My neighbors have a difficult child

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    This is a boy around 6yo and apparently has a diagnosis of maybe ADHD, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), both, or something similar. From what I gather, the parents are knowledgable enough to be working with someone (psychiatrist, early sd interventions, I don't know) but based ona brief mention by my landlord and a brief introduction from the Mom, they realize they have a special needs child and a child who is difficult to raise. Fine. I don't need to know their personal business, obviously, but when the parents were introducing themselves and giving me a brief "explanation" about their child, I mentioned that I understood and have a son myself that has posed many challenges, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    What is bothering me is that about every 3 days there is a major yelling 'episode' by the father to the child that everyone living around here can hear- well, it takes place outside half the time. My son was not really a difficult child at that age so I'm not sure how much of this might be 'normal' frustrations for a difficult child's parents or how much is due to not having better knowledge about parenting a difficult child, things that people entering 'the warrior parent life' would be able to learn quickly and should learn quickly.

    Iniitially I thought I'd wait and see if the Mom talks to me again and opens up a little more about her son, that maybe I'd suggest The Explosive Child, therapy, or something. Now I'm just not sure...but it bothers me to hear this young difficult child being yelled at that way so often. It seems to always be about the father telling him it's time to come in the house, why did difficult child let the dog out, come in and eat dinner, typical childhood things that a difficult child can turn into utter chaos. However, yelling more and more isn't the answer. I guess I''m wondering if there is a better answer when you have a young difficult child?

    I almost want to recommend this site to the mom, but it selfish not to want to share my 'private' space with my neighbors?
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Must be hard to see/hear. I totally admit to some bad mommy moments. I have lost it at times. But I dont think more than a parent of a typical kid. Mostly people say (when I feel i have lost control) that I seem really calm when I talk to difficult child. i know for sure he will just match the intensity of whoever is talking to him as well as he goes into fight/flight. I dont think yelling helps a difficult child but there have been a few times it probably helped me a little. i dont think I ever got mad over not coming in etc...I think it was more over finding my video camera in his hand iwth all of the not yet downloaded film of my dead grandma GONE and used for NASCAR tv filming...sigh. Those are the kinds of times I found myself not talking in the way i would want to normally. Even then, i usually catch myself and leave and cool off to deal with it. I dont think any neighbor would ever say they have heard me yell. So, is it normal? Once in a while I would think so, and it depends on what they are it to just come in or is it demeaning etc. Do I think it is OK, not really. I hate when I have done it. I know it hurts his feelings and makes him angry. I can get the same thing accomplished with a stern tone and/or logical consequences.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Just about that, buddy... I of course agree with and understand what you say. And yet... there have been a few occasions recently when I have responded to my son with an (authentic) impatience or directness that might be the kind of thing I would regret and feel was less than ideal and yet... he has responded positively. As if he appreciates the honesty, senses the connectedness of that. If that makes any sense. And obviously it's a question of balance.
    You do face a dilemma, klmno. It is horrid to hear this kind of shouting. Funnily enough I was thinking of posting something about my immediate neighbours today because their combined shouting at their tiny (not yet 2) daughter, she mainly hysterical and nasty, he extremely aggressive, is very unpleasant to witness. Nothing I can do - they are just ignorant people, with little education, who doubtless would be horrified if anyone thought they did not love their daughter. In your case... what can you do? I would suggest the forum if you can find a diplomatic way to do so. They don't have to know who you are here. Or, just lend them a book... "The Explosive Child"? The bridge has helpfully been put down for that.
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    Well, you met the mom. Did you formally meet the dad? It really could be a "dad" issue. Even on this board, we have so many moms complaining that their DHs "just don't get it" and when someone "just doesn't get it" they are not apt to change their behavior.

    I'm guessing after every yelling match you hear, there is a quieter one going on between the two "adults"
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oh I had my moments where I yelled at my son, too, and I didn't consider him a difficult child or difficult child then. But it didn't happen every three days for typical misbehavior. Now, maybe their difficult child is pushing boundaries when they are telling him to come in the house- I never hear the kid yelling out so maybe he's just refusing by not doing it. Understandably, this would be frustrating to a parent. on the other hand, the yelling I hear from the father is "why do I keep having to tell you ABC", "I'm sick and tired of you not doing what I tell you", "if you don't do ABC right now, you are going to get worse because you have gotten my attention now", "why do you keep doing things this when I have told you not to so many times already". Things any of us could say when the kid has pushed us over the brink- but does that normally happen every 3 days if you are the parent of a young difficult child? I don't think it should happen so often if it isn't a difficult child.

    Another thing, when the parents started telling me about their son being 'difficult', the boy walked up to them and was then in earshot. They kept on about him being 'beyond difficult', saying things like they didn't know how they were going to make it with this one 'if he gets any worse', how bad he is, etc- things I don't think I have ever said in front of my son unless I was 'over the top' and angry with him and then it was a poor choice of words to him- not to others in front of him- and when I lost my temper and said things I didn't think I should have, I later apologized. I know, not the same as never saying it but at least he was old enough to understand that words said in anger aren't necessarily a person's true feelings. He didn't grow up hearing a parent say they felt things like that about him- and the parents weren't angry when they were telling someone this.

    Am I just going to have to get used to this happening?
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    keista, you could be right. Hopefully he isn't abusing her emotionally or otherwise, to just be a 'dictator' type parent.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Oh boy, these people sound almost as ignorant and insensitive as my neighbours. Yes, this is going to be your regular concert. Unless... I don't know what you can do. Is there anything you can realistically do to help this child get more effective and loving parenting??
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    And I think that is actually a really good sign. Just my impression, not a psychologist of I would imagine he is trusting enough of your relationship that he knows that you are actually just mad, a legitimate feeling and that you will still be his mommy when it is over. he not having the fight/flight reaction to it so it is not hurting your parenting. I doubt you are ranting and raving in public like I am imagining this to be. I doubt there are many parents who dont lose it once in a while. It probably would not be as effective if you did it all day everyday. And I suspect that if too frequent, it will become part of his way of dealing with frustration and anger. But as you said, it is about balance, and kids DO need to learn that their actions can have a negative effect on others.

    He is still young. you are going to find your style that works for now, then adjust it over time as he tests your patience more and more....snicker.
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Oh gosh, that sounds so extreme. in my humble opinion it is not normal, or maybe I should say it is not appropriate. I suppose lots of folks do this kind of thing. it is over the top bullying. And if he is saying the same things over and over, then who is the one with the problem? Obviously they are missing the teaching part of parenting. it is his job to work on whatever is bothering him not give the kid a complex about being bad. Sounds like this kid may be difficult child but also the family scapegoat.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm wondering that, too. I know we all had our patience pushed beyond belief when potty training our kids, teaching them a regular bedtime routine, etc. But if you feel like you are fed up and can't understand why a special needs 6yo doesn't already follow all the rules on a daily basis and it's making you so angry that you are yelling that to the kid every 3 days, I have to agree with them- I don't know how that family can make it thru the rest of his childhood without some major interventions. Maybe I should hand them the book AND tell them there are intervention programs available that might be able to help- no, I won't tell THEM- I'll tell HER.
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I think it is a lovely thing to do esp if put in a way that you can share your story...not to break your child's privacy totally but that you know how it feels to have a kid who has challenges and this is the way I found some help.... you can even have the numbers on a paper for her for the sp ed office or explaining how to tell the school what you want done (the written request, etc). THen, unless they are abusing the child, what more can/should you do?
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I can do that- especially with mine being in the process of transitioning to services out of Department of Juvenile Justice- they don't need to know he's in Department of Juvenile Justice. I'll think about wording. Hopefully, we'll have some more nice weather before winter really sets in so maybe there'll be more opportunity to 'bump' into her out front of our homes.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    well based on your posts, I'm not worried about the words you choose! :flirtysmile3:
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    If you met me in person recently you would be. LOL!
  15. buddy

    buddy New Member

    the beauty of cyber chat!
  16. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I have to say, I still cringe when I think about what our neighbors must've heard when thank you was 6. I had a school who was useless and somehow expected me to "make" my child be obedient during school hours - which would've been quite the feat since I couldn't get him to be obedient at any other time of the day. I had a therapist who was totally focused on the "adjustment" thank you was having to make to having an older brother with- a disability (what a bunch of bologna - Boo's had CP since long before thank you was born), and wasn't giving us any ideas on how to deal with- behaviors besides another $*&&# behavior chart. And I had a difficult child who was setting fires, breaking windows, defiant beyond defiant over every little thing, from going to bed, brushing teeth, eating, pooping - you name it. I was completely unprepared, had no support, had no clue. So I yelled - probably daily and very loudly. Nothing you've heard would've been unusual to hear in my house, klmno.

    Not the best strategy but ... learning how to deal with- difficult children is a process (life-long?). Age 6 was when I was ready to leave difficult child and husband because... nothing was working, no one was *hearing* what we were saying, we were getting pats on the backs alternating with- threats if we didn't comply with- their utterly brilliant "treatment plans", behavior charts, parenting classes, and a lot of blame for having an out of control child. Did my parenting contribute to the nightmare that was going on at ages 5 and 6? You better believe it. Was it the sole cause? Nope. Could I have handled it better? Absolutely. Dr. Spock doesn't have a chapter on difficult children. Until/unless parents get meaningful support, coping strategies for themselves, and real-life strategies for dealing with- their kids' behaviors, some of us mere mortals are left with- nothing but yelling.

    The 2 things that really helped were his first admission at age 6, when *finally* we got not only some validation that we were not the sole problem but also started on the rocky roads of therapy/medications/psychiatrists/sped. The other was finding this site when he was 7. To find a community of people who got him, got me, understood, didn't judge, and had practical suggestions.... It was such a blessing. The support on this board was the single best thing that could have ever happened for me and for difficult child and for my whole family.

    I feel nothing but compassion for these parents, and hope that, having already had their child identified as special needs, they will soon find someone who is able to help them along the path.
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That helps me slsh- and answers my question. So what is your suggestion? Is there anything I can do to help this family or would anything I do cause more problems? Should I just offer friendship to the mom then go from there?

    I wonder if I told her about this site, if I could get a moderator to delete this thread in entirety.???

    Then what if she turns out to be the type who doesn't even want to explore it?
  18. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    LOL - I wish I had the answer klmno. ;) It's recently come to my attn that isolation seems to have been my MO for dealing with- stuff for the last 25 years... I think having been on this board for almost 13 years is a bit of a blip for me. I'm quite certain I would not have taken kindly to any well-intentioned neighbors back in the dark ages, but that's just me. It's impossible to predict how she would react. Some people are open to unsolicited support, some aren't. Some people (ahem) have to do things on their own terms, in their own way, no matter how much of a challenge it is. I think the saying about leading mules to water but not being able to force them to drink not only applies to difficult children but to parents too sometimes. Not intentionally, but... I think it's a whole mess of guilt, fear, failure, grief, holy-COW-how-did-we-end-up-here, all rolled up into one big thing.

    I think offering friendship, without anticipating sharing books or websites or anything else (at least initially), might be the way to go. See where it takes you. She may be in need of a friend - she may not. Who knows...
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I actually havent read all the posts but do remember you live in a townhouse which puts people on top of each other. You can practically hear each other breathing.

    Raising normal kids is hard enough when you live bumped up beside each other. I couldnt do it. I had to have enough acreage so no one could hear what the heck we said to the kids. Those phrases were some of the milder things heard around our house. Sounds perfectly natural to me to tell a child to get his butt in the house for dinner before he gets a whooping.
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I can identify with that to a certain extent, too, slsh...

    DJ- LOL! That certainly put a different persepective on things!

    I've been sitting here feeling guilty over every time I yelled at difficult child or maybe punished him when I should have redirected or just had a talk with him- due to feeling guilty, of course, for his teen years being spent the way they are. I didn't want to hear this from my neighbors- it brings back too much difficult child memory. I didn't want to think about difficult child sitting here, potentially, someday a few mos from now and hearing a parent yelling at a kid like that.

    Maybe I need to change that perspective....hmmmm