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Thread: Dealing with family

  1. #1
    Reese14 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default Dealing with family

    I know many of us struggle with this, dealing with family is very difficult when they don't understand our kiddos.

    I have an issue and I'd love to get your thoughts...

    My cousin is having a party for her son. My cousin has come to everything through the years for me and my kids. It's now "her turn" for everyone to be there for her. I understand this. Completely.

    However, she and her DH (more him) are extremely inflammatory around DS. The stress I feel when I am around them is too much. They do not like my DS, and treat him very badly. If I turn my head, they put him in a timeout, then push me away telling me they are handling him. They have threatened him, right in front of me, to hit him.

    My DS cannot be around them. They think they will punish him and make him listen, that I am a bad mother, yada yada yada. Unless you have a kid like this, you seriously don't get it.

    Anyway, they keep inviting us to stuff, over and over and over. And I keep declining invites. And they are getting angry.

    I know many will tell me to tell them how I feel, but that never works. One cousin does not have kids, the other is a new mom, and a parenting expert. They live far away, so going to an event and leaving and driving another few hours to get home is not an option. If they were close I'd make the attempt, and when they got in his face, I'd pull him out of there.

    So they are angry/upset (so I've heard through the grapevine) over me not coming. They really want me and my kids there. ? My other cousin hasn't talked to me in months because she too is not a good match for my DS and she too keeps inviting us over and over and I keep politely declining. At a party, in speaking with her FIL, when I referenced my kids, I said "my boys..." and he went "you call them BOYS?!" I just stood there stone faced and stared at him, and he laughed and said "just kidding"

    So everyone thinks my kids (well, my youngest) is bad, but they want us at the events, which makes no sense. And I will not put my kids or myself through anymore of this.

    Their family member is extremely hurt by me not attending their events and has told me that I am eventually going to have to learn to suck it up. And I told her that I have no plans on sucking it up anytime soon.

    So when they confront me, and I know they will, I've gotta say something more to the point so they stop inviting us, but not open it up to discussion about how I am a bad parent and he's a bad kid... I need to cut them right off and let them know I want my son around people who can provide him with positive experiences and for now, this is the best for everyone.

    Anyone have any advice?

  2. #2
    danellsar is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default

    I think that you need to come up with a way of explaining to them why you feel this need for separation. Maybe an email explaining, in a non-confrontational way, what your ds's issues are, how to handle things when he gets upset or seems to be "acting badly". Letting them know that, for the safety and well being of your family, you are choosing to keep your boys close to home as they seem to have issues in big crowds.

    I think I would do something like send this letter along with a really good article or book explaining your boys' condition and social behavior issues. Then, when the cousins complain that you are declining again, you can politely point out that your boys really don't do well with crowds, and that the (book/article/whatever) said that it's best for them to socialize in small controlled environments, or in familiar locations.

    Make it not about any one cousin or family in particular, just, "Sorry, that isn't in my boys' best interest right now."
    Ellen
    PS I HATE when we have to visit familiy. It's the worst stress out there for me and for my kids.

  3. #3
    angeleena is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    hugs!
    I agree...if they do not have SN kids, they have NO IDEA.

    Geeesh, could your boys really be thaaat bad?? Are they just looking for things to point out?

    I would be livid if anyone besides dh and I gave dd a time out. (Well maybe grandma or grandpa could get away with it but never would do it)

    Family that makes us feel bad is not really family.

    I have no advice, except I am sorry.

    I have had several run ins with family over dd's behavior... argh!

  4. #4
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    Default I will give them the benefit of the doubt (m)

    and reframe this as them seeing a problem, thinking it is your parenting (rather than your ds's special needs) and wanting to help and thinking they know better than you about how to solve the issues. If these are relationships that are important to you or the family to maintain, I would try to be very open about what your ds's issues are. Show them that you do not deny there are problems that you struggle with. Share in his dx and provide materials - articles, books, websites etc that can help them learn about your ds's particular challenges and specifically what they can do to help. If you feel they have talents in areas, ask specifically for their help. Make them stewards and protectors of your children. Right now they are not on your team. You are Team Bad Mom, and they are Team 'I know better because I can see what is doing on and am not in denial and if only she would just ... blah, blah, blah'. You need to recruit them to Team Ds. Do this by specifically asking for their help in implementing the recommendations of book x or dr. y on a specific challenge your ds has.

    I have seen this in my own family. People want to help you. They don't like your child because they don't understand where he is coming from and why he acts like he does. They think that by laying down the law it will shock your child into compliance and show you how it is done. They think they need to make big statements and take control because you don't have any over your own child. It is hard to let them feel that they were right and you need help. It is hard to ask for their help and have them assume that you were in some way not handling things well or doing your best (we here know better), but the goal is helping your ds and providing him a supportive extended family where he can work on his challenges with people who love him and want to see him succeed and who will put in the time and effort to help him. Make it clear to them that you are asking them to be your ds's champions and if they won't do that (or if they continue to punish and overstep their boundaries) then I think it is clear that for it is not in your ds's interests to continue to expose him to them.

    Sorry - it hurts and it sucks.

    Hugs,
    Amanda

  5. #5
    psilverman is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default I struggle with this...

    ..on the one hand, I have these GREAT imaginary conversations in my head, or great snitty comebacks, or great letters that I craft -- and thenI just am not into the confrontation that comes with any of them, so I hang back. Still, if they are now angry at YOU (versus what I would say you have every right to be angry at THEM) -- I think an explanation is necessary and I would be so itching to get some "digs" in without them really realizing it. I think you can say -- "I understand that "X" can be a handful -- believe me, I live it every day. I am conscious of him disrupting family events and have recognized -- through your actions and reactions -- that is an imposition on you to have us there. DS and I are working VERY hard with numerous specialists and therapists to address these and work through them. If you think it is hard for you or me, think of how hard it is for him. It is counterproductive to have my parenting undermined and to have my own family cause setbacks to all of the money and time and energy we have spent on this. I feel that until our issues are more manageable it is best for everyone, most especially DS, if we send our best wishes, but our regrets that we can't attend."

    I mean how DARE they. This is a LITTLE kid and they are acting all put out over this? What about him? And do they not recognize how you could use some support and maybe even respite? I personally don't feel they need an explanation. They have undermined your parenting, they have threatened your child. To me, it is a no brainer. And, one more thing -- Your cousin's FIL sounds like he is a class one a$$. What was even meant by that comment?

    One time I was very tempted to say to my FIL -- "would it be easier for you if he LOOKED like something was wrong with him. THEN would you believe it?" My (now ex) dh stopped me. But seriously -- have we not watched enough tv now to know that many things lurk below the surface.

  6. #6
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    Default I might

    tell them that I am willing to try it again...only if they allow you to be the parent and to deal with your own child and for them to stay out of it. If they can't agree...you wont go.
    I don't know your family so it is hard to give advise here. But...I might try again. Try for a very short period of time...go for an hour and see how it goes and stay at a hotel with a pool.
    Joy









    Quote Originally Posted by Reese14 View Post
    I know many of us struggle with this, dealing with family is very difficult when they don't understand our kiddos.

    I have an issue and I'd love to get your thoughts...

    My cousin is having a party for her son. My cousin has come to everything through the years for me and my kids. It's now "her turn" for everyone to be there for her. I understand this. Completely.

    However, she and her DH (more him) are extremely inflammatory around DS. The stress I feel when I am around them is too much. They do not like my DS, and treat him very badly. If I turn my head, they put him in a timeout, then push me away telling me they are handling him. They have threatened him, right in front of me, to hit him.

    My DS cannot be around them. They think they will punish him and make him listen, that I am a bad mother, yada yada yada. Unless you have a kid like this, you seriously don't get it.

    Anyway, they keep inviting us to stuff, over and over and over. And I keep declining invites. And they are getting angry.

    I know many will tell me to tell them how I feel, but that never works. One cousin does not have kids, the other is a new mom, and a parenting expert. They live far away, so going to an event and leaving and driving another few hours to get home is not an option. If they were close I'd make the attempt, and when they got in his face, I'd pull him out of there.

    So they are angry/upset (so I've heard through the grapevine) over me not coming. They really want me and my kids there. ? My other cousin hasn't talked to me in months because she too is not a good match for my DS and she too keeps inviting us over and over and I keep politely declining. At a party, in speaking with her FIL, when I referenced my kids, I said "my boys..." and he went "you call them BOYS?!" I just stood there stone faced and stared at him, and he laughed and said "just kidding"

    So everyone thinks my kids (well, my youngest) is bad, but they want us at the events, which makes no sense. And I will not put my kids or myself through anymore of this.

    Their family member is extremely hurt by me not attending their events and has told me that I am eventually going to have to learn to suck it up. And I told her that I have no plans on sucking it up anytime soon.

    So when they confront me, and I know they will, I've gotta say something more to the point so they stop inviting us, but not open it up to discussion about how I am a bad parent and he's a bad kid... I need to cut them right off and let them know I want my son around people who can provide him with positive experiences and for now, this is the best for everyone.

    Anyone have any advice?

  7. #7
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    Default tough situation...

    I am definitely tempted to say you might want to share your thoughts about the situation with them. Not necessarily because it will lead to them understanding your situation more and changing how they behave, but then at least they will know why you are declining. They may still blame you and think you are unreasonable, which makes it hard to think about having the conversation.

    I am in a similar situation right now, but with friends. We have been close friends with a family living 3 hours away from us, so short visits aren't possible. Long visits aren't working out right now for a variety of reasons. Although I feel the conversation will be exceedingly awkward and my friend will probably be hurt, I think she would be more hurt by us withdrawing from the situation without an explanation. I don't know if the same is true in your case.

  8. #8
    Reese14 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default Thank you Gemma

    I think you are absolutely correct...they are more hurt with me withdrawing from them. But honestly, I know that I will not handle this effectively and if I do try to explain, as nicely as I can, what is going on with DS, it will turn ugly. They will make snide remarks, attack my parenting and I know I will immediately go on the defense and instead of a barely-there relationship, we will end up not speaking.

    My cousin is a brand new mother, and a (self proclaimed) "parenting expert". She has told me that they no longer have any friends and then go on and on about how advanced their child is compared to everyone elses, and how they try to tell all of their friends how to do better with their baby and get them talking early, crawling early, not crying, etc. They told their friend with a baby a few weeks old that they needed to focus more on playing so their child could be as advanced as theirs. They've told me enough stories and enough lost friendships over the past year that I know they aren't willing to listen to anything I have to say about my kid and his challenges.

    Which is why they REALLY want us at the party--they have no one left. But my kid can't be the sacrificial lamb.

    I keep remembering a line I read in a poem for SN moms that said something like "I've learned to deal with the rest of the world by walking away from it." And I feel like I have no choice. Maybe someday, if the relationship isn't over, but right now, I can't put my child or myself thru anymore stress.

  9. #9
    Reese14 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default Thank you Amanda

    I have a very good friend with a DS just like mine, and she tried this technique. She wrote a letter, after being talked down to for years about her parenting, and it was indeed effective. She said her and DH get a lot more support now, and less snide remarks.

    It's something I may think about in the future, but right now I am still angry/hurt over everything that has gone on, so I'm not up for pleaing my case. I also feel like it has gotten too far out of control to come back to normal, so maybe I should wait a while.

    Thanks for responding and for your perspective. I think had I done that round 1, maybe it would have worked. Now, I'm not so sure. Too many hurt feelings. I think I need to give it time...

  10. #10
    Reese14 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default Thank you

    you always have such a way with words. I love how you worded the response. I have actually copied and pasted it (is that plagerism?!) to my word document and should an email come my way, I will probaby use that response, pretty much word for word. Saying it would never come out, I don't think, I would start, she would say something and I would get upset. But if I get an email, I can respond in this way.

    Your response was very helpful. I am so tired of people looking at him and seeing a bad kid. There is so much going on (things i don't understand, even) and every single day is a struggle. To get "kicked when I am down" just doesn't work for me. I have so much going on in my life right now that I can't set him or me up for another party attack.

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