View Full Version : What do you do with a child that doesn't want to be helped?

08-04-2012, 05:10 PM
This is my 10yo dd. She does not seem to care that she needs help and resists all attempts to improve herself. She is completing Vision Therapy, she has about 5 or 6 weeks left and every.stinking.week has been a major battle for me to get her to do the minimum. She has made unbelievable strides with about 20% effort on her part. She has jumped 2 grade levels in reading since September and her handwriting and drawing ability is greatly improved. She even won an art contest last month! VT cost us upwards of $7K so it has been a major financial strain with very little being covered by insurance.

Dd needs so much more but honestly I just want to throw my hands in the air and just give up. I do not want to fight with her. She is a bright child, she should live a normal life and she can overcome her dyslexia and dysgraphia but she doesn't care.

Dd and Ds are also enrolled in the Discovery Program this summer. My plan was to start Discovery after VT was over but b/c she slacked so much, she needed to go all summer. Discovery is much more like tutoring, she has to work on her math skills, reading, phonics etc. She has about 20 minutes of homework twice a week and has to do some daily rhythmic handwriting which takes about 10 minutes a day/4 days a week. You would not believe the battle I face to get her to do at the most 15 minutes of work a day. My ds does his work and goes on his merry way. He struggles as much as she does but he acknowledges it and wants to improve himself.

She loses the few privileges she has regularly. It doesn't seem to help. I am struggling to find her "currency". Ds gets regular incentives for completing his work without complaining and always meets his goals. He earned a trip to ToysRUs this week for doing a good job.

Do I just accept that she is unwilling to help herself and stop wasting my money? That seems so harsh and then am I sentencing myself to having this child live with me forever? Dh and I have given up so much to help both of them and worked so hard and I don't want to take from the others for one who doesn't want. I am wondering out loud here but would love to hear from you that have a similar child. Just wondering if I should stop trying so hard and just let her be. Maybe do school with her like everyone else and just let her limp along until she decides she wants it? Just keep pushing and know it will pay off down the road? If I push it will probably damage our relationship for a long time if not forever. Sorry to ramble but I am feeling very hopeless right now!

Rachel Jane
08-04-2012, 05:58 PM
It sounds like maybe you should bring in a tutor. Perhaps a young female college student to do the VT?

08-04-2012, 07:32 PM
I remember that the reason human beings have parents who stay with them to raise is them is because human beings need parents who stay with them and raise them.

A ten year old does not have the mental capacity or perspective to realize the long term consequences of choices made today. He or she may be facing homonal and brain changes that cause he to be disruptive, frustrated, embarrassed by he disabilities. She may have a natural bent toward being difficult or oppositional.

As the parent, it is up to me to determine what is needed and how to get that need met. If what I am trying is not working, it's up to me to find more answers, seek more help, and continue to fight this battle on behalf of my child every day until he gets the help he needs. If I have to put aside my ideas about therapy or medication, of how a family ought to operate, my own feelings, then I have to learn to do that. If it takes up all my time, then I give the time I can and still make sure to set aside a little for each of my other children. And I thank God for the small breaks of the child or children who don't need as much.

What I don't do is think of my time or money as wasted, my efforts in vain or my child as the problem. My child has a problem and anything I can do to make his life easier is my job in life. It is a hard, hard job. It takes everything out of me. But if I don't give all I have, then who will?

ETA: I would not continue to try to force lessons that aren't working, but I would seek professional help for the underlying issues causing the resistance. It has been my experience that there can be multiple layers of problems and you may have to solve one before you can even look at the next.

08-04-2012, 09:01 PM
Thank you Tonya, I needed that. It is my job to do what I can for all of my children I just lose sight of it sometimes because this one child consumes all of my energy most days b/c she requires so much of it. Dh is deployed right now (which is definitely not helping my state of mind) but I plan on asking him to take a more active role with her so I can have a break and maybe he might be more successful. I would love to have outside help but that would probably be too costly. We do plan on having her re-evaluated to see what we missed the first time and try to figure out why we are facing such resistance but I am stuck until dh gets back b/c I really need his help w/the other kids so I can get to all the appts we need to attend.

08-04-2012, 09:15 PM
Since she has only 5-6 weeks left, I would keep at it until it's done.

Keep encouraging her, but let her know this is just the way it is right now. When the VT is over, I would celebrate her accomplishment, and then give her a break for a few weeks. Even though her hard work has been done grudgingly, she still made great strides.

If you know the Discovery program will continue to help her, then sit down with her and talk it out with her. Let her help determine her schedule, and how she can complete what's required of her. It's so tough to have to do extra work/exercises/therapy, and she may just want to feel normal. Acknowledge that it's hard, acknowledge her feelings, but keep going. Some day she will be glad you didn't give up on her.

Laura F
08-04-2012, 10:06 PM
I know firsthand that the Discovery Program is solid. I would continue through the next 5 or 6 weeks, but I would also talk to her therapist, too. She can't possibly be the only child who resists therapy. Have you thought about counseling for her? If you're in Williamsburg, Genesis Counseling in Newport News isn't too far from you. They're a Christian counseling group who works with the Discovery Program. I know counseling costs money, but it's more likely to be covered by medical insurance. :group:

Nanci in WA
08-04-2012, 10:23 PM
My son has different challenges, but is just as frustrating...he has extreme anxiety and asks for help, but then when I give him suggestions, he can't hear me. It's like he's deaf. Then he will complain that I don't care. Sigh. We all talk ourselves blue in the face to try to help him.

This blog post is one that I printed out and re-read often.

This is my favorite paragraph from the post:
Donít underestimate the power of just being there for your children. You donít need to know all the answers, but your kids need to know you havenít given up on them. Itís in the safety of knowing your love is unwavering that your children find the courage to try again, fail or succeed, and try some more. Our children are far more than what they can or cannot do, and they each have something to offer. This overall supportive attitude has a far greater impact than the best teaching strategies in the world.

All this to say, you are not alone in your frustrations. Don't give up hope. Don't underestimate the power of just being there for her. Someday she will thank you for it.

08-05-2012, 05:30 PM
Thank you Cindy. I do think a break is in order. For both of us. :)

Laura, I have worked with Genesis before. They did the testing for both dd and ds before they started Discovery. I do plan on calling them and getting her into counseling. It is covered by our insurance it is just a matter of finding time to fit it into our schedule and juggle the other kids into the schedule.

Nanci, we have those days too. I sometimes wonder if she talks me in circles to get out of whatever it is she is supposed to be doing. She constantly tells me I don't listen even though I can repeat word for word what she just said to me. :unsure: This dd has always been fragile. I knew it from the day she was born which is why I hs her. (well one of the many reasons) I know there is no other place for her other than with me at home but some days it gets to feeling like I am drowning b/c there are so many frustrating days and so few successful days. Our pastor preached on this very thing this morning, about God knowing our needs and being there for us. That was no accident and it really spoke to me.

08-05-2012, 11:34 PM