Slogging through the in home therapy....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ropefree, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    It has been the silent treatment...I am begining to feel shutdown. The treating doctor and the therapist are all feeling my difficult child is doing well. I am getting the "you need to let go" when the issues are not LIKE couples therapy...this is a teen, not a spousal tiff. This involves disrupting and unreasonable behavor
    without respect of the parent:the adult.
    and as the time goes by I am having them looking at me as if these "things"
    are due to my having "only him" to care about....oh, like the fact that, like so many parents the priorities shift to obligations of our childrens needs. So in this case the folks invloved who ALL WORK and HAVE AMPLE incomes (whatever their spending patterns may be) and assume that, therefor, a disabled single parent "should" spend on onesself "too".
    It is a mathematical impossiblity. And given we are discussing the ADHD male
    it will come to no great surprise that many of the self care things that I have
    aquired for my needs...equiptment that I found for dirt cheap at yard sales that served my needs for in home excersise have each been broken.
    What I needed, I think, is adults who are supporting the ideas of self control for my teen, and respecting others be it 'only' Mom who is not
    a spouse type figure...I am a parent! Single parenting IS a viable parenting syle and it is just biased nonscense to suggest that it is even apropriate to rate upon "ideals". Death, divorse, abandonments of all types did not just start occuring. Women and men have single parented at differant times and sometimes EVEN WHILE a legal spouse is elsewhere (Ben Franklin comes to mind His wife raised his many children alone).
    Ok, I am tired. Thanks for that. I hope I loosen up eventually and stop feeling this way.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That sounds like some of the "family therapy" we recieved. It didn't work so well with me (us) either. I did take issue with them acting like it was couples therapy- it is not- I am the parent and he's the child and if they think for one second that that method was going to keep him in line, then they obvioulsy didn't know my son too well. Anyway, I don't know what to tell you unless you can get out of it somehow. Another common problem I found- some therpaists (and others) tend to think that the goal is to make your household just like that of the typical 2-parent, 2-kid household. Well, there is no way that a single-parent household can work like a 2-parent household. The dynamics will never be the same.

    I think it's good that you can see these things. I don;t know what to tell you as far as what to do to improve it, but I feel your pain. Ours was court-ordered due to a recommendation by a GAL who had never even spoken to difficult child's psychiatrist. We got an in-home therapist who wanted to take over all difficult child's mental health treatment and iep at school and rules at home. This guy didn't even have a child, much less know anything about a real diagnosis in a child. So, I formally requested a re-hearing by the judge, took in reports from 2 psychiatrists who had evaluation'd my son and had written their recommended treatment and fortunately, the judge changed her order.

    I feel for you, that's all I can say.
  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    It is a long hard road to find a therapist that fits our needs. Especially one that does not let their own personal beliefs come into play.
    Some are trained from a male perspective. Some from a couples perspective. Some form only treating kids on the Spectrum, mental illness or adhd or other things like this. Some don't believe that kids can have certain issues.
    It is very hard to find a nice match for ones needs.
    Hang in there.
  4. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    Well thank you so much. What is WRONG with these systems that are based on
    structures that are not the reality? and WHY so many 'experts' on families that do not themselves have one? I can not tolerate this pity aproach as if the point is to recieve something....these are very basic: safty,courtesy,social skill sets,goal setting,household management, mutal respective and the team actions to prepare for the needs each day, week, month,year, for the transition to college. Why this
    consistant equating of gender with spousal role? rediculas. Lots of relationships and mother is one are not spouse type relationships!
    I do feel that,needless, the fact that my difficult child is engaging in a relationship (hopefully not spouselike) with the conselor is, in my opinion, another opertunity to have a safe possitive relationship with an adult that is giving input that at least set a stage to seek such in future if needed.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's really rough trying to raise a teen, especially a difficult child teen when you're on your own.

    You're right in that it's not a spousal relationship, but something I suggest in raising teens (especially those who consider themselves independent and capable, especially when they're not) is to treat the teen more like a flatmate and less like a dependent child. Especially if you are disabled and need some help around the place, this can work better than what you're fighting at the moment. It also fits neatly in with "Explosive Child" methods.

    As with a lot of things we talk about here, take what you feel fits and ignore the rest. But at least think hard about it, I'm sharing what has worked for me and an ADHD kid can be very similar to Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).

    Some things that have worked for me with the respect stuff - that took work. The starting point for me was first to ignore any apparent disrespect and try to think about where it has come from. We get into very bad habits about how we talk to our children. It begins when they are small and need a lot of correction, but as they get older, stronger and more independent, it really offends their sense of dignity. However, to disrespect you in turn is NOT the way to handle it, although that is how you first see it. You then both get into bad habits (both of you) and things just go downhill in a bad pattern. So what you need to do is break that pattern. You shouldn't expect a child with problems to be strong enough or socially knowledgeable enough to break this pattern without help; YOU have to be "the hero".

    Think about how you speak to your child. Mentally recollect your most recent communications. "Clean your room! Honestly, this is a pigsty! I'm fed up with you leaving your mess lying around!"
    Or "Chew with your mouth closed and sit up straight at the dinner table."
    How often do you use "please" and "thank you" in your communications with him? If YOU don't use these words, why expect him to use them with you? Or other people?

    To break the disrespect pattern you begin by not showing disrespect to the difficult child. This is difficult, when the child is often loudly being rude or disrespectful, but you have to start somewhere. You then have to keep reminding yourself that you need to actively show respect. The please and thank you is a good start, even for small things.
    Example: yesterday we were in the shopping mall car park, difficult child 3 sitting beside me in the front passenger seat. I was backing out of the parking space and it was tricky, the place was busy. As we moved off difficult child 3 said, "Did you wonder why I suddenly hunched down in my seat?"
    I replied, "I hadn't noticed."
    The conversation continued for a while in minute detail (a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) phenomenon that can REALLY get on your nerves!) until difficult child 3 finally told me, "I hunched down so you could get a better view of the side mirrors while you were reversing."
    I COULD have just said, "okay then, I understand now."
    Or I COULD have said, "I really didn't need all this detail; we're five miles away by now, there are many more important things we could have talked about in this time."
    What I DID say was, "Oh, I understand now. Thank you for thinking about that without being told. That was considerate of you. I didn't need it, but I might have."

    It's a small thing but it snowballs.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 REALLY has a mouth on her sometimes; it's like she HAS to be as sarcastic as possible, cuts people down before they have a chance to do it to her. She's gifted with words which can make her doubly vicious. She also can be very tactless and thoughtless - while shopping for wedding dresses with easy child and daughter in law (before the wedding) we stopped at one designer shop to admire the dresses. daughter in law commented on one confection - the bodice was satin, swathed tightly in a strapless bodice above a frothy tulle skirt, the whole thing embroidered with tiny, brightly coloured beads. "I really like this one," daughter in law said.
    easy child 2/difficult child 2 replied condescendingly (and loudly), "Oh no, darling! It looks like a meringue that fell into a vat of cake sprinkles!"
    This was heard by the dress's designer, who of course wouldn't have been impressed; nor inclined to offer much of a discount or special deal on any of her dresses, should any of the girls have wanted one of her dresses. OK, she IS witty, but it WAS tactless and disrespectful.

    As for coping around the house with a mouthy teenager - the "you are now a flatmate" option really works on so many levels. You have a child whose ultimate ambition is to leave home at which point they expect life to be one long emancipation party. So you say to your child, "I am going to help you reach your goal of independence. We start now. You are now on a flatmate basis. It's my name on the lease, which gives me the final say. However, we need to work as a team in order to make this arrangement work. You have certain freedoms and rights; so do I. Together we will make this work to the benefits of both of us."

    The sort of issues you need to deal with - if he complains about the food, for example. I've used this one often. Chances are you're doing your best to put food on the table but also save money. We all go through this (or most of us do). It's a constant compromise plus we also have to take our own fatigue levels into account. So when easy child 2/difficult child 2 complained that she didn't like what I was cooking, I told her to feel free to take over. SHE could be on dinner duty for the next few nights and show me how I could do the job better. BUT - she had to plan the meal to meet nutritional needs, to be something all diners could eat (food preferences as well as allergies etc had to be taken into account) and it had to come in under budget. She had to plan the shopping list, arrange for ingredients to be purchased, and then prepare the meal. I was willing to help her through this stage of course, but didn't want my workload increased.

    This set her a really good project which she tackled with enthusiasm. Of course there were problems = she was busy playing a computer game at the time when diner should have been started. She wasn't hungry right then, so she didn't feel a need to start dinner. So when she WAS hungry, it was a bit late to start by then.
    It took time for her to get it right. At first I needed to remind her. "What time do you plan to have dinner? If you want dinner ready at 7.30 pm, then I think you should put the oven on now to heat up. If you don't begin now, you will need to revise your serving time."
    I kept it clear that it was HER decision, but she did learn fairly quickly (after the first couple of very late dinners) that she needed to get things done NOW regardless of how hungry she was that minute.

    Washing - I stopped raiding the bedroom for dirty clothes. Any washing not already in the laundry didn't get done. If I was doing a load of washing, though, I would ask, "Do you have any washing that needs doing?" I would even remind, "Come on, you must have SOME dirty underwear at least, after a week. Go get it now, I'll wait a few minutes before starting the machine."
    If I had a load that was entirely my child's, I would call him over and say, "I want you to do this load, it IS yours and it's a skill you need to have. I'll talk you through it so you will know what to do. Most laundromats work fairly simply using similar rules."

    We set up house rules that EVERYONE had to comply with. With laundry, any clothing with sweat stains or smells are splashed with white vinegar then put in the laundry tub to wait for the next wash day. Serious stains are soaked also, before washing. Torn clothing should be patched or mended before washing, because the stresses to the garment in the wash can make damage much worse.

    One of the most important house rules, and a good place to start, is to ensure that all house mates know where the others are at any time. This means that a parent tells the child where he is going and when he will be back, just as you expect the child to do the same thing. Of course there needs to be some leeway, there is always the situation where you're walking home and someone greets you and invites you for an impromptu coffee. We go down the road to the shops and it can take an hour or more, because we bump into friends and chat. But if we put the same expectations on ourselves that we put on our children, they don't see it as something you're insisting on because they're the child and you're the adult. And when they eventually leave home to share a place with someone else, they will need to show other people these same courtesies. It is especially important for whoever is cooking, to know how many people they are cooking for and for what time.

    It can take time to transform a smart-mouthed teen to a cooperative flatmate. Along the way be prepared to have your opinions challenged, but if you were sharing the place with your best friend you would find that some things would have you biting your tongue. If it was your best friend who wasn't keeping their room tidy, how would you handle it? Or would you say to yourself, "It's her room, I don't have to sleep in it, as long as she doesn't let her crud overflow to the rest of the house."?

    We learned to let some things go. We also learned to communicate at an adult level, to have some interesting discussions but without any more "because I'm the parent," comments.

    Ropefree, I have gathered from a lot of your past threads that you are already somewhere along this road as a thinking, considerate parent. It may be that you need to either find another therapist, or instead find your own way through with difficult child. Perhaps ask difficult child what HE thinks about the therapist's suggestions and ask him if he can see any solutions to some of the things that are concerning you.

  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think Marg is right in that is it tough raising a difficult child on your own as a female, especially when that difficult child is a teen of the male species!!!!!!!!!!!

    I know, that for me, there are times when I am focused a little "too much" on difficult child. easy child doesn't have the needs he has and I have no spouse to interact with, worry about, argue with, talk to, etc. I do find myself having to step back and just "let him".

    Totoro is right, finding the right therapist can be a long journey. If you don't like the attitude or ideals of this one, find out about getting a replacement. I don't believe it is unreasonable to make the request.

    Marg is correct is that respect has to go both ways. When I was growing up, respect was a tough thing. My mom had absolutely no respect for me, and in turn it was very difficult for me to give her the respect she demanded. Oh, I did knowing that if I didn't the hand would come flying. But respect is a two-way street. I think that is why the concept of the basket system (Ross Greene) works for so many difficult child families. There is that compromise basket where decisions can be made mutually.

    Not sure if any of these issues come into play in your case. But raising a teenage boy is tough, even tougher when you are alone and he's a difficult child. I know, I do it as well. Hope you are able to make some changes in the home therapy front.

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. I had bad experiences with therapists. If you're son is 17, that is worse. He will be seen as an adult, and you won't get input, like you would if he was ten. I'm sorry it didn't go well.
  8. Jena

    Jena New Member


    I'm just jumping in to say that I"m sorry you are having a rough time of it. Although as you said it's good that difficult child is holding some type of positive relatoinship with the t, you deserve to get positive feedback as the Mom as well. I agree with everyone else on this, alot of us have had to go thru so many doctor's till we found the right one.

    It is good that you see it for what it is, though. Is there anyway you can change the person working with him??? In regards to how they view this type of stuff, I agree its' absurd to view it as a spousal relationship or even that with both parties being on the same level. Your hte parent, he's the teenager.

  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    But in most states, 17 is or is very close to a legal adult. The parent can't do anything to an adult child other than make the child leave their home if they disagree with their lifestyle. My daughter at 17, when she was in therapy, did not tell me anything about the sessions and I was told that I would not be told anything because of her age. It is hard to continue to parent a 17 year old like a younger child, even a younger teen. The law isn't on your side. That's when the hard choices come in. We made my drug-using daughter leave our house at 18. That worked well for her. It doesn't go as well for everyone, but that is the only choice we have by that age--put up with them or tell them to leave.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Enmeshed is the clinical term for what you are being told you are experiencing. It QUICKLY raised the hair on the back of my neck and became one of my LEAST favorite words in the English language. Sounded more like a fish in a net or a bunch of stuff wadded up ugly - not a term that is favorable to describle a single mother, her son and their relationship.

    HOWEVER....(ugh) here's the hard part for me to admit. THEY were rrr....darn....rrrrrrrrrrrrr.....hold on lemme get it out.....rrrr.rrrrrrr.......right. My child, his problems, his schedule, his day, his medicines, his behaviors, his school, his clothes, his lunch, his well being, his friends, his bike his everything.....became ME because.....(huge duh here) WHO ELSE WAS THERE?

    I was really angered by the use of the word when I found out what it meant. REALLY angry - it was like "Ok oh I see - all these years NO ONE steps up to help, I did it the best way I could and knew how and NOW I'm not doing it right?" (needle across a record noise and crickets chirping)

    WHO IN THE BLUE MOON did they think they were to tell me anything? I knew it best, I knew him the most, I knew everything about him, I know when he sleeps, when he eats, where he is and HIT me like a ton of bricks.....all this time and energy on my son - and none for anything else. Not myself (let myself go) not my friends (if I had any left all I did was (@$)(*% ABOUT my kids problems), and there wasn't anything else.

    Changing that isn't as hard as it sounds. Accepting that? WEeeeeeeeew whole other story. And now it's been nearly 8 years since I first heard those words or SAW on his chart at the state mental hospital "Mother is too close to child." I thought - WHAT? What do they mean it's too close? I'm his dang Mom. And then they told me I couldn't come twice a day. (do you believe tha audacity?) now I laugh. Twice a day - OMG I had such guilt.

    I think ESPECIALLY when you only have one and you feel like you are does make it feel like it's you and your kid against the world. For us it was reality. But truly even at 10 I was told we were too close...and it hurt. I was hanging on to him because I (not him) had nothing else. I became obsessed with him, and smothered him and didn't even know it. Once I got into therapy and started letting go? We really began to have a healthy Mother / Son relationship. When you are totally dependent on each other it doesn't teach a child how to reach out to the world.

    It's one of the hardest things I had to learn but well worth it for proper emotional growth and lesson in standing on your own two feet. I have been told that Mothers of children with disabilities are more likely to end up enmeshed - but learning how to have a life outside of your childs behaviors and all that entails isn't hard if you care to work with a good therapist.

    Hope this lets you know ya aren't alone.

  11. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    I wish I had your family therapist. Kanga's program director more or less went off on me last week that we are not involved enough in Kanga's life. That we should be calling her every day and visiting at least once a week (despite the 5 hour round trip drive).

    I did get the "you're too emotionally invested" comment about Tigger (he was 5!!!!!).

    I do think that many of these tdocs are winging it as they don't have children, they have no idea what it is like to parent a easy child let alone a difficult child. The best therapist we had was a mother of 2 boys.

    Ropefree - I completely feel where you are coming from. I think Marg had some good suggestions. I'm going to archive them in case Kanga needs to come home. It may save my sanity.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    After reading a couple of the articles on mental health and inadequate providers today, I do think it isn't so much the message they are trrying to deliver- or the objective might be a better description- it's the way they go about it. I swear, it's like so many of them read a textbook or two, mix what they read with their own inexperienced (non-parental) biases, and BANG- you have therapist.

    Some, who have the experience and common sense, on top of the education and training, well, they can be godsends. But like so many here have told me time and time again- "go with your mommy-gut".
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm with Star. I was enmeshed in M's life, and it made us both miserable. But even worse, it made me the prime candidate for blame. He could blame me because I never let him make a positive choice in his life, and therapists could blame me because I never let him learn from his own mistakes.

    As hard as it is to hear it, my 20/20 hindsight tells me that your therapist is at least a little bit right.
  14. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    Thanks for all the thoughts and view points Everyone.
    Actually, whatever the therapist was trying to offer this relationship is new. In terms of the process of therapy I feel that taking time and having sessions more frequently is the best for us to get anywhere.
    Enmeshment is not an issue. These are basic interpersonal dynamics and the important thing is the parenting and communication to give direction and guiadance through the teenage and younge adult years.
    Frankly I believe on whole many people "give up" or simply are careless with the dawning of adulthood and those teens and their futures suffer.
    Adults do need encouragement and support emotionally as well as tactical.
    I do not endulge in "fighting".
    In fact I am under the impression that some of what may be my difficult child effort is to acquire the interactive skill.
    For me I see this developemental stage as the ones to preceed it. First the ackward
    initial steps into a new area...then the consequences...then the skill set that is not there and the youth doesn't "know"....the experiance is not connecting. Emotion is
    stronger and in the way.
    Today, again, I feel the effort to encourage self disclosure and accept where he is
    and to find the oppertunities to him to master the parts involved: anticipating the
    expectation, self motivation, engaging in the appropriate communication and doing the work(chores, school, homework, timelines, socializing) for learners with indivigual issues their is not a age attainment that empowers these. I know grown adults who never have launched all the balls in the adult juggle.
    When I am talking with parents with older college age and older sons and daughters their are loads of help that parents continue to provied after the consent age is reached.
    For me I want my family to be the line in the sand where the cycle of abuse:verbals,
    all the physicals ect was broken.
    So no, I have carefully stepped back from the endulgence of battling. I am courteous and patient and I hand over responcibility and until I had a reason to wonder I have not lacked trust in him. I haven't lost trust in him per se...what I felt in my "mommy-guts" is not only did I want help....I wanted the help NOW.
    The first thing I did say in my session is I want this process to be paced up faster than weeks and weeks of time to turn bad behavor into habituated behavor.

    And I do care that there is a possitive outcome. In our culture that shuns and throws people away because it is more profittable to do so to corporations with all their "rights" I am not pushing another body out into the fray unprepared to the best of my common scence and personal experiance.
    I also appreciate the difficulties that have been expressed. These are the things the mothers and fathering fathers need to have as inspirations. Intergating what is known rather than reinventing the wheel because we do exist buried under the burden of our everyday work loads and limits.
    Thank you all for all the time and attention. Vistas of emotionally delicious dreams to each of you.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I wonder if individual therapy might be more effective for him- would he go and participate?
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's tricky. I would hope that he would, but he has the right to refuse. Again, it could come down to negotiating - "I don't think I need therapy either, but you think I do, so I am going. Please show me the same courtesy. If you don't need it, it's not going to do you any harm. But if by chance you do need it - then it's there and you['re making use of it. Play chess with the therapist if you want to, instead of talking. But at least it's showing that you're prepared to negotiate - it's a useful adult skill."

    And Ropefeee, you made a good point about us often needing to do parental things long after the child is allegedly an adult. difficult children take longer to mature. So we're constantly walking a tightrope between being there for them with help when they're floundering, and letting them assert their independence so they don't feel like they're being babied.

    difficult child 1 just got married. He's just been away for two weeks (should be on his way home now, with bride). It's the first time he's ever been away from home, away from adult support and supervision, for more than one night. And he had to do it as Man of the House! His bride has been living on her own for some months so she's not new to it. But it would have been a very interesting two weeks for them.
    I have had to hand my role as carer, over to his wife. I'm not sure she is equipped for it, but I know she is very independent and won't want help. But she will need it, especially with handling the paperwork he needs.

    difficult child 1 is 24, almost 25. Next week he sees the pediatrician for the last time (at 25 he has to change to another specialist to handle his medication prescriptions). It's just plain bizarre.

    I hope some answers percolate through for you and difficult child. it does happen. It just can take a fair bit longer sometimes.

  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Maybe "either you see a therapist by yourself and discuss things in private, or I'm going in there with you and I'll discuss my side of things". That would work with my difficult child. My difficult child hates it when he can't see his therapist alone, with confidentiality and privacy! Oh well, I got that to work somehow LOL!
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    On second thought- it wasn't really an ultimatum that worked with my son. It was slyly getting him to agree that he "wanted" a man to talk to alone because I just didn't understand him and he couldn't discuss personal issues with me anymore.