Not impossible on Purpose?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by neednewtechnique, May 7, 2007.

  1. neednewtechnique

    neednewtechnique New Member

    I have read THE Explosive Child, and something he mentions in the book got me thinking....

    He mentions that our children don't behave the way they do on PURPOSE and that they don't really WANT to behave that way, but that there are times they just can't help it....

    I tend to think that statement could be true for some children, and for the ones that it DOES hold true for, Dr. Greene's method is PERFECT. However, I am starting to doubt that our difficult child FITS into that category at all.

    And this is just me venting, and I really need some insight, I guess, into what all of this means....

    I don't buy into the theory that our children can be fully funtional everywhere else and then turn around and become totally helpless the minute they walk into their own house. Meaning, that if she is exploding at home over the STUPIDEST little things, I simply cannot blame it on her disorder when she managed to do the SAME thing FINE someplace else. For example, unattaching herself from the television to go put shoes on so we can leave to go somewhere...when I go pick her up from someplace and she has to do this, she does fine. When we are at home and I ask her to do this, she goes completely CRAZY!!! Unable to change tasks or simply doesn't want to???? :hammer:

    Also, all the claims that once they begin a meltdown, they are completely uncontrollable, I am not sure I buy that one either. See, she was at home with me one day, my mom was there and we were trying to have an IMPORTANT conversation. She was interrupting and I asked her to wait, and then she went into FULL MELTDOWN mode because I was "IGNORING HER", and started flipping out completely. Right smack in the middle of FULL MELTDOWN mode where they are supposedly not able to control themselves or their actions, she starts spouting off swearing at me, and then stops herself, mid-sentence, and CALMLY AND NICELY apologizes to MY MOTHER for swearing in front of her, and then proceeds to continue the meltdown, curse-word free until my mom leaves.

    It appears to me that, she doesn't have PROBLEMS changing activities, she just doesn't WANT to. And although I will agree that she does have problems doing her homework, she will INTENTIONALLY throw the biggest fit she can to see if we will let her out of it because she doesn't WANT to do it because it is hard for her.

    Do I think that in the midst of a tantrum she reaches a point where she loses control, sure. But I DON'T think they start out because of any "disorder" or "handicap", I think they start out becasue she simply doesn't want to do it. She has the capacity of a 2 year old in the middle of the "terrible twos" who will PREDICTABLY throw a fit ANYTIME they are asked to do something they don't WANT to do, just to see if it will get them out of it. I don't really SEE any of the "inabilities" described in the book with our difficult child, all I see is BLATANT rebellion and INTENTIONAL temper tantrums.

    I know it is a hard concept to understand why any child would do these things intentionally, because not only is everyone else miserable, but so is she...but do you think it's possible that maybe she is putting on this HUGE con, making us all think she has all these problems, when all it really boils down to is that she doesn't want to live with us and thinks that if she acts horrible enough, that we will just give up and send her away?!?!?!?!?!?!?! If so, how do you HANDLE the INTENTIONAL bad behavior and obviously, we are NOT going to give up on her and send her away...but for her to believe that, and hopefully find a way for her to enjoy living with us, we have to build a good relationship with her. But HOW do we do that when she is CONSTANTLY in trouble?!?!?!?!

    Don't get me wrong, I think that I got a LOT out of the book and still highly recommend it, but I just don't think that it fits our difficult child. I DO think that it offers a great insight into how to "pick your battles" and how prioritize...but as for how his mention of what goes into each basket, I think that using his "safety issues only, in Basket A", will just be giving our difficult child the excuse she is looking for to NOT have to do anything, and I don't buy it.

    Does anyone else feel this way about your difficult child's behavior? If so, how do you handle it?
  2. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Oh I am on the same sheet of music with ya.

    Pixie pulls the same stuff with me, but with her, it's not like she can control it anywhere but in my house. She can control it any time unless I am PRESENT. She can spend the weekend with my mom and be an absolute angel, and as soon as I show up, she flips.

    I addressed this with her psychiatric. He told me that this was part of the ODD, the saving it all for me, because I was the "safe" one. It still didn't explain why she didn't so this with anyone else, but what he said made sense.

    She has done this since she was 2, and in my opinion, too young to manipulate. It took a long LOOOONNNNG time for me to come to terms that this is just the hand I have been dealt. I don't fault her for it, but I handle each meltdown as it comes. My mom thinks I am way too lenient with Pixie, that I have too many things in my C basket. Perhaps I do. But I had almost everything in the A basket with Basset Hound. That never worked. There is a lot less stress this time around. A lot more meltdowns based on her personality, but a lot less stress.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    That's common in childhood bipolar, but it's not that the child is doing it just to make his parent's life miserable. It's because the child is holding it in and trying so hard not to make a fool of himself/herself in public that he/she explodes at home and at the safest person, the one who loves him unconditionally. This can improve alot or completely on the right medications. If you read up on early onset bipolar, you will see that this difference in behavior is described to a "t." As the child gets older and progresses, at times it becomes impossible for him or her to hold it in outside the house any longer and it can turn very hostile. All depends on the problem. In general, I agree with Dr. Greene. I don't believe kids wake up each morning thinking "I will make Mom miserable today unless she does exactly what I want." Also, ODD is rarely a stand alone diagnosis so there is usually something else triggering the ODD behavior.
  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I have learned to recognize "out of control" rages, meltdowns that are illness/disorder related & moments of outright defiance. It's pretty easy with kt.

    Having said that, whether it's a choice or related to her disorders kt's therapist is working with kt on hanging onto that part of her that is in control. Even when kt is dissociative there is still a part that can take back control. therapist is working on kt reaching for that part.

    This has been years in the making & we're finally reaching the level of using her parts (angry, sad, defiant, jealous, happy, silly, whatever) & recognizing that all those parts make up who she is. therapist wants kt to know that her "out of control" part doesn't have to take over - she can ask for help from an adult to use self calming skills.

    This past week when the crisis team was out, kt was aware enough of her distress to ask for help. She was aware that she couldn't do this herself. While she still went dissociative that part of her was aware & asked for help.

    I seem to be rambling here - sorry. I do believe there is a part of our difficult children that know & choose to make life miserable. I call it being ornery. I am also aware of the disorder/illnesses that can take over - a difficult child becomes engulfed in the very emotion they are feeling. It defines them.
  5. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Good point MWM. Makes a lot of sense. I forget from time to time that the doctor said Pixie may very well have BiPolar (BP), but is too young to diagnosis right now.
    Sigh. This stuff is tough.
  6. neednewtechnique

    neednewtechnique New Member

    That's exactly the point...I KNOW that each and EVERY time she throws a fit, she DOES NOT like the way she feels when she FINALLY DOES reach the out of control point in the meltdown. It never starts OUT being uncontrollable, but if she DISLIKES being out of control, why does she CHOOSE to get it started in the first place. Even when she IS NOT raging, she will tell us that her every intention is to make us miserable. That's why I can't figure out what's real and what's part of her con. This is what her psychiatrist was saying too, is that she feels that a lot of it right now isn't related to her disorder, it is just her being difficult on purpose. And she needs to get to know our difficult child better before she can make a decision of how to treat her.

    Maybe our difficult child is the exception to the rule, but on the same hand, we have not raised her from birth, we are stepping into her life, uninvited, at a very fragile time for a girl, and so we don't even have a built trusting relationship with her at all to work off of. Also, everything she has seen and been through has made her so tough and hardened her heart and she just has so much hate and anger that she is stone cold.
  7. kris

    kris New Member

    <span style='font-size: 11pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #000099"> as mentioned in your thread about the weekend it seems your difficult child is somewhere on the attachment spectrum. have you read anything about this disorder? i'm sure linda, who has an extensive library on the subject, can offer some suggestions. maybe PM her?

    </span> </span> </span>
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Given your difficult children age when she came to you it may be a good idea to "back off" from the parenting ideals. Just work on building trust & a feeling of safety in her life.

    You cannot undo what has been done when in bio mom's custody. It's a reality for difficult child. Is there anyway she can talk to you, husband or therapist about those chaotic times safely - with-o judgment? Just an ear?

    The stone cold part of your difficult child is a pretty common survival instinct for children from chaotic settings. You may see this for a very long time.

    In your place, I'd find a common interest with your difficult child. Nails, clothes, hair, baking cookies, gardening, riding bikes,. Whatever. Something fun you can do together - remembering that you are not replacing bio mom. You are there to help difficult child safely navigate her life.

    kt began to trust me when I stopped pushing the mom/daughter relationship & started reiterating that my job is to love her, guide her & keep her safe. This is what makes the biggest impact for kt.

    Let husband deal with the "parenting" & consequences. You are taking the brunt of GFGness. You are walking a tenuous line between just providing "room & board" for difficult child & making her a part of the family.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It can go from "controllable" to "uncontrollable" fast. A wrong look or word from somebody can send a child with poor control into the "uncontrollable" arena in a second's time. If anyone is thinking of childhood bipolar, it's a good idea to read up on it. A good book is "The Bipolar Child" by Dimitri and Janice Papalous. They address this very issue of being "good" outside, but not at home. It's a classic symptom of bipolar, at least in the beginning. With me, it became hard for me to control it outside of the house in my teen years, and my friends DID see some rages and also out-of-control behavior. Since it can get worse, and is often misdiagnosed as ODD, it's a good idea to get treatment early so that it doesn't escalate to where the child is out of control EVERYWHERE and starts getting into legal trouble. It IS an internal disorder that disrupts the control most have of their moods and impulses. And it does get worse with age if not caught and medicated correctly. I know it seems like the kids can control it, but, in my opinion, it's a mistake to assume that they can, no matter how it looks. I was there, and I know better. My guess is, if it were easy to pull back, the kid would pull back. Why would a child deliberately make himself miserable? I don't buy that it's a choice. That's such abnormal behavior, that the child has got to be sick, in some way, to behave this way, and needs help.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Right smack in the middle of FULL MELTDOWN mode where they are supposedly not able to control themselves or their actions, she starts spouting off swearing at me, and then stops herself, mid-sentence, and CALMLY AND NICELY apologizes to MY MOTHER for swearing in front of her, and then proceeds to continue the meltdown, curse-word free until my mom leaves.

    Exactly. I hear you.
  11. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    That's very profound.

    I really think Linda is dead-on.
  12. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    If I asked you to have a meltdown , it would be pretty impossible unless you were very angry, frustrated or had your buttons pushed. Your kid managed to access the fact that her G-mom was around , hold the emotional rush for a moment, and then let go. Even if we assume that there was some choice involved and the kid believes that this will further her cause, like the parent who is threatening, yelling , screaming at her kids , it is not really choosing , it is poor coping skills. It is the only way the parent knows , it is the only way the child knows and the child is also likely to lack those cognitive skills to deal with frustration. The same parent holds it in at work but when she comes home , she flips out with her kids. The parent needs guidance, skills training and empathy , so with the kid.
    Many kids manage to hold it in outside the home. This has lead to a conclusion amongst therapists that parenting is the problem , not that the child has difficulties and call for tougher , more contigent behavior modification. The view of your child will determine your strategies

  13. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    That's a very good analogy...holding it in at work then letting loose at home. That makes it very easy to relate to what our kids are doing.
  14. neednewtechnique

    neednewtechnique New Member

    I am getting MUCH APPRECIATED feedback and VERY HELPFUL information to help with my outlook on things. For starters, as mentioned, we are NOT pushing our difficult child into a "mother/daughter" relationship with me right now, and the way it has been presented to her from the beginning is that I am NOT her mother, nor do I have any intentions of trying to replace her mother, however, due to the circumstances mother is in at this point, there isn't any other options. We are very much trying to make her a part of the family, and since difficult child has not really had much of a relationship with my husband or I either one prior to moving in with us, we are trying to build a relationship with her now based on MUTUAL RESPECT rather than on LOVE. Do I love her, yes, I love her just the same as my own girls, but that is not the role that I play in her life at this point, and she knows it.

    As for the comment made about backing off the parenting ideals for a while, and working on a relationship...she has made that pretty impossible. We are not asking for a lot from her at this point...we dealt with the homework issue and other than that, the only things we really insist on at this point is that she doesn't push around the little children, that she doesn't destroy things, and we simply cannot even have a normal friendly conversation with her about the weather without a blowup, so working on a relationship at this point is pretty impossible. We almost avoid talking to her about ANYTHING because it never ends well, but we do try to teach her that if she DOES decide to have a conversationw ith us, that she is MORE than entitled to her own opinions, right or wrong, but she needs to learn to express them without putting everyone else down.

    THis is actually something that we were working on with our therapist tonight during counseling...and she told us that we simply CANNOT back off the parenting, because if we step back away from it, she will rebel as soon as we try to step back in, and a girl like her simply cannot go through her entire teenaged years without parental guidance. She told us to keep doing what we are doing, becuase she said that even if our difficult child won't let us see it, we have made HUGE amounts of progress...and she said that as unpleasant as confrontations may be, we should continue to insist that the BASKET A issues are dealt with and that we are working on teaching with BASKET B, and that in between unpleasentries, we should try to build relationships whenever an opportunity presents itself. She even felt tonight that now that we have gotten the homework issue dealt with, that it might be time to re-adjust our baskets and add a few more unpleasant behaviors to the BASKET A, and move some of the BASKET C issues into basket B. So as frustrated as I am, at least others are seeing progress. Our therapist is actually applauding our abilities to handle her, so I feel like after talking to her, we must be doing something right.

    Also, in between unpleasantness this weekend, both husband and I had an opportunity to spend a few good hours each "bonding" with her a bit. He took all the girls to the park on Sunday, and he and her got to spend some time together while the little ones ran and played. Then she desperately wanted a myspace account, so I helped her set one up and helped her pick out a layout and add her pictures to it and we had a great time...

    I guess what we are focusing on right now the most is the defiant attitude we are getting when she IS NOT melting down. Such as, telling us "I don't have to" when we ask her for something, or I asked her to please turn off her fan because the air conditioner was running, and she says "what are you going to do if I don't?" She had every intention of doing what I asked, she even said it on her way over to turn the stupid thing off, but she just simply could not do it without the backhanded comments.... I don't get it???? Don't they get enough when they ARE melting down that they would at least TRY to be nice when they are not????!!!!!!!?????!!!!
  15. neednewtechnique

    neednewtechnique New Member

    Okay, that's it, that's EXACTLY IT...I just read the post about "BiPolar (BP) kids starting and stopping meltdowns on purpose"...and that is EXACTLY what I am thinking....

    There ARE "manipulation meltdowns" and then there are full on "rage fits"...and we are having a hard time figruing out which one our difficult child has, or probably BOTH, and how to TELL THE DIFFERENCE.... that is EXACTLY what I have been trying to get to, she just said it SOOOOO much better than I did.....

    Kudos for that, as you have summed up all 3 pages of my rambling in a single paragraph!!!!