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Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I have this issue with Sean and parenting. Specifically living with the in laws. I love my in laws, please do not get me wrong. They just have this wall when it comes to Sean. They do not agree or do not want to see how it is. Like I said, MIL for all the world talks like she wants us to stay living with them. But that is another post I have yet to explore.
Here's the thing, as you may or may not know, Sean is Bipolar/ODD/ADHD. Bipolar is a mood disorder. ODD is Oppositional Defiance Disorder, though I sometimes mistakenly say Obsessive instead of Oppositional. ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder. Those are serious things. All of them.
Me and Hubs have felt like ADHD is the lesser issue. Sean's new dr agrees. He believes that if we can get the other two under control that the ADHD med may be able to be lowered then dropped. That is a nice idea as the more meds Sean takes the more I worry about interactions and all that. The meds he takes are for the Bipolar and ADHD. Not sure there is anything but time and patience in dealing with ODD.
Now, let's go in depth with what is currently going on.
Sean has taken on that so called tween mantel of becoming more comfortable asserting himself but not always in an appropriate way. Mostly, it's a lot of talking back, arguing, and mouthing. Lately, I think it's gone over the top. This is where living with the in laws (at times like this I wish I could remember the term for it, and crazy might be it) complicates things. They have little to no understanding of any of it, or so I think. They truly think that we just are not tough enough parents and Sean walks all over us. They think that spanking is appropriate even though we don't. Yet, Hubs is now back to thinking spanking is the end all be all of parenting. BUT this is not about spanking. Pardon me for getting off on that tangent.
This is about how to get Sean's attention and stop the over the top inappropriate behavior. I wish it was only the talking back, the smart mouthing, and the attitude issues.
For a better understanding let me give you the most recent incident that occurred at church this last Sunday.
Church let out. We were in the car discussing what we wanted for lunch. Sean interrupts and asks if Mr SoSo talked to us? I said, "No. Why would Mr SoSo need to talk to us?"
Sean, "I did something inappropriate and had to sit out of the game in gym."
Me, "I appreciate that you brought this up and didn't wait for someone else to mention it. What did you do?"
Sean, "I don't remember."
Me, "That's interesting. You remember getting in trouble for inappropriate behavior but you cannot remember what inappropriate behavior you got in trouble for?"
Sean, "I don't want to talk about it."
We let it go at that. We didn't actually need to know what he did to tell him that he knew better and that acting out is not gonna get him what he wants. We feel strongly Sean acted out cause he had to go to church with us instead of with Nana and Pop. Nana/Pop think it's cause he doesn't like our church. That could be. Me? I think it's cause Nana doesn't go to our church. So he acts up when he goes to our church in the hopes that he won't have to go again. For the most part to keep everything calm, he goes with Nana when they go. It may be a worthy note that we go to a Baptist church and Nana goes to a Catholic church. To us it doesn't really matter with whom or to which church he goes just that he goes. I don't necessarily agree or like attending Catholic church (I find myself tuned out and when is it over mind set and it's not good. I like our church and find myself participating. ) but I am not going to forbid Sean to go. But again, this is not about that. (Funny how you start one post that brings up other things, no?)
At dinner last night Bridge told us that Sean pulled on her in worship service. Before I could even address that, she was talking about how he had to sit out in the gym. She wouldn't/couldn't say what it was he did but she showed me. I could happily have the floor swallow me up and if Mr SoSo brings this up I may be all kinds of red.
I cannot for the life of me explain it any better than this.
Imagine a gesture between the "F" me sign (or whatever any one calls it) and the using the schwartz from Spaceballs. That is what my son did in the gym at church during a game.
OK, here's where the what is it and how do we deal with it freak out comes in to play.
Yes, I expected to have to deal with this sort of thing sooner or later. I was rather hoping it'd be later. I have no idea how to address it. Apparently, neither does Hubs.
Yes, to some extent this is mostly an age thing.
I feel strongly Sean knows it's wrong and would not normally do such a vulgar thing BUT for the fact that he would rather go to church with Nana or not at all. Not at all is really not an option. Not debating it. Also, so not the first time he has gone out of his way to try to shock people with behavior or words.
This is where my vague understanding of ODD comes in. I sort of get Bipolar, it's basically a non stop mood roller coaster. ODD is more a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and or disruptive behavior towards any authority figure (paraphrased definition from Mayo Clinic). Awesome. It's an argument about everything. It's fit throwing just to get attention or get their way. It's a tween/teen on toddler tantrum amplified to infinity. It looks an awful lot like parents who have no control over their kid.
The basic way we've dealt with it is to ignore the tantrums. I've been know to flat walk away from it. Have Sean sit by himself away from others and refuse to talk/argue with him. When any of these behaviors start, he sits alone til he is calm and in control again. If you try to talk to him or handle it in the moment all you do is make it worse. You'd do better to talk to the wall. After everyone is calm and level, we talk. What went wrong? What could have been done differently? Did it get you what you wanted?
While all of it is maddening, the inappropriate behavior gets me to the core. It's embarrassing that he chooses to act that way and that he thinks it's worth the trouble to get to the end result of ultimately having his way and controlling all of us. And of course, he knows this. I wish I was better at controlling my reactions to such behaviors.
This would be a super awesome time to have in laws who are in agreement with Seans's disorders and treatment. It'd also be an great time to have a appropriate adult role model (like Hubs) sit and talk with Sean about this. This borders on that boy stuff that I don't want to deal with because he has a dad and other appropriate males in his life that he'd probably rather talk with.
I get it's hard to talk to kids about these things. Heck, both Hubs and I grew up with very little understanding of it all because adults barely told you anything. Case in point, my grandma told me that if I went to the bathroom one day and saw blood not to panic. It was natural. That was all the info I got on periods. Hubs, was handed a book of STDs with photos and told not to have sex or this could happen.
So, how does one handle a mixed problem. The mixed problem of this may totally be an I am awesome exhibition and this will fix their case. I am in uncharted waters and I am lost. Worse, those around me seem to want to ignore it til another day. I got news for them, this could lead to much bigger problems if ignored or handled inappropriately. I really, truly think it could.