So, I'm going to say this out loud

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterby, May 10, 2010.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I don't know how to parent difficult child.

    I really don't. I have tried every which way. I have tried everything every therapist along the way has offered. I have spent endless days and nights racking my brain, trying to figure out what she needs, how to fulfill it, how to comfort her, how to help her.

    And it all comes down to: I don't know. Just when I feel like I'm getting a handle on things, she flips another switch.

    I am so incredibly protective of painfully aware of her pain, fear, struggles....that I feel I have to protect her. And then I wonder if I'm enabling. But, I don't know what else to do.

    The medications so far are having minimal effect. We d/c the remeron today after a 13 pound weight gain in a month. She started doxepin tonight for sleep. She's taking celexa 30mg, as well. The panic attacks are less. But, I think after so many years of this it has become ingrained. Learned behavior. Maladaptive coping skills. Fear so deeply embedded it seems impossible to overcome. She's again hearing and seeing things that aren't there. The thought of an AP terrifies me because of the cholesterol side effects and she's high risk for heart disease. But, which is worse?

    And now, her stomach issues are worse than ever. It started when everything started to spiral in January. Now, we are trying to figure out if medications are exacerbating it, and if so which one(s). She never feels good.

    We went out to dinner tonight. We sat at a booth. By the end of dinner she was sick and having a panic attack. There were people in both booths on either side of us. She was feeling trapped and claustrophobic. I changed places with her so she was sitting on the end and she lied her head down on the table and tried her best to cope.

    I have failed her in so many ways. I honestly do not know if she will ever be able to live on her own. And I don't know how to help her.
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    The one medication I wish Wee could get away from is Risperdal. The potential side effects of it scare me.

    But it really came down to...did he have a life without it???

    And in our case, the answer was no...
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I wish I had something comforting to say that would help you, but I don't. All I can say is that I didn't/don't know what to do with Miss KT, either. You have done everything in your power for difficult child, and then some. At some point, she will have to decide she wants to make a change. You can't make it for her.

    Many, many soft and gentle hugs.
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You haven't failed her; you are doing everything you know to help her. She is complex and it's not always easy to know what to do. I know for me it isn't easy; I am quite sure I don't know how to parent my difficult child either. Sending gentle hugs your way along with prayers and a wish for some peace for yourself-you are one heck of a warrior mom!
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hey, you haven't done anything wrong. She's wired differently and harder to parent because of this. You are doing all you can for her.

    If this helps, I had horrific panic attacks for years, but the right medication combo stopped them and I haven't had any for years. If you knew how severe mine were, this would probably give you hope.

    She is still young and has a lot of years to work on her illness herself, which, in the end, is what we all have to do. I did self-help and self-help groups out the wazoo and kept trying different medications until something worked. She can do that too. I can recommend one great book for really changed how I saw my panic attacks as well as helping me be able to stop them. The more I practiced, the easily it got. It's an older book, but it's still good. The book is called "Don't Panic" and the authors last names are Wilson and Reid (could be in the other order, but the book should be anywhere in the Psychology section).

    Don't beat yourself up and don't think your daughter will never improve, no matter what is wrong with her. She's at the worse age possible now...the teen years. Things can and very well may get much better for her as she matures and understands herself more.

    Give yourself a pat on the back for doing the best you can with a very difficult child. I give you big kudos!
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Heather, the ap's are a scarey class of medications, but the relief they can give to the patient and the family is amazing. Both husband and difficult child take abilify, and them not having it is not an option. I am not saying that its the medication for your difficult child, but mearly using it as an example. For difficult child he did well on the Lamictal and Daytrana, but when we added the abilify he was a whole different kid, he was the kid I knew he could be. He was polite, respectful, caring of others, and had more insight on other's perspectives.

    He still has days, he will always have days.

    Hugs. I wish I had a magic answer for you.
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Have you tried non-parenting?

    I know it goes against every fiber of your being. Just like it does mine. But, it does work in some cases.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Heather, there are times when your daughter sounds a lot like my easy child 2/difficult child 2.

    I have a few thoughts for you. I may have said this to you before - ignore me if I have. But easy child 2/difficult child 2 has had nausea/stomach pain symptoms for years and it took ages and a lot of fruitless mucking around getting nowhere for years before we finally had a gastroenterologist suggest something that helped.

    What it boiled down to - easy child 2/difficult child 2 has an oversensitivity of the nerve endings in the stomach. So the normal stretch receptors, for example, that tell an average person that they have now eaten enough and can enjoy feeling sated, in easy child 2/difficult child 2 actually cause pain and nausea.

    The doctor prescribed medications to calm down those touchy stomach nerves. He said this happens especially to girls, especially form mid-teens to early 20s. Also, digging around in the family, we found similar symptoms in other relatives. Even easy child had problems with vomiting due to anxiety (still does). Again, it's related to a hypersensitivity in the nerve endings in the stomach. Having anxiety as well only aggravates things.

    On the way to a diagnosis for easy child 2/difficult child 2, she had her appendix removed; she had a gastroscopy; she had various ultrasounds (looking for an ovarian cyst); she was referred to a psychiatrist.

    The medications used on her are an older-style antidepressant tat actually doesn't work well as an AD (so we were told) but does calm down the nerve endings. It's tryptanol. I remember when a doctor put me on tryptanol as an attempt to get my pain under control - I got sedated byt it on miniscule doses. But easy child 2/difficult child 2 tolerated it well and ti was almost magic for her.

    Also useful advice she had to follow - cut out alcohol. Eat small meals often, cut out fat. Also don't smoke (although easy child 2/difficult child 2 doesn't smoke).

    The problems with girls like ours - the psychiatric reason is so obvious, that a possible physical issue gets left on the shelf for too long.

    I'm not saying that your daughter has the same problem as my daughter, but it could be worth checking out. Certainly when she felt sick, anxious and fed up about it, easy child 2/difficult child 2 can be extremely difficult to deal with - histrionic, temperamental, egocentric, hysterical, negative. Sarcastic, vicious, teary, avoidant. But if she feels better, it's easier for her to behave more acceptably.

    She is now off the tryptanol because the stomach problems are now a great deal better. She was on it for maybe 18 months.

    Even if you can only help in a small part of your daughter's problems, any bit dealt with has to be a bonus.

    I hope this can help.

  9. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    You haven't failed her. You are doing everything you can for her. She is a tough one to parent and to figure out.

    I know I have suggested that you try the girlfriend diet but I don't know if I have ever mentioned it for her. As you probably know, my younger daughter had stomach problems until she was 8. She was tested for celiac disease and it was always negative. The doctors said she was "anxious" because she was always complaining about her tummy and they couldn't find anything wrong. Finally, I tried the girlfriend/CF diet for her, even though the doctors said it wasn't her problem, and her stomach problems went away and haven't returned in 4 years.

    My other daughter was a pretty serious difficult child until she was 10. It was bad enough that I was thinking she would end up at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and I had the psychiatric hospital phone number taped to the cabinet in case I needed it in an emergency. Putting her on the girlfriend/CF diet made her into a typical kid. No medications, no therapy, and she responds to typical parenting methods.

    Your daughter is old enough that she would have to want to try the diet herself, which might be a problem. If it helped her stomach, though, she might be willing to stick with it. And, it might make her a less anxious kid as an added bonus. No medications are required so she might like that part.
  10. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    First gentle ((((hugs))))...

    Second, I think the key here is that YOU really have done all that YOU can.

    I get the feeling from reading your posts that your daughter is a bit like a toddler who is old enough to walk, but prefers to be carried. Ever seen that? They will sit on the floor and scoot a bit...and then cry for Mom or Dad to pick them up.

    It seems that your daughter is doing the same thing. She makes a very tiny effort--and then wants YOU to take over everything for her.

    At the end of the day, your daughter is the one who is going to have the most power to help herself....but she has to be really serious about doing the work to get well--not just say the words. There are many methods for over-coming panic attacks. I had the most AWFUL panic attacks and IBS symptoms for years. I finally got over it...and while some medications did help....medicine was not the bulk of the "cure". But it was something I had to do for myself--nobody else could have done it for matter how much they may have wanted to help.

    I hope your difficult child gets to a point where she really wants to help herself. Then she can decide whether a special diet or new medication or new lifestyle is worth it if it relieves her pain and anxiety.
  11. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Maybe this should seem obvious, but what is non-parenting?
  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It is sort of letting them figure it out. Letting natural consequences happen. Even if it means her mother is not as 'close' to her due to her being disrespectful. Detach. Focus your energy only on safety issues (skipping school, computer use with strangers or cell phone, sexual acting out, etc.). I even detached from showering and brushing teeth. I figured if she smelled she would get told. She did not. I told her a few times that I did not want her to sit on my couch being as dirty as she was. Didn't phase her really.

    React as you would to anyone else treating you this way. Pull away. Walk away. Don't engage. It is a natural consequence. My difficult child learned only on her own. I call her 'parenting resistant'. Because she resisted every single thing I tried. It is HARD let me tell you. Even when she got mouthy in front of other people I walked away. There was just no point in saying anything. It only escalated to a bad place. Never did it result in her learning anything. Why waste my time? Homework - I stopped mentioning it mostly. If I did it was just a reminder, "don't forget your homework". If I asked I got some sort of mean response.

    I tailored my house to be non-combative. It went against EVERY fiber of my being. It took a long time for me to accept what I was doing.

    I will tell you that I just had the BEST Mother's Day EVER. Not one ounce of attitude, not even an eye roll. I like her again. It is probably due to her getting older. But, you know what - we survived. She did hear my advice through the years. The advice I gave as I walked by her and kept going so there was no confrontation. The advice I asked others to give her for me.

    I didn't parent the way I wanted to or believed I would or maybe how I should have. I non-parented. And it got us through. She graduated. Is not pregnant. Has a job. Earned the use of my car. Doesn't smoke, drink or do drugs. Is going to college, sort of (not great there, but her problem, not mine).
  13. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    flutter, you certainly DO know how to parent her and are doing the very best you can! You are seeing to her needs as any parent should. As for being over protective? daisyface brought up the point of being like a toddler. I don't know if I see it quite like that exactly but I do see that you want to bring her comfort and try and help her in any way you can. Then when what you have done doesn't work it makes you feel sad/upset that you couldn't fulfill that need. That's not knowing how to parent in my opinion. It's kind of like going to a doctor and he can't figure out what's wrong with you. Does that make them a bad doctor? No, it just means either he hasn't found the answer yet or is searching in the wrong place.

    I think you need to give yourself some breathing room and LOTS of credit for all that you are and have done already! For her panic attacks, I have a thought, if you haven't tried it already. Can you try and talk her through them when they are happening? When I get a panic attack my So talks me through it, even if my thoughts race to the most outlandish ones. Somehow, in talking through the scenerio (he listens) I come back to reality of what is really going on with myself at the moment and I also discover the trigger (which is often nothing to do with the immediate situation). For example, you said your daughter had a panic attack sitting in the booth at the restaurant and feeling trapped and claustrophobic. That really might not have had to do with the restaurant, the booth, or even the people at the moment but in her mind it did. If you tried talking to her (and yes, she might get frustrated at your first trials of doing this but persist as she learns to trust you and herself and see it work) and listen to what she says no matter what, then when you hear something ask a few questions based upon what you hear for clarification or if something she says causes you to take pause and wander in your own thoughts on "I wonder if this or that", ask her about it. Try it and see if it helps. She will become focused on that and the anxiety/panic seems to go away and it also teaches her that she can work through it with you. Just a thought from my end for you to try sometime.