Worried about difficult child at father in law's funeral

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Wiped Out, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As I posted in the wc, my wonderful father in law passed away yesterday and we will be heading to his funeral later in the week. I'm really worried about difficult child and the funeral and the trip in general.

    He has absolutely no filter and no impulse control lately. He really doesn't get what people are going through and I actually think he can't control himself much. Yesterday was made extremely more difficult for husband because of difficult child. I'm trying to run interference to give him a break but with difficult child it hard to do even that.

    Even this weekend he was making others very upset. They see him not being able to leave husband alone and it makes them uneasy. He is always LOUD no matter where we go. When we try to explain to him (when he is calm) about how others need more quiet at a time like this or for him to try to be more understanding or less interrupting he will say he understands but then he just can't demonstrate any self control.

    husband and I have talked about trying someone to watch him so he wouldn't have to come along on the trip. difficult child really wants to come and the chances of us finding someone to watch him are not good.

    I've thought about sitting with him in a separate part of the church but I'm not sure that will do any good and if I would try to get him out of church if he was being disruptive that would really create a scene. Also he says exactly what he thinks and asks questions or makes comments that make others feel very uncomfortable.

    easy child/difficult child is so frustrated with difficult child that she isn't going to the funeral if he goes. She really does need to be there. I'm all for letting her sit with some other family members but am still worried about difficult child.

    Any suggestions?
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    This goes way beyond being a super tough situation. I'm just guessing that many of these questions have to do with death and dying. Seriously, I can't blame the kid. EVERYONE mourns in their own ways, and he's trying to process and understand this information.

    Going and shadowing him, in my opinion, is the best option. Get a book from the library about loosing a loved one. I'd go with something geared to elementary aged kids. Read it first to make sure you like what they say and there are no spiritual or religious conflicts. The more information he gets beforehand, the less inquisitive he is apt to be during the funeral.

    In all honesty, even adults act "stupid" when there has been a death. My BFF had to plan arrange her mother's services. The cremation itself was a small intimate ceremony with just BFF and the mother's closest friends (who, by the way, had known BFF her entire life). Well, these women who were GREAT (not sarcasm, really) at organizing things, and were generally compassionate, created their own 'mini ceremony' where each of them laid a flower in the crematory. Not a single one (there were 15-20 of them) thought to include the woman's daughter in this, and not a single one gave up her own flower to the daughter. So, if these normally gracious women can behave inappropriately and without compassion, I think difficult child should be excused at least some transgressions in socially acceptable mourning.

    Also, if out of frustration, you and husband resort to 'traditional' yelling and scolding to get him to back off, don't be too hard on yourselves. ESPECIALLY if that is not your norm for handling things. This sends a clear message to difficult child that what's going on is over the top serious. He'll be thinking to himself, "WOW they haven't done THAT in, like, forever." Usually it's just a temporary 'fix', and the reason it doesn't work on a regular basis with difficult children, so we employ other tactics.

    I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention that he sounds like he's got Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). By looking at your dxes, I can only assume that it's a part of the Cognitive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified mixed with the high impulsivity of ADHD

    I'm so sorry this difficult time is made even more difficult having to navigate it through difficult child land.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    For those reasons I left GFGmom with a sitter during the services for my Dad. Many people in the family thought I should have included her...they didn't realize how major stressful it would have been for everyone there. I don't know how extensive the plans are or how long you would be away from him but my suggestion is to seek out a special sitter in the town of the funeral and have him do something fun for the duration. Perhaps there is a good movie ? or a kids museum? a bowling alley? Some contained environment that would be considered a treat (or as close to it as you can come up with). I realize "finding a sitter" is not an easy task. Is there a trusted family member who personally knows a good SE teacher or perhaps a grown young man who is an athlete or has a special member in his own family so he is used to the unexpected? Spending time with an attentive male doing something deemed fun might solve the problem during the services. Sending understanding hugs.

    by the way, I really believe that you and husband deserve the chance to grieve with other family members with-o disruption. Losing a parent is one of life's biggest changes and in my humble opinion impacts long term adjustments. Hope you can find a man who is up to the job and able to turn it into a pleasant time for difficult child. DDD
  4. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Oh man, what a tough situation. Do you have other family in the area with kids that could recommend a sitter to you? I know he's older but this is a situation where you need to be focused on husband, not difficult child, and with him there I'm not sure how supportive you can be to your husband (obviously you already know that, I don't mean to imply that you don't). I know he's much older but do you ever use social stories or social cue cards? "this behavior is acceptable at a funeral" "this behavior is not" sort of thing that he can read on the way and keep with him during the event if you can't find a sitter? I'm sorry for your family's loss.
  5. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I would find someone to watch him, if at all possible.

    If you cannot? I would sit in the very back, so you can take him out with the least amount of disruption. I would also let him play a handheld game with headphones, if he can play quietly without narrating what he is doing. I don't know if my difficult child could do that. What about a portable dvd player with headphones and a movie he wants to see but has not yet?

    Does the church have a "crying room", an enclosed room usually meant for parents with infants? If they have that I would sit there for sure.

    I hope you can find a way to make sure everyone's neeeds get met. This does not sound easy.
  6. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I'm so sorry... I agree with DDD that it will be best for all of you if you can find someone to watch difficult child in the same town as the funeral.

    Many hugs being sent your way... SFR
  7. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    I was thinking along the same lines as CM. Let him play with an gameboy IPOD or watch a movie. Perhaps if he will even want to sit in a quiet part of the cchurch or funeral home. Don't worry about what others will think.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I agree with finding someone at your destination to watch him if possible.
    Sometimes, there will be people who have stepped forward with offers to "help", who do not have close enough ties to really need to be at the funeral - for example, the neighbor of an extended family member.
    If that kind of person is available and appropriate, then the "volunteer" will feel good about actually being able to help, and the whole day will go better for everyone.
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Is he, like many of our older difficult child's, into electronic games? Perhaps a high school or college student (preferably male) could take him to lunch and an arcade for a couple of hours.

    Hadn't thought about a "cry room" but that's a possibility. Although I would like you to be next to husband during this emotional time.

    It may not be your experience but I found that my difficult child's acted much more maturily when they were with pleasant strangers than they did around family. Especially if they were allowed to do something special just for them. They also responded much better to same sex role models than they did to others.
    Hugs. DDD
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    was difficult child especially close to his grandfather? If so this may be a really difficult time for him. Also how much other experience does he have with funerals? My boys have had quite a bit of experience with funerals doing pallbearer duty but when it came time to do it for their grandfather it was a whole other ball of wax. I think Cory started being a pallbearer at about your son's age. I guess the job gave him something to cling to. That time was his great grandmother.

    If your son cant handle something like a special job of even handing out the little cards or whatever is given or helping to open a door maybe, then maybe you should think about having him stay with a sitter if you are afraid he will act out.
  11. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Find some sort of respite weekend/guardian. Maybe the family that did respite could do so privately for you. In times like this difficult child's needs are not the priority. He can not ruin things for husband, easy child or the rest of the family just because he wants to go. It is important for husband and the other siblings to have their focus on their mother and their own grief and not have difficult child be disruptive. It's not fair to you that you can't grieve. Everything is not about difficult child. There are some pivotal points in a families life that are important.
    You can't expect him to act differently. It is an unreal expectation. He can go to the cemetary or grandmother's at a later date for him to say good bye.
    Hugs to you and husband. It's always difficult to say good bye to a parent.
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    While it's important for difficult child to be able to say goodbye, it's much more important for your husband and the rest of the family to do so without any antics going on I agree with Fran, that it's not all about difficult child. I would find someone he could stay with.
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you everyone for your good ideas. I was thinking we should call the couple that use to do respite but husband says he just can't leave difficult child behind in Wisconsin. I'm hoping maybe we can find someone in Michigan that can watch him but am not overly hopeful. I think if we could find someone in Michigan husband would be o.k. with having difficult child not be at the funeral. I'll update you on how it went when we get back.
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Fingers crossed and prayers said. Hugs. DDD
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Many hugs. Brings back memories of my own gpa's funeral. We couldn't afford to all travel to go, and gpa had asked me specifically NOT to go, so I said I woudl do the trip if we drove but not the ceremony and gfgbro insisted he HAD to do all of it and that I was an awful person for going along with gpa's wishes. Gfgbro and my mom flew to the funeral - and dad and I stayed home. neighbors would have watched up both and given her dad's support, but gfgbro wasn't goign to let that happen. Then he refused to get ready for the funeral, did all sorts of stuff that the relatives were still upset about years later.

    I would take a gameboy or something similar and put him in a cry room with that. Figure out what would be a treat and keep him occupied, even if you have to plug in a laptop in another room and let him play an online game. I dont' think that being there is really going to make that much of a difference in how he processes his grief over father in law, at least not as far as taking part in the ceremony, and it may very well upset you, husband and easy child. So let him pay his respects, if he wishes to, at a separate time from the rest (ask the funeral home for a separate time for difficult child to see him, most will be happy to help if at all possible) and then during the ceremony either let him stay at the hotel room or in a private room with something to amuse himself.

    At difficult child's stage of development, the funeral may or may not be a good thing for him - only you can know. But I do know that easy child has told you what SHE needs, you have seen how your husband needs some separation from difficult child to handle this. Given that you are not sure difficult child CAN control himself, give him a chance to do something separate and not court the criticism from his behavior. Or flat out tell him that he has to get himself under control and stop the whatever and make it stay stopped. I know you don't often just flat out yell or whatever and tell him that he just has to change wether he wants to or not, but it will NOT hurt him to be told that his needs are LAST in line of importance and this time he has to put husband and respect for his gpa and the family before whatever is jumping out of his mouth or impulsiveness.

    Don't be hard on yourself or easy child for being very blunt about this.
  16. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    If husband is heartbroken to leave him behind then he can't be upset when difficult child acts like a difficult child.
  17. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ditto Fran's last post. Also, if he does do something outrageous - he will be forced to live with that action the rest of his life. Sometimes we have to protect them from themselves, too. So they do not have life long impacts on their own self. Perhaps husband would have a hard time forgiving him, too. This is just to emotional to risk it.