Rest easy........Christmas IS coming.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Hanging-On, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    Thank you everyone, TRULY. Even if we disagree or agree, I appreciate the honest replies (more than you know) because it helps me see different views. Being a single mom, you don't have the luxury of brain storming and discussing situations before acting. You only have your mind and what's going through it. That's why I come here and ask the tough questions, and throw out my thoughts (even when extreme). So I really appreciate everything that's been written. My point of view is just that, mine. It doesn't mean it's right, or complete.

    There are so many angles in this. It's not just one thing.

    Starb, I have asked for respite and never receive it. In other posts you'll see the history and frustration with our "so-called" wrap around services.

    Yes, the bio-dad issue scares me becuase lately I've seen SO MUCH of bio-dad in difficult child. difficult child does the same looks, the same sentence structure of threats, the same spiteful response, the same "poor me, you did this to me" attitude. The same cussing words and sentences. It's just blows my mind. How does this happen when he's been out of their lives for so many years. I mean difficult child was 2.5 yrs old the last time he saw him. So how can he act and talk like him so much? This week difficult child has acted more like bio-dad then any other time put together. MAYBE that's why I'm trying to nip this in the bud (so to speak). It DOES scare the h-l out of me to see this occur, and I'm desperately trying to SAVE my son.

    The issue with easy child acting like difficult child is troubling me too. This also scares me, and I want to "at least" be able to save him, if I can't save difficult child.

    Today, this morning, driving to town my mind and heart are betraying my decision to be so strictly anti-christmas. I have discussed this with easy child's caregiver over and over. She is catholic, and she knows how spiritual I am. I'm spiritual, but not religious. I think that's why we can talk easily. She completely understands what I'm trying to do, and how hard this is on me. She also sees how I'm treated and is totally against this level of abuse. She also sees that I want to do x-mas, but I have to save my credibility too so that they know to take me seriously. What a puzzle to solve.

    So she and I are brain storming in how to be able to do ALL of this. Letting them have a joyous morning of waking up to Santa's visit, giving to charity, and trying to mold and squash out difficult child's behavior.

    I think I'm going to let Santa come and decorate and give gifts on christmas eve when they are asleep. In the morning when difficult child asks how come Santa did this, I could say something like "Santa and I talked, and he still wanted to do this for you and I agreed. But it does not mean that your behavior is acceptable. It only means that you are loved by so many people, that that level of love can not and should not be expressed and given". Something like that. Then we can still go and give out presents at the shelter (if I get a needy family to be their sponsor. I have to check on that today, so I can go get gifts for them.)

    Any suggestions on how to do this, and still stay credibile in their eyes?

  2. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    The only thing I can suggest is that you go slow with everything. If you want to have the impact you're hoping for you will have to be very calculating about each separate event within your Christmas celebration. If you can do that, then I think it will go fine. I personally do not like the idea of using santa to such a degree, as within a few short years he will know that santa doesn't visit your house and still be young enough to remember what you said. I think it may come back to bite you in the behind. But, that was my first thought. I mostly wanted to respond to the paragraph below:

    My difficult child is identical to my exh - in fact, if I didn't know better, I would have thought someone had cloned him and made him s a girl. They have the same facial expressions, the same Eeyore outlook on everything, the same skewed way of viewing every situation differently from everyone else on the planet, the same phrases and words that make sense to them and leave everyone else feeling slightly uncomfortable, and very similar life views. I left exh when she was less than 2 years old. Up until the past 3 years they've had very minimal contact - for the life of me I couldn't figure out how she could be so minimally exposed to him, yet be so like him. In a nutshell, it's genetics. I try to set her straight and I have seen some areas which my ideals have taken hold over his and I've also noticed that she looks at his with new eyes about things and can see that sometimes he is messed up. But overall, there is only so much you can do with genetics and the rest is up to them.

    Good luck, again, I'm sorry that you even have to consider this, but I'm sure you will figure out a way to make it work without giving in to the little monsters. Hugs~
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think honesty is the best policy. If your children believe in Santa (and I think they are both young enough to still believe), what would you have said to them Christmas morning when there were no gifts?

    Now that you have removed all the decorations and told them you were "cancelling" Christmas, you are right; you do have to find a way to put it back and save face.

    I think, as a parent, it is important to admit when we are wrong in front of our children. I also believe in telling my children I'm sorry, should that be justified.

    So, perhaps you sit the boys down before anything gets out of hand this afternoon or first thing in the morning. Let the boys know that you are at your wit's end. The constant bickering and disrespect hurts you to the core. Ask them to remember back to when they fell and skinned their knee or, if it has happend, fallen and broken a bone. Ask them to remember the worst physical pain they can remember. Then tell them that that is what your heart feels like everytime they yell at you and yell at each other. Tell them that you were so fed up last night, that the worst thing you could think of was cancelling Christmas.

    Let them know that you were thinking that perhaps you made a mistake. That Christmas is more than Christmas trees, wreaths on the door, parties and gifts.

    Tell them that Christmas is a time of sharing love with family and friends and all three of you need that love. And one thing, more important than anything, is finding the giving within yourself.

    So you have looked within your heart and realized you made a mistake. You are not cancelling Christmas and you are asking for a gift. The gift you want is a little understanding. Now the youngest is not going to get all this, but your oldest will.

    As you go through the motions of reinstating Christmas, keep the emphasis on giving and loving. Even if you pull a quarter out of your wallet and give it to the homeless guy at the stoplight, do it in front of the boys. Give your friend a call (the Catholic one you mentioned) and find out what their church is doing for the needy this Christmas. Many churches adopt a family (out little church adopted four) in need. Perhaps you could participate with them.

    If it's not in your budget to buy new, make an event after having the boys go with you to take their old winter coats to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Ask the boys to search through their toys to find some they can take along with the coats so some other children can enjoy them. Perhaps the boys can make cards with construction paper for an elderly or lonely neighbor.

    Come Christmas morning, take a molment as a family to reflect upon what Christmas means to you as a family. When my children were really young, they always sang Happy Birthday to Jesus before opening their gifts. Begin some new traditions as a family that you can look forward to next year.

    Have an old fashioned taffy pull together on Christmas Eve. Watch "The Christmas Story" together on Christmas afternoon. Something that will bond and make Christmas special for you and your boys.

    I think if you are honest with the boys about why you did what you did, you teach them a lesson. You teach them that we all so or do things when we are angry and mad. Sometimes those things don't look as good the next the day. It can be fixed. It teaches the boys honesty.

    But it also gives you a little joy back and it gives them a little bit of their childhood back.

    Good luck to you and, Merry Christmas!

  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I think Sharon gave you good advice. Telling our kids the truth is important. Admitting we are human, get angry, get hurt and make mistakes are good lessons for them.

    You need to find a way to get some time for just you. Is there anyone who can watch the boys for an hour or two a week? Check your local mental health or family health center. Sometimes they have drop-in babysitting that you can use. During that time, don't do a darn thing you don't want to do. No "have tos!" If that means going home and taking bath, do it. If you love windowshopping, do that. It doesn't matter as long as it is strictly for you. You'll be amazed what a difference just an hour a week can make in your stress levels.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911

    She also sees that I want to do x-mas,

    THAT is all it takes to do it. If you want to (and you said you do - then do it)

    I think also that I would be calling the governors office of your state and asking them WHY there is never a call to give you a respite. Most respite offices are state run- a call to the top dog often helps push the wiener dog along.

    It's really hard to draw a line in the sand and when we get so desperate - we think to ourselves "WHAT is the biggest thing that I could take away that will make an impact - for life?" and the sad reality of this - is nothing. If they do it today they will do it tomorrow. I think Isis was tremendously lucky when she decided to brave what she did - and for her family it paid off. I wouldn't be so lucky = I would come off like the Grinch that stole Christmas.

    Thing is - there ISN'T anything that we can take away today that will change them forever. If that were true - can you see the size of the post to follow? Poster: take away their underwear it will get you results of better behavior. Group: TAKE IT AWAY? All kinds? Just the boxers? Briefs? Cotton? And then there would be like 1,000,000 interview, Blog sites and all because YOU came up with that ONE thing you could take away from a child that would change their behavior for good and positive.

    The only thing that works is learning to effectively communicate with your children. Working with a therapist for a long time, medications trials, Consistently sticking with and tweaking your parenting skills, consequences and rewards - and just loving your kids. Getting a break helps a lot. Learning how to say NO and make it stick or saying things ONCE - helps you to calm and zen.

    I think I would probably tell the boys : Okay here's the deal. I am wiping the slate clean. I am working hard to setting the dial BACK to zero, but....and it's a BIG BUTT - YOU both are going to have to work to help me keep the Spirit of Christmas in our home. HERE is a chart - HERE ARE THE WRITTEN RULES - here are the CONSEQUENCES and HERE are the rewards You decide their yourkids it's your family - but make the consequences short. Standing in the corner for 5 or 8 minutes depending on age. Writing an apology letter if they curse. Vacuum the house if they curse or say a bad word - and LIST the bad words. Then tell them you will have a meeting every night to go over the chart and see their progress. Make it a fun meeting - popcorn, sodas - and see if they both worked on the CHORE LIST - to attain their goals and get their rewards.

    I think you are headed for a poster board sized chore list and RULES OF THIS HOUSE - .59 cents at Dollar General

    You can even make it fun by allowing them to pick out and suggest prizes for goals they reach

    Hoping you find something here that helps. I have no more lightbulb momnents for my own - i DO have a file cabinet full of suggestions and therapy methods we've tried. Nothing worked for us - but maybe something here will for you.

    Celebrations all around!

    ps and remember - even a single parent HAS TO LEARN not to make threats. Once you say it - you are done.
  6. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    Thank you all so much. Your advice is wonderful, as usual. I agree, honesty is best. Plus, it's what I expect from them, so I should follow suit or I'm breaking my own rule. It's amazing how we don't see things until someone else says it to us. And then we go, "oh, yeah, DA!!" :hammer:

    I'm going to call the office right now about respite....again. Everyone in our wrap around services keep saying I need it, but then when I ask them about it they just say, "oh, we'll see". So, I'm calling now. I'll let you know the results.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Good for you for pushing the respite services. Everyone needs a break from time to time.

    I've apologized to my kids tons of times over the years. I think Sharon had some wonderful ideas. My kids always did Toys for Tots and cleaned out their old toys for the Salvation Army, as well as gave to Dayotn's Coats for Kids campain. They all looked forward to it every year. Also they did extra chores to earn money to buy everyone in the family a present. Didn't matter how small that present was (often bought at Santa's Secret Shop) but everyone was given something.

    I'm proud to say they got that xmas isn't about getting. My kids today worry far more about what their Giving each other than what they'd like to have. This includes both my difficult children. :smile:

    I'm glad Santa will be stopping at your house this year. :santa:
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    I think that is good. Christmas should come to all kids! Yeah!!

    Now, what have you learned from this? Believe me,I went through the same things. Over reacting, trying to be super strict, trying to have 'control' over my household. It just was not going to happen that way. That was not going to be the way I brought peace and respect into my home.
  9. Janna

    Janna New Member

    I'm glad you decided to do Christmas. I love what Sharon and Star said.

    We've done Wrap about 9 times with different agencies. From what I know, they never, ever provide respite. The thing about Wrap Around is (depending on what you have), a TSS, for example, is only allowed to work with THE CHILD they are assigned to. Ditto for the Mobile Therapist. So, if you have one TSS for one kid, it would be against policy for them to take both kids and do something. Additionally, they are not the type of intervention that would take the kids overnight. They should only be approved for so many hours in home and at school, right?

    My advice for respite is to call your local MH/MR agency. Here, they provide respite, full weekends, although there is always a wait and you would have to qualify (with your son's diagnosis, shouldn't be an issue).

    I praise Wrap Around, but only in situations where the team is worthwhile. There are plenty of people that work in that field that are completely, utterly worthless and I could behavior mod a kid better than them. BUT, if you get a good one, he/she COULD and SHOULD be taking your son out into the community to do stuff with him and give you some type of break (and teach HIM at the same time).