parenting a difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by jannie, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    I am constantly overwhelmed at how hard it is to be a parent. I have never worked so hard at anything and still continued to struggle :hammer:( I guess we all now know what it is like to have a learning disability )

    Both of my kids are challenging so I really don't know what it is like to parent a typical kid. For those of you who have "real" easy child' it still really that hard???? How is it that is seems easy for many..or that it seems so easy to assist them with their troubles...

    Also, I just don't understand the can't/won't mentality. My older child gets so locked into his idea that he won't budge. If I push it, it can turn into anger. Asking him to read (he's always been above grade level, however recently grades are going down)or even brush his teeth can often turn into a major power struggle. His current doctor says to be understanding.... :mad:..give me a break !!!! He should just do what is asked of him.. difficult child can be running around having a great time and when I call him to come in he falls apart...just two minutes ago he was having fun..

    My older child is usually sooo good at school...people think I am crazy when I mention how challenging he can be at home. All he wants to do in school is please and say the right things..he comes home and he is a different child. :hammer: Of course, there are many examples of wonderful things that he does, it's just sometimes things are so hectic.

    Thanks for letting me vent...

    I would be so embarressed if others actually saw all that went on in my home. :whew:
  2. moonangel

    moonangel New Member

    I have three children one my oldest never gave me a moments trouble but trying to balance out what she feels is fare treatment of her and the boys well that is totally not fun she doesn't understand that they are all different and that each one has to be treated indivially they cant be treated as a group. So I think parenting is a hard job with easy child or with difficult child. Everyday at my house is also a struggle so i know what you are talking about and often it seems there is noone to turn to. Until today I was beginning to think I needed medications maybe i was crazy then i found this forum and found out there are other parents who also struggle from day to day.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Jannie, I never thought parenting would be so challenging either, but honestly, it's the hardest job I've ever had.

    I've had to adjust my expectations. My nearly 14-year-old son doesn't brush his teeth or take a shower regularly, doesn't read a book or do his homework without major help from his dad. I don't for a minute believe he will do these things because I ask him to. He needs to "buy in," and by that, I don't mean earn a reward for doing these things. What I do mean is that he needs to understand for himself why it's important for him to brush his teeth or do his homework. And a lot of the time, he just doesn't see the importance of things we, his parents, think are important. So we put it in Basket B or C (per Ross Greene of The Explosive Child fame) and don't argue about it because in the whole scheme of things it's just not that important.

    My son has been diagnosed with a chronic depression of moderate to severe intensity (with a rule-out on BiPolar (BP) because it's too soon to tell how he will be after puberty). He's not all that motivated to do much of anything (although baseball, computer games and certain movies do capture his attention). I strongly believe his lack of motivation is tied to his depression, and when the combo of medications, therapeutic interventions and post-puberty kick in, we hope to see better motivation. Our podc says that once depressed adolescents reach 15 or 16, they generally improve. We have a few more years to go, but I'm hopeful our psychiatrist is right.

    medications have made somewhat of a difference in my son's life already. He is no longer raging nightly, he goes to school willingly every morning, and he is generally more pleasant to be around. It sounds to me as if your difficult child needs to have his medications looked at. Perhaps that small dose of Abilify isn't doing enough.

    I know it's hard. Hang in there.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    No child is easy, but most kids who don't have disorders are reasonable, usually don't lie that much, do their homework (sometimes trying to get out of it), don't break the law for the most part (may try shoplifting, although only one of my five did), don't get so angry that they hit people, don't flip out if you say they can't have a cookie before dinner, show respect most of the time, respond to consequences, learn from mistakes, etc. Everything kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), bipolar, etc. don't seem to "get." Of course, some "easy" kids become problems during the teen years. One of my easy kids turned to drugs, which was horrible, and she was anything but a easy child for about four years. But rather than sticking with her destructive lifestyle, once we made her leave home, she didn't sink or end up in jail.She quit using drugs and is now a productive member of society and my best friend. She was able to decide for herself to turn it around and didn't need medication either. This is broadbased, but it's my observation and opinion.
    Question: Has your older, rigid child ever seen a neuropsychologist to rule out Aspergers?
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Just wanted to add: When it's time for my kids to come in and they don't want to, I ask, "What's the last thing you want to do before you come in?" That question prompts them to come up with an agreement that is acceptable to both them and me. I have used this technique with much success since they were little kids playing on the playground. Hope it works with your kids.
  6. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    I never dreamed being a parent would be so hard. My two kids are so totally polar opposites. easy child is so totally social, she wants to go and be around people ALL the time; she absolutely loves school can't wait to get back to school TODAY even though easter break isn't over yet; does most of what you ask her without a fight, and even when she doesn't want to she'll do it all the while she's grumbling; so empathetic it's almost too much, she cried when she sess movies like 8 Below, at the age of 3 when I was sick she would bring me her blankie, stuffie and kleenex so I'd feel better. difficult child doesn't miss being around people, he has friends but if they don't call for a week I don't think he notices, HATES school and anything that entails and I cringe when I get a phone call from school still; anything I ask is too much and if pushed can end in a big fight and he still doesn't do it; can be so oblivious to others and what they go through, it's almost too much LOL.

    The biggest difference to difficult child and easy child is the discipline. When easy child does something, it pretty much takes one night of no TV and she learns from it. difficult child I could take away everything he has for a month and it would have little impact on him. Then difficult child remembers the times I disciplined him and how much he would lose or how often I would send him to his room, and feels I'm favoring her since she never gets the same as he used to. Well, she learns from a 5 minute time out, difficult child would argue and fight and gain more and more time in time out and lose more priviledges and wouldn't stop until 2 hours past, and he still wouldn't get it. Of course now I realize he would have no way of getting it back then, but 20/20 hindsight. To him it's still not fair, and I just tell him now that life isn't always fair.
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    Parenting, under the best of circumstances is challenging - throw in difficult child issues & it becomes confusing, frustrating, exhausting, etc, etc, etc. Yet we still love our "little wonders".

    The tweedles have brought me to my knees more than I care to admit. For me, it's a day to day, hour to hour & sometimes minute to minute mode.

    I do my very best to look for any/all positives among all the negatives that my kt & wm bring into my life. I need to find a reason to smile - even laugh on a daily basis.

    Yup, parenting our children can be never ending - but when I see that "light bulb" moment I'm ecstatic.
  8. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Thanks all--

    I do have an appointment with p-doctor for my older son on Wed. to discuss medication. I took him off the low dosage of abilify about 10 days ago and so far he is actually doing better...I'm hoping the increased anxiety is possibly due to the medication.

    He has not had neuropsychologist testing, but it is definately not aspergers. He easily inferences and makes connections. His problem solving skills (aside from self-regulating his own feelings) are very strong. His social skills are strong. I believe that it is his anxiety that has been taking over and causing him to be so rigid. He is bright and things always came very easy to him...however now that he is getting older and things are harder he is having a hard time staying on task and sticking with challenging tasks. He would rather give up than work really hard...He deals with his frustrations at school but when he gets home he has just had it and falls apart !!! I'm actually more concerned that he is having more and more difficulties with writing and possibly with reading comprehension so this is frustrating to him. I've always questioned a gt/Learning Disability (LD) situation, but has always had outstanding report cards. It's just thing year that his grades are dropping. Also hunger and sleep play a major role in his frustration level. Sometimes I wonder if there is such a thing as food rages??

    Also dealing with difficult child has also played a role...he gets tired of difficult child bothering him and he is reacting quicker and with more hitting :mad: I've had both of my boys together in therapy together to discuss the need to get along and better ways to deal with frustration. I think it is helping.

    I'm certain that all of our hard parenting will pay off !!!! It isn't right that we now live our life so frustrated and stressed....and if we are so frustrated imagine how our kids feel.
  9. Bugsy

    Bugsy New Member

    Hi Jannie,

    Oh Boy am I with you on never thinking it would ever be this hard.
    I have said many times that people need to understand that when each couple lays down that moment and plan to have a baby we all say things like: "Maybe he/she will be a doctor, an actress, a football player" and things like "I hope he/she has your eyes dear. Oh honey I hope he/she is bright like you, etc"

    NOONE ever says, "Hey babe let's shoot for a messed up baby. You the kind that will be in therapy for most of his/her life and on medications that does gosh knows what to their developing brain. And you know babe, maybe we could have a child that gets violent and down right ugly. That might add excitment to each day."

    I am sorry that things are stressful. We are going through severe March Madness. We have even thought of possibly hospitalizing. The doctor has been in touch with us every day or so and even called today. We have an appointment on Monday.
    We are going to start changing medications AGAIN. Things are so out of control that I plan on resigning on Monday.

    Some how, some way things will get better. I believe that if we keep trying, researching and can keep some support, things have to get better. Don't they?

    Anyway, you are in my thoughts. If you want to give a call I always like to chat. If I can I will try to call.

    Bugsy's Mom
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    so I really don't know what it is like to parent a typical kid. For those of you who have "real" easy child' it still really that hard????

    Our daughter is easy child. She had a few "moments" during her Terrible Threes (not Twos) but other than being high energy and a chatterbox, she's literally perfect. The exhausting part has always been keeping up with-her and trying to work at the same time. I gave up a full night's sleep the min. I got pregnant. Haven't slept since.
    Being a parent takes every ounce of energy we have. But raising a easy child makes up for it with-all the joys and laughter.
    Being the parent of a difficult child has far fewer joys and much less laughter. I am learning to expand the joys in my mind, to exaggerate and hold on to them.
  11. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your subject line brought to mind a conversation that I just had with a close friend. husband and I are very close to two other couples with children the same age as our girls (18 and 21). The husband of one of the couples remarked at our last get-together that he was so glad that he was done with parenting. I found that odd and said, “but you’ll always be their father.” “True,” he replied, “but that is a lot different than having to parent a child. I just want to be the father who loves them and watches their lives unfold but I am glad that I am done with having to raise them. From here on, they are on their own in that respect.”

    I have thought about that a lot since then. Your children are very young so you are years away from this point but it’s nice to know that the day will come. All three couples have a difficult child and a easy child so it’s not that we are just tired of having to deal with difficult children. We are all just ready to move on to another phase of our lives ~ parents that don’t have to parent anymore.

    by the way, I don’t think either difficult children or easy child’s are easy to raise.

  12. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    For me, the worst thing about parenting (a difficult child) is the feeling of guilt...

    You know, right after I wish I could run away...

    Sometimes it's just so hard I feel like I can't get through just one. more. day.

    Thankfully, there are still times where I can snuggle up with her and just kiss her to death. And nothing feels better than that.
  13. lordhelpme

    lordhelpme New Member

    i thought having twins would be hard but to be honest it had/has its challenges but is ok. what is hard is the difficult child moments with-my son and the hardest is dealing with-the system. my heartbreak is thinking of my difficult children future compared to his sisters. my brite shinging star is starting to fizzle at 6 yrs old. if it weren't for my beautiful(inside and out) easy child i might just dislike parenting at the moment.
  14. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    I know I can speak for some parents who actually thank their difficult children for being a catalyst for tremendous emotional growth and learning and of course the special cyber family here. The kid has made me aware of my self , the need to be more in control of my emotions and learn to influence through ' working with , inspiring a kid, reaching out to him from the back door and not using 'power' or doing to him. For my kid to be a good problem solver and thinking child , he needed me to be a thinking parent and good problem solver , I have learned to connect , bond , use dialog questions to help him come to the conclusions , I have earned his trust and he sees me as a help. You don't parent , but need to become a friend , an older brother or sister, you need to talk and chat , they will then see you are also a person.
    You have to go with the ' flow', it means lowering the rope , avoid saying no , reaching understandings etc , not easy and takes lots of practice. Alfie Kohn says - Discipline is the problem not the solution , we have to be more compatible, make the atmosphere more relaxed , in fact be the thermostat for our kids and help them relax and calm down.
    The truth is that we can make it so much harder than it is . The first step is to try and relax the atmosphere and avoid confrontations. In most cases it is ignoring the advice of trying to get back control
  15. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    Hi Nomad. Gotta chime in with a big AMEN! Regardless of the "time period", its always hard to raise a difficult child (I'm sure). These days, though, we get hit with the triple whammy: (a) more things to distract, damage, or otherwise hurt our kids; (b) less support in the primary home (usually two working parents or single parent), and (c) lack of extended support from family, friends, and community.

    I remember growing up that it wasn't uncommon for the old lady across the street to grab a switch and tan my hide for throwing a rocks at cars. Friends of mine with problems had aunts, uncles, and grandparents to pitch in to help - either help their parents, help with them (the kids), or help support and reinforce the actions of their parents.

    There was a time when "community" meant something. Not anymore.

    No doubt about it, it's harder today than ever. I think it's probably harder to raise a "normal" teen these days (is there such a thing?) as it was to raise a difficult child when I was a kid.

    On the flip side, I think there's more hope now for those of us with difficult child's but finding and actually getting the help we need can be quite a challenge.

    Nothing to offer than to chime in and agree.

  16. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    Allan, I must agree with you here. This is the only approach that resulted in any positive changes in my relationship with my son. It doesn't work for everyone, though, and I'm still prepared to do what's necessary to preserve the remainder of my family (even if my difficult child eventually chooses to separate himself from us by his actions). But so far, what you describe has paid off for us. Hopefully, it will continue to do so.

    Haven't heard of Alfie Kohn - who is he?

  17. neednewtechnique

    neednewtechnique New Member

    One thing to remember, having a difficult child in the house will change EVERYTHING, including the nature of your "true" easy child's. Number one, they will have issues with the amount of attention given to the difficult child, and number two, they will always notice that they are treated "differently" than their brother or sister. In addition, I have found with my easy child's (ages 3 and 5) that they are in need of counseling to deal with the way they are TREATED by their difficult child brother or sister, which will almost definitely affect their confidence and self esteem.

    I USED to know what it was like to have easy child's, until our difficult child moved in a few months ago, and since then, things have plummetted. In addition to the things I mentioned above, my easy child's are dealing with the WHOLE CHANGE of having another sibling in the home, which BY ITSELF even if the NEW sibling is a easy child, can change things DRASTICALLY!!!
  18. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    For me Alfie Kohn is one of the most exiting and stimulating authors in the educational , parenting and business motivation field. He rounds off my parenting approach - working with / problem solving etc helping parents to get kids to focus on the values , consequences for others of their actions , rather than a what's in it for me . he has written many books and articles.
    He isd a guest speaker at the annual ' Explosive child - Ross Greene conference. His books are a perfect companion to the explosive child.

    Fourth Annual FCBC Conference, on October 27th, 2007.


    Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community
    Shifting the paradigm from a reliance on consequences and control
    to collaborating with children to foster their social and emotional growth.
    A groundbreaking conference for parents, educators and clinicians

    Saturday, October 27th, 2007
    Sheraton Ferncroft
    Danvers, Massachusetts

    Alfie Kohn is a world-renowned author and speaker on issues related to education and parenting. He has written eleven books and numerous articles, including Unconditional Parenting, Punished By Rewards, The Schools Our Children Deserve, and Beyond Discipline. He has also been featured on numerous TV and radio programs, including the "Today" show and "Oprah." His work has helped to reshape the thinking of parents and educators.

  19. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    My oldest son is a easy child. Never gave any problems. Considerate, thnking of others feelings, never raised his voice to me (until this year and that was regarding difficult child). He is my husband's stepson, he was 3 when I met husband. easy child's father has seen him maybe once when he was a baby, and never contacted again. So..husband has been his only father and things were good then. When easy child was 11 we decided to have our "own" child. Difficult pregnancy, and husband was 43 when difficult child was born. I thought it was his age that made him so protective. Still don't know. But from that moment on, husband had stopped doing activities with easy child. Only concentrated on his child. Now that easy child is 24, I like to see the two of them together. husband can sit and they can talk so nice. husband talks to him like an adult.. which he is, but he is MY BABY, and it is hard for me to talk to him like that. Don't get me wrong, I do not treat or talk to him like a baby, just have those maternal protection issues and always worry about him getting sick or hurt.
    difficult child...from day one was a challenge, with colic, ear infections, tonsils, hearing, everything and anything. He even had a testical infection when he was about 3. Hospitalized several times due to illness. Many stitches, even ambulance ride and staples in the head. Broke his arm three years in a row. easy child never even had stitches. I asked husband if we could have another child many years ago. He said "NO WAY". I tried to explain that all children are not like difficult child. Glad we didn't. Don't think I could handle another difficult child if that is what happened.
  20. bystander

    bystander New Member

    I step-parented our first 2 kids (had them 90% of the time). They were, more or less, a breeze. We had predicatble, typical struggles of the ages ... but, looking back, we could take comfort in the fact that they knew right from wrong; and how to apply that knowledge in an appropriate way. We were confident when they went off to college and their adult lives that all would be relatively well.

    I think what is so difficult with a difficult child, at least for me anyway, was all of a sudden realizing that certain things had to be taught that should, typically, be naturally-occuring. I am blessed that my son does pick up on things very quickly if you show him what he needs to know. But I also know that most NT (easy child) kids don't need that kind of instruction. :wink: This only builds on our own anxieties. How will he/she react to this today? What about 5 years from now? How do I get him/her to come around? Can I remove this trigger - and how without making it seem obvious or disrupting to other family members/friends? Can he/she ever come around?

    When you parent NT (easy child) kids, you worry more about their friends, how they fit in socially, academics, etc. As a parent of a difficult child - you not only have those concerns; but they are magnified by how your child perceives the world <u>PLUS</u> then having to worry about how they will make it through the day without a meltdown, outbursts, conspicuous misunderstandings, etc., *you-name-its* that are just non-issues with PCs.

    My difficult child is very mild (for now). But I can completely understand what it's like to be on both sides of parenting. Parenting my difficult child has been light-years harder (and he's only 6!)