Honeymoon's Over I Guess

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TeDo, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    difficult child has had such a good week, I allowed him to go to the town's community center with a friend. There are all kinds of things for kids to do there (sports equipment). I picked him up at dinner time and brought him home. I mentioned to him that we have missing homework to get done tonight since tomorrow is the end of the quarter. He went ballistic. He started yelling at me and slamming doors. I said "1" which is a cue to stop. It didn't work. I said "2", he still continued. He knows that when I get to three there is going to be a consequence. Since he only has 1/2 day of school tomorrow and no school on Thursday or Friday, instead of SAYING "3" I said "you can always be grounded for the next 4 1/2 days". He said I couldn't do that. He told me I am supposed to warn him first. I reminded him that I gave him 3 chances to stop but he didn't. He left the house and slammed the door on the way out. After a few minutes, he stood in the other door and continued to yell at me for not warning him first. I asked him to shut the door so he slammed it on his way out again. After a few more minutes, he did the same thing again and I gave him the same response, "please shut the door". I refuse to talk to him when he is worked up like this. He went out the slamming door again but this time took off on his bike and I have no idea where he is. It is still daylight so I'm not worried YET. I just don't know what to do anymore. I can only assume he didn't hear the "you CAN always be ...." but instead heard "you are ....". Again, I am only assuming but he won't calm down for me to talk to him. Does anyone have any ideas? I am so lost. I don't know how many times me and easy child have to deal with this. easy child just wants to leave when difficult child gets like this, which is so much of the time. HELP?!?!
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    When he comes back, start over. Assume he HAS reacted to the "you are grounded..." that he thought he heard, and say, "We will start over, but only because I think you misunderstood. I said you CAN always be grounded, I did not say you were. Now tell me, can you explain to me now why I should not ground you, based on your behaviour? Now is your chance to calmly talk to me and explain why I should give you another chance to simply get your outstanding work completed."

    Or perhaps even more plainly - "I am giving you some rope here. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt, that you misunderstood. So I am starting over with my request. You have homework that MUST be done. I am prepared to help you, but I can't do it for you. But it must be done. If you do not do it, I have the power, and the right, to ground you over the next few days during which time you will get the work done. I would rather not ground you, especially when you have been doing so well and I have been so proud of you. But think of how you just behaved - that was not good and was not helpful to you in any way. So let's start over - here is the work, here is the pen, do you need any help from me with it? Let's get started now. Spend half an hour really focussing on this and see how much you can accomplish in just half an hour. Then we will discuss how you're going."

    What I've found often happens, is the child is often very resistant to beginning the homework but once a genuine start is made, they tend to continue until it's done. Half an hour can actually pass quickly and productively, ONCE THEY START.

    Your main aim here - the homework, right? Just checking. Because if that is the case, ignore the behaviour pretty much, if in dealing with the behaviour you risk losing your main objective.

    You did well to stay calm. And it was good that you noticed the possible misunderstanding as the flip-out switch. Deal with that, and you might achieve objective no 1. You might even get a free apology, if he realises you were not YET grounding him.

  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    TeDo, I think he's a little old for Magic 1-2-3 (which is where I assume you got the counting from). And it may actually be escalating his behavior.

    Have you read The Explosive Child? You might want to use Collaborative Problem Solving with your difficult child. The time to talk about the homework is actually before he goes to the community center. That's when you come to some agreement about when he's going to do his homework. You work it out WITH him so he knows what to expect and springing the subject on him doesn't feed his frustration when he gets home. That might just have lessened the problems you had later on.
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    When it got dark, I finally found him at a different friend's. I told him it was time to come home and he did without issue. When we got in the house, he started crying and saying he's sorry and asking if he was still grounded. I simply told him I didn't say that but now I'm considering it. I then told him, my decision depends on if he is able to "turn it around" and get his homework done. He made himself a snack and WE sat down at the table to do homework. I reminded him that I write and he just tells me what to write. We got almost all of it done (only 4 problems we can do in the morning). When he headed to bed, he asked "How long am I grounded for?" When I said it depends if he can KEEP up the good decisions and go to sleep. His response was "Just tell me how long. I know I should be". This is pretty typical behavior after he has had a chance to really calm down. If I do hand down a punishment for the negative behavior, he graciously accepts it. I just wish we could get to this part without going through the meltdown first. Thanks for the input Marg.
  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I got the 1-2-3 from the mental health professional at the school. The counting is "supposed" to be a cue. It works about 50% of the time.

    His friend's mom took them both directly from school so I didn't see him or talk to him until I picked him up to come home. There wasn't a chance to talk to him before and I didn't know about the late work until this afternoon right before school got out. I usually do try to discuss it beforehand. This just wasn't a day we could do that.
  6. Mitchy

    Mitchy Guest

    I do the counting thing because it helps me feel calm. I'm bad at it because I'll say 1... you need to stop...2...if you don't stop this will happen....please stop now... just go to your room or outside or sit there quietly...you need to stop...3 and then my youngest will go from screaming and cursing to screaming, cursing, kicking, hitting things, breaking things, rolling on the floor, etc. I often find myself either trying to take him to his room or asking my eldest to carry him to his room. He continues the fit in there. I find that counting only works if he's in the mood to give in but sometimes it does help. I don't know what to recommend.

    It seems like you don't really want to ground him. Is that because you are against the idea or because it's not worth the trouble. I rarely ground mine because it always turns into day after day of temper tantrums that go for hours and hours at a time.
  7. Jena

    Jena New Member


    it's hard when their that defiant. yet truthfully if i did 1,2,3 to my child she'd blow thru the roof in a hot second. i could totally see how that would escalate it.

    what if you simply ignored the tantrum? sounds insane i know. yet dont' feed into it at all. you stayed calm which i gotta say is great, i umm probably would of been getting louder by the minute. what if you just calmly said i will not talk to you when u are this way. if he continues to slam doors, etc. get easy child into another area. i had to do this wtih my step daughter when she was raging bad about 2 3 years ago.

    than i wouldnt' hand down the punishment until it's over either. that's just me. you count, he blows more, he slams door, gets reaction from you. do you see my point? sorry it's late i'm tired lol. i do the same with-my kid to be honest than after it's over i sit back and say hmmm i could of changed how i did that! :) it's not easy i know, hang in there.

    try set answers for set behaviors. make sure he knows the rules before hand and the countdown thing I don't know if id' use it 50% of the time isnt' enough for you right now you need more like 70%

    hang in there!!
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    OK. Here's how Ross Greene would recommend approaching the homework discussion in the first place when difficult child gets home from the community center to (hopefully) avoid a meltdown.
    You say, "I understand there's some homework that needs to get done tonight. Let's work together to figure out a plan for getting it done." And then you listen to his ideas on when and how his homework will get finished and come to an agreement.

    When I use this technique, my kids sometimes grumble about not wanting to start their homework. So then I offer choices. "Do you want to start it at 6 or 6:30?" "Do you want to do it in the dining room or the kitchen?" Anything to provide buy-in and some control over the situation.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Smallworld, those are good suggestions. It gives the child the feeling they have choice, even in such a non-choice situation as "homework must be done".

    TeDo, your difficult child sounds like he's very aware he did the wrong thing. So in this situation, I don't think punishment would teach him anything more. However, he is feeling guilty and seems to feel a need for some sort of penance. So how about this? How about you discuss with him what HE feels his punishment should be?

    It does sound like you were right - he thought you had grounded him without notice or prior warning. Then he lost it, and now realises he shouldn't have lost it. He also sounds like he has auditory processing issues/attention issues, big time (because he misunderstood so badly).

    Undoubtedly when you ask him what sort of punishment he should have, he will be far harsher on himself than you would have been. You then have a number of options -

    1) give him a punishment anyway, what he asks for. I don't like this option.

    2) Give him a lesser punishment, perhaps to nail home the "don't jump to conclusions and don't throw tantrums" lesson. ONly I think that lesson is already as learned as it possibly could be.

    3) Tell him that because he has clearly learned that his behaviour was not acceptable, and because the initial problem of not doing his homework is being resolved, then he has been able to escape punishment this time. His honesty about his feelings and his behaviour is being rewarded with forgiveness. Maybe a compromise consequence could be his compliance with a better homework schedule, or some other signal between you to get him to comply with doing his homework in future, without raging.

    The lesson here for him, is don't jump to conclusions, and try to avoid using raging as a coping strategy.

    Discipline is purely to serve a teaching purpose. If the lesson has already been learned, or if no more lesson can be learned, then further punishment is needless. But there can still be other benefits in his contrition which you can make use of, especially if his current willingness to negotiate can be harnessed. Your magnanimity can also provide an added incentive for some degree of future compliance.

    It of course won't all be perfect or solved. But baby steps - every little bit of progress is good.

    Are you SURE he's not just a little bit Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)? The innate honesty and truth/consequences balance is a wonderful asset in raising a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) child. If he has this, use it to your advantage (and his). Praise him for it, show him how valuable it is. And look for the other good qualities that go with it - loyalty and caring are in there too, even as he swears at you and rages. It is what makes these kids so rewarding as they get older and more mature.

  10. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    SW, you're right. He needs to have some control and I totally admit I didn't phrase it correctly. I will try your approach next time, I know there will be a next time.

    Marg, I have questioned his diagnosis a lot lately. I HAVE considered Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and also Asperger's. I will be asking for further diagnostics to determine what might REALLY might be going on. I wish the neuropsychologist we had done would have been more help. Maybe I need to find someone else to do another one. I do allow him to "redeem" himself and earn free time back after he has calmed down. All he has to do is complete whatever task caused the meltdown in the first place without any further issues and serve a portion of grounding without complaining. So far this has worked. He can be very reasonable when he's calm.

    Jena, you are right about simply not dealing with him and using that time to focus on easy child. I really feel bad for him much of the time. That is something I really need to work on because ANY interaction with difficult child during these tantrums is totally counterproductive. I don't know why I even bother.

    Mitchy, I don't mind grounding him. The problem is that I know that when he calms down, he feels remorse. by saying that I "could" ground him was an attempt to tell him what the consequences would be if he continued the behavior.

    Thanks all of you for your advice. I always learn new strategies for dealing with these behaviors from this board. What a Godsend!!
  11. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Marg, just curious if the innate honesty as you mention most always comes with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), or do you ever see Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) where the kid constantly lies and doesn't show remorse? That is how it is with my difficult child - or at least he doesn't externalize the remorse. I think instead he says things to himself like "I'm stupid".

    TeDo - It sounds like you have a really great kid, you just need to work through some of these things. I soooo wish my difficult child would "realize" things and feel "sorry" afterward.
  12. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    Marg has more experience than I do here but we both see it.

    The innate, almost brutal honesty is very common perhaps even usual in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) but there is the other side where, as you say, the kid constantly lies and doesn't show remorse.

    There seems to be no middle ground. They either lie like pigs in mud; without conscience or regard for consequences; or they never lie. This last group seem to go through a phase of trying to lie but are so bad at it that they get caught out every time. It can take a few years but these kids settle for the complete honesty angle. Fortunately our difficult child's fit the second group.

    Marg will have a lot more to say than I can spare time for.

    Marg's Man
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    All kids lie at some stage. As individuals in society, we all generally lie, even as adults. I saw something in passing on Dr Phil yesterday, he was quoting stats that everyone lies on average at least 5 times a week. I wasn't paying close attention, I must admit. A lot of the problems in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) come because they are really bad at lying, as a rule, so over time they learn to NOT lie. But only if they get caught regularly and called on it.

    The thing with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), is that they will try to lie like all kids do, but make a hash of it, as a rule. I mean - you say your child lies all the time, but how do you know? [yeah, I know, the lips are moving...] Seriously - you know he's lying, because he's so obvious with his lies, it screams at you. And that's the thing. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids are generally not able to be creative with their lies. It's partly the lack of social skills, partly the delay in development of empathy and theory of mind (to be a good liar, you need to be able to see things from the other person's point of view to know what 'sells') and also partly the extreme difficulty they often have with inventing an imaginary narrative.

    So a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) child will try to lie by saying, "I haven't got any homework," but will probably not be able to say, "While walking to school today, a big dog ran out of the neighbour's yard and chased me down the road. I was not able to run fast enough and the dog grabbed my backpack, ripped the bottom of it and my homework fell out. The dog ripped it to pieces. That's why I haven't got my homework." A Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid possibly might still tell something that creative, but would then falter when asked, "Where are the torn pieces of homework? Where is your backpack, I want to inspect it for rips." But generally, they will keep their lies simple. "I didn't hit him." Often their lies tell more truths than they realise. "It wasn't me who tripped Danny over and then took his bag." That immediately tells you that the child knows that Danny was tripped over, and had his bag taken, and if they know that much, they know a lot more.

    If a child is able to lie cleverly, creatively and successfully, often you won't know it. You only know, when you catch them out. And the liars you catch are the unsuccessful ones. If a child with a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is able to lie successfully, then the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is either very mild or the child has successfully adapted and has learned to successfully mask the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) to the point of being able to blend in. That does not mean "cured" because there will always be the need to work at it, to blend in. There is always the underlying stress despite the semblance of coping, like the swan gliding serenely on the lake hides the furious activity beneath the surface that makes such semblance of serenity possible.

    A Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid might also seem to not care about others - this is still compatible with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) because these kids do find empathy more difficult. But it is still not sociopathy. A Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) child often doesn't know how to respond empathically, but may want to. Example - difficult child 3 was arriving at school one day (grade 4) and saw a classmate crying. The classmate was with his mother (a teacher at the same school). difficult child 3 did not understand the situation (classmate being chastised by his mother) and went over to comfort the boy. The classmate did NOT want anyone else to notice his tears, and certainly not the "class dummy" so he stiff-armed difficult child 3 as he approached and yelled at him to go away. difficult child 3, who had intended his attentions kindly, was offended. Then the other boy's friends stepped in and threatened difficult child 3 to make him go away. This all ended nastily, with difficult child 3 hitting another boy who shoved him away. difficult child 3 got detention out of it (imposed by the classmate's mother, the teacher). A mess. But it came about because of difficult child 3's social clumsiness.

    Where I have had a lot of trouble working out the truth, has been because what difficult child 3 perceives in a situation can be confusing. It is not him lying, but more what he recalls of a situation which of course is influenced mainly by what he considers important enough to remember in an event. Often until I ask, "who else was present?" he hasn't mentioned anyone else. I had to learn to ask questions concretely, with absolutely no hint of what answer I want or expect. I could not get the staff to do this - teachers want answers, fast. So the class teacher would often say, "Why did you hit Danny?" or perhaps "Did you walk over to Danny and punch him in the face?"
    A Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid, faced with someone asking such a question angrily, will either immediately confess (even if he didn't do it) or (if he's had past experience of being in trouble for hitting someone) will automatically deny. What should be done - you say, "What happened here?" You ask each child to describe the sequence of events. You only prompt with, "And then what happened?"
    A teacher saying to a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid, "Did Johnny hit Danny?" is likely to get a yes, if the child thinks that is the answer the teacher wants.

    In summary - effective lying is a complex social skill. If your child has a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) but is able to fool you with his lies, then chances are, the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is either very mild and the child is now doing really well, or the diagnosis is wrong.

    Law-abiding - they aren't always. But only if they are supported in breaking the law, by others. For example, a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid we know (young adult, now) has a police record because he has been running with the wrong crowd. They use this guy to do their dirty work, then let him take the fall. He's been involved in drugs, especially in being the courier. He's got his record because a rival gang member was beaten up badly, then the weapon handed to the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) guy to hide in his backpack when the police arrived to arrest the culprit. But when the police searched more widely than the gang had expected, they found the weapon in the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) boy's backpack and charged him. They expected him to roll on the thug, but Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) loyalty and law-abiding tendencies were now skewed towards loyalty to mates and 'the code' of not dobbing on your mates (even though they were letting him take the rap for the weapon).
    I've seen this happen as this boy has grown up. He used to be best friends with difficult child 1, which is how I know so much. That, and I am friends with his parents who have been frantic to help their son, but did not do the one thing he needed when he was younger - totally remove him from the circle of friends he was with. Here, it could have been done. But that is with 20:20 hindsight. They didn't know the friends were that bad. Mind you, there were clues. But like a lot of adults, they did not pay enough attention to the bad behaviour towards one another that these kids showed, but merely let it slide as kids learning to get along. But in this case, it was kids who knew how to get along, and were using bullying and control to do some really nasty things. "Boys will be boys" is not a good thing to allow around a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid, or even an ADHD kid. If it's the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid or ADHD kid doing it, that is different, they will make mistakes. But other kids who are socially more capable - it is generally NOT impulse control, but deliberate choice for nefarious reasons.

    Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids will gravitate to rules and laws. If they are not given access to the right rules, they will learn and follow the wrong ones. You need to surround them with truth and rightness and ensure it is also logically correct. It gives them a much better chance.

    Does this help? Or have I only added to the confusion?