Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Stupid Things Professionals Say

On Thursday, Jen over at Couldn't Make It Up If I Tried, wrote about her frustrations with the so-called "professionals" that are supposed to be helping her currently-hospitalized daughter.

Jen's post really struck a chord with me.  She was writing about some of the really stupid things her professional team had said to her.  This one really got to me:

"What you really need to do is make sure Little Turtle knows the expectations and hears from you that physical violence is not okay."  (Oh, is that what you're supposed to do?  Never would have thunk it on my own although I do think I did a pretty good job of explicitly and firmly saying, okay yelling, "You may not bite my boob," as she was latched on with her full set of teeth one night.)

When I first read this, I wanted to shout at my computer, "Are you f--cking kidding me?"  But of course Jen is not, because we've had many supposedly-brilliant professionals say similar things to us.

Our kid knows (at least when she's calm and rational) that violence is not okay.  However, that doesn't make any difference when she's angry or upset.  Sometimes she will dial it back in.  Sometimes, she won't.

There's an entire collection of stupid things professionals have said to Jen, so if you are parenting a difficult child, go take a look. I'm sure some of her post will strike a chord with you as well.

I know for a great many parents, it seems that we know what's better for our kids than the professionals who are supposed to be helping them.  It's pretty embarrassing when a supposedly-experienced therapist manages to be thoroughly manipulated and triangulated.  But of course the therapist doesn't recognize that she's been had, and everything comes down to the fact that we parents obviously must not be doing the right thing. (Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice?)

At one point, we raised the issue of our child's behavior with her pediatrician.  Do you know what she said?

She told us to withhold the child's allowance so that she would behave.

We did as the good doctor suggested, just as we've tried zillions of other parenting techniques that haven't worked.

I suppose you can guess how well withholding our kid's allowance worked out...

It didn't.

But the idiocy of the suggestion sure made me want to stab myself 10,000 times with a titanium spork.

Maybe withholding a child's allowance is a way to obtain compliance from a "normal" kid, but it sure didn't work here.  As the doctor suggested, we set up a chart, and kept score, and you can guess how many weeks our kid was able to keep it together long enough to get her money...

For our kid, money simply wasn't a sufficient motivator.  Or perhaps the entire concept was too abstract.  Who knows.

So telling a kid violence is not okay is about as effective as spitting into the wind.  It's probably less effective, because at least spitting into the wind will get your face washed.


  1. I haven't read her post yet, but I will.

    My favorite?? We filled out ANOTHER checklist on my childs abilities/behaviors for his last psych eval. This eval was requested by me because I wanted to have an up to date one in his file since he's 17 and will hopefully be able to get adult services in 9 mos. I am an organized individual who wants to get things done and out of the way so I don't hear some crap like, "Oh, he's 18 now, so we can't do that without his express written request, you have no say in it". So, anyway, I fill out the "self care" part of the questionnaire and I very honestly state that he does not shower, brush his teeth, change his clothes, etc. without explicit direction from me to do so. He will go months without a shower (we've tested this theory - it's not pretty)....and we must tell him every.single.time. The report comes back and it states in the summary that "If only Mom would make her expectations for hygiene and self care clear, he would become more and more successful at managing his own self care independently". Also, "If Mom used more positive feedback, he would become more and more confident in himself and would become more and more successful". This was after a 5 minute conversation with me, reading the questionnaire, and testing my son. The test was supposed to take 3-4 hours, it took 1 hr 15 min. because he was so cooperative for her. AUGH!!! I read the report and laughed, then cried, at the stupidity of these comments. Doesn't she know that she probably just closed the door on many services for him that he desperately needs because she chose to blame ME for his inability to function normally? I cannot even trust this kid to make a sandwich or pour a glass of milk on his own, and I know many, many people who have kids much more cognitively impaired who can. They should listen to the parents, it's that simple.

  2. My son is sort of neurotypical (if you don't count the severe ADHD) and we are pretty happy with his therapist. I'm not sure it's actually going to help him, but we're trying. The other day he did actually say "I'm not going to say that word because I'll have to go to my room" so I suppose that's working to some extent. I think that discipline in general isn't highly effective as kids get older, they get their own minds and do what they want to do, and traumatized kids will be rougher than "regular" kids it seems.

  3. Dear Lisa:
    you said:"Doesn't she know that she probably just closed the door on many services for him that he desperately needs because she chose to blame ME for his inability to function normally?"
    She probably does know, no? She is saving her agency money, by turning it into your problem. Do you have the right to protest her characterizations, or officially ask her to correct her report on your minor child?
    sorry for your pain,
    Liza Bennett aht yahoo


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