The more things change...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by slsh, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Just thought I'd share this, 'cuz I know thank you isn't the only kid who has had a really negative response to positive reinforcement.

    We helped him get things together enough to take the GED. He was a *wreck* before the test (2 Saturdays - fun). Anxiety thru the roof (though thank you anxious at 20 is a walk in the park compared to thank you anxious at 14!!). I tried to reassure him and encourage him - he didn't want to hear any positive statements about his abilities. Maddening.

    Anyway, he got the scores and... well, to say I'm proud would be an understatement. He got a perfect (PERFECT) score on reading. 800 out of 800. 710 in writing (top 98%), 620 on science (88%), 610 in social studies (86%), and 480 in math (he *passed* - math phobia since the age of 8, severe). For the test as a whole, he is on par with the top 10% of high school grads.

    Now this is a kid who started school refusal in first grade, graduated onto total disruption of classrooms in every setting imaginable from 2nd grade on. Spent most of HS at TLP sleeping in foyer of building. Dropped out. No real "education" since probably about 4th grade - staff were too busy trying to corral him. ;) He is literally a self-taught man. Smart kid. Always has been.

    Anyway.... standing rule in this house is that for any kid who aces a section of a standardized test, they get $100 per section. So, thank you gets $100. He was *ticked*. Funny kid - as different as he is in many ways from full-blown difficult child thank you, there are some things that haven't changed a bit. He still can't verbalize what his problem is with rewards. He was just really sullen and crabby about the whole thing. I'd chalk it up to low self-esteem but he's been this way since he was 2. I still remember vividly the day it clicked for me - reward him and watch all heck break loose. It was bizarre.

    I tried to put it into real-life terms for him. When he gets a job, if he does a good job he will get raises, i.e. reward. "Mooooom, that's *different*."

    I still wish I could get into his head and see what makes him tick.

    The positive in all this is:
    a) He passed the GED and we have the actual certificate in our hot little hands now.
    b) He will be a college student in a week. :faint:
    c) All heck did *not* break loose when he got his reward - I pointed out that the only string attached is that it must be spent on something *legal*. After pouting for a while, his eyes lit up. "I can go get spider bites and an industrial and another eyebrow post!" (aka more holes in his head) :hammer:
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    WOW Congratulations to you both! I'm sure you are strutting around proud as a peacock!

    That reward thing really is bizarre! Even if it's from the age of 2 it could still be a self-esteem issue. in my opinion if perfectionism can exist in a 2 y/o (my son) then so can self-esteem issues. But at this point it doesn't matter. He's moving forward!
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Congrats to thank you!!!! You have every reason to be proud!!! The reward thing is funny. difficult child is not like that at all but easy child/difficult child is to a point. I remember we offered her $ for good grades. She would have gotten $50 for a 3.5, $75 for a 3.75, and a $100 if she had a 4.0. She never earned any of it. At one point she had a 3.75 grade point average with 4 weeks to go. In the end she ended up with a 2. something.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    :bravo: Way to go!!! :bigsmile:

    The negative reaction to the positive stuff is weird, I agree. But I see it in easy child sometimes and I think she just doesn't know what to do with the attention and feels uncomfortable with having the spotlight. Kind of an anxiety symptom, I think -- a pushing back against this thing that feels foreign. My husband has a hard time accepting compliments, too -- but then he came from a VERY critical family that probably didn't hand them out with very much frequency.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow! I don't even know what else to say- I'm speechless! But you and he have every reason to be proud!
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Congrats, thank you! WOOHOO! (and mom)

    Wee used to respond this way, also, when the positive reinforcement was verbal. Physical, he was fine (high five or other mutual exchange), but words? Don't even. Luckily, that's changed.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Go thank you!!! Our Musketeers are growing up arent they Sue?
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Funny I was just thinking about thank you a couple of days ago.....and you:). Matt is exactly the same is like any one thing that could be deemed as a positive in his life - causes him to be afraid that he will fail even more - so a positive affirmation is really a negative influence in his life.

    Hugs to you and your family...SO SO glad thank you is going in the right direction:)
  9. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    AMAZING!!! That is so great.

    difficult child 1 used to thinking everytime I said something nice to him I was trying to control him. He didn't get that I was sincere. I'm not sure he really understands now, but he has stopped melting down when I praise him. They think so differently than the rest of the world.
  10. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Great job thank you! I hope he enjoys college and this is one of many steps forward.
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Congrats thank you!
  12. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Way to go thank you :) Its just absolutely amazes me the things you have to go thru with some kids just to get them thru school. I remember being besides myself when Danny reached 18 and quit-all those years of school via the justice department, alternate schools, home schooling, independent study, having tudors come in - really he never attended a regular "school" since 9th grade and worked sporatically with those "packets" they would hand out - the years "I" squeezed my fat behind in a school desk while he took various tests/turned in homework because he would wig out just sitting in a school and I had to go with him his anxiety was that high. He quit despite his knowing there was 1,500 waiting for him if he got that diploma. And then found out he couldn't get a job without it and went for the GED and like thank you, absolutely aced it. I didn't think he absorbed anything all those years and boy, was I surprised. I remember him comming into my office at work, big old grin, handing it to me (in exchange for his 1500 of course LOL)

    I am sooo over the moon thank you has crossed off this milestone - I well remember those dark days so many years ago and am so proud of him (and you for still having a smidge of sanity and your sense of humor in tact:)

  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Yep - sounds familiar.

    My difficult child is downright suspicious of positive reinforcement, compliments, and niceness in general. She figures you must have some nasty, underlying ulterior motive.

    So glad to hear that thank you aced his test! That's awesome!


    (Ummm.....I mean.....GGGGRRRRRR!!!!)

    ((Wouldn't want to be accused of offering a compliment....:) ))
  14. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Sue, thanks for sharing gives me hope. Congrats to thank you. To you & husband. You all did good.

    He's college bound now? Wow!
  15. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Congrats thank you and Mom! I hope he continues to do well now that he's starting college... even with all those holes in his head, lol!
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Ditto, TiredMom. Great news. DDD
  17. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    My difficult child also does not like rewards, (although he will take grade money) he feels they are popups ways to show off, and are not truly significant. He had to sit through a band award program and recognize everyone else. Made him angry for a week.

    For myself, when I was a third grade dyslexic kid, who could not even read or write simple words like "it" or "as", I never believed my parents phrases. They were told to always phrase ANY work that I did. I knew what they were doing, and never believed them. The problem was that I also never believed any other phrases as well. It turns out where I could not read or spell anything, in third grade I could also describe the concepts of calculus and other advance math. When phrases for my math skills I also did not believe it. "I'm dumb, and I it is easy for me then it is something that is easy only for a dumb person. Therefor the phrase is lame". It was not until college that I started understanding I really was smart after all. I think it would have helped if my parent showed me rather then told me.