Tired of the Learned Behaviors

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JJJ, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Today Tigger tried to manipulate me into taking him to Kmart by saying he would cut himself if I didn't do it. He had just had an altercation with some young teens and was edgy and nursing hurt feelings. I wasn't worried cause we were in the van and all he had was a plastic knife and fork from McDs.

    Eeyore tried to get out of doing homework by saying he needed to go to the hospital. When I started packing up his homework to come with, cause after all you wait for hours in the ER and we needed something to do ;) , he 'changed his mind'

    I am grateful for the calmer house with Kanga gone and the boys making huge progress, but I still really, really hate parenting difficult children.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    (((Hugs))) I know what you mean.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    JJJ, with Kanga gone for so long, I'm not sure this is about learned behaviors. I'm not sure it's about manipulation either.

    My son is currently in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and we just returned from parent visiting days there, where we had two days of seminars teaching us techniques to parent boys with significant emotional challenges. A lot of what we were taught is to be there to support and empathize with what they were feeling.

    So in both situations you describe, a typical parent response would be to simply ask them what they are feeling. To discuss and process their feelings and build a relationship with you, their parent, so that the next time they experience strong emotions they come to you to discuss their feelings rather than suggest maladaptive coping strategies. Just a thought.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I did discuss their feelings, process what happened with Tigger, and why homework was important with Eeyore and we got back on track. And it is definitely learned because at the end of each conversation I asked why they thought what they did would help and the both said Kanga did it and got out of doing stuff (cause you don't push an actively suicidal kid) but they also agreed that they didn't want to go to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) so it wasn't a good choice.

    It isn't that I haven't become good at parenting through these things. I just wish I didn't have to do so.
  5. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I truly empathasize. I've learned with the tweedles that it isn't necessarily learned behavior, rather very habitual, if you will.

    We've (to date) gotten the medications where they are going to be; & there have been good & bad times with kt & wm. However, with all the services & add'l skills they kt & wm know what they are supposed to do. What isn't appropiate.

    I've found that asking kt to do a chore, or some school related thing, she starts with the whining & rachets it up. It's a habit - a survival skill that worked in foster care, in bio home. It doesn't work here & she knows it, but continues to use it. As much as we've worked to give her the skills to deal with requests, social outings & the like she goes back to the old habits.

    wm is much the same.

    For us (I'm not sure on your side) it's the continuing survival skills that are so engrained - push away anyone who loves or cares; push away the new because it's terrifying even though the continued old skills are even more terrifying.

    kanga is an old excuse. She's been used because the kidlets know she has caused so much stress within the family unit - with-o her there your difficult children just don't seem to be able to use the skills I know they have been taught. Just easier to blame kanga.

    Days like this drive me up the proverbial wall. I remind the tweedles they are safe & have been since 2000 - they're last foster placement & permanent placement here.

    Sending you many difficult child parental hugs.