what do you say to difficult child when.....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by UpandDown, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    I remember reading somewhere on this board some good suggestions as to what to say when teen starts ranting. I hate to admit that we are at the point where I need to shut these "conversations" down before they even start for my own sanity. If there was any hope that him sharing his pain or problems would be beneficial to him I would absolutely listen.

    My son gets in these moods, usually when something doesn't go his way, where he gets angry and seems to need to dump all the ugliness and frustration he feels on me. He will usually start with, I hate people, this world . I would rather die than have to live among such stupid people etc. If I try to dig and understand what has triggered him, he doesn't want to share. He is just in a mode of talk that is extremely upsetting. He gets going and will begin to really verbally attack certain people, etc and sort of nonsensical talk that sounds delusional. He keeps circling back to I am different than everybody. I am unhappy every minute of my life. I want to die. I need to smoke weed. Today I tried to reiterate that he sounds depressed, can get help from professionals, exercise, yoga, etc.

    Of course he is in vapor lock at this point and not really looking for any suggestions from me. If I say the wrong thing, he escalates and turns on me. Which is basically every time. Today i asked him to consider for a minute the person he was talking to and think about maybe what I might be feeling when he calling everyone idiots, etc. He said "it doesn't matter, this isn't real, its not even happening, I am not really even here, I am detached" I finally remembered one thing to say from this board and then told him, "I know you will figure it out". And then he walked away. Of course, I feel as if I have been hit by a truck of despair now holding all of his bad thoughts and pain.

    I have to shut these conversations down before they start. Please if any of you experienced with this type of behavior have suggestions as to stop the rant, I am eager to hear. Thank you.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    When he is NOT in a rant, can you discuss "rant management"?
    Things that can burn off some of the hot-headed rant-spewing, and make it possible to manage the feelings. Because the problem is the feelings, not the facts. Yes, there might also be a problem with the facts, but that is a long ways secondary. Rant = mega nega emotion.

    Running. Biking. Swim would work but isn't instant. Chopping wood for the fireplace (it's ok to be violent during a rant-rage, as long as it is appropriate violence, like splitting logs.) If there's some old stuff that needs to be trashed/dismantled before going to the dump or recycler, is there a space to keep a stack of this stuff? Shredding paper by hand. Making bread (just squeeze the live out of that s.o.b. that is driving you crazy - your bread will love you.)

    It's really about teaching him to recognize these feelings, and then to manage them.
  3. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    LOL IC. husband used to make bread when he was about to go over the edge. One night I was eating a slice of a really lovely multi-grain bread and complimented him on it. He said, "Thanks hon. I was seriously pissed off!"

    My dad,who was bipolar and raged occasionally, worked a second (sometimes third) job delivering beer and bottles to bars. When he got to "that point", he'd go down to the warehouse and load a few trucks. A full keg under each arm, no less!

    Or, he'd go out to the garden and chop weeds. The high exertion activity was enough to defuse the rage. The thing is that over the years, he'd learned to know when the rage was coming on and begin displacement activity before he blew up.

    If your son can get to that point, and come up with a displacement behavior, he'll be a lot better off.
  4. Frieda

    Frieda New Member

    My son does this once in a while, usually in the evening (medications wearing off, tired, brain getting loopy after a long day?). He also has a very poor understanding how his rants affect others. I was really mad about something the other day -nothing to do with him - and decided to just try an experiment and started ranting at him like he usually rants at me. He really freaked out saying "It is upside down world, I am scared.." He could not handle the emotions from someone else's rant. We talked later and I think it helped him understand how rants make other people feel.

    I don't know your kid but I think it is best to not take any of the energy and just deflect with something non-committal like the " I am sure you will figure it out' you used or a 'Interesting thoughts' and walk away. When he is calm it is a better time to talk with him about things he can do when he feels mad to get that energy out in a socially appropriate way, like going on a bike ride, write it down in a letter, poem, drawing, clean the heck out of a room - whatever works for him.
  5. MommaK

    MommaK Member

    We have been there. I got the point I had to just walk away. Not as bad or as often now that she is on medications. It all boiled over and came out directed at me because I was safe. She knew and says now that she knew I would still love her and be there for her, and that even tho she knew it hurt me, she couldn't stop it at the time because she didn't know how.
  6. I am guilty of engaging with an irrational teen. Many times over. It generally turned into an attack on me no matter how it may have started. His doctors told me that it was like giving the trained pigeon a pellet. He would just keep pushing that button over and over again if I gave in and engaged even one time out of ten. Can't say I was successful but it made me rethink how to respond when he was angry and ranting. What is really gained from it? Nothing. My suggestions fall on deaf ears. What is lost? My peace and sanity! I found myself saying in recent months, "I am sorry but I don't have it in me to ______ right now. (listen, discuss this, be sounding board, problem solve with you, etc") There ARE other places he can vent. Moms don't always need to be the sounding boards. I too am very sensitive to negative emotions. I find it very draining. It's ok to know this about yourself and set some boundaries. Hugs!
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Engaging when a person is in such a state is pretty useless in terms of making any positive progress. I made this mistake for years. Finally I got some books that made sense to me regarding parenting my teen. I found Parenting Your Teen With Love and Logic to be incredibly helpful. It drove my oldest nuts because it put the problems back in his court for action rather than giving him the outlet of ranting for so long that whatever we asked of him could not be accomplished in whatever time was left in the day.

    One thing I learned in therapy was to walk away and discuss the problem when everyone is calm. When the ranting and emotional dumping starts, the phrase "Lets talk about this later when we are calm" is a great thing.

    You do have to teach him what to do with all that energy. My mom had us scrub the bathtub but it just made me angrier. I worked in a used bookstore and kept a stack of unwanted books (who needs 37 copies of Jaws? or 12 copies of old Harlequin romances?) that I would tear into pieces when I got angry. Generally I revere books, but the ones I destroyed were truly unwanted and they gave me a safe outlet for anger. My brother would pound things with a hammer, but he created some real problems by just hammering on rndome things. Pounding nails with a hammer would be fine, but just hitting the sidewalk or a wall or even an appliance? Not the greatest or safest, Know what I mean??
  8. MommaK

    MommaK Member

    My daughter did this this weekend. I knew it was coming because she became more clingy to me than is typical for her. That began to irritate me the longer it went on over the weekend. She also started getting annoyed and started acting and speaking negatively then it all came to a head last night. No matter how I tried to get out of the situation she was on my heels. I finally had to be firm to almost the point of mean to make her understand I was irritated and needed her to find something else to do before I lost my cool. It took several times if telling her that before she finally went about her business. Today I'm in a better place mentally, but I let her psychologist know about her behavior over the weekend because it was a lot of her trying to fight having to go to therpay, she has decided after earning a drop down day, that she is magically better and needs to be able to control her own life.
  9. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    My son was a big weed smoker and ranter as a high schooler. At the time, my husband was working in a nearby state, and would only come home on weekends. If my son ranted, roiled on about, "police in this country" "religion in this country" "stupid people in this country" you get the idea, I'd try to hand it off to him with the old adage, "You'll figure it out, you're a smart kid", he'd trail me around the house, even into the bathroom. I just couldn't escape this kid. If I'd tell him I needed to be alone, he'd rant on about how stupid I was, and how useless, blah, blah, blah, then he'd hit a hole in his bedroom door or wall. I don't know how I kept my sanity, and would never have him live under our roof again, ever.
    If I engaged him calmly and let him let off steam, it would be me sitting there for hours, having him talk about a dream he had in minute detail, or listen to his delusional ideas. There was no middle ground with him when he was in that state of mind.
  10. MommaK

    MommaK Member

    I swear you just described my daughter and I interacting this weekend minus the weed. She's passed every hair follicle test ordered so I know she isn't using. She does this in a depressive state or when not getting her way, both of which happened this weekend.
  11. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    Great suggestions, thank you all. Calamity Jane, you described my son's rants exactly. He does love to smoke weed, although he has greatly reduced his use as of late. I wondered what spurs these rants. When he gets going he bashes the police, politics, the government, me, my husband, our choice of professions, etc etc. He too wants to tell me detailed dreams, how to lucid dream, etc. My son used to trail me around the house if I shut the door to block him out, he would kick the door open or punch holes in the wall. At least now, he doesn't follow me but does get extremely angry if I won't listen. This is a relatively new "behavior" and I do wonder if its an effect of smoking weed or what.
  12. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    "I am sorry you feel that way."
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Wow. I don't usually come over here to General Parenting, but OMG you are all talking about my son! When he gets in his "moods" he rants and rants and won't STOP. If you are there in person, and try to walk away, he follows you! I've told him, it's like when he was 3 and having a tantrum, you couldn't hold him to calm him down, he'd push you away, but if you tried to walk away he'd grab you and hold on! It's exhausting. He'll call me on the phone and rant forever! (Yes, I know I should hang up - there's a long story there, I have a thing about the phone.) I actually screamed at him the other day, "What do you want me to do!!!" There's nothing I can say that can change anything. I can't fix whatever he's ranting about and he knows it. I told him (when he was calm) that it's like he only calls to make me as miserable as he is! He says that he just wants someone to listen...but that's not true. It's the WORST thing about my son really. I know Jabber hates it, because I still buy him cigarettes or give him what he wants sometimes - but I just want him happy because when he's happy I don't have to deal with this - I want PEACE.
  14. Lilac mom

    Lilac mom New Member

    Gosh-u&d I wish I could help but its the same with my son, sadly! I wish I knew the answer but I can only say that I totally get it because im right there with you with my son- they sound very similiar. Its sooo hard!:notalone:
  15. Lilac mom

    Lilac mom New Member

  16. Lilac mom

    Lilac mom New Member

    Lil, your post made me laugh because my son does the same. The whole - go away! wait! STOP! Come back! My son does this too. makes me want to pull my hair out!
  17. On several occasions I have put a favorite musical on TV when my son was ranting (my favorite) He HATES musicals, and he would retreat to his room when he heard it come on. That worked for a while. Before he left for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in May, we could not let him alone due to self-harming behavior, so I could no longer use that effectively. So difficult. And so sorry!
  18. karisma

    karisma Member

    I well remember the "ranting years". Hell by the time they ended ( around age 24) I had finally learned how to deal with it. For us, I had to leave his presence. Walk or drive away from where he was. I actually prefer the ranting to the quiet torment I see now. They are both torture to my heart though
  19. MommaK

    MommaK Member

    My daughter is 14 and I so completely understand how you feel here. I do the same even tho I know it doesn't do anything but make matters worse in the long run. My daughter also does the push and pull don't touch me but don't walk away either thing. She also says she just wants me to listen, but honestly I get tired of listening to it and listening only feeds the rant and makes her rant longer. It's exhausting!!! If I walk away she follows until my husband has to intervene and make her stop.