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Parenting help needed please


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Hello all,

I have been reading and learning from your wisdom for a while.  Now I need specific advise.

I have 2 boys 16 and 14.

I need to give you a quick back story.  My husband and I come from spiritual families.  We were married, he became an elder I was pioneering.  We had our first child.  He was severely autistic with many other issues.

My husband was asked to step down as an elder.  Something he planned on anyway to help me.  We had our second son before the first was diagnosed.

 

Anyway.  We now are publishers that know exactly what we should be doing.  We don't miss meetings.  We are back in service.  Oh did I mention my 16 year old is violent?  Less so at the moment.

 

The brothers say do what we can.  But I am a pioneer at heart.  My husband feels useless.  Depression is obvious.

The talk "Coping with the Plague of your Heart" helped us so much!!  

I keep rewatching it.

 

Here is my question.

My 14 year old!  He has to live thru all this turmoil.  But he also has Asperger's.  So he is just a little ok a lot less empathetic toward his brother.

 

But, also he has an attitude.  I have, because of guilt given him technology.  Tablet, switch (game system) Wii, anything he wants.  I know I have spoiled him.

How do I undo it?

How do you institute daily Bible reading?

We are trying different things but I need to know if anyone else has accidentally spoiled a kid and then undone it.

How did you do it.

Thank you for listening.

PS I'm ok with support on the one with all the issues.  This post is about his brother Owen.


Edited by pixie93
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So sorry for such a difficult situation. Miss Bea said it quite nicely.  I too will remember you in my prayers. Parenting was not a strong suit for me. Being divorced while all three were under 6 years of age there was a lot of making up for what I thought they lost out on.  I did not know Jehovah at that time, nor was I introduced to him till my youngest was a few months from graduation. Needless to say, we all suffered. 

Ilove your idea.  Reverse the damage. I will be following this closely.

prayers and much patience are in order. 

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I have done it. Took me couple of years to unspoil my now 16 year old with mild autism. I only realized a few years ago that I even did this, but in retrospect I can see that I started young. The guilt I felt from her diagnosis pushed me towards this, then other issues later on made it worse. Next thing I know I'm stuck with an entitled child who had little motivation to do for herself. 

 

This will be tough and will take some time, but you can do it! I think I started with a conversation with mine about how I ended up spoiling her, explained why that was not the right decision, then went into the negative consequences of my choices. I went on to explain that this is what we are going to do from here on out and laid it on out there. Perhaps in this case, it would have been harder with a neurotypical kid. Kids (and adults I think) with autism seem to be rules oriented and do really well with following them once they know what is expected of them. The real challenge is not falling back into spoiling.  It's hard!:)

 

Two years or so in and I see a different kid. She actually has chores now (mows the lawn and helps clean up) and gives me no problems about family worship. She will occasionally act bratty or start complaining about something, but I correct it immediately and she responds well... A recent example would be complaining about her life in our boring town. I sat her down and talked to her about her attitude and why it's good to find things to be grateful for versus focusing on the negative. I pointed out examples of how I do this myself, then went on YouTube and found videos of some of the unrest in Venezuela and made her watch it. Even found a video of  children being interviewed in a classroom- they said they had not had milk in so long they couldn't remember. After that I asked her some questions and got her to think. This has not come up since. If she wants something new, she has to earn it with good behavior. Going above and beyond without me asking her to definitely gives her brownie points. 

 

I can ramble on about this for days because this has been such a challenge over here, especially as a single parent (my husband left us a few years ago). 

 

You will never be alone in dealing with this difficult situation. Jehovah will help you through all of this. Keep doing what you are doing, sis. I know that He loves you and your husband for your faithful service despite your difficult circumstances. 

 

 

 

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I grew up rather spoiled, despite the fact that we're poor, since I had very little discipline or restrictions set on my time, especially in video games.
Saffron's advice is spot on, consistent and well understood boundaries for each individual depending on their abilities and circumstances.
Rules, punishment and reward should be written down and the principles taught in such a way that the child can explain them.

There are a huge amount of articles and resources in the research guide. It would be good to read many of them privately, listen to them repeatedly via audio if you're short on focus and time. Then choose specific ones such as young people ask or watchtower articles to study with your children during family worship.

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1204075#h=192

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1204075#h=256
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1204075#h=274
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1204075#h=369

Some key articles:
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2013087 When Your Child Is Disabled
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102008329 Asperger's
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/101995089 Autism (A bit older, 1995)

Discipline:
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102015122
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102015123
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2014487
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102013002
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102013080
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102013163

 

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Ok, so I don't have the exact same situation. But similar difficulties have forced me to do better as a parent. If you have the time, I enjoy actually describing how I had to change my approach to my teen so to find out the real problem. They don't after all like sharing everything. 

My son has ADHD, PTSD along with high anxiety and suicidal tendencies as well as made several attempts. One night I had taken all the "attitude" I could

handle. Half the time it was the usual disgruntled looks about doing anything he was asked and half the time it was arguing constantly over every little thing. Often he felt "entitled" too... Basically he didn't want to be bothered by me. And I knew deep down he was not that bad of a kid....he loved Jehovah and always listened when I had a beautiful story to relate to him about how Jehovah loves him so much he created all the beauty he sees around him in nature. 

   So I showed him you tube examples of children of various ages throwing temper tantrums. He watched in awe and said "I never acted like THAT did I?!!!" I then told him he was a good little kid, but as he gets older his attitude is changing. Was there something wrong, how did he feel about meetings, serving Jehovah, and were we what he expects parents to be like? I wanted honest answers and I assured him there would be no retaliation about his true feelings, no punishments. We had a long discussion which at times got a little heated, I remained calm and had to keep reassuring him, but he yelled (all those pent up feelings boiled inside) "YOU just DON'T understand mom! I can't explain it! NO one understands!!" Well, from there we found out he was clinically depressed and suicidal, even to the point of hearing voices about how stupid he was and he just needed to do away with himself....his father and I never knew this was all going on in his head to that degree.  We decided professional help was needed as this was beyond our ability and understanding. Plus if there are other people that our son could talk to, even the elders, that would bring a little relief because then he could release all those feelings safely. 

The Psychologist found out about the abuse he took in preschool through first grade. (I took him out of school thinking they were not handling his ADHD correctly and I could do better one on one with him homeschooling). He had been bullied and beaten up he said on a daily basis. I remember once he was bitten all over his back by two boys then another time had to come get him because he was afraid (he told me) that the blinking fire alarm would go off while in the restroom. I knew he was afraid of loud noises but he actually got beaten up in the restroom by those same boys and didn't want to use it....So now he has been out of school from 1st grade through 8th. After getting medication for the intense depression (and the over 20 suicidal attempts we found out about) as well as being hospitalized several time plus a mental facility for a month, we finally got things evened out and he gradually came out of depression. He still had low self esteem but we are working on building that up. He feels great now but I guess the main thing is, we really have to practically kidnap or detain our kids until we find out what is really bothering them. My son actually saw shadows hanging over him with a knife wanting to kill him. He could not handle one more "thing" we put on him at home in the way of chores or doing better in things as he was mentally, emotionally and physically tired from the shakes from PTSD. I finally understood why he had to get out from the crowded Kingdom Hall auditorium and sit out in the entrance hall. He shook so bad he would sweat. (still gets panic attacks for no reason - which we accommodate him for) and my husband - who has various responsibilities as a ministerial servant - has had a hard time coming to grips with all of this too. He came from the "Old school" of discipline as did I where you never talk back and you do as you're told without a "but why" or you'd be sent across the room! So it has taken some adjustments for us to understand. I overcompensated, made excused and gave in because I wanted to protect him. But that can't happen forever. With his ADHD mixed with high anxiety, he isn't good with changes. So letting him get away with one thing usually leads to his expecting other privileges he needs to learn to earn...I agree so very much and appreciate the advise from Saffron in the previous post...consistency is so important and makes them feel secure. 

   My son is now 16 and went back to a charter high school with less than 200 kids (which is great for his anxiety - along with the counselors trained in psychology and ready to help him through his day). His attitude is great with the help of medication (whatever it takes to relieve the child's stress for a bit) and the help of elders, us and Doctors he has a choice of confiding in - he is back to his almost normal ADHD self. On difficult days, I reason with him "would you talk to or treat another brother or sister this way if they asked you to do something?" Usually his answer is no. Then I explain how it hurts my feelings. That Jehovah is the one that said he needs to show respect which is what we try to show him also - we try not to yell at him. And we tell him, it is OK not to feel good or happy, we just don't take it out on the ones we love. Perhaps even find a simple way to explain that it is a bad day. For example, I tell Jesse that "we do things we don't like to do even on bad days. Sometimes we take a breather and say, just to deflate our stress, we'll wait a little bit to do a chore. But we don't use it as an excuse for getting out of the chore, so what time can we expect this to be done?" This eliminates nagging too which really drains him...I usually just have to give a reminder of the time. 

   Lots of compliments also get him through, and thanking him for his help. He recently got a part time job which turned into a nightmare as they took advantage and kept him late on school nights and on Saturday. So even though he was off for the meeting days he was too tired for family worship and studying and even the meetings.  He decided on his own he needed to get a job during summer or one that had fewer hours during school "for the sake of being more spiritual for Jehovah"...as he put it.  He grew up a bit and found out how hard his dad works as well as learned to do his chores better, to be more helpful in how he does a chore...he really tries to please us now....and Jehovah.  He has survived a drive by shooting while walking to the bus as well as a customer on his job following him out to the bus stop after closing and grabbing him by the shirt collar and threatening him with a knife saying "If I ever hear you talking about Jehovah again I will kill you and your family" (yes we live in a bad area)! Jesse gave a great witness as to why he couldn't do that (Mt 24:14) The man said, "What end? it never ends, it just keeps getting worse!!!"  Jesse then asked if he could show him another scripture (Rev. 21:3,4). And explained how all this will be done away with and there won't be anymore sadness or death. The man cried, gave him a hug and said, "thank you, now I know I will see my father who recently died!"  

   I am so proud of my son, and I have always said he needs to be a little more humble but maybe some of that stubbornness will keep him alive!

I don't know if any of this info is of help and I am so sorry it is so long (we really don't have enough time to talk about such things at the hall) But please don't forget the brothers and sisters at the hall have gone through some situations that have put them through the feelings you are going through. Seek them out - especially ones with children who are teens...most with teens have rebellious moments in common- maybe find a time to grab a coffee with another mom and talk it over....at least it gives relief of emotions and maybe a point or two they have found helpful....just don't be too critical if they don't understand exactly what you are going through. It helps just having someone to talk to when you need a break too!  

Wish you all the best, always here to talk too. Have a great day! 

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you are so welcome anytime! its always nice to talk to relieve stress. It isn't just the child that needs relief....I will check back often - one of the things I found is while my son was in the hospital I realized that keeping info to ourselves wasn't helping JESSE. We discreetly mentioned how sick he was, friends wanted to help. I just suggested cards and letters of encouragement, to remind him of how many really cared about him. Its been a year and a half and he still keeps those letters and rereads them. He is so close to everyone and they refer to him saying, "where's my boy"!

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