The one where a family member crosses the line with "opinions" about your difficult child...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by BeachPeace, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. BeachPeace

    BeachPeace Guest

    I think I may be permanently estranged from some family members. I have sometimes told myself that I will protect my child from negativity and pessisimstic family members but recently that was put to test.
    Blue had a severe meltdown that involved aggression and violence. During the episode he broke a ceramic pitcher full of water on the tile floor. I could not safely restrain him so after 45 minutes and multiple broken things (lamps, plates, etc) I called 911 to send EMS to assist me with giving him his emergency dose of prn Risperdal. While I was on the phone with 911 dispatcher - he took off running down the hall, slipped and landed on his arm. This was the first time I called EMS. They arrived with the police and fire department - my house looked like a crime scene - and my son was sitting on the floor like a scared puppy, nonverbal, holding his arm. They were so kind to me. He took his medication - but was already calmed down due to his arm pain I think. Anyway - Blue fractured his elbow during this incident and was put into a cast.
    Next day - my nerves are still frazzled and I am emotionally drained. I receive a call from a "well-meaning" family member who proceeds to tell me that my child will end up a serial killer and will "kill an innocent child in the neighorhood" and we will "get sued and lose everything" I stood there in shock and stayed on the line just long enough to hear that I "do not have control of the situation" and he was afraid for the children in the extended family to ever visit our home.
    I was shaken and horrified that someone in our family had the nerve to call me up and "warn me" about my son apparently becoming a homicidal maniac. He is 9.
    I am now not speaking to the family member and others in my family are telling me to "try to understand" the intentions.
    Every day of my life is a struggle. Every day of my son's life is a struggle. I am very well aware of the statistics on mental illness, adoption, behavior disorders, etc. I just CHOOSE to take one day at a time, find the best help, therapy, and medications I can,and HOPE for the best.
    Just because he kicked the dog once or has dissociative episodes does NOT mean it is ok for others to dismiss him as a lost cause.
    He still is a kid and needs to play with his cousins, receive love from his family, and be treated like he is a person with a future just like anyone else.
    Am I so wrong for expecting what any other parent would? Why does it become OK for others to feel it is acceptable to wrap his future up with a rope? If my child had a physical disability instead of a mental one - people would be horrified to say "well give up hope, he will never walk or talk, etc"
    How can I move past this as these elderly family members are not teachable.....
    I am still shaken by the lack of compassion and empathy.
  2. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Big hugs. Try to focus on your kids, husband and self. Don't hesitate to call them rude and out of place and then just hang up. You obviously don't need to justify your action and certainly don't need to prove them wrong. If you want to give it a last chance, you could write to this family member exactly what you wrote in your post. You need support but no judgement or prediction of gloom and doom.
    Hang in there and know that this forum will never judge and condemn you for helping you kids become the best of themselves.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm so sorry you are hurting. You are right about every day being a struggle. I would be beyond upset if someone told me my son was going to grow up to be a homicidal maniac. Of course, your son is not a lost cause.

    As for moving forward I'm not sure. A part of me, I know would eventually forgive the person who said it. However, I'm not sure I would ever want my child around that person.

    Also I want to send major hugs your way. That had to be an extremely scary incident the other night. Did you let psychiatrist know what happened? Does he think a medication adjustment is necessary? Do you think maybe he should be hospitalized if he is very unstable right now?
  4. BeachPeace

    BeachPeace Guest

    Sharon -
    It was the scariest episode we have ever had. The biggest reason we did not do inpatient was his arm pain from the fracture really kept him subdued - when we left the ER that evening he was very calm and answering appropriate questions. The other reason was he needed follow up by an othopedic surgeon and they did not do that at our local facility that takes psychiatric kids. I have found yet another gap in our mental health resources. Kind of felt like we had to choose between treating a fracture or treating the psychiatric symptoms.
    Between psychiatric md and psychologist, pediatrician and othopedic surgeon we managed to get him back to baseline. psychiatrist took him off of zoloft (which was just added in May) and also stopped the imipramine. He drew labs and increased his Depakote dose and he has done very well. Pediatrician found an ear infection and treated that. His cast is a nightmare as you can imagine since it is 105 degrees outside and it goes from fingers to armpit.
  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Beach, ditto the others. I have been in a similar position with my family members (mom & 1 sister). It hurts to no end and I feel your pain. What I have done is have VERY limited contact with them and if they pull this stuff, the boys know when I say "we're leaving" they know we're leaving NOW. They don't like it any more than I do.

    {{{{HUGS}}}} to you AND difficult child 1. I want you to know that you're not alone.
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Many (((hugs))) for your hurting heart. I wish I had an answer for you, but the only thing I can think of is to share these horrible times only with those that won't marginalize or judge your children. You deserve better.
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    (((Hugs))) sometimes family is so scared for you that they don't get how their words are so hurtful.
  8. bigbear11

    bigbear11 Guest

    I am so sorry. I can't imagine having family make comments like that. While I have no suggestions (having thankfully never been there)... I do agree with the others comments around limiting contact. Be polite when you do see/call but if the topic goes over the line then cut it off immediately. Everyday is a struggle for both you and Blue. You need people around you who are supportive and (while they may not understand) are not judgemental.

  9. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    The comments sound so much like my mother in law. I feel your pain. Good juju and prayers for easy healing of his fracture and that medication changes will work well. I know the comments hurt but I always just tell myself I am doing the best I can with difficult child and it's easy to "arm-chair quarterback" someone else's kid...and my relatives (particularly mother in law) don't understand how their words hurt.
  10. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Firstly, I want to say that I hope his fracture heals quickly. Having a cast on in this summer heat is no fun, and I can't imagine that it's going to make things any easier for you.

    As far as the family member goes, what he said to you was very hurtful and I can understand your feelings. I'm not sure how I would handle it. Cutting family off is very hard, but it's just as hard on your when you know that the people at family function are watching you and waiting for your son to fall apart so that they can they "I told you so!" If possible, I would limit the time that you spend with this person. It's hard enough raising a difficult child without having people saying such hurtful things to you, and probably behind your back.
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    I deal with this a lot.. The biggest problem we have is people who just don't GET it. mother in law does not recognize her own behaviors in Onyxx... And Onyxx is "just like bio" and is a sociopath... father in law, on the other hand, believes that lots of lecturing and punishment will beat it out of Onyxx and Jett, and that they are lazy.

    My parents, on the other hand... Mom is pretty negative. BUT... She loves the kids and tries whatever she can to help, including BACKING OFF when necessary. Dad's not as negative, but he is very very wary around Onyxx (she hit him a few years back).

    And bio gma... Well, bio learned her behavior, is what I can say there - and much of Onyxx's behavior is very, very like bio's.

    Thing is, yeah, the kid could be dangerous - do they think we are unaware?! What do they propose we do about it? Oh, like lecturing and spanking is gonna work. How about they come HELP?! No? Then shut up.

    Honey, you are doing the best you can with what you've got, and if the fam can't see it - I can see not talking to them...

    More :hugs:
  12. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    We deal with this constantly- unless someone has a difficult child of their own, they just won't understand. One time I was at the mall standing with a bunch of other women and small children. My son threw a tantrum that was so extreme that by the time we paused for breath, all of the other mom's completely deserted us out of embarrassment- I was standing completely alone with my enraged child.

    My mother says things like "if it were me, I would spank him" or "I wouldn't let him act like that" or "he wouldn't have gotten away with that if he had grown up with my dad..." just on and on.
    Well, spanking him didn't work and just made us all feel awful, if I could instantly stop him from acting like that I would, and we are not letting him "get away" with anything, but he has to calm down before we can discuss consequences.

    I've even had well-meaning friends suggest that I am contributing to the problem. Yes, I admit it, I am not perfect. I get anxious about difficult child's behaviors and sometimes overreact. Sometimes, I get plain mad and raise my voice. I've even been overly authoritarian in my consequences, because I have reached the frayed end of the last part of my rope and hoped that a serious punishment might get his attention (it didn't). Yes, there have been times that I have escalated the issue, but there have been many more times when I have reacted calmly and still had significant problems with my kiddo.

    My thought is don't give much weight anyone but a teacher, a therapist or your supportive significant other (emphasis on supportive, not head buried in the sand). These are the only people who spend enough time or have the expertise. Oh, and listen to your gut. Mine told me that things weren't quite "right" about the age of 2. Another friend with a difficult child (I am fortunate to have a good friend in this boat) or supportive forums like this one, can be a God Send, even if it's just for a good cry or vent.

    Uninvited opinions can be dealt with politely..."I know that you are concerned and want the best for difficult child. He/she faces significant challenges that we are working with "experts" to help him/her overcome. We are doing what is recommended and what we know to be right. Thanks for being caring, but we've got it."
  13. BeachPeace - Big hugs. I think my difficult child was about 8 when a neighbour told me that I'd better be careful or my child was going to grow up to be a psychopath as well. I know exactly how you are feeling right now, although at least for me it was easy to cut her out of my life because she was a friend - not family.

    I'm so sorry that you had such a horrible episode with him raging at home. It sounds awful and traumatic for everyone. I'm also very sorry that while I'm sure the intentions were well-meaning they certainly did not come across that way and were definitely not supportive of you or the road you are trying to take with Blue.

    I think that it is so hard for people who do not really understand what you deal with every day to realize what your child needs and what you need from them in terms of emotional support.

    Do you think there is any way to have a couple of counselling sessions with family members so that they can learn to understand what kind of support they can offer to you without being judgemental? Then you can all decide what boundaries are appropriate for gatherings etc. and live within those guidelines so that their children feel safe and Blue gets the love and connection with family? I don't really have any answers but I'm wondering if that might help everyone feel more comfortable.
  14. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    I wanted to add that if your family is being extremely negative, it may be time to take a break from them for a bit. Those comments are hurtful and out of line. Kids develop and grow and are incredibly resilient. It's impossible to know how any child will "turn out." If your family cannot treat you with respect and your child with compassion, then it sounds like a destructive relationship that benefits no one. I do think that people get scared by extreme situations and react negatively. Maybe a family meeting would help where all of this can be aired and discussed?

    For people who believe that they can predict a child's future, here is a story: My brother has what we now believe is Aspergers or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Back in the day, his teachers told my mom that he was (their words) retarded and needed to be in a special school. He struggled socially and emotionally.. Over the years, without services, he has managed to live on his own, hold down a steady job, finish an associates degree, learn another language, and has shown superior if not gifted intelligence. There is no truer definition of "self-made" than my brother and I admire him more than any person I know.