What do I say?


Well-Known Member
difficult child has a therapist's appointment tomorrow. The last time we were there (and the time before that), the doctor assigned a "written" assignment for difficult child to make him see in writing how hurtful he's being when he says the things he does, and his negativity. Now, I'm not saying that I don't agree with him, BUT how do I get difficult child to do it? We already have authority issues, not to mention he HATES to write. I've gotten two little things written, but the doctor wasn't happy when we went the last time and difficult child had written nothing. I view this as just one more way to have conflict with difficult child. I don't know what to say to the doctor when difficult child hasn't done it. I feel like a child in school and I didn't do as I was told! What can I say to him to get him to understand that this isn't working on many levels?


New Member
I know this is one assignment my daughter would never have done. Reality is that she would pretty much refuse to do anything anyone wanted her to do -- me, her teachers, her therapist, police -- especially in pre-teen years.

Maybe you can get your son to record it and then you transcribe it? Otherwise, I'd say the therapist is going to have to get your son to do it in his office. At least then he'd see what kind of struggle this is and certainly not worth the pain and battles at home.


I don't know -- this sounds like a therapy for a much older patient.

My difficult child wouldn't write it either. Not a defiant problem -- a can't do it problem. 1) difficult child doesn't like to physically write (motor skill problems), 2) he couldn't identify the emotions required to write a piece like this sounds to be.

Your difficult child is 11 yrs old? Remembering the 2/3rds rule, the therapist is asking a 7 yr old to write this.....


ditto. difficult child would refuse. Heck he refuses all his school work. Because he hates to write. difficult child's therapist gave him a "anger pad" so he could write down his thoughts when he was angry. Right. That was tossed when we got home.

What I did at school (IEP) because difficult child refuses to write, I arranged so he could use the computer for any writing assignments, and a laptop or alpha smart for note taking. Don't know how this will work it wasn't final until the very last week of school. Would difficult child sit at the computer and type things?


Active Member
Yea.............I am with the others. There is NO way my difficult child would do this. My son's counselor once asked him to just watch this certain movie - he wouldn't even do that. What are we supposed to do? Tie them down and make them do it? To me this is an issue that therapist and difficult child need to work through.......and you need to remember that you are not responsible for this. If todc asks you why difficult child did not do it, I would deflect it back to the therapist asking difficult child that question - not you.

I hate that though. I was always the one (still am) to make sure all of my assignments, or work is done...........and my difficult child has always been the opposite. It's hard for it to not feel like a reflection of us.......but it's not.


I had this problem too--therapist was always giving difficult child 1 "homework". difficult child of course would agree to do whatever it was but she never actually did it. I refused to have anything to do with it--was between therapist and difficult child. I do know that feeling though--like the therapist is some authority figure and you have failed to do what you were supposed to do. Really annoying--I wonder sometimes if these tdocs have any clue about reality with a difficult child! Why the heck do they think the difficult child is seeing them--because they can't and/or won't do what they are supposed to be doing in the first place!

Vent away if you need to--we all understand!


Well-Known Member
Thanks, everyone. I've also thought to myself....what do I do, sit and hold a pen in HIS hand and make the motion of every letter till it's done? HA! If they only knew. Right now my difficult child's IEP says NO homework. I wonder why that is so?? Some of these therapists do NOT get it. difficult child will do nothing that an authority figure says, especially me.

I appreciate your support, espcially knowing that you all would set me straight if I needed it.


No real answers to life..
Okay, maybe I'm missing the point, but isn't this something for the therapist to work on with the "client". Are you allowed in the session? I think I would tell the therapist that your reason for coming is that difficult child has problems with authority and you don't want to be caught in the middle of this. You should not be the "assignment police". If the therapist thinks its so important to get this done, then he/she should be the one working with difficult child to find a way to communicate. Not saying that this will make therapist happy, cause it means they have to work longer to get info, but they are getting the big bucks and they have the skills (supposedly) to deal with this.

If you said you would work on this with difficult child (to be sure it was done), then my advice was not relavent. Next time tell the therapist that you will not be a part of their relationship and your involvement in working on assignments results in a "tainted" list (it has your ideas/suggestions sneaking in, even unintended), so not real effective. Either THEY work on the writing together or find a different way to get this info out.

So unless this is family therapy instead of individual therapy that's what I would do. Keep in mind, I don't know all the facts or background, so use my advice as applicable to your situation. (Can you guess I'm married to an attorney?)


Well-Known Member
You shouldn't have to monitor this. The therapist gave difficult child the assignment. I think it's a good one, if it's done. But it's not your responsibility nor should you feel awkward if he doesn't do it. It's another indication to the therapist of his gfgness and it should be handled between them. Don't taker this one on.




Well-Known Member
Whymemom, yes I'm in the session. If I don't go and prompt difficult child to talk, all he does is sit there and it's getting expensive (not to mention using up our lifetime number of visits per insurance) for him to do that.

This "assignment" stresses me to the max and I'm wondering WHY I let it bother ME? I guess I'm just old school, ya think? There's no doubt that my difficult child is a wee bit better, but I lay that on his Lithium, not the therapy. I've never thought therapy has helped in the least, but I felt I needed to cover all the bases so that I can feel like we tried it all!

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
At radio shack you can buy one of those handheld recorders and perhaps difficult child can dictate his thoughts into that and simply play it back for the therapist. While the therapist's idea may seem like a good one, I know my difficult child would never do it. In fact, she's had assignments from counselors and never completes them - she didn't even complete the intake forms with her basic information until I made her sit at the kitchen table with me and do some of it. Urgh.

I too sit in with difficult child most of the time because without me there, she sits there like a mute and doesn't speak. If I'm paying $25/visit, I'd like to get something for that, Know what I mean??

Can you explain this to the therapist and try to come up with a different approach together?


Well-Known Member
Jo, we'll see how the therapist reacts this time. He had basically the same assignment before the last visit and the therapist kept looking at me as if I needed to MAKE him do it. That'll be the day! I've not been able to make him do a thing since his birth! Just this morning I was talking to a friend long distance and I had to hang up to get my difficult child to control himself. He does things like turn the vacuum off and on while I'm trying to talk, or he pesters the dogs to make them bark, or he slams the door over and over (loudly), and the list goes on. I offered to make his breakfast (PBJ this week) and he stuck his tongue out at me, so I told him to do it himself. He made it (after quite some time) and didn't like the way it looked so he mushed it in his hand and threw it in the trash. *Sigh*...things like this are ongoing in this household. (And I think he's better?)


Well-Known Member
I was thinking just like Nancy and rejectedmom! It is not your problem.

therapist will get it eventually that difficult child is not going to do this 'assignment'. Perhaps he will be able to help difficult child figure out why he can not do it. But, it is up to them to figure out.


Well-Known Member
When you show up with-difficult child at therapy next time, be sure that you allow difficult child to state his own reasons for bringing in something incredibly short and/or lame, or not at all, and then say something in AGREEMENT with-the therapist like, "Yes, I am disappointed too, but it's difficult child's assignment, not mine."
That will give a msg to both the Dr and your difficult child.

I wonder if that assignment is a version of what a lot of parents do when they tell their kids to write "I'm sorry for yelling" 10X on a piece of paper?
My difficult child is only now, at age 10, beginning to understand how his actions and emotional outbursts impact others... something my easy child understood at age 3. The good part is that he IS learning. Of course, the bad part is that he'll be 100 b4 he's "there."

When I had radiation for breast cancer last summer, he came along with-me to a couple appts. He didn't like being dragged around but my schedule was tight. After 6 wks of it, something happened totally unrelated and he flipped out. One of the things he yelled was how much he hated being nice to me because I had radiation therapy. Say what?
Hurtful, rude, selfish, you name it.
I had him write 10X, "I'm sorry about your radiation." (I really wanted him to write, "I'm so sorry that I was a snot about your radiation, especially when it's so uncomfortable and takes so many weeks, and that I'm always acting like I'm King of the World." But it was too long of a sentence!)
Of course, he didn't want to do it. But I told him he was grounded off of TV and computer and friends until he did it, that he hurt my feelings, and that if his feelings were hurt because he was grounded, good!
I walked away, and after umpteen hours, he finally did it.
He felt ever so slightly guilty, at least for his age level.
One baby step at a time...


Well-Known Member
Oh Terry, there's NO doubt that my difficult child is waaaaay behind emotionally. Once in awhile, only once in awhile, does he demonstrate that he sees how hurtful he's been. Today he's been housebound for being so rude to me this morning....sticking his tongue out at me (a new little trick for him) and for calling me and Idiot. Of course, then I have him up my nose all day to go along with it. Punish him, punish myself....guess they go together. I DO worry about him emotionally in intermediate school this fall.


Well-Known Member
Ah, Pamela, the first rule is not to punish yourself!
I've grounded my difficult child way too many times and punished myself in exactly the same way.
I've found that taking away the computer and TV are much more helpful.
We all have to learn to be creative...
Good luck.


member since 1999
I absolutely agree with- Nancy. therapist's assignment, therapist's problem to deal with- noncompliance. Absolutely no reason to put yourself in the line of fire on this one, and therapist has (in my humble opinion) no right to hold *you* accountable for difficult child's assignment.

Hang in there!! :smile:


New Member
I'm in agreement with all those who have posted before me. Our therapist gives difficult child assignments, too, but I have told her that if he doesn't do them she needs to deal with it. Not me.

Our difficult child hates to write, also. He will type on the computer, though, but it takes him f o r e v e r !!!

The thing is, I think sometimes tdocs, in my humble opinion, try to use 'cookie cutter' therapy on all of their patients. While this particular assignment, in theory, sounds useful, it may not work for a majority of the children - and I'm a firm believer that tdocs should modify their therapy to each child.

Ah, in a perfect world . . . . .

Good luck!!


Well-Known Member
I'll keep you posted on what the doctor says when he sees he didn't do the assignment. Frankly, I don't give a flip. I'm soooo tired of difficult child today that I might just leave him with the doctor tomorrow, permanently!!!!!!!! He has certainly tried my patience today and he's treading on thin ice about now. (HURRY school!!!)