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How would you handle this....separate households...--post deleted by OP---

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I think the child needs much more structure and consistency.

 

There is not structure provided at p2's home right now. If her executive functioning is weak, she needs structure. She can't magically provide structure for herself. She needs help on some level to plan what she wants to do, or begin and end activities, etc. She needs help to make transitions. If she is not getting that, I don't think it is fair to her.

 

I think some hang out time is fine. I count some amount of watching another person play video games as hang out time. I also count some amount of time watching tv shows that someone else has picked out as hang out time.

 

But it doesn't sound like this is fair, it sounds like she is labeled the bad kid there through Christmas at least. Kids labeled the bad kid usually get blamed for everything and treated more punitively than helpfully. Not always, but usually.

 

Then there is the consistency side. I think going back and forth is automatically stressful and inconsistent for some kids, and she may be one. I think you need to look at her schedule and routine on M-F and think about not making Sat/Sun just the same, but making some things about the structure/routine be more similar. Or make the expectations more similar.

 

I think it would be better to have a planned outing/activity/appointment that you structure and plan, and then p2 just has to show up. He may not really be capable of structure/planning himself, but very able to show up or meet somewhere for 1-2 hours.

 

I also think you need to think about what winter break is going to be.

 

It is a huge wrench in the schedule for a lot of kids who have special needs and behavior issues, who don't handle change well.

 

Can you talk to school about them sending home some things from school if that might be helpful, for her to do some of the same activities with the same materials?

 

Does she have a history of having a hard transition back to school on Mondays, or after school holidays? If so -- does school have any ideas?

 

For us if we keep some similar expectations it helps. It makes it less of a change to go back to school and have the day be so different.

 

If you have already tried going heavier on the schedule, consistency, routine, etc, and it has not helped, then I don't think "do it some more."

 

But it is worth trying, too.

 

I think it would be really hard on my son too and he would get in trouble and probably have transition issues.

 

But I wouldn't want to prevent seeing p2. Maybe a shorter time, maybe doing something you plan. I think either or a combination.

 

I would present it as trying to increase consistency/structure to try to help with the behavior issues.

 

I don't think it needs to be personal. A lot of people have a hard time providing such a high level of structure as might be needed.

 

I think it might be a relief to have things on a smaller scale that go well and are really nice times.

 

I would want to improve or maintain the relationship but take over a lot of the "being an adult" parts.

 

I would also look for any structure or routines you can build in to the weekends.

 

I do hope you can look for respite, too.

 

But I have seen my son do worse before a transition, and then do worse after a transition. And even though she has been going between households and between schooldays/weekends for her whole life, those are still huge transitions, or would be for my son.

 

I am thinking hard about my own winter vacation and how to keep it being such a stark difference to go from the last day of winter vacation to the first day back at school. And how to have the 3rd-4th day of winter break still have some structure and routine (this is the day it seems to fall apart usually, with nothing really planned).

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Only read the OP. Special needs mom.

 

No! I would never make this child see this "parent". What if she were diabetic and he refused to change her diet?? She is sick and needs specific parenting strategies not heavy-handed bullying. What a jerk.

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I'd calmly let P2 know that you understand kidlet is a handful and you want to give him time to regroup before she visits his house again (which won't be until after the crazy holiday season).  IF you want to, arrange to meet at a local fun place (kid's fav fast food place? museum? ) for a hour to two for a weekend visit and YOU will stay close in case you need to step in. 

 

Tell kidlet Daddy had a headache and loves her but gets frustrated too sometimes. Yes there is still Christmas is your house. 

 

Do not send dd over until you have proof P2 went to parenting classes or something.  Sounds like his inability to cope with her meltdowns is not good for either of them.  Could they Skype to stay in touch?  I commend that you have been trying to keep P2 in her life even though you did not have to do so. I also suspect (I have special needs kids too) her not being with you on weekends has been a bit of respite for you, which now you have to give up alas. 

 

Good luck!

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It sounds like she is upset about the consequences of her behavior. P2's is boring because the fun stuff is gone. She caused the fun stuff to be taken away (whether or not this was great parenting is another matter). Having her have to sit in the boring ickiness for at least a couple of months would seem reasonable to me. Of course she doesn't want to go. But continuously reminding her that these are the consequences of her actions seems like the best route. It sucks. Welcome to tough love. I do not think you force her to go after two months, but to just let her out of it is to say there is an easy out for doing something unexceptable.

 

I will preface this by saying I am not a snuggly parent. I have to work very hard at snuggly as I did not come from a snuggly parent household.

 

She is going to have to learn this sometime or the consequences as an older person will be drastic. It might not be a magic bullet, but it is a recurring reminder for quite a bit.

Ugh, I should have stopped reading at the op. I have to assume you do not have a SN child. I promise, these consequences will only cause more harm.

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The thing about 1-2 hours with you there, too, is it gives p2 a chance to see how you handle things, and he may copy you if he sees "oh she handled it that way and it went well."

 

I think it can go a really long way.

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:iagree:

 

Maize said it SO well.

 

I think taking away Christmas for a 10yo is sh**** parenting.

I think taking away Christmas from a 10yo child with special needs that you have declined to be involved in treating is EXTRA sh**** parenting.

I think making a 10yo child with special needs go along to return all her own presents is nuclear sh**** parenting.

 

P2 needs to GROW the F up before doing any more "parenting". :mad: :mad: :mad:

I like this so hard. I'm picturing my own sweet, troubled boy and I kind of want to throat punch an adult.

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MURDERERS in PRISION are sent Christmas gifts. What kind of total a-hole takes Christmas away from a 10yo?!? I need to step away from this thread. I'm starting to have negative feelings toward a few boardies.

Edited by Moxie
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I just read OP's original post.

 

My DH was 2 when his parents divorced. His dad got no custody of any kind. The mom forced him to visit anyway. When he became a teen, he simply quit going and eventually became estranged from the dad (violent alcoholic).

 

Taking away Christmas is the telltale sign that the parent can't handle the special needs child. We don't take away Christmas. That will do zero. That sort of punishment totally demolishes the relationship between the parent and the child. The kid may never trust that parent again.

 

No, I wouldn't force a kid to visit someone he didn't want to see. Children have wisdom that we often aren't aware of.

 

Alley

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It sounds like she is upset about the consequences of her behavior. P2's is boring because the fun stuff is gone. She caused the fun stuff to be taken away (whether or not this was great parenting is another matter). Having her have to sit in the boring ickiness for at least a couple of months would seem reasonable to me. Of course she doesn't want to go. But continuously reminding her that these are the consequences of her actions seems like the best route. It sucks. Welcome to tough love. I do not think you force her to go after two months, but to just let her out of it is to say there is an easy out for doing something unexceptable.

 

I will preface this by saying I am not a snuggly parent. I have to work very hard at snuggly as I did not come from a snuggly parent household.

 

She is going to have to learn this sometime or the consequences as an older person will be drastic. It might not be a magic bullet, but it is a recurring reminder for quite a bit.

No. Just... no. This tactic does NOT work for a child with special needs.

Edited by Kinsa
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No. Just... no. This tactic does NOT work for a child with special needs.

Shit I can't even imagine it working for a neurotypical child. I sure as heck know if my parents took Christmas away from me as a punishment at the age of ten I wouldn't learn a thing except that my parents were cruel parents.

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Shit I can't even imagine it working for a neurotypical child. I sure as heck know if my parents took Christmas away from me as a punishment at the age of ten I wouldn't learn a thing except that my parents were cruel parents.

Truth.

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I like this.

 

Though she is not neurotypical, she is still able to get that her actions have consequences. P2 though not as enhanced as you will like is still a constant in her life. I don't think it is advisable to stop her from going.

 

Life is not all roses and while p2's parenting style is not the best, they should be able to deal with it between themselves. Are there things that she can take to p2's house so she is not just sitting and watching tv?

For two years this person has been around regularly.

 

No school events.

Refuses to get involved with treatment/medical needs.

Not feeding child well.

Even prior to the punishment, not making time for the child.

Crappy parenting skills and coping skills to deal with a meltdown.

 

I know parents like that. Trust me, their regular presence isn't a net positive.

 

Even in a shared custody situation, every weekend with the same parent is a bad idea unless it's unavoidable (other parent works a 2 day shift a fire station or hospital or something else similar).

 

I would prioritize respite to the degree that the arrangement during respite doesn't make the situation worse. I have 2 sons with special needs. I also happen to have 2 relatives locally who would watch my sons for free almost anytime...both have shown to be bad choices. One is ok if my younger son is asleep. One makes bad decisions all the time. So I have to limit my respite to paid and unpaid options that can handle all of the potentialities.

 

Cutting off overnight unsupervised visits doesn't mean the non-cusdodial parent can't still be in the child's life. But long unsupervised visits are a privilege he can earn by showing he has the responsibility to handle the child, starting with a willingness to learn better parenting skills and a willingness to inconvenience himself to participate with medical and school stuff too. Supervised visits, short visits in public places, writing, video chatting are all ways he can stay in her life without subjecting her to his crappy parenting for two days out of every seven. That's too much.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Just a comment on the whole "let her experience the consequences of her actions" -- I know a lot has been said refuting this already, but I just want to mention that for my son who had/has these melt downs, in the moment, he isn't even AWARE that he is yelling, fussing, melting down. It is so completely outside his control that he doesn't even register the difference, in the moment, between the yelling voice and his normal voice.

 

This is how little control a SN kid has over these sorts of meltdowns; they aren't a "tantrum," they are truly an involuntary response to environmental stimulus or other factors (whether that be tiredness, hunger, aggravating circumstances, overwhelming situation, build up of several things, etc...); what triggers a meltdown will be different for every kid, and not always easy to pinpoint, at all (and so not easy to arrange the child's life to avoid them), but the key point is -- the meltdown itself is an involuntary response.

 

A child cannot be "consequenced" into not having meltdowns. They just can't. They can be given consequences after the fact for how they behave afterward (like the poster who said the child has to clean up the toys thrown, and then presumably has a consequence if they don't do that part), but not for the meltdown itself.

 

As for the OP, I wholeheartedly agree with those saying "no freakin'" way, with the caveat mentioned regarding respite. P1 needs to be able to have a break, and I hope the OP will find a way to have respite/a break from the dd that doesn't involve P2 being in charge of dd, whatever that means or looks like. The value of respite, if that's a concern here, has to be weighed against the rest and a way figured out to still have that if needed.

 

Also, huge hugs to P1 and dd; I am so sorry it had to be like that. :(

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I think the child should be encouraged to have a relationship with P2. Even though he is far from perfect.

 

P1's contempt for P2 makes this really hard to accurately measure so I could be completely wrong - but at this age , with a SN child, I think having that connection with P2 is more important than sheltering her from him based on the factors described.

 

I think 2 days a week is probably more than either of them are able to handle and I'd definitely shorten that going forward.

Edited by poppy
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I think it's pretty clear that the posters who think the over the top punishment by P2 is OK and think this will lead to self control and understanding of consequences on the part of the child have absolutely no understanding of parenting a child with special needs. I'm not surprised by these posters at all because their posts on other threads have suggested they live in a world where children learn how to respond to the world in a uniformly typical manner. 

 

Special needs kids have no control when they have a melt down. They don't want to melt down and they either don't have or have very limited coping mechanisms to stop a melt down. Responses need to have that fact in mind. 

 

OP is also in a position where child has had a dramatic effect on family life. So, I don't think it's totally a matter of not making the child spend time with P2 to look out for the needs of the child. The whole family has needs. Sometimes those needs involve taking a break from child so that when child returns P1 can actually put full energy into meeting child's needs. IOW the child's needs may also suffer if she doesn't visit P2. 

 

P2 is not fully engaged in learning how to be a parent. I think I recall the OP posting about when he came back into the picture. It sounds like he could use direction, but may not want to admit that the child has the extreme issues she has, or may not be able fully commit to learning for another reason. However, P2 did express interest in being part of the child's life. It sounds like P2 needs plan when child visits. It sounds like OP needs to set up the plan because P2 is not ready to do it himself. Perhaps OP creating the plan for P2 to follow will help P2 learn a bit. So, that sort of structuring and coaching will take more time and effort on the part of P1 initially, but long term it could work out. 

 

One option would be for P1 to map out a routine to follow, so that child can count on those things happening. It could give simple blocks of what happens when at P2 home. It doesn't sound like P2 is big on going out and doing stuff, so one block could be watch moving together in apartment, follow by walk across street to get dinner. There could be a block of time for P2 to do gaming and child to play with toys she brought with her or toys P2 keeps at his place. But the point is to follow the same routine every time so it is predictable for child and so P2 has limited opportunity to get into a trigger situation. After P2 masters that for a significant time, if he wants to branch off routine, he needs to discuss with P1 first. 

 

Visits probably need to be curtailed for a period, but if I'm understanding the situation, P1's family may need the visits to continue in some form. Child may never be able to do a holiday or birthday with P2 due to the "taking away Christmas." That poor decision will remain etched in child's mind forever. Basically, all visits should be routine and ordinary. If in a few years (yes years) P2 wants in on holidays/birthdays again perhaps reintroduction of P2 and those events should be P2 coming to participate with P1 family part of a day. 

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I think the child should be encouraged to have a relationship with P2. Even though he is far from perfect.

 

P1's contempt for P2 makes this really hard to accurately measure so I could be completely wrong - but at this age , with a SN child, I think having that connection with P2 is more important than sheltering her from him based on the factors described.

 

I think 2 days a week is probably more than either of them are able to handle and I'd definitely shorten that going forward.

 

I don't think OP has contempt for P2. She stated the facts of P2. 

He only recently entered the child's life.

He has not participated in learning about her educational or medical issues. 

He doesn't feed child well (I believe the past posts have alluded to food problems not mentioned here)

He doesn't know how to discipline a typical child (Honestly, I don't know anyone who would actually bring a child to a store to watch the returning of presents)

 

I don't think OP was showing contempt. The situation with P2 just is. 

 

I don't think the relationship is a complete loss, but P1 can't go on sending child as she has and expect it to improve. P1 is going to have to find a way to manage the relationship. 

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I think the child should be encouraged to have a relationship with P2. Even though he is far from perfect.

 

P1's contempt for P2 makes this really hard to accurately measure so I could be completely wrong - but at this age , with a SN child, I think having that connection with P2 is more important than sheltering her from him based on the factors described.

 

I think 2 days a week is probably more than either of them are able to handle and I'd definitely shorten that going forward.

Having a relationship with P2 is different than him being the sole caregiver for 2 days a week. He has shown he is unwilling or unable to try to work with his dd to better understand and manage her care so he should not be the parent in charge.

 

There was even a time when my dh couldn't be in charge of my dd because he was so busy at work and the issues were so new he didn't know how to handle them. I barely knew how to handle them but I was always there to actively try and get used to my reactions to her meltdowns. Once I had coping skills and a better handle on how to respond effect I started teaching dh. It took time for him to be able to respond appropriately to the situation but he was always willing to try. He worked hard to learn to parent her in a manner that is healthy for her issues and is now capable of being the sole caregiver. According to the OP, P2 has not made attempts so should not be an unsupervised caregiver. Some arrangement for supervised visits should be made so they have a relationship but it should be after Christmas since that is likely going to be a huge trigger for the girl.

Edited by hjffkj
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I don't think OP has contempt for P2. She stated the facts of P2.

He only recently entered the child's life.

He has not participated in learning about her educational or medical issues.

He doesn't feed child well (I believe the past posts have alluded to food problems not mentioned here)

He doesn't know how to discipline a typical child (Honestly, I don't know anyone who would actually bring a child to a store to watch the returning of presents)

 

I don't think OP was showing contempt. The situation with P2 just is.

 

I don't think the relationship is a complete loss, but P1 can't go on sending child as she has and expect it to improve. P1 is going to have to find a way to manage the relationship.

I read contempt in lazy because he only works 40 hours and other little bits of shades thrown - not the parenting bits .

 

I have a special needs 8 year old (emotionally / socially closer to 5) and I completely get the protectiveness. This is a hard situation and I really do applaud P1 for trying to make it work.

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Having a relationship with P2 is different than him being the sole caregiver for 2 days a week. He has shown he is unwilling or unable to try to work with his dd to better understand and manage her care so he should not be the parent in charge.

 

There was even a time when my dh couldn't be in charge of my dd because he was so busy at work and the issues were so new he didn't know how to handle them. I barely knew how to handle them but I was always there to actively try and get used to my reactions to her meltdowns. Once I had coping skills and a better handle on how to respond effect I started teaching dh. It took time for him to be able to respond appropriately to the situation but he was always willing to try. He worked hard to learn to parent her in a manner that is healthy for her issues and is now capable of being the sole caregiver. According to the OP, P2 has not made attempts so should not be an unsupervised caregiver. Some arrangement for supervised visits should be made so they have a relationship but it should be after Christmas since that is likely going to be a huge trigger for the girl.

I agree with this.

 

Acknowledging that P2 does not curently have the skills to effectively cope with this child's behavior does not equate to holding P2 in contempt. Frankly, most adults don't have the skills to effectively manage a high needs child. I've got a couple of very volatile children, and I have frequently had to arrange my life around the reality that my dh (who has mental health difficulties of his own) was not prepared to parent them without me. My other children I could leave with him, but not those two.

 

Dh does work very hard at being a parent, but he has his own emotional volatility to cope with and is not always capable of functioning in as stable and rational manner as emotionally volatile kids need. It is what it is, as a family we have to adjust to the actual parameters of our lives. I don't know what all is going on with P2--frankly, as the biological parent of a high needs child he may have some of the same underlying issues that she does. He can have entirely good motivation but still not have the necessary abilities and skills to be a fully functional parent for this exceptionally difficult child.

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I read contempt in lazy because he only works 40 hours and other little bits of shades thrown - not the parenting bits .

 

I have a special needs 8 year old (emotionally / socially closer to 5) and I completely get the protectiveness. This is a hard situation and I really do applaud P1 for trying to make it work.

I think that shade is probably a function of seeing that it is a choice, not a requirement of his professional endeavors, that he doesn't step up for any medical, therapeutic or educational needs. It's one thing if his week is packed/he's got to travel or work overtime and he can't always find time to do thing like a behavioral therapist intake visit or attend IEP meetings. It's another if he could help with it at least some of the time and is just like "no." Edited by LucyStoner
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I don't get the impression that P1 expected him to go to therapies? He is lazy in that he doesn't plan weekends but instead has the kid tag along with him, and he is lazy in that he eats out rather than cooks.

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I think that shade is probably a function of seeing that it is a choice, not a requirement of his professional endeavors, that he doesn't step up for any medical, therapeutic or educational needs. It's one thing if his week is packed/he's got to travel or work overtime and he can't always find time to do thing like a behavioral therapist intake visit or attend IEP meetings. It's another if he could help with it at least some of the time and is just like "no."

 

 

I don't get the impression that P1 expected him to go to therapies? He is lazy in that he doesn't plan weekends but instead has the kid tag along with him, and he is lazy in that he eats out rather than cooks.

 

 

The "lazy" designation did strike me as judgmental; the facts of the situation could be stated without including a character judgment (which lazy is) on P2. There are a lot of possible reasons other than simple choice that a person might not appear to be exerting themselves. P2 could have ADHD, could have a physical issue that makes him feel tired and unergetic (such as hypothyroid), could have some level of depression, really there are endless possibilities. As for food, he may never have learned to cook, may have grown up in a household where no-one ever cooked, may view junk food as a demonstration of love. Labeling him as "lazy" doesn't strike me as any more helpful than labeling his child as "naughty" (based her her legitimately problematic behaviors) would be.

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I don't get the impression that P1 expected him to go to therapies? He is lazy in that he doesn't plan weekends but instead has the kid tag along with him, and he is lazy in that he eats out rather than cooks.

I got the impression that his lack of involvement in the work was a source of frustration. Maybe not specifically him not being there but it all being on one person, p1. She indicated he's not been involved even when the possibility was raised. Maybe in a subsequent post.

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I got the impression that his lack of involvement in the work was a source of frustration. Maybe not specifically him not being there but it all being on one person, p1. She indicated he's not been involved even when the possibility was raised. Maybe in a subsequent post.

 

I wouldn't expect that kind of involvement though from a non custodial parent without any rights. 

 

I don't actually think OP expects it either, I think she was just delineating the parameters and limitations of P2's parenting involvement.

Edited by maize
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I think when P2 came on the scene, it was P2 expressing interest in developing a relationship with the child. I think P1 has tried to make it clear child has needs that are not ordinary. If P2 wanted to establish a relationship, after the initial introduction two years ago, the next step in involvement would be gaining some understanding of educational, treatment, and behavioral plans.

I don't it would be unusual to be disappointed that a bio parent who has said he was interested has never taken the step to deeper understanding of the child, especially after 2 years.

After 2 years one might expect that P1 would not need to be so much of a facilitator for someone who said they wanted a relationship.

Edited by Diana P.
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I would not send a child to a home that they were treated in that manner whether they are special needs or neurotypical.  I have a very intense child that has been explosive in the past and still has some episodes even after years of therapy and medication.  I think if I were to put him into a situation like you are describing it would make things worse and I would expect to see regressions or at best not making progress.  If a relationship with P2 is important to P1 then I think that until P2 is capable of parenting all visits should be short and supervised.

 

But I also realize that it is easy for me, who is not in the situation, to sit back and make judgements and it is much harder when you are in the situation.  I get the impression, and I could be totally off base, that these visits also are a time for the family to get a break.  I really understand needing breaks from intense children, but if this is the case I would encourage looking for other sources that will be a more positive environment for the child although I know that is much easier said than done much of the time.  It sounds like a difficult situation and I hope that things are able to work out for the best for everyone involved.

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The "lazy" designation did strike me as judgmental; the facts of the situation could be stated without including a character judgment (which lazy is) on P2. There are a lot of possible reasons other than simple choice that a person might not appear to be exerting themselves. P2 could have ADHD, could have a physical issue that makes him feel tired and unergetic (such as hypothyroid), could have some level of depression, really there are endless possibilities. As for food, he may never have learned to cook, may have grown up in a household where no-one ever cooked, may view junk food as a demonstration of love. Labeling him as "lazy" doesn't strike me as any more helpful than labeling his child as "naughty" (based her her legitimately problematic behaviors) would be.

While I don't disagree, I would point out that in the best of circumstances raising an high needs child can (as you know) be frustrating, exhausting and isolating. I don't think it's helpful to pick apart the language of the poster. She gets to feel what she feels.

 

It is what it is. That doesn't make it any easier for P1 or the child and their feelings about it are valid.

 

My husband has ADHD and I struggle mightily at times with my own mental health issues. There are plenty of awesome parents who aren't neurotyoical or who parent very well while dealing with their own issues. And there are parents who don't parent well, with or without mental health issues or neurological challenges. It's not easy and some times takes preplanned fall backs and low expectations. Whatever is or is not going on with P2 doesn't excuse what appears to be a pretty crappy history with his child.

Edited by LucyStoner
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While I don't disagree, I would point out that in the best of circumstances raising an high needs child can (as you know) be frustrating, exhausting and isolating. I don't think it's helpful to pick apart the language of the poster. She gets to feel what she feels.

 

It is what it is. That doesn't make it any easier for P1 or the child and their feelings about it are valid.

 

My husband has ADHD and I struggle mightily at times with my own mental health issues. There are plenty of awesome parents who aren't neurotyoical or who parent very well while dealing with their own issues. And there are parents who don't parent well, with or without mental health issues or neurological challenges. It's not easy and some times takes preplanned fall backs and low expectations. Whatever is or is not going on with P2 doesn't excuse what appears to be a pretty crappy history with his child.

Yeah, I don't think we really disagree about this situation. Lazy as a label is something of a trigger for me because it was one of the ones I got as a kid with undiagnosed ADHD.

 

I absolutely think that Tap is handling the raising of an exceptionally challenging kid very well.

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It sounds like she is upset about the consequences of her behavior. P2's is boring because the fun stuff is gone. She caused the fun stuff to be taken away (whether or not this was great parenting is another matter). Having her have to sit in the boring ickiness for at least a couple of months would seem reasonable to me. Of course she doesn't want to go. But continuously reminding her that these are the consequences of her actions seems like the best route. It sucks. Welcome to tough love. I do not think you force her to go after two months, but to just let her out of it is to say there is an easy out for doing something unexceptable.

 

I will preface this by saying I am not a snuggly parent. I have to work very hard at snuggly as I did not come from a snuggly parent household.

 

She is going to have to learn this sometime or the consequences as an older person will be drastic. It might not be a magic bullet, but it is a recurring reminder for quite a bit.

 

I disagree.  Consequences for bad behaviour whether special needs or not of course.  But what is being described is not mere consequences, it is highly punitive and meant strictly to punish and cause suffering not to teach appropriate behaviour.  Making a child go with you to return all the gifts you have bought, sending all her belongings to goodwill, not allowing outside time etc is over the top and not acceptable at all. 

 

I would not not allow the child to see P2 again whether they wanted to or not.  This is not the case of a parent not being snuggly, this is about a parent that strikes out immaturely to hurt a child because they can't be a grown up and cope with their own inadequacies. 

 

Ground the kid, put things away in a cupboard if they are not taking care of them, but do not give away all their belongings, and return all the gifts because you can't exert your control over the child the way you want.

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No. 

Anyone can notice cause and effect and that actions have consequences - after the ordeal. Not everyone is capable of capable of stopping a behavior, during said behavior, in order to prevent those consequences.

 

ETA: And it's not only an a*shole move, but an idiot move, to take away all of this child's activities. In what world is a bored child a more well behaved child? Especially one with special needs? She can watch PS2 play video games??? Seriously? And he's doing her a GOOD THING?

 

No kidding on the bolded.  One of the things we teach new staff/students at work, is "bored kids are "bad" kids"  In otherwords, bored kids will find ways to entertain themselves and seldom is it something you would approve of which means kid will be getting into more trouble. 

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The "lazy" designation did strike me as judgmental; the facts of the situation could be stated without including a character judgment (which lazy is) on P2. There are a lot of possible reasons other than simple choice that a person might not appear to be exerting themselves. P2 could have ADHD, could have a physical issue that makes him feel tired and unergetic (such as hypothyroid), could have some level of depression, really there are endless possibilities. As for food, he may never have learned to cook, may have grown up in a household where no-one ever cooked, may view junk food as a demonstration of love. Labeling him as "lazy" doesn't strike me as any more helpful than labeling his child as "naughty" (based her her legitimately problematic behaviors) would be.

 

Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. From Tap's other posts, it sounds as though she has lovingly taken on an enormous responsibility for this child and is doing her level best for her at great personal cost. I don't understand the point of analyzing her language here. In her shoes, I'd be beyond frustrated at the situation with P2. P2 is an adult. If he has issues, it's on him to solve them and be a grown up. If he isn't doing that, well, that's his problem. To my mind, it seems--I don't know, unkind--to critique Tap's post in this way. Is it really relevant to the issue?

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I think everyone here knows I'm a pretty hard ass parent, but I couldn't imagine taking back Christmas presents even for my neurotypical kids. I might put them away or delay the opening of some, if I thought we needed to do some lessons on gratitude first, but when someone is freaking out their ability to be taught much of anything is nil. Cause and effect only works when your brain is quiet enough to think and a screaming kid isn't a thinking one. Heck, even as an adult when I'm screaming and venting I'm not thinking.

 

Parent with crappy parenting skills? It happens. But I think avoiding putting them both in a losing situation is compassionate. Shortening the visits or structuring them around activities that will help give them each a win would be awesome if it could be arranged. That's in a perfect world though, but even in a bad one I don't think returning gifts for someone like what was described above is defensible, it only makes a bad situation worse.

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Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. From Tap's other posts, it sounds as though she has lovingly taken on an enormous responsibility for this child and is doing her level best for her at great personal cost. I don't understand the point of analyzing her language here. In her shoes, I'd be beyond frustrated at the situation with P2. P2 is an adult. If he has issues, it's on him to solve them and be a grown up. If he isn't doing that, well, that's his problem. To my mind, it seems--I don't know, unkind--to critique Tap's post in this way. Is it really relevant to the issue?

I wasn't intending to attack OP. I apologize if it came out that way; I was responding to other posts in which the lazy designation was brought up.

 

Not knowing the back story however, I am not sure why OP would expect much in the way of serious parenting from P2. He is not a legal or custodial parent of this child, and has apparently only in the past couple of years had any role in her life at all. OP is true parent to the child and behaves as such.

 

I'm not actually aware of any situation in which a non custodial birth parent acted as a true, responsible parent to their child. I imagine it happens on occasion, but would certainly be the exception not the rule.

 

P2's issues are certainly his problem, but the child's welfare remains OP's responsibility.

Edited by maize

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No kidding on the bolded.  One of the things we teach new staff/students at work, is "bored kids are "bad" kids"  In otherwords, bored kids will find ways to entertain themselves and seldom is it something you would approve of which means kid will be getting into more trouble. 

 

 

you can put a more positive spin (not 100%, but defnintely more)

find something for bored kids to do or they will find something to do.

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I'm the one who brought up the OP's apparent contempt for P2 and my *only* point is that it's really really hard to make any kind of objective read on the situation in this case / most split parent cases where it is this contentious. It was not to slap the OP in any way. I'd just read dozens of support posts so I said well , this is maybe a bit more sticky than good guy / bad guy ....

 

Hope it wasn't read as mean because it wasn't meant to be.

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I'm the one who brought up the OP's apparent contempt for P2 and my *only* point is that it's really really hard to make any kind of objective read on the situation in this case / most split parent cases where it is this contentious. It was not to slap the OP in any way. I'd just read dozens of support posts so I said well , this is maybe a bit more sticky than good guy / bad guy ....

 

Hope it wasn't read as mean because it wasn't meant to be.

I don't perceive OP's relationship with P2 as contentious; it isn't as if this is an ex-spouse or someone she is fighting over custody with. I believe OP is the biological great aunt of her dd and has full legal guardianship. P2 would be the biological father but I'm not clear on whether he and OP are related. It seems he was not in the picture at all until a couple of years ago, and as far as I know the relationship between P2 and OP is amicable--I am assuming this from the fact that her dd has been spending weekends with him in the absence of any kind of visitation orders, and that she has invited him to become more involved in her dd's life, to participate in therapy, etc. Edited by maize
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I like this.

 

Though she is not neurotypical, she is still able to get that her actions have consequences. 

 

How do you know this??

 

MANY non neurotypical kids cannot understand action/consequence. Mine couldn't until about age 13.  It was very obvious when that part of his brain started to mature. Before that, no, he absolutely didn't get it. In fact, often if you had him tell back a sequence of events, he'd get them out of order. So in his mind, he might think he had a fit and acted out because the other parent took away Christmas, not the other way around. He wouldn't be making that up, he actually thought it happened that way. 

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How do you know this??

 

MANY non neurotypical kids cannot understand action/consequence. Mine couldn't until about age 13. It was very obvious when that part of his brain started to mature. Before that, no, he absolutely didn't get it. In fact, often if you had him tell back a sequence of events, he'd get them out of order. So in his mind, he might think he had a fit and acted out because the other parent took away Christmas, not the other way around. He wouldn't be making that up, he actually thought it happened that way.

And even if she gets consequences, how would the understanding here not be "my dad's an asshole and I don't want to be anywhere near him!"?

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I like this so hard. I'm picturing my own sweet, troubled boy and I kind of want to throat punch an adult.

 

Me too. Like, I had to skim over it it made me so freaking upset. Threatening to take away Christmas in the heat of the moment, I get that. I don't agree with it, but we all do stupid things when at the end of our rope. But dragging the kid to the store to return stuff? That's over the top and unforgivable. I just can't even handle that idea. 

 

Not to mention that it misses the whole FREAKING POINT of Christmas, that we are given a gift NONE of us deserve!

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I think it would be even sadder if she concluded she deserves to be treated poorly.

 

Not a great thing to take into the teen years for a 10-year-old girl.

 

I think that is not a definite thing at all, but it is just as likely as her "learning a lesson" or thinking her dad is doing something that would be characterized as acting like a jerk.

 

That would almost be a good outcome compared to her learning this is how she should be treated.

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Not only would I not make her go right now, I wouldn't let her go right now. Certainly not until there has been a good break for her. She has been traumatized and needs time to deal with that in her own way. She needs to feel emotionally safe with P2 before being left there again. If respite is a need for you, I'd find it in a different way. My house, if I live close to you. Training for P2 before he can have her 1 on 1.

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It seems fairly common for the non-custodial parent not to acknowledge special needs (a friend's ex insisted on taking their autistic son shooting without earmuffs etc, another guy smoked heavily around their asthmatic son and sent him home sick every Sunday etc). I would require him to attend some sort of training/education in parenting special needs children and limit it to short visits. You may find it easier to find respite for the 18 year old.

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I read your update, OP, you are certainly between a rock and a hard place. The further information about bio dad just confirms that he is a horrendous decision maker, and diagnosis or not his executive function skills are abominable. I'm not at all sure he is capable of learning effective parenting strategies, and I would not characterize his decisions so far (especially the most recent one) as learning bumps nor as more or less harmless. The incident with taking away Christmas is downright abusive and not something I would expect any child to just deal with.

 

The longer term problem for your family of course is that your dd's behavior is abusive to everyone in the household. I don't have an answer for you as truly balancing the needs of all family members is an impossible challenge. My inclination is always to err on the side of protecting the younger, more vulnerable person. 

 

 

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OP what are your dd18 post high school plans?

 

I think if your state had respite you would qualify. I suspect you've looked into it and found that there's no one to hire who will work with your child.

 

Are there residential facilities that do respite. We have a private one in our area that specializes in respite. It even has an indoor pool.

 

Have you considered long term plans for your child. What do they look like. Long term in my state is bleak and I worry for my ds, but I think your state may have more. Anyway would having a discussion about what child's long term outcomes look like have an effect on P2. Would that help him understand that problems are serious. Could he answer questions like what does he want for her and can he be part of making that happen.

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Even with your update I wouldn't make her go to P2's house. I understand the rest of your family needs respite care, especially your older dd but P2 is not just making normal parenting mistakes and learning from them. He took away Christmas, returned gifts in front of her, and took her stuff to Goodwill. That is emotionally abusive and unless he's ready to realize why that is abusive and bend over backwards to learn how to parent he is not a healthy option for her.

 

Is there any other way to get respite care twice a week but with a qualified person

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Is there any other way to get respite care twice a week but with a qualified person

I believe that is the big issue. I believe in other threads OP has stated or alluded to not being able to get qualified respite. I think OP family would qualify for any state subsidy available. However you have to find a PCA who will work with the child and for this child, OP has not found such a person. Additionally, she needs out of home care.

 

If I recall correctly, when parental rights were terminated, OP stepped up to care for her niece's child. Doing so resulted in great emotional and financial cost to her family. OP also has an older ds. So, at this point telling her there is absolutely no way she can use the only respite she has available is likely extremely distressing to someone who has been operating beyond her own limits for several years.

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I believe that is the big issue. I believe in other threads OP has stated or alluded to not being able to get qualified respite. I think OP family would qualify for any state subsidy available. However you have to find a PCA who will work with the child and for this child, OP has not found such a person. Additionally, she needs out of home care.

 

If I recall correctly, when parental rights were terminated, OP stepped up to care for her niece's child. Doing so resulted in great emotional and financial cost to her family. OP also has an older ds. So, at this point telling her there is absolutely no way she can use the only respite she has available is likely extremely distressing to someone who has been operating beyond her own limits for several years.

Gotcha, well that does make it quite difficult. If there truly is no one else then I'd keep her home until after Christmas and then resume the weekend visits.

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I'm thinking that, in view of a need for compromise (as explained in the update) I would probably plan on keeping her home until Christmas has passed -- while mitigating dd18's experience however I possibly could.

 

In the new year my plan would be to resume visits, but I would 'put up a front' towards P2, as if I was seriously considering cutting back his parenting time (even though it's not actually realistic for me to do so). I would go this without outright lies by saying things like 'I'm concerned' and 'I think maybe'.

 

Using that 'front' as a focus, I would shift my approach to the visits from, "You are sharing custody, so on your time you parent how you want, and I don't have a say." (Common in situations of divorce.) To, "You are having a scheduled visit where you take care of her, with my permission, and under my direction." (Common in situations where a grandparent acts as a nanny or babysitter.)

 

I would become directive, asking him to explain his perspective after a thing has gone wrong on a visit, telling him what he is supposed to do instead, letting him know that I expect him to fall in line for the sake of consistency. I'd do this in an understanding tone, but it's a different approach and he will notice. It's your role as primary parent to call the shots for your child, even during his visits. Don't over-do it, but don't be afraid of it either.

 

In combination the break-until-Christmas and the new attitude from you will give him the impression (at least) that he went too far, and should watch his step. That will be protective for your DD at least against additional over-reactions of this magnitude.

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I agree that I would take a break at least until after Christmas. Give her the best Christmas you can at your home, and hopefully that will let the negative emotions about P2 die down a bit. Maybe P2 will get it a little bit and try to work with you/her; we can always hope. He does sound lazy and clueless, and I don't agree with the taking Christmas thing away (from any child, but especially for one who is special needs), but given your family's need for regular respite care, sending her to his place after the holidays might just be a compromise you have to make. (I don't think he's being a terrible parent -- he's not physically abusive or the like -- he just sounds clueless and isn't a very good parent.) But you have so many things to consider, and your older DD's health, and your mental/physical health, have to come into play too. Can you guys handle her without a break for the next two weeks or so? If you can manage that, then I'd keep her home with you and then resume visits.

 

I'm so sorry you're stuck between this rock and very hard place. There's really not an easy way out.

Edited by happypamama
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