Friday, October 12, 2012

My kid can negotiate better than your kid.

Good Lord, God All Mighty.  My son has been starting up on something new and I'm not liking it.  Not liking it one bit.  Seems when he doesn't get his way, when I ask or, God forbid, tell him what to do, he turns into the defense team representing OJ Simpson.

A simple request turns into a full fledged negotiation and the negotiation takes longer than the actual request to begin with.  There have been times where I've just given up and said, "God dammit, I've asked you to go do something, please go and do it.  NOW."

That is met with, "ITS NOT FAIR.   I HATE YOU.  I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF MY GAME AND ALL MY DATA WILL BE LOST.  AGGGGHHH!!!  I HATE YOU!"  And if that weren't enough, he goes up to his room stomping all the way, all thirteen steps, slams his door and tears apart his room.

Add to it, he's still yelling, "I HATE YOU.  I'M GOING TO MAKE YOU HAVE A BAD DAY.  I'M GOING TO MAKE YOUR DAY HORRIBLE."

I try my best to ignore these statements while he's coming undone but it's hard.  He seems to think that because he's having a bad day, everyone else around him should as well.  He takes it upon himself to make sure your day is as bad as his.

A picture of the two of us he tore to bits in a meltdown
along with half of his room.  This is what hurt the most.

There was one particularly bad day where he said these things to me and I just lost it.  Lost it completely.  I lashed back at him and yelled, "You wanted me to be mad?  You wanted me to be mad?  Well now you've got it.  I'M MAD.  NO, I'M PISSED OFF.  Look at me.  Look at my face and see what it looks like.  That's mad.  Now go to your room, NOW."

At the time, even though I was madder than hell, I was telling him to look at my face.  Some weird kind of teaching moment I know.  Even through my own anger I was still trying to teach him.

And he looked at me, scared to death and said, "Can you not make chicken nuggets for dinner?  I prefer mini-corn dogs."

Fucking mini-corn dogs.  I lost it over mini-corn dogs.

After a few minutes I went upstairs and listened at his door.  I could hear him tearing apart his things.  The meltdown was over but he was sobbing and sniffing.  I felt like shit.

To be honest, I was sobbing on the other side of the door.

A little later, I talked to him and we patched things up but not without residual memories for both of us I'm afraid.

I know he says these things because he's out of control and he's seeking to gain that control back.  I know that.  I really do.  He's trying to put his mind, and his world, back the way he wants it.  The way he wants it to be.  But it doesn't always work that way.  He can't play his i-Touch all the time and he can't be in control all of the time either.

I know these things and I know why he's lashing out but sometimes this ride is hard.  Sometimes I loose it.  And sometimes I loose it completely.

I know this new skill of negotiation comes from the stressors of the day, school and everything else that puts his mind to worry.  I know this is his way to seek out stability in his life.  I know that.

So asking him to do a simple thing such as putting his folder in his backpack or putting forks on the table will not happen, it's going to have to wait.  It's too much for him.

I will do it.

And I'm OK with that.


Note:  I write this here because I lose it sometimes.  I do, we all do.  We wouldn't be human if we didn't.  I used to be afraid or ashamed to admit that, that I'd be less than a 'good mom' if I said that out loud.  

I put words to what happens in our house so others may realize they're not alone.  That we all, occasionally, have a moment.  Deep down, we're all doing as best we can.  


42 comments:

  1. Kudos for the honesty Liz, and we would all be lying if we didn't admit we lose it sometimes too. Liam does the same thing to me, and I wondered for a second if u were peeking into my life, lol :)btw, sending you long distance hugs :)

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    1. Thanks Courtney, I knew you'd get this. That, and I'm not doing anyone any favors if they don't know that it's not all roses and unicorns....sometimes it's hard.

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    1. Back at you Jess, right back at you.

      xxoo

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  3. Wow you are describing life with my oldest when he was younger. It took us years to get him diagnosed as bipolar. HUge meltdowns resulting in property damage and a sobbing child who remembered only bits and pieces following. Sending you huge hugs. It isn't easy but know you are not alone.

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    1. Thanks Angel, there is comfort in knowing someone else gets it. xxoo

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  4. Wow - this sounds like what goes on in my house at least once a week with my 4 year old. So tired of negotiating about *everything*! Thanks!!

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    1. I know, right? The variation from day to day can be exhausting!

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  5. Ty for sharing I am so glad to know that I am not alone in this situation I get exactly the same from my 8yr old admittedly I am lucky I only have one child I can't imagine what it must be like dealing with the stresses of having a child on the spectrum and then having to make sure I am giving my other children enough attention. I must admit I do give in sometimes when I just feel over dealing with the constant negotiations but I hate when I get to the point of screaming at him I have been known to apologise to my son and try and explain that what I have done is wrong and I didn't deal with the situation in the right way but that doesn't mean that his beahviour is right either. remember keep calm and carry on.

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    1. And that, right there, is why I posted this. I know I'm not the only one who takes a swan dive every once in a while. Sometimes we all snap but does it mean we love our kids any less? Heck no!

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  6. Your not alone...I, too, have lost it and felt like shit afterwards. I wish for a 'redo' button all the time. Keep your chin up. Your awesome.

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    1. Yeah, I envision that redo button like that big red button from Staples. :)

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  7. That took courage to write and say out loud...thank you. I have a 12 yr old high functioning autistic son who is trying to negotiate middle school and this sounds like our house sometimes. He tries so hard all day to maintain that when he gets home to his safe place he comes undone. I get it, I really do but I lose it too occasionally . And I work with kids like him so I feel like crap after I lose it sometimes because I feel like I should know better , but it's different when you're the mom ! You are a terrific mom, don't ever doubt yourself , even when you were angry you tried to teach him yet another social cue !! Lol

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    1. That is my house exactly!!! And thank you. Your kind words make me smile.

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  8. We should hang out. I am dealing with similar scenarios here with my 3rd grader...his ADHD makes the demands he faces all too much sometimes, too. I lost my temper over Pokemon cards with him last week. Not pretty. I should know better.

    THank you for sharing this story. I can feel the rawness...I have experienced this reality. It is all a part of this gig we have. It doesn't necessarily make it easy, but there is a comfort to knowing that we are not alone.


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    1. Poekmon is panic inducing.....I've lost it over much less. :)

      Hugs. Hugs. Hugs.

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  9. My son is just like yours when it comes to negotiating. Sometimes he'll want 3 cookies and I'll counter with 1. Then we end up agreeing on 2. So,neither of us is happy and I can live with that. But it can be tough. Especially when he says he hates me. I know he doesn't mean it,but it still hurts.

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  10. Lizbeth - on a happier note that may be hard to see right now....in my former life I was a contract negotiator. He may have a great future. :-)
    ((cyber hugs))

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    1. Peg, I have to tell you I busted out laughing reading that! I love ya!!!

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  11. Thank God Alex and I are not alone..I feel like the worst grandmother in the world when this happens! Especially because I feel like I have done this with my children so since it isnt my first go round I should be an expert right, HA! And I think about all the horrible things he went through before he came to us and my guiltngoes soaring through the roof that I just raised my voice at him or told him that I didn't care that he does not like me thats just tough, or something along those lines...in a strange way, you just made my day, no my week! Thank you for having the strength of character to share your stories and be a source of support of the rest of us mere mortals!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. And trust me, I'm mortal. You should see my laundry pile and dishes stacked in the sink!!!

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  12. If I had a dollar for every time I lost it with my son when he was younger I 'd be a millionaire! No, a Billionaire!! I didn't feel all that guilty either because for most of that time he wasn't diagnosed with Asperger's yet. It was tough going through it, but he knew I loved him and he's not traumatized or anything like that now. He turned out ok! As far as negotiating, by the time he started that I was too worn out to negotiate. I would just start counting - by the time I get to 5 you better be _____ or you're going to get _____ taken away, etc. As far as the "I hate you" goes, My standard line back was, "Good! I must be doing a good job as mom then!" I still joke with him about that.

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    1. Kristy--that is a really good idea!!! I'm so going to try that. And I feel the same way--I'm not my kids BFF, I'm their mom.

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  13. I commend you for writing this. I lose it a lot with my both of my kids. It's hard and it's a reality. We are not perfect. But I do make sure I talk to them when this happens. Hugs to you Liz.

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  14. I think you are wonderful. I too have stood on one side of a door sobbing. Parenting is a work in progress, and nobody is perfect, no matter what they say. Sometimes it is good to remember that.

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  15. God, we have major negotiating in our house too! We don't have nearly as many tantrums as we used to, be there are still a few. The Avengers poster I bought him a couple months back is hanging in shreds on the wall right now from the last tantrum. It does suck, and it is hard. But they also have to see that their actions affect others, and sometimes that means that WE feel angry and yell. Not always, but sometimes. It's a teaching moment, just like you said.

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  16. Yep, right down to the tearing apart his room and his stuff when he melts down. Over small things. Like a stupid choice of dinner entrees. Or putting a puzzle away. Or any of a thousand small things I can't give him a real opportunity to choose. I want him to understand that I get tired, and frustrated, and lose my temper too. I keep reminding myself that that is a lot to ask of any four and a half year old, let alone an autistic four and a half year old. So we work it out in our blogs, on facebook, any place it is safe to vent, then take a deep breath and move on. I just wish I was better at faking the supermommy thing.

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  17. The photo ripped like that really got to me too. I'm sorry my friend. We all have these less than Hallmark card moments with our kids and I remember having these kinds of exchanges with my own parents too, truth be told. But in the end, you know he loves you tons and tons - part of knowing how to negotiate is knowing all the soft spots to get to you with... He's a smart one that Alex!

    And, btw, don't kill me but hey, mini corn dogs are really yummy. ;)

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  18. Think about how crazy things would be if you didn't know about Aspergers.

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  19. You are never alone Liz. And you should never feel ashamed.

    I've been here my friend. I've been here.

    HUGS!

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  20. I am a horrible negotiator. Allie outlasts me everytime!

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  21. Oh I get this, and worst of all I have an aversion to control freaks

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  22. Yeah! Typical day raising Danielle! When she was in fifth grade she went in her room and made a list of things she was going to do to me when I was old and incapacitated. They were not pretty! I hope the nursing home she picks to drop me off at is close to a beach! lol

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  23. Oh, I'm sorry. I lose it too. Mostly during the night when I have to take care of toileting issues with Cody...and when I feel sorry for myself for having to deal with him for freaking 30 plus years. Hang in there. You're right. You are not alone in this.

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  24. I lose it too, lady. Sometimes more often than I'd like to admit.

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  25. This is my first visit to this page. Thank you Liz for discribing my son and daughter-in-law so well. They have an 8 year old son that they found out has Asperger's just this last school year. So you can guess what their household is like. When you told of your day with your son, it was like the things I see with my grandson AJ. He always has a melt down when he gets home from school. His parents are trying to teach him control at school so that no person gets hurt when or if he has a melt down at school. For the first 3 school years, K-2, they didn't know what was wrong with him. Now that they know it's somewhat easier to handle. I pray for all the family memebers who deals with these wonderful children that God gave to them. So you know that they are blessings from God. The older you get it's suppose to be easier to handle things that would have bothered you earlier in life. Before we found out about AJ, sometimes I would lose it too. I'm ashamed to say that. Because now I have more understanding for him. I love that boy more than I can say. I just wished that his parents would learn more about his disorder so that they could understand him better. Thank you again for this page because I stumbled onto it and as soon as I read your story I knew what AJ has been going through. Bless you and may God keeping Blessing you.

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  26. I have as many meltdowns as my kids and it sucks and makes me feel like the worst mom in the world because I can't get my $hit together and control myself. Then I see my kids have meltdowns and wonder if it's me or all their "specialness" or a combo that's causing them. It sucks so bad doesn't it?

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  27. Oh, the "I hate you"s that reverberate through my house on a daily basis! Thanks for sharing this. It definitely does make me feel better to know other people deal with all this, too.

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  28. Happy birthday Alex! I hate root beer floats too especially the frozen foam on top. My mom knows how to make one but none of us in the family likes to drink it.

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