This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Daddy Discipline

My biggest concern is that Hubby is fighting me on how to handle our son. I read books, belong to multiple list serves and support groups, have attended years of attachment therapy, and go to trainings... but apparently I'm too emotionally involved or something. Or maybe not emotionally involved enough. I don't know.

Hubby decided to take over our son's discipline which has some good points and bad.

Good is that I don’t have to deal with Bear's resentment of me for catching him and disciplining him (although he assumes it was me anyway). The bad is that Hubby doesn’t give me much input into what’s happening and that means most of the time our son is “getting away” with things. Hubby doesn’t want to deal with alarming our son’s bedroom door (Hubby would have to wake up if son went to the bathroom in the middle of the night or left his room to forage) so he won’t do it. Hubby also says son steals during the day too so there is no reason to alarm the door at night.

In our state kids can legally leave home at 17, so Hubby doesn’t want to make son so miserable that he leaves the minute he turns 17 (in about 6 months). My concerns are that if we let our son off easy:
a. he’s not going to be motivated to change or participate in therapy
b. that we have to live with his behavior while he’s here (whether that’s 6 months, until he graduates at age 19, or longer)
c. that he will get worse, because he doesn’t feel safe or that we care enough to keep him in line
d. that he will get worse because he’s getting away with it
e. the stress will continue to damage our relationship with our son – I certainly don’t like him the way he is
f. his behavior will continue to hurt his siblings and his relationship with them
g. the stress of disagreeing with Hubby about this will continue to damage our relationship with each other

I want to alarm his door. Give him writing assignments. Tell him he can’t go anywhere or participate in extra-curricular activities until his “community service hours” are done (he owes us money from a couple of months ago – back when I was still “allowed” to give him consequences). Restrict his computer time and phone time when he is acting up. …Basically be able to give him consequences for his recent rash of thefts and issues. This is so frustrating!


"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."


Miz Kizzle said...

Maybe the best thing for you at this point would be to detach from Bear's problems. You have a husband who wants to take over the discipline so let him try and see how it goes.
This could be a golden opportunity for you to take care of yourself. The other kids are behaving, for the most part, so use this time to recharge your batteries.
The fact is, you can alarm his door and try and monitor his every move but if he's truly determined to be sneaky and self-destructive you won't be able to watch him every minute.
Let your husband find out first hand how challenging and frustrating it can be to deal with Bear. At some point Bear will be on his own. This might be a good time to start letting go. You can still pray for him and wish him well, but you know the old saying about leading a horse to water. Ultimately, Bear will either come around or he'll have to deal with the consequences of his bad choices.

Corey said...

Mm. I dunno. I hear what Miz Kizzle is saying, and I see her point. And the potential benefits. The part I don't like is that other kids are watching.. other troubled kids..

AND that one parenting is doing "everything" while the other parent (the primary caregiver, I would wager) doesn't even know what that "everything" even IS.

How long has it been this way, and how long do you think you can stand it?

Anonymous said...

1. You need to be allowed to enforce your own boundaries / demand a consequence for Bear's infringement on you and your personal stuff.
2. The other kids need to be able to approach your husband and request consequences for Bear's infringement of them and their stuff.

Past that, you are wanting to be able to say, should he not turn out "good enough", that you did your best. If you aren't doing the discipline, then how can you feel you did your best? The thing is, there are no right answers. You have no guarantee that if you could do everything your way, it will work. You also have no guarantee that your husband's way will fail.

You feel that Bear needs to know that love = strong boundaries ... but you don't like him and he knows it. Maybe your husband's acceptance of him, even without strong consequences for his wrongs, will do him good. Or at least better.

I know my son wants more than anything to be able to prove to himself that I will love him no matter what wrongs he does me. The problem is, he doesn't believe I can love him and punish him at the same time. Maybe (and I'm just guessing with no research behind me), maybe if Bear can feel accepted by your husband first, he will be able to tolerate natural consequences from him later.

Anonymous said...

The only one of your list of concerns that waved a red flag for me was the last one, you marital relationship. When the kids are gone you two will still be together, you're each other's best friend and #1 resource. Don't let the kids and their problems drive a wedge between you, it would be the worst possible outcome.

Take it to a counselor with the goal of finding harmony between Wife and Hubby, not Mom and Dad. (((hugs)))