Update on difficult child J.... some good some not

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Woofens, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Woofens

    Woofens New Member

    We've had an interesting couple of weeks here. difficult child J still rages, but its much fewer and farther between now. The rages aren't so much anxiety related as they are just out right defiance. I can tell the difference... when it is anxiety related, he can be talked through the rage. When it is defiance, he refuses to calm down, and smirks and giggles the whole time. Makes me want to scream. It seems much of the time he is just pushing me to see how far he can go before I explode.

    This morning he refused to put on his shoes and socks to go to school. A lot of the time when he does this I just tell him what I expect, and he complies, eventually. This morning we were getting down to time to leave and he still didn't have his shoes and socks on. I broke down and called his dad at home at 7:40 AM. He was sleeping and I told his SO that she needed to wake him up. He was upset, and I do understand, he worked his long weekend this weekend, and that means 16-18 hour days for him. I know that he sleeps in Monday mornings after his long weekend. I'm tired of hearing from him how difficult child never acts like that with him. I'm tired of being the only one that has to deal with difficult child's behavior. I'm tired of him making me feel like I've done something to make difficult child act like he does. I don't expect any help from him. He was never any help when he lived with us, why would he help now? The phone call did accomplish what I wanted though, it got difficult child to put on his shoes and go to school.

    difficult child's dad wants me to let difficult child go live with him and his SO. They are both alcoholics. I am not going to let that happen. difficult child has separation issues, and I think uprooting him would just make things worse. Of course, dad doesn't see things that way. All he sees is that difficult child was in the psychiatric hospital, and to him that is the worst thing that could happen. He told me on the phone this AM that he isn't coming to get the kids on Saturday. I can't make him understand that him not being consistent with difficult child is causing some of the problem. I already know that Saturday is going to be terrible here. difficult child will rage all day because dad didn't come. It happens every time. I'm trying to figure something out that we can do that will maybe take his mind off dad not coming, but its hard because I know that he is going to rage, and taking him out in public is a BAD idea.

    Speaking of taking him out in public, I had a talk with my aunt that other day, about taking the kids to see my grandmother. My Mama is 86 and in poor health, and lives with my aunt and uncle. I need to take the kids over, she hasn't seen them in over 2 years ( and they only live about an hour away) but I'm dreading taking them because what if difficult child rages while we are there? We made plans to go on the 22nd of this month, when my uncle will be home from work, and can help with difficult child if he does rage. My aunt made me realize that I have basically had to change everything about my life style to accommodate difficult child. We don't go out in public much, because of the rages. I try to do everything that I can when the kids are in school to prevent that. I don't go visit friends anymore, because of difficult child. I can't even go to the grocery store and leave difficult child with Moonwolf, because that is a recipe for a rage. I refuse to give up my Friday night date with my SO, but almost every time, Mo and Moonwolf call me because difficult child is raging, or refusing to take his bath or go to bed.... Why can't I have one peaceful evening a week?

    Sorry. I'm not trying to whine. Pregnancy hormones are kicking in I think. I'm just tired of being a mom to difficult child's, and the stuff that goes with that. difficult child D is still not speaking to me, and bad mouthing me every chance he gets.

    Guess I just needed to vent.

  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    It is good news that rages are fewer and further between. That means something is working right.

    It is so hard to deal with defiance.

    Sometimes calling their bluff helps. Do you realize how shocked he would be if you let him go out the door without shoes? Try, "I see you don't want to put on your shoes. We really do have to go right now so I will put your shoes in your back pack and when you are ready for them you can put them on." Then let him walk barefoot or stocking foot out the door. Of course, this will only work if you are giving him a ride to school - not healthy to get on a bus without shoes. (but let him walk to the bus stop and make a comment about how gross the floors of the bus are and wonder if difficult child is ready to put his shoes on yet.) You are putting the responsibility back into his lap - "Part of being a big boy is getting dressed and deciding when to wear shoes or boots."

    I think the key is to keep the decision to wear the shoes with difficult child. Don't allow him to play the, "You can't make me" game. It is not a matter of you "making" him, it is a matter of him choosing how he wants to protect his feet from getting cold or injured. You can bluff just as much as he can. Don't let him know when something angers you. Try to make non-personal observations, "difficult child, I have never heard of anyone going to school or work without shoes. Are you ready to tell your teacher why you are the first one? If they are not on when school starts, she is going to ask you where your shoes are." Then go ahead and take him to school.

    I don't know what will work for your difficult child these are just ideas. Maybe giving him a choice will help. "difficult child, can you look outside to see if we should wear shoes or boots today?" If he makes the decision for both of you he will put the shoes on and learn to watch the weather. Have his boots ready to go and allow him to wear his boots and carry his shoes if that is his decision.

    Good luck!
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I remember when Miss KT was about that age. It was time to go, pouring rain outside, and she was piddling around and didn't have her shoes on. I finally picked up my stuff, said, "The car is leaving", and walked out the door. She hopped outside with one shoe on, holding the other one.

    I also sent her to school one day in December without a jacket, because she had managed to leave every single sweater/jacket/sweatshirt she owned at school, and hadn't bothered to find them. She found them all really quickly that morning!

    Logical consequences...if you leave your jacket at school, you get cold till you find it. If you don't have your shoes on, your feet get cold, or wet, or you step on a rock, or have to sit in the front office at school with everybody staring at you till you choose to put your shoes on. If you throw out your lunch bag, you go hungry. My constant phrases in those days were - Not my problem - how do you plan to take care of this? - Life isn't fair - tough tofu.

    Sending hugs and strength...it is SO not fun.
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Woofens, Sorry you're having to deal with this.

    My difficult child has done the same sort of thing since he was a little gaffer, and still pulls it to this day (at 19).

    Some of our defiant ones seem to thrive on the chaos. If they can wind you up and make you spin out of control, they seem to get a big payoff. I know it's hard, but the key is not to let him wind you up.

    Like Andy and Mary have suggested, putting the onus back on him seems to work best.
    My rule with my difficult child is, I've given you input about what's appropriate for the conditions (warm clothes, a sun hat, behaving properly in public...whatever it is). What you do now is your decision, but YOU have to live with the consequences and I don't want to hear any complaining about it.

    difficult child has gone to school without a coat, without shoes on, etc. He's had a super-short buzz cut from the barber (which he demanded, and then hated), and missed more than one meal. It doesn't stop the rages entirely, but it seems to cut them short AND it sure has reduced MY stress level.

    I'm not sure if this will work for your difficult child J, but it's worth a try.

    Sorry that difficult child D is still bad mouthing you and being a PITA.
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Another vote for let him carry his shoes and put them on whenever. I used to toss some bandaids and small packets of Neosporin in my daughter's backpack and explain she could use them when she cut her foot open. If she wanted to wear a sleeveless shirt in the dead of winter, I let her. Natural consequences can teach great lessons.

    One thing to make sure of is that the refusal isn't because of sensory issues. If the shoes are getting a little old, the sole could be loose or the tongue developing a bend of some sort. I know these are big issues for me, as are sock seams. If not, don't worry about the sock/shoe issue. Some battles aren't worth the right and natural consequences can frequently teach a far better lesson than anything we say or do, especially in appropriate clothing/food issues.