Just when I was becoming more sure of myself...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by HowMuchLonger, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. HowMuchLonger

    HowMuchLonger New Member

    Yesterday I called an acquaintance...just needed someone to talk to. I was describing latest meltdown from difficult child 3. Basically:
    -he tried to engage me with his silliness, didn't work
    -he tried to engage me by not following instructions, didn't work
    -he tried to engage me with making us late for school, didn't work
    -he raged, stormed, swore, threw things and didn't calm down until realized I was calling for help (kid's crisis line)

    Her take is our ADHD and "imagined" ODD are BS. This is a kid in complete control and when he couldn't get what he wanted (me angry) he threw a grown up style temper tantrum of a 2 year old. Then when the chips were down and I called in reinforcements he calmed knowing trouble was coming even though I warned him. She feels our parenting is the cause, and difficult child 3 is just a spoiled rotten brat that will have a tantrum when he doesn't get what he wants, rather than anything mental, psychological etc. She didn't deliver this message to me meanly or judgementally..but matter of factly.

    So, now my mind is going again. Is this all our doing?? Have we essentially created a monster and this kid doesn't have anything wrong with him?? I'm not looking for pity here, or "what a bad friend" (I think she means well). I need honest opinions.

    My unsurety (is that a word?) stems from the family background with mental disorders, our many attempts at trying new things, new ways, new rewards, new discipline techniques with no success. Also, what is he getting out of doing this? For the most part it seems to just be a jerk, cause people pain and anguish, get people angry...is that not "un-normal"...who thinks like that or does that? And my other two boys are nothing like that even though raised in the same home the same ways. But then I keep going back to her assessment and that makes sense too...so confused.
  2. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi... I couldn't resist replying to your post (even though I am supposed to be working - I work at home!) because I can really identify with your uncertainty and self-questioning about all this... Advice is cheap, as they say - which doesn't mean it is not valid sometimes but just that, when you look at it objectively, you are the ones who are really in the best position to know what is happening with your son, given your intimate, long knowledge of him, rather than an acquaintance who is very much on the outside looking in... So much, so obvious. But then, there are SO many questions and doubts around all this - how much is down to parenting and circumstances, how much "belongs" to the child and perhaps what is happening in his brain, things he cannot "help"? Only a fool would pretend to know the exact answer to that... But... it does sound as if your son wants power and this is what he is unconsciously searching for by behaving like this - accent on the unconsciously. The power could be just in getting you all worked up, whatever it is. The reason I dare say something like that is because it is the conclusion I have come to with my own son, who is four years old and often absolutely sweet and delightful but also a holy terror at times when he is thwarted... I see that he cannot bear to lose, even silly board games and the like, and that being in control is very important to him. There might be all sorts of reasons for that to do with his history. What I find helps me above all is not to BLAME him for his behavious (sometimes hard), which also doesn't mean of course that he shouldn't know when he has transgressed a boundary or when he has made others uncomfortable or whatever because of his behaviour. But I truly have found that when I respect my son, speak to him respectfully, he really rises to the occasion and often surprises me with his co-operativeness and compliance if I come from that frame of mind... I do feel communication is the key with these youngsters. But it is such a skill to learn - I am only just beginning; personally!
    Please don't lose faith either with yourself or your little boy, however hard that might feel at the moment...
  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I think you are in the best place to figure out your child, with the help of professionals. Trust your instincts.

    I would not even discuss any of it with people who don't get it. It is easy to think "if they just did XYZ, then the kid would fall into line." Just because it worked for their kid, doesn't mean it will work for yours.

    My kid was diagnosed with ODD when she was younger. We eventually discovered she had food allergies and when she eliminates those foods, parenting her works like the books say it should. We did not change our parenting. Something inside her changed, when we changed her diet. Almost no one believes this, but it is proof to me that bad parenting is not always the cause, even if it looks like it from the outside.

    You are in the best postion to figure out your child, not your friends or acquaintances.
  4. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    I believe that questioning our efforts is a sign of good parenting. It means that we are always trying to do whatever it takes to help our kids, to always better our efforts to help them, to continue growing to help them. Yet, don't get caught up in the blame game. Until they've lived with an ODD child, they can not even begin to fathom what it is like.

    I don't know how many times I was given parenting advice. Even got called into a special meeting with the principal and Ant's teacher (husband & wife) so that they could help me understand how to parent correctly. Read tons of books, took classes, and questions myself over and over (still do some days and he's 20).

    You know in your heart that difficult child isn't "just spoiled". Spoiled children don't escalate like an ODD kid does. And the staying power of a spoiled child is so much lower than an ODD kid. I remember sending Ant to bed when he was getting out of control. I'd say "good-night" and "what part of good-night don't you understand" over and over for at least an HOUR each time. I think a spoiled kid would of given up a lot earlier. And wouldn't of hit every button I ever had in that hour.

    I think self-doubt is easy for us warrior parents because we are trying so hard to help our kids and we are failing. So we feel that it has to be us. And when a "caring" friend echos our doubts, we (at least in my case) seem to grab on with both hands as proof that it is us. {{{Hugs}}}
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It is easy to be the friend and just "know" how it should be handle. It is much harder to be the parent and deal every day with an unstable child. I know with Tigger there are times when I give in because I CANNOT handle or afford him to melt down at that moment. Last fall, he was in full meltdown mode and the staff at the PHP anxiety program was threatening an involuntary admit if he didn't calm down immediately. I whispered to him that if he stood up and walked out with me that I would buy him the toy he wanted. Now I don't normally reward his tantrums but I KNEW with every fiber of my being that putting him in an inpatient unit would break him into so many pieces that I would never get my son back. Could someone watching that decide that my parenting is the issue? Absolutely. But I know it isn't.

    You are looking for help for your son, you are not just throwing up your hands and giving up. You are a GOOD MOM.
  6. HowMuchLonger

    HowMuchLonger New Member

    I believe you are all right. Until you've walked a mile in these shoes, your feet are pretty sweet smelling. This particular acquaintance is not a mean spirited person but can be very opinionated and abrupt. She is almost always there when I need her, but I do know her personality so I'm usually pretty desperate to call her....it's usually those days where you just need a "voice" and she's pretty funny so a laugh or two isn't bad. I've told myself in the past to NOT speak to her about these things but she seems to suck me in everytime. She herself hasn't had the easiest life but it was more marital problems than parenting problems. She has been very blessed with a great daughter (sometimes I'm SO jealous of her...marital problems and all..but the grass is always greener right?).

    I've become so wishy-washy of late that I've turned into the type of person I normally wouldn't want to hang out with...can you divorce yourself?!. I swear I read something or talk to someone and I go "YES!! THAT'S IT!!" and 20 minutes later I hear the opposite and sigh and return to the drawing board having never given the first part a chance....essentially getting nothing accomplished because I'm paralyzed with fear to move forward with any decisions in case I make things worse. I seriously need to "man up" and just go with my instincts.
  7. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    When I was in third grade and could not read or write due to a learning disability. The reading specialist said that all my problems were behavioral and were a result of living in a too laxed home environment. Everyday I thank god that my mom did not lessen to the idiot, and pursued until she found the real reason, and got me the appropriate training for it. Now there is a huge difference between dyslexia and OCC. But, both are manifestations on how the neurological systems work. Too frequently when a professional does not know what is going on or how to resolve it they point to the parenting. This is wrong, wrong, wrong! Don't take it.
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If I had $1 for everytime I heard a member say someone told them it was their fault - I would be a millionaire!

    Look, if you have tried tons of different approaches and none of them seem to work....well, you do the analysis - traditional thinking does not work with these kids. Of course, your friends words are logical if that were the case. If you were a wishy washy parent, then we would tell you to be more consistent, too. It is logical. But, that is not the case.

    My advice? Find one thing to try to do differently for the next 2 weeks. Get it mastered. Whatever it is, not raise voice, not use the word 'no', not argue about brushing teeth, etc. Just pick one. Change it. See what happens. If there was one solution for all - we wouldn't be here!
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh - a bit more advice. Do not choose this person to confide your defiant child's issues to. Trust me. I had to cut of some people to my parent/child life completely. Never did I speak about my child to them.
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    There's your answer. There is NO one way to parent that works for EVERY kid. Doesn't happen. But you have two that show you have techniques that work with those kids, this just means that you have to find different techniques for the third. And you likely already have a good idea of what ways DON'T work with him, which is a good start. And many of these kids, in my experience? What works one week may be useless the next week, or month, or year. They'll keep you on your toes, and you can learn a lot from them. Some kids do better in a firmly structured environment, some do far better when they feel they have more control (feeling they do does not have to mean they really do - just give them extra options that you also find acceptable and let them choose if you're not already doing that).

    You're here, you're trying. You're not ignoring the issue, you're looking for help. Discovering the best way to handle your little individual so they can grow and learn and eventually be a reasonable adult is what parenting is about, and that's exactly what you're doing.