What's Helped Us?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tiredmommy, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I thought it might be useful to share what has helped to improve our difficult children, our family lives and our parenting.

    For us, our difficult child Duckie has never neatly fit a diagnosis except ODD even though there were lots of "little" things going on. It seems to me that a lot of little problems can be just as bad as a big problem. Consistency helped and so did using the plan outlined in "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene and giving natural consequences. We also tackled and have learned to keep Duckie's medical issues under control because they were a huge trigger to her behavior. The most recent big step forward was implementing the Wilbarger Protocol (brushing/compressions) for her sensory integration disorder and giving her tools to control her ultra sensitive hearing. You would think she's completely typical... even if you spent a lot of time with her.

    For our family life... I had to learn to let go. We will never be a normal family and I've had to adjust my view accordingly. Happiness is much more important than a spotless house. I also make sure my husband knows that I value him because life with a difficult child can be a strain of a marriage. And I respect my husband's point of view, even if I don't agree with it. He's part of this family too.

    As for my parenting: I try to keep a balanced perspective. I'm here to help Duckie acquire the tools to lead a happy, well-adjusted and productive life. her battles are not my battles, her failures are not my failures and her successes are not my successes. She has one go round this crazy life and it's up to her the make the most of it. That's not to say that I'm not heartbroken when she's heartbroken and thrilled when she's thrilled... but it's her life and it's not healthy to live only through her. I also had to stop worrying about what other people think; my theory is that I should do what works for my family and you should do what works for yours.

    So.., what works for you and yours?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Two big things, I guess...

    1) Getting to the bottom of every single minor-point detailed diagnosis. Absolutely nothing worked until we got ALL of them.

    2) Attachment. The relationship between parents and kids is drop-dead the most important thing there is. And I know, that not all parents can have that - there are some conditions and dxes and issues that destroy the ability to build this relationship. But we'd have lost difficult child - forever, one way or another - if we hadn't invested heavily in re-building a solid, positive relationship between difficult child and husband. And we couldn't have done that, without solving #1 first.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Great thread!
    What's helped?
    1) Getting information and insight (well, a certain amount, anyway :) )
    2) Reading books and the net: forewarned is forearmed
    3) Readjusting my view of what is "normal"
    4) Starting to care less what other people think
    5) (Important) Noticing and validating my difficult child's (many) qualities
    6) (Sorry, should have mentioned sooner :) ) Coming to the forum - also part of no. 1, of course
    7) Humour. With difficult child and in my own approach to him.
    8) Throwing all the models and templates out of the window and discovery what works best empirically
    9) Giving lots of praise (to difficult child but we should get it also :))
    10) Giving time to my own interests and relaxations
    11) Early bedtime :)
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Changing the way I approached issues has been a huge lifesaver for us. I couldn't fix or teach if I didn't know WHY something was happening. Now that The Explosive Child has taught me to find out why, I know how/what to teach to durably fix the situation.

    I have also realized that difficult child and I can usually negotiate. He is more willing to cooperate if we negotiate when we can. If I say be home at 7 and he says "Bob" wants him to stay until 8, we can compromise for 7:30 but I make it clear to him that he will have less time to do x,y,z before you go to bed. This type of thing works great for many things. Of course, there are always things that are NOT negotiable and I am consisitent with those things.

    Great thread TM!!
  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wise words. This is something I'm working on especially hard as I watch my girls make the choices that are affecting their adult lives.

    Number one thing for me: getting my own therapy and working on both how I interact with my children/setting boundaries, as well as figuring out who I am as a being separate from "Oldest's/Youngest's Mom." It's quite a journey.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is something I really dont think the parents of the "older kids" kids can actually answer with any real honesty because we dont know with true accuracy what has made any difference. I really think the one thing that made the biggest change in Cory was charging him with theft and actually following through with it. It showed him I had a line in the sand and I wasnt backing down anymore. It also got him a really wonderful probation officer as an adult who put up with no BS. Maybe his daughter had something to do with it too though I guess that isnt something we want to advocate for most of the kids.

    Personally I think he just grew up and his frontal lobe started maturing. Yeah I had to be there to body block him along the way and try to keep him from doing to much damage before he got to his mid-twenties but I think what he needed was time.
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What helps keep difficult child somewhat in check:

    *Letting things go (as TM mentioned) and not feeling the need to pretend all is well with extended family. If we need to leave an event early or can't attend due to difficult child's stability then we leave or don't go. We simply explain. Family can take it or leave it.

    *Humor with difficult child is huge:)

    *difficult child attending monthly psychiatrist appts. therapist appts I believe are helping but SLOWLY and it's hard to tell for sure.

    *Being open and honest with his teachers about his disabilities.

    *Tag-teaming with husband so that we don't burn out too much. This includes taking weekends away once in awhile.

    *Working out helps keep me in a better place to deal with difficult child.

    *To realize difficult child is who he is and be accepting (to a certain extent-ie not with violence).

    *I also really believe that being here has helped my family a ton.
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I learned to be as consistent and scheduled as possible; not an easy thing for me to learn since I personally work better without a strict timetable.

    I learned to put her things off on her; if she didn't do her homework, I wasn't the one serving detention. I didn't bail her out of trouble; I made her face the music; and I chewed her happy butt out when necessary. I learned to be a bit less confrontational with her. My mother always said I would stand on a chair to get in your face if I needed to, and there were times, with teachers and principals, that I needed to. She always knew I had her back, even if I hollered at her.

    I tried to teach her what she would need to know when she was on her own, the little things like laundry, cooking, dishes, and budgeting; even though it was painful for all of us and caused many fights.

    I tried to teach her how to advocate for herself, standing up to bullies (both adult and child); made sure she knew the conventional politenesses, said please and thank you, helped people with things, bathed every day, and put on clean clothes. I decided that I didn't care how silly she looked, it was her hair, her face, and her clothing, and as long as she was appropriately covered and she didn't do anything permanent (tattoos or piercings before 18), whatever, look silly.

    So far, she is doing very well being 14 hours from home. She is eating much better than she did here...she actually ate spaghetti squash and BROCCOLI the other night! Things seem to be going smoothly with school and roommates, and she has two different job interviews tomorrow! I know my way isn't the only way, but it seems to be working for my kid.
  9. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    1. Patience
    2. Patience
    3. Patience is a freaking virtue!!!

    Ok, now that that's out of the way....

    -Understanding the way difficult child's mind works and the way she views the world around her so I can help her navigate what is a very confusing place for her, giving her skills along the way to navigate it herself (she's getting there, slowly but surely)
    -Following my gut - I know my child best
    -Finding the line between helping and hurting - that was the hardest for me. I have a tendency to do too much and that doesn't help her grow at all.
    -Not fighting the little battles. But fighting like hell the big battles (school, therapy, etc).
  10. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Compromising, if I want him in bed at 8pm and he wants in bed at 9pm? He has learned to ask for 8:30 and I will agree. Some may call this letting him win? I call it letting us both win, neither gets what they originally wanted and we meet in the middle.

    DO not get upset when he is upset if at all possible. Take nothing personally, but hold him responsible for it.

    Patience. said over and over and over.

    Acceptance of my children and who they are, not who I or society wants them to be.

    Always enlist the help of others, therapists, mentors, doctors, whoever. We cannot be everything for our kiddos, and by letting others help it gives me a break!
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'm definitely agreeing with-everyone here.

    Sleep and sleep routine.
    Sense of humor.
    Letting certain things go (walking outside in socks; outfits that don't match; pepperoni and tuna subs--ew; splitting 1/2 time diff for bed)
    Two parents.
  12. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I think different things worked at different times. At 27 looking back is different that looking when difficult child was 15.
    Redirection for unacceptable behavior.
    As far as parenting, I think asking myself "what does my difficult child need from me?" and creating a way to parent using that information.
    Remembering he wasn't the enemy and to avoid an advesarial relationship with him although there were days when I wasn't so good at it.
    Remembering he isn't a diagnosis but a person and to give him his dignity especially as he is a dependent adult. There is a real danger of treating impaired adults as children.

    Probably what gives me a sense of peace at this time in my life is to accept that he isn't ever going to be typical despite all the classes, tutoring, treatments and to accept that he is who he is. We continue to encourage him to learn better ways to deal with obstacles but accepting his disability and understanding it may never get any better. My goal at this point is to get him to be as independent as possible or to find a secure environment that will offer him a safe haven when I am gone.

    I spent more than 25 yrs researching, reading, implementing and worrying about the outcome of my difficult child's life. When he was 12 yrs old the idea of him being a dependent adult seemed to be the end of the world. Now I accept that outcome as a real possibility. He doesn't break the law, he is acceptable in a social situation and has a loving heart. He isn't cured but I think we avoided the worst outcomes. Success is subjective. I feel I have moved on to not make our family difficult child centered. I am not intensely involved and chose to push back.

    I wish I could have avoided so much worry and obsessive need to find a better treatment but I have no regrets. I know I did everything I could to give him every chance but in the end, he is affected by a "brain wrinkle" that I can't fix. The best I could do is help him build a bridge over that part of his brain that doesn't work so well.
  13. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Everyone has already provided such great input.

    I find myself relying on the following three principles all the time:

    1) Be explicit: I am surrounded by children on the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spectrum (4 out of 5). So I find that spelling things out clearly. What I expect, when I expect it, to what standard, why, consequences if it's not done when-why-how. The "why" part seems to be especially important for my spectrum kids. If a rule has some sort of logic to it, they are much more likely to comply with it.

    2) Be consistent: I try to do everything the same way every time. Being on the spectrum myself really helps here -- I'm inclined to be ritualistic, and inconsistency upsets my apple-cart as much as it upsets the children's.

    3) Understand when they just can't: Sometimes it's not because they're being difficult or stubborn. It's because they just can't, for whatever reason. Sensory overload, inability to process or something else.

    And then there's Pico's advice (or was it Blondie's). The Ten Commandments, and wash after you pee.

  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Great advice.