pulling my hair out!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by specialk030, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. specialk030

    specialk030 New Member

    Geez some days I really wonder if it's worth continuing to fight just to survive. hmmm, where to begin, well first off let me say I'm not happy to be back here lol.. I love ya all and I think about everyone often but ug!!!!!! I wish I didn't need these forums! I wish I could just enjoy being a mother instead of fearing bedtime because I know in a couple of hours I'll have to wake up and do it all over again.

    I finally managed to get some help with my oldest difficult child, well some help maybe an overstatement but at least for now I can sleep sound knowing he's not going to sneak in my room and do anything terrible. However this post isn't about him, I'll save that for another day. This time it's my youngest son (age 10) he's never been diagnosed with any disorders and when he's at school or visiting his Dads he's perfect. However when he comes home it's like a war zone. I'll give an example of just one day, actually I'll use today for my example.

    8:00am (me) B, you need to get dressed and ready to go since you'll be coming into work with me this morning.

    (B) starts crying, and says he doesn't want to come with me.

    (me) I know you don't want to come with me, but since yesterday I had to leave work early because you refused to listen to the sitter, today you'll have to come with me.


    (me) B... (death breath) I hear you loud and clear, you don't want to come with me to work, I'm guessing because you think it's going to be really boring.


    (me) B... I'm leaving this morning at 9:30am, I expect you to be ready by the time I leave or you'll come along with me anyways, even if you're still in your PJ's


    (me) B, I'm not going to discuss this right now, I will not try to reason with anyone that is going to yell at me.

    (B) tries to follow me into my room, but I close the door....MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not going... and you can't make me! (begins kicking my door)

    (me) Okay thats enough! now I'm angry, I have the right to take a time out when I'm angry and you DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO YELL AND SCREAM AND KICK MY DOOR! Now you will need to go to your room RIGHT NOW!

    (B) (smirks) No! I'm not going to my room, and I'm not going to work with you! (turns to his younger sister) Move you stupid idiot!!!!!!! GO AWAY!!!!!!!!

    (me) (by this time about 35 minutes have elapsed since this fight started) B, I can't take this any more! I'm sick of being yelled at, I'm sick of you yelling at others in the home! and quite frankly right now I'm sick of you. You really need to leave me alone and let me calm down.

    (B) NO! (now starts the pleeding) Mom I'm begging you! please please please don't make me go.. Mom... MOM! MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!! are you listening| to me???? DO YOU HEAR ME!!!!! MOM ANSWER ME!!!!!

    (ME) (I walk out of my room and start heading towards him) B!!!! GO TO YOUR ROOM NOW!!

    (B) OKAY!!!!! FINE!!!! I'll go to my room!!! BUT CAN I PLEASE JUST STAY HOME!!!!!

    (me) NOW!!!!!!!

    okay so anyways this continues back and forth for about another 30 minutes, I'm determined not to give in, besides I can't leave him with the sitter because they have made it clear that they simply can't handle him. He ends up coming to work with me and low and behold has a great time (thanks to my boss keeping video games in his office! ug) We get home and no sooner do we walk in the door and he starts pestering his older brother to go outside, when his bro refuses, the fights on again! I walk in and inform B that he does not have the right to demand that his brother play with him, I remind him he's more than welcome to go outside by himself. Okay WORLD WAR 2 (for the day) starts over again.. read above for a pretty good picture of how the fight went since it was pretty much identical to the earlier fight.

    About 2 hours later I ask him to do his chore, yep you guessed it.. WORLD WAR 3, see above description.. lol

    Bedtime: WORLD WAR 4, this time he's just making stuff up as he goes along to fight with me, then when I finally get mad and take something of his away, he starts pushing, punching and yelling at me.

    all of a sudden all 4 wars appear as one in my eyes, and I snap.. I lash out and hit him back, he then informs me that what I did was child abuse, I confirm he's right and tell him I'll get the phone and call social services immediatly... he freaks out again and begs me not to call.

    Now I don't mean to get on a pitty pot here, and I certainly don't want to make excuses for my actions, but geez! I felt so trapped, no where to escape, no way to hide from the constant screaming, I honestly remember thinking.. DAMIT, I'll gladly go to jail for beating him if I can just get 5 damn minutes of quite time! (I didn't beat him by the way) well maybe not physcially but in my mind I wont deny that the thought crossed my mind. My fear is one of these days I will hurt him, I will not be able to stop myself. I worry that I can't reach out, his Dad lives in another province and is just waiting for me to slip up so he can take him away from me, I worry if I tell social services that they'll just take him away too, or tell his Dad.. either way he'll be gone. I have so much on my plate right now, we have no food, and in 2 months we have to move, yet I don't even know where we will go, my car broke down so I dont even have a way to get out of the house to get to the food bank, and quite frankly I find myself wondering if maybe he wouldn't be better off at his fathers, then I remember the last time he was at his Dads, the desperate phone calls begging me to come get him, his little voice shaking as he tried to talk quiet, I remember him telling me how at night he laid in bed and closed his eyes and prayed that when he opened them he would be back with me and his brothers and sisters, I remember crying and promising God if he just let me get him back from his Fathers I would never send him away again.
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry things are so hard right now. You have a lot on your plate. I hate days that are like the ones you described. My difficult child is the type that often when you try to disengage and walk away he gets more and more angry-sounds a lot like your 10 year old.

    It sounds like your 10 year old needs an evaluation by a neuro-psychiatric. and a child psychiatrist. You also need a break. Do you ever have a chance for some me time-is there anyone who can watch the kids so you can get out other than for work?

    Others will be along with more advice. Sending gentle hugs your way.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I do agree with the need for re-evaluation. You need to have a relevant label if only to get access to respite and appropriate babysitting services.

    I handle things a little differently these days. We do still get tantrums, we still get disrespect, but not so much and it doesn't bother us so much now. He's also more able to learn as we go.

    What's working for us - when we interact, we try to keep in mind that his brain works a different way, and we try to take this into account. That doesn't mean that shouting and insults are OK - just that we don't engage, or ignore, until he's calmed down. Then we only engage as far as he can handle it. We've found that if we try to think and feel the way difficult child 3 thinks and feels, we're heading off a lot more of these problems.

    Also, by ignoring a lot of the "I hate you, you're mean" stuff, he's learning to not use it because it's not working for him.

    It's all very well for me to preach at you with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight, so I don't want you to see what I'm saying now as me telling you how you could have handled it better. You've probably already worked out a lot of this yourself. But because you gave us such good examples with the dialogue, I'm going to try to go through it for you, to see if I can help you head off at least some of this, in the future.

    Step 1 - You needed him to go to work with you, you may not have expected him to be resistant. But we work on the premise that difficult child will ALWAYS be resistant, to any change in his routine. So we prepare the ground and give him time to mentally adjust to the change. Suggested action - nothing wrong with your opening sentence. It's what I would have said. "Have you had your breakfast? Get dressed please. and get together some things you want to bring with you. You're coming in to work today with me."

    Step 2 - he responds with, "I don't wanna!" and all the other associated stuff. STAY FOCUSSED ON THE MAIN POINT - he doesn't want to come. But there is no choice.
    So you say so - "I'm sorry you feel this way, but it would be breaking the law for me to leave you at home on your own. I would be worrying about you and I wouldn't be able to get my work done properly."
    Do not mention any punishment side of it. You are now dealing with a "no alternative" situation. Going to work with you is not punishment for him. It's a response to a difficult situation where no care is available.

    Step 3 - he keeps trying to escalate it. What I 'heard' from his dialogue was panic. He was pleading with you, trying to bargain his way out of going with you. Not necessarily because he wouldn't enjoy it, but partly because he viewed it as punishment (which made it much harder for you to handle this) and also because it involved a change in routine. The combination was the problem in that it made him all the more desperate to stay home.
    So what to do - again, avoid any mention of "It's your fault the sitter refuses to have you, you've forced this onto me, I'm not happy about it either," because all this is doing is upsetting him and making YOUR task harder. And he's not taking it on board properly - he is still trying to absolve himself from any blame in this.

    Telling him you will take him in his pyjamas if necessary - I've done that. I agree with you. But often a more effective threat - "If you're not ready to go, with some books/games etc to keep you occupied, I'll have to take you as you are, without anything to play with." difficult child 3 wouldn't care if I took him in his pyjamas, but he WOULD care if I took him without his Nintendo DS or a book to read.

    If he had a good day - that is a good outcome. This shouldn't have been punishment, it's merely a natural consequence. And since you may have to do this again, it is good if he behaved and enjoyed himself. Maybe next time he will be less resistant.

    On the way home after a good day - tell him how glad you were he had a good day and held things together (but do not say, "I told you so" in any form). Try to make the drive together as pleasant as possible, even if it means letting him control the direction of conversation. It's been a positive day, wasn't that nice?

    The problems when you got home - he was trying to get back into the status quo and reassert his position (ie self-centred) in the family activities. I find with kids there is always some sort of pecking order re-shuffle when kids come home - any kids. easy child used to do it - the difficult children would all be cooperating, there would be peace, she would come home for the weekend after being at mother in law's, and within minutes there would be shouting matches.

    YOu need to nip these in the bud - again, not by assigning blame ("This time, A, you were the one at fault. Now apologise to B") but instead by trying to suggest a better way to get what he wants.For example, "difficult child, your brother isn't ready to go play outside right now.why don't you ask him NICELY when he WILL be ready? He is more likely to want to play with you if you are nice to him."

    About doing chores and homework - this is always a fight zone area. I give time in which to transition. In other words, let's say difficult child 3 is playing a computer game. "difficult child 3, you have to get fresh water for your bird. She is thirsty. When will you be ready to do this?" (because computer games have various levels and often you can only save, or pause, at special times and not all through the game).
    difficult child 3 says, "When I get to the next level."
    "About ten minutes?" I ask, and then write out a Post-It note with the time and the task, and stick it on the screen but not where it blocks his vision. I then watch the clock (and keep a bit of an eye on the game too). Now when you first begin to do this there will be times when he keeps playing right past where he promised to take a break. Don't get angry. Just remind again. "Hey, kiddo, you forgot - your bird is thirsty. Can you pause that game for a minute to do the job? We can't keep waiting for too long. A little is fair enough, but it's not fair on the bird, she is relying on you to care for her."

    We do the same thing with bathtime and also homework. I do give a lot of leeway with homework, because it's just the way difficult child 3 has worked out. As a result, although he doesn't like doing it, once he gets started he's quite conscientious. It wasn't always this way.

    But we give time. I give him choice. "The work has to be done, it's not going to go away; how do you want to organise your time to do it?" I then support with reminders, etc but try to fall short of nagging (I don't always succeed).

    We have a routine written up to control what happens in the evening. Although the timing is often out, there is a certain order to events which he now follows. And by having the routine on a chalk board he can, if necessary, tick off the steps as he goes.

    If he's being difficult about having his bath, I tell him, "You need to have your bath and you need to eat dinner. That's two things that need doing. Dinner is not quite ready, it will be soon. You want to watch that TV show which starts in half an hour. Why don't you have your bath now, then you can watch the TV show while you eat your dinner? That way you will then be free to play another computer game after dinner, instead of having your bath then."

    By involving him in the rest of the household routine, it keeps us working as a team and teaches him to be part of that team also. OK, he's only looking at all this from a purely selfish viewpoint, but ANY involvement is good, even if his motivation is selfish. ALL kids are selfish to begin with. It's part of a parent's job to slowly lead a child away from total self-centredness to become an individual who thinks and cares about others.

    To summarise - avoid blame. Give advance time warning. Support with suggestions. Stay focussed on YOUR main aim (to get what you want from him, by whatever means). Give him choice and leeway, where you can ("do you want to wear your red jumper or your blue one?" gets him wearing ANY jumper). Ignore any rudeness in the heat of the moment, but try to discuss it later when he's calm, using "I" statements ("I was disappointed when you got angry before. That wasn't very helpful, was it?"). Pull back and drop it if he begins to escalate again (because when he's upset, he's not capable of learning anything). Catch him out doing something good and praise him for it. Where possible, try to help him think laterally to find another solution, instead of just slamming his head into a wall (figuratively).

    I realise that with all this I'm asking you to be Superwoman, so ANY progress you make along this path is a big bonus. You may never achieve perfection (when do any of us?) but with what you described, ANY improvement is a good thing.

    Hang in there, one day he will be an adult and out of your hair.

  4. specialk030

    specialk030 New Member

    Wow! Thank you for your replies! I agree I'm burnt out, however I don't have many options as far as getting away go. My family lives about 15 hours away. We live on a fairly large acreage on the outskirts of town so even just going to the library or taking a walk can be challenging (alone)

    Marg, thank you so much for breaking everything down, theres certainly a lot of information there that I will be trying to keep in my mind when the next flare up begins. You're very right about the routine thing, B thrives on a predictable schedule, he hates anything new.

    I suppose part of my frustration comes from fear of losing yet another job, I've had some incredible jobs that I totally adored, only to lose them because I had to take time off because one of the kids was sick, or school was closed, or difficult child 1 had to be in court, the list goes on... I'm watching my entire life fall apart around me and I feel totally helpless, and part of me blames the kids, I know it's wrong, I know I shouldn't blame them, but I just feel they are soooo ungrateful, so selfish, don't they know that if I don't work they will have nothing? Why can't they just give me a break, just once I would love for them to step back and go "Geez, maybe I wont fight with Mom today, she looks pretty tired"