J does not accept no

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    When he wants to do something, J either goes ahead and does it even if I say "no" or he eventually accepts the no with the most almighty fuss. Starting out with the best will in the world, I find myself getting frazzled and angry. Not the best response, I know, but human...
    Here is a small example. Yesterday he drew all over himself with a child's felt-tip pen. I don't know but I don't imagine this does the skin any good - could be slightly toxic? This morning he wanted to do it again and I said no. He then started wheedling and trying to persuade, on and on, with me continuing to say no (because once you start you have to continue - maybe he also works on the principle?). The upshot? I ended up saying I would draw a little something on him and he then took the pen and drew something on his stomach...
    It all reminds me of some dysfunctional relationship. I end up feeling ineffectual and almost like saying to him "Go ahead, then, be your own bloody parent!". And none of this is going to get easier, that is sure and certain.
  2. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    I understand. It's a constant fight. At least you are sure you know where this comes from, but I know it doesn't make it any less exhausting.

    My daughter doesn't even ask she just goes behind my back, she does stuff repeatedly that she gets in trouble for every day, and she's 8 and all my attention is not always on her because it goes to her two younger sibs. For the longest time because her issues are usually pretty subtle and could be a kid just acting out but I think it's beyond that because I have never seen a kid do the exact same thing every day even though they know they will get in trouble.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Malika, you don't want to let J get his way by persistence. Even if that happens seldom, it does make him much more persistent, when you say no. Don't let him drag you to long discussions after you tell him no. Give a short explanation why and that is it. Avert him, don't answer him, tell him that it's not matter of discussion any more or whatever, but don't get involved to long winded arguments with a six-year-old. I know that sounds authoritative, but to balance that, try to learn say no less. Especially right away. When J asks something, don't give an automatic no (and I certainly do know how easy it is to fall to that pattern, when there are about thousand silly requests a day...) But ask him to give you good reasons why you should give permission. That is a point there you discuss with him. And if his arguments are not good enough, you will tell him that unfortunately he didn't make his case well enough this time and his application got rejected (and after that, again, don't get involved in continuing arguing.) Making him work for his requests also cuts down the amount of requests and you don't find yourself wandering around repeating "no", like it was an only word you knew how to say.

    Yes, that really is a very good indicator there is something more going on than just 'naughty child' or inconsistent parenting. Your girl really seems to have some spectrumish traits and I hope you can get her evaluated and get some help for her for school (even though she does well at school at the moment, when things get tougher, she may well need some help) and home. Mine never quite made a cut for autism spectrum diagnoses, but I have to say, that one of the best things that helped with him were parenting therapy there we were introduced also to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) type of parenting. Teaching skills just worked so much better than just consequencing him to death and ourselves to nuthouse.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Ditto, SuZir. The cycle has to be broken soon even if you need to hire an inhome parenting coach. Hugs DDD
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, boy, does that sound familiar!
    One thing that I find helpful when I say NO is to walk away. Or take away the object of argument and then walk away. Outside is best, even if it's freezing cold. The bathroom tends to be the worst place, since difficult child can bang on the door and I feel trapped.
    I also go about my biz, such as cooking dinner, because focusing on something physical and relatively simple, such as gathering pots and pans, filling them with-water, getting veg from the fridge, etc, keeps my hands occupied so I don't strangle difficult child. ;) It's a good diversion.
    And last but not least, I can say, "Your phone is next."
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    "Because I said so" is a perfectly valid argument when he's just trying to get his way.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Oh dear. We really do live in different worlds, DDD... Never heard of such a thing and I'm quite sure they're not on offer here. Nothing for it but my own resources, I'm afraid :)
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There are several ways to go about this. First try to avoid the word NO at all costs in the first place.

    J: I want to color on my arms.
    Mom: Well that does sound like fun but we have to go do (insert whatever) maybe you can do that in the bathtub tonight.

    If J wants to do something else like getting a toy at the store. Mom: J, I love toys too. Lets look at all the toys and decide which ones you like best and write them on a list and then when we have money for a toy you can pick one out! Personally I always told my kids to look up at the ceiling and tell Santa that they wanted it but I have no clue if that would work for you. Even Keyana buys this one at 6.

    Now for times you simply have to say no, then you do it with no arguments or explanations. Just a short, sweet No. Its a complete sentence. The fewer times you actually have to say no, the more effective it will be.
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    First, they have toxic markers there? We have non toxic, washable markers for kids here, who knows if we can believe that but that's what they say.
    Even the teens color themselves, my niece was the go to girl for body art that looked like tattoos. They used ball point pens.

    Our daycare had body paint days, we used washable paints.....

    maybe create a list of activities and put it on your schedule and j picks an activity from the list (he can help make the list).
    If he says, i want to go get a toy say, oh, well, is that on the list? No? Ok, which thing on the list do you want? Then it's the list's fault. Even if it cuts the battles down a little, it could be worth it.

    Having a routine, even if that routine is to follow a schedule that varies in activities but is routine in that it is only done of it is on the schedule....really helps. I used a wipe off board. (then you can change the schedule easily)...These days if we had to use that still, I'd take a phone picture to have it with us, but wouldn't let him hold the phone...teehee....would just show him. These days I send lists to his tablet thru his calendar.

    I wonder how many of us have to navigate life with the avoidance of the word no. Everyone needs limits but in effort to reduce meltdowns and power struggles, I have to set limits with other tools.

    Often now, i can say, sure...when i have more money we can do that. Any other implied no is always a plus for our house.

    Of course, i have also had to do some soul searching over the years to see of i was just automatically saying no......so i do say yes when appropriate.

    I also often offer choices. That won't work today but I thought we could do x or y......which do you want.?

    He may still say the first choice but I've found that of i stay calm and can avoid the...if you don't stop we will do nothing!... Consequence....he comes around. But he needs the time to make the mental shift from what he had planned, then time to process the new idea.

    Finally, I also say yes to things like coloring himself or putting stick on tatoos all over himself by limiting the area. Ok you can do that as long as it is not on your face. Only on your legs, arms or tummy. Compromise can work. I remind him that this is part of trusting him and if he breaks my trust the answer will be no for a long time. Q often will say now..."i better do a good job or you will not trust me, right mom?" Right, Q.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks, useful advice!
    Honestly, I have NO problem with J colouring himself... he can draw tribal patterns all over his body in a rainbow of colours, that's fine by me. I just had a worry (paranoid?) about these things maybe being toxic - they were special kids' ones, so you'd think not. And saying no like that, though I did explain why, probably seemed arbitrary.
    I'm just not a routine/organised activities kind of person, maybe that's part of the trouble. And I don't think J is a routine/organised activities kind of kid, beyond a certain point.
    Lots to learn from this, I agree. How to avoid no... yes, it was earlyish morning and I was just reacting spontaneously, I s'pose. All these ideas for not having to say the dread word are good. You can negotiate with J to a certain degree, particularly with humour.
    I probably want more of an easy life than is ever going to be on offer...
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Me too :)
  12. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    It is hard to set up those tools at first (schedule, pictures, having the tools to create the tools! like photo printer, glue, laminator,etc...). But once you get started and see the results: you will not go back! It is the initial effort that is so time consuming and learning how to create effective tools. But it is so worth the time.
    J seems to be craving sensory activities, read a bit about it and have them available to him. But like others said: he needs to do those actvities within the limits your place (time, place,etc...).
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know I did lots of things wrong the first go round...like being militant parents about this stuff. By gosh if I said something it was going to get done or blood was going to be shed!

    This time around I am much more relaxed in my approach with Keyana. She used to be a much easier child but she came back a child that we definitely have to use discipline with or she will turn into a whiny, bratty child no one wants to be around. However, I have found I dont use the NO word with her like I would have her father unless she simply pushes me to the very end of the boundaries. And she does sometimes.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    None of us are really naturally routine/organized. At least, I haven't met anybody like that. It's always learned.
    And even the difficult child kids who need this the most, don't fall into it naturally. They have to learn it.

    Parenting any kid is a major learning curve.
    Parenting a difficult child is... like landing on a different planet.
  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, I guess it's still a choice to be made. I don't want to live my life with a tight structure like that - we have, of course, a loose one - and so I don't. I guess it comes down to that, if I am honest.
    In terms of J, I am like everyone else, I have realised. That is to say, that I find it impossible to really see his disability and react much of the time as if he were an ordinary kid - ie I get cross with him when he behaves as his impulsivity dictates that he behave. In a way, thinking about it, I don't know that it would even do him much good to constantly treat him with kid gloves on, as though he does not have to learn these basic codes and rules.
    It is difficult for all concerned, not least him. Rules and structure are good to a certain point, but only to a certain point. And we are about to go and live in Morocco, where life is very unstructured for children. None of this is really feasible.
  16. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I like the idea of choices... No, you can't use those markers on your body, but you can use this coloring book. If you want to "paint" on yourself... then offer colored bath soaps for kids. I used to order those from Avon... but I am sure you can find a similar product. Also, what about "finger painting" with pudding? Schedule that next to bath time! Maybe instead of No - you can say would you like XXX or YYY? Like let him use shaving cream before showering... check on Pinterest for "sensory" items. I find a lot of ideas there for a special needs child I care for.

    If the markers aren't appropriate for skin, or if he starts on walls and furniture, you will just have to keep get rid of them or put them where he isn't able to get them. Good luck. KSM
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You HAVE a loose structure. Formalize it. Turn it into a written + picture schedule... something that both of you can refer to. Let J help you set it up. Which parts of the schedule are really important? It's going to be things like meal time, bed-time routines, certain extra-curricular activities. Sometimes, just making it "concrete" helps a kid like J. It seems like J can handle some variability (unlike some of us around here!), so you may not need to plan every single thing. You can also develop Plan A/Plan B scenarios. Bed/bath routine is usually A, but if we get late, it's B - rather than adjusting on the fly.

    Just some ideas...
  18. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Our structure is simply our schedule. It happens to be pretty full. I put in the times he gets to pick what he wants to do. It has grown over the years to be less effort.....because it worked. He makes more reasonable choices. We still do it though......

    so the"schedule" is just structured by activities you already do.....not a rigid do the same thing every day kind of thing (though that helps some, and it happens to be that our weekly schedule is pretty routine. Due to his activities and interests)

    I put it in writing for the day. That's what helps him. The predictability for the day.

    The times where there is nothing scheduled, you can put a green star (for example) that
    means, j's choice, that's when he can pick from the fun list you made up. If free choice is being taught, great......no list, just make sure that happens after a rest time and when he is full, not right after school.

    A blue star might mean pick from the calm activity list. Books, Music, coloring, Legos.

    Add ic said, you don't really need to change, just put out into"schedule form" so he knows what comes next and his mind doesn't go to free thinking...i want a toy now! "well, is that on the schedule?" Then youre off the hook, (hmmm, let's see what's next?) It becomes routine and reduces power struggles (yes, there may be a "break-in" time where he fusses, and behavior may get ugly as with any new program.....so build it up as fun and he helps create the choices and colors that are ok, etc.)

    Put in moments that he can pick the toy, the treat, etc...again, not at those times you know he is not spent.

    If a change happens during the day, even if because you just want to.....have a highlighter. That color means change. Then put the new thing in. That is often used to teach flexibility for kids. The highlight color means.....now we use these coping skills......

    Of course, some times you are working on anxiety or frustration management skills, q does that in therapies now but when little he and i had practice sessions.....so when you hit a snag you can pull out tools like holding things to squish, blowing out candles on a fake cake (makes them deep breathe) meditation for kids, rolling a ball on his back, using a battery vibrator on his shoulders, whatever you know helps....

    It really just becomes part of life and doesn't feel any more rigid than if you didn't write it down (use little symbols to help non readersof course)
  19. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I can't say that all three of my difficult child's turned out to be easy child's but honestly with-o a structured life I know they would be alot less capable of dealing with real life. Truly I am ignorant when it comes to other cultures but in Morocco, Canada, South Africa or elsewhere children are expected to show respect to elders, play well with others, listen to their teachers etc. Even if Morocco is a looser culture than most, J likely will be traveling and need the self discipline to adapt.

    My last biochild was born when I was 24 and proud that I was running a decent household, working, volunteering, and enjoying a very active social life with my then husband. difficult child within a few years had altered our environment. Many nights I stayed up most of the night reading, walking around my yard, singing while listening to the stereo. All those hours I "knew" I should be sleeping to prepare for the next day's challenges but i just HAD to have time to myself.
    It took me years to accept that I had to adapt my life because of difficult child and once I "accepted the things I could not change" I regained a new sense of self. It is difficult to redesign yourself a bit but in my humble opinion it is necessary. Hugs DDD
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Malika, maybe I can make you feel better. Yes, our kids like structure, but the world out there won't stay structured to their likes.
    Sonic has Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), as you know, which is a step beyond ADHD. I am the most disorganized person on earth. Yet he has thrived in every way. He has gone from being 10X worse than J. has ever been to being a total easy child who can take care of himself in most ways and has a NEAT STRUCTURED ROOM. In fact, he is t he one who likes to clean t he house.

    It is absolutely not necessary for all difficult children to have strict structure. It can and probably does help at home so they know what to expect, but in the big picture, life won't structure for them. I am not saying it probably would have been better for ALL my kids if I was the type of parent who could structure time well, but I wasn't and in the big picture of life it did not make a ny difference.

    Now all kids are different, but if you can't or don't like structure, I don't think it is the end of J. if you are easy going with him that way. If it mattered that much, then parents of difficult children who are unstructured would all have negative endings, and they don't. Nor does structure guarantee a good outcome. I think my difficult child's (even 35, who is the biggest one) turned out much better than anyone expected. Maybe they learned that the world won't cater to their schedules? I have no idea. I think you are good with J.

    So I'm the odd man out here. I don't think structure is the be all and end all to how our kids turn out. Sue me :)