Step forward for difficult child - He is learning to say no

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    My difficult child has taken another step forward, one that is huge for him. He told no to a 'friend' who was trying to take an advantage of him. And when he got that going, he did the same again only two days later to other friends. I honestly think these were the first time ever he has been able to draw a healthy boundary in appropriate manner with friends.

    I did notice something about the first instance in his Fb last week but didn't dare to ask in fear of only slowing down the progress of getting there. But he had indeed denied something from the old 'friend' and really told him no and not just tried to get away from it by lying, promising and 'forgetting', pretending not to hear/understand what was asked or any other of his normal methods. And it wasn't about him getting enough and finally lashing out and telling no then. He simply told that he couldn't help the 'friend' this time. ('Friend' here meaning a local boy difficult child has known his all life, who has always either bullied difficult child or pretended to be friendly when wanting something from him and whose friend difficult child has always wanted to be and to whom he has always done any and every possible favour to make him even talk to him.)

    And when he got started, he had yesterday also told no to his friends in his current town, when they wanted difficult child to come with them to a night club for an hour so they could get in (age limit is 21 or 23, I think, but because difficult child plays for the town's favourite team, he can get himself and few friends with him who are over the legal limit (18) but under the club's own limit in.) difficult child couldn't go partying himself this time. But they asked him to come with them for a short while to get them in and even asked him to come and pick them up and drive them home at the closing time (around 4 a.m.) because it was cold and they would likely have to wait a long time to get a taxi. And like an actual sane person difficult child told them that he wouldn't, they could go to the night club with lower age limit and either wait for taxi or walk that mile or two they need to get to their homes. Yeah, I know it is a no-brainer, but this actually was the first time difficult child actually told no.

    When I called him today, he was eager to tell me both of this, even if he tried to go roundabout way about it. But it was very much 'Mommy, mommy, look what I did.' (Yeah, he is immature to his age.) It seems he was quite coached to do it, but it is still huge for him. I had an idea this was one of the things in his mental coach's social skills to work with-list and when difficult child talked about this, he several times told what the mental coach says, what two of his older team mates have said and even what a wife of his former coach (they live in the same town and difficult child still has dinner at their house time to time and talks with his former coach regularly) have said. So I guess this has been under work for some time now and has been difficult thing to difficult child to do and he has looked several 'second opinions'/support. But he did it; draw a real, healthy boundary with the people he wants to please.

    It is kind of odd that it is an issue to someone so obnoxious and arrogantly behaving than difficult child, but it certainly is. He has always wanted to be friends with these type of people so much that he has been ready to do almost anything. It has never really worked out for him, but he hasn't stopped trying. And while he hasn't always done what they have wanted him to do, he has always tried very passive-aggressive, sneaky methods for getting away from it. But actually simply telling them: "Sorry, no. Can't do that for you this time." That is something totally new and huge for him.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I am really impressed and understand your response. How awesome it will be if he can learn a new pattern at his young age. Congratulations, difficult child.........and his loving Mom. Hugs DDD
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Thanks, 3D.

    I'm excited how much he seems to be learning new skills. His mental coach has been really grate. difficult child is really blessed to have that kind of help.

    I reread the title of this and I found myself amused. I can still remember so well the time when 'no!' seemed to be an only word difficult child new. And let's face it. It may had not been his first word, but it definitely was amongst first three. My tummy would had been sore for a month from laughing, if someone had come to me 15 or 16 or 17 year ago and told me, that in January 2013 I would celebrate the fact that difficult child knows how to say no. But yeah, it is not the same.

    I also thought when we went through similar things with easy child. I think he was eight or nine when he was learning to say no to friends/people he wanted to please badly and draw boundaries and stood his ground. So difficult child seems to be only about ten years delayed in this. ;) But he is learning, so I think that is what counts.

    Of course this was something we tried to taught to him. Both me and husband have talked our heads blue about the topic without any progress. It seemed he was completely unable to work with these type of issues during his puberty. He was so over sensitive to anything he considered criticism towards his person, that he simply shut down, denied any difficulty, simply couldn't take anything in. Or that is how I now think. At the time it just felt that he was one stubborn donkey colt who was just he!! bent to screw everything up.

    Now some of that sensitivity has lessen and he can take in criticism, advise etc. And he is willing to try and learn. Especially if he is treated nicely with it. He still can't take someone being too overbearing, not giving him time or being angry or mean about it. Then he shuts down. But especially his mental coach is really good at handling him and there has been so much progress in difficult child's behaviour during this last half a year. As I said he is very blessed to have access to this kind of support now that he is ready to take it in.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SuZir, I am very happy to read your post, this is such healthy behavior and you're right it is a big step forward for your difficult child. He is a fortunate boy to have loving parents and his coaches and all the support you've provided for him. Congratulations!
  5. A very healthy and very mature decision from your difficult child! Thank you for sharing that great news!!
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    This is one thing I love in this forum. Not only support at bad days, but being able to share things that for us are huge positive steps but that if you would go and share with the most people would just cause them look like you are out of your mind. Especially when if you look my difficult child, or even some basic information of him, you wouldn't notice he has special needs and that some things just are very hard with him. It means a lot to me that I can share this kind of joys with you.
  7. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    That is huge! Glad your difficult child is putting into practice what is being taughtt and reinforced by his life coach. -RM
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    wow! Not only are the instances of saying no great progress but I'd be ecstatic over his being so willing to follow the coaches ideas. it's all really impressive.
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Buddy, you are right. Being open to advice and willing to try ideas his mental coach gives him is huge. Part of it is, that this guy really seems to know how to handle difficult child. And because it is not therapy but really more like life coaching, he can be more direct in his approach. But of course it is up to difficult child to decide he wants to try following those directives. And that willingness to try is a huge change in him.

    Still for me the process at times seems so frustratingly slow. difficult child is a smart boy, it shouldn't take him so long to connect the dots. But it does and I try to remind myself that for him it is not about what he intellectually knows would be a smart thing to do or what he knows others would do, but obstacles he has to tackle lie elsewhere. Even when he knows what would be a smart thing to do, it is often not easy for him.

    This particular step is a good example. He has known for a long time others are at times using him. He has felt bad about it and been angry. He has even talked about it to me. And after he showed me his 'workbook' early last fall, I know learning to set boundaries for friends trying to use him has been on the list they are working for. difficult child has been well aware he has been used, he hasn't liked it, he has been advised what to do to prevent it, but not only has he needed his mental coach's coaching to do it, he has needed 'second opinions.' I don't know if he has asked those or if they have been volunteered to him without asking. People giving them are the ones who do try to make difficult child feel welcomed in his town and who do take time to try to help difficult child navigate his life. And probably all of them would know how difficult child's local friends were taking advantage of him without him telling about it. It is a small city, everyone knows everyone and people talk. Knowing how these things tend to go, I'm sure difficult child's team mates, team management and others with vested interest in him probably knew very well that he was being used. And most of them probably didn't like that.