Same old, same old...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello again. Well, I'm now back home in the village after the long journey back through Morocco and Spain. We had a five day stopover in Spain with my ex sister in law and, well,... it didn't go well. It's always stressful there in that she lives in an old-fashioned village with a little windy street outside where the local Moroccan children play outside. Spain is not France and the neighbours are much more tolerant of the noise and rowdiness than they ever would be in France but J seems to go haywire there. Gets massively overexcited, won't listen or obey any request to calm down, stop, come back,etc and the whole day seemed to turn into a "What has J done now" - small, boyish naughtinesses but just constant, constant. Climbing repeatedly into a neighbour's garden where he is not allowed, throwing things into another garden and then knocking on the door to get them back, etc, etc. And being very rude and insolent to me when I scolded him, hitting and being too rough with other children constantly in "play" (is this anxiety? He doesn't do it normally this badly and constantly)>Anyway, I do get stressed and upset with him in this environment because he just will not listen and obey boundaries, and my getting upset (I think) makes him anxious and worse behaved.
    But what really set the cat among the pigeons this time was my ex sister in law's husband. I love my ex-sister in law, she's a lovely, warm, intelligent, thinking person with a real heart, like so many of the women in my ex husband's family and I know she loves and cares for J. But her husband... seems sour, dark, brooding and is frankly unpleasant to us. Literally we were five days in his house and he did not address a word to us. Came in the room and he would ignore us... I knew already from my ex sister in law that he didn't feel comfortable with J being there because he is afraid the neighbours will call the police because of his tantrums and other things that seem all to do with him and nothing to do with J. He really doesn't like J and I have seen this reaction towards J from certain kinds of men before... they get very upset at his lack of respect and his turbulence. Also I suspect he doesn't like him because he is adopted, not a "real", blood member of the family. Anyway, there was so much upset and stress over the five days that it became clear that the husband does not want us there again and I myself would in any case not go there again, so cold and hostile is his attitude. This is really sad for J (though he is the unwitting cause of it), though there is nothing to stop us staying in a local hotel and seeing the sister in law and children independently.
    There was this great discussion, though, with my ex sister in law about J's hyperactivity. She is open to it, open to learning about it but says she does not understand why when J is staying with my ex husband and family there is nothing like this level of trouble, as she knows from repeated conversations about it with one of her sisters who lives next door to my ex husband (sorry, too many ex's in this story...) And I do confess I am puzzled also. I know my ex finds J difficult and a handful but they are all warm and loving towards him, there isn't this sense that he is a pariah, that his behaviour is totally beyond the pale. My ex sister in law was trying to suggest that it is because I am on my own, that J needs a man, etc. And I confess I feel puzzled about this angle of things, I really do. I feel an ongoing confusion about whether I need to be tougher with J. In my experience, being tough with him is a total disaster and negotiating, listening, respecting, working with, etc, seem to lead to positive outcomes. Though not in Spain, it is true, where he kind of goes crazy with all the other kids.
    I don't know. J is SO clearly a difficult child, beyond doubt, a really difficult personality in many ways and yet... there's this playful, adorable five year old that keeps emerging through it all and I think... can he help himself? Is the difficulty really just something wrong in his frontal lobe?
    No real answers, I know. Just had to offload some of that because I know you here understand. Thanks for listening... :)
    Lasted edited by : Sep 2, 2012
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending hugs your way. I am sorry that it was so stressful and confusing for you both to have that visit. Although it doesn't "fit" with my identity in the CD family I truthfully have a very difficult time dealing with hyperactive children who can not adapt to the environment. Yeah, lol, I have raised more than one of those children and protected them to the very best of my capabilities. on the other hand, truth be known, deep inside me I know that easy child's are comfortable for me and difficult child's are not. As a result of that gut feeling I have a bit of empathy for those who find our children intolerable.

    This revelantion doesn't help you much...I know. It is what it is and I am truly sorry that you have so many years ahead of you trying to help your son adapt. It has been close to fifty years since I started the journey that difficult child parents have to travel. It is difficult. It is hard to accept. It is, however, what it is and all you can do is use your intellect and heart to seek the best path. Hugs DDD
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Welcome back, Malika! We missed you!

    I am going to give you my take on things by comparing J to my grandson who I am positive has issues beyond just the divorce. He was always difficult and is more difficult now that my son's wife ran off w ith another honey and has forced grandson to be with her new honey even before the divorce was final. They get 50/50 custody.

    Grandson's mother has a terrible time making J (he's a J mind her and he is misbehaving at the sitters. The sitter claims that J won't mind her and is constantly asking for Daddy and when the doorbell rings he runs for it every time calling, Daddyyyyyyyyyy!" My son (J's father) has very little trouble with J. and I don't think it's because he's a man. My son simply has a very calm, quiet environment. When J. stays with him they mostly stay home and do Dad/Son stuff and it is very good for a high strung four year old. There are no visitors. There are no frantic races around town to see relatives and friends. There are no multitude of trips with other kids to the zoo, the park, a barbecue, etc. Simply put, my J. does not do well when he is unstructured and overstimulated. His mother drags him all over and forces him to interact with new people, young and old, and it makes him wild. My son makes sure his son is in a quiet, soothing place where he can be himself. This doesn't mean that J. is never wild with Dad. Dad is more accepting of it therefore it happens a lot less. I don't know if this made any sense. I hope it did.

    Now for YOUR J. I am thinking that maybe all that traveling around and the chaos of the other rowdier kids set him off. I actually wonder if, in spite of the nasty comments you get from some nasty neighbors, if your J is not in a good place in the village since it is peaceful and free of chaos. As for why he is better with Dad? Maybe he is the same, but is more tolerant of the behavior or doesn't see it as so terrible. To be honest, I think finding a new man would probably throw your J. into more chaos than now. He has a father and knows who he is. It is hard to intergrate a difficult child and a new honey together in harmony. Maybe you can find him a mentor.

    My J's mother's new man has not made things better for J. He asks for daddy constantly at her house and throws lots of tantrums.

    I think our more challenging kids are better off when they are accepted AND also when things are calmer.

    Did I make any sense at all? Contradict myself much? LOL. I am trying to help. I am thinking that my J and your J could be brothers. I am pretty sure that my grandson J has ADHD, if not other stuff too, but definitely ADHD. by the way, like your J, my J can be a lovebug and just a real little sweetie that hugs and kisses and seems to have two

    WElcome back again :) I really enjoy your posts!
  4. Rabbit

    Rabbit Member

    Sending Hugs! Welcome back! Rabbit
  5. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    I was thinking along the line of MWM, that perhaps when J was with your ex-husband the environment lent well to J's demeanor-many loving relatives nearby, probably cousins or other children to play freely with and maybe a somewhat more structured day, but with less activites (or places to go).
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Some other random thoughts from my own experience and observation...

    Sometimes, a difficult child knows when there is a person involved (e.g. sister in law's husband) who is NOT on his page... and they take that as rejection, and react to everything around far more strongly.

    Sometimes, transitioning away from what is comfortable is way harder than transitioning TO that... so, the trip TO Morocco would go better than the trip BACK to France. By the time you got to Spain, J may already have been feeling the internal tension that goes with returning to France. Not that there is any easy answer to that... unless the citizenship thing can be solved.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Many thanks for your views and insights. Well, I do of course understand people who find hyperactivity difficult, being one of them myself :) But I sense that my ex sister in law's husband uses the hyperactivity as a pretext; it is other things he does not like about J. Otherwise his reaction would not be so extreme and have appeared so early on. It is a bit like when people are racist - if a child of another (disliked) ethnic origin is very quiet and "good", they will be grudgingly accepted - at least they know their place! But if the same child is turbulent and naughty, all the projected dislike of the child's race will be poured on his or her head, under the pretext of the turbulence. I can't explain this more but I do see it operating in places. And I honestly cannot condone this guy's behaviour - refusing to even speak to your house guests to greet them is rather difficult child-ish in my book!
    I think, yes, the affection by which J is surrounded at the house in Morocco as well as the fact that the activities are few and life is all centred around the house is probably good for him. Also - all respect to him for it - my ex-husband is clearly attached to and loving with J. This is actually unusual in Moroccan society. There is a stigma about adoption (in fact adoption in our sense of the word does not exist at all) and it is rare for a family to take an adopted child to their hearts in the way that my ex'husband's have done with J, particularly after a divorce and the birth of a biological baby - a son, to boot (my ex and his wife had a baby earlier this year). This is, I suspect, all driven by my ex mother in law, who is a very devout and generous woman who is mother to all and sundry.
    I hardly dare hope that my application for British citizenship will be successful because it is SUCH a lottery, and so far from certain, but truly it would ease things and enable us to go and live in Morocco which I now feel certain is absolutely the best route for J.
    Your advice is wise, MWM. Of course quietness and stability are good for J. The village is quiet but I am not sure it is free of chaos - trouble is that we have no outside space and J regards the village as his playground, wanting to go out in it unsupervised all the time, with all the attendant difficulty and tantrums over coming back when he needs to, not to mention the general danger of an ADHD kid of five playing unsupervised all over the village and surrounding countryside. And this is where J is SO difficult. He may be five but he has, very seriously, all the determination and obstinacy of a fully grown person when it comes to doing what he wants. He is like an almost unstoppable force, and can be highly aggravating and unpleasant in trying to get his own way. Well, you all know the score, I am sure :) And then at other times, not just affectionate and loving but really full of joie de vivre, curiosity, playfulness and infectious humour - a delightful child.
    As for tomorrow and the start of school... I feel somewhat despairing. He seems in no way ready! Doesn't want to sit still for two minutes, deliberately scribbles and makes a mess when I have been trying to get him to do a few little fun pre-school exercises, continually states he will go to school but will not do any WORK (he just wants to play). I rather fear what will happen but one has to be prepared to be surprised, I suppose. There is a new (male) teacher who looks young and not particularly equipped to deal with an ADHD kid - but I really don't know for sure, so let's see.
    Let's see... :)
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to add a note to this. I have been struck, again, by something I know but keep forgetting... because I am dealing with a condition that is difficult to deal with - and blow any official diagnoses or not, I am now so certain that J has ADHD, and is in fact a textbook case - I lack confidence in myself, feel I have to follow advice, things I read, I switch between being too hard or too flexible... this never (of course) really works!
    What works is when I just come really into the present, react to him from my own sense of things and connectedness to him. Last night I realised that what really does work with J is humour and a kind of firey immediacy, which is why he gets on well in Morocco, I think - Moroccans are light-hearted and warm (mostly!) even when they are cross. It all blows over in a minute and they will be laughing and chattering again. I get too serious and too wound up with J, and upset with him for his difficultness. It is as though I resent him for being the way he is, rather than accepting him... and this is a very European, judgemental thing. Moroccans generally are less engaged in constantly weighing people and things up and judging them.
    So I can be more instinctive, more spontaneous with J and that is fine and actually a much healthier way of relating to him, I feel :)