Stopping Negativity in its Tracks???

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by On_Call, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. On_Call

    On_Call New Member

    difficult child looks at anything that he does not consider "normal" as a negative. He hated the collaborative day program because it wasn't normal. He hates the extended school year program because (you guessed it) it's not normal.

    He says that everyone else is sleeping in and going to friends houses, etc., and that he is going to school and learning. (heaven forbid).

    He and I had a talk last night about how negative thoughts have a way of growing until they take over a situation. The fact of the matter is that the collaborative day program went on more fun outings than a typical classroom. And, the fact of the matter regarding the ESY program is that husband and I spend our summer scrambling to find a comparable program for easy child because she is jealous of all of the fun things that difficult child gets to do in ESY. He has two beach days each week (they go to the high school pool in inclement weather) and do arts, crafts, organized gym and an occasional worksheet here and there. And, they go on a 3-day camping trip and on a field trip to a water park for a day.

    I listed all of these things - and dared him not to smile when he thought about it. I won that conversation, anyway - and he went off on the bus a few minutes ago with a slightly conservative but positive outlook.

    Please cross your fingers that it lasts!!

    This did make me wonder if it is just our difficult child or if many of our little angels initially take a negative outlook on things, just because they are out of the norm? Does anyone have any 'tricks' on getting their difficult child to take a situation for what it is and enjoy the good parts, leaving the rest??
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think a lot of them find life so tough, that they expect the bad automatically and as a result, tend to look for it.

    We watched (sort of) a TV show tonight, from Britain, about 'genius kids'. They were defining genius as having an IQ over 130. I had to laugh. Listening to these kids, hearing about their problems (including difficulty socialising with other eleven year olds, when all you want to talk about is advanced sociology) - it sounded like our house.

    A good point made by a psychologist consulting with these kids - when parents keep changing where they live, how they do things, whether mum works or quits her job to home-school - all this change is sending a message to the kid, that THEY'RE a problem. If you can act more normally, don't change your life to accommodate the kid so much, they will feel less like misfits.

    I think it's good advice, where we can apply it. And it would apply to difficult children, too.

    And a last word about IQ tests - we were told, years ago, that once you score over 120 the test loses its accuracy. You can sort of get a 'feel' for how smart a kid is and I think it's always best to work on this, rather than some detailed, highly specific but probably inaccurate, number on a report. And sometimes these expectations can weigh too heavily on a child. When I was young we were NEVER told our IQ but I knew mine must be high, from how adults around me reacted when they tested me. It was embarrassing. I also had other problems which desperately needed attention, but instead they put me in advanced classes and expected that to be enough. No social skills support, no assistance with anxiety or depression, I was expected to be smart enough to take all that on board as well as the academic stuff. Believe me, academic stuff is much easier than trying to work out why you don't fit in. All it ever taught me, was that I was a freak. I had to wait until I was an adult, to finally have a childhood.

  3. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    From what I read and have been told 130 is borderline gifted. Genius is much higher. Gee, difficult child would then be genious. I don't think so. I believe his thought process is the reason for the high IQ, which is also the reason for his behavior as well as anxiety. he is more than capable of advanced classes, but it would only lead to arguments about the homework, and anxiety about the classes. he doesn't do homework now, from what I understand Advanced classes have a ton more homework.

    I should feel blessed that he is so wise. At this age I believe it is much of the cause for anxiety and socially not fit. When he is older and matures the "giftedness" may be a positive tool.
    difficult child is constantly being told "we all know he can do much better if he only applies himself". Makes me think back to when i was in high school. My brother is 6'7", basketball star. I am 6'. I like the game of basketball, but when I went out to play, everyone expected me to be like my brother. I wasn't. And I didn't want to be. so I quit. I think with difficult child knowing that everyone expects so much from him that he chooses the opposite.

    I tell him I am proud of him. His memory is his greatest asset at this time. He can look at something, or hear something, such as specific dates, and it is in his mind. He corrected an out of control adult at a concert last week. Going on and on about his sports team and what year they were in the world series. difficult child corrected him in front of many other people. Stated the exact date. It is amazing the statistics he knows, but doesn't share unless prompted. hopefully maturity will allow him to appreciate himself and not destroy himself.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I think you took the right approach. Pointing out the positives in the program, and how it makes easy child jealous because he gets to do so much will make it more appealing to him.

    For the most part my difficult children weren't treated "special" or any differently from easy child. If there were any programs for my difficult children I had no clue and no one volunteered.

    But I did try to get them to try new things. Travis did soccer one year. Nichole played softball. easy child played basketball. I'd sit outside with them while they played with the neighborhood kids. They didn't know it, but I was being referee. And wound up being the neighborhood Mom who could come up with fun things all the kids could do together. This helped both difficult children with their social skills, game skills, ect.

    I recall taking the kids swimming all summer. Nichole was terrified of the water. Finally I put a lifejacket on her and just threw her in. By the end of the summer she was swimming in the deep end with her sibs. lol Until then she fought us everyday cuz the pool didn't have a kiddie pool.

    The only special thing that any of them did was Camp Dovetail for Travis. It's a summer camp especially for special needs kids. His sisters were thrilled he was able to go. And Travis got to try tons of new things. (although he swore he'd hate it)
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, my difficult child is VERY negative. He drives me nuts. I've tried talking to him about it but it's useless. Now we've taken a more active approach, where, if he says something negative, we tell him that if he can't say something positive, he is not allowed to talk. Sometimes if we're home and he starts to complain about what I've bought at the store, what's on TV, etc., I turn off the TV, put away whatever I've purchased, and either send him outside or to his room. I'll tell him he's allowed to complain if his leg is bleeding and the bones are sticking out all over. Period.
    I'm a mean mom, but sheesh, he's SO negative.
    (And yes, this technique does work for ea instance, but overall, his temperament has not changed. Much. I tell him that it is not my job to make him happy.)
  6. panda

    panda New Member

    with my difficult child's anything that is different from any of the kids at school they think their is something wrong with themselves. Which in turn brings on the negative outlook. i have to keep reminding them that nobody is perfect, and everyone is different. I also told them that they would not want to be like everyone else, that it is okay to be different and not follow the croud. They actually take pride in being themselves now, they are still negative at times, so is their stepdad, i ignore it. if i don't ignore it then the negativity blossoms because they get attention from it. then when they are done, i ask them if they are done being silly! and then we do something silly, like play a game or chase each other around the house or....the list goes on, depends on the day. have a good rest of the day:)
  7. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    difficult child is exactly like Terry's. If I mention something or someone, instead of saying something positive he has to find something negative to say about everything. Drives me crazy. Gets me angry. He hates them for some reason or another, they hate him for something, they hang around with people he hates (by the way I do not like that word and correct him each time he uses it.) Or they are Weird. That one I address and tell him everyone is weird. Everyone is raised different, everyone has different DNA, everyone has different views. But everyone has a heart and a soul and a brain. Everyone has feelings and he needs to consider these things.
    Found out through easy child who knows one of difficult child's ex-friends sister..that the boy is in juvenile detention. easy child tells me that sometimes difficult child says he "hates" people for a reason not to hang out with them. This boy comes from a very wealthy family, has everything he would ever want, and difficult child started telling me last summer he hates him. Now I find out he was in legal trouble and now in Juvie. Is that difficult child's way of making a good choice?
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I love it Terry! OMG - this is my new approach for the day. I am here to tell ya, I bet there will not be one word spoken though, (which would be great if it would happen :laugh: ), because all my difficult child is doing at this junction in his life is complain!!!!!!!!!
  9. EB67

    EB67 New Member

    Seb is mired in negativity. He has the distinct ability to find the dark cloud in the silver lining. In his case, he is not in search of "normal". In fact, he eschews "normal" and complans about the same-ness of everything and everyone. He complains about people being small minded and dull. I curse the day he picked up the words "small-minded"-- he throws it around alot.

    Seb's negativity is coupled with arrogance. The other day we were at a Japanese restaurant with friends. The kids, without exception wanted plain chicken, the adults ordered basic maki rolls. Seb landed all of them with hostility: "What's wrong with you people? You are at a Japanese restaurant, they have excellent sushi here! How can you order like that??? If you have never eaten raw sea urchin how can you say you don't like it! That's the kind of small mindedness that drives me crazy! You people have no taste! You order chicken and you don't even try sashimi but claim you don't like it! What stupidity..." (on and on). The wave of humiliation comes over me.

    Seb finds negativity wherever he wants. For example, we were on the beach on Saturday-- he was having a delicious time scaring me half to death on his boogie board in the pounding surf. When I asked him to come out of the water for a moment (so that I could tend to Miles) he had a shouting FIT. Suddenly it was "the worst day ever". Seb's rages are short and intense. He was incomprably angry for about two minutes and then it was "the best day ever" all over again. When it was "the worst day ever" there was shouting, scowling, sand kicking. When it was "the best day ever" there were delighted giggles and hugs. The back and forth os maddening for all involved.

    The negativity is a sore spot for me-- it is tied to his irritability and anger and intolerance for anyone who doesn't see the world as he does. I appreciate his "strength" of character on the one hand-- on the other I wish he could find a way to be his own independent self without dragging the world down.
  10. On_Call

    On_Call New Member

    Again, I feel blessed to have found this site - and to be among others who *unfortunately for them* know just where I am coming from. :angel:

    Ella - I think your Seb and our difficult child have ordered in a restaurant together before! If Seb is anything like our difficult child, his statement about us commoners ordering would be in a very loud, exasperated voice. Ugh. I can feel the pink creeping up in my cheeks right now as I type this! That is definitely something our difficult child would do - and sometimes diners at nearby tables think it is 'cute' and it makes me want to crawl under the table. :redface:

    The negativity certainly gets tiring pretty quickly.

    I noticed this morning that difficult child makes huge, all-encompassing, blanket statements in negativity. Today, he was complaining that "karate is always on someone's birthday". Karate is always Tuesday nights - only once a week - and has so far only fallen on difficult child's birthday once - two years ago. But, a couple of years ago, the munchkins wanted to celebrate our cat's birthday - so I figured out what day we got the kitty and we started celebrating that date.

    Well, tonight is karate - and today is the 5th 'anniversary' of our adoption of the kitty, Bruce - and difficult child is upset because that darn karate is 'always messing with our special days'. Jeesh. Not to mention that difficult child LOVES karate - talks about it everyday - practices the moves every morning, etc.

    If it's not school, it's karate - or shopping, or dinner that occurs at the same time as a new PBS show he wanted to watch or . . . . I know you get the picture!!

    UGH!!! :hammer:

    This morning when I reminded him that that was a very negative comment about something he loves, he yipped back that he was 11 - almost 12 - and didn't need me nagging him all the time. :rolleyes: This was, of course, followed 10 minutes later by him retracting that statement and stating that he needs me to help him or he'll never learn. :crazy2:

    Thanks for reading - and for posting!
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Something BF1 was doing for difficult child 3 while we were on holiday - whenever difficult child 3 said he hated something, BF1 asked him to be more specific. "Tell me one thing you like about it, and one thing you don't like about it," he told him. He would sit with him and draw him out, to explain himself. It might have been a new cheese, or a TV program we'd just watched.
    "What is one thing you liked about it?"
    "What is one thing you didn't like about it?"

    This acknowledged difficult child 3's feelings about it, but also made him recognise that nothing is entirely negative.

  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Nice idea Marguerite, if it works... my difficult child will just yell louder and say, "BECAUSE! There's no point in talking about it!" Sigh.
  13. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Oh boy........I am so tired of the negativity rhetoric I might puke. Everything and anything is a target. It makes living in the same household similar to torture. I guess it just must be their depression that colors everything a different shade. I don't know.

    Marguerite, this boyfriend sounds really good with young kids. I am impressed. I might try that with Mat - challenge him on each thing he hates to see if he can find one positive. My guess is though, that he will just go on more of a tangent of negativity, trying in vain to defend his point. UGH.

    Ella, I know your story was not funny at the time - but I laughed and chuckled for awhile over it because that is exactly what Mat would do at that age. OMG. I would just sit there with my head in my hands praying I could become invisible.
    Interesting how things are never funny at the time, but years later we can find the humor in them. I guess that is a blessing.
  14. On_Call

    On_Call New Member


    That does sound like a good idea. Think I'll give it a try, too. Can't hurt, anyway.

    Thanks! :wink:
  15. tessaturtle

    tessaturtle New Member

    oh my gosh, I hear ya! difficult child took one look at his field trip tomorrow (for summer school) and had a complete melt down because they changed it from "Dover Bowl" to Ultralight Airplane viewing. He went on and on about how stupid ultralight airplanes are and how cool DOver Bowl is....the funny part is, is that he has NEVER experienced either one!!!!
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The trick is, to get them to articulate WHY they don't like something. "Because I don't like it!" is not a good reason. You might need to prompt to begin with, to help them find something positive and something negative. If they know you're not going to make them eat it/wear it whatever, they will feel more secure about participating in this.

    For example, the prompting - difficult child 3 mightn't be able to say why he doesn't like something. "Because it's creamy" is a reason we accept because we know he doesn't like creamy textures.
    We would then prompt, "What did you like? Apart from the creamy texture, did you like the savoury taste? Or the chicken flavour? Or perhaps you liked the colour?"
    Sometimes they're scared that if they say they like ANYTHING about it, you will make them eat it, or you'll make them try it again.

    This did mean, though, that we could get difficult child 3 to a cheese tasting and have some control over what he said. He likes cheddar, so when the cheese seller offered him a cheese which she said was like a sharp cheddar, he could have some advance idea as to whether he would like it. And once she realised he didn't like creamy textures she stopped offering him Brie but instead let him taste feta.

    Just an example.

    And the reward for difficult child 3 was NOT finding a cheese he liked (because he didn't really) but it was in being taken seriously by an adult. Suddenly, his opinion counted.

  17. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    My oldest easy child has a tendency to get into negative modes and with him humor is usually the best way to handle it. When he gets to carrying on I'm apt to let out a loud mock gasp and exclaim "Don't tell me that *Mr. Negative* is back?! We didn't invite him today."

    One year he had a teacher that he didn't gel with and while he had some very legitimate concerns about what was happening he also made it far worse on himself by dwelling on it and rehashing it whenever I was around for an audience. I do think it's important in situations like these for the kids to understand that we've not just heard them, but really have heard them so I made him sit down at the kitchen table and I listed every complaint he had about school in a notebook. He was really sheepish but I made him complete the task. Then I stashed the notebook nearby and the next time he launched into his tirade I pulled out my notebook to check if what he was saying was already on the list, or if I needed to sit down and add any new complaints. It didn't take but a few times of that for him to quit rehashing the old stuff (thereby adding to his misery) and get to the problems at hand (which started to pale a little when not bogged down by the rest).