So Frustrated

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bunny, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    So difficult child has his appointment with his therapist the other night and I came out so aggravated! therapist, husband and I all met last week to make sure that we are all on the same page in connection with dealing with difficult child and his behaviors at home. We came up with the idea of a difficult child Book. Each night I write in the book the happenings of the day, both good and bad and we are supposed to use that as an outline for what needs to be discussed and worked on in session. We decided to do this because difficult child tends to steer the conversation to things that he wants to talk about, which is always good stuff, like how well he is doing in school and the good things that he did during the week. The bad behaviors are never going to be addressed that way.

    The first thing that happened was when difficult child realized what the book was he got really angry. We tried to explain it that this way I could have a good record of what happened during the week, and I even showed him that there were days that had written, "Good day. Nothing of note to report." He insisted that I was going to write only bad things and never tell the therapist when he was well behaved.

    What happened? The therapist totally allowed difficult child to turn the conversation to other things!! What the heck is the point of keeping the difficult child book if we're not even going to use it? Of course he's never going to want to talk about telling me that he doesn't "even know why dad keeps [me] around any more because [I'm] pretty useless," and have to work on why he says really mean things like that, when he can talk about the topics of his choice and be praised.

  2. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    Sounds like you may need to speak to the doctor on the side or take control of a session. While praise is important if it gets out of hand and the doctor gets sucked into a place where they are not effectively addressing your needs they pretty much render themselves useless. Encouraging good behavior is one thing, pretending a kid who needs counseling does not need to go over the bad stuff is a whole different matter.

    My difficult child was turned off by having to deal with the bad stuff so any family sessions were non productive. In that sense difficult child couldn't process his own dysfunction because he just shut down as soon as we were involved. If it is a new doctor they sometimes allow some room for a difficult child to gain trust before they bombard them with the real session style. Too much too soon and difficult child may decide this is just another adult talking head to be ignored or that doctor is only on your side.

    Either way your doctor needs to have a clear picture of your needs, a clear plan even if it takes time and should be able to explain it to you both ahead of time and illustrate it before too many sessions go by wasted.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Does your therapist have email or a fax machine? Can you just communicate how things are going without difficult child knowing?

    I keep track of how things are going with my kids and feed info to our mental health team mostly via email without the kids knowing. That method has worked well for us for about five years.
  4. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I agree with smallworld, I keep in touch with therapist via email and an occasional appointment by myself. Sometimes it is easier to steer things from the background. It sounds like you are always in the sesson with therapist, and if difficult child is insecure (as many of our difficult child's really are no matter how self confident they seem) he may be trying to "convince"himself that he is a good kids, especially while you are around. I would let him meet with therapist by himself for a month or so and then have an appointment with therapist by yourself and see how things are going.
  5. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Okay, here is the e-mail that I sent to the therapist:

    "Okay, there is something that I truly need to get off my chest about the last session that we had with difficult child. I understand that you feel that difficult child working with easy child is a good idea, however I totally disagree with it. When my husband and I met with you a week ago we decided that we were going to start to keep a GFGl Book so that I could have an accurate record of what happened during the week, both good and bad, and my understanding was that we were going to use that book as an outline of what needed to be worked on in session. In case you missed it, that totally did not happen. What the heck is the point of keeping a record of the happenings of the week if we are not going to use it? Why am I wasting my time?

    The point of having an outline of what happened for the week is to prevent difficult child from completely manipulating the topics that are discussed, which in my opinion, is exactly what happened. We could have talked about his lying issues (he said that his father threatened to hurt him, which did not happen) or his continued talking to me with the utmost disrespect and nasty attitude. That child treats me no better than the dirt under his shoes, and it it never going to get better until we can work on it.

    If my concerns are never going to be addressed than what is the point of having him come to see you? I understand the praise is important, and he DOES get praised when he does the right thing. However, talking to you about only the things that he does right is not going to help him learn to behave properly, and it certainly not going to help me from feeling like I want to ship him off somewhere so he can be someone else's problem. Truthfully, I'm done."

    Hopefully, I will hear back from him before I go back with difficult child on Tuesday.

  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    What medications is he on? Are they making things better, worse or about the same? Do you feel his diagnosis is right?
  7. Jena

    Jena New Member

    i just wanted to jump in to say i'm sorry you are aggrivated and i wish you luck with-getting a response on the email.

  8. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Thanks, everyone.

    Smallworld, difficult child is taking Celexa (40 mg) for his anxiety, and while that seems to have helped the problems that are anxiety driven, he needs to work on the behavioral issues that he has: complete disrespect towards me, bullying behavior towards his younger brother, lying, tantrums to get what he wants and to get his way. In my opnion, unless these issues are addressed they are never going to get better.

    I did get an e-mail from the therapist this morning. Basically it said that he was sorry that I felt the way that did, but in his opinion the session was very productive. I did not specifically state that I wanted to discuss certain behaviors at home so he was unaware that I felt something needed to be addresses. He stressed to me how much difficult child has improved in the time he has been working with him (he really has) and that I should be focusing on the positive, rather than seeking perfection.

    His e-mail was alot longer than that, but that was the general idea of it. I'm not even sure how to respond. I has just spend the first part of the session talking about what I had written into the book and explaining how difficult child's behavior is always worse over the weekend than it is during the week (usually because the weekend has much less structure to it than the week days do) and he didn't feel that needed to be addressed?

  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    My kiddo gets in her moods where she thinks I expect perfection (and induces her own anxiety), and I stress (a LOT) that I don't expect her to be perfect, I expect her to perform within the boundaries of acceptable societal norms irregardless of place or time.
  10. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Hi Pam,

    I know you're frustrated, but I'm not sure talking about difficult child's poor behavior at home in family therapy is necessarily going to change it. I suspect how you respond to said behavior at home may have more lasting impact. Family therapy might just be putting your difficult child on the spot and making him defensive.

    First, have you read The Explosive Child? Collaborative Problem Solving would be my suggestion for how to deal with his tantrums. Another book that might help is Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay (

    Second, I know it's counterintuitive, but a child who is acting disrespectfully toward a parent actually needs to be spending more one-on-one time with that parent engaging in positive relationship-building activities, such as going out to Starbucks and chatting over a drink, going for a bicycle ride, taking the dog for a walk, etc. You get my drift. In this way, you build a relationship that is not always fraught with negative emotion. Furthermore, if he acts disrespectfully toward you, I would recommend simply not responding to him or stopping what you're doing. If he demands something from you, walk away. No response from you will get the message to him far faster than continual lectures about respect, in my humble opinion.

    Finally, bullying behavior toward his brother is a toughie. My suggestion is to simply separate them. Again, a lot of attention about this issue may keep the behavior going on longer. Simply taking his brother away with you and defusing the situation without a lot of lectures time and again may make it not so fun to keep taunting his brother.

    In terms of the medications, Lexapro may not be doing it on its own. If your son is still explosive, there's a chance he needs something else. You may need to talk to the psychiatrist about that.

    Hang in there. I know this stuff is not easy.