Things That Make You Go...."Hmmmm....."

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by HeadlightsMom, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    How many "experts" of how to manage difficult child behavior have ever lived with a difficult child....for years?

    Not just read about them in books, tested children for an hour (or for 6 wks), or heard anecdotal stories?

    Just got wondering. Your thoughts?

    As we all know, there's nothing quite like having a full-blown police/ambulance rage-fest happening in your own home at midnight for years on end, no?
  2. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    I say if you never lived it, you are not qualified to speak on it. Amen. I really won't listen to anyone, expert or not, unless they truly lived it.
  3. Coookie

    Coookie Active Member

    Hi Headlightsmom, I would say very few...if any. Unless you have lived it there is no way you can completely understand the depths of difficult child behavior. Or what we as parents go through daily. They try though, the experts I mean. Good food for thought.
  4. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    This is my thought as well. And, in fairness to the "experts", I didn't know how much I didn't know until years into living with difficult child. In fact, I'm still learning. But there's a biiiiiig ol' gap between how much I thought I knew (pre-difficult child) and how little I realized I knew (mid- and post-difficult child).

    It's a very, very steep learning curve.

    I just saw the silliest link/story with some very trite suggestions. Still, I wonder what the actual numbers (percentage-wise) of "experts" have really lived with a difficult child for years. There have to be a couple/few (I think?). But my gut (which may be wrong) tells me it's likely below 5% of "experts".
  5. Coookie

    Coookie Active Member

    Your learning curve comment made me laugh. So true and my difficult child did not come with a manual. My learning came from in the trenches experience. :( :)
  6. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Cookie -- Ditto! And glad I brought ya a laugh. :D by the way, love your Cookie Monster logo!
  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Even if they have lived with a difficult child there is only a small chance their difficult child does things the way yours does!

    I guess that is why there are so many different diagnosis's and new diagnosis's diagnosed every year.
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  8. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    dstc_99 --- Great point! difficult child's are difficult child's.......similar in some ways, but oh soooo different in other ways!
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    In my experience (cough cough), there are a few "experts" that really do get it. Most of those have at least lived with a disabled sibling or child, if not a full-blown difficult child... enough to know that the "system" doesn't know everything, that parents are essential to the picture and that difficult child kids are not what they seem on the surface (positive or negative). The rest of them? <I'll not put that answer here... >
  10. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    My difficult child did that midnight meltdown stuff for years, until 2 or 3 in the morning, night after night, screaming and throwing things and threatening my husband. I always thought that the police would soon arrive, if any of the neighbours would phone them. They didn't, and the police didn't come, but it went on for years, sometimes every night of the week, certainly several nights. And just this week I spoke to my difficult child on the phone (we now have a good relationship, since I travelled to the other side of the world to see him, and we truly bonded) and he asked me about those years -- he has sort of blacked them out, he said he doesn't remember any of that stuff. Strange. I suppose it's some sort of defence mechanism. Anyway, at least these days he is independent and (I hope) living decently. Who knows? I certainly wouldn't let anyone who hasn't been through it criticize me or make any suggestions. I do know that because I went through that, I am in no way judgemental any more of anyone with a "difficult" child. We all know that we do the best we can -- and we can't do more than that!

    Just my two-cents' worth.

    Love, Esther
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  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Actually, I'm shocked at similar our difficult children seem to be. I can only go by my own and the ones I have read about on thie site. A few deviate, but I think most could be kissing cousins.

    1/They almost all are entitled.
    2/ They almost all blame others for their problems that they create
    3/ They do not respond to normal discipline in a typical way...rather they rage, scream, abuse or even get violent.
    4/ They want a lot of money with no effort and get testy when we won't give it up.
    5/ They tend to fail to launch and want to live with us, BUT they also want us to treat them like contributing adults when they are not contributing and do not act like adults
    6/ Very few difficult children on this site, at least, like to work, work hard, work at all, like their jobs, etc. Unlike most older teenagers who strive for independence, they want to stay dependent on us for money and toys, but also want the perks of being over eighteen, such as no curfew, no asking questions, doing whatever they feel like it, etc. etc. etc.
    7/If parents, and many are parents without being married or in a committed relationship, they are not responsible, good parents.
    8/If we no longer throw money at them, they try hard to find another money source rather than a job.
    9/They only call when they want something from us. Our actual welfare is not on their radar.
    10/Only a very few do not or have not abused substances.

    Sure, all people have their own personalities, but I think there is a definite string of behaviors most seem to share which guarantee failure and make them need to live in our house, taking our money, in order to avoid being homeless.

    Here are a few honorary mentions in my list of similarities:

    1/They have no problem stealing or they steal even if they have a problem with it.
    2/They have visited the Men in Blue up close and personal sometimes because WE had to call them when they were acting violent. If not, they are lucky or have come close or will meet them if they don't change. Then they want us to pay for expensive lawyers to get them out of the trouble that they purposefully caused, often while high.
    3/They lie as easily as they breathe (this is on the honorary list because I think we have a few who are not chronic liars, but not too many).

    Anyhow, that's my take on it. Just my worthless .02 ;)
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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I think most of our difficult children have personality disorders such as antisocial, narcissistic and borderline. The girls in particular sound very borderline as a group. Scarily many of the young men sound antisocial, as if they don't give a rat's about anyone or anything unless they get into trouble while doing something.
  13. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Everyone -- Great comments, oh so true, and I appreciate hearing all of your "takes" and experiences!

    MWM -- I think you hit the nail on the head in that so many of the male difficult child's appear to be Antisocial Personality Disorder (Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)) and some of the females sound more Borderline Personality Disorder (Borderline (BPD)). I'm no professional, but that's where the overlap seems to come. And I am the mother of an Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) diagnosis'd son, so..... And these commonalities are important in considering treatment and boundaries.

    I also like dstc_99's comment about "differences", too. Much of my work (Special Education classrooms) is with Autism these days. Although the Autism Spectrum contains so many commonalities (it does), it also contains a wide range of variants. That's where I'm coming from when I agree that there are differences......a wide range of variants even amid a large strain of commonalities. Every difficult child is different (despite their commonalities).......just as every human being is different. I like to take the differences into possible consideration because I think that brings along a layer of human dignity (i.e. we're more than just a collection of specific observed behaviors). difficult child's are HARD to be around. But they are still human beings with their own differences.

    However, I openly confess that I cannot live with my difficult child. Similarities or's just toxic for me!

    Estherfromjerusalem --- I hear ya on those middle-of-the-night rage-fests! Yikes! We could always tell when our difficult child was amping up. It always began with foot stomping in his bedroom. Then wall slamming. Then, about 20-min later, it went into full-blown screaming, raging, destruction mode absoluting destroying the house and threatening us. I'm sure our neighbors heard it, too. However, we didn't wait to see if they would call the police.........WE CALLED POLICE. At first we questioned if that was the right thing to do. But we quickly realized it was. And now, years later, we still think it was the right thing to do. The last time I called police on difficult child was when he was 19 (he's now 24). But he knows darned well, I'll call whenever it's merited. I have. I will.

    Estherfromjerusalem --- So glad to hear things are better with you and your difficult child these days! Better to miss then half a world away than to have battles with them next door, I'd imagine. We are getting along getter with our difficult child right now, too. Knock wood that lasts. Otherwise a half a world of distance might be what's in our future, too! ;)

    Maaaaaaan, I think back on ALL those years of midnight rages. I tried to hold down a job, but it repeatedly interfered. Eventually, I got HR to approve an Intermittent Leave of Absence (ILOA). HR worked with me. But the last 911 call that took me away from work (mid-day) was when difficult child was 10. I remember my boss stopping me in the hallway (I was working as a Pharmacy Lead with an insurance company back then) and said, "You need to pick....Your job or your kid." I shocked her when I said, "You're right....I pick my kid." I quit my job on the spot. No notice. Had to make sure I tried everything. Stayed at home with him for 3+ years and then half-time homeschooled him (as he was running out of schools who would accept him). difficult child left our home at age 16. I am certain we tried everything we could think of.

    I had NO idea it would be that hard raising difficult child. Really. And I'll bet most "experts" would be shocked if they lived that way for years and years. It takes a toll.

    No matter how we bad we told friends, relatives, professionals it was their universal response upon first seeing difficult child's full-blown rage was.......... "I didn't know it was that bad!"

    Yes. It is that bad when it hits.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  14. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    See I find that the issues our difficult child's have are similar but the way they react to them can vary wildly. Depending on their personality they can react well to a change or extremely badly. That is why it is so hard to give advice as an outsider. You can't say difficult child has Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) and then pull out the manuals and say chapter 3 subsection b codicile 3 says to do this. Even as parents we think we know what does and doesn't work for our kids but some therapist or friend can come along and point out an obvious work around that just never occurred to us. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but we all appreciate that "eye opening" comment.

    I think that is one of the reasons I like coming here. Nothing I post is something you haven't heard before or if it is new it is not that shocking to parents raising difficult child's. You can give me advice and I can take it or leave it without retribution. (Of course sometimes we all get frustrated with the posters who never take the advice and continually come back with the same problems). I may not use them all but some of them just wont work for me or my situation because of something you all don't know about or just because my mothers intuition tells me it wont.

    I think the worst situation I was ever in with a therapist was when I attended family therapy with my mothers therapist leading. Everything was my fault. I was the unwed prego teen in the room with a bad attitude. In all honesty the opposite was true. I didn't have a bad attitude towards my parents unless I was in that room have blame heaped on me. Years later the therapist and I spoke privately at her request and she apologized for allowing that to happen. At some point during the years of work with my mom she had figured out that she had never listened to my side of the story. Never even thought to ask. Her work with my mother clearly made it obvious that the mental issue was squarely on moms shoulders and the rest of us were made out to be uncaring and unloving.

    Anyway thanks to that situation I learned early on that therapists are only as good as they want to be and also only as good their experience. No one can be expected to hand out sound judgements about parenting a difficult child if they have never even met one yet.
  15. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    dstc-99 -- Great post! And how refreshing to hear that your therapist requested to meet with you years later and apologized! I'll bet that was cleansing on many levels. I sure appreciate your posts, dstc_99! (and, of course, your Seahawks logo! GO HAWKS!)

    Judgments often just don't help at all. I hate being judged (esp without all the facts) and appreciate reminders to not judge others (esp without all the facts). I view judging and discerning as 2 very distinctly different entities. Judging carries blame, discerning doesn't. Sometimes I struggle with anger or guilt inside me and want to blame others. Occasionally, anger or guilt may prompt us to make necessary changes. But, still, ultimately I am the one responsible for my own feelings and actions.

    I may be silly, but I think The Golden Rule and Boundaries can co-exist peacefully and healthily. Of course, I'm not always the best at practicing this. But working on it and learning. Always work in progress! :)
  16. Coookie

    Coookie Active Member

    Headlightsmom, I was a stay at home mom and we homeschooled our difficult child. I so understand not being able to live with difficult child. Never knew what would set him off. And yes, we called the police several times. We even had them take him to the phsyc ward one night things got so bad. I remember many nights when I didn't know if I would wake up dead. :( I really don't think anyone can understand unless they have lived it day in and day out for years. The therapists try but my difficult child could be a charmer and he could schmooze the pros when he wanted to. I can remember walking out of a few offices shaking my head. His pediatrician was convinced that I was overreacting :( While, in retrospect, I may have done a few things differently, everything we did was out of a pure desire to help our difficult child.
  17. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    HM and dtsc, they are ALL different. For example, my son is very gifted intellectually, although he did not finish college, and is creative and shy. Somebody's else's difficult child could be a math genius and extroverted. It is the way they handle their lives that are the commonalities. It almost seems like nearly every new poster has a similar difficult child...kind of like there is a difficult child spectrum....some are the absolute most-in-trouble difficult child and are in prison. Some have never been caught (yet). Most are sneaky, lie and don't want to support themselves. I find the commonality of this probably one of the personality disorders. They all do have their own interests, talents, and ways of socializing (often badly...haha). But I've long seen a pattern to their difficulties, with just a very few with unusual problems being more classically mentally ill and more moral than the others.

    Most teenagers are not as horribly obnoxious as ours are :) Most 25 year olds and up are eager to be on their own. I see a trend in our difficult children towards the Peter Pan Syndrome with a twist. Treat me like an adult when it comes to rules and boundaries, but support me like you did when I was six. This attitude can vary in seriousness from, say, 10 as in 10 being the worst and most inflexible in this way and 2 which is just being enough like that to cause grief while still living at home.

    A serious lack of empathy seems to exist within most of them. They often blame us for all their ills and rarely show any caring toward us, as if we are not people, but we are providers who do their bidding.

    Autistic spectrum kids are incredibly different in how their autism is expressed, yet, as the moms of my parenting group say, in many ways they are the same. So...I see what you mean there too. And I 100% agree!

    As for therapists and other mental health professionals, I don't think I can write here what I really think about most of them. It isn't just their judging, which is huge though. It is also their faulty diagnosing and medicating. Been in the system since age 23 and there has been progress, but there is still always a "mental health disorder of the month", a trendy drug t hat cures all and those who cling to old theories, such as well balanced parents will have well balanced kids. More probably, sure, but no guarantee.
  18. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    MWM -- Very good post with several good points. It's quite a maze, isn't it? Know what sticks with me the most of what you wrote?

    ".....but there is still always a "mental health disorder of the month", a trendy drug t hat cures all and those who cling to old theories...." (Q: How do I put this in the quote bubble I so often see you all do?)

    Very true, indeed, MWM! And the more we learn, the faster it seems the panaceas rotate. Kinda crazy sometimes!
  19. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Well, HLM, it's horrible because there is no way to verify a diagnosis. Now, even without a psychiatrist I know I get incredibly depressed without an antidepressant. I really didn't need anyone to diagnose me for me to know this...but I DID go to a psychiatrist (in fact I admitted myself to a hospital) because I was suicidal and depressed enough that I needed medication. That was and still is one thing I needed the good doctor for...I can't get medication without a doctor.

    Yet it still took me at least ten years to find a medication that didn't only work 50% and basically keep me from falling completely. It took forever for one to actually work about 85%. Now I can live a good life. Before that, I really didn't. Why? Because we are being guinea pigs for these doctors. They have no idea what to give us so they throw medications at us and hope one sticks. Now ECT is becoming popular again. THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO. What is particularly scary, especially in retrospect, is diagnosing children with everything from ADHD to bipolar disorder, both of which can not be proven by a blood test and both which are treated with medication. "Oh...he is crabby and inattentive. ADHD for sure! The Connors test says so!" And a script is handed over for some stimulant. "Oh, there is raging? Bipolar!" Another script is written. For children.

    My lovely son Sonic was put on bipolar medications until hubby and I said, "Enough! He is not bipolar!"

    The psychiatrist didn't believe it, even when he improved off of the medications and did well in autism interventions. He probably doesn't believe it to this day. He told me, "He can't be on the autism spectrum because he can be in a room alone without you and not freak out." WTH????? A lot of autistic kids, unless they are extremely low functioning, can be alone. This psychiatristi, this medical doctor, did not understand Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). So he called it bipolar. Later, I talked to quite a few people whose kids were going to Dr. G. Dr. G. diagnosed almost all of them with bipolar. Back then it was "the flavor of the month." I think they still have a tendancy to over-daignose bipolar disorder in children AND adults. My first diagnosis was manic-depression before it was called bipolar 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Now, I may have had two hypo-manic episodes, but mainly I just got very depressed. Am I bipolar? They tried mood stabilizers on me and I quit them as they made me feel dead and didn't help my depression at all.

    The world of psychiatry still has a long way to go to become an exact science. Anyhow, that has been my experience and is my opinion. If I weren't so interested in these mental health issues myself, I could have easily been put on ten medications and be a drooling idiot at this moment. Many patients trust their doctors implicitly. And in psychiatry, often they disappoint.
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    you mean like this?
    when you are composing your post, there are some editing icons above this text box. One of those is a pair of quote marks. Click on that, then paste in your quote... :)