my 8yo son brings out the WORST in me... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 08-17-2010, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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when he goes to his dad's for the weekend, i feel like such a good mom...even tempered, the house is peaceful (even with 3 other littles underfoot). then monday (or tuesday, as was the case this week) comes around and DS1 comes home... we might make it a few hours but then *WHAM!* the fighting with siblings, arguing with me, begging, pleading, not listening, outright disrespect and physical outbursts begin and i find myself yelling and then wanting to curl up in a ball and cry because i SUCK at being HIS mom.

today it was a ridiculous thing that started the whole "bad day" experience. DS1 is playing a game on my laptop. he carries the thing to the living room where DS2 and DS3 are watching PBS. DS1 starts yelling at them to turn off the tv (because he's playing a computer game). DS2 starts crying and DS1 continues yelling. i holler at him to come here so i can tell him "you can't just go in there and demand that they turn off the tv just because you are playing a game. you can go somewhere else if you want quiet." he doesn't even hear that i am speaking to him. so i have to haul my preggo self up and go in there. i can't even get a word in edgewise, cuz it's "but...but...he won't...i'm trying to..." so i slam the laptop shut to get his attention and he storms out, goes to his room, slams the door, starts yelling and throwing things. i still can't talk to him through the door and i try to open it and he slams it in my face. so that's 3 times i have tried to get those 2 simple sentences out. i'm livid by now. i have to go decompress and he walks in all "sorry...can i play now?" and i say "uh, no. that game caused a problem so no more computer games today...are you ready to listen to what i was trying to say to you?"

anyway, this is a pattern with him. don't listen to mom (i.e. not letting me even SPEAK, let alone hearing me), throw a fit, apologize, expect everything to be as if nothing happened, throw another fit because it's not. rinse, repeat. this kind of thing drives me CRAZY. it makes me so mad and then all i can think of is how it's HIS fault that i'm such a "bad" mom and i can't keep my temper and let all his shenanigans roll off my back. it's just.not.like.this with the other children. it's JUST HIM. i feel guilty blaming him (even if only in my head), because as the adult it should be MY actions that affect my children's behavior. for a long time i had tremendous guilt about that, like it was all my fault that he is the way he is and i screwed up and ONLY i can fix it. but it really is just with him, because of the way he is. all this back and forth crap.

i just don't know what to do. i can be very patient and understanding, but seriously, i CAN'T GET A WORD IN WITH HIM!! he JUST DOESN'T LISTEN. and all i can think of is my "programmed" parenting, where my parents would "whoop my ass" for being so disrespectful -- i can't even imagine my parents having this problem because they were so strict and traditional with their punishments!....what, ground him, take away other privileges, whatever...i try to use only logical consequences for "punishment", if any, but nothing seems to "fit" this offense because it's usually an urgent situation that "i'm going to walk away until you are ready to listen to me" just isn't going to work for. and i can't even say those words to him because he won't hear them anyway. even "it's thundering, come inside now" (very straightforward, right?) is met with an argument (and then "you ruined all our fun!!" like i MADE a storm come!?!?).

*SIIIIGH*

this household is totally bipolar because of the imbalance of peace -- when he's not here, it's peaceful, when he is, i feel like hiding in my room all day, crying and imagining running away and changing my name...but i can't because he'll torture the younger kids and make a huge mess because he never seems to think of the consequences of his actions (uh, like maybe mom wants him to clean up that mess he made - GASP!! no!! it's okay, he'll simply refuse to do it.)

how does one MAKE their child do something?? i'm no slave driver, but this kid seems to be so hell-bent on being oppositional that he's going to make a career out of it. and i'm tearing my hair out. this is the kind of thing that makes people wonder why the heck i'd want another baby... it is humiliating. i swear it's got everything to do with his life, growing up with a sporadic relationship with his bio-dad, mama remarrying and popping out 2, 3, almost 4 siblings for him to "compete" with. i feel like i just SUCK at being his mom. all the time.

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#2 of 22 Old 08-17-2010, 08:24 PM
 
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First I am so sorry you are going through this. When my dd was little we had similar issues after she returned from her real dad's house... it was a transition that just threw her for a loop.

I would suggest finding a good pediatric counselor who can help you with your son, his emotions, and what seems like his need to control the situation, ignore mom and compete with the younger sibs.

Sorry mama... no suggestions other than finding a good counselor who can find out why your DS is shutting down when he doesn't want to communicate with you.
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#3 of 22 Old 08-17-2010, 08:43 PM
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I think counseling for him would be a good idea too. Also many adults can't 'listen' when they are angry. Maybe a simple "go to your room and calm down" rule for anytime he yells at anyone would work. Then you can talk after he calms down. Make a "go to your room" sign and talk about what happens when he yells when he is calm so he will know.

And we really can't "make" someone do something.
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#4 of 22 Old 08-17-2010, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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he has been in and out of counseling for several years...most recently for about 6 months (sporadically due to scheduling difficulties) but his therapist up and quit (along with a slew of other docs/therapists at the clinic...there was something political going on behind the scenes, i assume...). she sucked anyway -- good riddance. didn't notice a lick of improvement with her and she kept me waaay out of the loop. the best counselor he ever had discharged him after a few months of weekly therapy (but the improvement didn't last; he really needs long-term, ongoing treatment), and does not take medicaid, which is our current coverage since hubby got laid off and went back to college. he just finished a day camp program at the clinic, very part time (2 mornings a week for the past 6 weeks), and i thought i saw some improvement in him for a while after that started...

...but i really think it comes down to the recently-increased frequency of his bio-dad "vacations". i just wish i was better prepared to deal with him while i have him, because this has been one of the WORST DAYS EVER, and that's saying a lot, because i've had a lot of worst days lately with him, but they keep getting worse...mainly because i am wearing down under the constant same-old-same-old...it's getting to be too much. even taking time outs from the kids proves detrimental, like i mentioned in the OP: messes, mischief, fights, you name it. i just feel so trapped!! and my doc ordered "more breaks from them" HA! like that's going to happen! i grab them when i can, but once or twice a week to the grocery store barely counts (but that's about all i get!!). and i hardly count the time between their bedtime and mine...that's just mandatory cool-down time when i can actually sit down and chill without feeling guilty. and what am i doing now? pouring out my struggles to virtual strangers.

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#5 of 22 Old 08-17-2010, 11:21 PM
 
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It sounds as though you are both struggling. I have a few thoughts.

What do you do to help him transition back into your family mode after a visit with his bio-dad? It sounds like reintegrating and reconnecting in your family is a struggle for him. Can you work on some proactive things - ie some dedicated family time, having a family journal for him where there has been acknowledgement that you have missed him, avoiding screen time on the first day back in order to reconnect, having some kind of ritual?

Do you have family rules and meetings to help everyone deal with issues in a healthy way and to circumvent some of these problems?

What are some of the ways you work towards connecting with him on a regular basis? Have you had any family counselling or individual counselling to help you meet him where he is? Frankly slamming the computer screen down because kids start arguing seems over the top to me - kids argue. It's not him, it's life.

Can you institute a cool down period with him where you have some kind of code and either he or you can choose to take a break and come back to problem solve later. A lot of people don't do well in the heat of the moment and it isn't realistic to expect an 8 year old boy to manage that if he's not wired that way. If you continue the pattern of trying to engage him when he's not ready and then not working proactively when he is ready you aren't going to get to the point where you can solve anything.

He sounds like he has a lot of stressful stuff going on in his life. Can you take a step back and approach him remembering that he is your first baby - and still a baby really, rather than the source of your stress? I know you know this but if you want a peaceful respectful household it comes from you.

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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#6 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
It sounds as though you are both struggling. I have a few thoughts.

What do you do to help him transition back into your family mode after a visit with his bio-dad? It sounds like reintegrating and reconnecting in your family is a struggle for him. Can you work on some proactive things - ie some dedicated family time, having a family journal for him where there has been acknowledgement that you have missed him, avoiding screen time on the first day back in order to reconnect, having some kind of ritual?

Do you have family rules and meetings to help everyone deal with issues in a healthy way and to circumvent some of these problems?

What are some of the ways you work towards connecting with him on a regular basis? Have you had any family counselling or individual counselling to help you meet him where he is? Frankly slamming the computer screen down because kids start arguing seems over the top to me - kids argue. It's not him, it's life.

Can you institute a cool down period with him where you have some kind of code and either he or you can choose to take a break and come back to problem solve later. A lot of people don't do well in the heat of the moment and it isn't realistic to expect an 8 year old boy to manage that if he's not wired that way. If you continue the pattern of trying to engage him when he's not ready and then not working proactively when he is ready you aren't going to get to the point where you can solve anything.

He sounds like he has a lot of stressful stuff going on in his life. Can you take a step back and approach him remembering that he is your first baby - and still a baby really, rather than the source of your stress? I know you know this but if you want a peaceful respectful household it comes from you.
i have been looking into starting family meetings to address issues in a diplomatic way. not done researching, not ready to start yet. so many things have come up recently that i have a mental stack of "self help" topics that need attention and i'm kind of flailing around, addressing each thing as it becomes urgent, and then shuffling the rest around for later (if that makes sense). i have some hope for the family meeting thing, but in all honesty, we've tried so many things over the years that i have much less hope than i should if something's really going to change.

as for re-integrating him, that is also something i have thought about. the problem is that he never comes home at the same time of day (or even the same day of the week, sometimes), so i can't really plan for something to be happening when he gets home...the rest of us would have to break routine and change what we are doing to accommodate his arrival...somehow i feel like that would create even more chaos. but i will thing about ways that it can be done more flexibly. i at least make it a point to hug him and ask him about his time away as soon as i get the chance. i know he loves this, too.

we are currently waiting on a referral for family counseling, as well as waiting for his private counselor reassignment (and who knows when that will be; we are slaves to the government mental health system). my therapist is another one who quit in the "great exodus", so i am also waiting for a reassignment. this hiatus from counseling has really made me re-appreciate it!

oh, and i wasn't slamming the computer screen down because the kids were arguing. i slammed it down because he was arguing with me and not letting me get a single word in (those 2 simple sentences that i was trying to convey from the start). it was to get his attention because he was still looking at the screen (while arguing). honestly, i felt like picking up the dang thing and throwing it, but that would have been a bad, bad thing, for several reasons!!

i know he is my baby, my first baby, the reason i am a mother. i have told him this often. that's another reason i feel guilty for not being able to "control" these situations. like everything he says/does reflects on me, and it must be my screw-ups that made him this way. i know, rationally, that there is far more to it than that, but being his primary caretaker, i still feel the blame. so what do i do? i turn that blame right back around on him out of self-preservation. but that really doesn't make me feel any better, and it certainly doesn't get rid of the problems.

there have been many times that the martyr-mama in me has wondered if i did him a great disservice by remarrying and having more children; that i should have put him first and kept him first, forever and at all costs. then the rational side tells me that's nonsense and we just have to adapt. its been over 5 years!! everything with children is so dynamic as they grow and enter/exit stages and phases... and he is my oldest so everything is new territory with him anyway. i suppose it's not that unusual for one's oldest to be the most "trouble" in general, but i do know that this particular child has a unique set of challenges that are SO hard for me to cope with.

the heat of the moment problem is that he becomes irrational and physical...if i try to send him to his room to cool down, he'll say "no!" and fold his arms and plop down on the floor...very 3-year-old ish. then if i try to stand my ground and pick him up and carry him to his room, he gets violent. from his POV, i would do the same thing, like "don't you effn touch me!!" kind of thing, but i am the adult and it is my job to keep my children safe, and that means i end up putting myself in harm's way in order to remove him from the situation (e.g. my other children). he has even struck at me before (in addition to the "typical" clawing/scratching, biting, slapping me away, etc.), but now that i'm pregnant i have started to automatically put out my hands (or a leg/foot) to block it...then that becomes me being physical with him; self-defense or not, i still feel horrible afterward that it even got that far.

sometimes i'm not sure if it's just in his nature to be this way (mental illness is rampant on both sides of his family -- hence the failed relationship between me and his bio-dad!) OR if it's literally this "awful" life that he's had... i tend to lean more toward nature than nurture, more so now that i am seeing what life is like when he is not in the house -- i KNOW i can be the mom i want to be (for the most part)...but with him, i feel totally defeated.

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#7 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 09:08 AM
 
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i know he is my baby, my first baby, the reason i am a mother. i have told him this often. that's another reason i feel guilty for not being able to "control" these situations. like everything he says/does reflects on me, and it must be my screw-ups that made him this way. i know, rationally, that there is far more to it than that, but being his primary caretaker, i still feel the blame. so what do i do? i turn that blame right back around on him out of self-preservation. but that really doesn't make me feel any better, and it certainly doesn't get rid of the problems. >>>>>>

I'm sure you are busy but I recommend reading Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves to help you with this. It talks about feeling guilty about how our children act but that it doesn't mean we are bad people and also addresses that need to be "in control".

I also recommend reading How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Wil Talk. it teaches approaching situations(like the computer/TV situation you described) with neutrality. Rather than coming in and telling DS1 he's causing the problem come in and just describe the situation-I see 2 kids who want to hear the TV and 1 who wants to hear the computer. What can we do here? Then you can listen/write down all suggestions(no matter how crazy) then go through them and have the kids see what they like best. Now things will not always go calmly and there's much more to the book than this but 8(at least in our house) has been a rough age. The more you try to "control", feel he is the big problem, etc. of the course the more he will fight back. I'm sure being split between 2 households is rough so I agree with giving him time to adjust, whenever he comes home. Doesn't have to be something special, perhaps he can just veg in his room for an hour when he first gets home.

Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#8 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure you are busy but I recommend reading Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves to help you with this. It talks about feeling guilty about how our children act but that it doesn't mean we are bad people and also addresses that need to be "in control".

I also recommend reading How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Wil Talk. ......... I'm sure being split between 2 households is rough so I agree with giving him time to adjust, whenever he comes home. Doesn't have to be something special, perhaps he can just veg in his room for an hour when he first gets home.
i own ROCRO. i bought it a long time ago as part of a recommended AP/GD reading list. haven't read it, though, because before i could i saw a discussion thread on my local AP mama forum about it...and it seemed controversial. like one of those books that's going to make me feel worse before it makes me feel better (like Unconditional Parenting did -- made me sad and super paranoid about everything!!!). like intense therapy, kwim? so i've been avoiding it i guess it's time to crack it open anyway...

i do not have HTTSKWLALSKWT (yeesh, that's long). it's also on my list though. i have read siblings without rivalry (same author, right?), and found it helpful...for a while. i swear, i have to constantly be reading a parenting book of some sort, to keep these things in the forefront of my mind, or i just revert back to programmed parenting automatically.

it's amazing what a difference attachment parenting from birth makes...with my 8yo, i fought my instincts against what "the book" (aka mainstream society) told me was "right". as i had more children, AP became more natural (a result of my "laziness? ), and by the time #4 was born, i'd discovered there was a name for it and a local AP group. things are easier with each child. my 2yo's antics hardly bother me at all (they are more inconvenient than infuriating), while i read about mamas whose oldest is 2 or 3 and they are ready to throw in the towel... i guess my point is that i know it's normal for the oldest to be the biggest challenge, but i also see that lack of full-blown AP has negatively affected him and our relationship. and i can't change the past, but trying to "fix" the past is soooo hard (even more so when you add in the parental separation, stepfather, half-siblings, etc.). and i can't imagine having these same issues with my fully-AP'ed 2yo when he is 8. who knows, though -- i know plenty of AP mamas with super-challenging children...

and my husband. oh my, my husband. he's just along for the ride. he's a u.s. marine sgt, so "discipline" in his eyes means: you get orders, you obey orders (and immediately!)...or you do push-ups or run laps or whatever. i guess i feel similarly, not from military exposure, but from strict, abusive parents. you obeyed, or else. it's hard to find balance of my expectations when i have parented my children so very differently than i was parented. you know, with choices, respect, compassion, all those silly things. ...well, at least those are my goals. so i suppose some rebellion and extra limit-testing is to be expected, right? just seems like my limits/boundaries would be respected more, like "don't you know how good you've got it??". *sigh* i am obviously doing a lot of things wrong, and my temper seems to snap so suddenly after taking so much from them.

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#9 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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I've never dealt with this situation, but I do have a dd (9) who has very much resented her brother and has made life very difficult at times. And I have a 4yo who has very much tested the "good mom" label I once felt like I wore. It can be so difficult, so I empathize.

Can your ds's dad help with the transition? Can you work together? Have him talk to your ds before he gets dropped off? Can you make the drop offs consistent on day and time?

Also, has he ever had any brain injuries? Fallen off a bike? If so, read "Change Your Brain, Change Yourself". Although, it does sound behavioral and related to transitions, it's just a thought different from others.

Good luck to you!
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#10 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can your ds's dad help with the transition? Can you work together? Have him talk to your ds before he gets dropped off? Can you make the drop offs consistent on day and time?

Also, has he ever had any brain injuries? Fallen off a bike? If so, read "Change Your Brain, Change Yourself". Although, it does sound behavioral and related to transitions, it's just a thought different from others.

Good luck to you!
we actually do talk to him together when he "changes hands". my ex is well aware of the problems...and i really don't think it has as much to do with the household transition for him as it does for me...the other 3 are angels compared to him, and when he comes home, peace goes out the window and chaos ensues. and it's not even immediate, so the transition hour(s) aren't really an issue. i may sound like i'm contradicting myself, but i'm just dissecting the situation in my mind as this thread progresses (thanks to you all, so far!!).

as for making the drop-off days, times consistent, well, that's not really an option as they revolve around my ex's work schedule (which is ever-changing). i want DS1 to be away as long as possible, and mid-day drop-offs are smoother than dinner/bedtime ones are...so it's usually monday or tuesday around noon...but sometimes monday evening if he has to work early tuesday, or monday/tuesday morning if he has to be at work mid-day. so, we never know, even until the evening before! but like i said, it's me, my home environment that has a hard time adjusting to him coming home. he's the same as always, just home again. but he's NOT like this at his dad's...mainly because that's quality alone time with his dad, no siblings, no hormonal preggo mama or often-absent stepdad.

i'm sitting here thinking that it might be a good idea to at least instill a family movie/game night on his first nights home...that would give the children something positive to look forward to together. my fear, however, is that things will turn out like they did yesterday and i will be ready to throw them in their beds at 7pm because i'm ready to scream and cry... it just seems like family activities are more trouble than they're worth most of the time...even "school time" is chaotic and stressful for me these days, but i think that has more to do with DD transitioning from a waldorf preschool to academic homeschool (she would rather draw than do worksheets, while the boys LOVE their worksheets)...i am having to figure out a different approach to HS'ing her. sorry, that's a little OT.

as soon as i finish working myself up for the family meetings (i've been reading Living Simply with Children), we could have those, too...but ack! the problem there is that my hubby is only home for dinnertime on sat&sun...he is gone (to class) from 12N-10pm M-F, except a 20 min dinner break where he has to shower and eat before zipping back to the academy. so the only times we have for family meetings is mornings or weekends...chances are, DS1 isn't getting dropped off in the morning and he's (obviously) gone all weekend. oh man...

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#11 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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Oh, I can relate. My 8yo is a girl, and her bio dad isn't in the picture, but oh how I can relate!

She is the child I am not good at parenting. I mean, I do everything 'right' but it is just not right for her- better than most other approaches would be, sure, but not 'good'. The fights, disrespect, the whining... the belief that when something is over "I'm sorry," makes it all go away right then, and goodness help you if you enforce the consequence for something that happened earlier!

It knocks the little guys out of balance when she veers into her moods.


I have mixed feelings about marrying and having more kids at moments- like somehow that was a betrayal of who she is and what she needs (though she lovs her brothers and has an amazing step dad, she does not and will not have me 100% of the time, and that is what she wants. She is explosive and that throws me off as well because what I see (and fear, tbh) is echos of the reasons I am not with her father which is a HUGE trigger for me, so I've had to learn not to respond to those feelings myself.

The things I have found that are working are major reinforcement that she matters tons to me, lots of 'special time' together- afternoon tea, 'girls' nights' etc... without intensiveone on one time with me several times a day- not parenting one on one time or teaching time (we homeschool) but one on one child-directed time with me alone, her behavior deteriorates rapidly. Honestly, I have a lot more one on one time with her than I do with my boys, and they are younger and should need me more, but the best thing I can do for them is to help her establish equilibrium so they can live in a fairly harmonious family- because when she veers off course- she drags everyone with her.

Also, she has her own room and space that she does not have to share- so for something like the laptop, that's where she would be doing that. She feels overwhelmed by the 'invasion' of younger sibs so she needs an escape from them, and tbh, I need a place where I can send her where she won't bother them. I suppose this could be construed badly, but it really is what works for us, and for her.
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#12 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah, he has his own room, too, even though we are a family of 6 (almost 7) in a 3 br house. i'm not sure what we're going to do with our 2yo (who is still in our room(/bed most of the time!). DS1 really needs his own space. but for some reason he doesn't revel in his private space -- he doesn't opt to spend time alone in there. he's SUPER extroverted, which kind of contradicts his "need" for his own space...just another challenge. it's like he sees being in his room as a punishment, even though he is sent there to cool off, not as arbitrary banishment. same thing for outside ("you have a lot of energy; please take it outside")...if i suggest it, it's no longer appealing, and becomes a punishment for him, so he resists. *sigh*

i honestly think my kids don't have enough toys anymore (this seems OT, but bear with me). we did a Great Purge about 1.5 yrs ago, and then i reintroduced/added things because i noticed they were getting into more mischief due to lack of "appropriate" toys. the problem was sheer volume -- i cut it back so clean up would be easier...since the reintegration of some things the clean up and mischief has gotten out of hand again, so we started doing the whole *if i have to clean this up it's going away* thing. so, it's to the point where there is next to NOTHING in their bedrooms...they usually only build forts (moving the now-empty furniture around) or play with some legos together... there's nothing left in the bedrooms that might encourage solo playtime in there, as a sanctuary.

i have been contemplating trying to retrieve and reorganize some of the toys so that there WILL be a good reason for them to be alone and play quietly. it's just a matter of staying on top of the clean up, which has always been a challenge for me -- they are not very cooperative in this department, and it requires close supervision and guidance, and even then half the time they sit there with their arms folded...i just don't know what to do!! this problem is for another topic, i guess

but i can see how reintroducing more toys could help keep them busier and thus less at each others throats... i just HATE MESS.

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#13 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 02:00 PM
 
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DDs room has been subject to the great purge on a regular basis. I can't stand the mess otherwise. The boys' toys are in my living room. It's hard for me to find a balance between enough to keep them busy and too many for me to look at... it has helped to try to stick with pretty open ended toys- (blocks etc.)

For dd- her sanctuary was created when I put a tv in her room- if she needs to cool off- I will often suggest (as in when I KNOW she will otherwise resistsuggestions such as reading/going outside/drawing etc- the normal go-to suggestions) that she go watch a show for a bit on her own. 90% of the time, she goes off happily, and proceeds to ignore the show- structuring it as a reward or a special thing instead of a banishment works. This won't work if you are tv free, obviously, but while we limit it in general, I am not averse to an older child taking 30 minutes here or there to unwind on their own if it works.
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#14 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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I don't have any advice but I really can relate. My 7yo is like this, my husband is military...and to top it off DS really aggravates DH which makes it even harder (so not only do i feel guilty that DS is the way he is but I also feel guilty because I feel like DH and I would have a better relationship if not for him). Bio-dad is thankfully not in the picture which helps tons but its still really frustrating. I also constantly blame myself and think that he would not be the way he is if I hadn't had a tumultous time with his dad and the subsequent years before I remarried. I can only give one piece of advice - stop blaming yourself. If we had more money, we would probably send him off to boarding school (yes I know that sounds terrible but I believe the discipline would really actually help him rather than hurt him) As it is, we just keep pushing on and hope that as he gets older things will improve. I can't wait for school to start next week though. I'm sorry I don't have better advice, just wanted to send a hug.

P.S. As for one on one time, it helps temporarily with my DS. I think he just sees that time as time that he can fully control me and then he gets further aggravated when the time isn't his. The only thing I have found that works is making the time he is here quality time. During the school year, he goes to after school care so he has only about two hours at night at home before bed that we work on making quality (no yelling, no fighting) time. The rest of the time he is in a structured environment (school and care). Because I get so burnt out if its an all the time thing that he is home.

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#15 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyHippyMama View Post
we actually do talk to him together when he "changes hands". my ex is well aware of the problems...and i really don't think it has as much to do with the household transition for himas it does for me...the other 3 are angels compared to him, and when he comes home, peace goes out the window and chaos ensues. and it's not even immediate, so the transition hour(s) aren't really an issue. i may sound like i'm contradicting myself, but i'm just dissecting the situation in my mind as this thread progresses (thanks to you all, so far!!).

as for making the drop-off days, times consistent, well, that's not really an option as they revolve around my ex's work schedule (which is ever-changing). i want DS1 to be away as long as possible, and mid-day drop-offs are smoother than dinner/bedtime ones are...so it's usually monday or tuesday around noon...but sometimes monday evening if he has to work early tuesday, or monday/tuesday morning if he has to be at work mid-day. so, we never know, even until the evening before! but like i said, it's me, my home environment that has a hard time adjusting to him coming home. he's the same as always, just home again. but he's NOT like this at his dad's...mainly because that's quality alone time with his dad, no siblings, no hormonal preggo mama or often-absent stepdad.
I think you are underestimating the effects of changing households on your DS. He transitions from 1:1 with Dad, to a potentially chaotic (though very normal and unavoidable) environment of younger siblings. I think this would be very challenging for anyone, especially for an 8 year old boy. He must also sense that you're trying to have him as his Dad's for as long as possible.

If he is okay for the first hour or so, he might be trying his best as well.

A welcoming transitional activity sounds like a good idea. I'd recommend a book called "Hold on to your kids" by Gordon Neufeld. It talks about attachment theory in the context of older children.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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#16 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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I don't have advice, but I can commiserate! I am in the midst of this myself, but my DD1 is 6.5. When I'm alone with my youngest (4yo) and take her to the grocery store, or play a game with her, or bake with her, I feel like such a good mom! But add DD1 to the mix, or take her somewhere, or something with just the two of us, I feel like the worst mother in the world! It breaks my heart, because we were SO connected when she was a baby/toddler. She's the one that made me a mother, my firstborn, but the thought doesn't make it easier. DD1 seems intent on sending me into a nervous breakdown. When she is at school, or playing outside, or otherwise not here, my life is so much easier. Hugs, mama!

Wife to DH and mama to DD(7) blahblah.gifand DD(5) moon.gif...Lola the Wiener Dog dog2.gif, Faulkner the Little Giant dog2.gif, Ginger the Wonder Cat cat.gif,  Azkaban the blue parakeet, Sunny the yellow parakeet, 3 nameless hermit crabs, and a whole bunch of fish!

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#17 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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I wonder if he actually needs to be more a part of the household? He is BIG and the others are little, he has a different dad, he goes away by himself, he has his own room...perhaps sharing a room with one of the littles would actually be good for him.

In a quiet moment, could you talk to him about needing him to help you with the littles, or one of them in particular that he likes? You mentioned that they are angels, but I bet not all the time. Maybe he needs to feel like he's doing something positive in your house, even if it's something you're making up to start?
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#18 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 04:41 PM
 
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I think adjustment time is part of the problem but also, I think you need to look at this as developmental. He is your oldest. You are having to deal with new behaviors, milestones your other children have not hit.

Honestly, at of all the stages my children have gone through I have hated the 8-10 year old the most. This is when they started getting puberty hormones, grouchy, argumentative, clingy while telling you to go away, and generally annoying their siblings and parents. I am on my third round. My first was the hardest. He is a boy and there is very little about boys emotional growing stages. Or how hormones make his emotions more intense. Plus for boys there is a lot of pressure to be a strong. I do remember he went in spurts of being a PITA, were my daughters were more curricular, but this could have been my ignorance of looking for a pattern with my son. Full puberty did not hit for a while with any of my kids but starting the 8-9 age range the hormone, attitude, and emotions did.

I would encourage you to read Raising Cain and/or the Wonder of Boys. Get a book on puberty

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/04/01...its/index.html

He is older, you expect better but his body and mind is gearing up for his next growth step. I would not be surprise in a few years it is one of the younger ones trying you.
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#19 of 22 Old 08-18-2010, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
I wonder if he actually needs to be more a part of the household? He is BIG and the others are little, he has a different dad, he goes away by himself, he has his own room...perhaps sharing a room with one of the littles would actually be good for him.

In a quiet moment, could you talk to him about needing him to help you with the littles, or one of them in particular that he likes? You mentioned that they are angels, but I bet not all the time. Maybe he needs to feel like he's doing something positive in your house, even if it's something you're making up to start?
that thought has crossed my mind as well. he did share a room with DS2 for about 2 years... we switched them back for 2 reasons: DS1 was becoming more angry/aggressive and obviously needed his own space, and DS2 never really got over being separated from his twin sister and had chronic insomnia for the entire 2 years (no fun when there's also a newborn in the house!). btw, DS2 was subsequently dx'ed with mild autism and the sleep issues are a normal part of that, but it really amazed me how quickly they dwindled when he was reunited with his twin!

i did set up the toddler bed in DS1's room...he really wants DS3 (2.5yrs) to share his room, but DS3 isn't ready for it yet (he's still in with us). so that's a slow transition that DS1 is very impatient about. *sigh* someday! soon, i hope, as baby #5 is coming in 3 months or less!

DS1 & DS2 do have certain chores they do together - mainly unloading the dishwasher. sometimes they will rotate laundry too. i love to see this cooperation (when i happens!).

the others are certainly not angels all the time, but they seem to have a great deal more respect for me than DS1 does. their spats are infrequent and short-lived...and loads easier for me to deal with. DS2, with his autism, has some very annoying behavioral/emotional issues that surface sometimes, but they are so textbook and expected and...well, innocent, if that makes sense. there's just no comparing to the hell we go through with DS1.

i am going to try my darndest to facilitate some game time with them together...games have been a whole 'nother issue around here due to them getting into them without permission/supervision and then losing/breaking pieces...i have a stack of retired games in the garage that are not playable because of this. i feel like more structured cooperative play would be good for them... oh, just rambling ideas here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by remijo View Post
I can only give one piece of advice - stop blaming yourself. If we had more money, we would probably send him off to boarding school (yes I know that sounds terrible but I believe the discipline would really actually help him rather than hurt him) As it is, we just keep pushing on and hope that as he gets older things will improve. I can't wait for school to start next week though. I'm sorry I don't have better advice, just wanted to send a hug.

P.S. As for one on one time, it helps temporarily with my DS. I think he just sees that time as time that he can fully control me and then he gets further aggravated when the time isn't his. The only thing I have found that works is making the time he is here quality time. During the school year, he goes to after school care so he has only about two hours at night at home before bed that we work on making quality (no yelling, no fighting) time. The rest of the time he is in a structured environment (school and care). Because I get so burnt out if its an all the time thing that he is home.
thank you for that. i know i need to stop blaming myself because the pity party thing doesn't get me anywhere... and boarding school doesn't sound horrible. when you have one of those kids, it is a very real fantasy...i'll admit, shamelessly, to having it numerous times myself. my husband went to boarding school for a while, although supposedly it was his choice (carrying on the stuffy family tradition ) and he liked it well enough. i always wanted to go as a child, but maybe that's because my relationship with my parents SUCKED too. DS1 didn't even want to go to sleep-away summer camp -- the same camp i went to as a kid and he's been looking forward to...until he found out that suddenly he's old enough, that is!

Quote:
Originally Posted by confustication View Post
For dd- her sanctuary was created when I put a tv in her room- if she needs to cool off- I will often suggest (as in when I KNOW she will otherwise resistsuggestions such as reading/going outside/drawing etc- the normal go-to suggestions) that she go watch a show for a bit on her own. 90% of the time, she goes off happily, and proceeds to ignore the show- structuring it as a reward or a special thing instead of a banishment works. This won't work if you are tv free, obviously, but while we limit it in general, I am not averse to an older child taking 30 minutes here or there to unwind on their own if it works.
that might be a good thing. we are not tv free, just limited in channels (pretty much just pbs for them) and sometimes limited in use if it becomes excessive. at the moment, however, we have no extra tvs...i'm actually planning to get rid of the living room tv because it's just too accessible, but it's way too big for an 8 yo to have in his bedroom...we couldn't even switch it with the master bedroom tv (which is only used for our 2.5yo for early morning wake-ups - pbs), because it won't fit on the dresser! we used to have a kids room tv but it got broken after a while... i will consider letting him take a laptop into his room for movies or games or whatever...it's been done before.

lady.gifMama of: DSjammin.gif (9), twins DDjoy.gif & DSautismribbon.gif (6), DSkid.gif (3), and DDbabygirl.gif born 11/2010
            
              

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#20 of 22 Old 03-10-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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He sounds exactly like my 8 year old son who has been diagnosed over a year ago with ODD (yes - thats ODD not ADD). I'm not a big fan of syndromes (over diagnosed IMHO) but this one really seems to fit. We have been having limited success with treatment and so far have avoided medication (except for ourselves). Sorry - I don't have much advice, it's just been a constant struggle so far. I do believe that it has a major impact on the dynamics in the house - including mine with my spouse.

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#21 of 22 Old 10-03-2012, 09:31 AM
 
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Hey there... I have a 7 year old girl but your post is exactly what I've been dealing with as well...  I get so angry with her and say things to her like i'm going to let her father deal with her and she can live with him and see me on visits. I really feel like I may be teetering on the brink of insanity and I wonder how this child came to be.  I love her so much and would do anything for her but I seem to be the one she hates the most.  She says she hates me daily, isn't afraid to hit me or kick me... has no respect for her things or other peoples things.... I really want to see the nice child people always tell me she is.  As soon as i'm present she grows horns and pushes me to a limit i've never been to.  I was never disrespectful or angry as a child... i would never do the things she has done.... one of those things in killing a hamster and being fine with it, jumping on the dog or sitting on her, throwing the cat...etc etc... I'm so far gone right now that I don't know what else to do besides let her dad raise her.  she is the only child i'll ever have I'm sure, and I think that I'm doing a terrible job at being her mom....maybe i'm not meant to be a parent.  |Right now i feel like maybe i should just not be at all.  My father died 3 years ago..my mom says i look like a retard and my kid hates me... not much left.  I honestly just want to dissapear and let my daughter and mother live a happy life without me.... i feel like i'm backed in a corner and there is no way out... i cry as i write this because i know the pain a death can cause people, in the long run i think everyone is better off without me... my hope is very dim... i'm at a loss

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#22 of 22 Old 10-04-2012, 01:12 PM
 
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Thanks for such brutal honesty in posting.  A few things come to mind.  First, where is he at emotionally?  Sometimes we confuse emotional versus chronological age.  You mentioned that attachment parenting didn't happen for this little guy until later in life.  He may be having the emotional needs of a 4 year old or 6 year old, or even a 2 year old.  That can be really confusing when you have 3 younger kids.  He may leave you to go to his dad's house and be in the space of an 8 year old boy, but come home in the space of 3 year old.  These emotional needs have to be attended to.  So, that means give him extra love, connection, and attention during this time.  Also, does he have pics of you at dad's house and pics of dad at your house?  Kids go through what is called "loyalty issues."  Even if your son knows in his head that he doesn't have to choose between loving you and your husband, he may not feel that way in his heart.  Sitting down and talking through this with him can be helpful.  Also, a great therapist is one who you feel good about, who has a great connection with your son, and who knows that you are the expert on your kiddo.  Also, I have a family meeting agenda that I use with many clients.  I would be happy to share it with anyone who PMs me.

Good luck!


Stacy G. York

Mother of 2 Kiddos, Wife, LCSW

www.bewhatsright.com

 

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