I need to be here

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by OldMom61, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. OldMom61

    OldMom61 New Member

    Hi friends,

    It's been a while. I've come back hoping to find some possible solutions for dealing with an out of control almost 17 year old difficult child who is now a junior in High School. Time is running out. We've had a rough 6 months. Summer was difficult trying to switch around medications and behaviorally just going downhill. I need support for setting stronger limits and surviving the meltdowns and tantrums that come with each one. Oh and this summer he did an online course to make up failing English and guess what? He failed again.

    My new nickname for difficult child is MC. I had to establish a new account because I no longer have the email associated with my old one.

    Where to begin. There are too many concerns to list. Currently the biggest obstacle is anything related to screens and getting through school. Last year MC started exhibiting avoidance behaviors and leaving school. The almost daily "your son or daughter has missed the following periods...". Too early in the school year yet but expecting the "your son or daughter has a D or F in one or more classes" next. At this point living independently seems like an impossibility. The anxiety is so bad that not only won't he leave the house but if someone enters it he hides. He won't go out to dinner with family or leave his comfort zone for which seems to be diminishing daily. When he was younger it was so much easier to just haul him into the car and enforce his participation in life. Now he towers over me and outweighs me by 100 pounds.

    Current diagnosis: ADHD, Tourette's Syndrome, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Twice evaluations have ruled out Autism but I don't believe it. I blame the new criteria associated with the new DSM classification.

    I think for a while I'll just read to try and learn what seems to be working for everyone.

    Thanks for still being here.
  2. Rannveig

    Rannveig Member

    Hi, OldMom. I, too, am an old member who just came back. My own high-school-age difficult child goes to class but often doesn't do his homework, in part because of addiction (I use that word loosely; we don't have a diagnosis) to screens.

    Just wondering, what kind of school is MC in? Would an IEP that provided for at-home tuition be an option while you try to figure out how to treat his anxiety? And why did he fail the online course, do you think?

    My son wanted to do an online course this summer, and I made him responsible for signing up for it. I figured if he had the drive and follow-through to sign up for it, there was a chance he'd do the work and pass it. Well, he never signed up for it. So: bad that he missed the chance to get the credit, but good I didn't waste my money. I'm not sure if this is really what is meant by "detachment parenting," though!

    It's so hard to find the balance between helping the difficult child and letting the difficult child learn responsibility; to see the difficult child suffer and also to suffer from the difficult child's behaviors. I look forward to seeing the feedback you get from the experts here. I, too, need to be here. You have my sympathy and best wishes!
  3. OldMom61

    OldMom61 New Member

    Thank you Rannveig. MC is in a typical high school and we've had fairly good support, basically making some accommodations without the actual IEP which MC fights against. We have a meeting with the social worker and counselor this week to discuss strategies. For MC, in terms of what he's anxious about, it can be just about anything and is often about everything.

    It sounds like you're doing the right thing by letting Odin take responsibility for signing up for class. I definitely need to learn more about detachment parenting! MC is extremely spoiled and I've enabled much of it I'm afraid. Which is one of the main reason I need to be here.
  4. Rannveig

    Rannveig Member

    Oh, but how do we really tell the difference between enabling/spoiling and just advocating for our children who have deficits or injuries through no fault of their own? Knowing the difference is probably even harder when we're tied up in knots from everyone's (friends, relatives, school officials) judging us.

    Good luck with your meeting this week! Why does MC fight against the IEP? I'm curious because I'm going to be seeking one for Odin, and it hadn't occurred to me he might be other than grateful (he's on board so far, at least). Goodness, I have a lot to learn....

    E-hugs going out to you--
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is my own personal opinion on advocating because I had to do a lot of it. One child is on the autism spectrum, the other has learning disabilities. Both did well and are out of high school now, but it was a lot of work for us, the parents, to get them the help they needed. Schools are not your friend. You have to have help going in with you, such as a well known, successful free advocate.

    To me, when a child is uder 17 or is truly disabled, such as my autistic son used to be (I say used to because he's made so much progress), then we the parents should help all we can because the minor kids don't know how and have no power anyway.

    Now, my definition of enabling is when a legal age child (18 or up) refuses to help himself and since he can legally thumb his nose at any help we give him/her (and they often do) we still hand them money, free cars that they didn't earn and expect us to keep up, let them verbally abuse us, enable them while knowing they are over drinking or using illgegal drugs, or stealing from us and not pressing charges, etc.

    In some cases, I think 18 is young. The law, however, doesn't agree so we have no choice but to let our late developers learn to grow up or they will end up in trouble. I do feel, and this is my own personal boundary, that by age 21 they should be on their own if they decided not to go to college, are disrupting the house, are disrespectful, are refusing to work, are sleeping all day, are using drugs, are depending on us to pay for all their toys, etc.

    To me, the older our grown children get the harder it is to help them move on and I also believe we need to send them a strong and loving message, no matter how angry they get at us, that we KNOW they are capable and would be insulting them not to allow them to walk on their own. When we pity them ad still do their dirty laundry and put up them smoking pot in the house, we are showing them that we have no faith in their ability to be responsible and that we will treat them like a child because we don't think they can make it. That is how I see it.

    If they are very disruptive, many of us have had, after all else failed, to ask them to leave a nd it's scary to do that, but often it does help the adult child turn around. Sometimes it doesn't, but living at home doesn't either as they do the same bad things from home that they do on the streets. They just use our house to sleep in and hang out sometimes with dangerous people who could hurt us and our other kids. We have to take everything into consideration. Difficult Child is not the only one who matters. We all matter.

    So anyhow that is MY definition. Others may have different definitions.

    Hugs and hoping for better days for you and your sad heart.
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  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Any idea WHY he is missing school?

    My complex conundrum kid ended up quitting school. We warned him it would make life difficult to not finish, but he said that nothing could be worse than what he was going through at school. We knew enough of what was going on (like, maybe 10% of it) that we allowed him to choose. He was 17 at the time.

    Teenaged kids are cruel beyond belief. What I found harder to deal with was that many of the teachers were that way as well. (Not ALL teachers... we had some stellar ones too.) Once a teacher starts picking on a teenager? The teenager has two choices... quit, or join the low-life drug-using crowd, where at least you have a bit of a safe haven. Some choice!

    I have a second kid. NOT a complex conundrum kid. Some minor differences, some bad experiences. THAT kid is no longer "in school" either... but IS continuing with home-based on-line instruction. Will finish, but might take a couple extra years.

    Bottom line... sometimes, no matter how hard you fight, school isn't going to give you what your kid needs. What do you have for options and alternatives? I could never do the kind of home schooling where I am the teacher - its too hard on the relationship, when kids already hate school. With on-line schooling, I'm still the parent, and the course has a teacher. Where we are, if we are doing 100% home-based, and the kid is a minor for educational purposes (doesn't stop right at age 18), then the ministry of education pays the on-line school for the classes we take. It's probably the biggest single break we've gotten from the school system - definitely for second kid.
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    OM61, welcome back! I'm sorry you have had to come back, but glad you have once again found us ---a place of support, encouragement and ideas.

    My son's steep dive off the cliff occurred when he was 19. He was of legal age so it's a bit different from your situation. He had no diagnosis but he is has always had some level of anxiety and mild depression, shyness and reserve, didn't like new situations. I think one reason he started using substances is to make himself fit in better with the world --- his trigger---but then it moved to addiction (well established in both sides of our family).

    I felt like the system really protected him in some ways, since he was an adult, and I couldn't intervene much via the system or via him as he didn't want any "help" and didn't want to change.

    Looking back at my own situation, I wish I had pushed harder when he was in h.s. for intervention with him, not to say it would have changed anything, but it might have affected how far down he went...who knows? I didn't know what I didn't know anyway.

    In your situation, it sounds like you have a firm grasp on your son's diagnosis. My best idea for you would be to get every possible service you can now, while he is a minor. If you have already done that, perhaps it's time to turn the focus on you.

    You aren't superwoman and you can't fix everything for everybody. As much as we want to, we can't. We can only do our best, and then leave the outcome to our Higher Power, however we define that.

    Learning to do that...well now..that is hard, as you well know. It is a lifelong journey of changing ourselves, and accepting what is, not what we would like it to be. My pie-in-the-sky dreams for both of my sons were just that, pie up in the sky. It was never going to happen anyway, because my dreams weren't reality. All of that has been a huge awakening for me, and a process of acceptance, and working on myself, and learning to let go of all people, places and things. I still mess up a lot, but I have made progress.

    I've found that daily work is what supports the change and creates a new foundation from which to operate in all of life. My work includes reading books like CoDependent No More, Boundaries and any and all Al-Anon literature, writing in a journal, prayer/meditation/quiet, exercise, writing a gratitude list, talking with trusted friends, attending Al-Anon meetings, and learning how to wait and not react. When I'm all twisted up, I try to take extra good care of me, lay low for a few hours or a day, and most importantly...refrain from taking any action. I am working to feel my feelings honestly but not act on them. Sometimes I can do it, and sometimes I can't, and that's okay...it's a journey and a process.

    Warm hugs from me to you today. Please keep posting and sharing. We are here to support you, whatever you decide to do...or not. Have a good Labor Day today!
  8. OldMom61

    OldMom61 New Member

    Rann, one of MC's triggers is standing out as different in any way which is ironic considering how different he really is. It sounds like you're on the right track and getting an IEP can only help.
  9. OldMom61

    OldMom61 New Member

    Thank you ladies! It's good to be back here. Every situation is so different and yet the same. MC has limitations, yes, but I also believe he's spoiled and stubborn and he needs to want to help himself. I don't expect 18 to mean the same for us as it does for people with typical kids but at some point I hope he engages a little bit and starts to consider what he wants out of life. Having grown up in an alcoholic family and living with a recovering alcoholic (sober many years now) I come by my enabling tendencies honestly. To me it means doing for others what they could, more importantly *should* be doing for themselves. husband and I are working to establish firmer boundaries. I would have to say the toughest part of life with MC at this point in time is the ODD. The more we reinforce boundaries the worse the behavior is getting. Hopefully that will settle down some but I'm not holding my breath.

    It's so difficult finding the right balance with special needs kids. Supporting them with the things they need extra help with while at the same time ensuring they are clear on expectations and the consequences that follow. Sometimes I think he leaves school because of anxiety but sometimes I think it's because he just isn't feeling it.

    ODAAT :)
  10. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome back, OM!