Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TeDo, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I'm not going to get my hopes up but have had a surprising past 2 evenings with difficult child AND easy child. Last night we watched "Wipeout" on ABC as a family. It was wonderful enjoying something as a family again. We laughed, oooo'd and ahhhhh'd together. Then we played a game. No arguing, no complaining, no anything on anyone's part.

    Then tonight, I was telling difficult child that he needed to pick up everything he had laying on the floor in rooms where they didn't belong (coat on the dining room floor, toys on the living room floor, etc). He got this sad face and simply said "Why are you always pointing out the bad things I do?" This began a conversation where I pointed out in detail the different good things I praised him for today. He didn't even remember them until I reminded him almost verbatim. Then, before he went upstairs to take a shower, he said "Could you please try to remember to tell me more good things?" At first I was like, ummm, didn't I just tell you about a bunch of them? Then, after almost a full 5 minutes, I realized Hey, he told me in words what was bothering him without any behaviors what so ever. It took another full 2-3 minutes for that to sink in all the way. I made a point of finding him in the family room to tell him "Thank you for telling me how you were feeling with words instead of behaviors. I am very proud of you." He kind of looked at me like I was nuts.

    Is it only me or would this be considered progress? I don't want to set myself up for a fall but suddenly realize that maybe things are going to get better. I just wish he could do this at school but then again, with his trust issues I don't see that happening in this lifetime.

    Anyway, sorry for the long version but I just HAD to share.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think that is very good progress.

    I have huge trust issues myself and it takes me forever to trust someone enough to let them in behind the invisible brick wall I have built around myself. For a person to be able to actually tell someone that they need something emotional is huge. I still have a hard time asking for even a hug. With all this stuff going on with losing my Dad, I havent had the foggiest idea how to ask my family to support me better which just leaves them doing the same old idiotic behaviors that drive me nuts! Dumb huh? LOL. Heres hoping your son turns out better than me which it sounds like he will because he is getting help much earlier than I did.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That is very good progress on so many levels. First, he recognised you were trying to help although he forgot much of the good stuff you told him until he asked you to tell him. Second, he felt safe enough to share this concern with you.

    Now to your good progress - you realise that when you've been focussed for too long on the problems, it's a challenge to turn your thinking around. I call it changing your mind-set (and sometimes get castigated here for saying it because the recipient has misunderstood!). Second, you are actively working to change your own thinking about him, and about how to get the best out of him.

    Now to another important realisation for both of you - it's too easy to forget the good things, and only remember the bad. So as Dr Phil would say, it takes a lot of "attaboy's" to wipe out one negative verbal interaction.

    As things continue to improve, it will get easier for you both. And perhaps share this post with him next time he talks to you about it - you both need to learn to find the light and not the darkness. Because if you face the light - the darkness is behind you. Trite, perhaps. But sometimes you need something obvious to help you remember.

  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I think that's great. Awesome that he was able to express his feelings and super awesome how you responded.

    In retrospect I think that one of my parenting weaknesses was not praising enough. I expected good behavior and so, as a young Mother, I accepted that as normal. When I entered the difficult child world I think I was silently anxious most of the time. Of course I am fortunate because most of the kids turned out fine but I wish I had been as tuned into positive responses like you seem to be. Good job. DDD
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I would call it progress. I also have a hard time praising and hugging, I need to do it more. Tell him we're ALL proud that he expressed himself politely and in words instead of with bad behavior. Mine has done things like that here and there, and it always took me a while for it to really sink in, too.
  6. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I would absolutely call that progress.

    I know what you mean about not recognizing it at first. I am the same way. Two weekends ago something happened that would normally have sent difficult child spinning out of control for hours, but he was able to be very calm about it. It took my sister-in-law pointing out to me how well he did in order for me to really see it. I think that as they behave better on a more consistent basis it will get easier to recognize the good and praise it.

  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

  8. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Another one today. He came in from shoveling (yes, again) and was rubbing his head with something while he still had all his snow gear on. I asked him "What is that?" followed by "What are you doing?" He looked at me and said "You know, you ask too many questions at one time so I don't know which one to answer first." I am LOVING this! :bigsmile:
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    At which point you say, "Thank you for expressing your feelings so well, it is really helping me to understand you better. Now, let's try this again..."

    It all feeds back positively. I'm sure he is aware of your efforts to help, and is putting in his own effort in turn.

    It won't always be good, there will still be slide-backs, but they become fewer and further apart.

  10. erbaledge

    erbaledge New Member

    I think of it as progress! Congrats! It's awesome when our kids' tell us what they are thinking and share their inner thoughts.
    A suggestion, since he says "Why are you always pointing out the bad things I do?", but you obviously are giving him his props several times each day, and then you were even able to repeat that days' props (ya I can't do it) - what about writing 3 down a day on a white board/wipey board? (stick it on the refrigerator maybe)
    Thank you Jim Bob on the 100% clean floor!
    Jim Bob, great job on using your manners!
    This would allow him to actually physically see that he got some props each day, and who knows, he may walk by the props board several times throughout the day just to read them and smile to himself. Also, it would help you when he tosses that question at you again. Also, if you have other kids, you would probably want to also write down a prop or two for them also each day - so they don't get jealous.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  11. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    That's the other part that I forgot to put in my original post. When a couple of examples I gave him for the day had the words "Thank You" in them, he stated "Those are just regular thank yous. They aren't positives." I explained that they are also considered positives when I say thank you for good choices and behaviors. He TOTALLY didn't get it.

    Now I have to remember not to say Thank You with the "positives" or I will NEVER be giving him any positives. Sheesh.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If he has such a negative view himself, it is no wonder he has felt only criticism. Part of your task now, is to teach him to recognise praise in other forms.

  13. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    That is exactly what I am doing now. When I do tell him a positive, with or with out a Thank You, I make a point of telling him "That's a positive." I am hoping it will eventually sink in. No wonder he is also having problems at school with this. The teachers pretty much always say Thank You with a positive. I wish they would listen to me. This is another thing that would be helpful to them but they won't listen because they don't agree with me that he doesn't KNOW some of this stuff. I can't wait for the psychiatrist appointment this week, weather permitting since we are expecting yet another snow storm :(
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    TeDo, would a communication book help? Because if you have written them a note in the book (which is of course dated) and they still complain (often via the book) that they are still having this problem, you can refer back to the book and say, "I told you about this back in November, here is the entry. ANd you still haven't tried this? Give it a go, what have you got to lose?"

    I used a cheap exercise book as the Communication Book. I would type my entry on the computer and print it off, then stickytape it in before school. The book had to travel in difficult child 3's bag, the teacher (or aide) had to take the book out and make sure it was read. Often I had written feedback on the previous day's entry form the teacher or the aide, but I might have added urgent information such as, "He's on antibiotics, I've left the medicine up at the school office for him. He might be still feeling a bit unwell, and he tends to be more irritable then." If they are forewarned, they can often handle him slightly differently and not have the problems they might otherwise get.

  15. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    That isn't the issue. They simply REFUSE to try any of my suggestions because that isn't how they handle kids with ODD. They REFUSE to believe there is a different diagnosis until they get it in writing from a professional, hence the evaluations I am having done. They firmly believe he is just a willfully disobedient child that needs a heavy hand and I am a parent that gives in to him all the time and they are going to teach him who's boss because I'm not. That is why I am going out of my way to have independent evaluations done by a psychiatrist this week, neuropsychologist as soon as they can get me in, and an Occupational Therapist (OT) at the end of the month. They can't argue with the professionals. Also, difficult child has a total of 5 different teachers each day and communication between them isn't the best. If I thought it would help, I would have done that a long time ago. He doesn't have an aide because "nothing in his evaluation justifies one".
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The professional assessments will help a lot. But meanwhile, start the book if you can. It may still help and you can also refer back to your earlier entries, when you get the expected results from the assessments. Let them know, in writing in the book, h the assessments have been requested because ODD is not generally a stand-alone diagnosis and it would help a great deal to have a better understanding. And you can also ask in the book, "How is this working for you? Because I'm getting X result at home using my methods, I wish you could try them too, because it would make your lives so much easier and also engage him more successfully in learning."

    When they have to put it in writing, even as informally as I encouraged with our use of the Communication Book, it gives them pause and they can begin to think,
    "Maybe I should give it a try before I condemn it out of hand. If I try and it fails, I have then made my point anyway."

    Lack of an aide - here, we have to prove a need above and beyond a diagnosis. We didn't get the Asperger's diagnosis for difficult child 1 until he was 14 at which time our application for support was refused, because "he's come tis far through the schooling system without it." I appealed, and he got the support. For what it was worth.

    Multiple teachers would make the Communication Book more of a problem. An alternative - emails. It's easier to ensure each teacher gets a copy, and to also receive responses. Keep them simple, brief and friendly. Always 'sell' your idea as something to help the teacher. Use this to "keep the staff informed and in the loop". But until there is a more formal diagnosis, they will be inclined to stick with what they know and what has been declared appropriate.

    When difficult child 3 was given his ODD label (by a teacher at school) I got a copy of "The explosive Child" and summarised it. I then sent copies of my summary to each teacher at is school. I said, "This is working for us. It can work for you too." Then left it up to them, because whoever does NOT use the book when others are, is the one who becomes the focus for a lot more hostility.