is wondering if I should change

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by amy1129, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. amy1129

    amy1129 New Member

    Its me again, the confused mom with a million quetions and issues.

    So difficult child and I had another visit with the social worker, he was actually a little looking forward to going. Earlier in the week he had a few pretty strong arguments with with friends at school and at the after school program. That night he came out of the shower crying, telling me all that happened, he said he screamed at one of the boys and went back to him and said sorry "I have anger issues" he was mortified that that came out of his mouth, he doesnt want anyone to know about his "anger issues". He was so sad and upset and feared losing this friend, and scared that the principal would call me. We ended talking about 1/2 hour while he laid on my lap (with towel around him, he was soaked :) ) He asked why does he have anger issues, who gave it to him, mommy or daddy, why doesnt his sister have them. He also asked about when we were going to see the next dr for the neuro psychiatric. I was very impressed with him that night, we didnt solve anything but I think I was happy and sad that he realizes that his anger is wrong. But later on, we had the bedtime battle and all was back to "normal"

    At therapy I started to get upset because everything the social worker tells me to do, I have done already a millions times and have told her that, but she keeps telling to do it this was or say this, or try that, explain it this way...I say been there, done that, we think we have tried everything in the book, its been over 5 years of this. We talked about the constant battle of cleaning his room, she says he cant just go in there is figure it out, its too overwhelming, too stimulating for him. Give him 1 task at a time, like pick up all your army guys, put them away then come see me and we will do the next thing....well that doesnt work cause he comes out and says "ok did that, you told me i only to put away my army guys and i would be done....ok going outside now" when I know that I said come see me after for next task. Battle begins again. So she said this week pick something talk about it all morning, "ok dont forget you have to clean your army guys before going to the birthday party" I said what if he doesnt do it, does he not go to party? she said "he'll do it" as difficult child is shaking his head NO, I said you dont know him, he wont do it. She says he will. But I know he wont. I then say, what about the rest of the room, it is destroyed from simple playing and rage detruction. he is currently grounded from his toys until he picks them up and away, she said its not right to ground him from his toys, I said I dont agree cause I know he can do it....its been 2 weeks of him without toys, she says I am just fueling him by punishing him.

    I think I sorta shut down and "yes I understand" the rest of the time cause its just not working and didnt want to continue to argue with her. I did touch upon the label thing and my weird issue with labelling him, I felt like she wasnt helping me get through it, it was more like, "i dont get why your focused on the label" I would have thought I would have had some empathy or something but I felt like she made me feel bad for thinking I dont want my kid labelled "whats wrong with a label" UGH UGH UGH.

    So, after 5 visits with her I dont want to go back, its wasting my time, my insurance covers 8 visits at 100%. I dont think a social worker is what we need here, should I try and switch to another for the last 3 visits and pay out of pocket for the rest? Or should I wait until I meet with neuro psychiatric next Tues and ask her advice? This road I am on is so dark and scary, I am walking slowly down it all alone (husband has fallen off the bandwagon and all other family thinks I am taking this too far) and dont feel supported.

    About husband, he goes back and forth, we both to help him but we are not on the same path to get there. I dont think he agrees with social worker at all and doesnt give anything any chance with difficult child, if it doesnt work immediately he shuts down and goes into agree dad which doesnt help at all. Me and him get at each other cause I am not reacting to difficult child's behavior and he gets mad at me for not reacting to him and I get mad at him for reacting to difficult child's behavior. Such a viscous cycle.

    Thank god for this board.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Since the neuropsychologist is coming very soon, I would say 1)don't go back to that therapist at all (why go if they aren't going to listen to you!) and 2)wait to see what the neuropsychologist says.

    A label doesn't have to be used as a "LABEL". Look at it as you would a medical diagnosis. It only puts a name to what is going on so you have an idea about what is causing it and you can learn ways to handle it that work, much as using insulin helps a diabetic. Many of the mental health dxs come from something not "wired" right in the brain. It is, in a way, a medical issue.

    As for husband, I am so glad I don't have that issue. While it would be nice to have some support, I am thankful I don't have the issues of someone undoing what I am trying to do either. On that subject, I don't have any helpful advice. Maybe if you had an appropriate diagnosis and therefore some concrete information to show him about it, it MIGHT make a difference (and I make that statement loosely).

  3. keista

    keista New Member

    Aww I was so picturing this because that's how DD1 and I have some of our best talks. That popping out of his mouth I'm sure scared him, but if it was a good friend of his, it totally makes sense. in my opinion he wants his friend to really know and understand AND forgive him when he blows up. No he didn't think this on any conscious level, his subconscious did, and that's why it came out.

    Anyway, if you don't think the social worker is doing any good, I'd hold off. While she is offering practical advice, it's not fitting for you and your son.

    One thing that is bothering me about your post is
    You may have just written it that way for lack of a better expression, but emotions are NEVER wrong. They may be extreme or intense, but not WRONG. The way we express those emotions can most certainly be WRONG. It sounds almost silly because - Duh we all know that, but kids don't. Especially kids who get frightened by their own emotions which is what it looks like with your son.

    Unfortunately 8 sessions for kids is NOTHING, but better than having to pay it all yourself.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I really wouldn't trust a social worker with the mental health of my child. She has limited skills. Hang on until you have your neuropsychologist appointment. That will not only tell you MUCH more about your child, but they also make recommendations on treatment plans.

    Hugs and hang on there!
  5. april1974

    april1974 New Member

    Sounds like your social worker is stumped and unwilling to learn new techniques etc...she has probably never dealt with this in her practice(I'm assuming) I would go to the next session and be blunt say "I need you to hear me...I have tried what your asking me to do and it doesn't need to give me new ideas....something that fits my son and not some textbook you have on a need to think outside the box" Usually the minute you tell someone you're not hearing me, or you need to listen to what I'm saying...usually they clue in to what is being said. I think she has no clue what to tell you and isn't willing to reeducate herself on new stuff. JMHO. I hope you can get some answers with your neuro exam.
  6. seriously

    seriously New Member

    I can't tell from your post if you are already doing this so forgive me if this is been there done that too.

    I found I had to always "Inspect what you Expect". Every single time.

    I have to give the illusion of choices and control if possible.

    AND I have to pay a lot of attention to what I say, how I say it and what he is doing. I cannot just tell him what to do and then leave him on his own. And he's 15 while yours is 7 so I suspect your expectations may be somewhat unrealistic on that front.

    Here's what has worked fairly well for us when difficult child 2 is stable and to a lesser degree when he's unstable.

    If you have a kitchen timer then use it to help both of you stay on track. If not then get one or use the one on the stove or your phone.

    You say "You have 2 options. 1 - you pick up the army guys by the time the timer goes off and put them away neatly in this box (or whatever). or 2 - you pick up your dirty clothes and put them in the hamper by the time the timer goes off."

    Given that he is only 7 you do not leave him alone while he does his job. Instead you stay and do something different at the same time. If he chooses to pick up the army guys, then you could pick up the dirty clothes or make the bed or whatever. The main point is to get him to cooperate and do what you tell him so don't get hung up on the fact that you will be doing some of his work. You need to get him into the habit of doing what you say, when you say and within the time frame that you give him.

    Do not comment on how well he is doing the job, whether he missed some or if he is running out of time. Instead you wait for him to tell you that he is finished.

    When he says he is done - then you stop and carefully inspect his job. He will not have done a good job. You do not yell, plead, scold, lecture or argue. You calmly tell him that you know he can do a better job and that he knows what you meant (if he claims he doesn't know what you want). Then you give him 2 options again -

    "The house rule is that we do our chores before we get to play or go places. You have 2 options - pick up the army guys now or miss your friend's party. which do you choose?"

    Staying calm is very important. Do NOT argue - all this does is teach them to argue (boy do I wish I had figured that out when my twins were 5). You state your position (chores before play) and the choices the kid has (chores or no party) simply and clearly without emotion. And when he doesn't do the chore - then you must follow through and refuse to let him go to the party.

    keep the jobs small while you are working on this and if you are able to get him to cooperate on small tasks then gradually increase the difficulty or size of the job.

    If you are called away and he leaves without doing a good job you must go get him and make him come back and finish the job. If he makes a scene and refuses then you must have a plan ready for that with your 2 options for him to choose between (you may take a shower to calm down or you may play tether ball to calm down). The bottom line is that he does what YOU tell him to do even if it means it takes you all day to get him to pick up the army guys or to do what you consider an acceptable alternative task - including getting or keeping himself under good emotional control.

    Be sure to acknowledge when he is able to use his words or show even small signs of emotional control where before he would have exploded. I don't exactly praise my son. After all this is something we expect as to happen as part of their development. It would be odd to praise him lavishly for using soap to wash his hands - same idea. but you want to acknowledge his efforts. I do that by saying things kind of casually like "Thanks for letting me know how you feel." or "I liked the way you handled that." or "You made some good choices today bud."

    It is time consuming and a huge pain but it will get better if you are consistent and persistent and always inspect. Realistically if you take this approach with him for several weeks maybe even 3 months you will see consistent changes - assuming he's able to learn to do this. You and husband have to be on the same page and do the same thing - or at least confer if you're going to do something different. Otherwise it will take a lot longer because he will try to do end runs or work on the one who blows up until they do and then in a bizarre way the heat is off of him to control himself.

    You are probably hoping that it will happen a lot faster because this is going to take all your time and attention. Your husband for sure is going to want to quit long before then.

    But, if he's anything like my difficult child, your difficult child will not learn to do this stuff any other way and at the end of 3 months you will either have a kid who has made progress in learning to obey you - or you will have the same thing you have now. Either way you will all be 3 months older. It's hard when you've had a easy child that was easy to train and could be left to work independently. Your difficult child is not made that way and you have to adapt your parenting to take that into account.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  7. trouble

    trouble New Member


    I'm on-side with the approach - we kinda do the same thing here - definitely a "shared" job - OR... "either get it clean enough for me, or I will do the cleaning" - which usually gets a reaction. But I'm wondering... how do you get SCHOOL to buy into that approach??? (esp. in high-school)
  8. seriously

    seriously New Member

    You're right - it's more realistic at elementary level and gets progressively more difficult depending on the situation. My daughter's high school principal has been known to show up unannounced in the bedroom of a kid with chronic tardiness to inquire why he/she isn't at school. But I am certain that is the exception not the rule in high school.

    We have just endured a year of school refusal with difficult child 2. As you may have gathered from my other posts, we have had to tread lightly with him about getting him awake and to school or risk a violent confrontation.

    I won't do the cleaning - partly because it makes him ballistic. Instead he just can't do other things that he wants to do until it is done and inspected. and inspected. and inspected...

    I won't play the "I don't know how you want it" game. I told my kid - you know what clean looks like. You know what it looks like when the clothes are in the drawers and not on the floor. You know what it looks like when the trash's picked up, etc. That's what it means and I will not argue with him over stuff. I just say - NO not done. If he has made a good effort and I think he just needs his elbow jogged to take out a couple dishes or empty the trash I will tell him that. otherwise I do not play the "you said to pick up my clothes. you didn't say I had to pick up the trash too" game that is sooo very amusing to him I'm sure.

    With high school - you kind of have to take the same approach if you can and adapt it a little. One thing that's in our favor - my kid likes to go to school and is motivated to get good grades. He is not a "truant" kid. But he had been out due to illness for almost a quarter and I think it just was all too overwhelming for him along with some other physical health issues.

    If your kid wants to do well you can probably make things work out somehow. if he doesn't - well you are probably looking at a kid who is not going to graduate.

    I have a policy that I tell the school everything about what's going on with my kid. I tell them when he's been arrested. I tell them when he's been hospitalized. I tell them when we've called the cops. I tell them when he's sick or when he's refusing to go because he's tired or when he's coming but is probably going to fall asleep on them.

    They are probably sick of me telling them everything. E-mails, phone calls, faxes.

    For a long time they took the "there must be something wrong at home" position since my son was 'perfect" at school. But when they wouldn't listen to me and get a more supportive placement going he simply stopped coming to school for more than a couple hours a day.

    Then he had to work one-on-one with the Special Education resource teacher for weeks while we all tried to figure out what to do. That's what it really took I think. I don't think he'd be in the ED classroom yet if she hadn't been willing to tell the school psychiatric that his behavior was bizarre, unpredictable and even incoherent at times.

    You have to press the school to respond is the bottom line. They cannot simply make it your problem. do not let them do that. It is their responsibility to educate your child - with your help and support. If he won't go then there should be an IEP meeting to work on changes to his services/placement to try to get him to school or school to him.