Terrible Night Last Night

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bunny, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I knew I was in for one of those nights the minute difficult child got home from school yesterday. He came in and was all in a lather about the fact that he had alot of homework. I asked him what he had and was told, "It's none of your business. You don't have to tell me everything and I don't have to tell you everything." Okay, so I backed off of the homework topic. He had a snack and then came back at me with, "I'm not going to religion and you can't make me." I quietly explained to him that he had to go. It's once a week for one hour and that his father and I felt that this was something that was important for him to do. easy child has to do it, too, although he's in first grade and he gets taught at home. He'll actually have to go to classes next year. I also gave difficult child a choice: he could go to the class, or he could refuse and then loose his priviledges for the rest of the week. It was his choice.

    So what does he choose do? Totally baricade himself in his room and hides in his closet.

    Now, I had to get into his room to get into the back room to get something that I needed. It took me a while to get in because he pushed his desk up against the door and wedged is under the door handle so I couldn't turn it. difficult child was hiding in the closet so well that I didn't even see him in there. After I got what I needed from the back room I dragged the desk out of his room. When he realized that I did that he came out of his room holding his hockey stick and told me that if I didn't "put the desk back" into his room he was "going to give it to [me] with this hockey stick." I was on the phone with is father at that moment telling what was going on and he heard difficult child threaten me and told him that he heard what he said that he would deal with him when he go home. He told me he was going to leave work at 5:00 (he's not supposed to leave until 5:30, but his direct boss will let him leave at 5 is he needs to).

    I reminded difficult child that he made his choice and had no privileges because he did not do what was expected of him and the kid went off like a bottle rocket. Screaming, ranting about how no one loves him and it's all my fault anyway so why should he lose things? He ran into easy child's room and started ranting to him about how "mom doesn't love us" and "we should just leave her because there must be a better family for them out there somewhere." easy child looked like he was on the verge of tears, so I said to him to come downstairs with me and we'll go into another room. difficult child tries to stop easy child from leaving with me, telling him that is he left he would never talk to him again. easy child came with me, which made difficult child even crazier.

    The next thing I hear is, "If you don't give me back my priviledges back I'm going to kill myself!!" I told him no, that I was not going to give into him because he made threats. He kept on going on about how he was going to kill himself because he could not watch t.v. and that it was not fair. easy child kept looking at me and telling me, "Mom, just give him what he wants. PLEASE!!" It's hard to explain to him that I can't do that. He's only six. I don't think he meant what he said, and when I spoke to the therapist later in the night he agreed with me. difficult child has a history of saying what he thinks is the worst thing he could say to you when he's angry in order to try to get his way. I think that was what he was trying to do. Threaten me with harming himself in order to get back his television and toy priviledges. It was not working, which sent him spinning even higher.

    He did eventually calm down when he realized, after about 2 1/2 hours of this ****, that he was not going to get his way. He woke me up at 4:51 this morning and asked me if he could have priviledges back. I told him no. He did not do what was expected of his yeaterday and he was not going to have anything back, especially at that hour of the morning. That turned into, "If you don't give them back to me I'm not going to school!" Oh, really? I got his father up and we both told him that if we had to put him on the bus and embarras him in front of all of the other kids he was going to go to school. He went. It's going to be such a joy when he gets home.

    Unfortunately, the psychiatrist is on vacation this week and won't be back in the office until Monday. Either the Celexa is not enough on it's own, or he needs a totally different medication, but this can not continue. That will be the first phone call I make Monday morning after everyone goes to work and school. In the mean time, I called the therapist last night to alert him to this latest episode. We have an appointment with him tomorrow night.

    This is the problem with him. He totally looses it when he does not get his way, like having to go to his religion class or being told that there are consequences when he did not do it, and will tantrum for hours. Then he calms down, cries hysterically about how sorry he is, and then be able to deal with whatever the issue is. In this case, he is totally fine with having to sit on his bed when he comes home from school. At least, that was what he said when he walked out the door to go to the bus stop. We'll see what happens when he comes home.

  2. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    This whole scene could have happened in my house back in the difficult child days.

    I learned to not make the punishment so long because 1) it gave me nothing to work with the next few days since there was nothing left to take away and 2) it just gave her something to be angry about for days which led to more behaviours that needed a consequence.

    Not to say that it isn't an appropriate consequence for a typical kid, but it didn't help us to impose such a long consequence. Not only did it make everything worse in the short run, but it didn't help in the long run. She would have done the same thing the next time anyway.

    Probably you have heard the recommendation to read "The Explosive Child". The book helped me to realize that not every battle was worth fighting, but my child was never reasonable enough to be able to work on Basket B.

    My daughter took Lexapro which did seem to help at first. Its effects wore off and we had to keep increasing it. What finally worked for her is that we put her on the girlfriend/CF diet and she is now fine, no medications, no therapist. Now, I could give her a week long consequence and she would be unhappy but accept it. Better yet, I can tell her there will be a consequence and she will mostly comply instead of going into battle mode.

    Anyway, if you can't get relief from medications, you might consider a diet change.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I have had my share of nights similar to that. I often think that therapist doesn't believe the severity of them because my difficult child never shows an inkling of that side of him outside the house.

    Our episodes have gotten fewer and very far between but when they arise, they are ugly. I just ordered a book on Amazon titled "Anger Workbook for Teens" that I am asking therapist to help him with. therapist is the one that recommended it. It is an Instant Help Book for Teens. Your son would most likely be too young for this book but maybe you can talk to his therapist about focusing on his anger to help him get control before it goes that far.

    I think this behavior is hard for the difficult child's to get a hold of. Everything sounds right and do able in the therapist office but once faced with an everyday problem, their emotions fast forward to anger giving them very little chance to get control. They don't realize it until they feel it is too late to back down so they follow those feelings through to the end.

    The bringing it back up so early in the morning is also typical of what my difficult child would do. Just keep pushing it into your face until the consequences are done not realizing what an ugly circle they are creating doing so. Behave like this then privileges gone longer - privileges gone longer brings on this behavior.

    You were so right (and strong) to not give in to his threats of killing himself. Have you had a chance to sit down with your younger child to explain that difficult child is just saying things to try to manipulate? The younger sibling really is scared for difficult child.

    Stay strong - you are doing the right things.
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    p.s. One way to give back privileges earlier, "difficult child, I want to talk with you about what happened the other night. Please calmly explain to me what made you react like this. How did you feel about yourself when you were in your room? Do you think there was something different you could have done to keep from getting so angry? When you start feeling angry, what can I do to help?" If he can tell you how he felt, if he wants to try to stop the behavior when he is angry, and how things could have been different and how he can work on keeping it from going that far next time, maybe you can return the priviledges a bit sooner than planned? He would have earned them back then?
  5. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I'm so sorry you had such a miserable evening!!! I can totally relate to what you went through. When I read about your night, difficult child 1 immediately popped into my mind... Like your difficult child, difficult child 1 would "tantrum" for hours on end if he couldn't have his way. I remember feeling like I was living in absolute HE77...

    What helped us, might not help you, so take what you can from what I'm about to say and discard the rest. Anyway, the thing that worked the best for us was to totally ignore difficult child 1 while he was in the middle of one of his huge rages. As long as he wasn't in physical danger or no one else was in physical danger, ignoring him made his tantrums shorter.

    In the beginning, the length of his tantrums increased. I think he was testing us, to see how long it would take before we responded. These were the worst times ever!!! Gradually, as he began to see that we refused to talk to him when he was acting irrationally, the length of his tantrums grew shorter. Too bad they never completely stopped...:mad:

    Another thing that really helped us was a bit of wisdom from one of his tdocs. He told us that difficult child 1 will only hear a fraction of what we say to him when he is just a step away from raging. He said to keep our sentences short and simple. NEVER let difficult child 1 engage us in an argument. We needed to let difficult child 1 know that we would only talk to him when he was calm, period. No exceptions.

    I think the most important piece of all of this is to make sure your difficult child is on the appropriate medications and doses. Until difficult child 1 was properly medicated, no amount of wisdom from his psychiatrist, therapist, etc... was going to help us get through to him.

    I really wish I knew then what I know now!!! I could have spared myself so much pain, anger, frustration, sadness, etc... I also wish I had found this site before difficult child 1 entered high school.

    Anyway, I hope today is a much better day for you... Hugs... SFR
  6. Similar scenarios play out at my house, too. The right medications for my difficult child have certainly helped, but we still have them. I handle difficult child's "fits" better than his father, because I used to be that kid. My husband continues to start sentences with No, Stop, or Don't and these are red flags to the bull. By the way -- are you actually asking for tips, or mostly just wanting to vent? The (ex?)-difficult child in me gets annoyed when people give me advice and I really just wanted them to listen. I generally know the answer, anyway -- I'm just frustrated!

    Here are a few thoughts I would have if it were my difficult child -- skip if you just wanted to vent! :) Calm is good, but my difficult child is VERY sensitive to tone of voice. If he thinks someone is being condescending or mocking him even a little, the rage goes way up. My difficult child is only 9, but I can only threaten "you'll lose your electronics for the rest of the weekend" if he's only just begun his spiral. Once he's into it, intangible consequences mean nothing. However, I can hold up an object and say "I will take the stuffed tiger away if you don't do X -- you don't want to lose the tiger, do you?" He is programmed to say No when he's angry, so I ask questions where No is the right answer. If he's farther along than I realized, I will hear "Give me the tiger! If you don't give me the tiger back, I'll (fill in current difficult child threat)". [My favorite threat is when he would threaten to put me down the storm drain. As if I could even fit through the grate.] Then I say, "I don't really want the tiger. But I need to get your attention." I also have a stock speech I use after he's ranted about giving it back: "I really can't give this back to you now. I wish I could, but the problem is that you threw a fit, and if I give it back now, it teaches you that throwing a fit is a way to get what you want. I can't teach you that so I really can't do it." I do sometimes let difficult child earn privileges back after the storm has passed. This is actually the easiest way for me to get his room cleaned.

    Avoiding the meltdown in the first place is, of course, the real goal. I can often do this by reflecting his initial complaint, sympathizing, and then explaining the requirement. Exploring why he didn't want to go to religion that day gives you some material. Perhaps you've had the conversation so many times already, you know the answer. In that case, I go with, "Yeah, I thought religion was kind of boring when I was a kid, too. But when I got older, I was glad I went. You know, it's only an hour. After you get home, we can go to the park and throw the ball around a little. If you get really bored, think about what kind of ball game you want to play with me afterward." My husband would go into, You have to go! and difficult child doesn't feel his viewpoint and feelings are being considered. Once he's been validated to some degree and given something else to think about, he's a lot easier to manipulate, er, re-direct.

    Good luck and I hope today is better.
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I'm too overwhelmed myself to give tips, but everyone else did very well...and I think you're handling things exceedingly well also! Just wanted to send some hugs. been there done that with my difficult child as well...I got shivers reading your post. Hugs~
  8. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Thank you for the kind words and support. It was a tough night and I'm glad that it's over.

    Andy, yes, I did sit down with easy child this morning and explained to him that I could not give difficult child what he wanted when he was threatening to harm himself for that reason: I was not going to give into the threat. I knew he didn't mean it. easy child said that he understood, but I feel badly for him. I know he was scared and I told him that I knew it, but that I had to do what was the right thing, which was not to give in to his brother's demands and threats.

    I have tried to do the whole Plan B thing with difficult child about religion. I know he doesn't like it and I know that it's boring to him. But, I also told him that I went through it, his father went through it, all his aunts and uncles went through it and we were not crazy about it, either. I know you don't like it, but we're Catholic and this is what we have to do. To me, this is not something that is negotiable.

    The trouble with difficult child is that he does not leave me alone. I will try to walk away from him so that I don't do something to him that I will regret later, but he follows me. I try to lock myself in the bathroom, but he will hold and turn the door knob so that I can't lock it. If I can manage to get into a room and lock the door to get away from him, he slams up against the door in an attempt to break it down. There is no escaping him. Even if I say to him, "You need to leave me alone so that I can calm down because I am too angry to deal with you" that makes him push even harder. It just never ends until he decides that it will end.

    husband and I decided that even though we told him that he would lose priviledges for the rest of the week, if he behaves, he MIGHT be able to earn something back, like his toys. It was explained to him that 'behaving' means sitting on his bed without screaming about it and doing what he is told to do without creating a huge scene over it.

    So, tomorrow is the appointment with the therapist. I'm trying to get a babysitter for easy child. I think that he's been through enough this week.

  9. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I hate days like that... it would almost be like Duckie had too much emotion stuffed in her and would just explode. Did anything happen at school? Or do you think going to religion was a trigger?
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Religion: what are your feelings about his being able to bow out of attending religious related events once he's made his confirmation? Doesn't confirmation take place at about 13-ish? That is only two more years. Perhaps if he knows that in two years, once he been confirmed, he will be excused, he will try to be more tolerant? Just a thought, as I know that was the way it was when I was a kid growing up Catholic - once we were confirmed, we were allowed to choose.

    My difficult child used to follow me around also...banging on doors to be let in, holding doorknobs to prevent me from locking them. I once went and sat in my car and hid down in the seat without her knowing. She was looking like Linda Blair by the time she made it down to the garage. I leapt out of the car just in time before she began pounding on the hood for me. Yikes! It was difficult to get away from her when she was in a rage. I recall just wishing I could disappear. And it's true - they don't even hear 5% of what we're saying when they are in the middle of a rage. My difficult child barely even remembered having her rages afterwards and looked like she was coming out of a daze.

    I'm so sorry~
  11. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Tiredmommy, I think that religion was the trigger, although he told me after the whole tantrum was over ( 2 1/2 hours later) that he had alot of homework and felt overwhelmed. I told him that had he told me that he felt that way I would have sat with him and tried to make a plan with him for how he could get everything done, and still feel like he had some time to play and unwind.

    heartsand roses, I have told him that. I told him that he has year, next year, and then the firs few months of 8th grade and then he will be done. I told him that he's close to done than not and that easy child is just starting. He still have MANY years to go. That does not seem to make is any better for him. He just says he doesn't think he should have to go, so he won't go. This is what he does. He wants it HIS way and there is no other option. It's very frustrating.

  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I wish I could give you some magic thing to make this better. Not giving in to them is about the best you can do. Is he actually getting too much homework, or does he procrastinate and then feel overwhelmed because big things are due in the next few days? Has he been thoroughly tested for learning disabilities and other problems by a neuropsychologist? Has he been evaluated by an Occupational Therapist (OT) for sensory integration issues? These can all be ways to figure out how to help him. In addition to The Explosive Child, I strongly suggest reading "Parenting your Teen with Love and Logic". It is amazingly helpful. You can learn more about it by visiting www.loveandlogic.com.

    I hope that tonight is a bit easier.
  13. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    That was my daughter on Celexa right there. I couldn't walk away and let her calm down because she would come flying at me, kicking, punching, scratching, etc. Same thing if I managed to put a door between us, she'd be pounding and kicking until I was afraid the door would break and I can't afford to replace it. She was even worse on Risperdal. She'll also try the worst case scenario things when she's angry or frustrated, but since getting her off those she calms faster and isn't as violent, she is willing to tell me she needs some time to herself to calm down (even if she still sometimes phrases it as "LEAVE ME ALONE!" in that banshee scream), or if I ask her if she needs time she'll say yes (again, sometimes at the top of her voice, but hey, it's progress).
  14. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Bunny, I have many a night and day like that ! My difficult child can go on for hours with one of his tantrums. I am sorry you had such a rough time and hopefully today will be better. ((( HUGS ))) ;)
  15. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Susiestar, I don't think that he's getting too much homework. As a matter of fact, I had been warned by people that when they start middle school they are going to have so much homework that their little heads will spin, but that has not been his experience so far. Last night he had homework in four subjects, which I think was the first time that happened. When he told me that I asked what he had to do and he told me that he didn't have to tell me. If he had told me that he was overwhelmed at the idea of having homework in four subjects I would have sat down with him and tried to figure out when he could do it so he could get it done without the drama.

    He's been evaluated by a neuropsychologist. They diagnosed Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and ODD. Him following me around when he's raging is not something new. He's always done that, even before he started taking the Celexa. Maybe this is not the medication for him. It seemed to be helping with the anxiety driven issues when he first started taking it, but it's done nothing for the aggression and anger issues. We were hoping that if the anxiety were under control, then the anger and aggression would subside. Guess not.

  16. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    therapist just called to see how he was doing today and difficult child said he wanted to talke to him so therapist said to put him on the phone. difficult child told therapist that the next time we come in (tomorrow) he wants to talk about something that happened yesterday. That was all he told him. Now I'm curious. Exactly what is he going to tell the therapist? I don't trust him because he will lie and tell a completely different story that what really happened.

    Why am I suddenly nervous?

  17. brendan

    brendan Guest

    Bunny, I think you have received excellent advice so far. Just wanted to give you some (((Hugs))) and things that have worked for me.

    Have you ever tried "Bear hugs"? I have done this with both my sons when they have tantrums. (Yes, even easy child tantrums once in awhile!) They usually fight to get out of the bear hug, but then calm down and cry. You put him on your lap with his back facing you and hold his arms and legs back with your arms and legs and just say "Calm down" This has saved many remotes, toys, pictures from being broken at our house!!!!
    Also, he sounds like he might need something for his compulsive behaviors along with his anxiety medication. Concerta, Ritalin? This really seemed to calm my difficult child down so he could focus and listen to me and other people instead of just going bonkers.

    Keep us updated. Also, I personally never give punishments that long, so kudos to your difficult child and you for actually sticking to it. Mine at the most will be for one day. Then they follow me around saying, "I'm bored...I'm bored" and drive me nuts!! LOL

  18. brendan

    brendan Guest

    Oh, and I have also heard the "I'll just kill myself" quote. Mine said when he was only 8 and I cried. WHen I found out it was a form of manipulation, I was relieved.