How do you handle your difficult child's neediness level?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jena, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. Jena

    Jena New Member

    Hi to everyone i hope everyone had a good day yesterday with minimal stress.

    I sat this morning, awoke as usual to difficult child in my face jumping in my rm. prompting me to get up early "again", than she wouldn't go downstairs alone "again", or turn t.v. on. It's hard to explain how she acts, very immature at almost ten years old, so so needy. Than it's off to breakfast, i have to make "exactly" what she wants, usually an argument insues because i look at her the "wrong" way or something. Than it's t.v. time if i even deviate from her for a minute she looks at me with this needy upset face that i'm not watching spongebob with her, gets mad i go on computer for a few minutes. I can't even make a phone call to be honest when she's home.

    I tried to yesterday i called a friend who was home alone for the day and she totally melted down into a full blown panic attack because my attention deviated for 5 minutes.

    So, anyhow im rambling how do you handle this? Her neediness level enrages me every morning. It starts my day off badly, i wake up happy than she comes up on me immediately and i get freaked out. I am suffocated by her and feel like i can't get a minute alone except when i'm sleeping.

    so, she's off to dad's today and quite honestly i can't wait. isn't that horrible?? i just need to shake her off me for a few hours so i can breath. I really try my hardest with her all the time, yet at times like yesterday it becomes way way too much. I actually lock myself in my rm just to get a breather. we have brought this up in therapy yet she 's given me no ideas as of yet how to handle it.

    I feel bad feeling this way, i've always been very nurturing with kids, it just comes to me I love kids, everything about them and find parenting to be such a hard and rewarding job, and one that i do love so much. Yet when I get this feeling I feel like the "bad" mom for even feeling this way. :(
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2008
  2. ML

    ML Guest

    OMG are you sure you're not raising the manster? I only have the one so I can only imagine how hard it must be for you.

    Small steps. Encourage some independence "this is how you make your own breakfast just the way you like it". I have not been able to teach manster that it's ok to wake up and go downstairs by yourself. At 10 he still wakes me up as soon as he does.

    You're so not alone.


  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Wee difficult child does this, too. Drives me BATTY.

    Evenings make me the craziest, so that's the time frame we focus on, and are doing it by trying to teach him delayed gratification, of sorts. We make it a point, when he's holding it together, to not immediately respond/react to his requests (he asks for milk, we say "I have to finish washing this dish first" anything to delay it), then praise him immensely if he holds it together during the delay.

    Some days it seems to work, other days, it doesn't.

    All days, it *****. Even difficult child 1 was WAY more independant at this age.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'll throw this out as a suggestion but I can't guarantee it will work LOL! I'd try telling her if she does X, Y, and Z (don't cover everything at once- just 2 or 3 biggies; maybe even just 1 or 2 biggies at first), that you will set aside some time with her later that day or the next day to spend with her doing A, B or C (something you know she wants the two of you to do- watch a movie, bake cookies, play, etc). And, make that time with her real quality time- maybe it should be something like taking a walk so you can have "girl talk" and she really feels that she's had her special time with you.

    This is just a thought...
  5. Jena

    Jena New Member

    ml our kids seem indentical it's scarey LOL. It's good to know i'm not alone in this. sheesh i feel so guilty wanting her to go to dad's. we even had to once again accommodate her this weekend, xmas tree lighting is tmrw night and she wanted to go. was hysterical crying about it. so i'm driving her out so he drives her back again tomorrow than it's me and x bringing her to the event which cancels out any potential plans i could of made once again.

    every weekend she's supposed to be with dad which is only 2x per mos. we have to change it lately. she wants to be with me 24/7.

    shari - mornings are worst here on days off. nights are easier if easy child is home or other kdis and boyfriend her attention is distracted so i actually get a break having 5 kids in the house believe it or not. yet a.m.'s are a horror show. i have tried to teach her the breakfast thing. i taught her how to make corn muffins yesterday, today was french toast. yet if i even look at her hte wrong way or dont' react exactly how she wants me to she flies. ugh.

    can't wait till later. and i'm not giong to feel bad either. i'm allowed a break. :)

  6. Jena

    Jena New Member

    klmno - good thought thank you!!! funny thing is i give her "me" time all day long. boyfriend says to me (because he's around and sees it so so much) she's so dependent on you, your her constant play date.

    I color with her, play board games, bake with her. it's just a little overwhelming at times when i can't get up on my own, open my eyes and clear my head for 5 minutes before she's in my bed asking for stuff.

    i will try your idea though. which means i have to cut back on things i do now. otherwise she won't see it as reward it'll just be the normal run of it sort of thing.

  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's one of the things I'm thinking as a possiblity, Jen- teach her (by actions) that there are times when she is to be independent and there are times when you will share quality time. It cannot always be when she wants it- and if she starts to melt down, offer her choices of acceptable things she can do independently, but don't give in to stopping everything to revolve the day around her. Of course, still let her know that if there's something extrememly important that she needs to tell you, that it's ok to still approach you at any time to tell you something.
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Ditto KLMNO. The important part of the work we're trying to do with difficult child is that we ignore whatever tyrades he pulls while we're delaying, we ignore. If there are no tyrades, of course, we praise him immensely for being so patient and waiting so nicely; if there are tyrades, we go on about our business, and since we're dealing with short time frames, we all survive them pretty much in tact.
  9. Jena

    Jena New Member

    Ok, mission to begin on difficult child LOL. Thank you for the advice. it's a difficult barrier for me to cross, yet highly doable if in the end it makes her more functional. It's giong to be hard though, very hard. I've tried and it have been in small ways.

    Like when I'm trying Occupational Therapist (OT) talk to someone and she interrupts because she hates it when i speak to anyone but her. Lately I've been saying I'm talking right now, and you are being "rude" you need to wait until i'm finished or if it's truly important "blood, fire, flood LOL" you can politely use your words and say "excuse me mom" instead of that.

    I often find it difficult trying to find the fine lines of ok when is she truly melting down, or when is she manipulating me and being incredidbly needy? Ya know?

    Like yesterday I was on the phone for 5 minutes she was in shower i was in bathroom on phone and she got soap in her eyes. She went into full panic attack, it was so bad she got a full body rash from it. Iv'e never seen this before when i'm like hello 2 ft. away. So ofcourse I said i'm sorry i have to go now and hung up. I had to get into shower with her to calm her because she was soo soo out of control.
  10. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Just remember, baby steps to start. "Give me 30 seconds, I'll give you 5 minutes" to start, then progress from there.

    My difficult child sometimes will now wait patiently for something, and while he's waiting will say "Am I doing a good job, mom?" "Am I waiting nicely, mom?" So he's getting it, anyway. Can't always implement it, but he's getting it.
  11. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    First I want to say, please NEVER feel guilty about needing time to yourself!!! As Star has said many times in the past, at least I think it was Star who said something like this, "If mom isn't happy, then no one's going to be happy." You have to take care of yourself, you have to put your needs first sometimes. in my humble opinion, if you don't take care of yourself, you'll just end up resenting difficult child.

    difficult child 1 was extremely needy and clingy when he was younger. We tried to do what Shari and klmno suggested. We also tried to make him more independent as ML mentioned. Unfortunately, difficult child 1 took tantrums that lasted hours on end if he didn't get his own way, or if he wanted immediate attention and no one gave it to him. Unfortunately, I didn't have the wisdom of more experienced parents at the time. husband couldn't stand listening to difficult child 1 scream, throw things, etc. So, there were too many times either I or husband caved in. This just reinforced the point to difficult child 1 that if he didn't get what he wanted, all he had to do was to drive everyone crazy, and eventually he would get his way. husband and I had to learn to the hard way. It caused lots of problems between us. And, yes, I resented difficult child 1 for a long, long time.

    difficult child 2 was needy for other reasons. Being globally developmentally delayed, meant that he couldn't do what was reasonably expected of others his age. He still can't. He is now over 16 1/2 yrs. old. This drives me to the very edge of sanity day in and day out!!! He still needs help with self-care skills. He lacks all common sense. I constantly wish I didn't have to look at him at all for a 24 hr period. I feel sufficated by him. He drives me crazy daily. I'm now making husband help more with difficult child 2. I don't want to end up resenting difficult child 2 forever. I had to learn to ask husband for help. It still gets me really angry that husband doesn't usually offer to help me unless I ask him to. Anyway, the point is all of us need and deserve breaks from our difficult children.

    And, I agree with you - It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between manipulation and true needs. For me, things have gotten easier as difficult child 1 got older. We now have the opposite problem - trying to pry him away from his computer.

    I hope that you're able to follow klmno's and Shari's advice. Beware, things might get worse before they'll get better. In the long run, it'll be worth the bit of extra HE77 you have to go through if your difficult child learns to do more without you having to be around.

    Thinking of you. WFEN
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I do think some of what you are describing is the difficult child domino effect of typical childhood behavior. I have to remind myself that raising a difficult child is like potty training. I can't put a set time limit on it and I can't say "ok, difficult child, you have three chances and if you don't get it by then, you're out of here". I might have to go over it with him and reinforce it 5,ooo times for 6 mos. But, it does appear that most of them do finally get the point. It's just that if we don't keep going over it and reinforcing it with our actions, it will take even longer and be even harder for them and harder on us.
  13. Jena

    Jena New Member

    really good points made by all. Thank you!!!

    I've started this process a few mos. ago a little here and there. Like for instance on Friday's we have "set" routine, and now i've been switching it up, she is totally disliking it yet i feel in time she will adhere. Just trying to teach her it's ok if something changes sort of thing.

    Yet the neediness has been a battle since birth her to be honest. So, today what I did was I had to finish up some painting in the house for xmas. I started and never finished. I said I'm going to go check my emails in my rm for a ten min. if you don't interrupt me and continue drawing when i come out we will do something together.

    Well, she banged on door twice. So, we began again and reset our mental timer on it. Took 2x trying yet she did get it and stayed away a whole ten minutes! now, may seem silly yet that's kinda how it is here with her. Than we painted two walls together and talked. She loved it. Than I did it again with something else, me showering. yes silly i know, but i don't get to shower peacefully lol. So, I said when I come out we'll pack your bag together for dad's, and pick out our cd's for the ride and pack a snack.

    I think I can get the hang of it. Wow it really does take alot of conscious thought though.

    Funny thing is i never given into the tantrums, yet I'm not handling her in a way in which to avoid them altogether. Which is what i need to do, like you guys said "give options", or make a plan in my head. difficult child mom time, than me time.

    When she tantrums she gets time out to go cool off. It's hard getting her in there to sit quietly yet after two or three tries she does stay put. than she has to come out, tell me what it is that she did that was disrespectful, etc. and apologize for her behavior we hug and than it's done.

    I learn more here than through her therapist lol. gotta laugh.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    You're on the right track- stick with it, consistently and let's see if it at least helps.

    Yep- I have said that many times!! Experience far outweighs anything written in a textbook, in my humble opinion!
  15. Jena

    Jena New Member

    like anything else i guess, the more you do it the more it becomes second nature. and yes I showered in peace!!! yea me. it's the little things that make me smile. :)