Helping Spouse with Truth of Dx - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 07-19-2013, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Despite an acknowledgment for the past few years that our 4yoDS is clearly "sensitive," my DH is suddenly struggling significantly to accept the diagnosis. I suspect he's been lying to himself that DS would outgrow it or that somehow in the future he could just "spank" it out of him. (Note: We don't use physical punishment at all, but DH was raised that way). Today, after a haircut experience gone horribly, my DH flipped out and shamed our son for his "behavior." DH then went onto bad behavior with driving like a maniac (b/c he was angry) and then slamming doors and now giving me the silent treatment. 

 

I am at a loss about how to help him comprehend and, I suppose, grieve what I've been discussing for years, what he's heard from the doctor, what he's witnessed and always gently, supportively acknowledged, and what DS's therapist has said. I've tried to get him to read some basic but informative reading about SPD, but he's always put it off. I'm both upset with his parenting reaction and his reaction to me as though it's my fault, and I'm feeling ever more so that I've been single parenting more than I realized. 

 

Perhaps, this is mostly vent, but maybe someone can give me something that has helped them with their spouse. 


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#2 of 6 Old 07-19-2013, 05:19 PM
 
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Eesh, mostly I'm replying because I totally feel your pain, not because i have any great advice.

 

My DH has not handled our son's delays particularly well.  He too has held on to the belief that DS will simply "grow out" of his severe language disorder.  Now that DS is 4.5, it is increasingly clear that he's not just magically going to catch up over night.  I went through the sorrow and sense of loss that I think many people feel almost 2 years ago, entirely with out support from DH.  Now he is beginning that process and it is painful and will certainly take a while with some fits and starts.

 

I think the turning point really was during a fight we were having when DH said "All my friends with kids his age are going out to eat, going to Disney, what are we doing wrong?" and I screamed (totally unproductively I know) "because OUR DS has SPACIAL NEEDS.  WE HAVE A SPECIAL NEEDS KID, and they don't."  

 

He left the room for almost an hour.  I felt terrible, but since then something has changed.  I don't know if he's trying to come to grips with things, or what, but he is really trying and hasn't asked "why" is a little bit.

 

I think both our DHs need some time to freak out, without endangering or emotionally scarring us or our DSs preferably.  Hope you get some good advice here!

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#3 of 6 Old 07-19-2013, 08:20 PM
 
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In the same boat with no great advice. To the OP, my SN DS1 is also a 4/09 baby! We have other children so it is a mixed blessing, we have kids that are neurotypical, others that aren't, and then there is DS1, who just can't keep up with any of them. It still feels like a slap in the face when even my 6 year old comments on how the 1 year is "smarter" then the 4 year old. We have SO much baggage around SNs and these kids of ours, that I would have to write a novel to fill anyone in. It is a very sore point between us. I don't think DH has ever grieved like I have and still do. I do know he knows that DS1 will probably be with us forever. We don't discuss that at all, that is a bitter pill for DH to swallow for complicated reasons.

My way to survive and keep the tension down is that we don't talk about it. Well, we do but only on a must need to know basis. I have an intake appointment scheduled for a feeding clinic next week that I still haven't managed to figure out how to tell DH about. He is going to flip.

It just hasn't gotten easier. DD1 is 10 with multiple disorders, DH still can't handle her. She will probably be gone before he ever realizes how to handle her. With love, kindness, and acceptance of her limitations. He does do better with DS1, I am not entirely sure why, other then personality because his needs are more severe then DD1's. it has been a long journey to this point and sometimes I think about how it isn't a race so if I got there before (years) DH then oh well. But then many days, I just wish that we were on the same page because this journey is so lonely, and being even in the same chapter would be wonderful.
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#4 of 6 Old 07-20-2013, 09:18 AM
 
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My DH had the same issues at first, although it was before we had a diagnosis or even a clue that something was "wrong" (well, I knew something was not quite right, but he just didn't see it). When I first came to him thinking that it might be ASD he did not agree. However, he conceded to going through the assessments. Slowly, after several therapists had come into our lives and provided good explanations for our kids' behaviours, DH began to accept. 

 

As he said, it was a grieving process he had to go through, letting go of his old dreams for his kid and seeing the new possibilities. It is different for the non-full time parent, I think, because they don't see what I do on a day-to-day basis. They aren't the ones being judged and yelled at, etc., because of their child's behaviour. For me, the diagnosis was nothing but relief and a celebration. But for DH it was not that at all.

 

It took about a year, I think, but he finally came around and he is fully on board, proud of his kids, etc. The only advice I have is that this is his journey and you cannot push him through it any faster than he can go. Nagging or criticism will make it worse (not saying you are doing that, but I did). You need to protect your child from his blaming them for their behaviour, but you can do that by making sure he knows that at least ONE parent (you) are a trusting place where he won't be judged. In time, I think your DH will come around. 

 

oh, and one more thing, if you can get him out to a parent support meeting or just surreptitiously get him around another dad or two dealing with the same thing, it would help a LOT. I think part of it is just feeling so alone and not l like "all the other dads and their kids".

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#5 of 6 Old 07-21-2013, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizgig View Post

 

I think the turning point really was during a fight we were having when DH said "All my friends with kids his age are going out to eat, going to Disney, what are we doing wrong?" and I screamed (totally unproductively I know) "because OUR DS has SPACIAL NEEDS.  WE HAVE A SPECIAL NEEDS KID, and they don't."  

 

I think both our DHs need some time to freak out, without endangering or emotionally scarring us or our DSs preferably.  Hope you get some good advice here!

This is very familiar. Of course, DH has always known that DS1 isn't typical, and DH has even protected DS1 from well-intentioned but clueless family. Then, we have days (more and more often) where DH is clearly frustrated that DS1 hasn't outgrown x,y, or z. It's those days that I want to scream at him to grow up, do some reading on his own for once, or don't come home until he's found some patience and can apologize. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post

In the same boat with no great advice. To the OP, my SN DS1 is also a 4/09 baby! We have other children so it is a mixed blessing, we have kids that are neurotypical, others that aren't, and then there is DS1, who just can't keep up with any of them. It still feels like a slap in the face when even my 6 year old comments on how the 1 year is "smarter" then the 4 year old. We have SO much baggage around SNs and these kids of ours, that I would have to write a novel to fill anyone in. It is a very sore point between us. I don't think DH has ever grieved like I have and still do. I do know he knows that DS1 will probably be with us forever. We don't discuss that at all, that is a bitter pill for DH to swallow for complicated reasons.

There's a lot of "DS2 is so much tougher than DS1." Of course, I say it to try to explain/provide examples, but DH usually does it out of frustration - "why can't DS1 be more like DS2." I know much of DH's frustration and anger come from his inability to fix/cure or often even know how to help. He also worries a lot for DS and wants to protect him from bullies or even "rough" play. DS1 is the ultimate easy target, and I know that scares DH (and me).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post
Slowly, after several therapists had come into our lives and provided good explanations for our kids' behaviours, DH began to accept. 

 

As he said, it was a grieving process he had to go through, letting go of his old dreams for his kid and seeing the new possibilities. It is different for the non-full time parent, I think, because they don't see what I do on a day-to-day basis. They aren't the ones being judged and yelled at, etc., because of their child's behaviour. For me, the diagnosis was nothing but relief and a celebration. But for DH it was not that at all.

 

It took about a year, I think, but he finally came around and he is fully on board, proud of his kids, etc. The only advice I have is that this is his journey and you cannot push him through it any faster than he can go. Nagging or criticism will make it worse (not saying you are doing that, but I did). You need to protect your child from his blaming them for their behaviour, but you can do that by making sure he knows that at least ONE parent (you) are a trusting place where he won't be judged. In time, I think your DH will come around. 

 

oh, and one more thing, if you can get him out to a parent support meeting or just surreptitiously get him around another dad or two dealing with the same thing, it would help a LOT. I think part of it is just feeling so alone and not l like "all the other dads and their kids".

I'm crossing my fingers he'll actually show up to the therapy session next Saturday. It's specifically scheduled so that he can come and ask questions. He's been so frustrated lately and hellbent on "DS1 will outgrow it" that he needs to go to this appt. Unfortunately, he does not have a good track record for showing up to therapy. It scares him for a variety of reasons. 

 

I don't nag EVER, which is one reason I believe we've done well thus far. I know I can't make him do anything whether I ask him once or a thousand times. It's his responsibility to follow thru, and they are his emotions. I'm there to support and appropriately remind him, but I don't nag. I try to avoid criticizing, but I know there are things I do that DH wrongly interprets as criticism. It's a difficult balance to find in communication

 

Thanks for the advice/listening ears/not alone shares. 


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#6 of 6 Old 07-22-2013, 12:52 PM
 
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I'm crossing my fingers he'll actually show up to the therapy session next Saturday. It's specifically scheduled so that he can come and ask questions. He's been so frustrated lately and hellbent on "DS1 will outgrow it" that he needs to go to this appt. Unfortunately, he does not have a good track record for showing up to therapy. It scares him for a variety of reasons. 

What kind of therapy session is this?

 

The reason I ask is because what helped DH and I get on the same page was going to couple's therapy / parenting therapy. I gave the psychologist all of DS's reports and then we (DH and I)  met with him on a weekly basis to discuss whatever issues may have come up. It was important that I choose a male therapist so that DH didn't feel ganged up on by women. It helped that the therapist knew exactly what we were dealing with and how those issues affect families and couples. DH is now an advocate for DS and our entire family is functioning much better.

 

PS My DH is my son's step-dad. I have never been able to get my ex to understand or act appropriately regarding DS's needs.


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