need help with vocabulary

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Liahona, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    difficult child 1 kicked another child yesterday. He is worried that X will find out. He also had a therapy appointment yesterday. While talking to the therapist he made the comment that if he had grown up with X then X would have killed him by now. When asked why he thought that difficult child 1 said because X is grumpy.

    I realized that the only vocabulary difficult child 1 has to describe what X does is X's vocabulary that minimizes it. I'm going to have to teach (or get someone else to teach) difficult child 1 what abuse is. This will be a very fine line I am walking. It would be better to be done by the therapist, but I'm not sure they will do a good enough job. Even suggesting it (if I suggest it to the wrong person) would look bad. They would have to get down in the "what does being grumpy look like" "what does being grumpy feel like" and really dig. With difficult child 1 you almost have to know what to look for in the first place to get him to say what actually happened. I'm going to try to talk to one of the therapists. She has been working with my family for years. She knows me. I'm going to get her to read some of the examples of abuse from my journals. Maybe she can guide difficult child 1 in learning his new vocabulary. I hope this doesn't destroy our friendship.

    Any help or suggests would be very appreciated. Any links on how to explain abuse to a young child (emotionally difficult child 1 is 4 years old) Specifically the abuse cycle and abusers do ..... .

    Thanks in advance.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If you take a broader spectrum, you'll get more cooperation on all fronts.

    I expect difficult child has trouble "reading" people - facial expressions, body language.
    Therefore, he needs to be sensitized to the "full range" of non-verbal language.
    That will include things like the difference between grumpy and angry, for example.
    Its not about learning how to read X, its about learning how to read the other kids at school and everybody else in his life.

    And yes, there are tools and techniques out there... not at my fingertips.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Very tricky as you said, in your situation you can so easily be accused of "leading" him into false abuse charges. But of utmost importance is his emotional health which I am sure is why you are going there even with the risk. I have heard many of you suggest DV shelters, I dont know if you are part of that group or if there are resources like that by you, but I can't imagine you are the only one in this situation. They must deal with kids who are young and need help doing this. What about alternative art??? Does he have enough art skill to do simple drawings or paintings that could help express his fears? Just grasping at straws, I can not imagine the pain of trying to help your child through all of this. I have said it before and I will say it over and over, you are amazing.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    IC has a great point. Does the therapist have one of those "emotion" posters, they have them in many school supply/office supply stores. I used to have one in my office for kids to learn the different facial expressions AND the words are under them...they get pretty high level for our lower vocab guilty, frustrated, curious, furious, etc. With those visual cues, you are not leading...because happy words are there too.... he could be asked if there are other words that help tell more about what he sees, feels, etc.
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I don't think this *is* a question of vocabulary. An abuser can be "grumpy", "angry" or "irritable"....but an abuser can just as easily be "rowdy", "laughing", "joking"...

    It is not the mood that makes one an abuser. It is the way they treat those around them. A person can spit in your face and laugh - and that is just as abusive as if they yelled angrily and called you ugly names.

    Maybe the question should be "How do you feel about X?", "How does X make you feel?", "How do you feel when you have to stay with X ? "
  6. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    The vocabulary problem comes in because X is defining his abusive behavior with minimizing words. For example, yelling. The dictionary defines yelling as "To cry out loudly, as in pain, fright, surprise, or enthusiasm." X's defines yelling to include the dictionary definition plus jumping up and down, slamming things, increase in pitch, for hours.

    Trying to tell difficult child 1 a new definition of yelling is going to take a miracle.These definitions have been abused into him for years. Even when asked what does grumpy mean he can't tell you. I only know what some of the terms mean because of my experience being abused by the same person. And the terminology is changing. I have no idea what grumpy means. It would be easier on him for the adults to redefine their view of what yelling is. But then I'd be forever telling everyone what yelling means. Ugh. I really hate this man/monster.

    I think Insanecdn is right I'll get more help if I phrase it as getting difficult child 1 help reading people. Maybe a play therapy would help us? Or role playing to define what some of the words mean.

    Buddy, I don't think the charts would be enough. Like the difference between yelling and screaming. Being angry, frustrated, and grumpy. Getting someones attention and hitting them and a spanking.

    Daisyface, I agree with you. difficult child 1 isn't to the point where he can use his own words to describe what X does. Given your example, difficult child 1 would just say that X laughs at him. Because that is what X would call it. I need to give him the words to describe the actual physical what is going on and the intensity of what is happening.

    The problem with the questions about how difficult child 1 feels is that difficult child 1 isn't always based in reality.

    Sorry, guys my brain is being taken over by my emotions on this one. I remember some of the abuse that happened to me and I'm not quite thinking clearly. Sorry if I'm rambling or repeating myself.

    I think Insanecdn is right. Now I need to e-mail the therapist and have them work on reading people. Do you have suggestions on which emotions they should work on? I'm getting caught up in memories right now and can't think. I have the ideas of : grumpy, yelling, screaming, mad, angry, frustrated, what it means to question someone, what it means to interrogate someone, rages, meltdowns, empathy, walking on eggshells, transitioning from one idea to the next, provoking, lying, telling the truth, silent name calling
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I think I understand what you are getting at. Your difficult child needs to be able to vocalize what is actually happening, not just only with X but if he faces mean people out and about - school, neighborhood, friend's homes, ect. Starting with a wider request may help naturally lead to what is going on with X. I would ask for help with something like, "I have noticed that difficult child does not have a good handle on how to describe emotions or how to deal with them. Is there some way that you can work on these with him? The world can be cruel and if there is anyone that is not treating him right, I want him to be able to recognize it and know how to ask for help. Can you work with him to make sure that he understands "personal boundaries" in physical and emotional limits? Right now he seems to accept any attention as o.k. as long as the other person says it is o.k. If another student makes fun of him and then tells him it is o.k., it was only teasing, he will accept it as being o.k. He doesn't recognize that those mean words are as harmful as they make him feel bad and lets the behavior continue. difficult child does not know the levels of abuse that other kids his age have learned. I want him to be able to know when he is being bullied and who he can go to to report it. Do you have materials that can help him with this?"

    You can also ask for help in the discussion of the "bird and the bees". "I would like to be prepared to guide difficult child through the teen years by getting a head start. What are some of the ways kids his age are prepared for the changes they are about to meet? Can you help him work through these?" Usually these topics include physical boundaries.

    He is of the age to be facing these issues so you are able to introduce the need without the suspescion at this point.
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    Insane took the words right out of my mouth.

    Here's a novel idea. Watch inappropriate TV with difficult child 1. Seriously. I saw this idea on a Lifetime TV show, and kinda implemented it into my parenting, because, hey, I'm lazy and LOVE the TV.

    Anyway, the show was "Strong Medicine" and on one episode they had this Aspie kid who the mom had brought in because he got beat up in school......again. So the receptionist, a soap opera fan, clicked into it and used the soaps to teach the kid to recognize body language associated with emotions, and then the proper responses. The logic was, that on soaps, the acting is exaggerated, so easier to identify. I assume once the kid got the hang of it from soaps, move on to something more subtle.

    So, start doing play-by-plays of what's going on on TV. Oh, Tom must be REALLY angry to hit Jerry with that frying pan. In real life, that is so wrong - ppl go to jail for that. Whatever he's watching, find the connections and comment. For this specific situation, I'd be emphasizing behavior more than emotion, because yeah, X could be happy and enjoying himself while being abusive so it gets more confusing. Evening news comes on? Oh my word! That mother hit her son with a belt. WOW! they arrested her too! Hope she goes to jail for a VERY long time. Be loud and and EXAGGERATE your disapproval and your thoughts of how to resolve things or what judicial results may be.

    difficult child 1 needs this skill yesterday to protect himself, but he will also need it for his future.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We have one of those marvellous emotion face charts. difficult child 3 never looks at it.

    Something his aide did for him in mainstream that worked, though, was a clock face (the home made sort, made out of cardboard) with emotions drawn on it (pictures of "angry", "sad", "happy", "bored" and so on) and one 'hand' or pointer so the child can choose ht emotion he is feeling, and express it non-verbally. Encourage the child to move the pointer to how he feels. Use the word on the chart as well as an image, so he can learn to associated the image with the word. And I would use "grumpy", but also have a couple of grades such as "angry", "furious" and "annoyed". He needs to learn the different grades of "grumpy" as X defined it. If he is using the chart himself, to describe how he feels, I'm betting there are times he wants to slam things around. Teach him that there is another label. "Grumpy" is still valid, but now he is older there are more accurate descriptions within the "grumpy" category.

    This way he is not being asked to overturn all the previous stuff, because tat would be confusing, conflicting and in some way asking him to deny his experiences and loyalties (however misguided). But it could be the beginning of helping him to see a broader perspective on what he already understands.