Defiance - I don't know

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JLady, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Please help if you can. My son spent the weekend at his dad's and whenever he comes back he is so angry and mean to everyone around. We went to church yesterday (this is where we use to live, 200 miles away from where we live now). Everyone wanted to hug my son and tell him how big he is getting and all he would do is scream "leave me alone" to everyone. I don't know what was wrong. It was terribly embarassing and I really don't know how to handle such situations.

    On the way home, he continued. Yelling at me to stop singing with the radio because I sounded stupid and just being a real pain in the rear. I tried "talking" to him. Then I did yell. Then I did get mad. He was just being a brat! We got home and he was mean to everyone at home (only he and I went out of town this weekend). Finally, when it was bedtime and he was still being a brat - he told me to shut up and go away. That was it! I could take no more. Such behavior is not tollerated. I told him that he doesn't talk to me like that and I did spank him (he is 7). As I was walking away he said something hateful so I spanked him again. I did this twice before he finally shut up and went to sleep.

    My older children wouldn't have ever had the nerve to say and do the things he does. I understand he has issues but I don't know how to parent him. When do you spank? I hear so much that you shouldn't ever spank a child but I honestly feel that sometimes they just need it. Especially when they cross those boundaries that shouldn't ever be crossed. Would you have ever told your parent to shut up? I certainly wouldn't have.

    Once I spanked him, he shut up and went to sleep. I almost wished I had done it at church so he would have stopped being a brat. Is he a brat or is he ODD?

    Since starting medication for ADHD, I notice a lot of changes in the behavior and feel like we are setting new boundaries every day. I don't know what to do with him. :whiteflag:
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Is there anything that happens at Dad's that would make him irritable? Or does he generally have a hard time with transitions?

    Does he have sensory issues (for example, sensitivity to clothing tags, sock seams, loud noises, bright lights, etc)? If so, that might explain why he was set off by all the hugging at church and the singing to the car radio.

    I don't believe his behavior was the result of being a brat or having ODD. I believe you are still in the discovery process of trying to figure out what is fueling this type of behavior. If his irritability and emotional reactivity is worse since starting ADHD medications, then you need to be in touch with the prescribing doctor to discuss your observations.

    I personally don't ever believe spanking is the solution. It just teaches that might is right, and that's not a lesson I want to instill in my children. Have you read The Explosive Child by Ross Greene? That might give you a new look at parenting extra-challenging children.

    Hang in there.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I do believe in spankings. I understand your frustrations and how you got to that point.

    I also think that when many of our difficult children do receive the spankings, it works against us. They do not always connect the spanking to a way to take notice of their actions. They only see it as our reaction. We spanked them and in their eyes that is wrong and we have wronged them. Another reason to add to their anger.

    I went through many years of overreacting in anger toward my children's anger and hatefulness and defiance. I am trying very hard to use another approach.

    You are seeing a pattern of this behavior upon return from his father's? Something is going on. It doesn't mean something bad is happening. It may just be he has trouble transitioning. You can talk to his dad and ask what activities they do and what your son's attitude is during the weekend.

    He may also need quiet time to unwind/transition back. Try to keep him isolated from siblings and other people for an hour or so. Direct him to play on his own for a short time. Maybe this can be his computer time or movie or just playing by himself with toys?

    If you start a conversation about his weekend (or anything else) and he seems grumpy, wait until later and try again. He may not want to talk yet. I am finding that in my difficult child after school. He doesn't want to answer questions right away.

    Do you remember how you feel when you are wanting quiet time and everyone keeps bugging you? I had this going on this morning - I wanted to scream - at one point I did tell difficult child that I justed wanted everyone to leave me alone for awhile. The longer they would distract me, the angrier I got and took that much longer for me to calm down.

    I think it would be o.k. for you to sit with him today and talk about yesterday. "difficult child, yesterday was so hard for both of us. Can we talk about what could have made it easier? How can we politely let people know that you do not want a hug? It is o.k. for them not to hug you, but we need to find a polite way of declining one." then, "The ride home was also no fun. What was going on there?" "Do you really want to be mean to your family?" "I want to help make life easier for you but you need to let me know in a calm polite way when you need time alone or what is bugging you."

    Try to take issues off the personal level and look at them objectionally. The less you can bring your emotions into it, the easier it will be for your child to look at their own actions. For now, your son is watching your reactions and is having a hard time finding an answer on how to change things.

    Again, I want to assure you that I went through similar things for many years. I think the hardest thing is that in our fast pace world we want the result ASAP. With our kids, it takes lots of patience and consistency. Even though it may look like we lost a battle, we may have won it in the long run.

    My daughter would be defiant a lot. She made my life miserable in her attitude about rules. However, I soon learned that as she was always pushing different ones, she hardly ever disobeyed the ones we had the biggest fights about. For example, if I told her she was not to play in a certain area in the yard, she would scream and holler and refuse time outs, ect. at that time but she did not play in that area again. She would just find a new thing to get me angry.

    I hope this helped to some degree. I don't have experience in the ADHD or ODD world. Others will be along soon that can help with those questions. I just wanted to support you and maybe give you an option to try. I believe in positive instructions. Keep things as non-personal as possible. Instead of saying, "Get your coat on, it's time to go." Try, "Time to go! Everyone ready?" I always think about it as how would you ask a guest to do something or be ready at a certain time? We would ask or give info in a very positive way.

    Good luck - I know this is hard. I do believe in spankings but be aware of how they are being received.
  4. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    My personal preference in disciplining my children is not to spank. But that is just how I feel. I don't think you are a horrible parent if you spank your children, I am just not comfortable in doing so. I just think it is a contradiction, we tell our children not to hit and then we hit them? But, like I said that is just how I feel personally. I have friends who spank their kids and I don't judge them for it, that's how they choose to discipline. Whatever works for you.

    I completely agree with smallworld, I think at this age you are still figuring out what issues he really does have. My daughter's dxs changed a million times over the years. He is still young and unfortunately there are no blood tests to be sure of what the problems are. It's all about observation, and he is so young yet, his behaviors will change over time and most likely so will his dxs. That is the most frustrating part of raising these kids. There are very few definative answers.

    I am also in agreement that something is going on when he goes to his dads. I'm not in any way saying something bad is happening at his dads but he might very well have trouble with change, as do most of our kids. Does this kind of behavior come out with any kind of change or is it usually only when he returns from his dads. He might be feeling sad that you and dad don't live in the same house and he does not know how to articulate those feelings properly so he is acting out. Just a though.

    I know how hard this is, very tiring and frustrating. Hang in there and God bless. :)
  5. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    If you had just picked up your difficult child from his dad's, he is transitioning from one environment to another, where there are very different expectations. My difficult child does horrible with transitions, and I tend to let things slide. If he asks me rudely to quit singing with the radio, I will stop but I will suggest a better way to ask. He may just need some time and space to change gears. I try to warn difficult child when we are going to leave, ie we are leaving in 5 minutes, so on. It has gotten better as he has gotten older, but at 7 this was a real battle.

    I don't spank my difficult child as it does not work for him.

    I also know when his medications are right he is not defiant, at all. This leads me to believe that he wants to be good, but needs a little help in order to make the right decisions.
  6. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Dad is defiant. I just don't know what to do. I went to the library and picked up a couple more books. The explosive child wasn't there. I have a few others that I did find. Hopefully there are some answers there.

    Transition is difficult for him. Plus he only sees his dad once every few months. Sometimes I think it may be better for him not to see him at all.

    I just don't know how to handle him when he is deliberately being mean to everyone around him.
  7. Transparent

    Transparent New Member

    We used to spank because nothing else worked but then it got to where spanking didn't work either. He only got it when he did something extreme, so we weren't using it as a constant disciplinary measure - lectures are the norm around here - he really hates those!

    I wonder what types of behaviors dad is exhibiting around your son. If he's like that every time he comes home from seeing him, maybe it IS best he doesn't go. I know with parental rights that can be a difficult task. Are the visits prearranged or does dad show interest in his son coming over? If there isn't a lot of interest on dad's part, I'd definitely try to keep your son home with you. Let them talk on the phone instead and see how that goes maybe.

    I'd also talk to the prescribing doctor about the medications and the behaviors you're seeing.

    Hang in there.
  8. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    For my son the transition from his father, who was rejecting in small and large ways, was an emotional thing for him. If he is not taking his medications and his father has been critical about his "not need" for treatment then your son is also hampered with these adult opinion issues that are "at" him and not "in his best interests"
    Hitting children to push them through to emotional collapse is a form of pure abuse..or abnormal use of power.
    When I hear adults waffle on this matter I am of the opinion they are not simply not acquainted with the many non-violent forms of interaction to
    teach by example.
    At seven acting out to show the emotional confusion is a form of communication. REflecting what is visible(anger, confusion, upset) offering a means to share that mysterious inner thinking and feeling (hard for boys)
    takes time.
    Personally hitting to control children is passe. The adults who perpetuate this
    are engaging abuse tactics which have consiquences visible through out the world. Hurting others hurts others. It keeps the abuse cycle turning.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I never spanked because there comes a day when they just laugh at you when you spank unless you REALLY hurt them and that's unacceptable to me. Also, it can get out of control when you're really upset, and CPS can be called. I found it better to discipline in other ways--anything but that. I used to want my parents to hit me, but they never would. I wanted it over with fast. I preferred the
    I doubt if this child, only 7, is living to make your life miserable. I doubt he is ODD alone either. Usually something else is causing the ODD behavior--I'd have him evaluated by an neuropsychologist and be sure to tell the neuropsychologist all about hub because genetics plays a role with our kids.
    Divorce is always hard on kids. It is even harder on difficult child's who have transitional troubles and processing problems. They go from one set of rules to another--sometimes from one SO to another SO. I would pretty much expect anger after that sort of change. The anger in my opinion is due to the confusion and upheaval of staying with another parent and having some sort of disorder which makes changes far more difficult to handle. Does this child have a different father from your other kids who would never dream of talking back to you?
    I hope you get him newly evaluated. ADHD may not really be the whole thing and ODD kind of just means defiance. All our kids have probably been diagnosed ODD at one time, but it isn't a particularly useful diagnosis. I would want to know the big picture. Good luck!
  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Do you think Dad is expecting too much of him?

    When he gets mean to others, remove him from the situation. Tell him that he needs to spend time in his room until he can calm down and be nice. Tell him you will come to the room in a little bit to talk about what is going on.

    I usually start conversations with the kids as, "How do you see things? How are you feeling?" Try to allow him to verbalize his feelings without you getting emotional. If he says something that makes you angry, hide that anger and talk to him about the result of what happened. You are there on a fact gaining mission and a brainstorming mission on what a better way would have been.

    Sometimes kids are mean because they are feeling left out. Maybe some of the times he just wants to spend time with a family member but feels that person doesn't want to play a game or talk so he automatically engages in an inappropriate activity. Talk to him about a better way to get that person's attention.

    Sometimes being mean is a cry for help. The child feels angry and doesn't like how he or she feels - it is their way of venting so to speak. If you see it in these terms, it will be easier to withhold the spanking and try another approach.

    Our library also does not have "The Explosive Child" but we are a group of libraries and I could order it. Check to see if your library has that connection that they can get it in for you.

    I did not read anything about manipulation in your post so the book as a whole may not pertain to you, but there are some real good insights in "The Manipulative Child" that may also help you handle some of the behaviors.
  11. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    I just got a notice from the library and they have The Explosive Child. They are holding it for me and I will pick it up tonight.

    Dad isn't in the picture because of his abusiveness to the entire family. The old two children do have a different father if that makes a difference. The 7 yr old was a baby when we were divorced so he hasn't experience physical abuse but there is some mental junk there. Dad promised a motor cycle last year for Christmas. He purchased one for the step brother and told my son he would have his next time he visited. He repeats this each time he sees him. There aren't ever any gifts for Christmas or Birthday but there are always broken promises. I don't even know why difficult child would want to go there! There is nothing but false hope and lies. Each time he comes back, he hates the world.

    Yesterday, I talked and talked and talked. A lot of times I get silence and "I don't know" "Leave me alone" answers from him. I send him to his room. He hates to be seperated from the rest of the family. I really hope that book will help. I'm getting it tonight.
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, JLady. Miss KT's useless father does similar things, and has forever, and it makes me so angry I could just spit. The broken promises, the non-visits...anyway...she would be even more awful after a visit as well.

    What worked for me was isolating her from anyone she could be rude to. If we were out somewhere, I would say, "I apologize for my daughter's rudeness. We will be going home now." And we left. We left restaurants, church, friend's homes, and once I carried her out of Target while she was in the middle of a full-blown fit. At home, I sent her to her room, and told her I didn't want to talk to her until she could be civil. She was (and is) hard to ignore, but I did my best until her words and her tone improved. It wasn't easy, and there were times I wanted to skin her alive and then die of embarrassment myself.

    Good luck...sending you some peaceful quiet and good thoughts.
  13. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I agree with the others, if your son is being nasty or rude, he needs to be isolated, or put in time out. He can come out when he can be nice. My difficult child's patch fell off at some point, and he has been in and out of his room all night. He just cannot behave. He cannot listen, sit still, speak without yelling or insulting someone. He has no control of himself. While I am not going to punish him, I will not let him punish the rest of the family. He can be nice or stay in his room. His choice.
  14. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry. I know how upsetting it is-the things your difficult child said to you are things that my difficult child says to me on a regular basis. I don't like to spank. I have done it. It did no good for my son. Sometimes (like with the singing) I'll just say, "thanks for sharing your opinion". and then go on. Sometimes that seems to help, other times not so much. We do use timeouts on occassion. They generally get him to stop for a bit.

    Sending hugs your way tonight.
  15. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Thank you everyone for all your support. It really means the world to me. I did get the book from the library and will be starting it as soon as I can get difficult child out of the tub and in bed. Only an hour late so far! What a challenge. It hasn't been a bad night... just a long one.
  16. ifeelhappy115

    ifeelhappy115 New Member

    my son has those moods too so bad .He yells at me picks on his bro til he has a total melt down then laughs about it . If you figure anything out please let me know. I am at my wits end.