Posts tagged ‘behavior issues’

What We Need

What We Need has functioned as a journal for me over the years, and in my draft folder there’s almost 100 starts that I never published (if you don’t know the meaning behind the title, here is an explanation: Just what do we need, exactly?). As I read through those drafts I am often startled at what I find. They are full of pain and hopelessness and desperation. It doesn’t match what I feel now, but I admit to feeling more than a bit anxious at the thought of C’s return home.

Anxious enough that during a session with Therapist NC and Hubs last week to discuss the “coming home plan,” I found myself admitting that I don’t really want C to come home. It’s not really about C himself, it’s more about not wanting to return to the way things were…or gradually doing so and not realizing it until we are right back where we were before C left.

When I read the old draft of a post (below), I was struck at how much that was our life at the time I wrote it (almost a decade ago), and how much that was our life when C left for treatment last fall. How, I ask myself, did we let it go so long? It astounds me just how painful, just how hopeless, and just how desperate things were for so many years. It’s not as if we didn’t try things – we tried everything. But nothing ever worked. Therapy, meds, interventions, home visits, school changes, homeschooling, living near relatives, living in social neighborhoods with lots of kids, signing C up for things…none of it ever did anything to change what was going on in our home.

Therapist NC would say, if I could channel him, that we’ve all done a lot of work in the past six months and there has been great change. I don’t disagree with him, but it is hard to imagine something different when things have been so much the same for so long. So once again, here I sit, feeling a bit anxious, with good reason to be, but also with some hope – again, with good reason to feel some. The trick will be – as it always is – to find the balance between my expectations and my own self-awareness, with a good dose of hoping I’ll know where the line is so that another decade doesn’t go by with us living so far across the line we can’t even see it any longer.

From 2011…Still, here I sit tonight, completely and utterly perplexed as what to do next. I have a child whose combativeness and behavior are at a crisis point. It starts in the morning when he wakes up, continues from the moment I pick him up after school, and rarely settles before bedtime. With every fiber of his being, C is screaming that he needs something, and we are all at a loss for what it is. While we try and figure it out, I try to ignore the venom directed my way and tell myself it’s not C. I try to stay calm while he screams, relentlessly, about how he doesn’t want to stand here, there, or anywhere. It’s that unreasonable. He’s like a gnat that won’t go away, and he follows me around, forcing my attention, until I lock myself in my room to escape his wrath. Then he starts trying to kick down the door. Yes, we are in an almost emergency state, our little family, and we are failing at being a family. We are at the point where there’s going to be some intervention, and I only hope the intervention comes on our terms instead of some random person walking down the street calling CPS because they hear what sounds like a tortured child.

February 11, 2019 at 5:23 pm Leave a comment

Trouble in the Water

C’s issues have almost always manifested at home instead of anywhere else, really. On one hand, I have been grateful for that because teachers, babysitters, habilitation workers have all loved him. I remember the first time he got in trouble in preschool -everyone was so excited that he finally did something they deemed normal.

On the other hand, the fact that his issues exist at home is cause for concern about the family dynamic. I have always known we were doing *something* wrong that was making C’s behavior worse, more explosive, and more troublesome. That may have been true to some extent in that we, by reacting to his behaviors, reinforced them. We have stopped that for the most part, yet the behaviors still continued. Cue the sigh of relief that it’s not all our fault.

Yet one place C has done remarkably well is in treatment facilities. He has been in the acute care hospital four times in the last two years, and he is always discharged with comments like, “We see no real issues, and he has behaved perfectly well during his time here.” It got to the point where, on his third “episode,” we waited in the ER for nearly 24 hours before the acute care hospital would admit him, despite there being no other option for placement. They attributed his behaviors to behavioral problems instead of mental health problems. I could see where they were going with this, but when my kid is wielding a knife threatening to harm himself, I don’t really care what’s at the root of the behavior, I just want him to get help.

His time at his residential treatment facility has been no different. We’ve already had one of his therapists express disbelief at him being there at all. We are used to that, although I still find it annoying, as if there is some flaw in the therapist that he can’t see past the happy, agreeable front C puts on. Therapist NC here at home promised us we would get a call at some point saying C was in trouble and that it would indicate he had finally settled in and the real work could begin.

The months had gone by and I had resigned myself to this never happening during his entire stay, because let’s face it, C is C and he does things in his own sweet time in his own sweet way, or not at all. But he called us the other night, in enough trouble that if he gets one more strike, he won’t be able to leave campus during the day with us at Christmas, and we’ll have to visit with him in the visiting room only. Yikes.

The relative amount of relief I experienced about this was palpable. I texted Therapist NC about this development, knowing he would be one of only a few people who would understand how ridiculously happy – yes, happy – this made me. Because I know that this means C is comfortable. He is comfortable enough to show himself and his behaviors. And that means he can finally get some help.

December 10, 2018 at 6:45 pm 2 comments

In the Weeds

It has been so long since I’ve done this I don’t even know if I know how to do it anymore. Many, many years have passed, and the more things have changed, the more they’ve stayed the same. This journey, while less about C and more about me now, revolves around C – still.

With massive health challenges, painful behavioral challenges, moves, new schools, a whole lot of therapy for everyone, and alternate living situations, we have all grown up, myself included. The sheer volume of events since last I visited here would fill a book. And after spending a 5-hour chunk of time last week reading every single last word of What We Need, I came away with one conclusion: I need to keep writing. I need it for me. I need to record our journey. I need to document this life we share. If that doesn’t answer that question I’m always asking – just what it is we need – I don’t know what does.

So once again, I welcome you here. If you go way, way back, you’ll see and read about C at 8, 9, 10 years old. He’s halfway through 17 now. He’s been hospitalized more times than I can count, both for physical and mental health reasons. The police have been called numerous times. Cancer has visited our house. Relatives have died. In short, life has happened. Life has gone on, albeit somewhat painfully. Still, there is light at the end of our tunnel, I know there is. I hope you will join me in my search for it.

 

October 10, 2018 at 12:08 am 7 comments

The tide comes in, the tide goes out

     A scourge has hit our household; one with the destructive force unparalleled except perhaps by locusts or tornadoes, although I see the similarities, quite frankly. “Defiance” with a capital “D” has landed in our roost. I’m not sure exactly when it started, yet I suspect if I really sat down to analyze it I would see the precursors many years ago. At first I thought it was perhaps a delayed developmental stage, but this two year old “NO” kind of thing is way past its time, delayed or not.

     Usually no one but Husband and I witness C’s most deplorable behaviors, so I admit to sometimes needing a reality check about how bad (or not bad) they truly are. People (translation: my Mom) tend to be skeptical about the extent of problematic behavior we experience at home, mostly because he rarely exhibits it elsewhere or in front of anyone but us. Enter a road trip, complete with Ga (aforementioned “Mom”), C and I last week during fall break. San Diego called, and we wanted C to see the ocean for his first time. The trip was great; Legoland, Sea World, and the beach all competed for the most fun day, and C did really well handling it all. It wasn’t until the last night, probably completely worn out from the week, that C pulled his worst behavior out of his hat. My Mom was stunned. It prompted a long conversation after C fell asleep about what’s been going on at our house. C repeated the behavior the next morning. A screamed “NO, I WILL NOT DO THAT!!!! AAAAAHHCCKKK! I WILL NEVER DO ANYTHING YOU ASK ME TO AGAIN!!!” complete with other gobble-dy gook I’d rather forget left Mom speechless. 

     We piled in the car and came home, leaving Husband and I to do a behavior boot camp this weekend. Lots of long faces from us and talks about being respectful, a few toys lost, some favorite shows erased, and the jury is still out as to whether we’ve made any progress. Like other problematic behaviors we’ve experienced in the past, this one will hopefully go out like the tide. I’m just worried about what comes in after.

October 26, 2008 at 7:37 pm 6 comments

“I had a very bad day,”

C said tonight. He’s right, he did. Starting with the 2:30 a.m. wake-up with many, many tears, a night of restless sleep became a restless day. A somewhat happy kid deteriorated into the equivalent of a two year old. We never experienced the terrible twos at our house; we naively thought we escaped them until 4 came along. Then we paid our dues for a good long while. In spades.

     Temper tantrums were finally mostly a thing of the past – until the last few months, when they started to rear their ugly head once again. Fortunately, they haven’t changed too much since age 4, so we’ve slowly gotten better at handling them. Not handling them, really, but rather just getting through them somewhat emotionally intact. I’m talking about Mommy and Daddy getting through them, not C. C is still left completely drained, teary, and wanting to snuggle. Surprisingly, today he still had the energy for a second one a few hours later, which quite frankly amazed me.

     I hate these tantrums with a passion. Sure he was tired, cranky and frazzled today. But he threw both these tantrums with one of his therapists, which is unheard of. He never shows that side of himself to anyone but people he knows better than well – family only, and not even all family. I consider it a good thing he feels comfortable enough with Miss L to lose it in front of her, but in truth it astounded me. Worried me. I know whatever it is that’s bothering him is pretty bad when he lets it all hang out with someone he’s always trying to impress. 

     I know there’s a trigger somewhere, and I also know I’ll probably never know what that trigger is. Whatever it is, it’s something ongoing, as they are occurring more frequently lately. My Mom reminded me today that we have a toddler in the house, but interestingly she wasn’t talking about the tantrums. Yet she’s correct in many ways, and while I struggle with the knowledge that he is mostly capable of controlling himself, I know there are times he simply can’t. And while part of me wants to admonish him for his behavior – he is, after all, smart enough to know that 7 year olds don’t act this way – most of me knows the behavior itself is punishment enough.

June 4, 2008 at 8:33 pm 2 comments


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