When he's good, he's very, very good, but

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    when he's bad, he's very, very bad.

    Today we visited our "old" child psychologist. I had called ahead to tell them I would like to go over difficult child's psycho-educational test results. Dr R is an authority figure. And he can explain things very well--clearly and calmly.

    difficult child told me he didn't want to go in. I told him he'd gotten out of going to the psychiatrist but he couldn't get out of this.
    He came in.

    He listened. Dr R started out by telling difficult child how smart he is and how he tested way above in language, and continued to tell him positive things, and then led into the Asperger's info.

    He asked difficult child if he'd ever heard of it b4, and difficult child said something weird like, "You're an idiot but you're really smart."

    Say what? :smug::surprise:

    Anyway, we made it through nicely, ran an errand, came home, life was good.

    difficult child has been addicted to his PS2 for 2 wks since his birthday. One of his friends gave him a controller and a football DVD. He is allowed 1 hr per day of TV or Gameboy or computer. Not all in one day. Either/or.

    Now that it's vacation time, (they got out Wed.) he's been pushing the envelope. Today he was on the Gameboy playing football for several hrs. I got him off of it to get dressed, eat, and do chores and he went right back to it.

    Tonight, he was going to watch wrestling with-husband, as they usually do on Fri nights. But difficult child kept switching the TV back to his Gameboy during commercials.
    Way too much stimulation.
    I told him to stop.
    husband told him to stop.

    He wrapped the controller in its cord but refused to give it to me. I went to take it out of the DVD player and he grabbed my hand and squeezed it so hard, my knuckles cracked and I thought he'd broken something.
    I reacted by swinging at him to get him to let go (didn't know I had that reflex!), and he socked me right in the neck, right where my bone spurs are, where husband has been working on me for 2 wks. :faint:

    husband sent difficult child to his room and he's grounded off of all electronics until further notice.
    Thank d*G.

    I iced for 20 min. and had myself a little cry. :sad-very:

    It was getting way out of control. He is so Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

    Your kids always break your hand and sock you in the neck when you remove their controllers, right? :confused::sick::surprise:

    I know darn well that he's going to follow me around all day tomorrow and negotiate to get the GameBoy back. :anxious:
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Hugs. Your days sounds way too familiar.

    easy child 2 sneaked her gameboy to school (she's grounded from it as well) after stealing out of lock-up at her mom's.

    Its now locked right in front of the little display case window in the top of the gun safe, like a store display, where she can admire it. She's mostly a typical teen tho. Good luck tomorrow. Call if you need some extra armor. Mine's a little dented, but I'll loan it.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so very sorry. I remember well the attacks over the Gameboy or some computer game. You may want to go to Nintendo.com and see what he is registered for. That was on of Wiz' fave things to do.

    IF you find he has signed up for an account on Nintendo.com and he is a minor,, then nintendo will work with you to get him off the website. It is one reason we have only systems made by nintendo.

    I am so sorry he hurt you. Have you called the doctor about this?


  4. luvmyottb

    luvmyottb Guest

    Hope you are feeling better today. Our difficult child's get so stuck on something and reactions are so extreme and inappropriate.

    Perseveration is just one of the many traits our difficult child's are blessed with-if only it could be used for positive things. Know how you feel.

    Hugs and :peaceful:
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you.
    What does it mean when you wake up and your eyeballs hurt?

    difficult child woke me up by shoving his "I am sorry I hurt you" 20X list in my nose. Literally.
    Then he launched into an explanation of how it was all a big misunderstanding. And, best of all, look at this Mom, you'll love this part--read the bottom--it says "Dad says I can have the PS2 back if I explain to you what happened in a kind way."

    Say WHAT? When did he talk to husband? And why did husband go against our plan last night, to take all electronics away from difficult child until further notice?


    ***(Opps, I just talked to husband on the phone on his way from the gym. He hadn't talked to difficult child this a.m. and he was upset that difficult child brought him into the issue. Then difficult child interrupted our ph conversation, shouting that he never said that. Ah ha!)

    Now I've got difficult child writing, 20X, "You and Dad are in charge."
    After he finishes that, I'm going to have him write, "I will not negotiate."
    Hey, at least he's got beautiful handwriting!
    And he finished his chores. Sort of.

    I have to stay calm. I can feel my heart racing already.

    Oh, I forgot to tell you--he showed me fingernail marks on his wrists, where I grabbed him. Apparently I didn't swing or hit him, I "fingernailed" him, like a girl. It's actually kind of funny, in a weird kind of way.
    Then he says he was simply trying to get the controller away from me and if I had just listened to him saying, "Just a minute," none of this would have happened, so it was just a big misunderstanding. Never mind that he had that mean, glassy eyed look and was ready to tear me limb from limb, and that he flew out of his chair to grab the controller, and "Wait" was shouted in a hoarse, attack voice. You all know how that goes.
    He's going to be a lawyer. I just know it.

    Susie, he doesn't have Internet access. :)
    Thanks, luvmyottb.
    Shari, I am definitely going to need that armor. The fact that it's dented makes all the more valuable. :)
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  6. ML

    ML Guest

    Manster is also addicted to games (WOW right now). I plan to start another threat about this today.
  7. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    <sigh> sounds so typical in our house too. One part of me says "oh she said sorry and sounds so sincere I'll let her have ____ back" adn the other part says "no way is she EVER going to see it again!! I must stand firm on this!"

    Hope things are looking better for you today.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    He's doing better. I caught him watching a video on a small DVD and had him turn it off. He flew off the handle and threatened to call husband. Fine by me. husband said he'd discuss it when he got home, which was 5 min. later. NO was the answer. difficult child sat in a chair and moped for about an hr.
    He changed "negotiate" to "reason" on his 20X note and I'm going to have him re-do it. I want him to know the definition. I'm a mean mom. :)
  9. Jena

    Jena New Member

    Terry I can't believe i missed this one. I am sorry.

    I'm glad to hear he is doing better. I'm sorry that happened and you experienced that, overstimulation totally. It can be so difficult at times. I do go through that as well with difficult child over the computer at times when she's on her websites.

  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Terry, I have been thinking about that weird remark all day. "You're an idiot but you are really smart." That is your difficult child's way of explaining Aspergers - a brilliant person who doesn't always "get" it.

    Kids just hate it when we check up on their story. Like having dad tell him he could have the PS2 back if explained in a kind way. And what part of shoving the list in your nose goes under "in a kind way"? However, since difficult child was the one to bring it up, now may be a good time to give him another talk on handling frustrations in a kind way and that grabbing anything away from anyone does not fit that process.

    Isn't it nice to know that you are still a girl and can 'fingernail'? Awww the memories that must have brought back (even if you never did, you probably know someone that did).

    I know those lawyer types well. I have two potential ones. I probably made them into the monsters they are by compromising on too many issues with the, "Fine, if you can find a way then go ahead." When easy child was 2 1/2, we drove past mother in law's home. "Grandma! Grandma!" "No, we are not going to Grandmas!" She kept insisting then complete silence. I looked back and saw a little smirk on her face, "I ask Daddy!" Sometimes having an early vocabulary is not always easy on the parents. It really is amazing how creative these kids can be to get what they want.
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Oh, Terry I missed this! Sounds like your day yesterday was like mine this morning!

    A negotiation only happens when both parties are willing. What your difficult child was doing was ARGUING. I think I'd prefer a list of "I WILL NOT ARGUE WITH MOM OR DAD" instead! And the second he opens his mouth to object to a rule you have stated, simply state to him, "You are arguing with me." And if you have a predefined consequence for arguing, he should know automatically that when you say "You are arguing", a consequence is not far behind just waiting for him.

    Do you think the clonidine is high enough for him? I'm assuming he takes that for aggression?
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Jen. Yes, it was definitely overstimulation. :)

    Good point, Gcv. As of now, he hasn't re-written anything. :(

    Andy, LOL!
    Isn't it nice to know that you are still a girl and can 'fingernail'? Awww the memories that must have brought back (even if you never did, you probably know someone that did).

    I got punished for fingernailing my little sister once. (Is that a verb? Well, it is now!) I was 11 and had lovely, natural fingernails. She was 9 and a brat. :) OMG, the stories I could tell! But, I digress. I got her good. Mom didn't know what to do with-me, but Dad, ever the pragmatist, stood over me in the bathroom while he made me use a fingernail clipper on all 10 of my lovely nails. Natural consequences, indeed!

    difficult child is on the Gameboy again. Gotta go ...
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Terry, I'm sorry you went through this. it used to be the story of our life too, first with difficult child 1 and then with difficult child 3. It rarely happens now, because we found out a number of vital secrets.

    1) It LOOKS like "addiction to electronics" but the gaming is in fact a vital coping strategy. In our incident on Saturday night (I posted separately about the reaction to Strattera) difficult child 3 was REALLY out of control, violent, hitting me, grabbing my arm, throwing things (in someone else's home). But on the way home even though he was still barely holding it together, he began to play a game on his Nintendo DS and after about half an hour he said, "Playing games has cooled my rage."
    And he was right - it meant he was more able to be led through his routine and get to bed with no further violence.

    2) a LOT of raging is about the child's sudden loss of control over his own environment. What REALLY triggers these kids is when we suddenly change the rules (or so it seems to the child) by stepping in and taking over. It really sets them off. We do this because we're the parent, trying to assert parental authority - this is correct, with most kids. But the wrong thing to do, with a lot of difficult children. It's wrong because it achieves nothing, not a sausage. Zip. Nada. If anything, it makes a situation much worse AND has the child fully convinced that WE are in the wrong, not them. As a result, no lesson has been learned and they become even more resistant to our discipline for next time.
    What works much better, is working within the limits imposed by your child's obsession. For example, he is desperate for something electronic. In Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) there are often really good therapy reasons for allowing this, even when it seems you are spoiling the child by giving in (as the critics claim). For example, if your child is getting overstimulated by some types of game. The best way to manage is to give the child choice - "we could ban all gaming, or we could control WHICH games you may play."

    Familiarise yourself on what the games are and how you play them. Use the gaming as a tool, as a reward. Make sure you reward him with time spent gaming together, you and him (grit your teeth, you can do it - especially if YOU have choice of game. I like Mario Party as a game to play together. Or Wii Sports). But do your utmost to NOT withdraw gaming or DVDs as a punishment, because for a great many Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids, gaming and DVDs are actually a coping tool, they need it to learn social skills (yes, believe it or not!) to learn communication, to learn some good skills to use as a way in to social groups with other kids, to feel good about SOMETHING they can do well and to also calm themselves down. ESPECIALLY to calm themselves down. Stopping them from gaming is as bad as trying to stop them stimming.

    It probably seems bizarre that, after difficult child 3 attacked me the other night, I did not make him hand over his Nintendo DS as punishment. I didn't, because not only would it have not taught him any lesson at all, it had no connection to his attack on me and also I knew that playing would help him calm down.

    Incidentally, I haven't punished difficult child 3 at all for that outburst. I don't think I needed to - it has brought its own punishment. We talked about it the next day, we discussed my belief that it was a medication reaction, we discussed how his behaviour had become increasingly belligerent, sullen and difficult (hence our correcting him) until he exploded when our frequent correction of him triggered his rage. BY the time we discussed this, difficult child 3 was very quiet, withdrawn, extremely contrite and mostly accepting of the 'diagnosis'. Incidentally, he had read my thread on the incident and I think that made him realise just how bad it had been. He scared himself and I suspect is going to be keeping it all very much in mind.

    If I had confiscated his games and banned all gaming, I couldn't teach him more. I probably would teach him less, because his indignation would wipe away all sense of "I was wrong".

    However, you still have the real problem of over-stimulation. We dealt with that by controlling WHAT games (and DVDs) he could play, and at what times. We also put together a list of games/DVDs he could play at any time, and conditions he had to fulfil in order to play games.

    Our gaming conditions:

    1) No gaming during school hours. School work during school hours.

    2) Before gaming in the morning, he has to take his medications. He must stop gaming by 8.30 on a school day to get dressed, do his chores and have his breakfast.

    3) After school hours, he has chores to do. He may play games, but must get chores done as well. If he is watching a TV show then he may use the ad breaks to do his chores.

    4) After 6 pm he MUST be prepared to stop gaming in order to do chores, have dinner, have his bath, get ready for bed.

    5) By 8.30 pm, he MUST be ready for bed if he wants to do any more gaming.

    6) Games all stop at 9.30 pm.

    7) Lights out at 10 pm.

    Other rules - it depends on how he is functioning. If he cannot stick to the rules, we discuss with him the need to modify the rules to make sure he gets to bed and gets to sleep OK. For example, if he consistently won't come to eat his dinner when called, we discuss with him the need to switch off all games between 6.30 and 8.30 to make SURE all tasks are done. We don't simply say, "This is now the rule," because he needs time to adjust to this (which is why we never simply step in and take control - he can't cope with it, he loses it). Often the mere suggestion that we need to modify the rules because we're not getting compliance, is enough to get compliance again.
    If at this stage we need to say, "You keep breaking the rules, you refuse to stop gaming when we need you to, therefore we are confiscating your game system until further notice," (and we haven't ever had to do this, by the way) then at least THEN it would be a punishment connected to the crime.

    Another really important rule - censorship of the games. Our list of acceptable games focussed on games which did not have a clock you had to race, but ones where you had to think hard but could take your time. Games which required quiet brainpower, games which didn't require shooting anything but instead required detective work. Games which had nothing distressing in the topic, nothing with conflict.
    Examples of good games - Myst (and the derivatives), Sudoku (and similar), chess, Scrabble. Brain training games.
    Banned games - this depended on what he could handle. Sometimes it was surprising, there were games which we knew gave him nightmares for reasons we could never fathom. We had to make the judgement call based on our own observations. But because we had clear reasons, we were able to at least try to explain why and even if he didn't agree with us, he understood that we weren't doing this out of revenge or a desire to be mean to him, but because WE felt we had good reasons. And when he could justify us lifting the ban, he petitioned us, explained his reasons and we brought them back on a trial basis. If the trial was favourable, the games stayed. If not, the ban was back on. Often he was more understanding at this stage.

    The thing is, if they need to game as a way of coping with stress, and we take gaming away from them, not only are we removing their way of coping with stress but we are adding to their stress even more.

    If instead we allow their gaming but try to control it in other ways or to limit it in ways to improve their availability to function, we are more likely to get cooperation from them.

    It's a slow process, we shouldn't try to fix everything about our kids all at once. We need to only deal with a few things at a time, otherwise they will feel as if it's all too difficult, so why try?

    We've been down this road with difficult child 1, and now with difficult child 3. What we do now is working for us. We've been through the full-on ban, we've been through the micromanaging. This works for us, brilliantly. Yes, some people criticise, some family members ride us hard about our "undisciplined brat" and his "addiction/obsession with games". But we tell them to back off - we figure we've paid our dues, tried it their way and frankly, he's OUR kid, this works for us.

    Think about public attitudes when mobile phones first came in. People who DIDN'T have mobile phones complained about people flaunting their mobile phones in public, talking loudly to someone on the phone while they were on the train, in the restaurant, walking along the street; I read a newspaper column where the writer felt it was stupid for a man to be talking on the mobile phone in the elevator coming down form his hotel room. "Why didn't he make the call from his room before he left?" she said.
    These complaints seem so silly now, because NOW everyone has a mobile phone, so we all accept the use because we all understand it. No longer are there so many have-nots complaining about the haves.

    Gaming is similar. The people who complain about it the most are the older generation who do not understand/want computer games. THEY never had them, so why are today's kids so obsessed with them? Get the kids out into the fresh air! And while I agree that we do need to get our bodies moving and get some outdoor exercise, computer games are NOT the problem they're made out to be. People who play a lot of computer games have sharper reflexes, better problem-solving skills and often better self-esteem. So I'm told by various studies I keep hearing about on the radio.

    Mind you, the notes from difficult child, the "dad said I could have it back" was a cute touch and you handled it beautifully. I LOVE the writing lines thing. VERY effective use of natural consequences. He certainly needs to know that trying to play you off against each other not only is NOT acceptable, but he WILL get caught out and made accountable.

    We're never going to be perfect parents. Our kids are never going to be perfect kids. The best we can do (all of us) is try. and when we get it wrong, we say sorry, we pick up and we try again.

    It really is all we can do.

    Hang in there!

  14. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Just for the record, I have fought over controllers as well. We also call my difficult child the negotiator and say he will make a great lawyer one day. Are these positive traits? Hang in there!
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    difficult child knows he is supposed to play only for 1 hr a day.
    During vacations and weekends, he may earn more time by doing more chores.

    He is definitely banned from certain games.

    He does have a certain time when he must quit. That's the issue; he won't admit it's his time to quit. He will ignore the real clock, and go by the football game clock. For example, there is 1 min., 30 sec. left, but you have to pause and huddle, you can clock out for injuries, etc. Then it's a half hr and what happened to the 1 min, 30 sec?
    We have explained to him that merely having the game turned on starts OUR clock. He argues about it and we tell him, "Then you've made your choice. If you can't follow the rules, no game."
    Sometimes that works ... ;)

    Yes, he'll make a great lawyer. He just never gives up. I just hope he doesn't take morally questionable cases and win them. We have a friend who is an atty, and he won a suspended sentence for a woman who threw her baby over the walkway at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, about 10 yrs ago. I was furious, but he argued she deserved a fair trial, just like anyone else.
    Fair to whom? :mad:
    He's very ADHD, by the way. :) :whiteflag:
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Terry, you and difficult child both need to agree on the rules. If he can't understand, then I would suggest football becomes one of the games banned if it's likely to get played at a time when he has to stop. I agree, you can't allow this.

    A suggestion - get a special clock (maybe an old alarm clock) and set it next to him, with a felt pen mark on the clock face to show when his time is up. Or a suggestion I've made to someone else - put coloured translucent contact on the clock face to show the time when gaming is allowed. When the hour hand falls outside the colouredarea, the games MUST stop.

    I help difficult child 3 out by giving him time warnings. Not in any sense of, "You'd better stop soon before I punish you," but more in line with, "You have ten minutes to go; if you get a chance to save your game before then, do so because you will have to stop in ten minutes regardless."
    I will give a little leeway, but only a little. It's a matter of common sense. If difficult child 3 tries to abuse it, I get strict again. But if time is up, he has stretched it a bit and then starts a new level AFTER the time limit - he loses the data because I won't allow it to be continued.

    You mentioned he's very ADHD. I wonder how close he is to Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).

    As for the woman who deserved a fair trial - the reason even she deserves a fair trial, is you don't want ANY possible excuse for an appeal. Justice not only has to be done, it has to be SEEN to be fair justice, done properly with no room for doubt.