View Full Version : Blew off the handle, Pretty Hopeless


Jockdad
02-26-16, 09:18 AM
Back under new name:

I am also the father of a smart, resourceful and sometimes nasty 11 year old ADD child. Last night we had a horrendous night. All started with him wanting additional 9 minutes of screen time after his time to go to sleep. Got into his meltdown loop. Last (very last) resort is to spank him in the butt a couple of times (it serves as a reset button), but even that did not work.

Then the years of horrible mornings and nights, dreams of coaching kids gone, disappointments, no social life (no kids will be friends with him, no parents will be friends with us), career progress gone, came crashing down.
The everyday lookout for e-mails from school, the dead silence and pauses when talking to other parents, the looks, etc. It all takes its toll.

I did not hit him anymore. Just started screaming out of control and started packing. Have never lost it like this. Long story short, I am seriously thinking of leaving the house, as I think I may be doing more harm than good.

He is a brilliant kid, won competitions at school, great musician. He's on meds and therapy. Money is not an issue, but it is a lot and progress has been terribly slow.

So, I would appreciate some advice on how to mend the damage that occurred last night. Whether I leave or not is a personal choice; am more concerned about how my son can put such a horrific night behind. Will pick up the pieces from there.

JD

Little Missy
02-26-16, 10:14 AM
Sit at the breakfast table with him and give him a big hug and tell him everything is going to be okay. You'll both feel better. Today is a new day. :)

Unmanagable
02-26-16, 10:29 AM
You mention him being on meds and in therapy, but how are you taking care of yourself? Do you also have ADD or did it come from his mom's side of the family? It sounds like disappointment of your dreams tripped the trigger, from how your post reads.

Edited to add: I'd encourage you to stop the spanking. It may seem like a reset button that helps, but it's only making things worse, in my opinion. It sets him up to expect physical violence and to dish it out.

Some folks believe spankings are the main reason they did mind their folks so well, and it's a personal preference, but it's still a violent response to issues that don't require it. Were he preparing to destroy life or property, then a situation may require some form of physical intervention, but not most behavioral issues.

We're all human. You're here asking questions and that's promising. Perhaps a change of environment would be beneficial for a while, but don't cut off contact. Maintain open and loving communication so he doesn't feel like he is the reason for all of the chaos. Make sure he feels loved.

TygerSan
02-26-16, 10:48 AM
I really feel for you, OP. Pre teens are hard work *without* the ADHD and emotional dysregulation that comes from the disorder. I definitely pushed my parents to the brink more than once at that age. I still vividly remember the oh **** moments as I realized that I'd pushed way too far again.

Of course, there was also the flip side of that which was needing space to cool down rather than having someone constantly reminding me that I was out of control. Feeling completely out of control sucks as much on his end as it does on yours.

Have you tried calmly asking him to go to his room? That was one thing that happened with me often. With time, my room became my safe place more than it did a time out space. I was able to give *myself* a time out rather than lashing out.

I'm wondering if there's a way (maybe working with the therapist) that you could find another reset button that doesn't require spanking. I totally could see how that would work, but for me, when I got out of control and blamed myself, I'd *self* injure to flip that reset switch. So if he's looking for that release, there is a small chance that he's gunning for that response, which isn't healthy.

And, also, take care of *you*. You can't do right by him if you can't do right by yourself. I don't know the dynamics of your family beyond this one post, but it seems you're being awfully hard on yourself. And, dare I say, you sound like I do after I have an adult meltdown myself. And when you sit down and reassess, ask yourself, is the situation really as hopeless as it feels? Because, for me, often times after a good night's sleep, a good meal and some time away from the immediate situation, often times the situation is not nearly as awful as I first assessed it to be.

Lunacie
02-26-16, 01:45 PM
This sounds like a good time to "tag team." (wresting term)

In our house, the mommy has the most responsibility and it's a lot.

When the youngest (Nove, autistic) pushes too hard and the mommy is out of patience (or spoons) then it's "tag team time."

Either big sister (Kat, adhd) or Gramma (all of the above) steps in to divert Nove and give the mommy some space to take a breath and relax.

Do you have someone you can work with to create "tag team time"?

Mommy also steps in to "tag team" when big sister or gramma seems overwhelmed.

And I'm learning to recognize when I'm about to lose it and I simply step out of the wresting ring.

We didn't take a couple of minutes to discuss something two weeks ago when were going to get some lunch.

She misunderstood and began having a meltdown. I tried explaining but by then she was too upset to listen and change gears.

So I walked out of the the restaurant where we were waiting in line to order.

She followed me out and was willing to go with my suggestion although she still misunderstood.

A few days later I was able to explain that by sharing a foot long sammie with her sister, she was still getting the six-inch sammie she wanted.

This is new territory for me at 65, stopping an argument in it's tracks. Yay me. ;)

dvdnvwls
02-26-16, 02:47 PM
My first concern on hearing this was:

You're working hard under a great deal of pressure to uphold some expectations that your son will act in certain ways. Under those circumstances, said expectations had better be reasonable and right for the situation. Are you a hundred percent sure that they are?

CanadianDad
02-26-16, 02:51 PM
Feel for you Jockdad.
I remember when my guy was around 4, before he was diagnosed, I spank him once for some reason or another that felt justified at the time. He laughed thinking it was a game, and I almost burst into tears and have felt guilty ever since.. First and last time.
My guy is now 7, almost 8. He is not so much on the hyperactive side but heavy on the inattentive. He also is very quiet in social situations, and seems quite anxious when not in a place he's 100% comfortable with. I do not know what having a rambunctious kid around would be like, though video's I've seen of "H" kids tend to make me think I might not cope that well.
If your family circumstances allow, I'd recommend what Lunacie recommends. My wife and I use it with our guy, and it is enormously helpful. If you don't have that as an option, it might be worth while to try and avoid situations where you both feel backed into a corner and a confrontation like this is unavoidable. I've found that sometimes if my son has a meltdown, we walk away, then when he calms down we sit him down and talk about it, explaining to him as he's calm how and why it is unacceptable behaviour.
As for the feelings of despair you seem to have. Yup, been there, done that, and every once in a while they return. The hardest part in all this for me is comparing my son to other kids. I'm still working on it, but I've learned from others that this is something to avoid at all costs. Parents run into this with many other things, not just ADHD. Whether it's "smart" parents having "less-smart" kids and being disappointed that they won't be a Doctor like they want, or if it's Jock parents having Nerd kids that will never play football, parents can always be disappointed by how their kids grow up. Accepting that a kid will be their own person, with their own likes and dislikes can be hard for any parent but absolutely essential for all of us. Having a kid that has a hard time fitting in and making friends can be tough on parents who want their kids to be happy and "normal", but he's still fairly young.
I agree with Tygersan also. Look after yourself. Find support in either family, friends, or if you have to a therapist yourself. You'll only be able to help your son if you are in a good place yourself.
Also, keep reading the posts on here. I find some of the best for my state-of-mind are those from adult ADHD people sharing their stories. It gives me some sense that my son has a future ahead of him that might seem hard to imagine right now with his struggles. Sure, he might always have challenges others don't, but with the right support and yes, medication, he's got a fruitful and happy life ahead of him.

Jockdad
02-26-16, 03:29 PM
Thanks for the great suggestions.

As per the hug, yes. Gotta start the healing, but in no way he can think that what happened is to be ignored.

I've spanked (only in the butt) my son 3 times in the last 3 years. This is far from a common event and I feel terrible about it. It is a good idea to ask his therapist, but please understand that when he reaches a feral level, it is also 50% defensive. He gets violent. (He does take something for impulse, but it may not be working)

As far as expectations, he's smart and really does not work as hard as other kids to do as well. I once put some pressure on him in basketball, but it was not his game, which is TOTALLY FINE. Backed off very quickly when I saw what was happening. We live in an extremely competitive town, yet at this point in time, we are very laid back re:expectations. I'd be happy if he made friends of any kind and would support it. His immaturity and social awkwardness trumps his sports/academic popularity.

CanadianDad: Do you get the push from school and teams for your son to "conform" to certain "standard behavior"? In some cases, their expectations become ours and are sometimes unreasonable for an ADD kid. But that's another thread.

Lastly, as per taking care of myself, absolutely. I'm no use to anyone with no sleep and overworked. Wanting to move out has been brewing for a long time and is (of course) not only due to my son.

Thanks to all. Will keep you informed. One day at a time...

CanadianDad
02-26-16, 04:36 PM
CanadianDad: Do you get the push from school and teams for your son to "conform" to certain "standard behavior"? In some cases, their expectations become ours and are sometimes unreasonable for an ADD kid. But that's another thread.

My son is only in Grade 2, and he has an IEP in the school which was done in conjunction with a private Psychologist and a full PsychoEducational Assessment. We've found the school good in following the recommendations, though would like a little more feedback. Gym class at this point is very basic and we've had no success with organized sports so do not push it with him. The only "sport" he likes is swimming so we enjoy regular swim days at the local beaches (in the summer) and indoor community pools.
Expectations are different for him at the school due to the IEP, but it's only different for the learning process. He is mainstreamed both class wise and work/evaluation wise. He's capable of doing the work when fully focused so no need to down-adjust the work he gets given.

dvdnvwls
02-26-16, 05:38 PM
My reference to expectations was more regarding the issue of fighting over nine minutes of "screen time", and whether that expectation of turning the screen off at a precise moment was suitable under the circumstances. Imagine having someone else looking over your shoulder and precisely rationing your access to the things that you are passionate about. I'm not necessarily advocating any kind of change; I'm saying do take a serious look at whether all expectations are right, and whether they are reasonable.

ginniebean
02-26-16, 08:41 PM
There were times I screwed up royally as a parent and I hope you know this is coming from a caring place. I have raised two boys with adhd. One hyperactive and one more inattentive.

My hyperactive child sounds a lot like yours. He's now 29 and managing fine.

What concerns me most is not the screaming because I've raised the roof quite a few times. You packed? I hope not in front of your child, you didn't make that clear.

My concern is the message that might send, because without you saying if he knew about you wanting to leave he may feel that he's to blame for his father leaving because of him.

It also sounds like, and i could be wrong, but you seem to have trouble accepting his adhd. Yep, I got the looks from parents, the not wanting to be friends, the not wanting to have him over to anyone's place, the heart break in his little voice when he was snuggling me and he said "they can't see what's in my heart".

He's hurting a lot too because of his outbursts, he doesn't have the self control, particularly when coming off meds. Having come off meds myself I truly do get that physical jarring sensation that a child can't understand or manage.

I do feel for you, you sound very unhappy. I hope both you and your son sort this out, and wish you the best.

sarahsweets
02-27-16, 07:39 AM
Got into his meltdown loop. Last (very last) resort is to spank him in the butt a couple of times (it serves as a reset button), but even that did not work.

Spanking is never about hitting the reset button for a child or stopping something in its tracks. It is always about the parent's anger and being overwhelmed. Imagine if when adults have a grown up versions of temper tantrums that we hit them ? It would be our frustration about something we just couldnt control.


Then the years of horrible mornings and nights, dreams of coaching kids gone, disappointments, no social life (no kids will be friends with him, no parents will be friends with us), career progress gone, came crashing down.
The everyday lookout for e-mails from school, the dead silence and pauses when talking to other parents, the looks, etc. It all takes its toll.

It does take its toll but you are making this all about you.

I did not hit him anymore. Just started screaming out of control and started packing. Have never lost it like this. Long story short, I am seriously thinking of leaving the house, as I think I may be doing more harm than good.
Please-please-please say you didnt let your son see you do this.

[He is a brilliant kid, won competitions at school, great musician. He's on meds and therapy. Money is not an issue, but it is a lot and progress has been terribly slow.
Your expectations about how much and how fast progress should be are unrealistic. Obviously he cant live up to them.
You seem to be seeing the accomplishments of other kids as some sort of ruler to measure your son by. He has adhd and will not be like kids his own age for a while. In fact mentally he is 30% younger. Who cares how well he does in sports or competitions? ADHD is a doing disorder. He knows what to do he just has trouble doing what he knows.
Does he have another person who lives with you? Wife, friend,partner? What is their input. If not, where were you going to go and who would be taking care of your son?

BellaVita
02-27-16, 08:05 AM
I'm sorry it's such a struggle for you OP. :grouphug:

I have to agree about the screen time - I obviously don't know the full situation. But it really can be difficult to suddenly be ripped away from an activity we are immersed in. It can actually be painful. Maybe that is one reason he goes into a meltdown, because it is so painful for him to transition from that activity.

And he might start to associate "transition from fun enjoyable activity" to "when screen time is up it means bad things happen."

So maybe he is a little bit on edge during the transition.

Screen time helped me so much as a child - it was one of the things that helped me eat, calm down, and be happy.

To this day I still cannot eat unless I am watching a video/doing something else. Eating is just too boring/I don't have enough focus for it/it's not fun and so I HAVE to entertain my mind so that I can be calm enough to endure getting the food down. (This is even with the tastiest food!)

I think screen time can be very helpful for soothing a child and helping them do things.

Of course, I understand that there does need to be a limit and this is where it can get challenging.

I'm not sure if it helps, but if it is a show he is watching, maybe you could say "when the show is finished then we turn off the tv." So that way it's not in the middle of an episode which would make it even more difficult and possibly painful to transition.

I know screen time refers to more than just the tv, so I'm not really sure what to say about the other things.

I agree with the others that packing and leaving should NEVER be mentioned/done in front of him especially when he is in a meltdown. The emotional scars and trauma that can cause are far too great.

Maybe he should get a reward when the screen time ends, as silly as that sounds. But it would reward him transitioning and help him to look forward to it. Instant-gratification is often best for ADHD'ers. Maybe mix-up the rewards sometimes so he doesn't get so familiar with them and grow bored of them.

It might not need to go on forever where he gets rewarded, but done for perhaps several months or so might help.

Does he have a schedule? For some ADHD'ers those really help, they helped me as a kid. I even started making my own schedules at around age 9, there was just something so comforting in them.

But I know for others that this is often something that doesn't work very well. (Following a strict schedule) Many ADHD'ers need a flexible schedule in case they haven't finished something/task is taking longer than intended/if they get hyperfocused on something.

It could be possible that your child is feeling possible tension in the relationship you are in (I think you hinted towards that) and so his meltdowns are just getting unbearable and the screen time is what allows him to "escape" the situation mentally.

Maybe he needs to learn other escapes, like for example drawing or painting or playing an instrument or singing or anything really...something he enjoys doing. Something he is really interested in. And giving him the reward + the option of going to another "escape" of his might help.

Like I said I don't know the situation and I apologize if I have made some false assumptions.

But yeah, some people never grow out of needing screen time to do things such as eat, calm down, reset.

Adding more chaos to a meltdown (if there is any yelling etc) absolutely doesn't help. You probably know this but just saying it. Trying your best to speak in a low-volume calming tone can perhaps help him to calm down instead of soaking up your frustrated reaction towards him.

I hope you can find the solutions you need.

Shamindo
02-27-16, 09:32 PM
Hey I totally feel your situation, having to not only put your career on hold, but also worrying about how he will pan out. I realized something about my son about two years ago, that I wish someone had pointed out to me...all I was told was give plenty of warning between transitions, and well that only helped about 20 percent of the time. In fact, sometimes it would make me more angry because I would thing "wtf! you've had 30 minutes warning this was going to happen!"
what I realized was, my son has a specific amount of time during the melt downs that he needs. No matter what i did, bribe, punish, spank what ever....it would take him 1 hour for him to finally collect himself to do what was needed. That was when he was 4, he's now 7 and it takes 30 minutes. I used to think transition time started with the warnings, but for our kids it starts the minute it happens...in your case when the tv goes off. Have you ever timed how long the melt downs last? if you haven't do! next time he has a melt down, time it...this is important because now when I do something like turn the TV off, and he starts a melt down I calmly go to my timer and start it 30 minutes. This not only helps see that there is an end to it, but I also busy myself getting things ready knowing there's absolutely nothing I can do at this point. I just calmly respond to him by being sympathetic " I understand, you wanted to watch more tv..I know you don't want to go to bed you were watching a good show" seriously saves me sometimes knowing that this is only gonna last 30 minutes and then he will have adjusted to the idea. Maybe it will take your son longer. when you time it, and notice a pattern you can show him....look, do you see it takes you this long to change? I know that's hard for you, over time it will take less time" It takes vigilance on your part not to get into an arguement, just turn off the tv, let him melt down and do something else until he's adjusted.

sarahsweets
02-28-16, 10:49 AM
The other thing I wanted to say was do not react or engage. No matter what he says or does unless he is going to cause great bodily harm, do not let me know it bothers you. Tantrums and meltdowns are as good when the people watching dont care about them.

Jockdad
02-29-16, 09:55 AM
Again, thanks to all for the responses. I can tell they come from experience and are heartfelt.

To clarify, we've set up a program to control his computer use and it stops (with many warnings) after 30 minutes. Appreciate the suggestions regarding the change.

To GinnieBean: Yes... The process of acceptance has been long. I advocate for him at school and sports but my main problem is accepting his adhd at home in a CONSISTENT basis. Changing expectations on him is not fair. I am taking steps and am joining a support group for parents of ADHD close by.

BellaVita: Thanks for the suggestions.

I do regret bringing the decision of leaving or not to the forum. As it is largely not related to my son's adhd, would appreciate if it is not addressed. It was not brought up in front of him. Mom and I need to sort things out as well.

Again, thanks.

dvdnvwls
02-29-16, 02:30 PM
One of the problems with ADHD is that ADHD itself is never consistent when you want it to be.

In other words, even though you might do the perfect job of being consistent with your son, he is never ever going to be consistent in return, because it's impossible for him.

Which reminds me...

You being his father, and ADHD being highly heritable, you yourself may have ADHD. That may be a source of your own inconsistency and frustration.

sarahsweets
03-02-16, 05:32 AM
One of the problems with ADHD is that ADHD itself is never consistent when you want it to be.

In other words, even though you might do the perfect job of being consistent with your son, he is never ever going to be consistent in return, because it's impossible for him.

Which reminds me...

You being his father, and ADHD being highly heritable, you yourself may have ADHD. That may be a source of your own inconsistency and frustration.

Very good point.

Noubarian
03-03-16, 11:40 AM
Don't you dare leave that house! How do you think it makes him feel? Yes you lost it... It's probably been building for some time but what about him? He's not grown enough to know how to explain or talk about every feeling he is having, he saw you lose it - make sure to acknowlegde you were wrong for doing that so he doesn't think it's easier to yell and scream because you don't want him to start with that, like others have said...give him a big hug and let him know you love him no matter what but sometimes his behaviour is just more than you can handle at the time. But if you were going to leave because of his behaviour then he would eventually see you failed him when he needed you to be the strong one, and I'm sorry to say (and I'm not saying you are one) but you would have been taking the cowards way out, and after a few days to think about it and calm down you would have been mad at yourself for walking away. I hope everything works out for you...maybe you and your son should look at karate or boxing lessons? Both of you get rid of the aggression and take out your lost feeling (because your probably both feeling pretty lost right now) find a sport he wants to play and YOU become the next expert in it, so you can share it and have the coaching relationship you longed for with your son. Good luck, and keep us posted please.

Noubarian
03-03-16, 11:42 AM
Crap! Sorry, I have ADHD, I wrote my post then went back after to read all the rest, saw the part about leaving. Sorry.

Socaljaxs
03-03-16, 03:20 PM
Again, thanks to all for the responses. I can tell they come from experience and are heartfelt.

To clarify, we've set up a program to control his computer use and it stops (with many warnings) after 30 minutes. Appreciate the suggestions regarding the change.

To GinnieBean: Yes... The process of acceptance has been long. I advocate for him at school and sports but my main problem is accepting his adhd at home in a CONSISTENT basis. Changing expectations on him is not fair. I am taking steps and am joining a support group for parents of ADHD close by.

BellaVita: Thanks for the suggestions.

I do regret bringing the decision of leaving or not to the forum. As it is largely not related to my son's adhd, would appreciate if it is not addressed. It was not brought up in front of him. Mom and I need to sort things out as well.

Again, thanks.

I know you asked for it not to be mentioned. But I want to add this in.. I'm sure and would hope that such a huge life altering (not just your life, but the others in the home's) decision to leave would include more components than just a meltdown of a child, and would have several factors and moving parts as well....

I would hope one wouldn't make such a lasting affected choice based on temporary emotions and impulsive decisions from that temporary feeling... Such choice to leave,not only your home but a family and young child as well, it sounds like for you would be based on more than just 1 night of issues.

However, you mentioned packing after "you lost it? " I know you asked to not mention it, but my questions stems from that. Yes I can see the horrible effects and emotional trauma your child would feel and may end up believing if you left. He may believe regardless of the reason that he was so bad daddy left. Or mommy and daddy thought I was so bad they broke up cause of me... Or he may believe and unconsciously learn that when the going gets tough, best to leave and not work through the issues. But, my point of speaking about the packing isn't about the trauma it may cause but more so about what else was going on during this time frame with the other adult person in the home?

the other adult in the home, during this meltdown, what was their reaction response to this? Are you the only one administering rules and upholding them as well? Is this like a good/ bad cop thing and you are always pegged the bad cop and always in charge of the difficult situations and rules?

You may think by staying you are doing more harm than good. If that's the case I think support groups as you mentioned and therapy may be extremely helpful. Others nearby that understand your pain do help Oversall in the process of raising children.

You mentioned a partner but does this partner view ADHD differently? Or believe other things going on and issues exist due to this? Just curious since the partner wasn't mentioned during this time nor was the responses mentioning help responded to with anything of your partner...

Also, I know it must be very hard to not only watch your child have no friends or treated differently. But your child hurts too over this. He may be immature for his age, but maybe look into support groups for him where he may be able to find others like minded and make friends.. Also, maybe he may respond well to finding "friends that are a year or two younger. Look into local meet up groups maybe activities you and him can do with others or even him solo may help as well

Gryphonfyre
04-21-16, 02:24 PM
Back under new name:

I am also the father of a smart, resourceful and sometimes nasty 11 year old ADD child. Last night we had a horrendous night. All started with him wanting additional 9 minutes of screen time after his time to go to sleep. Got into his meltdown loop. Last (very last) resort is to spank him in the butt a couple of times (it serves as a reset button), but even that did not work.

Then the years of horrible mornings and nights, dreams of coaching kids gone, disappointments, no social life (no kids will be friends with him, no parents will be friends with us), career progress gone, came crashing down.
The everyday lookout for e-mails from school, the dead silence and pauses when talking to other parents, the looks, etc. It all takes its toll.

I did not hit him anymore. Just started screaming out of control and started packing. Have never lost it like this. Long story short, I am seriously thinking of leaving the house, as I think I may be doing more harm than good.

He is a brilliant kid, won competitions at school, great musician. He's on meds and therapy. Money is not an issue, but it is a lot and progress has been terribly slow.

So, I would appreciate some advice on how to mend the damage that occurred last night. Whether I leave or not is a personal choice; am more concerned about how my son can put such a horrific night behind. Will pick up the pieces from there.

JD

Wow, Jockdad, I'm so sorry to say that I don't have much to offer in the way of advice, as I know that's what you came here for, but if you're open to accepting it, I can offer a virtual hug and my empathy for your situation. I've been there many times, and I really could have written your exact post a few times myself.

Try to forgive yourself. Your son has probably already done so, but in order for you to not go there again (much easier to say than do), you have to forgive yourself -- and LET IT GO! Don't keep reliving it in your head, and if you start to, try to redirect yourself and say that you're doing as good of a job as you can. You may have somewhere else to go, outlets to turn, ways to get some reprieve, but your son may not, and he looks to you for help.

So, you're doing a phenomenal job just coming here even to look for help. Keep it up, one day at a time, one step at a time, and don't give up on your son. I'm sure he's trying. Most of all, don't give up on you! You are too.