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!

Friday, December 26, 2008

And now for the fireworks

Christmas was quiet, but I should have known we weren't going to get off that easily. It could just be that I'm not home all day (I know Grandma, our childcare provider, would say they're always like this).

Because Kitty has missed so much school (due to starting a month late, daily "illnesses", being a slow worker, and days we take her out of school for assessments and mental health days) she had schoolwork to do over the Christmas break. Her sister, Bob, did too. Bob counted all the pages each girl had to do and divided by the number of days of break (not counting weekends). Kitty ended up with 20+ pages. She had Christmas day off, and hasn't been doing all her pages every day so she is behind, again. This morning I let everyone have the morning off and then start on chores. Kitty was to start on school work.

So my oppositional-defiant 13 year old daughter came to me about half an hour later and ranted for about 10 minutes. This is a typical pre-meltdown conversation. If I'm lucky, I can keep her calm enough not to have a true meltdown, and if I work it out just right I can actually get her to do/fix/calm down about some if not all of whatever it is she's upset about.

So you can picture the scene: Kitty comes up to me, kind of out of the blue, while I'm answering my e-mail (more on that later). She has a defiant look on her face and is clearly upset. This is just the highlights of the conversation. It was a lot more involved, but I don't remember it all and won't bore you with all the details (I know, I know, too late!). EVERY bit of it was interspersed with "You hate me. You don't care about me," but that gets repetitive so I won't bore you with it either.

There was No way I am EVER going to do my schoolwork. (I calmly sympathized that it is hard and I understand that she doesn't like it, but it has to be done.)

Schoolwork is NOT hard! she claims she was not thinking well on the day they did diagnostics and now she's having to relearn all that stuff and she doesn't want to relearn it - that's stupid. (I told her if she really felt that way we could have her take another diagnostic like they did last year. She didn't want to do this.)

I hate math and I'm not going to do it. (I reminded her that everyone needs math. I use it everyday. I confirmed she still wanted to be a doctor - which of course means she needs to continue school, math in particular...).

You're an idiot if you think I'm going to do any schoolwork again and you can't make me. (I admit I got a little frustrated at this point and spoke firmly about calling me names. I warned her that if she didn't do her school work she would go to work with me - where she would have to do schoolwork. She calmed down a little so I was able to switch back to "nurturing mode." I told her that she can't drop out of school. That she didn't want to be 14 and held back to 5th or 6th grade...).

I'm just the kind of girl who doesn't do schoolwork. (I reminded her that she has been doing well in school for the last year and a half).

I'm going to go emo. (I hear this a lot and she knows how I feel about it. I told her that I would have to assume that someone/something was negatively influencing her and would start taking away TV shows, makeup, music...)

You hate me. You don't care about me. I'm going to crawl in a box and not eat. You want me to be in a box and die. (I told her I love her even if she doesn't believe that right now. That she can only know how she feels, not how I feel. That if I didn't love her I wouldn't care if she was in a box.)

It is STUPID that I have to work on vacation. (I pointed out that she was behind and needed to catch up. That she had been sick a lot this year - not my fault either - and that it was much less work than she did on a daily basis in school. She did not have to spend "ALL" day doing school work. That it really wouldn't take that long...)

I want to go back to my old school in Nebraska where I didn't have to do this. (when I pointed out that it wasn't me that pulled her out of school in Nebraska she declared we should have moved to Nebraska to adopt her. Just because I hate snow was no reason not to live there. I pointed out that I also didn't want to move to Nebraska because I loved my home, my friends and family that live here, and we own a company that cannot be moved to Nebraska.)

Toward the end of the "conversation" she asked me if Dad was home yet. I said no, but I expected him home in 30 to 45 minutes. She said she was going to work on her homework until he got home, but then she was stopping for the day (and there was nothing I could do about it). She left. I almost called Hubby and told him to stay at work a little longer.

About 20 minutes later she returned and told me that she'd done some work and could she stop and take a break and go outside? We talked for a little bit about what all needed to get done (in which subjects she had the most pages to do). Then I said sure. She could go outside for 10 minutes, but then she needed to come back in and do 3 pages of math and 3 of word building. She had a snack. Went outside. Came back in, and verified that she only had to do 6 pages and she was done for the day. I said no. When she was done with the six pages we would talk. She left and did it.

Success! No meltdown. No regression to fight, flight, or freeze mode. AND some actual schoolwork done!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very cool Mary. I had a confrontation with April yesterday, too, and also was able to keep my cool and stand my ground and get her to do my bidding (washing dishes while the DW is broken.) DH really wanted to yell but he let me run interference and stayed out of it. I was really proud of us as parents, me for handling her and him for letting me!