Spring Time Stressers

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Andy, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    What is it about the Spring that puts kids on edge? The bullying/harrassing seem to escalate or atleast the victims are at their limits and crush under the pressure. Unknown Summer schedules - even though the kids look forward to Summer, I do believe many are stressed not knowing what their Summer will bring or are just stressed with a change of schedule even if they are looking forward to the new one. Year end everythings starting to pop up leading to recognitions and broken hearts (sometimes displayed in anger, tears, and rages) of those not recognized.

    My difficult child hates Confirmation - the memory work is long and he is bored with having to listen to what he already knows. (Yes, he does know most of the stuff in a Catechism - not really enough new insights to keep him from being bored - like sending a 6th grader back to 3rd grade) I am not the most supportive in promoting memory work and because I refuse to put an importance on it, it is harder for him to commit to doing it. (No need for anyone to comment on this - I know if my stubborness over this wasn't here it may not be a problem but it is a person struggle I am dealing with in a larger picture) We have done it for the past 8 years from PK - 6th grade. Always in the car on the way to school. Now for Confirmation, we do not have the daily travels and finding a constant alternative time is near impossible.

    We talked this evening about a friend of difficult child who all of a sudden is not making it to school either on time or at all. He told difficult child that he is having a very hard time facing the school day. He also has a fresh Spring time memory of his father dying six years ago from a very painful cancer. His mom is struggling to find an in-home babysitter so his outlook on Summer is unclear. I also think he is struggling with the fact that difficult child will most likely have larger bike boundaries than him so there will be tensions but I am not going to hold difficult child back because this kid (same age) is not mature enough to be allowed the same priviledges as difficult child.

    I asked difficult child if kids were picking on his friend and he said no. Just that one person keeps "jolting" him (Hands on both sides and squeezing). I told difficult child that was harrassment. And we revisited the meaning of harrassment and bullying. I asked difficult child if anyone was harrassing him. He said no, just that one kid who he doesn't know keeps following him around complaining about someone else bugging him and asking difficult child for permission to beat up the other kid. difficult child says, "I told him no, he does not have permission to beat up anyone."

    Tonight as well as the last few weeks, difficult child has not done as well as normal in the Jr Rifle Club. He is putting too much pressure on himself to be the very best. He does not settle for one of the top kids in the club for his age (after only 3 months of membership). It is not good enough for him - he is a perfectionist, he has to be perfect. We had a serious talk that this activity was to be fun - no pressures but he is determined to go to National's to earn a scholarship. I told him that the scholarships are not important - it doesn't matter if he gets them. His focus on this sport is not to be the very best over everyone but to relax and have fun and be the best he can be for himself. His dad and I can care less if he ever gets a scholarship! And, he is too young to think about that anyway. I suggested that maybe we should back out of the State Tournament this year but it is complicated and he is not sure if he wants to.

    So, I told him that next week he is to clear him mind and focus only on each shot at a time. What comes before or after that shot does not matter, clear his mind of everything. He will go through the mock tournament next Tuesday night and based on his behavior (aka stress he puts on himself), we may make the decision to keep him from the state tournament this year.

    Now, I know that many many many people get stressed at tests and tournaments. My difficult child takes it to the too-much stress level. He works himself up so tight that he will never do well let alone show his potential. It is a hard concept for kids to learn that actions (failures and successes) do closely follow our attitude. If you are portraying an ugly attitude, you can not succeed. If your attitude is of failure, you will fail! difficult child has to learn how to deal with these emotions. I need to decide how much he can actually take. I don't want to take all the challenges away from him - he has to learn sometime.

    Then we get home and he falls apart. He has Confirmation tomorrow and states that he always feels terrible on Tuesday nights and during the school days on Wednesdays when he thinks about Confirmation. He says he can have a wonderful day and then when he remembers Confirmation it ruins everything. He states he mostly remembers during the rounds of shooting when he is suppose to be thinking about what he is doing. His mind wanders and "boom" Confirmation and "boom" feeling terrible and "boom" no matter what he is doing will go down hill.

    Tonight's melt down was very healthy for him. He was able to vent about what was really bugging him. He doesn't want to let his Dad down! His Dad has NEVER put pressure on him to be perfect at anything. His dad has NEVER indicated any disappointment in something less than perfect. His dad does have appropriate expectations for difficult child that should not be putting difficult child into this state of mind. difficult child's perfectionistic thinking takes over at times. He has to learn that his dad is not looking for him to be perfect. I think he just admires his dad so much that it is natural to want to gain his utmost praise. Looks like we have something new for him to work on with the psychiatrist.

    I know some may think I am pushing him too much, that I should drop something. However, he will face these emotions all his life in whatever activity he does. His perfectionist personality will always appear that he is being pushed. I refuse to keep him locked up at home to avoid these year end emotions. He needs to learn what they are about and how to handle them. He needs to live through less then perfection and learn that it is not failure. He only has bowling and Jr Rifle Club - I don't think two activites are too much - The Rifle Club is only once per week and the leagues for bowling are only once per week. He can bowl on his own as much as he wants. Most other sports call for an endless schedule of practices and actual games - he would have to face so much more of this if he was involved in other sports. Bowling and Jr Rifle Club stay for now!

    When he came to say goodnight, he stated he felt like he did before the panic attacks. I have a feeling that his deep anxiety has always remained and that he has gotten very good control over it but it rises its ugly head from time to time to remind us both that it is still there. I have a tendency to forget about it because things go so well and I am no longer seeing it every day. He still has to deal with it his entire life and continue to recognize it. Together we will figure out how to recognize these relapses and how best to deal with them.

    I have a feeling that Spring Time Stressers will tease difficult child's anxiety out of hiding! However, he has the tools he needs to beat it back into submission and I have a few more years before he is out on his own to watch how he handles these stressers and guide him through as needed. Everything we do together while he is still young and at home will give him more tools to know what to do when he is on his own and these scary feelings of anxiety arise.

    And detaching for me is to not patch these "losses" over. I refuse to look for an alternative way to make him feel good about things but instead use these "losses" to make him look at what is really important. He enjoyed seven fun months of bowling, even the year end tournament was fun so WHY is he upset over the one game/tournament he did not win a recognition from? Was that REALLY the point of the whole year?
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Is he getting pressure from friends at school or on one of the teams that's adding to his personal stress? Does he have personal goals set, or will nothing but the best do? Is his schoolwork adding more pressure? When are the confirmation classes over? Will he be changing schools next year?

    Miss KT is a worrier. She can only handle one issue at a time, and freaks out if everything is not planned and orderly every day, and for every day to come. For example, she wanted to go away to college next year, and we toured the campus last December. Our cell company did not have service there, and I told her to relax, that either they'd put in a tower, or she could change providers right before she left. HUGE meltdown, because there was a problem that she couldn't solve RIGHT THEN, even though it didn't need to be solved until August. And now? She's staying home for another year.

    I wish I had an answer for you; but I agree wholeheartedly with your decision to have him continue participating in his activities. I've tried breaking things down into manageable chunks for Miss KT (still have to do it sometimes), and that does work some of the time. Other times, my "interference" causes a greater meltdown.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Thank you KTMom! He has not indicated any pressure from others. He doesn't know very many kids which I am finding a blessing as I see one of his friends headed toward trouble as he tries to fit into a group of kids heading toward trouble. I feel that his mom thinks he is trying to keep up with difficult child but difficult child has no interest in the direction this kid is heading and is certainly not leading the way. (I don't know if I posted about an airgun situation in which this kid told his mom that difficult child gets to carry/use whenever he wants. This is NOT true, difficult child does not and will not own an airgun. It is true however of a set up boys in the school that this kid is trying to keep up with but he uses difficult child's name to get his mom to get him things. His mom and I will be talking a lot this Summer to keep him from telling her that I allow things that I do not allow.)

    He is doing very well in school and seems to enjoy the classes. He gets home from school and on his own does him homework before anything else. This was something HE choose to do!

    The Bowling and Jr Rifle Club are mainly singles sports. Although the boy he is partnered with on Tuesday nights is considered his team partner, we watch individual scores closer for improvements. I don't remember if they gave out a team award last night at the year end party or not.

    Last night was the end of this bowling league (he goes to a Jr/Adult with his sister and her boyfriend in May and June) and the summer one starts the middle of June. There are a few more weeks left of rifle. The State Tournament is here in town on April 17th.

    Confirmation will be over in about two or three weeks and he will have one more year of it.

    Next year he will go to school with the same kids but in a brand new wing of a building.

    He is a perfectionist and nothing less then being the very best and doing something just right is acceptable to him. This is something he has to work out and will not learn without the trials he has set up for himself. He doesn't always take constructive critisizm for what it is to help guide him but often times thinks it is all about pounding it into him that he failed. So, when at rifle club the leaders say, "This is a good card - if the 5th one would have made it to the target line you would have made it on the books.", they are encouraging him to keep trying and telling him he is doing well. He only hears that he failed to get that last target and it makes him feel like a failure. He himself told me last night, "Mom, No one can have bullseyes on every shot." So, he knows, he just gets off track when he puts the year end recognition goals into his sites. Just like I am very certain he doesn't look at papers returned from teachers - he has to learn that there are lessons to be picked up through the outcome of a bad day or paper or shoot, that it does not mean you were a failure - you learn by your missed goals as well as doing things on target the first time around.

    And like so many of us, a good cry once in awhile to let out the tension does wonders. Often times in those moments, the information that is not being shared with me comes out so I can really see what the bottom line issues are.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Perfectionism is a form of anxiety. Have you considered having him work with a therapist on this issue?
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Thank you Smallworld! :) Yes, his next psychiatrist appointment is the middle of May. This morning I asked him if he wanted me to get him in sooner and he said he would think about it. At 12:30, I got a text from him asking me to make an appointment for him. I called the psychiatrist office and asked if we could set one up within the next two weeks. They gave me 9:30 tomorrow morning so I called my work to have the receptionist tell my boss I would not be in tomorrow and called the school to have him pick up assignments.

    After talking to him on the way home from Catechism, I am very glad we got in so quickly! Is there a book out there about dealing with "The Not So Perfect Me Syndrome?"
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Does the psychiatrist do talk therapy with him?
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Not sure that I know what "Talk Therapy" is. therapist spends most of the hour talking with difficult child and then I come in for about 10/15 minutes to go over issues I need to know - mainly things that I need to be aware of to help difficult child use his tools. Whatever he is doing is working. therapist has worked with difficult child from the very beginning following difficult child's psychiatric hospital stay. He helped difficult child strengthen his tools to deal with his anxiety.

    We have known about the perfectionistic characteristics but have not focused on it yet because difficult child was not at the point to do so. In other words, these last few years had us working with more physical behaviors as well as the frightening feelings of anxiety. Now that the perfectionism is the primary obstical getting in the way of daily living, he is ready to KNOW that what is being taught will have a purpose. Hard to explain, but in a nut shell, difficult child will not appreciate something that he does not feel will be helpful at the time he hears it. Like teaching that you should use a bandaide when you have an injury that causes bleeding. Good to know but I may never need to apply it - however, once I start bleeding, it makes more sense about the bandaide. Now that difficult child is "bleeding", the tools he will be given will make more sense to him. They will no longer be "For Your Information, when you feel like this in the future........"
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  8. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I goofed - We are working with a therapist on this - I always think a psychologist is a psychiatrist but should be therapist. That will probably make more sense.
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    That does make more sense. Thanks for clarifying.

    Sometimes when a child has a significant issue to work on, regular appointments (as in weekly) can be very helpful.

    Hope the therapist appointment goes well today!
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am glad you talk with Airgun Boy's mom. Why doesn't she just assume that everything he says that you allow is a lie UNTIL she hears it from your mouth? Seems like it might be easier for both of you if she started off on that foot? It is nice of you to help support her through this.

    Sounds like difficult child has many of the tools he needs, thanks to Mom!