Who is this difficult child?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Star*, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Star*

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

    The week of Thanksgiving? I was ready to throw in the towel. Not kidding.

    Monday afternoon - He fixed the fence (broken for 3 years) and did a perfect job!!! Then raked the leaves out of the drive and SWEPT it!!! OMG it looks fantastic. Now I have no worries about the puppy getting out. He really did a super job. Even DF was impressed.

    Monday night - Dude asks me after work if I would take him to former girlfriend's for his birth certificate (long story) I said yes. He asked (not told) me if I would drive a certain way. Seemed a longer out of the way hike, but I obliged him. He asked me if I had Christmas music in the car. I did. We turned it on and he told me the reason he chose this way was so he could take me to look at Christmas lights. :redface: I LOVE this!!! Every year it's me and the furkid. This time? It was me an my son. :D I gave up asking years ago. It was just perfect. I was in shock - I cried when he told me what he was doing. Not much, just happy tears. He chuckled and said "You act like it's a big deal Mom." - He'll never know.

    Tuesday night he asked if I'd take him to a young mans home that is in need of "mentoring". :confused: He said the kid is giving his Mom a lot of trouble, and he knows the boy (age 14) because his best buddy used to go around with the boys sister. The parents were going to ship the kid to his grandparents it's gotten so bad. Dude went over there, helped him clean his room, throw stuff out, made him a chore chart (wonder where he got that idea) and then calls him every day and said he can call HIM any time he gets angry. He has gone over twice this week just to hang out and play with this kid - ride bikes, build radio cars, show him how to do stuff. The Mom came to MY door last night and said "Can I tell you how much of a difference your son has made in MY home?" (WE're thinking ARE YOU KIDDING?) but said _"That's our counselor in the making isn't he wonderful?"
    Dude says "Aw he's not a bad kid - he just needed someone to talk to that's all."

    The other night he did some tattoo work on a pair of jeans for me that is phenominal. I love it so much I'm going to wear them out as soon as I can figure out how to put a barrier behind the marker and my skin. I took pictures....he did it free hand from a picture I saved for years.

    He's been getting up for work - no hassles. He's been going to bed at a decent time - no argument there either (he's too tired). Last night he cleaned his own area up. (faint). He actually ASKED if he could go with us to the grocery store, and asked for things for his lunch.

    His new boss tells him things like he should APPRECIATE his parents. In his own way is mentoring him. (I think I like this guy and his wife? Same way)
    He's not giving him a huge paycheck - he is making him really earn it.

    I told DF about a week or so ago I was going to try something that I know sounded nuts...but I was going to lavish this kid with praise, and words of encouragement as if he were a #1 easy child, straight A kid - apple of my eye...could do no wrong person. I tell him I love him more often, I tell him he's the best, I tell him he's my favorite son, I'm proud of him, He's fantastic...GOOD JOB, EXCELLENt....and DF thought I was off my nutt.

    I told DF - WE have tried EVERYTHING else....Every book, EVERY parenting class, dang near every medication, How many Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s, Group homes, Foster care, countless therapists, counselors, and prayers....What if...What if THIS IS the answer? What if positive affirmation instead of "OH no not that again....when will you ever learn HOW many times do I have to tell you? WHAT are you doing now? I can't believe you are...." Think about it. Just saying "I love you." Instead of "I can't stand you."

    I have nothing to loose. And besides I know someone that loves me no matter what I do...So I figured why not. I'm not saying it's proven, or going to change the world here. But to see my son smile, have a conversation 60% of the time instead of 0% of the time.and share an occasional laugh or have him hug me in public? THEN....to have him say "Can I go with you guys?" "I'll be home by 11:00.....and be home by 11:00." is a far cry from where he was a few months ago. AND I didn't detach any less...I just said "I love you." a little more.

    I dunno. I've had it so bad for so long -----If this is as good as it gets? I'll take it and appreciate every moment.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Sounds like a great Christmas miracle!
  3. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Wow, Star! What a turn around! I am so happy for you, you so deserve something like this for Christmas.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Merry Christmas. Give Dude a huge hug from Aunt Step...'cause this is awesome!
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    sounds bout right to me.
  6. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I hate to sound cynical because I'm really loving this post........but......even at his worst, when he got old enough to cope with the excitement, Rob used to be wonderful right before Christmas because he knew there were gifts coming.

    When Dude's new positive behavior extends into January/February, etc. I'll stand up and cheer. In the meantime, enjoy the moments! :)

  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    This sounds so good! You deserve it- sooo eat it up and ENJOY! I'm very proud of him- so proud in fact that I'm thinking of sending my son to you and Dude. You can just let him sleep on the floor, ok? I'll send you money for his food and utilities. I'm told he's a easy child now so he shouldn't be too much trouble. LOL!

    In reality- assuming he actually does keep this up and I'm thinking he might, try really hard to remember this if he does (and he will) have an "ah s**t" day. It does seem like his "phases" of doing well are lasting longer and getting more impressive to me.
  8. Bean

    Bean Member

    Sounds wonderful, Star. Thank you for sharing that; it warms my heart.
  9. Star*

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

    There is no Christmas present for Dude...

    His bedroom is in the living room so we haven't put up a tree and the only decorations we have will be the cards I get from the CD list.

    The gift, so-to-speak was the train ticket to FL to see his family in Nov. (Thanksgiving). It was $100.00 and that's all I had. So he knows there is no more coming. I may be able to swing a cell phone for him, but that's only going to be because I need my home phone back...lol. I am Soooo tired of "OMG is DUDE ..YOUR son? Oh that is one sexy boy." UGH..(Mothers don't want to hear these things) How about - He's a nice boy.

    HOWEVER....Suz - you DOooooooo have a point, and I appreciate the very very sound grounding advice. I get that he could be hoping for the Christmas Miracle or the Bullwinkle effect (Hey Rocky watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat) ;) In which case - Moose and SKWIRREL will have a talk.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I dare ask- WHO on earth tells a mother that?

    And I forgot to mention in my earlier post- I think you are doing great to brag on Dudue- yes, he does deserve it and positive reiforcement when he does well can never hurt.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  11. aninom

    aninom New Member

    Wow, that is just amazing. I know few non-difficult child kids that would act that mature and loving! It seems the mentor thing, both his mentoring another kid and having a non-parent to give him some perspective, is truly doing good. I'd definitely store the memory of this true light in the dark for some rainy day when things look less good - it's there! This really made me smile. Thanks for sharing!
  12. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green


    I too hope it lasts well into the new year but enjoy it while you can! You definately deserve it!!!
  13. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Wow. That's great to hear, Star. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! :smile:
  14. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    You just brought me to tears because I HAVE to believe, 'tis the season!
  15. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Wow...I'm happy for you!
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What an awesome post to read. What wonderful times to remember and cherish. No matter what comes next.

    Lavishing him with honest praise when he does things you like, or that are considerate or right or good is a great step. So often we (including I) get caught up in what is wrong that we forget to notice and appreciate what is right.

    The Christmas Lights drive is so special. He thought of you and REMEMBERED that you love it. Then he wanted to do it WITH you. How totally amazing!

    Mentoring the young man while his new boss mentors him is a great thing. Not just part of the cycle of life, a cycle of love also.

    If all this behavior ends a few days after Christmas, well, you can always look outside at that board, let the furkids out to potty, and remember.

    Hugs to you all. Dude really will be an excellent counselor when he is ready. IF he ever decides to get formal training in it, he will be great. Even if he doesn't, and he just does it like his boss helps him, well, he will still excel.
  17. ML

    ML Guest

    NOTHING lasts forever. I think it's designed that way so we learn to appreciate, value and live in the present. I'm thrilled to hear Dude has given you some joyous moments. Tell him his Auntie L is proud of him and that he is my favorite Dude xoxo ML
  18. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

  19. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I believe you have learned the true meaning of detachment. Detachment is a tricky thing. So many practice it by simply ignoring the person. I could never do that with my son. Instead, I learned to ignore the behavior.

    For so very long, I tried my best to fix him...to change what I saw as wrong in him. I begged, pleaded, yelled, cried, bribed, cursed, screamed, talked...I was so insistent that he wanted my help...needed my help to make him into the person I wanted him to be. But he didn't. He just needed my love.

    When I finally detached, let go of control, allowed him to face the natural consequences, quit preaching, and quietly accepted that he is who he is and is going to do what he wants to do, I felt at peace. I could see the good things about him that I had missed for so many years. He still does things that drive me crazy, if I allow myself to concentrate on them. I don't.

    And it has changed our relationship. I love my son. I don't like some of the things he does. But, those are two separate entities. And I would rather concentrate on loving him.
  20. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Star, it sounds like you've reached the epiphone (sp) I did with Travis.

    The horrendous abuse by his 5th kid teacher ran it home to me just how excessively hard I was always being on the boy when honestly I didn't mean to be. I'd gotten so caught up in his behaviors and such that I'd basically stopped giving him any praise at all. Heck, I could barely stand to live with the kid. So I began to make deliberate effort to find moments when I could praise him. I took extra pains to remember to say I love you, to give hugs and the like. I went out of my way to spend time with him and make certain he was being included in other family activities. (due to behavior and his autism usually he was outside looking in) I forced myself to stay focused on his good traits, because he really does have an awful lot of them.

    At the time I didn't care if it improved his behavior or not. Home is someone's safe haven from the rest of the world. It is supposed to be a special place filled with love and acceptance. Parents are meant to love their kids unconditionally. (in my opinion) And because I had been in a constant state of reaction to Travis' behavior.......he'd lost his safe haven, acceptance, and feeling of being loved along the way. Because unfortunately the family had followed my lead and were also simply reacting to his behavior.

    For Travis it made an enormous difference. Many of the behaviors were still there. (and still are) But his attitude changed. He started smiling again. He tried harder. He wanted to do better for himself and for us. And honestly it made living with him such a much nicer environment.

    Sure some of Dude's new attitude could be he's wishing for a xmas miracle. (there is that little kid in all of us) But I don't think so. He started his old routine and it didn't work. Mom and Dad have changed. Maybe the blow up opened his eyes a bit to your side of things. (he is growing up) Maybe that visit with bio-dad had more impact on him than you'll ever know. The xmas lights moment.......I don't think the "old" Dude would've thought to do it even if he was hoping for presents. Helping that boy......that is coming from Dude's heart.

    Deep down I know Dude knows you love him with all your heart despite anything that he could ever do. You are the person who has been there for him thru thick and thin and hades on earth. When other parents would have given up, you stuck with him even when he didn't want you to. I don't doubt that words of praise and love from you mean the world to him. And now he also has his own "mentor" re-inforcing what he already knows deep down.

    This new insight isn't going to create miracles. Dude is still Dude. But it will help you learn to appreciate the person he is despite his gfgness.

    Dude has come such a long way. But he is still learning, stumbling, and growing. Still, that boy's heart is good to the core. And some day I think Dude is going to be one awesome man.:D

    You tell that boy that his auntie Daisy is mighty proud of him.