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How do you deal with having difficult children?


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When you also have pleasant, compliant children? How do you deal with the fact that you have 1 or 2 that are pouty, moody, argumentative and consistently negative (to put it mildly)? They enjoy going toe-to-toe with you and starting drama? Meanwhile you have lovely, compliant children who don't cause trouble and just want to please. Who are happy and joyful.

 

How do you not let it affect your emotions and actions toward the difficult ones?

 

Sometimes it seems the line between a mother's love and just plain dislike is very blurred. :glare: :(

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:grouphug: Alas, I was that fiesty, opinionated, mouthy kid to my poor mother. We do grow up and life gives us a curve ball to mellow us out as adults. It must be tough to deal with challenging personalities in children you love. I know there were times my mom did not like me one bit and now looking back... I cannot say I blame her. I was horrible. :glare:

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Most of mine are very easy to deal with. I have one that EVERYTHING is an issue! NO MATTER WHAT! Even if it was her idea in the first place.

 

I try to make sure the easy ones know how much I appreciate their compliance and cooperation. It seems that I get sucked up into the "squabble" with the difficult one, and have to remind myself to also pay attention to the easy ones.

 

I'm in this trench with you!

 

Hot Lava Mama

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I think that sometimes you have to take a break from them and get yourself recharged. Arrange for the hard kid(s) to stay home and just go out somewhere by yourself or with the easier kids.

 

No flames from me here - I have one very hard kid who was a drain on my mental stamina when he was younger. Very negative, very difficult. Fortunately, he has mellowed with age, but I remember the days when I would escape with just the youngest in tow to *go shopping*. Not that I bought anything, but just to get some time away.

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Most of mine are very easy to deal with. I have one that EVERYTHING is an issue! NO MATTER WHAT! Even if it was her idea in the first place.

 

I try to make sure the easy ones know how much I appreciate their compliance and cooperation. It seems that I get sucked up into the "squabble" with the difficult one, and have to remind myself to also pay attention to the easy ones.

 

I'm in this trench with you!

 

Hot Lava Mama

:iagree:

I have one who's exceedingly difficult. My other 4 are not compliant, but they are more pleasant and easy to get along with. I constantly remind myself that my difficult one will not control my life, he will not consume my thoughts, and that I have 4 other children who need my attention, too. It's hard. I pray a lot!

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:bigear:

 

I was just thinking this today. I don't know what's gotten into my oldest. She's gotten so bad about interrupting me on the phone, I've made her write 50 times, "I will not interrupt Mom on the phone" - twice. :001_huh: She thought it was a "harsh punishment." And she seriously asked me why Sylvia didn't have to do it. She doesn't interrupt me on the phone!!!!!!!!! She's 7 and she knows better than my 9 yo.

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I think that sometimes you have to take a break from them and get yourself recharged. Arrange for the hard kid(s) to stay home and just go out somewhere by yourself or with the easier kids.

 

No flames from me here - I have one very hard kid who was a drain on my mental stamina when he was younger. Very negative, very difficult. Fortunately, he has mellowed with age, but I remember the days when I would escape with just the youngest in tow to *go shopping*. Not that I bought anything, but just to get some time away.

 

I have a difficult time doing this, usually I give the most to my difficult ones because they are so demanding and give me such trouble if they're denied anything at all!

 

. I constantly remind myself that my difficult one will not control my life, he will not consume my thoughts, and that I have 4 other children who need my attention, too. It's hard. I pray a lot!

 

See, I need to learn this. I struggle with the guilt in knowing that my more difficult children are the ones most likely to resent me someday so I bend over backwards trying to give them whatever it is they seem to need (constant attention, interaction, praise, etc, etc ad nauseum)

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Ah yes. It's hard. Thank goodness for my less combative kids, though (I have one who's very negative and argues about EVERYTHING; one who's totally easygoing 99% of the time and does whatever he can to avoid conflict; one who is generally positive and very sweet but who can be challenging when he feels....passionately about something)....they remind me that at least it must not be my parenting that made my oldest the way he is. I remind myself constantly of his many good qualities (he's hilarious, and super smart, and creative, and he keeps his room neat as a pin without me ever having to remind him) and I try to keep in mind that he acts like this because HE'S struggling to figure life out; it's about him and not about me. I don't expect him to grow out of it exactly, but I do have hope that he'll learn to temper the negativity as he gets older. But yeah, I remember thinking when he was much younger, "is it a problem that my six year old is the most cynical person I know?"

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I hear you. I hear you.

 

I need to change my habits/responses with my extra-challenging child. I am working on it.

 

The positive change we have recently instituted is that I am sending her up to my husband to do some part of her reading lesson. WHy on earth do I think that I have to be the only one to teach this child??

My husband has also now given me some hours alone in the house so that I can do uninterrupted lesson planning--and have some peace and quiet.

 

I think that I have been STARVING for quiet. The stress of the noise and needs of six kids has been overwhelming for me lately. I get so cranky because i am interrupted every 60 seconds.

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I don't know. I'm LDS and made it all the way through high school and college without ever wanting to drink. So many days, Digby tests my resolve.

 

If it makes you feel any better, I was a very good kid in high school. Very compliant and mellow for the most part. There are/were still lots of things I resented my parents for. I've been thinking I need to work on making ALL my kids more grateful for EVERYTHING they have. That way when they grow up and say, "You totally screwed me up!" then I can say, "Well I did my best, gosh darn it. What more do you want?" :tongue_smilie: And I'm hoping that will keep them quiet. But in the mean time, I medicate with lots of chocolate and try to ignore all the nice ladies on the board who talk about how much they love their glass of wine :lol:

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I can't tell you how happy I am that there are others with children like mine! I have one super difficult child and one that's a close second. The rest are fairly easy going most of the time.

 

The negativity and constant disobedience is so exhausting. I swear that girl would argue with a stop sign.

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I only have two. One is moody and argumentative, but I think the other is compliant just because she hopes it makes her look better than her sis.:tongue_smilie: Is that horrible to say? Seriously, it seems younger is more compliant when older is being unusually moody and I think she does it on purpose. They get along great and are good friends, but when older acts like the teenager she is, I think younger goes into "I'm the good kid ~ look at me" mode. I'm sure it's just so we don't pay so much attention to the moody kid in the room, and I notice it every time.

 

Seriously, I ignore it a lot of the time and vent to dh. We don't walk on eggshells but we probably overlook more than we should. Older is the one that's moody and I remind myself of what a great kid, person, and student she is most of the time. I also try to remember how I felt at that age. Dh and I also work at having outside time alone with each dd so we can connect outside of the house and just have fun one on one. Having that time does help and we always end up having fun, which helps us through the next round of moodiness.

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I cry a lot. I have such a hard time with DS7 fighting me every.step.of.the.way. He wears me down so that I don 't have the patience/energy/time for the others. His attitude rubs off on his sister, who is then less compliant than she ordinarily would be. Throw in a three year old and a needy toddler and they're all lucky I haven't run off into the sunset by dinner time.

 

And then, that's when DS is in his most pleasant mood, as he can be quite a delightful child. But I can't just flip the switch and stop being angry at him and enjoy him. It stinks. I threaten public school on a daily, perhaps hourly basis. I honestly think we'd both be happier.

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Oh goodness - I have one of those, and can totally relate to the person who takes one of the youngers along shopping because it feels like a vacation from the demanding one. One reminder to my three year old that it isn't ok to ask for a bunch of stuff at the store, and she can remember - my nine year old takes 17 reminders, an explosion, and a note to self to never ever ever take her to the store again, which is reinforced by pouting on the way home because we aren't going to go swimming, with friends, and ice cream, and a cherry on top.

 

I actually avoid doing fun, out of ordinary things with her, because she always demands more more more MORE! It's crummy, but that's just the way it has to be to maintain my sanity.

 

I started reading the Nurtured Heart Approach Workbook because I wanted to turn our relationship around - too much negative interaction - makes me so sad for her.

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The negativity and constant disobedience is so exhausting. I swear that girl would argue with a stop sign.

 

I told dh that my oldest would probably argue if I tried to give her a million dollars. Or at least whine about having to pick it up. And she used to be my easy one! At least I *know* it is probably hormones in her case - someday she will be an agreeable human again. The others - well, I suppose time will tell!

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And I ALWAYS say, "Watch out for those compliant ones." The ones that are in your face? Well, you know where they are. Those quiet, compliant ones? They know how to fly under the radar. I can say this because I WAS that compliant child and I've watched families a lot and it tends to be true. :001_rolleyes:

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Oh goodness - I have one of those, and can totally relate to the person who takes one of the youngers along shopping because it feels like a vacation from the demanding one. One reminder to my three year old that it isn't ok to ask for a bunch of stuff at the store, and she can remember - my nine year old takes 17 reminders, an explosion, and a note to self to never ever ever take her to the store again, which is reinforced by pouting on the way home because we aren't going to go swimming, with friends, and ice cream, and a cherry on top.

 

I actually avoid doing fun, out of ordinary things with her, because she always demands more more more MORE! It's crummy, but that's just the way it has to be to maintain my sanity.

 

YES!!

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When you also have pleasant, compliant children? How do you deal with the fact that you have 1 or 2 that are pouty, moody, argumentative and consistently negative (to put it mildly)? They enjoy going toe-to-toe with you and starting drama? Meanwhile you have lovely, compliant children who don't cause trouble and just want to please. Who are happy and joyful.

 

How do you not let it affect your emotions and actions toward the difficult ones?

 

Sometimes it seems the line between a mother's love and just plain dislike is very blurred. :glare: :(

 

Honestly? Time. Ds17 and my RAD dd, 9, have beaten the pulp out of me. NOT LITERALLY. I have slowly died to myself to become the parent I need to be.

 

Sometimes I simply go on autopilot and go totally numb to the worst of offenses because *I* need to do that.

 

Now, after many years at it (and my two have mental illness, I do not. I also have two mentally ill siblings who are totally draining, one is now out of my life.) I have learned to NEVER react to what they are doing - IN THEIR PRESENCE. I have my own melt downs but THEY never know about it, especially RAD dd. I have to be her rock and keep strong. The attempts to disrupt a happy day simply WON'T work. If we're at home, no matter who it is that is pouty and acting out, they are removed from us until they are in a better place emotionally. In public, we will ignore the bad behaviors - hard as it is. They know what is expected of them. They can choose to behave differently, but we can choose to ignore it and not allow it to ruin our day. Let me tell you that THIS was years in the making, but we have mostly mastered it now.

 

Most importantly, don't set your child up for failure. I know freedom and too much activity sets my RAD up for failure so I won't allow it. I am lucky because dh works from home two days per week AND dd12.5 is old enough to go to co-op without me. I feel like i have it made. But even if I didn't have this arrangement, we would have to make adjustments which would work for EVERYONE, not just one. It is hard with one kid who would like to be active, one who simmply can't handle it, but we fould find the balance which would best suit us if we weren't so blessed with our current situation.

 

:grouphug:

 

I did find that my easy, happy toddlers were easy, happy teens. My difficult toddler was a difficult ten. The verdict is still out on my RAD but I have not lost hope.

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:bigear:

 

I was just thinking this today. I don't know what's gotten into my oldest. She's gotten so bad about interrupting me on the phone, I've made her write 50 times, "I will not interrupt Mom on the phone" - twice. :001_huh: She thought it was a "harsh punishment." And she seriously asked me why Sylvia didn't have to do it. She doesn't interrupt me on the phone!!!!!!!!! She's 7 and she knows better than my 9 yo.

 

Like I said, I have gotten the pulp beaten out of me so I have quite a hard shell.

 

When I am on the phone, I ignore EVERYONE if dad is home. EVERYONE, including dad! I remember the years upon years where I demanded my uninterrupted time on the phone and nobody obeyed. Then I developed this AMAZING ability to block EVERYONE out and just focus on what I wanted to. Sometimes it is the Hive! Dh used to watch me in wonder, even get aggrivated, as my kids would break out in an argument right next to me on the couch and I wouldn't hear a THING. :D Honestly, it is a talent. Dd12 nd her friends test me on it regularly and their roaring laughter usually is my cue that they've tried me out again. :lol::lol::lol:

 

Unless it's an emergency (and somehow I am able to pick up on that!!!) I just block everyone out. NOw they rarely interrupt me.

 

and I *LOVE* this.:D

 

ETA: When dad is home, go have you conversation out in the car, in the dark garage, even in the winter. I've done it MANY times. I was even on conference calls, two hours long, sipping hot tea in my winter coat, in my car, in the garage, lights out, more than once. LOL When the door to the garage was opened, I'd recline my seat. :D

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I have a difficult time doing this, usually I give the most to my difficult ones because they are so demanding and give me such trouble if they're denied anything at all!

 

 

 

See, I need to learn this. I struggle with the guilt in knowing that my more difficult children are the ones most likely to resent me someday so I bend over backwards trying to give them whatever it is they seem to need (constant attention, interaction, praise, etc, etc ad nauseum)

 

BUT, your easy kids may feel that they were shafted and they may resent you.

 

My kids know that they will NEVER be rewarded for bad behavior, there are consequences for that. The freedom and privileges the easy kids receive is often envied, but it is available to all. THEY have choices to make, but their choices will NOT affect me or the other kids.

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What do you mean by this?

 

I mean that I haven't been physically beaten, just mind deadeningly beaten. And that I have slowly died to myself by putting what I thought my parenting and my kids would be aside to be the parent I need to be.

 

For me I had to read up on my kid's mental illness and had to parent the way that called for, dying to the parent I wanted to be. I died to myself when I let my dreams go.

 

For difficult kids, I would do the same. I would read those books about the explosive kid, or what ever would apply, and learn a new way to parent them, letting my ideal go, dying to self.

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I hear you. I hear you.

 

I need to change my habits/responses with my extra-challenging child. I am working on it.

 

The positive change we have recently instituted is that I am sending her up to my husband to do some part of her reading lesson. WHy on earth do I think that I have to be the only one to teach this child??

My husband has also now given me some hours alone in the house so that I can do uninterrupted lesson planning--and have some peace and quiet.

 

I think that I have been STARVING for quiet. The stress of the noise and needs of six kids has been overwhelming for me lately. I get so cranky because i am interrupted every 60 seconds.

 

 

this is excellent! I think quiet time for mom with six kids is so important! NOt all need it, but those who do, NEED it!!!

 

Also, dh took over math COMPLETELY with all four kids. RAD dd does online schooling. Another dying to self thing.

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I mean that I haven't been physically beaten, just mind deadeningly beaten. And that I have slowly died to myself by putting what I thought my parenting and my kids would be aside to be the parent I need to be.

 

For me I had to read up on my kid's mental illness and had to parent the way that called for, dying to the parent I wanted to be. I died to myself when I let my dreams go.

 

For difficult kids, I would do the same. I would read those books about the explosive kid, or what ever would apply, and learn a new way to parent them, letting my ideal go, dying to self.

 

Denise, can I just say: I think you are amazing. Truly, truly amazing.:grouphug:

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Like a pp, I used to cry a lot. :001_smile:

 

I had one dd who acted out quite violently, lied, argued, screamed... you name it. I also had another who is the most pleasant person you'd ever meet and was an incredibly compliant and easy child. It was hard to balance their needs, and it took years of everything I had, but problem child came out the other side as a wonderful person. You'd barely know her past now.

 

The only way I could keep going and doing what needed to be done was to remind myself constantly that it wasn't personal towards me and that I had to think of the long-term results. There were days when I let myself get cranky toward dh or my other child(ren) because of it. I would just dust myself off and try harder the next day. :grouphug:

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I'm not, really. I'm just not. Part of this was out of my own selfishness, a coping mechanism. But it is also what my kids need.

 

thank you, though!!!:grouphug:

 

The part about doing what it takes for each child is what struck with me. I know I need to figure out how to deal with Digby. Crying and eating chocolate all the time aren't going to help. You gave me a much needed kick in the pants.

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Like a pp, I used to cry a lot. :001_smile:

 

I had one dd who acted out quite violently, lied, argued, screamed... you name it. I also had another who is the most pleasant person you'd ever meet and was an incredibly compliant and easy child. It was hard to balance their needs, and it took years of everything I had, but problem child came out the other side as a wonderful person. You'd barely know her past now.

 

The only way I could keep going and doing what needed to be done was to remind myself constantly that it wasn't personal towards me and that I had to think of the long-term results. There were days when I let myself get cranky toward dh or my other child(ren) because of it. I would just dust myself off and try harder the next day. :grouphug:

 

this is KEY!!!! TO not take it personally!

 

I only learned that this year and when I first heard about not taking the bahavior personally, I though the person recommending it was CRAZY. She was SOOOOOOOOO right. It is so much easier to ignore that bad behavior when it is not taken personally!

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The part about doing what it takes for each child is what struck with me. I know I need to figure out how to deal with Digby. Crying and eating chocolate all the time aren't going to help. You gave me a much needed kick in the pants.

 

Your sweet response made me check out the ages of your kids. So there you have it. My oldest is 20. :001_smile: You will be FINE!

 

ETA: Crying and chocolate also have their part! ;)

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Guest susan12

I myself will be as strict as possible when my chidren don't listen to me.

 

Anyway, the most important issue is to be the person who they can count on...

Edited by susan12
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I hope it would give me less mommy guilt. I'd like to think that the evidence of the easy/well behaved children would reassure me that the problems with the difficult child are not all of my making/my fault/because I parented badly.

 

I'd like to think that, but I probably would still feel mommy guilt anyway. My second child is still very young, but already he's been more easygoing than DD was at that age, and I can see that the difference is in their personalities, and not necessarily in how I parent.

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One of the nice things about this thread is that I feel like I'm not alone. I mean, I knew I wasn't, but sometimes it feels like I am.

 

:grouphug:

 

Your sweet response made me check out the ages of your kids. So there you have it. My oldest is 20. :001_smile: You will be FINE!

 

ETA: Crying and chocolate also have their part! ;)

Thanks, I hope so. I'm worried he'll get it all out now and be a nice teenager but Pigby will be a mean, wild one. Yeah I used to think I had this parenting thing figured out before I had kids.

 

And I'm indulging in the chocolate now:D nom, nom, nom

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this is KEY!!!! TO not take it personally!

 

I only learned that this year and when I first heard about not taking the bahavior personally, I though the person recommending it was CRAZY. She was SOOOOOOOOO right. It is so much easier to ignore that bad behavior when it is not taken personally!

 

This is so what I need to work on. It's so incredibly hard not to take it personally when I spend all my time and energy thinking about how to be a better parent to this child, not to mention the load of responsibility I feel for how he turns out. So when he rejects it all I feel so resentful. Not healthy. Reading all these responses is renewing my courage to keep trying, though. Thanks everyone.

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:grouphug:

 

 

Thanks, I hope so. I'm worried he'll get it all out now and be a nice teenager but Pigby will be a mean, wild one. Yeah I used to think I had this parenting thing figured out before I had kids.

 

And I'm indulging in the chocolate now:D nom, nom, nom

 

 

I thought I had it all figured out until my oldest was two, and it's been all downhill since then!

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Honestly? I put him in school. We're all happier that way. Part of me aches to be able to homeschool him again, but when he's in school I can sustain a positive home atmosphere for the other kids.

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you give up hoping that they will ever become compliant and easy children. Some kids are easy, some kids are hard. And God will use all of them to make me more like him (see my siggie!!! My difficult child inspired that!) You begin to love them for who they are and start looking for the good.

 

My mother told me this when my dd was 2:"If you can ever get that child pointed in the right direction, you will never have another worry. Cause nobody is ever going to talk her into doing something that she doesn't want to do!"

 

You learn to pick your battles and find things to complement them on even if it seems ridiculous. You try millions of different things to get them to cooperate.

 

Above all, YOU LEARN TO DISENGAGE WITH THEM. Remember parenting is not about winning all of the battles. If you choose to win every tiny battle, you may end up losing the war by driving your child away from you.

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