so I don't know what I would have done if it had been a problem when he was younger. However, at 15 & 16, I could dole out consequences until I was blue in the face, and he would continue to escalate (his name-calling was reserved for times he was out of control anyway, so yes, I think they know what they're doing, but I don't think they can stop themselves at the time, any more than they can stop themselves from any other behavior they exhibit while raging). He also wouldn't comply with whatever consequences I came up with, and I think if you give out a consequence you can't enforce, it convinces them they really ARE in charge. These days my son has pretty much quit calling me names. (P.S. I liked to imagine knocking mine through a wall when he was doing his thing).


New Member
I didn't see the line about giving her the finger, Wendy LOL! I'm sorry, I hadn't read through all the responses the first time, but ha, I like that!

No, I have zero experience here with this. My kids haven't ever talked to me that way. I just know I wouldn't tolerate it the same as any other behavior, and it would be consequenced, but doesn't mean I know what I'm talking about LOL!