"The Kid's Game"--ODD strategy

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tictoc, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Hi everyone,
    We went to the neuropsychologist today and he suggested we try something called "The Kid's Game" to help with some of Bug's defiance. Basically, set aside 30 minutes a day (or several times a week) and let Bug choose the activity and make the rules (as long as it is safe). Then, the parent is to make no suggestions or corrections (unless aggression and such is involved) and simply let the child direct the activity. The goal is to have more pleasant interactions and to build on that.

    Has anyone tried this?
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Yes, it works for relationship building.

    Noted child psychiatrist Stanley Greenspan calls this "Floortime" in his books and videos. We did this with our kids when they were younger. As they got older, we adapted it to weekly outings -- one-on-one time spent with a parent doing activities of their choosing. Sometimes it's a chat over a drink at Starbucks, a bike ride, a long walk with the dog or a trip to a museum. The point is to let the child have your undivided attention so he has time to share his thoughts and feelings and you have time to understand his world.

    Good luck with it. I hope it makes a difference.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We were not given it as a game, but as a parenting exercise. One parent takes care of the other siblings and one parent spends 30 minutes with the difficult child (we did it with each kid - 1 kid per day, 2 or 3 on sat and sun) doing an activity the difficult child picks that costs no money.

    That rule is so that you don't get into squabbles like how many ice cream scoops or candy bars, and so that you don't end up spending $ you don't have on museums and movies, etc....

    No electronic screens or sounds. Period. This is so that you can focus on each other as much as the activity.

    While you play a game listen to your child. If nothing is being said, don't ask questions. Narrate instead. The narrator in Winnie the Pooh never says anything that Pooh or Rabbit or Eeyore interacts with. Instead, you simply state what he is doing. "Black checker hopped 3 red checkers" without any inflection, good job comments or comments that show another way he could have moved. A simple statement of fact.

    Wiz and I had a blast during these times. Same with the other kids and I. husband had a hard time. He was constantly ready for Wiz to do something embarrassing, inappropriate or dangerous. So he jumped at every little thing, spoke curtly and had several sessions where Wiz stormed off in tears because husband said something critical, or with a tone of voice that sounded like criticism.

    I ended up sending the others to a friend's house and watching husband and Wiz in a session and then having several with them where I modelled what should be happening and guided husband as he tried it. It was hard work for both of them, but it did a LOT to improve their relationship.

    Guys get tied up more in the embarrassing/inappropriate stuff our kids do. Often one small act or outburst can "ruin" an entire day in their minds. husband would say a day was horrible if Wiz cried on the way home after a full day at a kids' museum or if Wiz started yelling at us after a movie because we wouldn't buy more popcorn to take home. That 5 minutes to 30 minutes of problems could mean 10-12 hours or more of great behavior didn't count.

    Working with husband to have him SEE this pattern and then learn to change it was just a hard as teaching Wiz to use appropriate behavior, if not harder.

    That is one thing this "game" is designed to help. It also helps you see what is going on with your child and how he thinks.

    I think that no matter what they call it, this is a big help and a powerful tool.
  4. nodramamama

    nodramamama New Member

    Yep. I did the floor time thing with my foster kids - 10 minutes a day, a couple of times a day, and in my opinion it helped give most of them a little sense of something they could control. My kids were usually respite (under 4), and it was also a great way to get to know and like each other!
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We haven't done this formally, but in general we let difficult child 3 direct activities as long as they don't interfere with other people's rights or safety.

    difficult child 3's therapist also had me using "reward time" with difficult child 3 as an incentive. If he got through a day with no time-outs, then his reward was 15 minutes of my time spent playing a game with him. We did use computer games and therapist was OK with this. We used Mario Party a lot and often banked the time earned so we could have a good game. Mario Party is like an interactive board game, difficult child 3 loved being the one to teach me how it works.

    The important thing her is to allow the child some area of control in his life; a lot of ODD-type symptoms show up because the child feels very much out of control.

  6. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Yes-we did it as part of at home play therapy. I think it was helpful. And while it worked on establishing relationships; it also reinforced some basic rules...and if the rule was broken (being safe, etc ), time was ended. I'm not sure why we stopped...
  7. idohope

    idohope Member

    We also did this (and continue to). It was introduced to us as PCIT (parent child interaction therapy). We were given some specific rules about the type of activity and we told to let the child lead, and to provide positive and reflective comments on what they were doing. "You put the red block on the blue block I like that choice" Our difficult child was a little older when we first tried it. The first day we tried she said "Did that stupid lady tell you this, did you get it off the internet or read it in some dumb parenting book" (Stupid lady=therapist). A couple of days later she was asking us to do it with her. She soon started complimenting me during the play time.

    We had a 3 month period with difficult child last year that was rough. Major tantrums every single day. The PCIT was not an immediate fix, but I think the positive interaction, particularly during this rough time was very important for all of us and helped break the cycle of having every day just be about the tantrum behavior. difficult child is doing much better now, with weekly instead of daily tantrums.
  8. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Thanks for the feedback. We are going to give it a try. Susiestar: It is funny, at our house husband is the one with a much higher threshold for inappropriate behavior. My threshold is probably too low, and his is probably too high.

    Our visit to the neuropsychologist yesterday was very good. For the first time in about 18 months, I felt like, "Hey, maybe this can be okay," which is something my therapist has been trying to drive home for a while. Bug is doing so much better these days. A few blips (hitting, defiance, talking back), which parents of PCs might not see as just blips, but for us it is real progress. He is excelling academically, is thriving socially and even has a best friend, and is generally growing up. He will begin full-day school after winter break and is being tested for the GATE (aka TAG) program next week.

    A year ago all of this seemed impossible. So, I think we are ready for some steps to rebuild our relationship.

  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Two points I wanted to add about this type of relationship building:

    First, PCs benefit as much as difficult children, and in fact, parents should do this activity with PCs because they often get short-changed when difficult children get so much (negative) attention.

    Second, this special time is sacred and should never be taken away because of bad behavior. In fact, children need one-on-one time with their parents especially at times when misbehavior is heightened.