Natural Consequences, or "How My difficult child Prefers To Learn"

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I mentioned this in Nancy's thread on PE today, but just had to share it here.

    The kids had their 6-mo. checkup at the dentist today. easy child looks great, no cavities, no need for orthodontia. Even difficult child 2 had a glowing report, and that's surprising because of his braces which are so much harder to keep clean.

    And then there's Mister-Almost-Fifteen-And-The-Biggest-difficult child-Pain-In-My-Patooty who can't be bothered with brushing his teeth. Floss? What's THAT? Flouride rinse? Waste of my precious video gaming time.

    Well, difficult child 1, I'd like to introduce you to my friend Natural Consequence. And he has a present for you. In fact, he has SIX presents for you: SIX CAVITIES! So you get to go back THREE times to the dentist to sit in his chair while he drills and fills your teeth that you can't be bothered to care for unless your mother nags you. And quite frankly, she's pretty much DONE with that.

    And no, you can't take the gift back -- it's yours FOREVER. :devil:

    Practicing my Detachment 101 and NOT going to flip out over this at all. I ranted a little bit of an I-Told-You-So on the drive home, and discussed the financial impact this will have, but that's it.

    Although I might buy him a bottle of Flouride rinse for his birthday next month. And maybe some flavored dental floss. But NOT going to remind him to use it! (Well, maybe just once. But it will definitely NOT be a nag). :tongue:
  2. ML

    ML Guest

    You are the bomb mom!
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Here is to our dear friend, "Ms. Natural Consequences"! She always has our back, doesn't she?

    Are you going to make him pay any of the dental bill? Maybe he needs to not have video games for a while, like until all the cavities are filled? Or maybe he needs to sell some of his games or game systems (if you are like many parents here who have a system or three per kid - just nuts in my book!) so he can help feel the other natural consequences of his actions?

    Often with my kids nothing gets through (esp with Mr. BigBanker Tyler) unless there is a financial cost. Since much of life is like that I never mind adding that aspect in. Cause as adults his teeth might hurt for months until he gets the $$ to pay the dentist.
  4. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    I think it's a wonderful idea to make him pony up some of the funds for the dental work! At 9 years old my difficult child is a pain in the butt to get him to brush let alone floss - often I end up having to floss his teeth for him. He had to go back to the dentist every 4 months for this past year until he got better at daily care - and he had to pay $10 towards the extra expense since the insurance wouldn't cover the 3rd visit for the year. Before he left for summer visitation difficult child wasn't fighting about tooth brushing anymore - probably will have to nag him hard to get him back in the habit (every year he comes back after 6 weeks of not brushing his teeth - you could see the moss growing in his mouth!).
  5. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    You know, my son was the hardest to get to brush. When his teeth would start to look orange (yes, that's correct - and gross), he would brush. Just so he wouldn't be embarrassed. Floss? Forget it. He's 18 years old and has had one cavity. One. My brother is/was the same way.

    I brush with prescription fluoride toothpaste twice a day and Sensidyne (sp) Pronamel twice a day AND use a flouride rinse. I had 11 cavities at my last cleaning/checkup. I've had 4 root canals and 5 crowns (one for a mysteriously broken tooth - hairline fracture that can't even be seen, only felt when I tried to, you know, chew). As a kid I was on fluoride vitamins.

    I've had problems with dry mouth since I was a kid. The medications I'm on now don't help.

    While this is a natural consequence for difficult child 1, I wonder if his illness (Crohn's) or any medications for it could be contributing?
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ewwww. I subject near and dear to my heart.
    Actually, a subject that grosses me out. I can tell when my difficult child hasn't brushed because he sits and scratches his front teeth with-his fingernail to get the crud off. Makes my stomach flip.
    Luckily, he hasn't had any fillings yet. Pretty amazing.

    I agree with-natural consequences. But does your difficult child understand that he got cavities because he didn't brush? Or does he think it's the luck of the draw?
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Yeah, I just may have him chip in for the dental co-pay. We'll see what the final damage is.

    Heather, you bring up a very good point about the Crohn's affecting his oral health, because it is known to cause problems for people, but I always thought it had more to do with gum disease issues because of the chronic inflammation that can occur anywhere from the mouth to anus in Crohn's. I'll have to do some more reading about that. Of course, never flossing and very infrequent brushing doesn't help either!

    Terry, I think he does understand -- Lord knows I've harped on him enough and lectured him with all the reasons WHY we're supposed to keep our teeth and gums clean and healthy. If he didn't get it before, he sure does now!

    And I do think my younger two (who got to hear the lecture on the way home as well) will learn something from their older sibling's erring ways. So there's one bit of positive that will come of this. :D
  8. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I read somewhere that steroids can weaken the enamel some way. Also, some vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies can cause dental problems.
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well untreated Crohn's definitely zaps the body of nutrients -- so calcium, magnesium, zinc and lots of other vital stuff is often very low. difficult child 1 had osteopenia in his lumbar spine at diagnosis four years ago. They said nothing about the density of his teeth when we had the bone scan done at the time, so who knows? He's been in remission three years now, but the fact that he was likely dealing with this disease for five or six years before we realized what was going on had to have affected his teeth in some way. Yeah, so he's likely go the triple whammy of typical teen behavior difficult child-ness and after effects of disease-induced malnutrition. :faint:
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Ohhhh this is a subject I can't let go.

    I have had several bio issues, plus braces, leading to no natural enamel on my teeth. Every single one has been root canalled and crowned. I have two bridges, in fact my four front teeth are one piece. I've had two teeth in the back of my mouth pulled (besides my wisdom teeth). I've had apicoectomies three times - this is where they knock you out, then cut into your gums and backfill.

    This is not fun. This is a natural consequence in a way, because I hated brushing my teeth as a kid - it HURT - because I had exposed nerve endings from the time I was small. I somehow didn't have a single cavity till I was 9. Then my mouth went berserk. I had braces 3x (don't ask). Also I was very ill as a small child and the constant vomiting ruined what enamel I had on my teeth, leading to non-brushing, leading to the problems later.

    I now do NOT take any tooth pain flippantly. Sadly, I can call my dentist's office, tell them I have another abscess, and that I need 10 days of 1800mg of amoxicillin called in... And they will... Without an appointment. Probably because I don't ever ask for pain pills!
  11. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Believe me when difficult child was at his worst and never got a cavity, I was pretty annoyed.
    He had no consequence from not brushing other than me nagging him. As he got older, I keep saying "no one will kiss you if your teeth are funky looking and smelling". I think it matters more.
    He is better but he missed getting braces because I wouldn't pay for them only to watch him not take care of them. Oh well.
    Hopefully your difficult child will start to care if girls notice him and he will brush.
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Natural consequence are the best! I've been waiting for them to kick in with my difficult child who practically never brushes his teeth. He has yet to have a cavity. However, like Fran's difficult child, looks like mine will miss out on braces. A few years ago they told us he needs them but they also said if he didn't brush regularly it wasn't worth it. difficult child says he wants them but we told him first we had to see consistent brushing on his part. Hasn't happened yet.
  13. compassion

    compassion Member

    I have said and done: I will pay you rather than the dentist if no cavities. :) This has worked with son but not rally with difficult child who has zero impulsive control.
    I try to have things be HER choices.
    difficult child, however, really does not connect consequences and actions like most people do. It is part of her illness.
    I set boundaries on how much I can/will do without resentment. Like right now, she is very bored, I will buy her a movie pass vs. handing her the money.
    I choose my battles majorally and try to keep the focus on my own self/reactions as much as possible.