Did you ever try shaming or punishing your child to make them stop?
Oh absolutely. It never worked. He doesn’t like authority. He doesn’t like to be told what to do. To coop him up in the house is one of the worst things that we could do to him. I remember when he was on probation, they told us to take the door off of his bedroom. We tried to do that and oh my gosh, the kid can finagle his way out of anything. He can talk people into anything or out of anything.
Oh yes. I think we tried every avenue to try and convince them to stop. But as I educated myself on the disease, the pathology of the disease and the mental areas of the disease, I learned that they can’t help it. If they could help it, they wouldn’t be doing it.
Oh, most definitely. We took his car and his cell phone away. And I know that sounds cliché, but you take a cell phone away from a kid nowadays you might as well be cutting their arm off.
I don’t know if I intentionally tried to shame him. I don’t have that within me. It was extremely difficult for me to call the school and tell on him because I knew the repercussions at school. I knew what was coming. I did not realize how much my personal life would be affected. But I knew what was going to happen inside the school as far as Brady goes. I knew he was going to get kicked off the football team or the wrestling team and I knew it was going trickle into spring baseball. And Brady was a key player on both of those sports.
Absolutely. Your first knee-jerk reaction is to do that. I said some pretty nasty things to her. That was my way of trying to shake her out of it. But I’ve come to realize that I could try that, but the reality was that I couldn’t use the same old parental tactics on her because she was different. The brain chemistry was different. It wasn’t her. The whole “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get your act together” doesn’t work. Because they don’t have the capacity. It’s over. It’s done. You’re not dealing with your daughter anymore— you’re dealing with this addicted monster.
Shelly: Yes. It doesn’t work.
Travis: I did everything. It doesn’t work. One chaotic event leads to another chaotic event. Crazy produces crazy. One of the things I learned is you want to control an environment. You want to diffuse an attacker, you have to be more aggressive and you have to be bigger than the attacker. And all that does is leads to chaos. Because you’re not showing love and compassion to the person that needs love and compassion. And the hardest thing to do sometimes is to love the people that don’t seem to deserve it.
I’ll tell you this — I learned this after the fact and I’m learning this right now. You cannot control the events in your life. You cannot control the outcomes. The only thing you have direct control of is your response. So how you respond to their craziness will help either diffuse it or make it worse.
Shelly: Or make the whole family crazy.
Wayne – Of course. My method was coaching. I’d say “Look what you’re doing” and make him feel guilty. Well that doesn’t help him. That makes it worse. They already feel guilty.
Christy – Punishing him was difficult because he was 22.
Wayne – We took his phone away and monitored everything he did. What did that do? Nothing. We didn’t know any better.