Traits of a typical difficult child--add your thoughts

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MidwestMom, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    i was thinking about this today, reading the board. There seems to be common behaviors that "regular" adult children don't share. I don't know if this will generate interest, but thought I'd throw it out there.

    What do you consider traits of an adult difficult child that make them unable to move on in the same way that most young adults can? I have a few ideas and would love to hear yours.

    2/Thinking in the moment for instant gratification, not big picture
    3/Not the norm in that they are not excited about growing up or independence and prefer allowing parents to extend their childhood.
    4/Or they want to think that they turned eighteen so that even though they still want parents to support them in every way, they no longer need to follow any rules because...they are eighteen. In other words, faulty logic.
    5/Have excuses for criminal behavior that is never their fault.
    6/GREAT manipulators and givers of guilt that keep us hanging on.
    7/abusive to others, either verbally or physically, but, when called in on it, blame their victim.
    8/Scary risktaking behavior that they don't want consequences for.
    9/It is never their faults.
    10/They seem to often lack remorse. lack of contact with family unless in trouble and need or want something (like money).

    Anyone agree? Disagree? Have something to add?
    How do you deal with these traits or others that you find you face?
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  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Yep, you got it. For me, the lack of logic and the inability/refusal to be responsible for their behavior drives everything else.
  3. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    3/Not the norm in that they are not excited about growing up or independence and prefer allowing parents to extend their childhood.

    Wow. I love that you have this in your list. My son would say, multiple times, growing up, even as a little boy: "Mommy, I don't want to grow up." I remember thinking that was strange, because most kids can't wait to grow up and have all of the rights of adulthood. But I would disregard it, of course, thinking it was childish prattle. Today, those words haunt me.

    Other traits:

    11/Never felt comfortable "in his own skin". Hung back, was shy, didn't fit in easily.
    12/My son had friends, but the friends he chose were struggling too. I don't see any of those friendships that have been sustained.
    13/Worse behavior with parents/family than with other people.
    14/Anxious. My son bites his fingernails into the quick and picks his toenails. He worries a lot and spends a lot of time in his own head thinking about things/worrying about things.
    15/Lies when the truth would be just as good. Big time lies. Constant lies.
    16/Class clown and also very shy/quiet (at the same time). Inability to handle social situations and interact with people on a give and take basis.
    17/Grandiose ideas and dreams. My son talked about being very rich and living in a big mansion. A lot.

    I notice that we are writing the negative traits, I guess because those are the ones that are so hard to deal with.

    Underneath all of this, my son is super smart, has an amazing ability to bring multiple solutions to problems, is very good with his hands, fixing things, likes to read, very very funny, has a beautiful smile that is instantly engaging, is very coordinated and athletic, and is one of the most persistent people I have ever met. He was found to be gifted in elementary school but "didn't want to be smart" so he purposefully did terrible in his gifted classes in middle school and absolutely would not participate or do the work. These are the "flip" side of some of the bad traits mentioned---in a different measure some of them can be very useful and good in life.

    There is comfort in realizing the traits of the disease of addiction. Our kids aren't different. Thanks Cedar.
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    - mental health and/or substance abuse issues
    - skill defects (often social skills)
    - inability to deal with boring and repetitiveness (going with my dog analogies, dogs with those traits are often considered very difficult to motivate or even untrainable. It's difficult to learn anything, if one isn't able to handle repeats)
    - feel big, everything is always dramatic and either the coolest thing ever or love story of the century or absolutely insufferable. And this changes often
    - related to one before splitting: people and things are either pure evil or best ever, not seeing the grey.
    - deep, wrenching shame and inability to love and take care of themselves under all the false bravado.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    AGREE. You got it. Those are definitely the main things....I would cause and effect reasoning...but that goes with 2 and kind of with 1 as well.

    Some seem to hang out with children much younger than themselves. Some seem to be big risk takers. Preface all these with "Some...." Seem to care more about others than themselves or close family members. Can't keep a schedule. Can't make or keep friends. Losing important things constantly. Never on time. Little to no concern about breaking rules. Some are constant liars and egotistical, maniacs and lack empathy in any, shape or form. But in most cases, their lives, simply don't work!!!!

    But, your list is VERY good and you've definitely got the main points!
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  6. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    • Manipulative to a fault--
    • I would add that there's the lies but they also seem to convince themselves that their lies are reality
    • Very bright and able to successfully manipulate multiple people so that each are on his side and against each other
    • Unfocused- starts one thing and never finishes before moving on to the next 'great' idea
    • values money over all else
    • lack of empathy
    • lack of remorse or compassion for those they harm (because that person did something to deserve it)
    • Believes everyone is against them which is why they have such a hard time succeeding
    • Controlling (to the point of bullying if their control tactics don't initially work)
    • Anxious
    • Sarcastic, using 'humor' as a way to degrade people
    • Isolated and lonely- desperate for friends so picks the wrong ones
    • Cannot handle stress
    • Quick to anger and turn hostile
    • Selective memory of his childhood, what happened, etc
    My difficult child is very responsible for many things-- he's maintained a job and never been late, he responds well to routine so did best when he was younger and his schedule was set...with more 'freedom' of his schedule and choices of how to spend his time, he did worse and though we tried to impose more rules for structure, it worked less and less...he can be very charming and respectful to strangers...presents himself really well so does well at work because it's a retail area and he charms the customers...the workers are cleaning cars so not a lot of prolonged interaction with them....he carries himself with confidence but has very low self-esteem which much take a lot of skill to pull off
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Selective memory of childhood!!! i know not all difficult children have THAT, although many of them do, but I have one who rewrote his childhood completely, inventing the absurd. It is very puzzling when it happens. So I would have to add to this good point:

    "Often lives with a distorted or plain untrue reality." Something that the other children in the family don't think happened or see as a good thing, the difficult child magically remembers or twists as a bad thing.

    I forgot too: Enjoys a good, long, dramatic pity party. That could fall under the umbrella of paranoia. They wring their hands and either really think they are helpless or know they are not but pretend to be helpless, so that somebody else will do "it" for them, whatever "it" is.
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Everything you've described is Miss KT's father, Useless Boy. I thank God every night that Miss KT has outgrown most of her gfgness and has not turned out like her father (my deepest fear while she was growing up).We were together eight years and some of his lies kept surfacing and affecting me even after we were divorced. No acceptance of responsibility on his part, of course.
  9. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    One of the many therapists my difficult child saw used the term "magical thinking"....that sums my difficult child up to magic things will work out. by magic we will not be bothered that he lied to us or stole from us, and things will go back to usual WITHIN A FEW HOURS. By magic he will be a rock star. by magic.
    I see magical thinking in myself too, in relationsjip to him, and in at least one of my other kids in relationship to school.
  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Add to:

    argue like lawyers. (Someone said that on another thread here and that says it exactly)

    They will focus on a single word or insignificant point ad nauseam and completely ignore or twist the larger, key truth. Until we give up.
  11. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    we really should write a book...;-)....this list nails alot of heartache that people need to better understand!
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    selective memory....yep. In psychology, they call this, or something very close to it, "confabulation," one of my favorite words. They remember what they wish and alter facts.

    Dementia patients do this as well. Things don't make sense to them, their memories are fading, so they fabricate a story to force the event to make sense in some sort of way and then they believe that story whole heartedly. The mentally ill can do this as well.
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

  14. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Thank you Nancy. I replied to Amanda. I will contact Runaway Bunny regarding the PM's...don't know how to fix it.
    Glad to help..Gawd awful experience.