what flips their switch?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sjexpress, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. sjexpress

    sjexpress Guest

    I just don't get it. What makes difficult child change moods/attitude in the blink of an eye? Yesterday we went to sister in law for Easter. We had a fun family day and difficult child got to do everything he loves with older cousin and behaved fine. Driving down our block on the way home he sees his friend outside playing but we could tell it was with all his family(kids and adults) that was there for the holiday. I told difficult child that he can not go down to play with them because it was "their family time" As soon as our car parked, difficult child got out and stood in the middle of the street staring down at the crowd a few houses down. husband told difficult child to go play in the backyard and immediately difficult child got a nasty and rude tone and told husband loudly to shut up! I then asked difficult child to either go inside or in the back to which he responded again in a horrible voice to shut up and leave him alone! husband and I went inside and eventually difficult child went into the backyard but when he came in, he couldn't have been more ruder, nastier or meaner to all of us. We gave him his space and after a while, difficult child was back to his happier self. When we asked him what made him so mad, he just shrugged his shoulders and walked off. I just don't get it. This happens often where difficult child is OK one minute but something must get in his head and his whole behavior changes yet we never know the cause of it! Very frustrating. I was wondering though, what do you do when difficult child is so rude and nasty to you in public? I try to remain calm at all costs because even saying he will be punished for his display causes him to get even louder! It's embarrasing to say the least!

  2. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    It is frequently hard to figure out what set it off, and when difficult child himself just shrugged his solders it is most likely that even he did not know what triggered the event. For us I think it was that difficult child had a lack of ability to manage conflicting wants with in his own mind. Example: he did not want his brother to touch his computer, yet he wanted his brother to fix it. Well you can't have both, but he wanted both, and could not manage that conflict emotionally so he would just get rude and angry over nothing. Your difficult child might have felt a frustration because he wanted to play with the friend, but also did not want to interrupt the family activity, and he was having the same type of struggles managing the conflicting wants in his mind. He knows he can't have both, but does not know how to deal with the frustration, and then just gets angry and rude.

    As far as managing his rudeness in public. I never developed a good response to that. Staying calm, and not responding seemed to work the best. But, a lot of people gave me that disapproving look. I always found it embarrassing, frustrating, disrespectful and just plain not how I wanted to be treated. But anything other then the calm non-responding always just made it much worse. Attention when he does good helps. With time my difficult child has improved, so hang in.
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    The weather. The color of the walls/ceiling/floor. What they did (or did not) eat today or yesterday. The look their sibling just gave them. The volume of the TV. The smell of their shampoo. The phase of the moon. What medications they did/did not take today. That annoying shirt tag/sock seam. Humidity. Where they would rather be as opposed to where they are. What test they're worried about (math, science, pregnancy, drug). What color shirt you're wearing. Barometric pressure. That something you just said somehow tangentially reminded them of something they were angry about last week/month/year/previous life. Because they didn't get their way. Because they did get their way. Anything that makes absolutely no sense to anyone outside of them that is not already listed.

    So anyway, the bottom line is you can try to limit things you know are triggers by previous experience, but there's always something else and sometimes even they don't know what it is.
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Alex The phase of the moon. :ghoul:for 1ooo.oo please.......

    Try this - seriously. How to talk to kids so they will listen and how to listen so kids will talk. MOST times it's absolutely nothing, and to sit and figure out the W's (who, what, where, when, why) is maddening. You will only make yourself crazy trying to pick the perfect day as there is NO such thing to be created. Some days? They just happen; and when then do? You go with it, remember it twice - once for the day it is, and again for the day it isn't when you have a really bad day and think back to that day.

    Things you do in the meantime to survive are educate yourself on his particular disorder(s), Effective communication - a work in progress constantly, and why I so highly recommend this book to any and everyone teachers, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles - you name it. I tell people all the time just because we give birth or adopt does not make us parents that are automatically born to speak 'child'. They're odd, wonderful, strange little beings who do things that are heartwarming, lovely and weird. Then there are difficult child's and it's a whole other ball game in a sand lot, where you're fairly certain most days there aren't any angels in the outfield and they guy pitching invented the 'heater' ball cause you'de swear you see horns when the lights just right.

    You can also explore and stay with different medications, therapy for him, therapy for your family, reading, research. All of these things, some of these things - none of these things....but one thing is certain. At the end of 21 years or 18 - depending on your state, when it's all said and done? YOU have to be able to live with the decisions you made, and the effort YOU put into placing things in your childs path and the lengths you went to helping him and know when he leaves your home? You did the best you could. Not a half job, not a mediocre job - but the best job you did before you cut him loose on the rest of the world. Otherwise in so many years? You still won't be sleeping at night. You won't be able to. A long time ago a nurse who used to work at a prison then came to the childrens hospital told me one simple thing - Either do the work now - or pay later. I knew exactly what she meant so I got to work, and worked hard. Hard as I could. Now? I can sleep at night -most nights. I made choices I could live with.

    Some days with your son are going to cut YOUR enjoyment short, and your outings short, and that's just the way of it. The time from 5-15 in our life? Was pretty much an experiment in Attempts to enjoy life, and do nearly nothing because we stuck by every gun when we said - IF you do this - we WONT do that. And we didn't. The few times that we did enjoy outings? Are those days I remember just like I told you above. And they are precious to me. But in ten years if all that made a difference so I have a 30 year old son that isn't dysfunctional an lives the rest of his life with someone and enjoys his life? It was worth it.

    If it doesn't make sense - feel free to ask me, but I think you're doing great! Don't forget too - to take time for just you or you and your husband.....But if the outing was planned for EVERYONE - and he misbehaves? Then no one goes. That was our rule. We stayed home - a LOT.

    As far as public outbursts? Ask me sometime about my tantrum in Kmart - lol. Pretty much solved embarrassing public moments. That and not going anywhere. lol

  5. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Who the heck knows ? I have asked myself that question a million times. Your scenario sounds so much like episodes my difficult child has. It just seems the word NO triggers instant meltdown and disrespect...

    Some days are better than others or I would be in the looney bin.

    Hoping you have a better day today sjexpress ! :sigh:
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    !/ The word NO


    To my son, those were the two biggies.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Star, if only my damned printer worked, I would print out your post and put it up on my fridge = ice box to you :) "Do the work now - or pay later". Yes.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Triggers? Try... fatigued (physical overload), overloaded (mental overload - memory or neuromotor or executive functions or... whatever your kid's weakness is in that part of the anatomy), or overwhelmed (emotional overload - excitement, anxiety, fear... ). Hit more than one trigger, and... WHAM!!

    We've found that most things DO have patterns and triggers - but nobody else will believe you. You have to find them - and then structure around them. A poor mark yesterday, or an exam coming tomorrow, or any other little thing that you might not know about, can be the fuse waiting to go off - and then, one more straw on one more overloaded circuit and... We still get caught off guard when it happens, but it doesn't take as long to figure it out. (9+ years later).
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    What flips their switch - the not so funny version - as I remember it on various days and no I'm not kidding.

    From morning to night:

    The alarm clock
    The snooze button
    The light in the hall
    Leave my door OPEN
    Shut my door
    The alarm again - projectile style
    The smell of oatmeal
    The smell of coffee
    The sound of the shower
    The sound of the hairdryer
    His clothes, his lack of clothes, his choice of clothes
    Clothes tags, clothes fit, not fit, pants, shirts, I'm not wearing this!
    Socks OMG socks (gets that honest: Sock snob) The ridge on the socks) The elastic
    Shoes - they're too tight, they're wet, they're gay, those pants are gay, they're too short, I'm not wearing this!
    I'm not going!
    Goes back to bed
    Alarm goes off again on the opposite side of the room.
    Gets up, STOMPS on alarm, alarm # 4 for the month dies a slow, tragic, sickly sounding death.
    OMG I HATE Fing oatmeal. YOU KNOW THAT and I have NOTHING TO WEAR.
    Have some Cheerios. How about an egg?
    Dippy Egg? With Toast? - Sure.
    Goes back to bed.
    Bring it to me.
    Gets up, in shorts - eats, puts on t shirt,
    Got your homework?
    Didn't have any - Gotta ask. (he never had any)
    Okay SHOES we gotta go.
    I'm not going
    Yup - Gotta go.
    My shoes are all wet.
    And they'll be wet all day - LETS GO.
    We can dry them?
    NO. 5,4,3,2,1 - In THE CAR
    I love you
    I hate school

    In the car - no seat belt
    Please buckle up
    Car won't start until you buckle
    Fine then I'm going back in the house
    It's locked
    I LOVE YOU AND I'd love you to buckle up
    Going down the road......he says - MY BOOKBAG
    YUP it's at the house we're going to school
    KICKING THE DASH - Screaming I'll jump out
    I'm rolling my eyes thinking I should have started the day with Gin and not Folgers
    Okay - we'll go back....
    We go in the house - He can't find it. (obvious stall)
    Looks all around
    I pour another cuppa jo
    Then he says laughing - OH its in the car.
    (I'm at boiling he's smirking)
    Back in the car -He says I'm bucking up - LOOKIE HERE MOM

    And then we get to school and of COURSE he's late so I have to go in.
    I sign him in - ask to use their phone to call work - because I am late.
    I get chewed out -
    I want to go home.....I consider the GIN ......I think better of it
    I drive 20 miles to work
    I get there -
    They tell me I have a message
    It's the school
    Dudes been in a fight.
    I'm to come get him
    I smile politely and exhale as I tell my type A personality boss (who has more triggers than DUDE I have to leave and a major project deadline is due)
    I'm leaving AGAIN because of my son -but yeah - I'll be bringing him back with me in an hour.
    The other girls smile - but don't understand.
    I leave
    I consider Tequila AND Gin
    I get to the school
    Face those morons
    Find my son
    Three day out of school suspension - ?????
    Well on the bright side - No more lost book bag tantrums - a huh ahem. lol right? Ehh
    I get him in the car and hear -
    I'm hungry not - I'm sorry
    Can we stop at McDonalds? (Joyce I know you are laughing) Can we Can We
    I figure why not It's already 11:00
    He pitches a fit because they put pickles on his cheeseburger then decides he LIKES pickles
    He has a headache
    We get to the office -
    He's acting out there
    I try to work, watch him - deal wtih Mr. PERSONALITY - do my job.....
    Go home
    Cook supper - '
    Clean the house
    Wash Clothes -
    Dude goes and rides his bike because? WHY? Because if you think I wanted to deal with him 1 more minute you're NUTS so yeah go in the back yard and ride that bike MOms looking for GIN
    I look out the window - and he's gone
    Not in the yard
    2 hours later he comes home as if nothing is wrong WITH friends
    I'm mad as .......figure it out
    He looks at his friends like his Mom is koo koo and makes the crazy finger swirl sign with his finger at his temple
    I tell him he's grounded
    He asks FOR WHAT you said I could ride my bike
    I said IN THE YARD
    I say take a bath
    HE says WHERE would you like me to take it?
    I said FINE smart boy - GO to bed
    He goes TO the bed and stands there
    Won't get IN the bed
    I ask him to come to supper -
    He asks what are we having?
    I said what I cooked like a smartie
    He doesn't LIKE pepperoni pizza
    He wants a hot pocket
    I want to scream only loosers eat hotpockets
    But I say pick off the pepperoni
    He kicks a hole in the wall
    I sent him to bed without supper and he cries and trashes his room
    I call him out once more for pizza -
    He comes out and wants to watch TV
    NO - pizza, bath, bed - we have to go to work tomorrow
    HE HATES MY BOSS he's not going - let him stay home and ride bikes
    OH YEAh
    DF is freaking out and says NO WAY
    and in the mean time - I
    think about things like finding 10 minutes to sneak off and come here - find my sanity,
    when is our counseling sessions? How many days until he's 18?

    So if you ask me what specifically his triggers are? I really can't put a finger on it - but earth, wind and fire and everything in between about sum it up for Dude. His personality was so flip floppy that about the time I thought I knew - red dye, bad day at school - teacher singling him out - things like that? He could have a perfectly wonderful day and still flip out. So I stopped trying to walk on egg shells and just started learning how to communicate with him the best I could whenever the opportunity presented itself, became a whole LOT less interested in having to get the last word in, learned how to fight fair and be a good example of that, and learned what words could spark a bad start to a seemingly good conversation. You'd be surprised what you think you say that is caring - really incites a difficult child. And things that you never think to say can get the gates open for them to just jabber on.

    If nothing else? I hope I've given you a laugh or two. I know for a fact my son has - cause this was a mild example in a day of our life.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Star, some special place is surely being reserved for you in Paradise, along with all the other Warrior Mums and Dads. Good heavens!!! Makes my J look like some kind of angel... not that that means anything because his antics still have me using up all my Patience Store and Wisdom Reserves...
    Seriously, I am full of both admiration and sadness for all this. People just have no idea of what some others go through...
  11. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Oh my goodness. I have been thru that exact same thing. It's crazy. My difficult child acts just like Dude did, all the time. I never knew that others really, I mean really went thru this with their difficult child's too. It will put you over the edge after years and years. My difficult child is just getting ready to turn 13, I have so many more years left.
  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Omg star this is brilliant!!
    This was Matt on any given day. Sometimes it still is.
    Funny how I have forgotten or blocked the day to day horse manure with him and only the emergencies stand out in my memory.
    This blow by blow helped jog my memory - wow what we all endure - crazy.
    This should be on the opening page of my book. How I raised THE explosive child:)
    Thanks for the laugh!

  13. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Star, I was quite tickled by the McDonald's remark too !!!
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Matt literally had to be put in phosph over an astronomical meltdown that started over Burger King putting a tomato on his burger. Unbelievable.