Very Upset

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JLady, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Wednesday night is youth night at church and I am a youth leader.

    I was told tonight by our minister that difficult child is quite a problem and that he is a bad influence on the other boys. I informed his wife about the issues with difficult child and updated her on everything 3 weeks ago when we got the diagnosis. He said he understands that things are sensitive right now but that he can't disrupt the class and that is why he sent him out of class tonight. He just refused to participate.

    I told him about some of the things I've been reading. That the refusal to participate isn't a difiant move on difficult child's part. Instead, he doesn't know "how" to participate. I also told him how the psychiatrist said that the worse thing we could do is to remove him from social activities. This is an opportunity for difficult child to learn and grow with his church family.

    The minister kept looking at his watch so I decided to shut up. I'm just really upset right now. These are suppose to be our church family. Aren't they suppose to be God loving people and willing to help?
  2. mog

    mog Member

    I feel to bad for you--we have been in the same situation. unfortunately it was that way for years. Then when he became a teen he made buddies with the youth director, a young gentleman that was getting ready to go to study to become a priest and another older boy. They were very positive influences on my difficult child. Maybe you can schedule time (so he isn't watching the clock to get out of the conversation) to speak with your pastor and see if they have any programs like big brother/sister in the parish that is willing to spend time with him and include him in activities and let him know that you feel like difficult child is not wanted in the parish. I agree that they should be willing to help and if you are not getting the emotional support for yourself and your difficult child maybe you need to change parish. I wish you all the best.
  3. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Everyone complains.

    The school complains.
    easy child complains
    My dad complains
    Church complains
    The neighbors complain.

    Heck even difficult child complains! Where does it end???????
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Sometimes those that should be least judgemental seem to be most judgemental. I guess sometimes those that walk the line slip over the line and feel they're in a place to judge, I don't know.

    I know I sought different church families when wee difficult child came along because certain members of the congregations seemed to judge harsher than the general public outside church, and more gossip, ironically, seemed to come from that one building than anything else we participated in. We don't go to church much, and we vary where we go, now.

    We're a tiny community, but that was our experience, too.

    Many hugs. It hurts.

    PS - one of the churches we attend has started a "mentor" program. We're gonna look into it.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    You mean 7 year old difficult child? And the minister wasn't willing to take his leadership role and address it with difficult child? He could have talked to difficult child and explained the rules and asked difficult child what he needed help with to stay focused on the class. Now difficult child has received the message that minister is unwilling to help. I know our minister would have talked to my difficult child about his behavior before coming to me.

    When I have a disruptive kid in my Sunday School class, I talk to the child and let him or her know that they need to try harder to settle down. I let the child tell me what the challenges are and if I can, will come up with a way to make the classroom time easier. If that does not work, then I will go talk to the parent (after telling the child that if we can not find a way to make this work between us, then I will have to ask the parents for help).

    This has to be a team effort between child, teacher/minister, and parent. If teacher/minister drops out of the team, it is very hard to fill that gap.
  6. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    I have been a youth leader for over 15 years. I cannot count the number of "difficult" kids I have worked with over the years.

    The boys group was cleaning tonight as a form of punishment for some undesireable behaviors last week. It was to teach them a lesson. difficult child kept saying he didn't want to clean. When told it was for the bad behavior last week difficult child said he wasn't bad.

    DUH! difficult child cannot understand the consequence of something from a week ago. Can he? I don't expect him to get that.

    I'm just so upset. I have been reading and reading and trying to understand. I'm just sitting here with the tears rolling down my face. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to help my son. This isn't a "sensitive issue" (as the minister put it). This is our life! This is the life of a little boy and he is basically saying he isn't worth the effort! That is unacceptable in my opinion. I'm emotional and perhaps I am over reacting. I'm soooooooo upset.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, JLady. I've had similar issues with Miss KT over the years. Is the minister solely a children's pastor, or the senior pastor who's filling a gap?
  8. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    It's unfortunate. The one time, the one person who could help council and support parents decides it isn't worth his time. It's one of the reasons we decided to not return. It was a personal choice. We were on pins and needles every week. We ended up getting nothing accomplished.
    I'm sure there are ways to solve the issue. Hopefully there is a way to communicate your needs and your son's needs in a way that will allow you to feel positive about being led by this minister.
  9. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Wow! That hurts! You must feel as if you've just been slapped, especially because of your long involvement with working with youth at your church. I wish I had a magic wand to make the shock and disappointment go away. How old is this minister? I once attended a mass during which the young priest interrupted his sermon and told a young mother to quiet her crying baby, NO life experience at all!
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'm sorry--I'm sure this is very helpful.

    I'd suggest scheduling a time to sit down and talk to the pastor and children's ministry director, both for the purposes of educating as well as requesting some help from the church side. When our church has problem children, they utilize a number of strategies including incentive programs, 1:1 aides, involving a behavioral specialist who's a church member, and behavioral contracts between child/parent/teacher.

    It's understandable for people who don't have the training or experience to not be able to jump right in there and make a tough situation work for both the difficult child while still making the classroom experience fair for the rest of the kids. (Heck, it's tough for experienced knowledgable teachers--my daughter is getting the shaft in her school classroom this year because of an high ratio of at-risk and inclusion classmates.) Maybe suggesting the children's director/pastor ask other pastors (or diocese, national affiliation, etc) what might exist in terms of ideas or support.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It hhurts. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that a church should be more welcoming, more accepting than other people - often they are far less. It's wrong but it's the way it happens. Not fair.

    I suggest you schedule an appointment with the pastor (or someone who you feel will give you more attention) and instead of trying to kick in the door of the youth group (which may happen to be a bad fit right now, for all sorts of reasons) I would be asking the following question:

    "As youth pastor in this church, recognising that difficult child is NOT a naughty kid but is in fact a child who has significant problems beyond his control, in the same way a blind child would have difficulty orienteering, what can you recommend for us to keep him involved with other children his age, and engaged in the life of the church? We are at a crossroads here, the church has an opportunity yo help this child and thereby keep him, anf this family, lpugged in to this church community; or you could show a lack of committment to inclusion at all costs and lose him, and probably us, from the church community here and perhaps even from the wider community. So any ideas? We want to find a solution here, not to be seen as the problem."

    It could be that some other parents have said, "either difficult child goes or my kids do," and at some point someoone is making a call to lose the least. Losing you, after all you've done - tragic, but after all, you've already done it. They would be losing your history, but the alternative could be to lose even more, and potential workers rather than those already who have done their share.

    The squeaky wheel gets the most oil - time for you to really scream. do some homework before you fgo, get ready to pull out all the emotional blackmail you can with as many apt Bible quotews you can find (a good concordance is a great investment right now).

    There have been times when we've taken a large step back from church.

    Remember, a church is still just people, who are just as fallible, sinful, selfish as everyone else - and often smug into the bargain. I say this as a current churchgoer, but one who has also been burned.

  12. Stella

    Stella New Member

    This must have been so hurtful for you JLady and I understand why you are so upset. I hope you can stay strong to fight difficult child's corner. I like Marg's idea of coming up wiht a few apt Bible quotes - might get the Minister thinking....;)
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry. I know how this hurts. I think talking to the pastor is a good idea. If you don't get results you may want to explore other churches in your area. I know when Wiz was "invited" to leave the church my family has attended for generations it was devastating. Then a friend invited us to do some activities with her church - a different denomination than we attended. It kind of hurt to see Wiz so accepted at this other church, with the adults there all willing to work with him when we were not even members. It hurt because it really highlighted the way the other church just turned their back on him (and us) with-o even asking if there were any way they could help us.

    Talk to the pastor (s) and take a look at other churches to see if one is a better fit.

    I wish we could tell you this is uncommon.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry, JLady. been there done that.
    I had to get difficult child to apologize to one of the teen youth group leaders (who was also our home babysitter) yrs ago because her father, in an angry manner, approached me and said, "Your son made her cry."

    Excuse me, who's in charge here? A 5-yr-old made a 15-yr-old cry?

    But I took the high road, and used it as a learning experience for difficult child in regard to his behavior.
    (We also never used that teen as a babysitter at our house any more.)

    For our g'sfg, we need people with experience, and it is clear that youth group leader doesn't have it. I agree with-the others, that you need to go over his head and work out another solution. Because if you leave the church and seek out another one, chances are the same thing will happen in another place.

    My husband teaches Sunday school. Last yr, a cpl approached him and told him that he, being a chiro and a Christian, would be able to heal their son, and they dumped their Aspie son on him. They did no interventions at home, refused to accept that their son was Aspie, and said that God would heal him.

    husband learned that the best way to communicate with-this teen was through his brother. So the first thing they did was get the teen to move his desk so it faced everyone else's. They had to move the desk every single Sunday. husband had to not take it personally--the teen didn't hate him, he just felt more comfortable turning his back.
    One Sun., husband made a small breakthrough, when he got the teen to write or repeat something--and it was verbatim. All the other kids were goofining off, but this kid, who acted as though he was dead to the world, was absorbing it all.

    I hope that you can explain to the pastor that your child is different, that you understand that it is a difficult situation, that you are willing to work with-them, but that you expect them to meet you half way.
    Go to the mtng with-an agenda and a list of ideas that you can all implement.

    In the meantime, I'm sending hugs, because I know how much it hurts to be excluded. It is hard.
  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    This does not sound like a "church" issue at all--that just happened to be the building you were standing in when this occurred. This sounds like a man with a general lack of patience is telling you that he has no idea how to work with your child and no motivation to learn how to work with your child. Clearly, this man is not vested in the happiness and well-being of your family.

    So---why would it be important to expose difficult child to a person with this sort of attitude week after week after week? It can't be a positive experience for difficult child. And if it is not a positive experience for one member of your can it be a postive experience for any member of your family?

    If this were a boy scout troup, or a neighborhood club, or even a classroom--you would not tolerate this treatment for one moment and you would pull difficult child from the program and find someplace that was a better "fit".

    I am sure that there are plenty of churches in your area that would be thrilled to welcome your whole family. Youth leaders are always needed and always appreciated. You and your child can help educate others about difficult children and their struggles and the lessons you have learned--and I'm sure that you will find many folks who would be grateful to learn from your life expereince.

    Perhaps this is a sign....?

  16. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    I just had a 45 minute conversation with the minister. Among many things I informed him that we are not dealing with a "situation" but rather a child of God who needs Godly people to help direct him. I said many, many things.... I told the minister not to take it personally. That defiance is what most people assume is the issue with him but that isn't the case at all. He simply doesn't know how to interact with others.

    I can't say I'm happy with the conversation but I think we both know where we are coming from. I do not expect this person to be a lot of assistance in the development of my son. There are other people at the church that ARE supportive and they don't even know the situation. I have to keep it all in perspective and not let one person have such a dramatic affect on me. As many of you have said, we are all human even in the church.

    I'm still quit upset and have decided that it will probably be best if I find another social outlet for my youngest child. I will still allow him to participate at church but I will also be looking for something better. There is a community group in our area that works with Autism spectrum children and parents. Perhaps their activities will be more beneficial for my son.

    Thank you for the support and understanding.
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It's good that you were able to talk with-him, JLady. I hope he gives it a lot of thought.

    It's GREAT that you have that group in your area. That sounds like a wonderful idea!

    That way you can do both, in a sense, but taper back on the church activities.

    Best of luck.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Some sensible advice has been offered here. If you increasingly find what you need elsewhere, it is the church that is the loser. It is also very much better for your son, to put him in an environment where people know what they are doing, and who will ensure he gets what he needs, and not merely what they THINK he will need.

    We've been there done that with two boys so far, plus had some awful things said to one daughter by people who claimed to be speaking/acting with "divine inspiration" - we still go to that church, although in each case (thankfully) the ones who hurt our children do not.

    Churches, like any other organisation, are made up of people. If we get hurt there, it is people who have hurt us. But if we have a child who needs careful handling, we as parents need to do the spadework (no matter where it is - school, church or equivalent, community group) to make sure that the people there are doing the righ thing by our child and not in fact doing more harm. Well-meaning ignorance can still be just as damaging sometimes as deliberate abuse.

    Whoever it is, we as parents need to be able to work with whoever works with our children.

    I think you handled this well and I hope you are able to find something suitable for your son. As for his spiritual welfare - if necessary, you sound more than capable of taking care of this for yourself. Again, it is easy to damage a child with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in any form, because they are so trusting and so vulnerable emotionally. I still see this with difficult child 1, even though he is very high-functioning and 25 years old now.

    As for difficult child 3 - his understanding of anything is still concrete, any abtractions are too complex for him to understand so we still do our best to monitor what he is exposed to in this area.