How do you love a child that's not easy to love? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 37 Old 09-23-2013, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Please understand I write this with a heavy heart, knowing I should not feel the way I do, and feeling guilty for admitting how I feel, even on an anonymous web forum. I’m a 36 year old mother of two girls, ages 15 and 7. My 15 was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder (APD) last year.

 

You know how there are different kinds of love? I find it hard at times to love my 15 year old. I love both of my girls, but the love I feel towards my 15 yr old is more the motherly duty type of love, and I feel terrible about it.

 

APD makes communicating with my 15 yr old very frustrating at times. There is no cure for APD, only therapy to help mitigate the symptoms. APD also affects her memory, so I will tell her to do something and she’ll forget. I have a hard time figuring out if she didn’t do what she was told to do because she honestly forgot thanks to her APD, or if she’s just being your typical teenager.

 

I constantly struggle with finding a balance between excusing her behavior because she has APD and not letting her use it as a crutch or excuse to slack. I just want to prepare her for the real world and not let her think she can use her APD as a crutch.

 

She gets very good grades in school, all of her teachers love her.  But because she's so smart, that makes it even more frustrating when I have to go over the same things with her over and over again at home.  It would almost be easier if she had a lower IQ.  Then I wouldn't expect so much from her.  I don't understand how the same child that never has to be told to do her homework and always has her school projects done way before deadline is the same child that constantly has to be told to load the dishwasher and takes over an hour to do a chore that should only take 20 minutes.

 

 

Not only that, but she is so unlike me I wonder if she might have been switched at birth. I’m extremely neat and tidy, to the point that clutter gives me anxiety. Messes don’t bother her. She does not like to be touched, she’s not affectionate. I love getting and giving hugs and kisses. One way, however that it’s good she does not take after me is she’s not boy crazy. LOL. And what annoys me is she’ll do things that remind me of her dad, my ex-husband. She has a hard time showing empathy. She told me one time a girl at school was sad because her boyfriend had broken up with her, and my daughter told the girl, “You’ll get over it.” I had to explain to her why the girl got mad at her for saying that.

 

Now, my 7 year old, she’s just like me. Girl already had a boyfriend by the age of 5, just like her momma. (Not a real one, mind you, just the cute, I’m going to grow up and marry him kind of thing). She’s super neat and tidy, can’t have one thing out of place – like her momma. She’s super affectionate and has my smile. The one nice thing about having children is you get to see yourself in them. It so disappointing that I don’t see anything of me in my 15 year old. She’s super good in math and science, which were my two weakest subjects in school. D15 has her dad’s smile, not mine.

 

When I do things for my 7 year old, she gives me the biggest smile, wraps her arms around me and says thank you mommy! When I do things for my 15 year old, she gives a little nod, and might mumble a soft thanks. And this isn’t something she just started when she became a teenager. She’s always been very unaffectionate, so unenthusiastic in her responses. She was so lacking in emotional response, I even had her tested for autism.

 

I realize some of this might just be her personality, but it is so hard to love someone like this. I feel guilty at times for feeling this way, but deep down inside I love my 7 year old more than my 15 year old. I even find myself trying to compensate by giving my 15 year old more attention and time, but her lack of response makes me regret even putting forth the effort.

 

I know there are mothers out there that deal with far worse, with autistic children that are completely nonverbal, that lack any emotional response whatsoever. Or children that suffer from emotional issues that are angry and even violent. So my question for the special needs parents is, how do you love a child that is not so easy to love?

 

How do you find love for a child that takes so much out of you and gives so little back?


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#2 of 37 Old 09-23-2013, 10:04 PM
 
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All I can really say is that even really difficult children have their moments. You just have to make sure you don't miss them. Let go of preconceived ideas, and assume she's doing the best she can and do not take it personally.
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#3 of 37 Old 09-24-2013, 12:03 AM
 
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You fake it until it's so much a part of your corporate memory that it feels real.  And you look for the good moments. 

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#4 of 37 Old 09-24-2013, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies.  I think always assuming that she's doing the best she can will help me.

 

I just wish she was more affectionate.  I mean, it really hurts when I put my arms around her and she'll stand there with her arms at her sides.  *sigh*


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#5 of 37 Old 09-24-2013, 07:39 AM
 
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Hi Amber! You could be describing me as your daughter. My mom has always had the same complaints about me as you have about your daughter. She said I never was an affectionate child and honestly I can't remember the last time I hugged her. I hug  my children but sometimes I just tolerate it because I don't want to hurt their feelings. I will hug my grandmother and a few other people out of social obligation but I only enjoying hugging my husband and my children (like I said, sometimes I just tolerate it, it's a sensory issue). I am a Geochemist. My mom sucks at math and science. I was a wild teenager and loved to party. My mom was the opposite. My aunt describes us as oil and water! My mom obviously liked my sister better than me but I don't think she loved us any differently. It never really mattered to me that my mom liked my sister better. It sounds ugly to admit but I thought they were both irrational, overly emotional train wrecks LOL Our brains are just wired differently. My mom finally just accepted who I was and it's kind of funny because now she brags about all my accomplishments as a scientist to her friends.

 

I want to warn you about projecting dislike for your ex onto your daughter because I picked up a little of that.

 

Now I have five kids, three are daughters. The oldest and youngest daughters are like me but the middle is not. I have always loved them all the same but I have not always liked them all the same. I am getting better at accepting middle daughter. My problem with her is that she is overly emotional. Sounds like we need to trade daughters! I have had to control myself from saying things like "are you really crying over that" and learn to accept her feelings as valid regardless of how ridiculous they seem to me. So it's really an exercise in learning how to accept your daughter and her differences. You need to get over wanting her to be like you. 

 

As far as the APD, both my boys have it. If I need to make sure that they processed what I said I just check in with them. "Do you understand what I want you to do?" "Did you get all of that?" Those questions are usually good enough to have them clarify by repeating back to me what I said. Regarding the dishwasher, my oldest DD is 16 and it plays out in my house just like it does in yours so that might just be a teen girl thing. My 13 year old DS with APD always empties the dish washer when I ask, he just complains about having to do it while he does it LOL


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#6 of 37 Old 09-24-2013, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Pattimomma!

 

Thanks for your reply, it's so great to hear from another parent who has APD children.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by pattimomma View Post
 

You need to get over wanting her to be like you.

 

 

I understand what you are saying, but it’s not so much that I want her to be like me, but that I want her to have my good traits, like neatness and organization, and not have her dad’s bad traits, like laziness and making excuses for himself.

 

Quote:

As far as the APD, both my boys have it. If I need to make sure that they processed what I said I just check in with them. "Do you understand what I want you to do?" "Did you get all of that?" Those questions are usually good enough to have them clarify by repeating back to me what I said. Regarding the dishwasher, my oldest DD is 16 and it plays out in my house just like it does in yours so that might just be a teen girl thing. My 13 year old DS with APD always empties the dish washer when I ask, he just complains about having to do it while he does it LOL

 

I try to make sure she's heard what I've said, but she gets such an attitude when I try this.  Even when I'm just talking to her, she has this way of making you feel like you're annoying her.  I just say her name and she'll say "what?" in such an annoyed voice it ruins your whole day. 

I try to get her to say good morning, or hello and you'd think I'd ask her to cut off one of her arms.

I’m glad to hear at least she’s not the only one that takes forever to do the dishwasher.

 


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#7 of 37 Old 09-24-2013, 10:10 AM
 
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Similar differences here between BigGirl, 18, and me. Different in every way. our relationship has been distant (in some ways) since she was a toddler. I am the science nerd, she loves politics and business. She has always dressed conservative-business style, I am pure hippie. I am minimalist, content to make less money, she dreams of being the wealthy CEO of  a Fortune 500 company. We are only coming into a comfortable stage now - I think it is because we are relating as friends, as 2 adults, rather than mother/daughter. I have always loved her, but for years received little in return. Only in the last year or 2 does she respond when I say, "I love you".

 

One thing that seems to have helped is we found an activity we both genuinely enjoy. We go to antique shops together - more like a museum experience than shopping, as we never buy anything. But we both are there because we want to be - it is neither a Mom activity I have dragged her along to, nor a "kiddie" activity created for her amusement. We also go to museums - I am a museum addict. My son and I do the science museum, my daughter and I do the art museum. These are sincere pleasures for us, all the more special because they are shared, but things we would do individually.

 

I am not suggesting museums or antique stores in particular. But isn't there some activity you could share with your 15 year old, that you would both get excited about? Sports, gourmet cooking, dance, knitting, a book club? Maybe something that wouldn't interest the little one - not to exclude her, as much as building a personal relationship. Avoid using this time for teaching or preaching - really just let yourself enjoy her. And give her a chance to get to know you - as a person, not a mom.

 

I think the secret with teens is to build a relationship like you would with any respected friend - based on mutual interests, shared values, etc.


Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#8 of 37 Old 09-24-2013, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Those are some great suggestions, thanks!

 

We both like to read, we read the Hunger Games books and that was a great bonding experience.

She has been asking me to read the Thirst series, I read the first chapter of the first book and did not like it so I stopped reading it,

but if it's something that will bring us closer I just need to suck it up and make an effort.

 

Question for you - when she wouldn't reply when you said "I love you", how did you keep that from hurting you?


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#9 of 37 Old 09-24-2013, 11:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amber3902 View Post
 

 

I understand what you are saying, but it’s not so much that I want her to be like me, but that I want her to have my good traits, like neatness and organization, and not have her dad’s bad traits, like laziness and making excuses for himself.

She's doing well in school so she isn't lazy. She just isn't motivated when it comes to the other issues. So maybe come up with some ideas to motivate her (my daughter always gets motivated by $$$)

 

I try to make sure she's heard what I've said, but she gets such an attitude when I try this.  Even when I'm just talking to her, she has this way of making you feel like you're annoying her.  I just say her name and she'll say "what?" in such an annoyed voice it ruins your whole day. 

It's a fine line and hard at first but you will figure out how to clarify that she has understood without her thinking that you are being patronizing (I assume that is why she is responding that way. You probably aren't being that way at all but that's what she might think). My oldest DS would get furious with us for repeating ourselves so the 'check in' works for my family. Since she is a straight forward, cut and dried type you can just lay it out in black and white for her and tell her that since she doesn't like you checking to see if she has understood then you are just going to assume that she has. The 'check in' is for her protection and if she doesn't want it that's her choice. She is going to be an adult soon and needs to learn what she needs and how to advocate for herself. Nobody at her college is going to be checking in so she is going to need to initiate clarification.

I try to get her to say good morning, or hello and you'd think I'd ask her to cut off one of her arms.

Do you get the eye roll too? :eyesrollI think you have a standard teenage daughter. Hell if she hasn't called you a bitch yet then you are doing something wrong! :winkDon't take it personally.

I’m glad to hear at least she’s not the only one that takes forever to do the dishwasher.

It's not just dishes. The cat litter box! OMG DD got grounded because I asked her to clean the cat litter box out for 3 days in a row before she finally did it. She was always "too busy" or "she forgot".

 

 

I love mamarhu's suggestion of a common activity!

 

 

ETA: Something I just thought of - Your DD probably realizes that she is different from you and her sister. From experience it is hard being in a family with people who are so different from you. Also how much does she understand about her APD? Has she read her eval? DS sometimes makes a joke out of it. He knows that one of his ears processes better than the other so when I say something he doesn't want to hear. He will joke and say "I can't hear you, that's my bad ear" and then he laughs!


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#10 of 37 Old 09-24-2013, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, money and taking away the cell phone usually motivates her.

About her learning about her APD, it's been a learning experience for both of us. She goes to OT every month and fortunately the therapist knows quite a bit about APD.

>>My oldest DS would get furious with us for repeating ourselves so the 'check in' works for my family. Since she is a straight forward, cut and dried type you can just lay it out in black and white for her and tell her that since she doesn't like you checking to see if she has understood then you are just going to assume that she has. The 'check in' is for her protection and if she doesn't want it that's her choice.<<

So when you do this method, and just assume that she's just heard you, what should the consequence be when she claims she didn't hear you tell her to pick her jacket up off the floor, or she forgot to wipe off the table, even after you've told her?

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#11 of 37 Old 09-24-2013, 01:10 PM
 
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This is where I would need more info about her APD. My oldest DS has a really hard time hearing anything let alone processing it in an environment with background noise. So if we are kayaking on the river I can safely assume that he is probably not hearing (doesn't even know that I was talking) me because of the sound of the water, TV on, other kids making noise, he might not hear me. But other times he hears me but doesn't process what I said. So the question is did she not hear you or can she hear just fine so that is an excuse. She might hear you but didn't process the request and since she doesn't want the "check in" then she needs to learn to ask you to repeat yourself. She heard your voice so she knows you said something but she needs to follow up with, "were you talking to me? what did you say?"

 

With my younger DS, I don't do the check in, I just repeat the request and make sure that he is making eye contact. Could her not hearing you be an attention problem at all? I have to make sure the boys are paying attention when I speak hence the eye contact with younger DS. If I was vacuuming and said "Pick up your jacket" to DS's side or back (no eye contact) he wouldn't have a clue that I asked him to do anything. If you eat dinner as a family, as dinner is coming to a close, make eye contact with DD and state the request, I need you to wipe the table after it is cleared but before you start homework, watch TV whatever, so you gave it a time frame to be completed in. Sometimes "give me your phone and I will give it back to you as soon as you finish wiping the table" gets the table done on time. The consequence really has to depend on the severity of the issue. If the jacket is on the floor in her room, let it go. If it is on the floor in the foyer it has to be picked up. If she says I didn't hear you, you could say well you are hearing me now so are you going to take care of it now? If she still doesn't take care of it then consequence. But don't pick up the jacket first and then say you didn't pick up your jacket. It's hard to really say what might work for a kid I haven't met shrug.gif

 

What does she go to OT for? If it's sensory, have you talked to the OT about the hugs? Maybe you shouldn't be trying to hug her. I promise you that for me sometimes I just want to scream because I am over stimulated and someone wants to freaking touch me!


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#12 of 37 Old 09-25-2013, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The OT therapist has her do bal a vis x exercises to help the two sides of her brain talk to each other.

I will have to ask her about the hugs, but I doubt there’s anything she’ll be able to do about it.  I understand it may be some kind of sensory issue, but it’s so hard to accept how unaffectionate she is.

 

DD has an auditory integration deficit and an auditory decoding/closure deficit.  So yes, she has a hard time hearing things when there is a lot of background noise.  I try to make sure I have eye contact before giving her directions.  

I have a bad memory also, so I’ve come up with little tricks to help me.  I tell her to try my tricks, but she doesn’t follow them.

For example, I tell her to always carry her purse with her.  That way she can just throw whatever she needs in it, keys, phone, money, etc. and when it’s time to go, all she has to do is grab her purse and go.  We get in the car and I look and no purse.  Okay, I’ve given up that fight, but it’s so infuriating that she doesn’t use any of my suggestions.

Part of my desire to have everything neat and put away is because I lose things so easily.  She’s always losing stuff so I tell her if she kept her room organized and put things away when she’s done with them she’d be able to find them.  You think she would learn?  Nope.  Her room is always a mess.   

The dishes has been a constant struggle that has been going on for years.  She is always leaving stuff, like food or dishes on the table or counters.  I tell her to clear the table off completely, fill up the dishwasher, wipe the table and counters.  Every day without fail there is some piece that’s not completed.

You would think after four years of doing the dishes she’d get it by now.  No.  She finishes doing the dishes and I’ll come behind her and discover she’s left a cup on the table, she hasn’t wiped the stove off.    I tell her if she does the steps the way I’ve outlined them for her, she wouldn’t forget things on the table or stove.

I’ve written the steps down for her.  She still doesn’t do it.  I do the dishes with her for a few days, but as soon as I let her do it all on her own she misses something again. 

I don't understand how someone so smart can do things that are so dumb.  I always keep my bath towel on the bottom rung in the bathroom.  I go to use my towel, and it's wet because she's used it.  I go over it with her, DD, your towel is on this rung, the middle rung, my towel is on the bottom rung.  A few days past, and she uses my towel again.  I go over it AGAIN with her, here's my towel, here's your towel.  A week will past, and then she'll use my towel AGAIN!

Seriously, it took a YEAR of me daily showing her how to make her bed up before she was able to make her bed up correctly.  And no one is able to explain to me how she can be so responsible and smart in school, but when she comes home it's like she left her brain at school.

Since she forget to do things I tell her to do, I tell her to do them as soon as I tell her.  Example, she did not clean out a pot that was left on the stove.  So I had to call her back into the kitchen to do it.  I told her DD I need you to clean out this pot. She starts wiping the counter off and doing everything but what I told her to do.  Next thing I know she’s back upstairs and the pot STILL isn’t cleaned.  I have to call her back downstairs to do the pot, which should have been done with the rest of the dishes in the first place.

That’s what’s so infuriating about her.  If she just did what I told her to do as soon as I told her, she wouldn’t forget.  And she never does anything the way I show her!  It’s not so much my way or the highway, but I know what’s it’s like to have a bad memory.  I’ve come up with systems that work!  But she never uses them! 

And she always has this "I don't care" attitude, which makes me feel like I'm never getting through to her.  The only time I've seen any emotion come out of this child was when I took away her phone.


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#13 of 37 Old 09-25-2013, 01:31 PM
 
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Besides APD what are DD's other diagnoses? I feel like I am missing the big picture. "bal a vis x exercises to help the two sides of her brain talk to each other" -What's that about?

 

I see a lot of red flags for problems with executive functioning and it sounds like you both have working memory issues.

 

I'm starting to wonder if maybe the reason problems seem more apparent at home than at school is because she spends the whole day at school working really hard to compensate for her disabilities then she is just exhausted when she comes home. So she just lets go and relaxes at home. At home she doesn't care because she doesn't have enough energy left to care. I know you said she was evaluated for autism and doesn't have it but I was reminded of this documentary http://www.pbs.org/pov/neurotypical/ In it an autistic adult male explains how he works hard all day while he is out in public and at his job to function as a nuerotypical person. He explains what a relief it is to come home and just relax, be himself and let all the expectations of how he should act, which are contrary to how he is wired, just go away. 


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#14 of 37 Old 09-25-2013, 06:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amber3902 View Post

 

I’ve written the steps down for her.  She still doesn’t do it.  I do the dishes with her for a few days, but as soon as I let her do it all on her own she misses something again. 

try drawing a picture to go with each step. She might think more in pictures than in words.

Seriously, it took a YEAR of me daily showing her how to make her bed up before she was able to make her bed up correctly.  And no one is able to explain to me how she can be so responsible and smart in school, but when she comes home it's like she left her brain at school.

At some point, did they use a reward system to teach her the steps? Sometimes, school is more predictable with clear and frequent rewards.

That’s what’s so infuriating about her.  If she just did what I told her to do as soon as I told her, she wouldn’t forget.  And she never does anything the way I show her!  It’s not so much my way or the highway, but I know what’s it’s like to have a bad memory.  I’ve come up with systems that work!  But she never uses them! 

She is a teenage girl, and you are her mother. Part of her drive right now is just to separate from you and do things differently than you. Rather than dictate how she should do things, try to brain storm with her and have her come up with her own way to remember what to do and how to do it. Some of what you are describing is typical teenager stuff -- it all runs together. It's to help us get ready to let them go when they grow up. This way, we WANT them to move out or go off to college. bag.gif

And she always has this "I don't care" attitude, which makes me feel like I'm never getting through to her.  The only time I've seen any emotion come out of this child was when I took away her phone.

 

I have a DD who is very emotionally flat and it can be a disheartening thing to live with. I agree about finding a common activity, or taking time to go out to Startbucks together. Talk to her about what SHE is interested in, or what Youtube videos she likes. Find positive things to say about her favorite band. My DD is an avid reader, and I asked her to recommend books to me that she thought I might like. It gave us something to talk about and helped bring us closer together. Taking time away from the whole "I'm your mother so I have to figure out how to have you turn out to be a responsible adult" thing and just enjoying her as a person might help pivot the relationship a bit.

I've felt many of the things you are feeling, and I found a way to move past them. I'm not sure how.  Making Peace With What Is may be one of those things we all have to figure out for ourselves. Special needs aside, I think all mothers of teen girls need to find their own center and figure out what they need to do to stay there (for me, it is yoga). Teen girls tend to be masters at knocking their moms from their centers.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#15 of 37 Old 09-25-2013, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The OT has her do the bal a vis x exercises.  The way the OT explained it, DD has APD because the two sides of her brain don't talk to each other well.  So the exercises are to help the two sides of the brain talk to each other.

 

It took two years to get the diagnosis of APD.  From when she was very little, I noticed she had a hard time following directions and whenever she needed to relay a message from the teacher she could never get the story straight.  I would always have to call the teacher myself to get the correct information.  People told me she would out grow this.  The school counselor she thought DD had had ADHD, but since she was getting good grades and wasn't a behavior problem, didn't need medication.

 

Fast forward to age 10 and I realized she was NOT out growing her problems.  I took her to the doctor who told me to have the school do a  psycho-educational examination.  After fighting with the school they finally agreed to test her for an IEP.  They tested and said, yep nothing's wrong with her.  They had their specialist test her for autism, which came back negative.  The teachers at the school made me feel like I had that mental illness where mothers make their children sick just to get attention.

 

But I knew something was wrong with her, so I started researching her symptoms on my own.  I checked out books from the library, went on online forums.  I had begun to suspect she had APD.  Finally got her to see a developmental pediatrician, who by the way did mention something about executive functioning, but our main focus at the time was APD.  I finally got a referral to a speech therapist and an audiologist.  The audiologist confirmed that she did have APD.  Between waiting for appointments, getting on the waiting list for appointments and waiting for test results, by the time she was finally diagnosed my DD was 14.

 

Once she got the diagnosis the referring doctor referred us to the OT for treatment of the APD.  It was such a struggle to get anyone to take my complaints about her seriously, the teachers at school were like "I can't believe you're requesting an IEP for DD, she's so smart", even a so called friend of mine told me to "stop trying to find something wrong with her".  It was a very trying time to even get the diagnosis of APD. 

 

I guess now I'm going to have learn about executive functioning, since that isn't the first time I've heard that suggested about her.  But what's so annoying is, there is no cure for any of this stuff.  I wish she could just take a pill like ADHD kids, at least to lesson the severity of her symptoms.  Your explanation that maybe she just lets go when she's home makes sense.  But unfortunately it doesn't make life any easier for me.  Should I be more lax on her then?  When I was her age I had to clean the entire house, vacuuming, cleaning all the bathroom, sweeping, mopping, dusting, two nights a week I cooked dinner for a family of four, and did all my own laundry.  When she gets home all she has to do is the dishes.  Once a week she has to vacuum her room and the FROG, and empty all the trash in the house.  I really didn't think that was too much.


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#16 of 37 Old 09-26-2013, 02:16 AM
 
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I guess now I'm going to have learn about executive functioning, since that isn't the first time I've heard that suggested about her.  But what's so annoying is, there is no cure for any of this stuff.  I wish she could just take a pill like ADHD kids, at least to lesson the severity of her symptoms.  

 

You know mama, if its been a few years since her last eval, you might want to have her looked at again. Puberty can change things. Evaluations can vary widely in their depth and quality. She sounds exactly, like to a T, my own 15 yr old DS who has APD and mild PDD-NOS and we are suspecting a bit of ADHD as well. He is gifted and has always excelled at school. At home I have to say the same things again and again and again. He can't remember to put his clothes away, his dishes away, or even throw his garbage in the garbage can! He loads the dishwasher and cleans the kitchen exactly like your DD. He has mannerisms that remind me badly of my XH and trigger some traumatic memories for me (I have PTSD due to his abuse) and even though my DS is a sweetheart, if he looks at me a certain way or uses a certain tone it can send me through the roof. I have to work hard not react. 

 

As to the part of you post I quoted, I wanted to share that my 17 yr old who has Aspergers and ADHD (and didn't get that diagnosis until his teens despite us starting evals at age 4!) takes ADHD meds which do help his executive function. The first time he took them was the first time he was able to clean his room. He told me "Mom! I can think clearly for the first time in my whole life! I feel like I could clean this whole house!" He loaded the dishwasher as well that day, something I had been trying to teach him for a YEAR to do. He still struggles with executive function and working memory but he is so much more functional on ADHD meds tha without. I am thinking that despite my 15 yr old's success in school that he may have ADHD as well and I'd like to see if he responds positively to ADHD meds. When they diagnosed my oldest, they did a full neuro-psych evaluation at a teaching hospital, and it included educational testing. There was a big disparity between his processing speed and his overall intelligence which is a marker for ADHD, as is trouble with working memory. In other words, he was way too smart to be responding so slow! Just how I feel about the way they act at home, ironically!

 

As far as not feeling the love, I hear ya. I have three kids with special needs and I know its entirely possible to love your child but feel disconnected from that at times. I find parenting my SN sons so exhausting and exasperating that there are times I can't find the love in me. I just want to lay on my bed and cry and curse God (and I do!). But the moments pass and we move on, and later we might be laughing. I cherish the things we can connect with one another on. We tend to laugh at the same things, so that is one place where we can bond. Lately my 15 yr old likes to discuss current events and I try to take some time and focus on his ideas which are pretty brilliant. He is so sweet and his heart is in the right place even when he's bumbling about the house dropping his stuff all over or forgetting our rules and routines over and over. He just started running cross country this year and I am so proud of him. He isn't very fast, but he runs hard and finishes every race. I think just finding anything positive that you can hang onto helps get you through the rough times. And recognizing that its normal to have some really dark feelings. Its unreal what we have to endure some days. And I also try to keep in mind that a lot of these feelings are normal for any parent of a teenager. They can be really hard to love! I saw a book once about raising teens called, "How to Hug a Porcupine" LOL. It makes it 100X worse when they have developmental issues, or mood issues, or communications issues, but its somewhat comforting to me to know that all teens get prickly and hard to connect with at a certain point. 


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Hi Amber, You might be interested in these links:

Executive Functioning and Working Memory http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/executive-function-disorders

Helping your teen learn self advocacy http://www.ncld.org/ld-insights/blogs/help-teens-self-advocate

 

My boys use these programs:

Integrated Listening Systems http://www.integratedlistening.com/what-is-ils/

Fast ForWord http://www.scilearn.com/products/

 

This could be very helpful for her at school, my boys (APD) have this as well:

Hearing Assistive Technology (HATS) for Children http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/hearing-assistive-technology-for-children/

 

Are you in the USA?


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Taking time away from the whole "I'm your mother so I have to figure out how to have you turn out to be a responsible adult" thing and just enjoying her as a person might help pivot the relationship a bit.

Good point, Linda.  I’m afraid I may have overdone it in that regard.  I think I’m going to take a step back from doing that so much.

I will also try your suggestion of using pictures instead of words for instructions.   I’ll see if that helps.

He has mannerisms that remind me badly of my XH and trigger some traumatic memories for me (I have PTSD due to his abuse) and even though my DS is a sweetheart, if he looks at me a certain way or uses a certain tone it can send me through the roof. I have to work hard not react. 

Yes, DD will say and do things that remind me of her father, who was very verbally abusive to me.  I try not to see him in her, but sometimes it happens.

Thanks, Earthmama for your reply. 

“How to Hug a Porcupine”  LOL.  Yeah, that’s how I feel at times.  Like you say, I need to focus on the good times and the positive qualities she has. 

Quote:

“I think just finding anything positive that you can hang onto helps get you through the rough times.”

Good point.

After reading your post I think it is time to reconsider ADHD for her.  I’ll start doing some research on them, but can you recommend any that don’t have that many adverse side effects? 


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Thanks for all those links, Pattimoma,

I'm already doing soem of the tips listed on the teen learn self advocacy website with DD.

 

Yes, I'm in the states.  I tried to get an IEP for DD, but she didn't qualify.

 

It was only after I got the diagnosis from an audiologist for APD and showed the school her report that

I was able to get a 504 plan for DD.  Frankly, that whole process was so draining I don't know if

I want to go through any more of that.

 

We did see a psychologist briefly at one point, so I'll make an apointment with him again to discuss ADHD meds.

Quote:

he was way too smart to be responding so slow!

 

I say the same thing about my DD - she moves so SLOW it's infuritiating!


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#20 of 37 Old 09-29-2013, 03:36 PM
 
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I understand what you are saying, but it’s not so much that I want her to be like me, but that I want her to have my good traits, like neatness and organization, and not have her dad’s bad traits, like laziness and making excuses for himself.

 

Consider for a moment that it's not an excuse, her brain actually works that way.  I try to take people at face value, not projecting bad motives on them.

 

I try to make sure she's heard what I've said, but she gets such an attitude when I try this.  Even when I'm just talking to her, she has this way of making you feel like you're annoying her.  I just say her name and she'll say "what?" in such an annoyed voice it ruins your whole day. 

You're being too sensitive.

I try to get her to say good morning, or hello and you'd think I'd ask her to cut off one of her arms.

That's because you are trying to take away her autonomy.  Autonomy is everything.  Without it, nothing else matters, you're not even a real person.

You have to earn affection, because if she doesn't WANT to give it, it isn't real, it isn't genuine, and that feels yucky. 

You should read the Love Languages books.  It's about the different ways people experience love. 

 


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#21 of 37 Old 09-29-2013, 04:31 PM
 
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I have one child who is quite difficult and trying most times. I can never tell if he is "messing up" on purpose or if he is missing something about the way the world works. He's 17 and it's touch and go a lot of days still.

The only wisdom I have gleaned is this ...

the children who are the most difficult to love often need our love the most.

I have found this to be true in my scout troops, in volunteering at schools and as a teacher. Do your best. Take breaks when you need them. And be there for those kids. An understanding adult is often the true connection some of these difficult kids get. Maybe even their only lifeline.
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#22 of 37 Old 09-30-2013, 05:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When I say I don’t want her to make excuses for herself, I mean, when I tell her she didn’t make her bed up, instead of her saying, oh, sure I’ll do it right now, she has all these excuses why she didn’t do it.

This is what her dad would do.  When I would tell him he didn’t pay the light bill, he’d have all these excuses, and meanwhile, we're sitting in the dark.  I’m not trying to project any bad motives on her, I just want her take responsibility for herself.

And I really don’t get how her not saying hello is taking away her autonomy.  It’s not like I’m asking her to do something impossible.  I’m not asking her to climb Mount Everest, or run a marathon.  I’m just asking her to open her mouth and speak.  She certainly has no problem doing it on the phone with her friends.

I do agree with you that affection has to be earned and has to be genuine.


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I have one child who is quite difficult and trying most times. I can never tell if he is "messing up" on purpose or if he is missing something about the way the world works.

That's exactly what I struggle with.  I wish she had a twin I could compare her with, so I could tell if it's just normal teenage behavior or not.


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After reading your post I think it is time to reconsider ADHD for her.  I’ll start doing some research on them, but can you recommend any that don’t have that many adverse side effects? 

My DS has taken Concerta and Focalin with good results. The only issue we've had is if he doesn't take it early enough, he has a hard time falling asleep. This was more an issue in the summer when he'd sleep in and then take it. He has grown just fine and it doesn't trigger his anxiety. It actually has leveled out his moods considerably since it helps him think more clearly and control his impulses when he does get upset. His ADHD med is not the only med he takes though. He is also on an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer for his anxiety and mood swings. 


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My DS has taken Concerta and Focalin with good results. The only issue we've had is if he doesn't take it early enough, he has a hard time falling asleep. This was more an issue in the summer when he'd sleep in and then take it. He has grown just fine and it doesn't trigger his anxiety. It actually has leveled out his moods considerably since it helps him think more clearly and control his impulses when he does get upset. His ADHD med is not the only med he takes though. He is also on an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer for his anxiety and mood swings. 

 

Thanks.  I've made an appointment with a psychiatrist.  So far what I've read about ADHD meds it seems Concerta would be the best bet, since it last the longest.  It just seems like by the end of the day her brain is just toast.  We'll see what happens.  I just hope the drug isn't too expensive.


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I haven't been part of this dialogue, but, I just wanted to point out, probably what you already know, but that if she functions well in school and can organize herself well there, she does NOT have ADHD.  Contemplating giving her a medication to help her function better at home seems counterintuitive to me.  Children use the medication to help them keep it together at school and then, the meds naturally wear off at the end of the day, causing behavioral issues at home.  Therefore, i'm not sure what your aim would be in seeking a medication for her.

 

I'd like to gently point out that you may want to consider that your own reactions to your daughter and how they trigger your memories of her father's behavior is making this time of her life, adolescence, harder for you BOTH.  Of course, you want her to take care of her own plates, and make her bed, and remember what you tell her to do.  Yes, you have found ways to help yourself with your own need for organization as you have indicated that this is hard for you too.  So, for her to rely on you to organize her as well, must be very draining for YOU.  But, she isn't YOU, nor is she her dad.  She is making mistakes, with you, the safest most loving person in her life.  The question is, how do you encourage her cooperation in the household in ways that actually WORK for her HER.  Have you ever asked HER what would help her and motivate her cooperation since it is so important to you that she learn this? 

 

I don't know this for sure of course, because we are all strangers on the internet, but, could it help if you took it easier on both yourself and your daughter?  There's nothing wrong with having high standards for household organization and cleanliness.  I'm the same way.  But, I acknowledge that most people don't care as much as I do.  Often mothers and daughters feel alienated and misunderstood by each other at this adolescent phase.  All her quirks will bug you, all YOUR quirks will bug her.  She is disorganized at home, but she may feel YOU are a neatnic.....you know what I mean ;)  I know I am!  You have to be open to any critique she has of you.  It may be operating two ways here.

 

I hope that you can sort this out so that you all can have harmony in the house. 

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#27 of 37 Old 10-02-2013, 07:49 AM
 
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I haven't been part of this dialogue, but, I just wanted to point out, probably what you already know, but that if she functions well in school and can organize herself well there, she does NOT have ADHD.  Contemplating giving her a medication to help her function better at home seems counterintuitive to me.  Children use the medication to help them keep it together at school and then, the meds naturally wear off at the end of the day, causing behavioral issues at home.  Therefore, i'm not sure what your aim would be in seeking a medication for her.

 

I'd like to gently point out that you may want to consider that your own reactions to your daughter and how they trigger your memories of her father's behavior is making this time of her life, adolescence, harder for you BOTH.  Of course, you want her to take care of her own plates, and make her bed, and remember what you tell her to do.  Yes, you have found ways to help yourself with your own need for organization as you have indicated that this is hard for you too.  So, for her to rely on you to organize her as well, must be very draining for YOU.  But, she isn't YOU, nor is she her dad.  She is making mistakes, with you, the safest most loving person in her life.  The question is, how do you encourage her cooperation in the household in ways that actually WORK for her HER.  Have you ever asked HER what would help her and motivate her cooperation since it is so important to you that she learn this? 

 

I don't know this for sure of course, because we are all strangers on the internet, but, could it help if you took it easier on both yourself and your daughter?  There's nothing wrong with having high standards for household organization and cleanliness.  I'm the same way.  But, I acknowledge that most people don't care as much as I do.  Often mothers and daughters feel alienated and misunderstood by each other at this adolescent phase.  All her quirks will bug you, all YOUR quirks will bug her.  She is disorganized at home, but she may feel YOU are a neatnic.....you know what I mean ;)  I know I am!  You have to be open to any critique she has of you.  It may be operating two ways here.

 

I hope that you can sort this out so that you all can have harmony in the house. 

:yeah

 

My son is diagnosed with ADHD and we tried concerta, vyvanse eventually settling on vayarin. The stimulants caused way more harm than good. Sure he could focus and keep the entire house immaculate (it was kinda scary, he reminded me of a friend's mom who would take illegal meth so that she could deep clean her whole house in a day) but he couldn't sleep, lost weight, the med crash in the evening was a freaking nightmare and at one point he started hallucinating probably because he couldn't sleep. Doc said we could opt for drugs to help him sleep but I just pulled him off the stimulants and went with the vayarin. Unlike Earthmama's child, it did make my son more anxious and OCD. I second everything livinglife said, she made some excellent points. The thing that helped me the most when my son was being difficult was to remember that the only person I could change was myself. 

 

Are you going to the psychologist for a diagnosis only? Where I live a psychologist cannot prescribe medication.


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Therefore, i'm not sure what your aim would be in seeking a medication for her.

 

I just want her to do all of the dishes, without me having to tell her she forgot to wipe the table off, she forgot to clean this pot, etc.  And if there's a medicine she can take that will help her remember, I'll try it.  I've tried everything else, including natural supplements for memory, writing things down, doing the steps with her.

 

I'd like to gently point out that you may want to consider that your own reactions to your daughter and how they trigger your memories of her father's behavior is making this time of her life, adolescence, harder for you BOTH.  Of course, you want her to take care of her own plates, and make her bed, and remember what you tell her to do.  Yes, you have found ways to help yourself with your own need for organization as you have indicated that this is hard for you too.  So, for her to rely on you to organize her as well, must be very draining for YOU.  But, she isn't YOU, nor is she her dad.  She is making mistakes, with you, the safest most loving person in her life.  The question is, how do you encourage her cooperation in the household in ways that actually WORK for her HER.  Have you ever asked HER what would help her and motivate her cooperation since it is so important to you that she learn this? 

 

Good question and the answer is no.  I will definitely ask her what she thinks would help her remember.

 

I don't know this for sure of course, because we are all strangers on the internet, but, could it help if you took it easier on both yourself and your daughter?  There's nothing wrong with having high standards for household organization and cleanliness.  I'm the same way.  But, I acknowledge that most people don't care as much as I do.  Often mothers and daughters feel alienated and misunderstood by each other at this adolescent phase.  All her quirks will bug you, all YOUR quirks will bug her.  She is disorganized at home, but she may feel YOU are a neatnic.....you know what I mean ;)  I know I am!  You have to be open to any critique she has of you.  It may be operating two ways here.

 

I know I am a neat freak.  I try not to harp on her if her room is not perfectly clean, even though it does bother me.  Yes, clutter actually gives me anxiety.  I try to just deal with it, and ignore the mess in her room.  If I am expecting too much of her, I'm willing to consider that possibility.  But I really don't think I'm asking for too much.  Just to do the dishes every day, without me having to go behind her, especially since she is so able to function in school.

 

I hope that you can sort this out so that you all can have harmony in the house.   Thanks.  I'm open to any and all suggestions.  I'm on here, looking for help, so I don't take out my frustrations on my daughter.


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Are you going to the psychologist for a diagnosis only? Where I live a psychologist cannot prescribe medication.

 

Sorry!  I meant to say the doctor we're seeing is a psychiatrist, not psychologist. 


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#30 of 37 Old 10-02-2013, 05:13 PM
 
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To answer your original question, of how do you love someone when they give you so little back....?

 

She has certainly taught you an enormous amount.  How has she taught you?  I'd guess she taught you patience, understanding, and how to receive and give love in unfamiliar uncomfortable ways.   My son has taught me that I can sometimes be impatient, lack understanding and tolerance.  By acknowledging that in myself I admit that I am human.  I forgive myself.  I am less hard on myself and more compassionate toward others.  And, I try to use that to bring out the BEST of myself even when I feel like I want to be sad or frustrated instead.  In this way I have gained strength of character.  I would guess the same to be true for you too. 

 

My son, who IS on the spectrum, who can be flat in vocal tone, has taught me that LOVE can look different to different people but still be loving. 

 

So, instead of a hug after the end of the day, he may need a quiet room, curled up cozy with a blanket to listen to a book on cd, which for him, is the most loving thing I can do for him, and FEELS better then a hug.  He may show me love back by telling me about his school work and friends because I like to know about his day. Of course, I'd rather have a hug but I'll take what he gives.

 

Ask yourself, is your daughter already pleasing you, giving you love, in ways that are not exactly what you hope for, but are her ways of showing it? 

 

It feels like you are hoping she will show LOVE for you by doing these things in the house.  Is there a hint of emotional truth in that?  If so, look inside your heart and ask yourself if you want her to learn responsibility or if this has more to do with you feeling unloved. 

 

We all hope to be loved by our children and loved well and deeply, but, you don't get to decide what that love looks like all alone.  You decide together. 

 

Have you ever told her that you get anxious when things are not tidy?  Have you ever told her that it would make you happy and proud for her to learn the life skills needed to take care of herself in the house?  If these conversations with your daughter would feel too hard, consider taking them to a counselor.  They are important.  Your love with your children is life long.  She will grow and leave home soon, and, I'm sure you want to feel close, otherwise, you wouldn't be writing about this :) 

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