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Unschooling a challenging child (update in post #186) - Page 3

post #41 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsd1amommy View Post
Doesn't this indicate that the problem lies within you? It sounds like you believe that if you are "centered" or "have a full cup", there is no longer a problem.
No. I believe that when I'm centered I can help her cope with her sensitivities and frustrations. I deal better with "problems" when I'm centered.


Quote:
What about the other members of your household being held hostage to your "difficult" child and their issues who cannot "center' and "fill their own cup"?
When I'm centered I exude calm and patience, they feed off my patience and they cope better and I cope better. It has been difficult to center lately. And with everyone off center, everything is off balance.

Quote:
This just smacks of "if I have an issue, I need to be the one who changes". That isn't realistic when so many others are affected by her child's behavior. It sounds lovely, though.
I'm the parent here and of course if I feel that I can't stand my child, I need to work on centering and changing my attitude. This does not mean that my child doesn't have an issue that I'm trying to address as well.

I don't understand your attitude. Are you trying to be helpful?
post #42 of 188
Thread Starter 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
Read the book anyway . For starters there are different kinds of giftedness, some having little to do with academics. But what is great about this book is that it goes through each common diagnosis (ADHD, Asperger's, bipolar, etc), explains the symptoms and then lists what means the child DOESN'T have it. I thought it was a really reassuring read.

There have been days when we could've been on the Jerry Springer show .
Okay, I will . Though I'm certain she doesn't have any types of giftedness
post #43 of 188
We are friends with a family who's oldest DD sounds like your child. In some ways, she shares certain personality traits with my oldest child; sensitive, somewhat introverted, likes to be in control. But the biggest difference between Friend's Child (FC) and my DD is that FC has the most negative outlook of any child I've ever met. Her natural reaction to anything new or novel is "No" no matter how much the average child would eagerly plow into the activity. I have to confess that I find it exhausting to be around her, and I know that she provides her mother and sister with far more than their fair share of stressful interactions. She, also, often browbeats her mother with comments like, "I will miss you so terribly if you leave me at that birthday party or activity. How can you do this to me!"

Here's an article about inborn temperament characteristics and their effects on children and child rearing. Your daughter sounds like she's fairly high on intensity and withdrawal from new activites, plus negative in mood and irregular in rhythmicity. It's a very difficult combination to handle.

I salute you for your commitment to establishing a strong attachment for her. Now you need to establish behaviors from her that are supportive of your entire family remaining connected. Your commitment to her little brother cannot be any less than her commitment to her. With my DD, who's intense and still tantrums at age 6.75, we have a rule that once a tantrum begins, the answer to the question must be "No." If you have a tantrum to get something, you cannot have it. If you have a tantrum to get out of something, you must finish it. It goes against my natural parenting instincts to approach a child who's freaking out with a hard-and-fast rule, but we've discovered that for my DD, offering sympathy when she's in a negative spiral only prolongs and provokes the spiral. My husband and I must disallow further discussion, repeat that we have already made the decision, and squelch any further debate or yelling. The security that DD gets from hearing that the entire situation is out of her hands is more important than any feeling of powerlessness that goes along with that.

You are an important person. Your emotional health matters. And if your daughter's behavior is damaging your attachment to her, than you have an obligation to stop that behavior, even if the parent of a more positive or easier child would not recognize your punishment as ultimately supportive of attachment.
post #44 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by choochootrain View Post
I'm the parent here and of course if I feel that I can't stand my child, I need to work on centering and changing my attitude. This does not mean that my child doesn't have an issue that I'm trying to address as well.

I don't understand your attitude. Are you trying to be helpful?
I was asking questions I felt were legitimate about how this "theory" works.
I suggested that it was perhaps time for therapeutic interventions. That would be helpful.
post #45 of 188
OP, what I'm getting from your posts is that you are so accustomed to your dd's behavior that you have in a sense "normalized" it. Not that you see it as ok at all - you can't stand being around her. But you know what sets her off, you understand her emotional make-up, you have figured out how to adjust your own behavior to lessen or modify the impact of hers. For you, this is just the way things are.

To the rest of us (or some of us, anyway) what you describe is far outside the realm of normal child behavior. Even for a typically "difficult" child or one going through a rough phase. As a pp said, a 7yo is in effect holding your family hostage. Whether you call it manipulation or anything else, she is preventing you from doing the things you want as a family and even from saying the things you want to say.

With each post you have revealed new information about this poor kid, and with each description of it seems more and more incredible that you are only "thinking about" professional help instead of having done so long ago. Her situation strikes me as acute.

As I said, I do understand how this kind of thing can come to seem like just the way things are, especially if, as you say she has, your daughter has been like this from very early on. But for the sake of your relationship with her, for the sake of your son and not least of all for herself, I really hope you will seek therapy for her. Best of luck.
post #46 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird Girl View Post
W
You are an important person. Your emotional health matters. And if your daughter's behavior is damaging your attachment to her, than you have an obligation to stop that behavior, even if the parent of a more positive or easier child would not recognize your punishment as ultimately supportive of attachment.
This is 100% worth repeating. I would forget how you are suppose to discipline and start going with your instincts on how this particular child needs to be disciplined.
post #47 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
OP, what I'm getting from your posts is that you are so accustomed to your dd's behavior that you have in a sense "normalized" it. Not that you see it as ok at all - you can't stand being around her. But you know what sets her off, you understand her emotional make-up, you have figured out how to adjust your own behavior to lessen or modify the impact of hers. For you, this is just the way things are.

To the rest of us (or some of us, anyway) what you describe is far outside the realm of normal child behavior. Even for a typically "difficult" child or one going through a rough phase. As a pp said, a 7yo is in effect holding your family hostage. Whether you call it manipulation or anything else, she is preventing you from doing the things you want as a family and even from saying the things you want to say.

With each post you have revealed new information about this poor kid, and with each description of it seems more and more incredible that you are only "thinking about" professional help instead of having done so long ago. Her situation strikes me as acute.

As I said, I do understand how this kind of thing can come to seem like just the way things are, especially if, as you say she has, your daughter has been like this from very early on. But for the sake of your relationship with her, for the sake of your son and not least of all for herself, I really hope you will seek therapy for her. Best of luck.
That's exactly what I was trying to say. zinemama just prettied it up!
post #48 of 188
Choochootrain, I thought you might enjoy what my ds just said to me. "If you don't help me with my movie, you have to give me $600 allowance for a month."

This is because I want to go up to the bedroom to sort some stuff, and he wants me or dh to help him make his movie. Dh has only been home from work for an hour and doesn't want to help. I don't know why ds always threatens me with monetary fines... maybe because he knows we get concerned about finances.

Anyway, when I'm not tired it is SO much easier. Ds does feed off other people's bad moods, especially if they are short with him, because he is so sensitive. For my particular child, being strict and authoritarian brings out the absolute worst in him. But it is naturally getting better as he matures. You've just started a job, aren't as well rested as you might be, the kids aren't used to you not being home in the evening, or bustling around doing whatever you need to do to leave. You're in a transition time with everyone needing to adjust.
post #49 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird Girl View Post
It goes against my natural parenting instincts to approach a child who's freaking out with a hard-and-fast rule, but we've discovered that for my DD, offering sympathy when she's in a negative spiral only prolongs and provokes the spiral.
THIS.

My dd is 9 and in the category of HSP. Very strongly. She had tantrums and night terrors and lots of intense, very difficult rxns to the world from 6 mos. through about age 6. She attended regular public school. She was great in schoo, but then would come home and have meltdowns regularly. She self regulates so much better, she's a delightful child and loves everyone.

I have learned a few things, including her need for a very high protein diet (Oh, that's why she was mess this evening) and meat type things at every single meal. But this comment above was something that we totally had to learn. Offering sympathy made the tantrum take hours and hours. Offering one hug and then going away, leaving a visual contact, made the tantrums way less. The tantrums got less when I realized about her food needs and sleep needs and followed a very strict schedule for these things. I never tried food eliminations, but she may (likely) have had milk sensitivities. She never did the "I'm going to make X terrible for everyone else" thing you've described, but she would have tantrums that lasted for hours and exhausted everyone. Thank goodness my older daughter weathered it well.

HIT. GET HELP. Whatever you can. The tantrums you describe remind me of a family member's daughter who was dxed with Aspergers and yes, is medicated, and yes, they're more mainstream than I am, but they thought long and hard and now she can think and talk instead of tantrum like the first 7 or so years of her life. I'm not saying your daughter has Aspergers. Just saying that a professional can help you. Because your situation sounds extreme, not a "stage."
post #50 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post
Offering sympathy made the tantrum take hours and hours. Offering one hug and then going away, leaving a visual contact, made the tantrums way less. The tantrums got less when I realized about her food needs and sleep needs and followed a very strict schedule for these things.
Kind of what I was saying about leaving the scene to disengage and take myself out of the equation. I never got as far as a strict eating/sleeping schedule, myself, because ds doesn't have a very regular temperament. But I was very mindful of his needing to eat and sleep.
post #51 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
OP, what I'm getting from your posts is that you are so accustomed to your dd's behavior that you have in a sense "normalized" it. Not that you see it as ok at all - you can't stand being around her. But you know what sets her off, you understand her emotional make-up, you have figured out how to adjust your own behavior to lessen or modify the impact of hers. For you, this is just the way things are.

To the rest of us (or some of us, anyway) what you describe is far outside the realm of normal child behavior. Even for a typically "difficult" child or one going through a rough phase. As a pp said, a 7yo is in effect holding your family hostage. Whether you call it manipulation or anything else, she is preventing you from doing the things you want as a family and even from saying the things you want to say.

With each post you have revealed new information about this poor kid, and with each description of it seems more and more incredible that you are only "thinking about" professional help instead of having done so long ago. Her situation strikes me as acute.

As I said, I do understand how this kind of thing can come to seem like just the way things are, especially if, as you say she has, your daughter has been like this from very early on. But for the sake of your relationship with her, for the sake of your son and not least of all for herself, I really hope you will seek therapy for her. Best of luck.

: I really feel for both of you - but for you to be unable to offer a suggestion about cutting a potato, or comment about a cat without being basically verbally assaulted, it's just not healthy for you or for her. And that's not even considering the impact this is havign on your son and how it might play out with him.

I have a pretty emotionally sensitive son, and while he's never threatened to make any of us miserable on an outing nor tantrumed for hours (his max is usually 30 min, and he was 5 in Jan), he is lacking in coping skills in many other daily situations (mostly involving a low frustration tolerance for failure, and his definition of failure is very broad, which kills us as parents because we do not judge him or his efforts or berate him, etc. - we have always been encouraging and supportive, this is an inborn thing of his, he's a perfectionist and has associated anxiety and sensitivity). He has been unable to take direction from his father or I on ways to deal with his frustrations and emotions, and as it is now beginning more and more to hinder his everyday life and even peeking into social situations (not just at home anymore), we're getting him set up with some therapy.

It's not fair to anyone in your family to have to walk around on eggshells or censor themselves regularly for fear of one person's reaction to situations, and it's certainly not healthy for her to not be able to cope with things, I can't imagine it feels good to her. I hope that you're able to find a way to start setting some boundaries and help her find ways to more appropriately cope with her very strong, genuine emotions. That's the thing with our son - he's NOT putting us on, I know he's genuinely feeling the things he feels so strongly and is unable to cope with them or control them (as you mentioned when asked why she says she can't control herself)...and IMO it's my job to find someone to help him learn how to cope if I'm unable to do it myself.
post #52 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
OP, what I'm getting from your posts is that you are so accustomed to your dd's behavior that you have in a sense "normalized" it. Not that you see it as ok at all - you can't stand being around her. But you know what sets her off, you understand her emotional make-up, you have figured out how to adjust your own behavior to lessen or modify the impact of hers. For you, this is just the way things are.

To the rest of us (or some of us, anyway) what you describe is far outside the realm of normal child behavior. Even for a typically "difficult" child or one going through a rough phase. As a pp said, a 7yo is in effect holding your family hostage. Whether you call it manipulation or anything else, she is preventing you from doing the things you want as a family and even from saying the things you want to say.

With each post you have revealed new information about this poor kid, and with each description of it seems more and more incredible that you are only "thinking about" professional help instead of having done so long ago. Her situation strikes me as acute.

As I said, I do understand how this kind of thing can come to seem like just the way things are, especially if, as you say she has, your daughter has been like this from very early on. But for the sake of your relationship with her, for the sake of your son and not least of all for herself, I really hope you will seek therapy for her. Best of luck.
I agree with all of this. The situation sounds dire, and I hate to say it, but it sounds like OP is enabling her DD. Not only putting up with the behavior, but perhaps even encouraging it by giving in, not setting boundaries, by asking questions that the DD has no real choice about (you were going to go to the concert anyway, so why did you even give her the choice? Just say "Go put on your shoes, we're going to a concert, and you'll either enjoy it or pretend to enjoy it, I don't care which"), and letting her hold your entire family hostage.
post #53 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
To the rest of us (or some of us, anyway) what you describe is far outside the realm of normal child behavior.
Sneaking suspicion I'm why the "(some of us, anyway)" was put in, LMAO.

Knowing my child and a couple others, I know enough that outsiders can't make the judgment about whether therapy is the way to go. Maybe she could use it, maybe not.
post #54 of 188
I know a lot of people have said a lot of good things here, but I just wanted to chime in about my experience. My little sister was like your DD. And life in our house was a living nightmare. It wasn't until she was 14 that my parents got her into counseling, and honestly, it was too late. Although it was not mature, I resented my sister everyday of my life until I left for college. Even now, we have a tenuous relationship that does not include any form of contact for months on end, and she was not in my wedding. It's sad, but true. Just from my experience, I personally encourage you to get her into counseling now. Because your son who is so sweet and acquiescing at the moment? That was me. And it doesn't last very long!

Best of luck.
post #55 of 188
Until you figure this situation out, please please please have someone watch her 3 or 4 (or 7!) times a week so you and your son can get out of the house and do something fun.

My brother held our family hostage for DECADES with his foul temper and nasty moods. I'm in my late 40's now and the only thing I resent my parents for is not "protecting" us from the black cloud his personality kept over our family. I can 1000% identify with your boy. Your daughter is training him to be an appeaser, just like my brother had all of us trained. I'm still trying to undo that in myself.
post #56 of 188
I want to echo what others have said about the salience of making some real changes now. We had friends with a child like your daughter. It got so bad that we cut ties with her parents. She was mean to our children and pets, was disrespectful to us and our house and was completely embarrassing to be in public with. Most of the other people in our circle did as well. This child was rude, mean, and disruptive. She was never taught that this wasn't okay and as a result her family became very isolated because no one wanted to be around them. From what I've heard the situation has become worse sense we last saw them a few years ago.

Please make some changes. This situation will not improve with more unaction.
post #57 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post
I want to echo what others have said about the salience of making some real changes now. We had friends with a child like your daughter. It got so bad that we cut ties with her parents. She was mean to our children and pets, was disrespectful to us and our house and was completely embarrassing to be in public with. Most of the other people in our circle did as well. This child was rude, mean, and disruptive. She was never taught that this wasn't okay and as a result her family became very isolated because no one wanted to be around them. From what I've heard the situation has become worse sense we last saw them a few years ago.

Please make some changes. This situation will not improve with more unaction.
Not to say that I won't seek help, but she's wonderful and gentle with pets and animals, is respectful to other children and tries to be a mediator if they argue (and gets very drained emotionally if she isn't successful, and she is almost always not very successful mediating other 5 and 6 year olds).

She is not mean to anyone but her brother, and this is very hard, of course. She can also be very protective of him and supportive. If he gets hurt, she is the first to help and is very attentive.

I believe her issues are extreme sensitivity and when she gets frustrated she is not able to snap out of it. But most people find her to be a total delight to be with.
post #58 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wholewheatchick View Post
I know a lot of people have said a lot of good things here, but I just wanted to chime in about my experience. My little sister was like your DD. And life in our house was a living nightmare. It wasn't until she was 14 that my parents got her into counseling, and honestly, it was too late. Although it was not mature, I resented my sister everyday of my life until I left for college. Even now, we have a tenuous relationship that does not include any form of contact for months on end, and she was not in my wedding. It's sad, but true. Just from my experience, I personally encourage you to get her into counseling now. Because your son who is so sweet and acquiescing at the moment? That was me. And it doesn't last very long!

Best of luck.
Thank you for sharing this. This is very important for me to remember, always.
post #59 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin2004 View Post
Until you figure this situation out, please please please have someone watch her 3 or 4 (or 7!) times a week so you and your son can get out of the house and do something fun.

My brother held our family hostage for DECADES with his foul temper and nasty moods. I'm in my late 40's now and the only thing I resent my parents for is not "protecting" us from the black cloud his personality kept over our family. I can 1000% identify with your boy. Your daughter is training him to be an appeaser, just like my brother had all of us trained. I'm still trying to undo that in myself.
Thank you. I'm very mindful of their dynamics. I help him to stand up for himself, and he's good at it. He is an appeaser, but he is not a push over, far from it. He's gentle and patient, but he knows how to assert himself as well.
post #60 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by choochootrain View Post
I believe her issues are extreme sensitivity and when she gets frustrated she is not able to snap out of it. But most people find her to be a total delight to be with.
This is the same as my son, my 5yo I mentioned above.
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