Please post your success stories...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by JJJ, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Thanks JJJ...
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My son had to go the opposite direction so I hope that doesn't discourage anyone. He was a easy child until exploding into a difficult child about 10 1/2- 11 yo.

    I'm posting though because I found this interesting- I thought about starting a thread in General last night asking for success stories (if there are any) about difficult children in legal trouble the majority of their teen years then eventually learning how and being able to live as "free" citizens when they are adults. I'm very discouraged about my son's future right now and if he'll ever be able to live outside a secure environment for any length of time.

    I guess we all get discouraged as our children go thru these things so it was very nice of you to think of sharing success stories. It can give so much hope to others.
  4. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    At age 5, my difficult child was so active and hyper that life was so hard. He could not think past the moment at hand, got in trouble in school constantly. For us, things really got worse in 2nd and third grade. He threatened to take a knife to school and stab a boy in the heart for taking his ball at recess. He was suspended and had to go to the office to be searched every morning for a week or two and have a risk assesment by the school psychologist, who gave him the additional diagnosis of Intermittent explosive disorder and told us to not let him take karate as he would be too dangerous and that he thought that difficult child would hurt us in our sleep and to hide all weapons or things that could be used as weapons. I think in 4th or 5th grade (I lose track, too many incidents) he took immodium pills to school and was bouncing the bottle around in his pocket telling the other kids that they were drugs that his gang gave him to sell. This almost warranted police involvement and the school had a manifest determination hearing and decided that his actions were a direct result of his disability (duh). He was suspended and not allowed to go on the overnight field trip. He missed so many field trips in elementary school, missed so much fun stuff. Started to hate school.

    Now he will be going into 7th grade. Last year? He went on one 3 night field trip and one 2 night field trip. I was only called once due to an incident, though he did have others the school was able to handle them. When my grandfather was passing away, he made me a salad because he said I was having a tough time. Thanks in part to his new school, he once again enjoys school and is becoming more confident and his self esteem has grown. They are enjoy him and see that he is truly a good kid at heart. When he acts up at school, they for the most part deal with it and talk it through with him. If he was in a traditional middle school? He would have been suspended I don't know how many times and most likely had police involvement also.

    He is able to see others peoples emotions (at times) and (at times) is aware of his own emotions and also aware that his medications help him. He is more in touch with his emotions, and has been working well with his therapist and psychiatrist.

    We still have bad days, lately he has been really wound up and pretty out of control, but so has life at home! It is nice to see the maturity set in, he just matures at a different rate than other kids.
  5. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I posted on here not too long ago about my difficult child#1. He was truly a demon child from the time he was born. Didn't want to cuddle, didn't want to be held. Went from that to wreaking havoc everywhere he went as soon as he was old enough to move about. We did psychologists and psychiatrists before he was 5. He spent time in a psychiatric hospital about second grade. Went and lived with his dad in third grade as I was afraid for my safety and that of younger son. Spent his teen years in and out of several different facilities. He was hell on wheels for years. When he hit 21 he seemed to mature; then he agreed to get on medication. He is now truly a joy to be around. He holds a job, is getting married October 1, and is an all around joy. A week ago at the end of a phone conversation I said, "I love you" and he actually responded by saying "I love you too." I think that's the first time he said that to me since he was about 3.
    So there definitely can be light at the end of the tunnel.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well...Tony refuses to remember Jamie as anything other than the perfect child but I know Even Jamie knows better!

    Jamie was born on the go. He was a big baby...9lbs and 24 and a half inches long. At 5 months he was already standing and he learned how to flip himself out of his crib into the laundry baskets we had to place around his crib so he didnt get hurt. Then he would start crawling all over the place. By 8 months he was walking alone. By 10 months he was running and there was no catching He was a pretty good baby though. No big problems except he was on the go until he just couldnt go anymore and fell out wherever he stopped. Once he got still, he was asleep.

    We put him in this one daycare place that just wasnt a good fit for him. It was a bunch of kids in a very tight building where they didnt take them out to run and play much. They expected them to sit and watch tv and color and play blocks or stuff like that. Well Jamie didnt do things like that well. He was a rough and tumble outdoorsy type boy. He learned to ride a 2 wheeled bike with no training wheels on his third birthday. He could hit a pitched ball at 4. No way could he stay inside. He went foolish. They tried to tell me my kid was psychotic because he couldnt sit still to watch a whole movie and he started picking the wallpaper. LOL. Thats the first time I heard ADHD.

    Pediatrician said he was classic. He was. In kindergarten down here, mental health gave ritalin to the schools and they handed the pills out there. Odd I know. He still was hyper during class though. They couldnt figure out how he learned because he wandered all around the classroom and couldnt sit for circle time or anything but he was learning. Then when we got to this time and he had to be in first grade he was just plain miserable. They had to sit in little desks with just two recesses and he couldnt understand why little boys had to sit still all day. It was just bad. But then in the middle of second grade a lightbulb went off. The ritalin finally started working well for him and he started getting what school was all about and learning became easier for him. After that, things got good for him.

    He did well over the rest of his school career. Not that there werent a few bumps. Of course, there were...he was a boy. He was normal. All kids have bumps. No kid is perfect. But he graduated, joined the Marines (which had been his goal since he was 8), got out and has a job he loves as an Animal Control Officer. He is married and has two kids. He is buying his own home. He is mostly happy. What could be better?
  7. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    My difficult child had 4 ear surgeries before the age of 4. He was 95% unintelligible when he entered K. His teacher at first recommended that we hold him back, esoecially because his birthday (tomorrow!) made him one of the youngest in his grade. He was suspended several times in 1st grade and in second grade. In second grade, the SD psychiatric said he was on the way to "anti social personality disorder" and that he was ODD.

    In 3rd grade, he was accused of assaulting his (male) teacher by kicking him in the ankle. The principal refused to let us see the teacher's foot before suspending him for a week. She also refuse to let him be in the gifted class. We owned another home in the SD so we picked him up and moved him to the other school.

    We still had issues at the new school but decided not to sweat the small stuff. We didn't care about HW and neither did the school as long as he behaved and interacted with other people (he was the type of kid who just shut down and would not deal with anyone he didn't like). We opted not to put him in gifted at that point.

    When he went into middle school, his math/science teacher was a total mismatch for him and was abusive to my son, physically and verbally. A new psychiatric evaluation indicated "Atypical personality disorder" and faulted us for not putting him on medications, even though there were none that had ever been prescribed, other than a trial of Ritalin which was ended when even the school psychiatric at the first school realized he is NOT ADD. We finally under threat of having the teacher arrested, were able to have his classes changed. He went into honors math in grade 7. He had a terrible science teacher in grade 7, who taught everything in sports metaphors (difficult child hates sports and totally tuned out to him). I had to threaten legal action to get him into honors science in grade 8. The principal told him he'd never pass. He got a 98 on the state test. He failed English all three years and barely passed social studies (he was one of 2 kids in the class of 400 who earned a perfect score on the state test, however).

    HS has been somewhat better. He is doing well in English, even earned an A+ second semester in 10th grade. It is a mixed bag, however, since he failed foreign lang due to not doing any HW all year. He barely passed his AP European history course because he refused to write papers, but he scored a 5 on the AP test and a 750 on the SAT 2. He is one of only 40 kids left in honors math and about 60 left in honors science.

    As we look forward to junior year, difficult child has friends, is on his way to being an Eagle Scout and already has next summer's job at scout camp lined up (they loved him there this year), he's taking his learner's permit test tomorrow, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't do drugs and is looking forward to college. He's promised to study for the PSAT even though he didn't study for the AP test. He even made it all the way to the second and final round of contestant selection for HS Jeopardy a while ago. He's on the chess team and is hoping to advance a seat or two this year.

    I think the saving grace for difficult child was Boy Scouts and maturity, plus the realization that his extreme intelligence pretty much allows him to accomplish what he wants without the fits and tantrums and shutdowns of his younger years. His verbal and academic skills protect him and earn him respect from his peers that he no longer cares to sacrifice by indulging in bad behavior. I only wish that he were not the Leona Helmsley of HW.

    He's not done yet, but I think he's pretty much a success story so far. Best is that he hasn't discovered girls yet!
  8. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Matt came out of the womb a total handful. Sensory issues that caused nightmares for hair cuts, hygiene (bathing regularly, changing clothing) and eating (ate about 5 things ONLY until about 7-8 years old). He threw temper tantrums from infancy that would send anyone round the bend. He would kick, hit, slap etc. He didn't respond to parent (adult in generally) guidance about behavior in any way. He refused to accept parenting in any fashion. He was loud, rude, swore and had zero respect for authority. He had no self esteem, thought himself unworthy of praise even if he did something well. You couldn't even say "good job" and he'd melt down. He hated his sister, tried to shove me down a flight of stairs when I was pregnant for his sister (he was only 6 years old) and even tried to turn the steering wheel of the car in traffic to make us crash while i was pregnant, because I forced him into the car to a counsellors appointment. I was taught by professionals by age 2-3 how to restrain him physically for our safety and his own. By age 5-6 he was too large to restrain.

    School was a nightmare and he spent grade 2 in a outpatient type treatment program sort of class with 8 students, 1 teacher and 1 counsellor full time in class room. He finished his year there with worse issues than he went in with. He was charged with assault on a student in grade 7 right at school, a week after getting caught shoplifting at a dollar store (he had $10 in his pocket but was stealing a dollar store item) when he ran away from the school yard on a lunch break. He had a racket running to steal dollar store items and re-sell them to kids in the school yard. By age 12 he had a 3 month stint in theraputic foster care after tossing a t.v. from a top bunk of a bunk bed, at his 4 year old sister (that was breaking point). He failed at returning home and ended up spending a few months with his bio dad who tossed him out on his behind on a greyhound bus with one small bag and a one way ticket back to my city to live with his grandmother. That lasted about 6-7 months until he drove her nuts and she got physical with him, a total nightmare. While he was out of the house he crank called me at home, told others I was a crack addicted prostitute who had abused him his whole life and all kinds of other lunacy. He was running out of places to turn, his next resort was going into a group home as a young offender with nobody willing/capable of taking him back into a family home upon release, therefore foster care long term.

    He was told by me to face his own consequences, otherwise buck up and earn the right to come back home and be a true part of this family. It took a while and he was digging a bigger hole. Then he realized I wasn't going to save him from his own crazy behaviors, that I was here for him but he needed to join the team of us willing to help him and it was up to him to do the work. I was never living like that again and he could go to a young offender lock up or get his act together and deserve to be back in the folds so to speak.

    Literally overnight (after he finally realized this WAS his eventual path if he didn't do something QUICK), it was all over with. He has not had a major problem since. For the past 4 years he's been back home with me. He is respectful to me, S/O and treats his sister well. he participates in family events. He attends school. He has no more loser friends. He is making future plans for college. He is dreaming of his life and setting a high bar for himself. He responds as a teen should to parenting and guidance. His anger and attitude just deflated like a balloon. And suddenly he's this charming young man with the chance at a future I never imagined possible (nobody did really, we knew he COULD but it seemed for most of his life, that he wouldn't). He laughs and enjoys interacting with us. He values family dinners together at the table (Scolds me actually if I want to eat on the fly). He takes his 11 year old sister to the basketball court to teach her new moves, even if his friends are going and it isn't the "cool" thing to do. And nobody, I mean nobody, better give him a hard time or make her feel she has no right to hang out there if he asks her along. He was smoking pot and drinking when he was living with his dad and then grandmother. he has done neither since moving home, but for one time and I busted him right good and after the fall out of that one had faded, he laughingly told me he learned quick that night that he wouldn't be pulling wool over this moms eyes (and he was right lol).

    He's still very typical teen in many ways. He LIVES in his bedroom (AKA. The Bat Cave as I call it). His bedroom is a PIGSTY and it can take weeks to get him to clean it. He has zero organizational skills so his room isn't ever tidy even after he "cleans" it. He doesn't want any input on what to choose for post secondary schooling. He thinks he can breeze his way through school and hates that it requires more of him than he wants to give. He does NOT clean up around the house or contribute to chores. It could drive me nuts if I let it. But I don't. I've told him that one day he'll hate being in a pigsty, probably when he's paying the rent and its his own belongings looking nasty and getting damaged. He knows I hate that he won't contribute to chores but that if I DO ask him to do something, it isn't optional. Period. (I stick to having him bring groceries into the house when I shop, cleaning HIS cats litterbox and feeding and watering his cat, and never leaving a mess in common areas so pick up after yourself in bathroom and living room).

    Overall? He's a terrific young man and I he can even take my breath away at times with his confidence and poise and goal setting and depth of his interests and knowledge that allow him to interact with adults so well that they forget hes still only 17 year old. My aunt told me after our last family get together that she cried a bit afterwards. She had called her daughter, my cousin, in England and told her about our family gathering and a long conversation she had enjoyed with my Matt. And she was so stunned by him that she literally felt that he was this wise old man in this 6'3" lanky teenage body. She said she hadn't ever felt so proud of a family member and she regretted not telling Matt himself how amazing she sees him becoming. That she told ME completely made this loooooong journey of Raising Matt (see how that seems like a title? lol) worthwhile. All we ever really want for our kids is to see them grow into adults who are capable of being good people, sharing our values, wanting a good life for themselves, appreciating their family and being someone that siblings can look up to, etc. And it took a heck of a crazy ride to get us to this point and I didn't see this ever being the result, yet here we are. And it wasn't counselling, psychiatric doctors, medications, mediation, special programs or classes, punishments or rewards, etc that made the difference for him in the end. In the end, he did this himself. It really does happen.

    First I conquer "The Boy Child" (My pet nickname for him) .... Next .... The World ;) lol
  9. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I think you have to decide what success means to you.
    To me success is difficult child being an independent, tax paying, law abiding adult with the life he wants to have.
    We haven't had that success yet.
    He has improved his behavior, so success is there but we aren't where we had hoped.
  10. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Fran -

    You are absolutely right. My oldest son, whom I don't consider a difficult child, is a mild Aspie due to complication of lead poisoning. I guess he's not a true Aspie but it's the closest diagnosis anyone has ever come up with. I considered it a minor success to get him a HS diploma even though he had to go to an alternative school to do so. I considered it a minor success that he's managed to earn 14 college credits in 4 semesters, but I pulled the financial plug this past semester. He's now working 2 part-time jobs. I consider it a major success that he has not yet impregnated his girlfriend, that they diligently use birth control and that they have told me they will terminate any pregnancy that might result from an accident. I consider it a major success that he took and passed a civil service test and may get a good union job in a couple of years. However, by my own standards, I don't consider this child with an IQ of 135 a success yet because he is not internally motivated to succeed. Maybe that will come with added maturity. At least now that he is earning money of his own he is becoming a LITTLE more fiscally responsible. Not all of his money is rushing through his fingers the first day he has it.

    difficult child will likely be more successful in the traditional sense since he has the capacity to do college and hold down a well-paying job, self supporting job. OB delivers food for a restaurant and "manages" a motorcycle shop owned by a family friend.
  11. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Check back in 10 years....I'll let you know how the story ends.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member


    Good one, Shari!
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It is really important to take notes, to videorecord, all the moments, good and bad. All the stuff you would perhaps do anyway, only more so.

    When difficult child 3 had a TV interview late last year, they asked us to old images and footage of him. It was interesting to dig out videotapes rapidly degrading and try to rescue them. We just handed them over in faith and they transferred it all for us, what they could get.

    Watching what they chose to screen - there was very little, but it had been chosen with care. It reminded us that what we had was a kid who lived with patterns. If none existed, he created them. He would walk in circles, round and round. He would line toys up. He talked "in scribble" as his little sister described the jargon speech and echolalia.

    Then after the screening, they sent us all the footage including all the old videos. And when we looked at it all, the tears flowed. We looked at the footage of our obviously autistic problem child who we were told would never attend a normal school; would never be able to live independently; was only able to learn the basics parrot-fashion and only had the semblance of intelligence and not the real thing (we were told). Ad we listened to the footage of difficult child 3 being interviewed, in a room on his own (I could hear, but our cottage is tiny, I was unable to be in there with him) and listening to difficult child 3's considered answers to abstract questions I would never have dared ask - "How do you think it has been for your parents, raising a child with autism?" and he answered finally, "It must have been like hugging a cactus."

    He's still got a lot of problems, but is growing up into a remarkable, highly moral young man. He has difficulty getting started on tasks, but once he gets going, he sticks at it strongly and has surprising capability. Each year brings more brain maturity and a greater ability to understand the more abstract concepts.

    The others - difficult child 1 is now a married man, with an apprenticeship which hopefully will see him well along a lifelong career path. He still needs more maturity, including in his marriage, but is careful of his wife's need for moral support and comfort when she is feeling anxious.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 is also now married and doing her utmost to manage her own career path. She needs a little more support still, but is learning a great deal all the time about how to look after herself and her relationships with others. The confidence in all of them has grown amazingly.

    With both boys, we were told that we would have the responsibility of them, lifelong. But we now understand that while with most people, the brain reaches maturity at 25, it simply takes longer in or boys. But they WILL get there.

    There is hope. But you do have to keep working at it, and acknowledge that the kids also have a lot of work to put in and need to be supported through this.

    It does vary depending on what the child is dealing with, but you can have hope.

    And if, after all you have done, things still aren't perfect, just think of how things would have been if you had not tried to do anything. At least your child has had a better outcome to this stage. And who knows what the future will bring?

  14. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    svengandhi, I understand completely. When difficult child graduated high school in the bottom 20 of his class of hundreds, there was not a happier, prouder parent in that stadium. To me, it was a huge success. Now we build on that and keep moving farther up the independence ladder.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have to laugh about the pregnancy. I was so worried about my kids having kids too young that I practically held my breath. I know without a doubt that had Cory been a girl I would have been arrested for keeping her under lock and key. The mere fact that he was one month a way from 20 when Keyana was born was a miracle to me. Add in the fact that he was the youngest kid made this even more of a miracle!