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#31 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 01:09 AM
 
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Make the call. That's a start! If you don't get anywhere, call someone else. Keep calling till you get someone to listen.

With my 4th dd, we ran through every option our insurance had and were still fighting to get her help. It took years to get her the help she needed. But she got it. She graduated high school last month. She is living on her own. She is living a life we never thought possible. We didn't think she'd even make it to her 18th birthday she was so hellbent on self destructing!

I'm not trying to be harsh. I don't know how many ways I can tell you that I get it, because I do. I'm sharing our success stories to give you hope and maybe inspiration.

I function on six hours of uninterrupted sleep. However, if my grandbaby wakes up at night, as toddlers are apt to do, I get cranky. I don't function as well. But if I get it, I'm good to go.

I get up before everyone else and stay up later so I get my downtime. That is vital to my being able to get through the day. I get my coffee, I head to the barn. I take care of me while I take care of my animals. Having that time allows me to be a better mom. Having time for yourself allows you to refill your cup so that you can take care of others.

Maybe you can go for a walk by yourself while your dh watches the kids for a half hour. Take a bubble bath. Light some candles. Read a book. Do something, anything for you. Do it every day. It's not selfish. It's self care. And it's okay to take care of you so that you can take care of others.

If you need ideas on navigating getting an evaluation for your son, ask. I'm sure there are many of us who can offer helpful hints on that. If you need help finding temporary fixes till you can get him in, I'm sure that's available here too.

One thing that helped my DS immensely was sorting things. He loves to sort legos, blocks, rocks, anything. I got him bins he can sort things into. It helps him self soothe and gives him a focus. Prior to his dx, it was the one thing I could count on being able to get him to do and sit still with.

He's also a pokemon junkie. We made a list of things he had to do each morning. Eat, dress, brush his teeth, make his bed. If he did those things he would get to pick a card from the pack of cards I had. I pick them up at walmart and he loves being able to add to his collection. He willingly does his morning routine to be able to get a card.

I picked up a three ring binder and storage sheets for his cards. He takes immense pride in showing people his cards and telling them how he earned them.

Safety issues? I have all medications in a small tool box with a combo lock. Scissors and knives went in there before he was able to be safe with them.

House rules are posted on poster board in the kitchen. Consequences are spelled out too. Simple things like no hitting, speaking kindly, etc. Consequences can be no tv time, no nintendo DS, earlier bedtime, etc.

Rewards in our home are (aside from pokemon cards) easy things. A story from mom or dad. A trip to the gas station for a frozen yogurt, snuggletime, "sleepovers" in my bedroom, choosing dinner, helping make cookies or helping feed the baby animals.

You just have to find what works and be consistent. It's taken ME a lot of work to be able to be consistent. I'm a very fly by the seat of my pants person. I hate schedules and routine. I happen to have kids who thrive on it so I've had to adapt.

A few weeks ago one of my dd's took all the kids for the weekend. Omg! The freedom! The ability to not have to cook for anyone (dh was working nights and sleeping in the day), being able to read, clean, pee without interruption and not have to answer to anyone was fantastic! Five hours into it? I was lonely and honestly, a bit bored. It took all I had not to go get them! They had a blast! I was pretty miserable. Lmao!

Anyway, if you need help, ask. It's there for you. You can do this!

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#32 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 01:16 AM
 
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Oh, Lisa. I wish you wouldn't feel depressed about this. He sounds like an intense kid - similar to one of my 3 boys, or my DD at times, fwiw. I can't tell you if he needs more structure or guidance or therapy or meds - b/c, I don't know him and am not a know-it-all-expert. But I know that parenting certain growning boys is rough, to put it mildly. You are the best mom he has. Remember that.

All I know is with my kids, they need a whole lot of separation from each other in order to not kill one another. They are all in summer camp due to necessity, b/c I recently got a full-time job. 2 boys, and 1 girl, are in one camp; the youngest is in a summer daycare camp on his own. They manage to keep the older boys engaged enough to a point where there isn't any blood.

Anyhow, I know summer is halfway over, and I'm not ppreally suggesting camp/daycare as an ends to a means, but I know it has saved my ass as my boys have gotten older and wilder this year. If you have one that could possibly benefit from outside help, believe you me, I realize how hard it can be to have all the kids home together for extended periods of time.

It's rough, but if you can find a way to send him to individual activities or some sort of school away from home in the fall, I think you'll see a lessoning of those horrifying behaviors while he's under your watch. It's rough to be with the same small group of kids (such as siblings) for long amounts of time. Especiallyfkr a kid who reacts violently or who had any kind of overtly sensorial reactions.

It's just too much. For them and for you as a parent.

There are days when I think, WTF? I shouldn't be these kids' parents, or a parent at all, for that matter. But it's just b/c I feel like things are out of control or not within my control (sorry, but anyone who thinks they can manage or punish certain kids into an expected behavior all the time, certainly haven't dealt with specific intense older children). And that's may when outside help in some form is needed. But please don't feel alone or defeated or unworthy as a parent. This shit sucks sometimes. For real. You need support and guidance. That's all.

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#33 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 01:39 AM
 
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You are the right parent for you son. It may not feel like it right now. But you are. Muddle through the best you can. Lock up those knives, the medicine, the matches and anything else you know are dangerous. Get a locking safe if you have to.

 

Can you write out a list of things that your son has done that concern you? And then do the same for your daughter. Then send those lists with your husband to the doctor. Seriously, if you're as put off by doctors as you sound, then it's time for the other adult member of your family to step in. Even if it means taking a day off work. Ask him to demand a referral to someone who knows something about kids with self-regulation issues. I know you disagree with the diagnosis, but your post sounds an awful lot like ADHD to me -- no sense of boundaries, trying to be funny and getting mad when it flops, inability to take rejection and over-reacting, angry at himself, lack of ability to see the consequences, lack of learning from the consequences. It's exhausting, but as DragonflyBlue noted, medication can make a huge difference.

 

Have you had a counselor? You've been through a lot. You're exhausted and you sound depressed. Given what you've gone through, and the fact that you have at least 2 high maintenance kids, a child leaving home (added stress even if it's nice), and a toddler, you need help. I don't know how you're going to get it, but you could start with someone to talk to. If you can find a good counselor or perhaps a social worker trained as a counselor for you, that can be a real boon. They don't have to be 'medical' people. Just someone for you to talk to, to help you sort out your feelings and help you plan. You're not in a space where you can do that right now. It's OK. You will be again.

 

Are there any teenagers in the area that you would trust? What I really think you need is a mother's helper. My mom had one when my siblings were small and it was a huge help. I came along later when my older sibs were able to help with me and my brother. If you have an energetic teenager who can hang out with your son (preferably outside), even for a few hours a day, it would be great. What you want is a 13-14 year old -- lots of energy, old enough to be responsible. Make them leave their iPod/iPhone with you, and send your son outside to lpay.

 

And then I'm going to ask a loaded question: Where's your husband and what can he do to help lighten some of this burden? Maybe he can find a day camp where your son can get out some of  his energy and you can regain your composure and do a little bonding with your older daughter who needs it. As I said above, I think he needs to take a larger role in this. When a family is in a crisis, it cannot be one parent who deals with it all.


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#34 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 08:08 AM
 
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Lisa, your son needs help.  But you need to work on your too.  I hate to hear that things are so hard for you right now and I'm sorry you are where you are right now.  I have no other advice other than to let you know I'm thinking of you.  You deserve to be happy.

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#35 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 09:12 AM
 
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I'm sorry you are dealing with this. hug2.gifI can definitely understand how hard it is to think of going the medical route.   Have you considered alternative treatments...dietary intervention, supplements?.  Maybe start by looking into Feingold or GAPS, supplementing with high quality fermented fish oil?   Maybe do some reading on dietary interventions for children with issues similar to what your DS has? Just some suggestions.. I'm a big believer in how diet can influence behavior, so the first thing I would look at would be dietary changes.
 


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#36 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 09:19 AM
 
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He needs medical help, and I need to have the entire medical profession as far away from me as it's possible to get them. I have to suck that up, but I still can't communicate with medpros. I'll call Monday...I'm 99% sure it will be another farce, but a 1% chance of actual help is better than 0%.

 

When I have to be in a situation in which I have a hard time communicating, I've found that writing a script works.   If need be, maybe you could write a letter and read it to the doctor.   Or write a FAQ about your son?    

 

I will often, for things like this, have a bulleted list of points I want to make sure I make, and questions I want to make sure I get answered.   I have found it helps a lot when I'm otherwise overwhelmed about the fact I have to *communicate* in a way I'm not comfortable with (in my case, phone calls freak me the heck out and I studiously avoid them).

 

Last:  Your DS sounds a lot like one of DS's friends.    I'm not sure of this boy's exact diagnosis, but I know that he spent several years getting "Pragmatics therapy" through the school system (it was part of their speech therapy program).   If you google that, you get hits on autism sites, but please don't disregard it because of that -- this boy is definitely *not* diagnosed with autism.    Much of what you say about your son -- the anger, the self-blame, the inappropriate responses -- remind me *so* much of this boy and *also* come up in the sites that describe pragmatics therapy.   


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#37 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 09:28 AM
 
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I have no way to enforce it, so he won't do it. To give you an idea what ds2 is like, a pediatrician I saw last year gave him a tentative diagnosis of ADHD and ODD. I happen to disagree with her diagnosis (she was ignoring quite a few aspects of what I was telling her), but I can see why she reached that conclusion. He doesn't understand boundaries very well.

In your place, I would seek treatment for ADHD. This sounds like classic ADHD and as someone who had it as a child (and still has it) it really crippled my ability to learn social cues and I was way, way behind in terms of social skills until well into adulthood. It made it hard for me to keep jobs and friends. The time to get this treated is now.

The treatment for ADHD includes both medication and structure/organizational skills and sometimes social skills groups as well. Structure is really key because it frees up mental energy, and for people with ADHD, mental energy is at a premium because we need much more of it to do things like focus, listen, obey rules, remember other peoples' boundaries...

I mean, right now what you describe is a child who has serious difficulty learning social cues and controlling his impulses. He has little to no structure. So all day he spends trying to figure out what to do, having no clue what is appropriate, and then being told off for doing the wrong thing. This is ADHD hell and it does no one any good.
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#38 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 09:36 AM
 
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Oh, also, in terms of him being sensitive to rejection, I was rejected all. the. time. as a child. Why? Because I wasn't pleasant to be around due to the untreated ADHD and didn't know what it was like to have even one day, just one, where I didn't mess up or do something wrong, no matter how hard I was trying. That felt tremendously unfair because I was trying SO HARD. Your son is obviously trying very hard but he is incapable of succeeding without help. You keep trying to teach him empathy, but empathy isn't the problem, he has plenty of it. He just can't put it into action because he has a disability. When he self-harms, it is because he feels enormously guilty that he is letting everyone down. Every day that goes by where he thinks this is a failure of his empathy, or where someone explodes on him and he doesn't know why, is another day where he is building low self-esteem and feeling like he is bad and unlovable.

It also sounds like he might be gifted and, frankly, bored. Many children have ADHD and are gifted. I can't describe to you the level of trouble a gifted child with poor impulse control can get into--I don't have to describe it to you--you already know. They do things like chase their siblings around with knives.

I am not trying to blame or shame you, and I know it's coming across like that, and for that I apologize. I know this is a difficult situation. But you need to realize that not doing anything is, in and of itself, a choice, and in this case, a very bad one.
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#39 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 09:39 AM
 
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You know what? This whole thread was a huge mistake. I'm not going to delete it, but I'm more depressed right now than I've been in years. You guys are really just reinforcing what I've felt for a long time - I'm not the right parent for ds2. I'm the one he's stuck with, but I'm not the right one. I'm a fantastically crappy advocate for him (just as I've always been for myself). He needs medical help, and I need to have the entire medical profession as far away from me as it's possible to get them. I have to suck that up, but I still can't communicate with medpros. I'll call Monday...I'm 99% sure it will be another farce, but a 1% chance of actual help is better than 0%.

Also, this doesn't make you the wrong mother for him, it makes you tremendously brave. Also, if I'm not mistaken your son also has another parent who can make these kinds of calls, too?
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#40 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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I'll lend another vote for ADHD.  My husband has it, and we're pretty sure our daughter has it too (and maybe our son too, but not as rage-y as our daughter).  The situations and reactions you describe, the lack of impulse control, being held hostage by his emotions, the aggresion after rejection -  all here too.  Not as severe as your son's, but still here.  Misunderstandings, misreading people, jumping to inaccurate conclusions, thinking people hate her.  All of it.

 

I will also give another shout out to diet - when she's eating "clean" (no aritificial colors/flavors/fast food/junk food/dairy - yep, dairy is HUGE for both of our kids behaviorally) things are so, so much more manageable.  When we are weak/stupid and she's eating those things semi-regularly, it goes down the toilet.  We've figured out that colors/flavors/preservatives make her hyper/impulsive; dairy makes her ragey.  Our son has similar problems with colors/flavorings, but dairy makes him weepy/self hating. It's unreal to me how much it can affect them (and probably me, too, if I'd ever give up drinking milk and eating cheese long enough, but "I'm fine, I cope" denialism keeps me doing it - sigh).

 

I'm not saying it will "cure" him, but I would seriously do this as a (relatively easy) first step and see what happens.  It seemed daunting to clear everything out of our kitchen and start saying NO to things we had fairly regularly (which grossed me out but it was a trap/addiction and we got caught in the cycle?), but it's been over a year now and we've had great success.  We go off the wagon for sure, but then we tighten things up again and we're back on track.  

 

And please, please don't think you can't parent him or you're not the right parent for him.  I've spent some time over the past month allowing myself to mourn the loss of what I thought our family was going to be like.  With 2 very active, low-impulse control, emotional but also bright, creative kids in the house, it is not the calm, harmonious home I envisioned.  And for a while I was getting resentful; but that was not useful at all, so I decided to just let myself mourn the loss of what I thought I wanted, and start to embrace what I actually have.  When we're "on", things are pretty damn good, so my vision actually wasn't so far off track after all.  Hang in there mama, I've "known" you for many many years here and I'm so sorry you're having such troubles.


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#41 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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I know how it feels to think you aren't the right parent for your kid. But that's depression talking. I think maybe he just needs a different kind of parenting then you hoped to do. For example I wanted to homeschool my son but have realize that we are just not the right combo of personality types for it. He does much better learning from someone that not me an I do better parenting Him when I gets break on a daily basis. Is it an option to send your DS to school this fall?

  

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#42 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:05 AM
 
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I dealt with a similar situation when my son was that age.  I don't mean to be harsh but you have to deal with it and making excuses about every single thing is not getting you anywhere.  I have lived it, I know that it is completely, completely overwhelming.  But when your 7 year old (mine) is attacking you with a hockey stick and your little girls are having to lock themselves in their room for safety something has to give.  It is hard to get help and it is hard to keep everyone safe.  And exhaustion?  Hah!  I know exhaustion.  At the time I was dealing with this my youngest didn't sleep AT ALL. Plus I have multiple chronic health problems.  But I am the mother.  That is my job.  I made sure I was awake and around every single second he was.  I never left the kids unsupervised.  If I went to the bathroom he had to sit outside the door and sing the whole time I was in there.  It was that bad. If I wanted a shower I waited until my DH was home.  It was completely and utter hell.  For years.  But we did seek help and he did get diagnosed, and yes medicated.  He also started school (we used to homeschool but an overwhelmed mom homeschooling is an incredibly bad idea IMO and kids who've lived in this situation need outside help - all of the kids) and counselling.  He is now 11.5 and doing so well.  He is still medicated, will be his whole life, and he receives tons of amazing resources through his school. He has an aide, resource help (he also has multiple learning disabilities), an occupational therapist and many other people helping him.  He is also involved in activities outside of the home to keep him active.  A lot of healing has had to be done in our family and between him and his sisters but we never gave up and we are all the better for it. I know when you are overwhelmed it seems like nothing will work but do me a favour.  Go back and read through all of your responses on this thread.  Every single solitary suggestion you have shot down.  Nothing will work at all, it is all too hard.  I know it may feel that way but you do not have the option of quitting.  Your son needs help, he needs a solid assessment.  I recommend an entire team, not just a single psychiatrist.  My son was assessed by a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker who also did multiple home visits.  They need to see the entire picture to be able to give an accurate diagnosis.  I highly recommend putting all the kids in school.  Best thing I ever did.  They are all happy there and I get the break I need to be the mom I need to be.  As for the immediate situation you need to keep all the kids safety.  As I said before, you need to do what I did.  No, you cannot sleep when your kids are awake.  No, you cannot leave them unsupervised.  Yes, you need to put all the knives away every single day.  We used to hide ours on the back on the fridge but if yours is a climber I recommend something with a lock.  Is it a pain in the butt to have to do all this?  Yes it sure is.  But it is the situation you are in right now and only one person can take the bull by the horns and change things and that's you.  I am not trying to make you feel bad. I have lived it and I know it's hard as hell.  But something has to give, and fast.


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#43 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I function on six hours of uninterrupted sleep. However, if my grandbaby wakes up at night, as toddlers are apt to do, I get cranky. I don't function as well. But if I get it, I'm good to go.
I get up before everyone else and stay up later so I get my downtime. That is vital to my being able to get through the day. I get my coffee, I head to the barn. I take care of me while I take care of my animals. Having that time allows me to be a better mom. Having time for yourself allows you to refill your cup so that you can take care of others.
I've been trying to carve out that downtime for a year - I strongly suspect it's one of the reasons I'm now so far beyond exhausted that I can't even remember what functional feels like. I have a choice between downtime or enough sleep - and I need both to function.

Maybe you can go for a walk by yourself while your dh watches the kids for a half hour. Take a bubble bath. Light some candles. Read a book. Do something, anything for you. Do it every day. It's not selfish. It's self care. And it's okay to take care of you so that you can take care of others.
Going for a walk isn't an option right now...should be again in the near future, but it's not right now. It's not a break, though. A walk leaves me in so much pain that I just want to curl up in a ball and die.

If you need ideas on navigating getting an evaluation for your son, ask. I'm sure there are many of us who can offer helpful hints on that. If you need help finding temporary fixes till you can get him in, I'm sure that's available here too.
There's no way to get an evaluation without dealing with doctors, so there's really no help anyone can give me. It has to be done, but I'd rather wade through a pit of tarantulas.

One thing that helped my DS immensely was sorting things. He loves to sort legos, blocks, rocks, anything. I got him bins he can sort things into. It helps him self soothe and gives him a focus. Prior to his dx, it was the one thing I could count on being able to get him to do and sit still with.
He's also a pokemon junkie. We made a list of things he had to do each morning. Eat, dress, brush his teeth, make his bed. If he did those things he would get to pick a card from the pack of cards I had. I pick them up at walmart and he loves being able to add to his collection. He willingly does his morning routine to be able to get a card.
I picked up a three ring binder and storage sheets for his cards. He takes immense pride in showing people his cards and telling them how he earned them.
 
DS2 likes screens - computer games and tv...that's about it. I can't think of anything else that will keep him still for more than about two minutes.

Safety issues? I have all medications in a small tool box with a combo lock. Scissors and knives went in there before he was able to be safe with them.

That sounds great. I have absolutely no idea where I'd put a tool box (and, no - I'm not just inventing issues - we're massively overloaded with stuff...which is something else I'm trying to address, with extremely minimal - but at least some - progress). I'm also more than a little afraid of what he'd do with the tool box!

House rules are posted on poster board in the kitchen. Consequences are spelled out too. Simple things like no hitting, speaking kindly, etc. Consequences can be no tv time, no nintendo DS, earlier bedtime, etc.
Rewards in our home are (aside from pokemon cards) easy things. A story from mom or dad. A trip to the gas station for a frozen yogurt, snuggletime, "sleepovers" in my bedroom, choosing dinner, helping make cookies or helping feed the baby animals.
You just have to find what works and be consistent. It's taken ME a lot of work to be able to be consistent. I'm a very fly by the seat of my pants person. I hate schedules and routine. I happen to have kids who thrive on it so I've had to adapt.

I have one who I think thrives on schedules and routine - ds2. (I'm not sure of that, because he fights them tooth and nail, but he does seem to do okay with them. DS1, dd1 and I are all the exact opposite. Schedules and routines make dd1 crazy. I've never figured out how to impose schedules and routines on one child, and not the other. .

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#44 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know how it feels to think you aren't the right parent for your kid. But that's depression talking. I think maybe he just needs a different kind of parenting then you hoped to do. For example I wanted to homeschool my son but have realize that we are just not the right combo of personality types for it. He does much better learning from someone that not me an I do better parenting Him when I gets break on a daily basis. Is it an option to send your DS to school this fall?

 

It's not depression talking, actually. Sometimes, parents and kids are just a really bad match. I've seen it before. It doesn't mean it can't work out, but it's real. I'm not the right parent for ds2. He needs somebody with a lot more energy than me, for one thing. He also needs someone with the ability to get things done in the system. That's not me.

 

I've been thinking about sending ds2 to school. He doesn't want to go, but I think he might do better there. It's hard to say. My nephew (Aspergers) has very similar behavioural issues, and school isn't helping him at all. My sister's been considering pulling him out to homeschool! I have to really think about the logistics. DD1 thrives on homeschooling, so I'm not putting her in school. Trying to balance our activities and outings with the school schedule sounds incredibly stressful. I also don't think ds2 would enjoy hearing about dd1's wonderful day at the Museum of Biodiversity or the science museum, when he'd been in class all day. He's also above grade level i reading and math, even though we almost never work on either of those things - I suspect he'd be bored out of his mind. I also have major concerns about the social environment. DS2 has more issues with other kids than with anything else.


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#45 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:11 AM
 
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Another thought - does your school district offer evaluations at all?  I know during the summer they might be closed, but if you could get something lined up for when school is back in session, that might take a mental load off.  It would probably be through special education professionals, so not medical.


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#46 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think stik and dfb have good advice.  You have to protect your kids.  You are not even considering any of their suggestions.  If you can not arrange to be awake before your son, then you need to ask your DH to help you.  Someone has to make sure that your other children are not in danger.  I hope you can figure something out.

 

DH does help me! DH does more than I do. I already mentioned that upthread. He's burning out, too.

 

What suggestions? Get up and do stuff when I can't?? "Don't let exhaustion beat you"?

 

Okay - HOW? How do you not "let" exhaustion beat you? How do you keep up with a child when you physically CAN'T? Don't tell me "you just do". Don't tell me "you have to". Tell me HOW.


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#47 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:20 AM
 
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It's not depression talking, actually. Sometimes, parents and kids are just a really bad match. I've seen it before. It doesn't mean it can't work out, but it's real. I'm not the right parent for ds2. He needs somebody with a lot more energy than me, for one thing. He also needs someone with the ability to get things done in the system. That's not me.

 

I've been thinking about sending ds2 to school. He doesn't want to go, but I think he might do better there. It's hard to say. My nephew (Aspergers) has very similar behavioural issues, and school isn't helping him at all. My sister's been considering pulling him out to homeschool! I have to really think about the logistics. DD1 thrives on homeschooling, so I'm not putting her in school. Trying to balance our activities and outings with the school schedule sounds incredibly stressful. I also don't think ds2 would enjoy hearing about dd1's wonderful day at the Museum of Biodiversity or the science museum, when he'd been in class all day. He's also above grade level i reading and math, even though we almost never work on either of those things - I suspect he'd be bored out of his mind. I also have major concerns about the social environment. DS2 has more issues with other kids than with anything else.

I think school might help. I know that Canada is different, but there are still regulations, and schools must provide services to kids with differences. Again, though, it comes down to standing up for your kid and dealing with professionals. 

 

I just saw your post on another thread, and was worried, so i looked through your previous posts. Not stalking honest, but someone who has kids with aspergers that sound SOOO much like your son. My son was above other kids in academics, and we told him that right now, his job was to learn how to play with other kids, not focus on academics. That stuff came later. KWIM?


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#48 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:20 AM
 
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DH does help me! DH does more than I do. I already mentioned that upthread. He's burning out, too.

 

What suggestions? Get up and do stuff when I can't?? "Don't let exhaustion beat you"?

 

Okay - HOW? How do you not "let" exhaustion beat you? How do you keep up with a child when you physically CAN'T? Don't tell me "you just do". Don't tell me "you have to". Tell me HOW.

By getting up and doing it!  I have severe fibromyalgia, and multiple other health issues.  I have a severe sleep disorder.  A sleep study noted that out of the 5 hours I managed to sleep I was in deep sleep for 11 minutes.  11 minutes!  I am the poster child for exhaustion.  You just do it.  Cry the whole time if you have to, but do it.  And why do you insist on homeschooling?  Why? If you are that exhausted that is not a good situation for anyone. Put the kids in school, sleep while they are gone, be a good mom when they are home.  If you are LITERALLY that exhausted that you cannot physically care for your children then you need to find alternate care for them (nanny, school, camp, etc) because how can you possibly consider that a safe situation for your children? 


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#49 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, Lisa. I wish you wouldn't feel depressed about this. He sounds like an intense kid - similar to one of my 3 boys, or my DD at times, fwiw. I can't tell you if he needs more structure or guidance or therapy or meds - b/c, I don't know him and am not a know-it-all-expert. But I know that parenting certain growning boys is rough, to put it mildly. You are the best mom he has. Remember that. I know. It just makes me feel bad that he's stuck with me.

All I know is with my kids, they need a whole lot of separation from each other in order to not kill one another. They are all in summer camp due to necessity, b/c I recently got a full-time job. 2 boys, and 1 girl, are in one camp; the youngest is in a summer daycare camp on his own. They manage to keep the older boys engaged enough to a point where there isn't any blood.
Anyhow, I know summer is halfway over, and I'm not ppreally suggesting camp/daycare as an ends to a means, but I know it has saved my ass as my boys have gotten older and wilder this year. If you have one that could possibly benefit from outside help, believe you me, I realize how hard it can be to have all the kids home together for extended periods of time.
He's got one small camp (three half days) coming up. There's nothing else that interests him, and I find having him home all the time is much less stressful than running around, trying to be places at a certain time. The one thing I am loving about the summer is the break from that!

It's rough, but if you can find a way to send him to individual activities or some sort of school away from home in the fall, I think you'll see a lessoning of those horrifying behaviors while he's under your watch. It's rough to be with the same small group of kids (such as siblings) for long amounts of time. Especiallyfkr a kid who reacts violently or who had any kind of overtly sensorial reactions.
It's just too much. For them and for you as a parent.
You know...I tried that, when dd1 was doing her second year of homeschool (we officially homeschooled kindy, so this was grade one). DS2 was so disruptive that I put him in preschool, three half days a week, so that I could focus on dd1. That part worked. He had a great time. He apparently behaved really well at school. He was hell on wheels, out of control, crazy-making when he came home - some of the worst behaviour I've ever had to deal with, from any of my kids. I dreaded picking him up. It was hell. The only reason I didn't pull him out was because he'd made one really good friend there, and really didn't want to lose the contact. It's one of the things that worries me about the idea of sending him to school.

There are days when I think, WTF? I shouldn't be these kids' parents, or a parent at all, for that matter. But it's just b/c I feel like things are out of control or not within my control (sorry, but anyone who thinks they can manage or punish certain kids into an expected behavior all the time, certainly haven't dealt with specific intense older children). And that's may when outside help in some form is needed. But please don't feel alone or defeated or unworthy as a parent. This shit sucks sometimes. For real. You need support and guidance. That's all.
Thanks.

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#50 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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By getting up and doing it!  I have severe fibromyalgia, and multiple other health issues.  I have a severe sleep disorder.  A sleep study noted that out of the 5 hours I managed to sleep I was in deep sleep for 11 minutes.  11 minutes!  I am the poster child for exhaustion.  You just do it.  Cry the whole time if you have to, but do it.  And why do you insist on homeschooling?  Why? If you are that exhausted that is not a good situation for anyone. Put the kids in school, sleep while they are gone, be a good mom when they are home.  If you are LITERALLY that exhausted that you cannot physically care for your children then you need to find alternate care for them (nanny, school, camp, etc) because how can you possibly consider that a safe situation for your children? 

 

What makes you think there will be anything less exhausting about putting my kids in school? My oldest graduated last year. I know the school drill. It wears me out. I hate it. I'm not going to be sleeping while they're gone, in any case - my youngest is only three. In any case, I don't recall asking for your opinion of my schooling choices. Homeschooling is one of the few things that's actually working out reasonably well around here. I don't consider the school system to be a safe situation for my children.  I may eventually have to go that route, and I find it hilarious that people would probably pat me on the back for deliberately making a choice that I do not consider to be in the best interests of my children.

 

It's not about being too exhausted to physically care for my children. I feed them. I bathe them (well, sometimes - they like baths from dh better). I do their laundry and work on their homework. I'm too exhausted to keep up with ds2, and provide the constant direct supervision several people recommended upthread (he's up and down the stairs a few dozen times a day - my knees, back and energy level simply can't do it). I've never done that with any of my kids, even when I had more energy. I don't actually understand how that even works - how do people fix meals, throw in a load of laundry, gather up the dishes, etc.?


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#51 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think school might help. I know that Canada is different, but there are still regulations, and schools must provide services to kids with differences. Again, though, it comes down to standing up for your kid and dealing with professionals. 

 

My nephew clearly has Aspergers. There's really no doubt about it, although he's only starting the diagnostic procedure. Nobody's done jack for him.  In any case, if I get the evaulation, I'm homeschooling through a DL (Distributed Learning - it basically means I'm enrolled with a school). I can access those services, if I get a diagnosis. The diagnosis is the biggest problem. Dealing with doctors - any doctors - triggers PTSD symptoms, and I 've become a world champion at avoiding them.

 

I just saw your post on another thread, and was worried, so i looked through your previous posts. Not stalking honest, but someone who has kids with aspergers that sound SOOO much like your son. My son was above other kids in academics, and we told him that right now, his job was to learn how to play with other kids, not focus on academics. That stuff came later. KWIM?

 

We don't focus on academics with ds2. He's basically had no teaching (a little bit here and there) in academics at all. He's slightly above grade level, in most ways - a few areas that he's just not aware of, but I don't even know where he's learned most of it! Maybe just listening to dd1's lessons...although she hasn't had a lot of intensive instruction, either. He's a sponge. I strongly suspect Aspergers - the pediatrician said "he walks in, says 'hi' and makes eye contact - this isn't the autism spectrum" and proceeded to give me exceptionally condescending parenting advice ("stop trying to reason with him - you're talking too much - put him immediately into time-out"...ds2 had bitten me during the appointment - but I have no idea what she was talking about, as I didn't talk to him much!), and send me off with a bunch of requisitions for blood tests I wanted to pick up some numbing cream she recommended, and didn't get it right away, and since I really wanted to go back to her about as much as I want another root canal, I managed to just let it slide. I have no idea how moms do this part - a lot of my son's future depends on a profession that I distrust and dislike intensely. It scares the crap out of me.


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#52 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You are the right parent for you son. It may not feel like it right now. But you are. Muddle through the best you can. Lock up those knives, the medicine, the matches and anything else you know are dangerous. Get a locking safe if you have to.

 

Can you write out a list of things that your son has done that concern you? And then do the same for your daughter. Then send those lists with your husband to the doctor. Seriously, if you're as put off by doctors as you sound, then it's time for the other adult member of your family to step in. Even if it means taking a day off work. Ask him to demand a referral to someone who knows something about kids with self-regulation issues. I know you disagree with the diagnosis, but your post sounds an awful lot like ADHD to me -- no sense of boundaries, trying to be funny and getting mad when it flops, inability to take rejection and over-reacting, angry at himself, lack of ability to see the consequences, lack of learning from the consequences. It's exhausting, but as DragonflyBlue noted, medication can make a huge difference.

 

hmm...so many people say it sounds like ADHD, but it's nothing like any of the people I know with ADHD. He's also got sensory issues, and I don't know how they play into any of this.

 

Have you had a counselor? You've been through a lot. You're exhausted and you sound depressed. Given what you've gone through, and the fact that you have at least 2 high maintenance kids, a child leaving home (added stress even if it's nice), and a toddler, you need help. I don't know how you're going to get it, but you could start with someone to talk to. If you can find a good counselor or perhaps a social worker trained as a counselor for you, that can be a real boon. They don't have to be 'medical' people. Just someone for you to talk to, to help you sort out your feelings and help you plan. You're not in a space where you can do that right now. It's OK. You will be again.

 

I may become desperate enough to talk to a counselor, but only if I actually reach the point where active self-harm is on the table. I don't trust them - not even a little bit. I saw one shrink as a teen, and his conclusion, after a couple sessions was...well, if he'd asked me to put into words my biggest problem, I'd have said almost the exact same thing he did. It was about as blatantly obvious as it gets (to quote "she suffers from an unusually severe maladjustment to her peer group"...well...DUH). Another counselor (also as a teen) took it upon herself to "help" by blabbing something I'd said in confidence. Just like doctors, they have a gift for taking a bad situation and making it worse. I have very basic expectations of people who are supposedly trying to help me: 1) listen to me, and 2) don't betray my trust - ever.

 

Are there any teenagers in the area that you would trust? What I really think you need is a mother's helper. My mom had one when my siblings were small and it was a huge help. I came along later when my older sibs were able to help with me and my brother. If you have an energetic teenager who can hang out with your son (preferably outside), even for a few hours a day, it would be great. What you want is a 13-14 year old -- lots of energy, old enough to be responsible. Make them leave their iPod/iPhone with you, and send your son outside to lpay.

 

I've been thinking about a mother's helper. The teens I know are all ds1's friends. Most of them don't live right here, and they're older (19) and moving on with their lives. There are a couple of boys about that age in our complex, but they're...not kids I'd trust with ds2. There's one girl (younger sister of ds1's ex-girlfriend - wonderful family) I was going to ask, but the family moved too far away, just as she was getting old enough. :(

 

And then I'm going to ask a loaded question: Where's your husband and what can he do to help lighten some of this burden? Maybe he can find a day camp where your son can get out some of  his energy and you can regain your composure and do a little bonding with your older daughter who needs it. As I said above, I think he needs to take a larger role in this. When a family is in a crisis, it cannot be one parent who deals with it all.

 

I have no idea why people keep asking me where dh is. DH is at work, Monday-Friday. He gets up with the kids and fixes their breakfast before he leaves for work. Sometimes (there have been weeks when it's every night), he cooks dinner when he gets home. He gives most of the baths. He sometimes takes the kids out for a few hours on the weekend so I can have downtime. He pretty much always gets up on the weekend, and lets me sleep in a bit. He picks up the house. I just took the laundry back from him a few weeks ago, because he was doing all of it. If one parent is dealing with it all, it's dh, not me. I do all the f driving around (classes, shopping, homelearning meetup - my lifeline, playdates, etc. etc.), but dh does the lion's share of almost everything else.

 

In fact, he's about to take all three younger ones out, so that I can bake dd2's birthday cake in peace.


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#53 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry you are dealing with this. hug2.gifI can definitely understand how hard it is to think of going the medical route.   Have you considered alternative treatments...dietary intervention, supplements?.  Maybe start by looking into Feingold or GAPS, supplementing with high quality fermented fish oil?   Maybe do some reading on dietary interventions for children with issues similar to what your DS has? Just some suggestions.. I'm a big believer in how diet can influence behavior, so the first thing I would look at would be dietary changes.
 

 

We do some dietary stuff - fish oil, minimized additives, etc. (he gets a few on special occasions). I haven't managed to get organized enough to do full on Feingold or GAPS. (I have major, serious brain fog - it's one of the aspects of the exhaustion that drives me crazy. I sat down at the computer to look for a cake recipe, and this thread came up, and I forgot, until just now, why I was sitting here!) We should focus more on that.


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#54 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I dealt with a similar situation when my son was that age.  I don't mean to be harsh but you have to deal with it and making excuses about every single thing is not getting you anywhere.  I have lived it, I know that it is completely, completely overwhelming.  But when your 7 year old (mine) is attacking you with a hockey stick and your little girls are having to lock themselves in their room for safety something has to give.  It is hard to get help and it is hard to keep everyone safe.  And exhaustion?  Hah!  I know exhaustion.  At the time I was dealing with this my youngest didn't sleep AT ALL. Plus I have multiple chronic health problems.  But I am the mother.  That is my job.  I made sure I was awake and around every single second he was.  I never left the kids unsupervised.  If I went to the bathroom he had to sit outside the door and sing the whole time I was in there.  It was that bad. If I wanted a shower I waited until my DH was home.

 

I've never taken a shower when my spouse wasn't home, until the kids are a lot older than ds2. I generally only bathe after the kids are asleep, anyway. I hate daytime showers.

 

Your son needs help, he needs a solid assessment.  I recommend an entire team, not just a single psychiatrist.  My son was assessed by a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker who also did multiple home visits.  They need to see the entire picture to be able to give an accurate diagnosis.

 

I want a team. I have to go through all the stupid hoops to get there. The first hoop was the idiot pediatrician, and now I'll go back to hoop one - I need a new referral.

 

I highly recommend putting all the kids in school.  Best thing I ever did.  They are all happy there and I get the break I need to be the mom I need to be. 

 

Putting my kids in school isn't on the table. At some point, I may put ds2 in - we'll see how it goes. Right now - no. Dealing with the school system is not, and has never been, a "break" for me. DS1's graduation felt like getting out of jail.

 


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#55 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 12:09 PM
 
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 He also needs someone with the ability to get things done in the system. That's not me.

 

 

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I have no idea how moms do this part - a lot of my son's future depends on a profession that I distrust and dislike intensely. It scares the crap out of me.
 

 

 

I think then, that *this* is probably the biggest priority that needs processing. I've read past posts about the horrible things you've endured - and I can't even imagine.  But if you can't do this, or figure out a way to work through it all, your husband will have to be the one to do it.  Just like if there was a physical problem that required one of your children to need frequent doctor visits, hospitalizations, etc., you'd somehow figure out a way to manage it.  Your son needs you to do this for him.  Thus far we're managing our daughter's issues well enough with just dietary changes, without medication, but my husband is on medication.  The difference in him off medication but trying to "handle" things with other coping skills we've read about together, versus on medication...well, I'll just say that medication saved our marriage.  We're poised to do the same for our daughter if it gets to that point, too.


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#56 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 12:10 PM
 
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I have spine issues, arthritis, my asthma is horrid. A few months ago my back went to hell in a handbasket. I could barely manage to do basic things - like wiping after I went to the bathroom. I went to my dr and she put me on a steroid pack. She got me a tens unit and a backbrace. The tens unit? I want to marry it and have it's babies! It is that awesome!

My back is doing better now but my lungs are a mess from all the fires. I have bone spurs
in my heels. I have plantar faciatis. Walking is agony. So I make sure I wear well padded shoes, soak my feet and muddle through.

I take medication for my depression, progesterone and DHEA for my hormone issues. I take vitamins and calcium to help with energy levels and to postpone further bone loss.

As for how you do it? You baby step it. You set your alarm and get up in the morning. Even if it's just ten minutes before the kids get up. After you adjust to that set it for 15 minutes.

Your older kids are old enough to start working on sleep issues. Have dinner, bathe the kids, read a story and put them to bed. If they get up, put them back in bed. Lather rinse repeat. Try melatonin to help them settle down and fall asleep. My DS takes 2.5 mg a night. It has helped so much! Bedtime here is 8:00. They can read till 8:30 and then it's lights out. You stay consistent, follow through. Don't argue, stay calm. Don't engage in the drama or whining. Empathize if needed but restate what you want and be firm.

When my grandbaby came back to us, she had ZERO sleep skills. She had ZERO self soothing skills. It took a few months but she now goes to bed at 8:30 and sleeps for 11-12 hours. She almost always sleeps through the night. It was hard getting there, but we did it.

My kids all have chores. Even the bb. (she will be 2 next month). Bb gets a wet rag and she "washes" walls, cupboards etc. We make a game of it. The twins are 8.5. They both have jobs. They clean their rooms- not my clean, but they do pretty good. DS loves to vacuum so that's his job. He loves to mop. I bought a spray mop, like a swiffer, but no batteries and the pad can go in the washer.

We have sock folding parties. I pop a movie in and we fold socks together. I bought colored milk crates. I fold their laundry and it goes in their crates. Their dresses have post it's taped on the drawers with a picture I drew of what goes in each drawer. They put their clothes away.

They help with dinner. They help unload the dishwasher. DS feeds the dog. They help collect eggs.

The toolbox? It's small- I got it at walmart for maybe 10$. It has a combo lock. I keep it on top of the fridge. You can easily store one there or on a shelf in the kitchen if you pick one the right size.

Screen time tends to cause issues. Overstimulation and all that so it's very limited. I set the timer and give countdowns the last 15 minutes. Then I shut it off.

There's so many ways to get kids to help. Have races. Give them a job and give yourself one. Make it a race to see who can get done first. Whoever wins gets a reward. They can pick dinner, pick the story, have extra screen time, painted nails, whatever floats your boat.

We are a family. In order for a family to function well we all have to do our part. We work together, we play together. It's what families do.

Also, I break chores down. If I say clean your room, they get overwhelmed. So I break it down. Pick up the legos. Yay! Now bring your dirty clothes basket in to the laundry room and empty it, put the basket back. Yay! Pick up the XYZ. Yay! Break it down.

Declutter. Pick one room at a time, work on it for 30-60 minutes a day. Get it done and move on to the next room.

I make a list each night of what I want to get done the next day. I put it on the fridge and check stuff off as I get it done. It helps.

Have a family meeting. Set down the house rules and put them on poster board. Let the whole family have input. Ask them how they'd like the family to work together to be functional.

If you want ideas on how to get kids motivated, let me know. I have some great things that really help us.

You can do this!

:
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#57 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 12:18 PM
 
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Hi Storm Bride, I have only skimmed the thread but it's obvious you're completely overwhelmed. My advice is to hire someone to clean your house and give you a break from the kids, even if it's just a partial break. I understand how hard it is to find someone reliable who clicks with your family, but you can look on sittercity.com, Craigslist, ask everyone you know and just keep calling people. There are lots of sweet teenage girls out there who make great mothers helpers. Check with homeschooling families who have teenagers. If money is an issue (as it is for us) I think getting some help, even if it's only now and then, is worth budgeting for.
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#58 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 12:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

 

I have no idea why people keep asking me where dh is. DH is at work, Monday-Friday. He gets up with the kids and fixes their breakfast before he leaves for work. Sometimes (there have been weeks when it's every night), he cooks dinner when he gets home. He gives most of the baths. He sometimes takes the kids out for a few hours on the weekend so I can have downtime. He pretty much always gets up on the weekend, and lets me sleep in a bit. He picks up the house. I just took the laundry back from him a few weeks ago, because he was doing all of it. If one parent is dealing with it all, it's dh, not me. I do all the f driving around (classes, shopping, homelearning meetup - my lifeline, playdates, etc. etc.), but dh does the lion's share of almost everything else.

 

In fact, he's about to take all three younger ones out, so that I can bake dd2's birthday cake in peace.

 

OK, so then it seems to me that you need to focus on getting well. I grew up with a mother who was severely depressed. She was coming out of it by the time I rolled around, but my sisters lived through hell. My older sisters had to take on a whole lot of responsibility when they were 7, 8 and 9, kind of like your daughter. And guess what? Every single one of her children has had mental health issues. Gee, I wonder why? I don't blame my mom. This was back in the 60s when there was no treatment for depression. She's lived through hell, medically and emotionally. FIVE members of her family died in the space of 4 years -- 4 of them in a horrific car crash. She did the best she could.

 

You need to get your mental health in order. You can't just wish yourself well. If you could, you'd be well. I suffer from debilitating anxiety. When I'm in the depths, I can't do anything. But I have learned to call my doctor. Is it easy? No. Does it work. Yes. I'm hoping to break the cycle with my kids by getting help. Even if my kids end up with mental health issues (both have a tendency to anxiety), they'll know there's no shame in getting help and I'll be able to describe what worked for me.

 

You refuse to have anything to do with a doctor or a counselor. Fine. You could see a social worker. But I don't think you understand how the process works. The first several visits are diagnosis and exploring. Yes, they're going to say some pretty obvious things. That's to make sure that you're on the same page. Furthermore, they're not going to tell you how to get well. They're going to listen, suggest a few things and try to help you see how you can change. They're also going to say some things you don't want to hear. They may even tell other people if they think you're a danger. They can't wave a magic wand. You're resistant to doctors and yet you seem to be expect them to be omniscient and treat things right away. Mental health issues, which you've got in spades and have had since you were a teenager, are not a quick fix. It takes a lot of work.

 

I don't know where you get your information on ADHD, but your son has classic symptoms. The sensory issues often go hand-in-hand with ADHD. It's also possible to have more than one diagnosis. This is why I suggested your husband take your children to the doctor. They need treatment and you are not in a position where you can get them that until you address your own mental health issues. Treatment for ADHD involves medication, diet modification and parenting/family counseling. Parenting a child with ADHD means figuring out what works with your kid, and it's not easy. A friend of mine has a son with ADHD and it's taken 2 years of hard work to help him be successful in school and not destroying the house. What works for typical kids simply doesn't work with him.

 

Frankly, I'd also put your kids in school. Both of them. Why is it "off the table"? What are you afraid of?  It might also get your kids some help. Not all systems are out to get you.

 

Really, what I read from your posts is: You are severely depressed. So severely depressed that you cannot function. So severely depressed that any practical suggestion someone makes is immediately met with "here's why I can't do that". If you weren't depressed, you could think about it at least. You're so depressed that a trip to the swimming pool, which is tiring for most of us, is completely exhausting for you. What can you do to help your mental health?


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#59 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 12:37 PM
 
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I agree with everything Lynn said.

 

Parents have to take care of themselves in order to take care of their kids. Why do flight attendants tell parents to put on their own oxygen masks first? Because an unconscious parent cannot help their child. In the same way, a parent with severe depression cannot effectively help their child. You do come across as suffering from severe depression. You don't have to live with it, you deserve to be happy. Once you have started to get well, then caring for your son will not be so completely overwhelming. Please take care of yourself. There are trustworthy counselors and social workers out there. Your health and well being will benefit from getting help. Your kids will benefit from your getting help. And it's okay to need help. Lots of moms need help, and are still good, loving moms.

 

Lots of moms here, myself included, have lots of experience parenting difficult kids while suffering from depression or other mental and physical health issues themselves. They are trying very hard to help you. Please listen to their very wise advice.

 

I also do agree that if you cannot face doctors or counselors on behalf of your son, your dh needs to do it. Your son needs someone to act on his behalf and access the services he needs. If that's too hard for you right now, your son needs another adult to do it.

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#60 of 166 Old 07-07-2012, 12:44 PM
 
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Great post Magella.  I'm just going to say I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magella View Post

I agree with everything Lynn said.

 

Parents have to take care of themselves in order to take care of their kids. Why do flight attendants tell parents to put on their own oxygen masks first? Because an unconscious parent cannot help their child. In the same way, a parent with severe depression cannot effectively help their child. You do come across as suffering from severe depression. You don't have to live with it, you deserve to be happy. Once you have started to get well, then caring for your son will not be so completely overwhelming. Please take care of yourself. There are trustworthy counselors and social workers out there. Your health and well being will benefit from getting help. Your kids will benefit from your getting help. And it's okay to need help. Lots of moms need help, and are still good, loving moms.

 

Lots of moms here, myself included, have lots of experience parenting difficult kids while suffering from depression or other mental and physical health issues themselves. They are trying very hard to help you. Please listen to their very wise advice.

 

I also do agree that if you cannot face doctors or counselors on behalf of your son, your dh needs to do it. Your son needs someone to act on his behalf and access the services he needs. If that's too hard for you right now, your son needs another adult to do it.

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