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Why are they surprised??

I work in behavioral health and have for 10 years. I work with kids who have diagnosis such as Oppositional Defiance Disorders, Intermittent Explosive Disorders, ADHD, etc. I feel frustrated by my job. The reason? Most of these diagnosis are typically bull. What the diagnosis should be in most of these cases is Bad Parenting. Most of these parents say "my kid won't listen to me" when reality is "My kids know I won't follow through on punishing them, so they don't listen when I make empty threats"
These parent buy their kids anything they want, they do not follow through on any punishments, then they are surprised that their kid acts like an a$$. They will then say "well my kid has ODD, it's not my fault".
What really frustrates me is that more than half of these parents are collecting SSI for their child's 'disability'. I work anywhere from 1 to 4 hours a day in their homes, 5 days a week. It's the parenting.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 7:31 AM on Aug. 6, 2010 in General Parenting

Answers (13)
  • Then again, I guess I should be happy that most parents have no clue. At least I know I'll always have a job. The real frustrating part is when I try implement behavior plans in the home, the parents will not follow through with the recommended actions. Then they want to say they don't understand why the plan isn't working.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 7:34 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • I guess that's why experts say not to threaten kids with punishment.

    Answer by MomtoElliett at 7:34 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • I am sure it is frustrating to see the parenting be the issue, but keep in mind that is not always the case. We work extremely hard with our ODD child to ensure that all the rules/consequences remain the same and he is punished each time....which happens to be pretty frequently right now. It does get hard to see him in trouble more than not, but we are also aware that he will be worse off if we go on the side of feeling bad for him. It is a daily thing and I can see how parents get tired of nailing their child so much.

    Answer by semazani at 7:38 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • I do sympathize with you, because as a parent of a child who truly does have ADHD but has still worked very hard (as has he) to overcome it, I know that it's frustrating for us, for the exact reason you describe. People hear ADHD, and they assume that ALL kids with it fall into that group, which makes it harder for those of us who are really dealing with it.

    Btw, if it's any encouragement for your job - my ds is 17. He was diagnosed extremely early - like, they actually wanted us to admit him to a hospital so they could study him and basically use him as a guinea pig - umm - NO! We used meds as a way to slow him down enough for him to be able to focus to learn the behavior modifications, which, coupled with diet modifications (elimination of processed apples, for one - one of his trigger foods) he's now an honor student involved in lots of sports, scouts, friends, etc - and no behavior problems and no meds (not for yrs).

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 7:52 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • cont

    Basically, I guess what I'm saying is yes, there are a lot of bad parenting issues out there that result in behavior problems and bad diagnosis for the kids. But, like I said, I do feel for you, because it's got to be frustrating to feel like you're just spinning your wheels with these parents, it's just as frustrating for those of us whose kids really do have these issues, and who work very hard with our kids and with the medical professionals in their lives to overcome it. I feel your pain, I have to admit there's a part of me that's cringing at this whole post, because I can't help but wonder how many of those people who automatically assume that all these diagnosis are false are going to try to use this to beat up those families who really are struggling with real (non bad parenting) issues. :-(

    Hang in there though, and know that even if more than half are false, there's almost half that you're really helping.

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 7:59 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • I KNOW these diagnosis are real. I have seen some of the parent who struggle and who ARE implementing the plans. The progress can be slow, but it's real. My frustrations lie in the parents who do NOT want to parent, then want to use the diagnosis to white out the fact that they are bad parents. There is a very real difference between the kids who are really out of control and those who have a diagnosis.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 8:08 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • Agree that often times it is the result of bad parenting (I used to do the same job you're doing) BUT there are real cases out there so the following is NOT referring to those! It never ceased to amaze me how out of control these kids were & when you saw what was going on @ home it all made sense. I had one mom that had the lap band put in 2 mo before I started working w/ her 11 yr old ODD son. I only ever saw her eat cheetos, drink pop & yell @ the kids. She was still having her 12 yr old come get the younger kids out of the shower, she was showering w/ them, so she's naked. Honestly I finally got to the point where I knew the families that really wanted help & worked hard w/ those & those that didn't want help I made bs plans & spent the majority of my time playing w/ the kids, developed a "if you can't beat em, may as well enjoy the insanity" mindset. Completely understand your frustration!

    Answer by Nyx7 at 8:21 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • Oh I agree, please don't think that I disagree with you - I've seen it myself - parents who are like, oh, my kid has A.D.H.D., when really what the kid has is B.R.A.T. - and that's the parent's fault.

    I feel bad for you that you have to deal with these parents, and I feel bad for families like ours, because all too often by the general public we get painted with the same "you're just a crappy parent" brush, and often, those people look for any reason to be able to point and say "see, see, I knew you were looking for an excuse for your screwups" :-(

    I wish, for people like you who work with these disorders, the kids of those parents, and also for families like mine, that those people would get their acts together and learn to deal with their kids. A kid who really has these issues require MORE, not less from their parents, kwim?

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 8:23 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • As a parent of seven, including three with Aspergers (high functioning autism- one also ADD; all three with serious sensory integration issues) I take issue with your blame-the-parent approach. Yes, bad parenting can create monsters, but as a special ed teacher, God taught me to be less judgmental by eventually giving me three with "true" disabilities, who did not learn from the vigorous and consistant behavior modification methods that worked with my other kids. Have you observed those kids in their homes? The kid who would converses nicely with a strange psychologist in a one-on-one situation, may not maintain any personal relationships, handle daily change in routine; they bottle up school stress & release it when they feel safe (i.e. home). The day the "professionals" at the school declared my 8 yr. old to be "too smart & too verbal to be autistic", she kicked out a car window on the way home!.

    Answer by mamahobbit at 8:23 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • BTW, at least with autism, they used to blame it on poor parenting/mother-child bonding, an attitude which research proved wrong. There are neurological & biochemical disorders that, while perhaps made worse by poor parenting, exist even with exceptional parenting. Let's stop this never-ending nature-nurture blame game and concentrate on how to help families. For myself, I'm a believer in family-centered services, since the family is where a kid spends most of his/her developmental years. A school program that doesn't work closely with the home will fail. Start writing parent-involvement into your I.E.P. plan! (my daughter's therapist role models techniques with me & my daughter, sets her up for stress, then monitors & adjusts my reaction. Then he sends us home for a month to practice it & chart the results, then it's back to adjust it and add another goal. Much more helpful than any other therapy or program we've tried!

    Answer by mamahobbit at 8:34 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

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