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  #1  
Old Jul 11, '08, 10:37 am
jacie jacie is offline
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Default Parenting "difficult" children

All my life, I have taught my children to be understanding and patient with difficult children, to forgive and to include them as much as possible. Now I'm on the other side, with my youngest being the difficult one, and I am amazed at the attitudes of other so-called Catholic parents who encourage their children to hold grudges and exclude my daughter from birthday parites, play dates, etc.

Yes, she can be a pain. She talks way too much, has difficulty taking turns, is overly excitable and says "mean" things when she gets frustrated. She can be downright annoying. But she is also kind and loving and generous. We work at trying to behave properly, and have medicated from time to time. But nothing is going to change the fact that she is annoying, except maybe some maturity. Until then, my heart breaks for her when I hear the talk of birthday parties all the other girls were invited to, when I see the eye rolls from other parents, when I see her 8th grade "buddy" go out of her way to avoid her at the ice cream social.

No, you can't force your child to like another. But you can encourage them to be forgiving and understanding, and you can stay out of the way when childish disagreements arise. Always taking your child's side will only encourage tattling and exaggeration of the offense. Encourage apologies on both sides, Kids will get over these things much quicker if parents would stay out of the fray and not attack the other child as the troublemaker.

Sorry for the rant. I'm not asking for bad behavior to be excused, only for a greater level of understanding and patience for the annoying behavior.
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  #2  
Old Jul 11, '08, 10:48 am
kevinsgirl kevinsgirl is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

I see where you're coming from and I agree that parents definitely shouldn't encourage bad behavior. But I can also see how they might prefer to not have to deal with problematic behavior in their homes. For me it depends a lot on the age of the child. How old is your daughter?
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  #3  
Old Jul 11, '08, 11:13 am
HouseArrest HouseArrest is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

Sneaky behavior, in contrast, is often overlooked and more damaging, in my opinion, to others. Yes, I have witnessed mothers of sneaky and manipulative children looking down their noses at the other "loud" kids. But at least be thankful that your daughter is "easy to catch". I so far do not have any kids with that sneaky personality, thank heavens!
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  #4  
Old Jul 11, '08, 11:13 am
BlestOne BlestOne is offline
 
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

Awwww.... been there done that! I have an 18 yo son that was that "difficult" child. His maturity level at 12 yo was 8 yo and he was extremely ADHD and medicated. This is not uncommon for these kids. Anyway, all I could do is ride it out for the most part. It does help to have sleepovers and stuff at your house and birthday parties but there isn't much more you can do like you said, you can't make kids like her. My ds is the most loving generous kid I have ever seen too.. it was hard because I went from totally loving this kid to not being so sure on his difficult days if you know what I mean. I even worked at the school and it really hurt when my boss told me she HATED my son. But... he did outgrow it and now is one of the popular kids because of his quirkiness! High School is when these kids bloom... I know it seems like it will never come, but believe me... it comes too quick!
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  #5  
Old Jul 11, '08, 11:22 am
HouseArrest HouseArrest is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlestOne View Post
Awwww.... been there done that! I have an 18 yo son that was that "difficult" child. His maturity level at 12 yo was 8 yo and he was extremely ADHD and medicated. This is not uncommon for these kids. Anyway, all I could do is ride it out for the most part. It does help to have sleepovers and stuff at your house and birthday parties but there isn't much more you can do like you said, you can't make kids like her. My ds is the most loving generous kid I have ever seen too.. it was hard because I went from totally loving this kid to not being so sure on his difficult days if you know what I mean. I even worked at the school and it really hurt when my boss told me she HATED my son.

That's terrible! As if you needed to hear that on top of everything else. Didn't your boss KNOW you were working on it? Many, give the kid some time.

But... he did outgrow it and now is one of the popular kids because of his quirkiness! High School is when these kids bloom... I know it seems like it will never come, but believe me... it comes too quick!
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  #6  
Old Jul 11, '08, 11:47 am
jacie jacie is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

My daughter is 9 years old. I also have a 21-year old daughter and a 16 year old son. The oldest was on auto-pilot, self-motivated and few problems. My son is also very ADHD, but didn't seem to have so many problems having friends. I think boys are more accomodating of the high energy levels and impulsiveness. He has lots of friends, just not too academically motivated.

I find women to be so much more judgmental towards these kids. My youngest is so sweet and loving, especially with little children. She'll be a great babysitter some day. I know we have problems to work on, but she has the basics. She is loving and generous and caring. But she has to be kept busy and constantly reminded to exercise patience and manners.

Yes, I have no right to ask other parents to put up with my problem child in their home, but is it too much to ask to have her to a birthday party, especially when all the other girls in the class are invited? Her behavior is not "bad", just annoying and requires a higher level of attention than that of other kids. She is destractaable. and easily bored.

Isn't tolerating difficult people part of what we are asked to do as a Christian? For example, the woman in a social club I belong to who gets too close to you while she talks, who is constantly giving playful little punches and touching and invading your personal space, making nervous jokes that aren't very funny. I see other women immediately walk away from her when she approaches, and barely acknowledge her presence. Yet she is a pastor's wife, who teaches bible study classes and performs numerous charitable duties, listens to other people's problems all day, and would give you the shirt off her back. This might be who my daughter will grow up to be.
People like this have so many valuable and wonderful qualities, but too often we refuse to really get to know them and see them through God's eyes.

Here I am ranting again.
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  #7  
Old Jul 11, '08, 11:48 am
Tantum ergo Tantum ergo is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

High School?

I HOPE so for the OP but in my DD's case high school was the worst.

She had Asperger's, PTSD and depression (long story). She got along fine with peers through middle school (a little trouble with teachers now and then due to her being stubborn but most teachers were great and things went well mostly).

We had moved just before she started high school, and she had acquaintences there plus had had cousins go through.

The students there treated her so badly that if I were to give even the least 'obnoxious example' you'd be appalled. Of course we were told that it was 'her' fault; she was encouraged not to be 'thin-skinned'. Basically she was told that because other kids found her 'unlikeable', the only thing she could do was to 'make herself into what the kids liked'.

She tried. She was heavy (medications). Lost 70 pounds the first year. Thought that now that she was 'normal' weight like the other girls that would solve the teasing.

Nope.

She was accused of being 'elitist' by being so smart. She tried helping all the kids out, offering her services to help with notes, with papers, etc. Some kids (I later found) made her do all their homework and passed it in, getting As. . .

She thought they would at least, even if they didn't 'befriend' her, at least not actively name-call or torment her. In fact, they were the loudest and nastiest in abusing her.

If the girls in her class started talking about much they liked a show, she would wait and then quietly say she liked it too--only to be told "We HATE that show and you are STUPID". It didn't matter what they were talking about. Many times they would make no sense. It got to the point that if she even said something about it snowing outside, kids would dance around her screaming, "It's sunny, and you're crazy!"

Nothing worked. Finally she graduated. The happiest day of her life was leaving that school and those kids behind. To this day she is still suffering the aftereffects of not being able to trust people due to the nasty actions of MANY students that were OVERT, and the equally nasty actions of the REST who by "COVERTLY" STAYING SILENT just reinforced the bullies.

And while I sympathize with the teachers they were WRONG and the public educational system (there was no Catholic school within 100 miles) was, and remains, a nightmare in ALL aspects, from academic to social. I had to bring in ACTIVISTS to even get her the minimum services and I had to basically throw up my job in 2 minutes' notice to rush out to near daily meetings or to beg for meetings and for help, by the end. At first, I tried to be the 'good parent' and just 'do what we were told'. After 2 years of having things go from bad to worse, I started to be the PEST but that was the ONLY way things got done.

My heart goes out to this girl and the many children (and adults too) who are marginalized, often for no reason other than to provide 'sport' to the jaded bullies of the world.
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  #8  
Old Jul 11, '08, 12:59 pm
kage_ar kage_ar is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

Perhaps finding a place where she feels comfortable would help? Someplace with other kids who share a passion.

What is she interested in? Is she athletic? Maybe getting her in some sort of indivudial sport?

Is she artisitc? Art classes. How about drama? Your local little theatre may have drama groups for kids (and the artistic types tend to be a bit more accepting of "differentness").

Animals? Horse back riding to volunteering with the Humane Society -

Maybe the two of you could volunteer with disabled kids? Reading to nursing home residents? Her energy may be just what reaches some one.
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  #9  
Old Jul 11, '08, 1:22 pm
jacie jacie is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

Yes, I'm afraid it could get worse in high school. Did you ever hear of a book some years ago called "Reviving Ophelia" or something like that. The basic premise of the book was that our society causes girls to suddenly become subdued and self-conscious around 5th grade or so. It comes from a feminist perspective, blaming all the male institutions etc. I found it interesting and true in many ways, except I don't believe it is "male institutions" that are the cause of it, but other women. I think other women are harder on our girls than any man or institution in our society.I think us mothers should all take a long, hard look at the attitudes we pass on to our daughters, who so look up to us as role models.

You know we've all done it, made some little judgmental comment about another woman's manner of dress or personality, within earshot of our children. Or when our child comes to us complaining about a playmate, instead of asking what she did to contribute to the situation, we immediately sympathize and tell her "Little Annie isn't very nice, is she? You shouldn't play with her anymore!" Or even the comments we make about other children who might not be behaving as we envision the perfect little girl should.

Well, ranting a little does help. I've always thought that raising "difficult" i.e. ADHD kids gives you a little post-traumatic stress syndrome. If you think it's difficult teaching one or having one over to your home occasionally, try living with one! Yes, they do drive me crazy. You spend your life just trying to get them from point A to point B, like pushing spaghetti up a hill. Then on top of that you have to deal with all the negativity from other people. I feel like the walking wounded, not knowing what to do with all my hurt feelings and anger. It helps to talk to someone who's been there.

I just hope that this discussion helps some of us to take a closer look at that annoying officemate or kid next door and try harder to see the good things in them and not write them off.
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  #10  
Old Jul 11, '08, 2:04 pm
Rob's Wife Rob's Wife is offline
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Smile Re: Parenting "difficult" children

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacie View Post
Yes, I have no right to ask other parents to put up with my problem child in their home, but is it too much to ask to have her to a birthday party, especially when all the other girls in the class are invited? Her behavior is not "bad", just annoying and requires a higher level of attention than that of other kids. She is destractaable. and easily bored.

hmm. BTDT - both sides of the coin. Most people only invite those thier kid wants at their party. For that matter, I only invite people I want at my party.

Isn't tolerating difficult people part of what we are asked to do as a Christian? For example, the woman in a social club I belong to who gets too close to you while she talks, who is constantly giving playful little punches and touching and invading your personal space, making nervous jokes that aren't very funny. I see other women immediately walk away from her when she approaches, and barely acknowledge her presence.

hmm. Again BTDT.
I wouldn't give her the cold shoulder, but I wouldn't let her treat me that way either. I'd just be honest and half-jokingly say, "hey don't hit me unless you want hit back!" and "really? that's interesting. you know, I can hear you without you getting right in my face dear. thanks. now about that class...."
BTDT with your situation.

There is a difference between being uncharitible to difficult people and letting difficult people make your life difficult too. One can be charitible AND not allow people to make their life difficult to miserable.

Now what to do when someone continues to make your life difficult to miserable after you've made every effort to charitably resolve the problem?

I would venture that the most charitable thing to do would be to associate with them as little as possible. NOT hatefully. No name calling or harassment neccessary. Simply be busy elsewhere.

So I wouldn't sweat the non-involvement thing. I do as Kage suggests and constantly work to find where my child "fits". He finally found a friend that can talk for hours on end about Bioicles just like him. He hates most sports, but loves archery and chess. He's developing enough of his own mind to care a lot less about what others want from him. And yeah, I'm glad his not a girl. Because girls are vicious creatures and always have been.

However I have zero tolorance for hateful behavior from my kid or anyone elses. If my kid was saying mean things, I'd pounce in a heartbeat. No excuses accepted. If another kid was saying it - I'd make it clear that it needs to stop or the interaction is over. Sneaky hatefullness will see mama bear ire of historic proportions. Yes, kids have to learn how to work things out for themselves, but they also have to be taught how to do that. Or more to the point, how NOT to do it.

I was that girl that never fit in at school. (I don't think I have any issues - just square peg not fitting in the round hole) I too couldn't wait to get out and shed no tears about graduating high school. But by the time I reached highschool, I was pretty independent minded and pretty much had my own life outside of school. I don't think I even noticed enough about anyone I went to my highschool with to remember more than maybe 3 names. Because I didn't care about them - they pretty much left me alone? Graduating class of 900+ made it easier to get lost in the crowd?

Outside of school, I had a f/t job that supplied me with money to do whatever I wanted, computer programming and data classes (where I met my dh, who was fairly popular at his highschool - go figure!) and basicly highschool was this stupid thing I had to do before I got on with my life that was already well established outside highschool.

But elementary was hard and middle school was brutal.
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  #11  
Old Jul 11, '08, 3:24 pm
duskyjewel duskyjewel is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

I'll be honest here.... I would not encourage my children to put up with a child that treats them badly. And saying mean things or refusing to be fair in taking turns is treating someone badly.

We just spent a week at vacation Bible school with a boy who has been diagnosed Aspergers. I tried really hard to be understanding that he has a disability, and forced myself to ignore some things and let some things go that I would not ordinarily, but even people with disabilities can and need to be held accountable when their behavior is rude or mean. This boy spent a lot of time telling the other children that they were too stupid to understand what he wanted to explain to them, and after a few times of hearing that, I told him it was very rude to tell people that. He argued with everything every adult told him, very disrespectfully, he told other children their opinions and ideas were dumb when they didn't match up with his......

I mean, come on. My children don't understand a disorder like Aspergers.... they just know this kid is being mean and putting them down. Why would I encourage them to be around him? I get that he has a disability, and that much of it has to do with social appropriateness. But I think he needs to be reminded, in a kind way, that his behavior is crossing lines. I never once saw his own mother take him aside and deal with him.... it was teachers and adult helpers like me. Whatever therapy they are getting for him does not seem to be helping him learn to relate any better. Moms who have more experience with this kind of disorder.... what is appropriate? Shouldn't the mother (who was there the whole time) be running interference and dealing with her child when he says hurtful things to other children? I know behavioral therapy can help some kids..... I don't know if there is medication.... I am very uneducated here.

However, there are some kids who are just spoiled and mean and nasty, and the price they pay for acting like that is that no one likes them. And it's really sad, because it is a burden their parents have placed on them by not disciplining and teaching them proper behavior and respect.

I want my children to know it is OK for them to distinguish between people who are good for them, who treat them well, and people who are bad for them, who do not treat them well. Many times I see, and have given, advice on these very boards for people to distance themselves from toxic individuals. Why don't our children have permission to do that? Forgiving is one thing.... being a doormat is quite another. And being told by your parents that you are required to submit yourself to poor treatment by unrepentant mean people in the name of Christian forgiveness is a recipe for turning out doormats who subscribe to "wuss-Christianity."

Tantum ergo, my stomach clenched as I read your post. Your daughter's high school experience sounds much like mine. I never did figure out what made them hate me so much, except that I was one of the "smart kids." I wish my parents would have acknowledged it as a real problem and removed me from the school. I know why they didn't........ in my Dad's case, he minimized the whole thing, saying it was a normal part of growing up, and refused to take it seriously. I sometimes wonder if that was because he was one of the good looking jocks in high school and was not willing to admit that perhaps his treatment of people in high school could cause real pain and suffering. My mother didn't have custody, but her accustomed way of dealing with difficulty is chosen powerlessness, so she wasn't much help either.
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  #12  
Old Jul 11, '08, 3:29 pm
HouseArrest HouseArrest is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacie View Post
My daughter is 9 years old. I also have a 21-year old daughter and a 16 year old son. The oldest was on auto-pilot, self-motivated and few problems. My son is also very ADHD, but didn't seem to have so many problems having friends. I think boys are more accomodating of the high energy levels and impulsiveness. He has lots of friends, just not too academically motivated.

I find women to be so much more judgmental towards these kids. My youngest is so sweet and loving, especially with little children. She'll be a great babysitter some day. I know we have problems to work on, but she has the basics. She is loving and generous and caring. But she has to be kept busy and constantly reminded to exercise patience and manners.

Yes, I have no right to ask other parents to put up with my problem child in their home, but is it too much to ask to have her to a birthday party, especially when all the other girls in the class are invited?

I am a firm believer that everyone in a class should be invited to a birthday party. Especially if it is a smaller class. I have seen waayyyy too many really, really hurt little kids because of this.
Her behavior is not "bad", just annoying and requires a higher level of attention than that of other kids. She is destractaable. and easily bored.

Isn't tolerating difficult people part of what we are asked to do as a Christian? For example, the woman in a social club I belong to who gets too close to you while she talks, who is constantly giving playful little punches and touching and invading your personal space, making nervous jokes that aren't very funny. I see other women immediately walk away from her when she approaches, and barely acknowledge her presence. Yet she is a pastor's wife, who teaches bible study classes and performs numerous charitable duties, listens to other people's problems all day, and would give you the shirt off her back. This might be who my daughter will grow up to be.
People like this have so many valuable and wonderful qualities, but too often we refuse to really get to know them and see them through God's eyes.

Here I am ranting again.
I read Reviving Ophelia but it was many years ago. I might have to dust it off again.

I would say, however, that you cannot control those people, and that I would encourage my daughter to forget about the party (I know, easier said than done) and to "make her own life". When she does that, and has found her niche and is happy, the others are likely to come running. The only way to win at the "We don't want you around" or "We are more popular than you" game is to not play it.

Did I miss how old?
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  #13  
Old Jul 11, '08, 3:38 pm
duskyjewel duskyjewel is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

I completely disagree with inviting a whole class to a birthday party.

First, I can't afford a party for 30 or 35 children.

Second, my children have kids who are friends, kids who are acquaintances, kids they don't know, and kids who are enemies. Why would I encourage them to invite strangers or enemies?

Third, it's their party, and they have a right to enjoy it. They have the right to decide who comes. My daughter had a sleepover for her tenth birthday. I told her she could invite her three best friends, who were the only ones she really wanted. Only two came, and my house was still too full! She had a great time with her two best friends in the whole world.... and that is what a party should be.

Fourth, even children need to learn to deal with the reality that they will not always get everything they want. And that the world will not cater to their feelings. I think we spend too much time trying to prevent hurt feelings, and not enough teaching self-sufficiency and resiliency, in this culture anymore.
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Old Jul 11, '08, 3:44 pm
HouseArrest HouseArrest is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

Quote:
Originally Posted by duskyjewel View Post
I completely disagree with inviting a whole class to a birthday party.

First, I can't afford a party for 30 or 35 children.

Second, my children have kids who are friends, kids who are acquaintances, kids they don't know, and kids who are enemies. Why would I encourage them to invite strangers or enemies?

Third, it's their party, and they have a right to enjoy it. They have the right to decide who comes. My daughter had a sleepover for her tenth birthday. I told her she could invite her three best friends, who were the only ones she really wanted. Only two came, and my house was still too full! She had a great time with her two best friends in the whole world.... and that is what a party should be.

Fourth, even children need to learn to deal with the reality that they will not always get everything they want. And that the world will not cater to their feelings. I think we spend too much time trying to prevent hurt feelings, and not enough teaching self-sufficiency and resiliency, in this culture anymore.
Well my kids are in classes of 12-18 so that might be the difference. Also - I have had larger classes at times to deal with, not 30 - 35 mind you, but maybe 25. I arranged the party to be something that I could manage with that many kids. It's alot harder to do in the winter.

My kids are able to enjoy their parties even when they invite people they have some differences with, so that is never an issue.

It's a big difference, too, inviting 3 out of 35 (understandable) and inviting all but one (completely horrible).
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Old Jul 11, '08, 3:58 pm
duskyjewel duskyjewel is offline
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Default Re: Parenting "difficult" children

If that "one" is the mean kid who puts others down, shows off their brand name stuff, teases other kids, denigrates anything they don't like or agree with..... then it's not horrible to not invite them. It's mercy on everyone else in the class to have a function without that kid.
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