Should I give up

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    trying to be a conventional parent to J? I am really serious about this.. He doesn't want to be told what to do, he always knows best, always does what he wants rather than what you want (he sometimes agrees to listen or to compromise if it suits him), often speaks to me like I'm one of his school friends (calling me a big banana or a fat frog...), often threatens me with his hand or his fist if he is angry as if he were an adult, almost always acts as if we were peers or equals. I find myself repeating again and again, often angrily and to no effect "You don't speak like that to grown ups!"

    Why do I give myself all this strain and upset when it does absolutely no good? Why don't I just give up trying to be a conventional parent and let him bring himself up, more or less...?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Because you know it doesn't work... he needs a PARENT.
    However... if he is "somewhat" toward an Aspie sort of thinking (and yes, I still see that in your posts including this one)... you may need to blur the distinctions.

    "Because I said so" isn't really going to cut it with J.
    He needs a logical reason for everything you ask.
    He will see you as "just another person", not as some "elder" to be revered... but you do have more experience.
    (and that doesn't mean he doesn't love you.)

    You will have to parent differently, but you still have to parent.
    (JMO, of course)
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I was brought up with Summerhill methods, most of the time at least. I decided not to do that to my kids. I feel that style of parenting robs kids of feeling of safety and causes anxiety. I feel I would had turned out less neurotic if I had had more safety as a child, if I had felt my mother was strong and capable. She certainly was more capable than I gave her a credit, but because her ideology in parenting I didn't feel like that as a kid. I felt responsibility weight very heavy one me because she declined to take that responsibility.

    I think that kids who challenge the parents the most actually need the parents to be strongest and to give them most safety.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Lol, IC, one day I'll bring J to see you in the wilds of Canada (lucky you) and you'll see for yourself how little like an Asperger's Syndrome child he really is :)
    I'm being serious, I really am. What works with J is having a laugh, tickling him, teasing him, speaking to him in soft, negotiating terms at all times and basically letting him do what he wants unless it endangers himself or others... I'm tired of this pointless upset and stress trying to use methods that absolutely never work.
    SuZir - I'm sure you were not like J when you were a child. He is absolutely determined to live life the way he wants to.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Whether he seems Aspie or not - there can be a broad spectrum of different conditions, some of them unrelated, which present as 9among other things) a child who feels a strong need to be in control. of course they need a parent to supervise, but the more you try to control them (because they need checks and balances) the more these kids will fight back and try to grab control from you. It becomes first a competition, and then a war. And they are able to focus on this more intently than you because for them, it is everything. So they will win if you engage them in this war. In fact, while you think of it as a competition or a war, you have already lost.

    The best thing to do is to SEEM to let them have control. The more you do this, the more they learn how to assert self-control. You become their guide and facilitator, and not their rival.

    It works. The reference is "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. The child needn't be openly explosive for this to work; it also is valid for perfectly 'normal' kids too.

    I'm currently dealing (in my area) with adults who MUST assert control, to the extent that although they present themselves publicly as champions of truth, honesty and spirituality, the extent of the lying and deception is breathtaking. I'm talking about two different people mainly, they don't even know one another. But I know the background of both and I know where this has come from - a burning need to be the one in the driving seat, to an extreme extent, at all times. Control is the main aim, not success. As a result, whatever they touch turns to crud. And by the time they're adults, they've learnt a lot more tricks to get what they want. Emotional blackmail. In spades. Bullying. Crying, tantrums. Blame. Deflection.

    So please, listen to your instincts. Yes, he needs a different approach. it will be okay if you do things your way but others do not - they will cop the fallout and not you. But please, do not let J become the adult that can result, if he is still desperate to be in control. Instead, let him learn that asking for help and listening to others is another valid way to make your own life choices.

  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Marg. Your answer resonates with me. Not many people are going to understand, that is for sure, but I feel myself playing the role of what I think I must do as a parent and actually it is only ever counter-productive. I don't really dare have the courage of my convictions and step out of this one-size-fits-all role.

    I am not going to war with this child of six (on Monday) who has phenomenal energy and drive for proving himself top dog. I am stepping out of the arena. Yes, I will supervise and facilitate him but trying to be the adult whom he must obey just does not, does not, does not work... I've honestly had enough. It's stupid, exhausting and destructive to us both.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    He needs a parent, but conventional parenting does NOT work with our kids. I have no idea what or if any resources are available in France to help you try interventions and help raising this differently wired child, but, if not, I'd start reading lots of books about raising difficult children. Our kids do not add up. One plus one is never two. They do not respond to what "normal" kids respond to. No matter what t heir disorders are, they seem to have one thing in common...they are very outside of the box and require creative thought. That's why most of us have our kids in some sort of therapy and why most of us have to be in it :)

    My "typical" sixteen year old was a "typical" child. If you told her what to do, she usually did it. Sometimes she would pout or stamp her foot, but I don't think she ever had a tantrum. If you told her "no" she sometimes whined a little, but when told to cut it out or suffer a consequence, such as time out, she would stomp away, but quit her behavior.

    My Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified son, when told to go into time out, would throw the time out chair and scream. He would hit me. He would kick me. He would get very aroused very quickly and had trouble settling down. Interventions were CRUCIAL to his development as he is 90% better now, as an adult. If interventions aren't available in France, you can still implement them at home by reading up on how to parent "differently wired" kids. Just check out Amazon. Tons and tons of books on the topic.

    Bottom line: I would never quit parenting. Kids need us. But I'd change how I parented my child and self-learn alternative methods for children who are not your typical kid. I have no idea what he'd be considered in the US, but it sounds like more than just ADHD, but that is not even important...whether he's just ADHD or has more stuff going on. He needs to be parented differently than my youngest daughter was because he is different.

    Good luck :)
  8. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    I'm sorry you're feeling this way. I'm new here but I do know how you feel because both my kids have ODD, so I get exactly how you're feeling. I hope things improve for you.
  9. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    In a lot of ways, J actually reminds me of Sweet Pea. I know she is a lot younger, but she is a handful! She is sweet, loving and all the other great qualities you can think of. But she is also extremely determined, opinionated (despite her lack of words!), throws terrible violent tantrums and think she is at least 10 years old. You should see her in a group of kids, she is right with them and will simply not tolerate to be considered a baby.
    I don't have a magic bullet of course, and I'm certain J differs from Sweet Pea in a lot of ways. But I find that she is in a better place when I give her LOTS of choices through out the day. "Will you wear your boots or your shoes?" instead of imposing my choice of footwear. "do you want rice or potatoes for supper?" Should we pick green apples or red apples? Oh, no apples... ok. What fruit then?". A million different choices through out the day.
    Just an idea... Hang in there.
  10. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Malika~ I think most of us are not typical parents simply because our children are not typical. Duckie is very difficult to live with so I'm probably a lot firmer than most (she's generally not "pleasant", Know what I mean??). There are a lot of things I don't care about, but I do care about respectful behavior, self-care and grooming and meeting responsibilities to herself and others. I don't care if her clothes match, but they will clean. She will not sign up for activity and not follow through. She will eat properly, exercise regularly, get enough rest and learn to manage her health problems. She will not treat others (myself included) without negative consequences. I've accepted that she will probably never be "nice", but she can show great kindness so I'll take that.
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks, all. Yes, Ktllc, continual choices - that's a good idea. Obviously I'm not going to give up parenting J in the sense of providing for him, ensuring he stays safe (as far as I can...), scolding him when he goes over the line, etc. But what I'm saying is I'm going to step back from trying to turn him into a little French boy... or Moroccan come to that. No way any of these kids would talk to their parents like he talks to me, like I'm a big playmate, but I'm going to stop getting worked up about it... I'm going to stop trying to make him listen to me, which basically just has zero success. Certain things are not for discussion, but I'm stepping out of wars about what shoes he wears, of making him say please and thank you all the time, of worrying about the fact that he eats like a bird (and trying to force him leads to WW3), of getting all upset and worked up because he absolutely won't wear his gloves - let his hands get cold if that is his choice - and on and on.

    What I consider important I will insist on - no television during the week, no sweets just before lunch, etc... but the rest? I am not going to produce a well-mannered little lord Fauntleroy and... I am going to give up the attempt. This is my declaration of independence!!
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Malika...I think that is a very wise

    Actually, he will probably pick up good manners on his own. The rest are (in my humble opinion only) not that important.
  13. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    My difficult child is now 18 and he's the middle child of 5. I parent him differently from the others. He wears shorts year round and will only put on long pants when going hunting or out to work in the snow. When he was in first grade, the school threatened to call CPS if we didn't make him wear long pants to school. They said he couldn't go out to recess if he wasn't dressed warmly enough. I left a coat, long pants, etc. at school and he was told he'd have to stay indoors if he didn't wear them. The school didn't do outdoor recess when it was below 32 (0 Celsius). It was his choice. Sometimes, he put them on and went out and others he didn't. The school was really upset but it was no longer a source of tension between us... His body temperature regulation is different from other people's. Ironically, babyboy 13 will no longer wear long pants to school.

    The one thing I disagree on is please and thank you. I use those words to my kids all the time and I expect all of them to use them. difficult child is actually quite polite in that way. PC16 is not. Our kitchen is set up with a long table and easy child usually sits at the far end on the opposite side of the table. I sit where I can get up and get things. PC16 will say: "Hey, mom, can you get me X?" and I ignore him till he says please and I don't hand it to him till he says thank you. He will often argue with me that please and thank you are not necessary and I should know that he feels them in his heart! I tell him even if I feel them, I doubt any future employers will. My suggestion is to use please, thank you ,etc. whenever and wherever appropriate as I'm sure you do and to not respond to J unless he uses them. Get him the item when he says please and when he doesn't say it, say "I'm sorry, but I didn't hear you say please." Even when my difficult child was at his worst, the teachers would say that he was unfailingly polite about his resistance/refusal. "I'm sorry, Mr. teacher, but I just don't care to do that homework!" J is very young, if you model etiquette for him without hitting him over the head with it, you may get better results. As for shoes, etc., all of the clothing in my house was stuff that was appropriate and I didn't really care what outfits they chose to put together. I even let them wear sneakers to temple. If he doesn't wear the right type of shoes for an activity, he will be made to sit out by the adults in charge. difficult child almost missed a camping trip once because he insisted on wearing sneakers. I had put his boots in the car and offered them to him. He thanked me, took them and went.

    It's not easy. I also recommend "the explosive child" for its box system. Behaviors are put into A, B or C by you. A is non-negotiable stuff - safety issues where you can not compromise. For instance, J wants to ride a bike without a helmet, no. Helmet on, have fun. If you catch him without a helmet, no bike for x period. B is stuff you want to work on or can compromise - politeness, and food intake - but it requires patience and alot of it, C is stuff that is unimportant - he wants to wear green pants and a purple shirt, so what. C is stuff it's not worth fighting over or where you can let him feel like he's won,

    J has to live in the real world and what's cute or tolerable in a small child becomes less so as they age.
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    svengandhi, you forget that I am English - the nationality that can exchange two dozen pleases and thankyous during a single shop transaction and that will apologise to you if you poke them in the ribs in a crowded train (well, time was, anyway...) Alas, my resolution to give up on please and thank you with J lasted about an hour... for five years or so I have been saying to him "what's the magic word?" or pretending I can't hear until he says please. Maybe one time in 10 he will say it spontaneously... However, it appears I am genetically incapable of not reminding him when he doesn't :)
  15. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Malika, I sooooo feel you! I've sure had to pick my battles with my grandson. I had to be really clear on what my boundaries were, what would serve him in the future and what could be let go for now. We've been working the Explosive Child techniques, along with Raising a Thinking Child, and it's helped give us all good consistent language and techniques. I'm in Special Education, and the school psychiatric just gave us all a handout about boundaries. See if this sounds like anyone you may know:

    Children who have difficulties recognizing others' boundaries may:
    *insist that others agree with them
    *not accept "No" for an answer
    *encroach on others' physical and/or emotional space
    *exhibit out of control emotions or behaviors
    *have difficulty sustaining close friendships
    *have difficulty accepting limits set by parent, teachers, or other caregivers
    *lack of awareness of socially acceptable interpersonal behavior

    Sheesh. I've always had the feeling that my grandson really needs boundaries. He just doesn't seem to get the idea the way most children do. I can see that his out or control behavioral actually frightens him, but he just can't stop himself. This has gotten so much better over the last year (as you can see in my sig line, his parents did decide to medicate) and we've gained a little precious time before a melt-down/throwing/nasty words/etc. and you can literally see the thoughts going through his head that he should not do what he's about to do, and while you can see how furious he is, he will, more often than not, stop himself. We are so far from being out of the woods with this kid, but we all keep adding to our toolbox and using the tools as best we can. Some interesting kids worksheets and art projects come with this program (I'm going to find out the name of it, it isn't on the handout I was given) about boundaries in the real world (fish tanks, farms, time, boundaries separating things on roads, geographical areas, exploring inside and out. It's interesting stuff, actually.

    I hope you're feeling a little more hopeful today. These kids can flat wear you out. My grandson wears us all out, but not at the same time, fortunately, so we always have back-up. It's vital to have a support network, but kids like this can be so isolating. My grandson is going to his first birthday party today without family hovering nearby. He's so excited, and we are nervous wrecks that it all goes well.
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, J is surely going to rub some people up the wrong way in his life. Thing is, I don't think I can do a damn thing about it. Since he was a tiny baby, literally, he has had this larger than life, gregarious, no-holds-barred personality where he seems generally happy with himself and unworried about the way the world perceives him. He largely does what he wants, accepting minimum control from adults. Nothing I have ever said or done makes any difference to that. I am sure I have some influence in certain ways but his basic core nature remains, like a force of nature... he will make his own way in life, I am quite sure of that. He's very bright, with a very practical kind of intelligence, sociable - I hope he will be alright. I expect this sounds rather defeatist or like I am taking a back seat but J NEVER was a child you could parent in the normal way and I think i now accept it. I feel like I am just going to accompany him along part of his journey and hope to steer him basically in the right direction...
  17. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    You are also going to have to limit his options. Do not let him get into situations where he can make a dangerous or disastrous choice. (eg. If it is not safe for him to walk alone, do not let him be in a situation where he will be tempted to walk somewhere by himself.)
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Boy, that description sounds a lot like my son!
    Yes, logical descriptions and explanations help.
    However, I couch mine by saying, "I will answer your question only if you promise to apologize for calling me a Big Bananna, and lower your voice."
    It helps. :)
  19. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Malika (does your name mean Queen?) -

    I didn't realize you are English. J's lack of social propriety must really grate on you. Just today, my oldest son (22) asked me to warm something for him in the microwave. When I looked at him, he said "please?" I was closer and he was getting ready for work so I did it. Then, I wouldn't give him it to him till he said thank you. I think that if you are consistent, he will ultimately just develop better manners. My kids don't name call at least to me so that's not an issue here.

    Good luck.
  20. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    This is not one of my sharper days so I'm getting the phrase wrong (just can't seem to think of the the right one, lol).Someone will correct it soon..perhaps, you. Most of us have referenced the analogy "I knew I was headed to France but somehow I ended up in Belgium". Even wrongly worded that is what has happened to you. You had a picture of yourself (perhaps as Mary Poppins?) with a lovely, bright, curious child who also was considerate and very polite to say nothing of respectful. What you have is a handsome, bright, curious child who doesn't quite fit into the rest of the preconceived mold.

    With variations we have all been there done that. None of us ever wanted to be anything less than Mary Poppins but life happens. Only you can set your priorities and's basket time. My eldest sister was an intelligent caring Mom who just could not be consistent in her parenting. Her children are all middle age and functioning well. They never had a bedtime because "they just won't go when I tell them to" and they were very messy because "they just won't pick up after themselves" etc. etc. Each of her grandchildren have been raised in a far more structured environment. The ones I know are bright, achieving and respectful. They were raised with baskets.

    The point is that each of us has to choose our course and then be true to it. You will feel more confident in your parenting skills and J will feel secure in his daily life. I'm sure you will end up fine but I understand your struggling to find the balance that fits your needs and his. Hugs DDD