They Just Wont Listen!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by a_demann, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. a_demann

    a_demann New Member

    I am at my witts end. difficult child 1 is driving me nuts, I can't handle it anymore. In desperate need of his neuropsychologist evaluation. so we can figure out whats going on, not sure when thats going to be hopefully I'll be hearing back from the referal office this next week. But what I was writing in about was to find out how everyone else handles their kids when it comes to listening? Seems like all three kids just aren't listening any more. They are constantly breaking the rules, and I'm not sure what to do anymore. Any suggestions??
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Have you read "The Explosive Child" yet? That would be a starting place.

    Even for neurotypical kids, though - and I'm going to assume for now that the two younger ones are neurotypical - there are lots of reasons for "not listening".
    1) Too many rules. One school principal I know reduced the school rules from 20 pages to 3 rules... and went from spending 90% of his time enforcing rules, to spending 10% enforcing rules and the rest was leadership, staff development, etc. Something to think about.

    2) Structure - too much, or too little, doesn't work - and it varies a bit with each child. But... consistency is important even for neurotypical kids, and absolutely vital for difficult child kids.

    3) Parental stress. OK, this is a tough one. You have a difficult child. Of course you're stressed out. But the kids do not understand that. So... you need to find ways to manage your own stress level - you're working on that, I'm sure - things like micro-breaks, and your own therapist if you need that, getting your sleep, etc. Parenting is a tough job at the best of times... and your job is not "the best of times".

    Those are just top-of-the-head things...

    Can you give us some specific examples? Others might see trends etc. and have some insight to share...
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I agree with Insane. You really need to read THE book. If you are correct and your son is AS, figuring out WHY he does some of the things he does will be crucial in trying to correct the behavior. You can't fix a problem if you don't know WHY there is a problem. A diagnosis will only tell you so much. Once I started using the techniques in THE book, which wasn't easy because of difficult child's trouble putting thoughts into words, I learned alot about how he thinks which makes it much easier to correct problem behaviors. With AS, some things are just lost on them because they don't understand exactly what we mean and don't see the relavence to them. This is something that needs to be taught differently than I do with my other son. difficult child just can't learn in the same manner as most other kids including me. They have to make sense to him.

    How long before your neuropsychologist results meeting? At the U, they generally set an appointment to go over the results about 6 weeks after the actual testing. I've been where you are so can totally sympathize with you.
  4. a_demann

    a_demann New Member

    Yes I have the book on order at the library. Bookstore didn't have it either. Do you suggest owning it or could I get enough out of the library book? difficult child 1 has not had his neuropsychologist evaluation yet, wow it can take that long to find out the results?? I just may loose my mind, lol. Can either of you tell me about your rules, like how they are layed out?? What do you focus on? Is there a good way to write the rules out in a way these kids will understand the more easily?
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    For right now? I'd skip the whole concept of "rules". Switch to "expectations". Rules are black-and-white, and that is part of where the problems come from. Expectations are flexible... we expect you to keep your room neat... what exactly does THAT mean? well... that depends on if you're 9 or 6 or 4, and on a few other factors too... but it allows for: rewards for improvement, for example, without actually being where you want them to finally end up.

    Concept from the book: "Kids do well if they can"... Too many adults approach kids with the attitude that "Kids do well if they want to". Which page are you on? Do you see the behavior issues as defiance? or as a cry for help?

    When you have a kid with hidden issues and challenges, its hard. You do NOT know what this kid needs. But if you try to assume that they "can" do all that you expect, then you're going to get the behavior problems. So... in addition to switching your mindset about what the behaviors mean, and reducing the rules, it really helps to decide which 2 or 3 "problems" are actually important right now. Its called "picking your battles". The other stuff... you have to find alternative ways to handle. But you cannot focus on all of it at once - it doesn't work.

    While you're waiting for the neuropsychologist evaluation, do your own research. He's 9 - that's probably grade 4, which is a critical year at school. Hidden learning and other disabilities often show up at this point (not necessarily caught at this point... not necessarily ever caught... but they do show up). Dysgraphia, motor skills, verbal processing, auditory issues, dyscalcula, other things...

    Did we suggest doing a parent report? Its documented (don't remember exact name) under Site Help and Resources - it will help you pull together the details you already know about your son and his issues, and will be useful when you see the neuropsychologist and others.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    As far as the book goes... most of us bought the book, but... sometimes I like to be able to go through at least part of it first and see if a book "fits" our situation or not. So no, its not wrong to start with a library version.

    Be aware that there is another book by the same author, that covers the same material but from a "school" perspective rather than from a "home" perspective. If the library has that one, you might see if you can get it sooner than The Explosive Child. This second book is Lost In School.
  7. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    In my case, I have to be VERY specific when giving a direction and usually have to explain to difficult child WHY I want him to do it. When difficult child does something he shouldn't or doesn't do something he should, the first words out of my mouth (in a nice, calm, inviting tone) are WHY did you do/not do that? That opens the door. If difficult child says "I don't know" then I try to offer "reasons" that would make sense to me, keeping in mind that he isn't TRYING to be difficult. Usually he has a very clear reason that makes sense to him. Without knowing the why, I don't know what to teach him in a manner that addresses his reason. Does that make sense? I agree with Insane. Drop the "rules". If they don't make sense to her, she CAN'T follow them. Personally, I would get a copy of the book for yourself. I have highlighted mine and still refer to it on occasion. My memory isn't as good as it used to be. LOL
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    My girls have one teacher who has narrowed the rules down to one:
    "You can do anything you want as long as it doesn't cause a problem for you or anyone around you."
    I have adopted this as my own house rule. It is brilliant in it's simplicity. And while keeping order, it also teaches awareness and logical thinking.
  9. a_demann

    a_demann New Member

    All good advice thanks. I think I will keep the book "The Explosive Child" on order at the library while I wait to get it from the local book store. Thinking I may want to purchase it so I can refer back to it when needed.
  10. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I would purchase it for was my bible when difficult child was younger.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    We bought both - didn't want to hand out The Explosive Child, because we use it too much... so got Lost In School to share with teachers (and sometimes other parents).
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I like this, Keista. Does it sometimes, though, lead to problems of interpretation - ie what the child's view of not causing a problem is may well be different from the parents'?
  13. a_demann

    a_demann New Member

    Yeah I could see the difficulties of only having this one rule. I know what causes a problem for my son doesn't cause a problem with my girls and vise versa. I would think that it was left open to too much interpretation.
  14. keista

    keista New Member

    Well, if it's a problem for the parents, then it's causing a problem for "someone around them"

    Any problems in interpretation must be met with discussion. Through that discussion is when kids really begin to learn how every single action affects others. Part of the brilliance is that clever kids will spend time trying to think of what kind of "mischief" they can get into without breaking the rule. This takes a lot of thought, and discussion.

    When this first came up, my youngest was 6. Not sure if this would work for younger kids, and also my kids are not full fledged difficult children. DD1 is a easy child/difficult child the other two are mostly easy child with a few difficult child issues. BUT whenever a conflict came up, we applied this one rule. On rare occasion, it made ME stop and realize that what I was asking/expecting was essentially unimportant. It helped ME pick my battles. Also, if it's something that simply annoying me, then it is causing a problem.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is part of the immaturity of many of our kids... they are not aware of how their actions affect others. We must teach them this - which is where the "discussion" comes in. And yes, there has to be some room for negotiation - because sometimes the kids DO have a point. More than once, the problem for us has not been the activity but the location... If you want to do X, you need to do it... in your room, or in the basement, or outside (depending on the activity in question). In otherwords - we can sometimes both get our own way.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There is a wonderful thread in the archives I am going to go get for you but specifically I am going to get a post by a member that is no longer with us. She had quite a way with words and wrote a wonderful piece about house rules. I will be back.
  17. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    The rule is basically good, and the negotiation and interpretation are what we use with J.

    O, however, should be a lawyer.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Others have given great advice but not addressed what I want to.

    Often, when we talk to anyone, we need them to stop doing what tehy were doing and pay attention to us. Even with my PARENTS and GRANDPARENTS there were times I said something and just did not get a response or got a response that made no sense. Or later got in trouble for "not telling them" whatever it was.

    It is even more important NOW to make sure we have the attention of our kids before we speak. We are competing with video games (in my opinion electronic crack), phones, tv's, and all manner of other things. It is perfectly possible to speak to someone for a few minutes, have them nod their heads periodically, think we have communicated and later learn they didn't really even know we were there because they had headphones on and were lost in thought. At least when I was a kid the headphones were the size of earmuffs and my folks generally knew if we were not listening because the book in front of our faces.

    So in order to even BEGIN to communicate, you must have their attention. When Wiz was about five I developed a way to do that - it works with ANY child. I started calling out "chocolate chip cookies" or "chocolate pudding" or some other favorite treat. The first few times I actually gave them the treat I called out. Then I started to insist they listen or do a chore or something and then they would get the treat. But they didn't ALWAYS get the treat. Psychology has shown us that intermittent variable rewards are the most effective way to change behavior. So they got the reward soemtimes, and NOT at the times they expected always.

    No matter what they were doing, calling out a dessert that they liked (we didn't have dessert every night, or even very often) IMMEDIATELY pulled their attention from WHATEVER they were doing. At that point I could get them to really hear what I had to say - at least I had a chance to. with-o "chocolate pudding" I had NO chance because I was far more boring than the tv, video game, book or whatever. A few times in the beginning they tried to argue that it was 'unfair' to say chocolate whatever and not give it to them. I countered with telling them it is unfair of them to ignore me or me to get mad when they are busy and I tell them something and they don't hear it and I still get mad at them. I think I explained that maybe twice. From that point cries of being "unfair" were met with my standard answer ' Life isn't fair. sorry. And no other discussion was entertained - whining got chores to do.

    You DO have to have the item and give it sometimes. But after a few weeks most kids will give you their attention because they MIGHT get the reward. Even difficult children. I have had parents tell me that I was being mean or cruel by getting their hopes up and not giving them the item. I countered wtih the notion that it was a lot more cruel to talk to them, tell them things, then punish them because they had no clue I was talking to them because they were busy doing their own thing.

    The other things that I have to remind myself about getting the kids to listen (and then do what I want/understand what I have said) is that effective communication if achieved when the listener perceives what you want them to perceive, NOT when you have said what you want them to now. Sometimes you have to have them paraphrase what you have said/asked so that you know that they are perceiving what you want them to perceive.
  19. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Often I have found that too many words trigger a problem. It is hard to limit what you respond to when raising kids...especially those who are close in age. Mind you I totally agree with the advice given by other Board family members but for me I found the biggest problem was me. I talked too much. I responded too much. I had to learn to keep it "short and sweet". I realized that even as an adult I "tuned out" when listening to adults who went on and on. The sincerity of a brief response *picking and choosing issues" was the closest to a simple solution. Although I am not a loud person by nature I had to change my mode of parenting. Fewer words. Stifling instincts to call them out on things that really weren't earthshattering. It was not easy but it worked. Good luck in your journey. DDD
  20. a_demann

    a_demann New Member


    Yeah I think I have heard someone else talk about something like this before long time ago. I think I may try it.