Newbie here

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by hmiller71, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. hmiller71

    hmiller71 New Member

    Hello all -

    I am feeling as though the ground is being pulled out from underneath me by my son. He is in my face, shouting, threatening on a daily basis. He won't get out of bed until the last possible minute, which has made me late for work repeatedly. I even switched my hours at work to a later start time to help with the problem. I feel like every consequence I give him for his disrespectful behavior just gets thrown back in my face. He doesn't give a ****. He belittles my parenting, complaining that I do not punish my daughter like I do him.

    His dad and I divorced long ago when he was a toddler. Dad doesn't think therapy is helping, that it is just a waste of time. DS goes with dad every other weekend. I think I can't imagine not going to therapy. What else am I supposed to do? I fear that someday he is going to snap in anger and do something terrible.

    No trouble yet this school year at school...other than failing several classes. He refuses to turn in homework. Sometimes he doesn't do it, other times just doesn't turn it in. I don't know what else to do.

    Any advice would be great - also what does "difficult child" stand for?
  2. compassion

    compassion Member

    Welcome!!!! difficult child is gift from God.
    Staqbilizaiton on medications helped alot with the rages. Is your son on medications?
    Reading all I could about BiPolar (BP) helped a lot.l Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foujdation (online) helps a lot.
    Keep comin gback. Hang in there. Take care of yourself. That is most impoerant. Get anough rest, get support for YOU. Compassion
  3. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    So glad you found the board here, and Welcome!!

    There are so many of us on here that can completely relate to what you are going through. Adding hormones onto the other issues that our difficult child have adds a conciderable weight on our parenting shoulders.

    Is he taking any kind of medications right now? My son has did so much better since we where able to start him on his medications. It has made such a difference. Try to get him evaluated and on some kind of medications as soon as you can.

    You will find a great deal of seasoned advice from others on the board here who have been coping with thier difficult child and thier issues for much longer than I have been. Lots of good advice and above all care and understanding. It makes all the difference to know there are others who know and understand what our days are like.

    again welcome and nice to meet you
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi and welcome! Glad you found us.

    Here's a link to the abbreviations If you go down to the bottom right of the screen, you'll see "Forum Jump" If you click on FAQ/Board Help, you'll see bring up some helpful topics to help you out with- the board.

    Is he on any medications/seeing a psychiatrist (psychiatrist)? Has the therapist been a help in terms of how to deal with- the behaviors?

    Does he treat dex the same way?

    I would let school take care of school issues. I don't think 14 is too young for him to start learning natural consequences - you don't do the work or turn it in, you don't pass. Now this goes against every grain in my motherly body, but it really boils down to the fact that there is no way you can *make* him do the work or turn it in. You have to pick your battles.

    What would happen if you left the house at your scheduled time, regardless of whether he is ready or not? Some kids you can do that with - personally I wouldn't have done it with- my kid because the house probably wouldn't have been standing when I got home, but... it might be worth a try. He *doesn't* rule your world, in spite of what he may think.

    What kind of consequences do you give for "disrespectful behavior"? Are you consequencing *every* infraction? I would strongly recommend "The Explosive Child" - and I'm not a fan of self-help books. This one gives good insight into the thinking of the explosive kid, as well as advocates not tackling all the behaviors at one time. You pick out a couple or 3 that are your priority and address those head on, but you let the lesser stuff slide for the moment. In our house, violence was always the #1 issue. He could call me every name in the book, defy me 24/7, but threatening and/or violence was addressed each and every time. You have to pace yourself. ;)

    I think the other important thing is maintaining a calm exterior. I used to be a screamer but when I yelled at my son, in his eyes he won because I "lost" it. When I quit yelling, things became slightly better because I retained control and he wasn't able to push my buttons (at least, not that he could tell ;) ).

    And lastly, consistency. Hardest thing for me to do was be consistent because quite frankly there were some days I just didn't think I had the energy to do it all over again. But I think it's really important to be consistent 24/7.

    If your daughter is scared of him and if violence is possible, it's a smart idea to have a safety plan in place. Somewhere your daughter can go when he's escalating - your room, her room, a neighbor's.

    Just some thoughts. ;) Again, welcome.
  5. hmiller71

    hmiller71 New Member

    Finally getting a chance to read your replies. Some days are crazier than others!

    difficult child is on medications, same cocktail since hospitalization three years ago (lithium, concerta, fluoxetine). I have seen a shift in his attitude the last two days, which makes me think that I need to be paying attention to the subtle signs that show when things are going to slide downhill and when things are going to improve.

    Had a therapy appointment this week and discussed grades. I told him that he is old enough and knows what he needs to do without me micromanaging his work. I will ask how school is going, I will check grades online, but I will not harp on him about completing work. Natural consequences will follow. DEX will most likely disagree with this approach, but I feel it is best.

    difficult child does treat DEX with respect, most of the time. However when he was spending more time there, he would behave in the same manner with DEX. I will work with my daughter on a safety plan for her. Her room with the door locked would be a good spot. Sometimes when he is escalating, she is contributing to the problem (yelling back). I need to work on my reaction as well, as I can tend to be a bit of a yeller in response. It is hard not to yell when he is calling me some of the worst names in the book. But I do see that by yelling, things escalate further than if I quietly go about my business.

    Thank you so much for your replies. I will be soaking up knowledge from you all. Here's to a peaceful day tomorrow...
  6. compassion

    compassion Member

    Hi, My difficult child is 16 and really does need to help chucking down her schoolwork and other stuff. It really is a focus issue. Compassion
  7. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Just a couple of thoughts.... I agree about not taking on the school battles while things are unstable. You are having to fight too many battles at once.

    About the yelling.... For years, my difficult child and I would go through the circular exchange, with me telling her not to yell at me, her arguing that she wasn't yelling, and then the two of us getting into an argument about how to define yelling. Looking back, I can't believe I spent so much time trying to explain the obvious. It was a ridiculous conversation, which very successfully helped her avoid the real issue. A response a friend suggested to me, which worked very well many times, was, "I can discuss this with you when your voice is as calm as mine. [Protest would follow.] Your voice is not as calm as mine. When your voice is as calm as mine, I will be able to talk with you." That one gave no room to argue about how loud was acceptable and what exactly constituted "yelling." Also, my repetitive response frequently led her to walk away in frustration.

    I've also used, "I'm too upset to talk with you about this right now. I need to discuss this later." This would invariably be answered with a furious, yelling, "SO WHEN CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS???" I'd pick a time, several hours ahead. "I'll discuss this with you at 6:00 this evening." This would many times leave her stunned but quiet. For some things, I might say, "This subject really upsets me, and so I think all I can do is discuss it for 15 minutes." Sometimes, I'd even set a timer. Another line I've used is, "I love you too much to argue with you." I think many of these lines are from the "Love and Logic" series of books. Honestly, however, I don't know the source of many of the lines, but I know I've read them here and there. My apologies for not giving credit. For the most part, the lines are not original ideas of mine.

    My dad is deceased. In going through a collection of "sayings" I found filed away, which he had saved, I found, "The more certain we are about our limits and our rights to have them, the softer we'll speak. When we're serious, people know we mean business no matter how loudly--or softly--we talk." I have many quotes like this stuck to an "encouragement" bulletin board I have behind the door in my personal bathroom. My purpose in having this board is not to be in anybody's face, but to re-read some of these ideas daily to try to help program my thinking and be prepared with more appropriate responses. That's why I have it in a private place. It's really helped me.

    Also on my board is "Trying to reason with an oppositional child during an oppositional episode is like trying to reason with an alcoholic when he is drunk." I think this one came out the book, "The Defiant Child."

    On the safety plan, I finally got to the point of having deadbolts on the doors of my bedroom and my 8 year-old child's bedroom. She, too, got to the point of being afraid of difficult child. I taught her to go to one of these rooms and flip the deadbolt whenever she became afraid. I was the only one with the key, and I frequently kept it on my body. I also did my best to keep the two children in separate areas of the house most of the time. I did that by encouraging my 8-year-old to play in my bedroom instead of hers whenever she wanted to, as well as buying a separate computer for my 8-year-old to take to my bedroom and use, when she wanted some computer time (a laptop). This kept down disputes over whose turn it was on the computer. I think any reasonable ideas you can come up with to help keep the two more often separated will head off trouble.
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just wanted to add my welcome-you've already received lots of good advice. Glad you found us, you really have found a soft place to land with lots of support.
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    About the medications: You really need to know for sure if bipolar is at work here. Both stimulants (like Concerta) and SSRI antidepressants (like Fluoxetine) can make kids with BiPolar (BP) much worse, in fact create the disrespectful behavior you're describing. Lithium can't work its magic as a mood stabilizer with medications like Concerta and Fluoxetine destabilizing the BiPolar (BP) child. You might want to seek a second opinion with a child/adolescent psychiatrist skilled in treating BiPolar (BP). You might also want to have your child evaluated by a neuropsychologist to see what is really at work here.

    Neuropsychologists can be at children's and university teaching hospitals. Your pediatrician, current psychiatrist or therapist may also have some recommendations for you.

    I also recommend checking out the Treatment Guidelines for treating children for bipolar disorder on the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation website at this link:

    Welcome! I hope you find a lot of support here.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I second smallworld on making sure it's really BiPolar (BP).

    The raging and mood swings, you can also get with high functioning autism in its various forms, simply because these kids, especially as they get older, are very hard on themselves as well as on the world, for not being fair. To these kids, life seems very unfair andsometimes this is deeply distressing and they can be very depressed. At other times, especially when they're doing something they really enjoy, they can seem almost manic in their delight.

    We get the raging, big-time, but have found methods which help tone it down. Most of the time. The big problem (cause?) of the raging for us, is the inability for him to learn the social subtleties of human interactions. He cannot understand, for example, that you treat different people in different ways according to how old they are, whether they are authority figures or not, and so on. He will treat a 6 month old baby as if the baby is his intellectual equal. He would treat his teachers the same. If a teacher were rude or sarcastic to him, he would be rude or sarcastic back, then consider it very unfair to be punished for it. He really did not (still does not properly) understand.

    We had to change tack. Change mindset, I call it. we had to take the first step and treat him with respect, even when he was being disrespectful. How else can he learn (by our example) the right way to behave?

    If you think about it, adults do treat children with appalling disrespect, at times. it is part of being an adult. But we get better results if we treat children with respect.

    Other things you need to consider - if there's any chance this is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (and the ADHD is a possibly indicator) you need to avoid using sarcasm, even if you're using it with humour. It can confuse them. Even the really bright kids, and I've got a family full of bright kids who have had difficulty understanding sarcasm. difficult child 3 for years has been studying humour with the same intense concentration of a PhD History student. It's odd to see him so serious about humour!

    To give a thought to the possibility of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), have a look at the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on It's not officially diagnostic, but you can print the rsults (whatever you get) and take it to a specialist for their opinion. If nothing else, it will indicate the areas of concern to you that you might not otherwise have thought to mention.

    There is no certainty in diagnosis, a lot of the time, because there is no specific test we can do (like a blood test) which says, "Your child falls into this category." All we can do is the best we can, with what information and support we can get. You shouldn't beat yourself up for not having all the answers.

    People here will suggest a neuropsychologist evaluation to really find out for sure. Also there are books which help. Loads of advice here simply because your story is so familiar.

    Hang around, let us know how you get on.

  11. Jeppy

    Jeppy New Member

    Marguerite wrote, "He cannot understand, for example, that you treat different people in different ways according to how old they are, whether they are authority figures or not, and so on."

    I haven't heard this before, but it makes so much sense. When the therapist asked my son why he kicked me recently he said that he and his friends kick each other and horse around and it's not a problem.

    Newbie, how does your son interact with his peers? Do they roughhouse a lot so he maybe thinks he can act that way with his sister or others?