Support vs. Punishment....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by misk, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. misk

    misk New Member

    Just wondering how people feel about the punishment vs. support issue that I am sure we all face.

    I currently can not get DEX to agree to medications (though I am trying) and in the meantime our psychiatric. said we need to be supportive and nurturing with the difficult child so that he doesn't feel bad for being the way he is. I try VERY hard to keep cool and implement reasonable consequences.

    Today he got kicked out of school again (only for today, I think) and it is difficult to know how to deal with him when I get home. On one hand he already feels REALLY bad about what happened and I don't want to continually dwell on the negative (because that is 98% of the time!!) but at the same time I don't want him thinking that is okay with me that these things happen..

  2. happymomof2

    happymomof2 New Member

    My son was diagnosed with ADHD at 8 years old. From the beginning my husband and I told him that would not be tolerated for as an excuse. He would still be disciplined for his bad behavior.

    I don't feel comfortable punishing a child for something he has absolutely no control over. But with mine he still knows right from wrong and that he has choices and there is consequences.
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    You need to have another meeting with the school. He needs a better BIP, they should not be sending him home from school that often. How many days/partial days has he been sent home/suspended already this year??
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    If you haven't read The Explosive Child, I'd suggest you do so. It really is a great help.

    Whenever possible, let natural consequences be the rule.

    I'm not sure what is accomplished by sending a 6 YO home from school except give out the message that the way to get out of schoolwork is to act out. What would happen if you refused or were unable to pick him up? It seems like the school could be a bit more creative in consequences.

    My daughter did get sent home from school a time or two. Since school was for learning, there was no tv, computer, play when she was sent home. She would do workbooks and chores while school was in session (with recess breaks as appropriate). Once school was out for the day, she would be given any classwork the teacher sent home and her homework to do. Once all work was done, she was free to play.

    If her misbehavior caused harm to another, she would write letter(s) of apology to the injured party.
  5. misk

    misk New Member

    That is exactly what I think - sending him home gets him what he wants even if it is not pleasant at home - to him it is better than school!

    The problem today was that they had to ask the kids to leave class because they felt he was a threat (though he didn't actually throw anything this time). The kids are getting pretty scared of his tantrums and that is understandably causing more problems for the school - I would imagine some parents are getting involved.

    When he is home I make him do school workbooks so that he can't watch tv or play games, but that's fine with him. And I will have him write a letter to his teacher.

    I think what pains me the most is that he knows right from wrong, and he is sorry after the fact, but none of that seems to be able to stop him at the's sad...

    I sort of feel that when the day is done, that I need to settle back in and try to enjoy our evening, otherwise it is a total disaster, but I worry that he ends up feeling that it's okay to act that way.

    I don't know........I'm feeling a bit lost!
  6. shaile

    shaile New Member


    This is a constant feeling for me as well. Trying to pick out the difficult child acts from the "typical boy" "typical kid" and "typical manipulative or just doesn't care" behaviors. It is enough to make any parents head swim.

    Within the last couple of weeks..difficult child has had 5 school related incidents, and been referred to the principals office 3 of those times for ISS. Today they are having their Christmas party and he is spending it in the office. It is very sad but after the initial "mommy heart syndrome"..I have to sit and take serious the thoughts of what it is we are attempting to prevent difficult child life from turning out like if we allow or skirt by these behavioral issues with to soft of a punishment.

    While I may feel the ache each and ever time..The world is not going to give difficult child a break or extra time to learn and get it right. There are no excuses here, and we haunt him right down to the tiniest of things that would seamingly appear innocent but they always grow to something bigger. Example: Standing rule here is "If it is not yours then don't touch it". It doesn't matter if it is a piece of lent on the floor or a empty toilet paper role because it leads right into "well that wasn't mine and you let me as I'm trying to calmly deal with why he now has some other kids cell phone or shoes. It also goes for touching of other kids (especially at school)..Is that boy/girl yours? Then you can't touch them. Was that rock or stick yours? Then you can't touch it. Was that world globe you zinged at the back of the teachers head yours? Then you can't touch it.

    You see where I'm going with this. It is taxing on us and irks him off to always hear that phrase and I do often follow up with telling him that it is because we love and care for him that we go out of our way to help remind him because we and him both know he has trouble doing that.

    It probably will always be a internal struggle emotionally for you with these things. What did help me some in figuring them out was to stop looking at just single events of occurrence and start looking at patterns and it helped me to figure out more clearly where behavior might end up or likely to..which in turn helped determine the amount of discipline to apply to the individual accounts.

    Good Luck to you and yours

  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I hope that if you decide that medications is the way to go that you will be able to get your ex on board with that. medications aren't always the answer, but if they are not given consistently as prescribed, they don't treat the symptoms the way that they should, and the results are not necessarily accurate or easy to trace.

    I don't know that I agree that kids with ADHD have absolutely no control over their behavior. It's certain that controlling their behavior is much more difficult. I hope that there is a possibility that with therapy and behavioral modification, and where helpful, medication, there's a chance that they can at least better control their behavior than without. There has to be some hope for them.

    I guess that makes me more in favor or support and 'natural consequences' than punishment.
  8. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I've always handled suspensions much the same way as meowbunny does. I also believe that natural consequences is one of the best ways for difficult children to learn from their mistakes.

    I also agree that you need a better BIP. Unfortunately, if your difficult child is constantly sent home, he is learning an inappropriate way of getting out of school when he doesn't want to be there.

    Finally, if my difficult children are disciplined in school, I don't discipline them when they get home. I believe that it would be giving them double consequences for their poor choices.

    I'm sorry you're going through this. I hope you and DEX can get on the same page as far as what is best for your difficult child. It is very hard to get difficult children's behavior to improve unless both parents work together. (I know this from personal experience.) WFEN
  9. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    How many full days has your son missed this year? How many times has he been sent home? Depending upon your answer, it may be time to work with the school on a better plan.

    I totally understand where you are here. I was in the same place a little over four years ago. The classroom was cleared on numerous occasions; not because difficult child was threatening anyone, but because his actions could be a threat to the other children. It is absolutely heartbreaking as a parent to know that other students look at your child in fear.

    My ex, commonly referred to as bonehead, was also against medications and against the adhd diagnosis. However, I persisted and insisted that he accompany me to a therapy appointment and speak with the therapist himself. He accompanied me to the appointment and came out agreeing with the diagnosis and the addition of medications. Now, his school issues came after the addition of medications, so medications are not a guarantee that the behaviors will instantly end.

    Finding the correct medications in the correct amount, therapy, behavior modification, self awareness, The Explosive Child, and working hand in hand with his teachers and the administration, all played a part in lessening the frequency and severity of difficult child's behaviors.

    In regards to discipline, I always had, and continue to have, a very simple rule. If he has been given consequences for his behavior at school, then the punishment is done. If, however, he invades someone's personal space (i.e., getting in someone's face, hitting, kicking, bumping, etc.) then all bets are off. The school can punish and so will I. Everything that has a power switch (radio, tv, gameboy, etc.) is taken away for as long as I feel the infraction deserves. If I have to go and pick him up from school, he must do reading or schoolwork until the same time that the other kids would be getting out of school.

    He knows these consequences and following them without deviation is very important.

    I certainly hope you can talk ex into going along to the next doctor appointment. For some reason bonehead believe the therapists before he would trust me!!!!

  10. misk

    misk New Member

    Thanks Sharon - Ironically, my Bonehead (that is one of the nicer terms) is actually going with me on Friday to see the psychiatric. It took 2 years to get him to agree to counselling and then when the psychiatrist said medications, all of a sudden counselling seemed like a bright idea to him. I hear you on that one!

    Now that the psychiatric may say medications, at least I have his ear....funny..he NEVER has to leave work to go and get difficult child but (and I have a better job!!).

    Thanks for all the advice from everyone on the not continuing punishment at home (unless the act is severe). He gets home and breaks down about everyone hating him, and no one believing him. I wish he believed that if he had some good days the responses to him would change but I am not even sure that I believe that anymore.
  11. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    You might ask that the school call ex next time difficult child needs to come home from school. Give him the chance to hear it all first hand when he goes to pick him up. Work out an "every-other" type of deal with him. You go one time, he goes the next. Your job is just as important to your livelihood as his.

    Glad he's going on Friday.

  12. OneDayataTime

    OneDayataTime New Member

    I'm dealing with a similar issue with my 7 year old. His doctor just changed his diagnosis from bipolar to ADHD/ODD. He'll rant and rave and be TOTALLY rude and out of control. But I feel so torn as to what to do. He does get a "time away" to calm down, but I let him watch t.v.---knowing that his behavior is out of his conrol? Or not, since he was acting in an unacceptable, unkind way. Hmmm... I know I didn't really answer your question for advice/ideas....but I can say I understand your dilemma! How tough it is. Have you read the Explosive Child book I'm seeing so much about?
  13. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    One thing that stuck out was your son saying no one believed him. Sadly, he may be right on target on that one. It is very common for our kids to be picked on to the breaking point. The other kids think it is funny when the odd child gets in trouble. This happened time after time with my daughter. Like yours, mine was a thrower -- up to and including her desk all the way across the room.

    One thing that did help was having her sit by the teacher. Not so much to stop her behavior but to stop the torment by the other kids. This still left her vulnerable at recess and lunch times but at least it stopped the whispered comments, the hitting her chair as the other kids walked by and the like. If she complained, the teacher would not believe it was happening.

    Talk to your son. Try to find out what is happening in class to cause his outbursts. You may discover it is not all his fault even though he needs to learn that his reaction is not acceptable. The one thing I would suggest is that if you get him on medications and you find they do make a difference, get him into a different class if at all possible. It will give him a chance to start over with kids who haven't seen his disruptive behavior (although they may have heard about it).
  14. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    I don't punish my difficult child at home for what happens at school. We talk about it, but he's not punished. If he gets suspended he gets to do schoolwork or read. Nothing else because he wouldn't get to do it at school.

    At every IEP meeting I tell them that I consider a suspension a failure on the part of his BIP and IEP. difficult child is at fault because he made the bad choices, be we need to come up with ways to help him not get to that point again. Usually I request an IEP meeting so we can talk about what to do to prevent suspension next time. After a few of these meetings, they finally became much more proactive and his suspension went down (or maybe they avoided suspensions because they didn't want to meet with me again!).

    Does your difficult child have an IEP? If so, I'd request a meeting every time they suspend him, because the IEP isn't working if he has to miss out on school as a result of his disorder. If he doesn't have an IEP, this is a good argument to convince them he needs one.
  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well this is appropo to what we are dealing with this week. difficult child 2 got a 2-day suspension. He has to do his classwork AND homework. No TV. No video games. I look at it as a sort of time-out from school, but retaining the responsiblities of school.

    He also had an in-house suspension for one day last month. He sat in the corridor next to the principal's office and did his work. No recess. Lunch break only, and a short break in the morning to use the restroom, get a drink, etc. The rest of the time was school work. So that's how I handled it for home.

    I haven't belabored the point of why he's home. He knows why, and it's bad enough he's had to rehash it and endure repetitive lines of questioning by me, school admin, his psychiatrist, his therapist, and finally on Friday the district therapist. But I just explain this is the consequence for the choice he made. End of story.

    For us, the adjustment to medications and the talking-to-death over the subject is getting the message across loud and clear. I don't think this particular incident will ever be repeated by him.