Is this all really worth the headache? vent

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by AllStressedOut, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    Is trying to "train" a difficult child really worth all the headaches? You try to teach them social cues, you constantly get back talk. You take them out into public, you're rushing them out back home to the safe haven behind closed doors. At least everyone under this roof is use to GFGness, no explanations needed.

    You try to teach them a chore, so some day they might be able to function living on their own. It takes them 10 times of doing it wrong, 3 days of constant bickering, before you sit there watching their every move trying to figure out the problem. Only to find out that they're just not putting any effort into it and this is why it takes so long to finish. Is it rediculous to insist it be done right or rediculous to NOT insist it be done right? I mean, what are we teaching them if we settle for a crappy job?

    You try to explain to them the value of doing something right and doing it right the first time. All you end up with is the kid grounded or a major meltdown, or both, because not a single one of the 10 ways you attempted to persuade him to do it right, worked.

    Some days it just seems easier to do everything for them. To never go out into public so you never deal with the frustration of a bad encounter. Never ask them to lift a finger because all it does is cause you more work. Why explain it, it takes forever for them to "get it" if they ever do.

    Then there is a year or two down the road, when you ask them to lift a finger to do something and not only do they do it without whining, but they do it right the first time. Some days, it's hard to think that far in advance. Some days are just so damn exhausting all you can do is sulk over the here and now. The days when they do "get it" are so few and far between it makes days like today seem like so much work for such little advancement.

    Today is one of my sulking days. I'm so tired of watching their every move, between chores at home or behavior in public or at home, I am always watching. Trying to make sure they're doing things well, whether its cleaning the dishes or dealing with younger kids at a birthday party. It's exhausting. I have a headache, my stomach is upset (typical reaction of mine to stress), I'm just worn down.

    Tomorrow will hopefully be better. Today I just needed to vent.
  2. tired Cheryl

    tired Cheryl New Member

    I am sorry that I do not have any words of wisdom as to your quesion as I am merely just a rookie navigating this whacky difficult child world that we live in but I will offer you support.

    I can only imagine how worn out you must be. People who do not understand say, "it will get easier once difficult child gets older" Well, my difficult child has been extremely difficult since birth and it "ain't getting any easier!" I can only imagine the struggles you parents with older difficult children go through. It doesn't get easier just different.

    I hope that you can take some comfort in knowing that I feel for you and I am sending you some strength through the computer!

  3. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Vent away. been there done that. Remember to take some time for yourself. I know very well how hard that is. Taking a mommy day is a good thing once in awhile. Just go ahead and vent away here though.

  4. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I so understand what you are saying. Your difficult child is still growing and learning and you believe you can change their behavior and help them get it.
    I'm not sure that all the effort makes a big difference for a longggggggggggg time. I do know from years of doing what you are doing that difficult child stores nuggets in his brain like a squirrel hoardes nuts. I see and hear bits of what I taught come out. His behavior hasn't changed in terms of learning chores. I don't think it means anything to him. He gets no satisfaction of a job well done or a clean room or money saved. Not that he is being difficult. He just doesn't get it. It would be similar to us getting paid in glass beads. They have no value to us. My standards(society's too) doesn't have the same relevance to my difficult child. The harder I pushed him to be in that box the more oppositional he was. Now I only expect the basics of decent talk to me, basic hygiene and minimal contribution to the house. He is easier to live with but he is no day at the park.

    You have to have hope and a very long view for results. I did not see much of any success with my teaching until he was 18 and older. Too late for me to get any immediate satisfaction but if I step back and look at the big picture, I see proof of success.
    Remember the goal is to raise and law abiding, tax paying, moral, indepent adult with as full a life as they can manage. It's the parents job. Giving us satisfaction or pleasure is gravy not the goal.

    Hang in there and keep doing what you believe is right for your children. Their success or failure is always questionable but you have to know you did the best you could.

    At least that's been my thoughts and my experience when I asked why I was doing what I was doing and why I was putting out so much effort with so little return.
  5. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I just wish I knew if all this arguing and bickering and doing things over actually taught them something. If I knew one way or the other, I could either keep it up or stop it so our life isn't filled with this constant struggle.

    Unfortunately, there is no way to know this. So for now I just need to vent on days like yesterday.

    I made myself sick yesterday and was sick all night. Missed out on a nice visit with a friend.

    I've barely been out of bed this morning, so chores haven't resumed. Hopefully today won't be as bad.

    If anyone ever finds a crystal ball that actually works, let me know.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member


    I have to believe it actually works for SOME of the kids, not all. I know Cory knows right from wrong and he knows what we taught him and he can perform the things chores and such. Cory is my best cook and house cleaner as far as all that goes.

    If you are simply talking chores...all those stuck with my kids.

    If you are talking morals and family values, well...except for the fact that Cory has a problem with obeying the law, my kids really are good kids. I whine and complain about them I know but they would all die for me.

    Heck, Jamie is trying to buy a house right now with a basement so he can turn it into an apartment for me because he wants to take care of

    It was a long hard haul. Jamie had a mouth on him as a teen but he learned. Now he is good young adult who takes care of his own family. He is completely responsible on his own at 23. Are we responsible for his success? Maybe just a little. I think he had a good foundation and the rest was all on him.
  7. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I was sort of thinking along these lines this morning. I realized that difficult child 1 (now 19 1/2) actually might have picked up on more than I realized. She called the other day and wanted to know how much it would cost to stay at the cabins we stay at in the Adirondacks. She would like to go with boyfriend for a weekend and enjoy the peace and quiet. She also wanted to know the name of the instructor that my husband and I used to take swing dance lessons from--she and boyfriend think it would be a healthy thing for their relationship to learn to dance together! What?! She used to think husband and I were really lame with the dancing.

    I guess what I realized is that difficult child 1 may be realizing she actually likes the way she was brought up--in a stable, loving family who did healthy things. When she was younger she acted as if she was brought up in a white trash family and she certainly gravitated towards the lowest of the low. I couldn't figure out how she could reject the way she was brought up so thoroughly but finally just accepted it. Now I see glimmers that she may actually want to emulate us--holy cow!

  8. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Sending hugs to you. If there's major meltdowns and grounding involved any way you try it, it'd not a good skill for difficult child to be doing at this time. Ask yourself, how do I see difficult child next year, or in 5 years, and then figure out how he needs to get there. Some of the kids in our class are purely functional, othere can do some acedemics, but if gfgf can't be succesful-it's not doing him any good. There are ways that you can find for him to be a success, like maybe you do most of the steps of the activity, and difficult child does one or two steps. This way he will learn at least a part of the chore, and he can continue to add steps. -Alyssa
  9. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    Today the headache is still chores. This is day 3 with youngest difficult child learning a new chore. We have typed up step by step instructions because when all the other boys started doing them, we realized that typing the instructions up made it easier for them to do it correctly.

    My now 10 year olds starting doing chores the summer before 2nd grade, so one was 7 1/2 and one was 7 at the time. Now that my youngest difficult child is in 2nd grade, all I've heard for the last 4 months is how it isn't fair that he isn't expected to do the same things they were. So last week we added him to the mix.

    We have 4 weekly chores that all the boys swap out doing. The kitchen, their playroom, the floors and the bathrooms. The kitchen gets cleaned daily just like any other household, so cleaning the kitchen is dishes from that day, the counters and table. Last week it took youngest difficult child 3 days to get the playroom clean and it wasn't even that dirty. I've been having each one of the older boys be his "supervisor" for the chore. Last week it was my 10 year old difficult child supervising and all he did was get himself into trouble. He was goofing off and not watching youngest difficult child, then youngest difficult child just started playing around. It was so frustrating. A chore that should take no more than an hour to do, took 3 days, 2 days after school and all day Saturday.

    Well, this week is a repeat. This week was oldest easy child "supervising" with the bathrooms. Well, it is now 245 here on day 3 and youngest difficult child has just barely begun the 2nd bathroom.

    The thing is, I think he has many more problems than my other 2 difficult children. They function at a much higher level than he does in my opinion. I don't think he is ready for these chores yet. So I've been sitting close by while he is doing the bathrooms, but now I've told husband to come, because I'm done with the stress. I don't think there is a nice way to explain to any of the kids that we don't think he is ready for this. I think it may actually be better to just have him try to do them like they did at this age.

    Yesterday, my stress was both over youngest and middle difficult child. My middle difficult child had floors to do. Two seperate times I asked if he was done with a specific part and the answer was yes, only to walk in and find out he wasn't. When I asked why he said yes, he had no response. He either didn't listen to my question both times, or he blaintanly lied to me. Then after 3 times of saying he is completely done with the floor and me walking in to find mud, grass and sticky spots, he got to scrub it with a wash rag and a bucket of warm soapy water.

    With my older two difficult children, typically if I'm stricter, they do better next time. So like with middle difficult child having to scrub the one floor with a washrag and a bucket, next time he'll work harder with a vacuum and mop. This works for them usually, but it NEVER works on youngest difficult child.

    All that ends up happening is everyone involved is extremely frustrated.

    As for public outtings, I was thinking about a birthday party we went to a few weeks ago. We had to leave because instead of coming in to go to the bathroom, youngest difficult child peed all over himself in a bounce house filled with younger kids. So everyone was jumping in his urine. I was mortified and husband was furious. Some may say this is typical of his age and maybe some accidents are, but as often as he prefers this method, I've begun to think it's intentional. And no, for those of you wondering, there is nothing physically wrong with him. He just seems to find humor in it. I think what was so upsetting to me was the smile on his face when we discovered what happened. This is partly why I've decided it is intentional.

    husband is not dealing with the chore supervising well at all. He just gets loud and all it does it cause difficult child to freeze up. Who wouldn't with someone yelling at you? But then, I certainly understand husband being so annoyed. This is liking beating your head against a brick wall. It just seems completely painful and pointless.
  10. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    All I can tell you is that I had to make difficult child go back and reclean his own bathroom a second time today. I got some lip but he did go back to do it. He has to be reminded of the steps, supervised and encouraged. Doesn't bother him one bit if his bathroom is dirty or his towels are used.
    He is 23.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Yep. I have the same issues as Fran. Travis just doesn't get the chore thing. No matter that we've worked with him for the past 18 or so years. I've tried anything and everything over the years. The only thing that works to is keep on him to do them, and make him redo ones not done properly the first time.

    And yeah, it was really grueling when he was younger. Not quite as much now. I think more so when he was young because we had so many other issues going on at the same time.

    These days he and even his sisters often surprise me with how much of what I taught that they managed to tuck away. I imagine as they continue to age and mature I'll see more tidbits. (I hope)

    But when I was down in the trenches that could be awfully hard to remember, especially on really bad days.

    As far as chore, one thing that helped us.... Each kid had their own. Chores didn't change off til a child left home and others stepped up to fill the gap. Too much change and Travis would fall apart.

    Remember to catch breaks whenever you can.

  12. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I think you might be on to something with never changing chores. I'm debating on doing that with my difficult children. I'm not sure my PCs want or would learn from that though. This is the hard part for me. PCs and difficult children are seperated by blood lines in my house and because of this, it is hard to make seperate rules for each. While I understand they are different children and need different things, the appearance of ANY type of favortism isn't something I want in my household. So often times I'm stuck doing the same thing for PCs that I do for difficult children, even if it isn't what works for them.
  13. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I think I've had my fill.

    Youngest difficult child cleaned off my bathroom counter and put my opal and diamond earrings on the floor. I stepped on one and broke the post. So now I have a hole in my foot and a broken pair of earrings that were given to me when I was 12.

    Middle easy child has company over and they are in the playroom. husband and I both have had our fill and we both have lost it and yelled at difficult child in the last 5 minutes. I'm sure PCs company is going to love telling his mom and dad how it went at our house tonight. Uuugh!

    I hate losing my temper, but how hard it is really to put things where they belong? He is 5 steps away from my dresser when clearing off the bathroom counter and my dresser has 5 jewelery boxes on it.

    The instructions actually say put all hair items in mommy's drawer. My hair items are now all on my computer desk that is also five steps away from the bathroom counter.

    If I wasn't so fed up, I'd probably be laughing.

    On top of this my daughter, who's family birthday party is tomorrow, is sick. She thought she just had to pass gas and filled her underwear with diarrhea. I'm sure that qualifies under too much information, but I really felt the need to draw a clear picture. So now she is in the shower cleaning off, husband is in the hallway (very hoarse) going through all the steps of the chore with difficult child again starting from scratch and I'm sitting here with a sore throat complaining on here.

    What a day.
  14. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    Before anyone else says it, yes, my jewelry boxes were 5 steps away and the opal earrings were on the bathroom counter.

    If I knew why, I'd tell you, but I don't. Could have been me, could have been my daughter. I don't recall the last time I wore them and I don't recall ever seeing her play with them.

    It seems rediculous to have to do a pre-clean cleaning just to be sure something like this doesn't happen again. I guess if I don't want anything important of mine broken or ruined, I don't have much choice.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Ok this is a 7 year old boy right?

    Maybe you are expecting just a bit more than he can do at his age.

    For a 7 year old with issues I would be thrilled if he would put his dirty clothes in the hamper, brush teeth when asked, bring plate to sink, and maybe feed or water animals. Simple chores that he can excel at.

    I dont think my kids were cleaning bathrooms by themselves until they were a bit older. still having to go in and give Billy the look to get him to move!
  16. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    As I said earlier, my opinion is, he isn't ready for these chores yet. However, my two 10 years olds, one easy child and one difficult child, started them at his age. All 4 older boys are very upset that he hasn't had to do them up until now.

    He is not doing them alone, he has one of his older brothers in there with him reading through the directions and showing him how to do it, while husband or I stand close by as well.

    I do think that his functioning isn't as high as any of his brothers at this age, easy child or difficult child. I also understand why his brothers are upset that he isn't pitching in.

    I won't make the mistake again of starting too late, I did this with oldest easy child. I still have to argue with him at times about why he is expected to help as a family. in my opinion, 7 is a good age to start guiding them through these types of chores. They are old enough to read, so they can read instructions. In my city, they aren't getting grades yet, and will be soon, they need to learn about doing a good job. They also need to learn responsibility.

    My belief is that a family works together to make things run smoothly. I grocery shop, cook, do laundry, clean daily, drive kids everywhere etc. My husband grocery shops, cooks, cleans the kitchen daily and works full-time. My kids each help out by pitching in with a different chore that needs to be done weekly. This is part of being a family unit, helping each other and working together. I pay my kids for their grades, because to me, this is their job as a child, to be a good student, to work hard at school. I do not pay my kids for chores because I think this is just part of being a family unit. I have 5 boys, I want my boys to each be an equal partner when they get married or have significant others. I do not want them to expect their SO to do it all. I think by expecting them to pitch in as a family, this guides them towards this way of thinking. I also believe that my husband shows them how to treat a woman, by how he treats me and my daughter. He does not expect me to always cook or always clean. If I'm sick, he pitches in more in areas I usually handle.

    I think most 7 year olds can do chores like this if they are taught in the many different ways we all learn, by reading, by doing, by being shown etc. I don't think I was expecting too much of my other kids when they started, but my youngest difficult child is different. The problem is how to explain this to the older boys so that they not only understand, but they not tease him and they not whine to me about him not doing these chores yet.
  17. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I think it all depends on the kid. I remember those days with my difficult child so well. It was so exhausting and so much easier just to give up most of the time and do it myself. I never thought this kid would be capable of cleaning his own room or functioning on his own.

    Well guess what?? He now does all that on his own and I'm even sure how much I can atribute to what I tried to teach him. I think he learned most of it in the soberhouse. You couldn't leave a glass in the sink without getting a hard time from your other roomates, because that was leaving your responsibilites for someone else.

    Now when I go to his apartment, it's always neat and clean and from what his girlfriend tells me, he's the one who does most, if not all, of the cleaning.

    I was actually a slob when I was growing up. You couldn't walk through my room because my floor was covered in so much stuff. Now I'm a total neat freak and everything has to be in it's place.

    So worth the aggrivation or not?? I'm not sure. But my difficult child did learn these skills somewhere. Maybe from watching me do it for him :smile:
  18. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I wonder what your alternative is? Your difficult child may not have the ability to process the chores you are asking him to do at this time. It may be a while before he can do this. My tweedles are 13 & they still struggle with some of the simplest of tasks.

    It is written out step by step. They have help & they still struggle to stay on task - to complete any chore, school assignment or even fun things like a game. I'm convinced it's not hard wired - that something in their brains is just not clicking.

    It doesn't bode well as they get older - but it is what it is.

    However, I know there are certain things that kt & wm can do & do well. Those are the things I ask kt to work on - I slip in some of the other harder tasks as well. But I give her some chores & things that she can be successful at - to give her a sense of completion. A sense of confidence.

    So what is your alternative? Just something to consider this morning.
  19. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    Prior to starting him on the weekly rounds of chores last week, he was doing much simplar chores. He would pick up the toys in the living room or bring dirty clothes to the laundry room. We changed our method of bringing dirty clothes to the laundry room though about a month or two ago and we love the change. So that chore has been taken off the list of possibilities.

    Please don't get me wrong, I DO think these chores are too difficult for him. However, it is still frustrating when you think of each individual step and how simple that one step is.

    My true problem is not in how difficult these chores are, it is in how to make the older 4 boys feel like he is not being "favored". When you have PCs and difficult children that are split by bloodline, it is very difficult to treat them differently, even if you know they react to different things.

    Not only is the favortism a problem, but so is the teasing if we were to attempt to explain why as well as all the grief we get from the 4 older boys because at youngest difficult children age, they started on chores.
  20. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    This isn't favoritism - this is reality. Would you put a severely physically disabled child in charge of mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage? No - it isn't within his realm of possibility.

    So it becomes a matter of teaching your other children not about favoritism, but about acceptance of their younger brother's disorder/illness. It's likely that your older boys get priviledges & outings that younger difficult child doesn't because of his very disorder.

    Is life fair? Not on every level. Not every day.

    It's not fair that your youngest difficult child cannot process these very normal steps; likely cannot do some of the fun, everyday things his brothers do as well. Life is seldom fair.

    Life is life.

    I hope you find a solution to this - you seem so dragged down by this situation.