Advice Re: Grandson

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by mom_to_3, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    Okay, here's the behavior that I don't know what to do with. All you experienced parents and grandparents, tell me what might help with this.

    Tonight, my husband and I picked our grandson up from daycare, went and grabbed a burger and then headed out to look at a couple of new cars. Everything went well until we sat down to talk to the salesman.

    Our "cherub" :devil: decided that he wasn't getting enough attention and began to push brochures off of the desk, slide down off of his chair onto the floor. Boy I was proud! I picked grandson up and put him back in the chair and told him to sit nicely while we finished talking. I gave him a book to read. As soon as I turned my attention away from him, he began whining loudly... ow,ow,ow, OW, OW, OWEEE, OWEE! You hurt me! OW, OW,etc. I looked over at him and calmly said are you okay? He said yes. I know I didn't hurt him, this was attention getting. As soon as I looked away again, he starting crying, but of course no tears. At first we ignored hoping that it would stop, but of course it did not. Then I looked him in the face and told him that we saw him and we heard him, but that he would need to stay seated and quiet while we tried to conduct business. No go, it just got worse.

    I told our grandson that if he needed to carry on like that, that he could stand outside alone. Would he like that? Yessireee! We were within eye shot of a glass window and door and no one else around out there. So I took him out there and stepped back inside the door. He began to really scream and bang on the glass. Oh My! I opened the door and asked if he was ready to calm down and come inside. Guess what the answer was? No! He wanted to stay out in the hot weather and carry on. What a mess and it did not end until we left. When we got back into our car, he was all sweetness and light. :grrr:

    He tried to engage me in conversation, but I told him that I was so unhappy with his behavior that I did not feel like talking to him and to be quiet. He did. Oh, he also asked for a drink because he was soooo thirsty. I said no. He would not have been THAT thirsty had he not been yelling and carrying on outside in the heat. That was his choice.

    If he were not in CPS care and we had not made a promise not too, I would have given his hiney some attention, but I did not.

    We've got to come up with some way to stop this behavior. I have removed him, I've talked to him, given him something to do, praised the good behavior when it's happening, and put him in time out. That time out brought out the beast in him! We can't really do that in public. I couldn't even bribe him to behave. I didn't try this time, but did before.

    This behavior appears to be attention seeking. A familiar trait that we noticed in his mother. If you don't do it their way, YOU WILL PAY in some way. One of the reasons we had soo much trouble while she grew up. I don't believe that children should have that kind of power over adults, nor should we allow it. I'm not allowing it, but it is happening and as of now, I am powerless to stop it. It needs to stop. HELP! What in the world do you call this kind of behavior?
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I don't have much advice. I think you are handling it pretty well. At least you address the behaviors. So MANY parents/grandparents just smile and don't even OFFER to pick up after their kids.

    Maybe if you post on the early childhood forum they would have ideas? OR on general forum even.

    Are you aware there are modifications to the Explosive Child stuff posted on the early childhood forum? I think maybe they would help?

    hugs, I know this is stressful. I think your attitude about the kids not having this power is important.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well Keyana is only two and doesnt act out to that extent but when she starts getting fidgety somewhere that isnt exactly kid friendly, we tag team. One of us will take her to walk around and look at something for awhile and then if that person is needed again, the other will take her. Sometimes business is just boring for kids.
  4. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    Car shopping isn't kid friendly. But we all have to do things that aren't fun for us and even a 4 yr. old should be able to sit at a table, act respectable and read a book for a bit. It certainly wasn't like he was totally ignored.

    Tag teaming is a great idea in alot of situations. This was not one of them. There was no way I was going to walk away from Mr. Impulsive (husband) :) while trying to deal for a car. Or maybe I should have, since the car will be for me.;)

    Grrrrrr! We've got to get this under control.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Did Grandpa address any of these behaviors? It may have been his attention little difficult child was trying to get? One word from Grandpa may have helped?

    The other day when I was at the beach, a little guy from Sunday School recognized me. He is a sweet pre-schooler with the energy of a preschooler. I smile everytime I see him. After awhile, the people he was with (a mom with 4 kids - 3 swimmers and one infant) started gathering the kids out of the water. Little K was not in the water until each was being brought out one by one (they would not come out when called so mom was going in to get them starting with the youngest). Little K decided to join the oldest girl who recognizing she had help decided not to go in. They gave each other strength in the not listening department. She even told Little K "Don't listen to her". Little K was very good at that. The two of them were just doing their best to stay in the water. I wanted so much to jump in and help because I think some of the behavior on Little K's end was showing off for me. But I did not know these people (Little K's other grandmother is who brings him to Sunday School) so did not feel like I should. Besides, the mom did do a very good job in finally getting everyone out of the lake and into the car; she did not appear overly anxious or frustrated. I wonder if I did say something it would have helped since Little K did seem to be acting up for my benefit? If the mom became exasperated and appear not to be able to get him out of the water, I may have introduced myself and asked if I could help.

    :dont_know: This was the question of the day for my kids - what do you do in the moment when they are just not listening? What is going on in their world to make them look for attention when they should be able to sit still for 10 - 15 minutes? What do you do?

    I'm not much help am I? Just wondering if Grandpa was the unknowing target for the attention seeking? I know how boys love their grandpas.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Sounds to me like you handled it as well as could have been managed in that situation. Especially since you haven't had him in your care for long.

    Aubrey is 2. But I can tell you she wouldn't have been able to handle sitting there.

    Darrin is 4 and is usually good as gold. (notice the "usually") But I don't know how he'd have handled it. Some days he'd be a little gentleman, others a whiney 4 yr old complete with a major case of the fidgets.

    My kids went everywhere with me. Unfortuantely I do mean that literally. This included difficult children. I can't recall a single incident when my kids acted up in public. Some of this was luck. Some was skill at redirection and diversion. And some due to swift and consistant consequences.

    If it was something boring we were doing I'd bring something along to amuse them that was quiet and fun. Reminds me of sitting in a surgery waiting room for 8 hrs with a 9 month old, a almost 4 yr old, and a 6 yr old. (EEK!) I still think it amazing I got thru that one without Travis melting down. I'm not bragging. I just didn't have a choice.

    I think your reaction to his behavior in the car was perfect. Even young kids can get that what they do is going to effect how others are going to want to interact with them.

    When I take Aubrey out and she has a hissy.......and she does cuz Mom and Dad are still at a loss at dealing with it......... I simply ignore her if redirection or diversion doesn't work. I am one of those who never give in. If people in the store dont' like it, tough cookies for them. I don't take kids to the parking lot. lol Nichole and boyfriend get so upset because Aubrey stopped pulling it on me. Same with Darrin, who also caught on fast.

    Grandson is testing his boundries with you and Grandpa. He's learning the ropes of what you will and won't tolerate. Best thing I ever did parent wise was to come up with plans on how to handle certain situations. My kids will tell you that it is rare for them to catch me off guard. lol

    With Grandson's reaction to your disapproval in the car, you may not find this behavior sticking around long.

  7. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Rob was very antsy at 4. There's no way he could have sat still during the interaction at the car dealership.

    Exdh and I also tag-teamed. In this case where your presence with the salesman was imperative, Mr. Impulsive ;) would have been the one elected to take grandson outside. Once outside, we'd literally try to exercise the heebie jeebies out of Rob...have him run to the end of the block and back...or the end of the sidewalk and back. We'd make a game of it if we could. These sojourns outside only lasted 5 minutes or so, so Grandpa wouldn't have missed much in the negotiations, grandson would get the attention he wanted, and hopefully some of his restlessness would have been burned off.

    I really like the idea of taking things along for him to play with while you're busy. Those little battery operated hand games saved our lives for the longest time as they would keep Rob entertained for hours. I forget what they're called but you probably know and I expect they make them for little kids now.

    Paper and crayons would work on occasion, too.

    And some days absolutely nothing would work so we'd just have to leave. :919Mad:

    I'm sure that a lot of grandson's behavior is normal for the age and a lot of it is learned and a lot of it is testing. And I'm also sure that you will figure out what works.

    Hugs for your frustration.

  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    We always had to "exercise" the energy out, like Suz said.
    Special (for visits to new places) toys were kept high in the closet inbetween uses so it was a treat to get to play with

    One thing I believe may be a factor is that he is four years old and evidently (reference to CPS) has experienced some degree in instability in his young life. Each family parents in a different way. If he was exposed to his Mom's way and then
    a foster family way etc. then he would likely be a bit nervous
    or unsure of what to expect when with grandparents. Four is
    not a very sophisticated age ;) and a child with a past of neglect or abuse would be expected to be apprehensive and
    emotionally needy.

    Your choices after the visit sound wise. He probably got the message that you did not "love his choices", were claiming your own peace and quiet..but loved him. Good job. DDD
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Tag teaming sounds like a good idea, and also, I think in another post you mentioned husband giving him the "man growl" being effective. Perhaps Grandpa could have excused himself for a moment and given him the growl?

    I agree, things like car-shopping isn't for the best of children. It would be hard for most any kid to sit still in that environment. I also agree that his reaction was over the top. Wish I had some better advice for you.
  10. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I don't know about you guys, but buying a car here is a day long event. I'm a difficult child a third of the way through it. Last car I bought I told the sales guy...if you can't get it done in an hour, I'm not interested. Poor guy. He looked at me with weepy eyes. He knew it couldn't be done.

    So, I walked.

    Bringing kids to things like this is a certain disaster. It's too long, they don't get your attention as you are doing financial things, etc. I know that some times you don't have any choice, but I'd try to do my best not to include them in the process.

  11. Star*

    Star* call 911

    He's 4 -

    In the eyes of what he must have had to live through in order to survive and his ill-conceived self-taught coping skills? He's going to need therapy NOW and for a long time to help you help him change the way his brain got mapped out so that he could survive.

    In short - the honeymoon is over - and he's testing boundaries. He's four - before he was not the center of ANYONES world. He was basically abandoned. After a while he's gotten used to it. Then along comes some people that pay him ALL the adult attention, love and kindness ANYONE could possibly give. AND HE WAS a was new, it was exciting to be someone's somebody - and when you went into the car dealer - to him it was - There's Mom, There's Dad - here is ME and now there is an adult to share MY MY MY attention - NOOOOOO SIR - I'm not loosing that - and BAM - he did attention seeking skills the best he knew how to do for a 4 year old, and it worked didn't it?

    It got YOU to talk to him. It got YOU to go outside ALONE with him - he didn't care if it was hot - HE wanted YOUR attention. And the OW OW OW - ? Probably the ONLY time his father paid any attention to him at all is when he yelled OW -

    He's clever for 4 - and he dug into "HIS" 4 year old bag of tricks to figure out quickly HOW to slant that much wanted attention BACK to him.

    You, me, and the whole adult world look at this through the eyes of people who have grown and learned coping skills. To us - it's more of a treat NOT to be the center of attention and addoration - and we KNOW how to shift the focus somewhere else to get that achieved. At 4 - he's got a smaller bag of tricks, and they aren't GOOD tricks - they are survival mode, basic raw emotion type tricks. A good therapist can work with him NOW to start to help him learn HOW to get attention the proper way. How to KEEP that love that he's SO afraid of loosing without being a difficult child. And we would think - that after a little 4 year life of NOT having it so great - that once he gets to a home where there are lights, love, it's clean, food, bathing, attention, toys, clean clothes, rules, boundaries - and people who have HIS best interest first that THIS would be enough to make ANYONE at ANY age - go "Huh - I love this - I'm not going to do anything to mess this up."

    But he can't. He's a damaged child, with poor coping skills - that he's taught himself and he needs IMVHO professional direction and you will too - to assist him in what is NORMAL, GOOD, and will make you all happy.

    I'm not pro-pills at his age, but I'm pro-play therapy and CBT therapy if he's going to have a chance. Other wise his foundation for learning EVERYTHING you want to teach him that is good - is going to be built on a foundation of what he learned from his Mother and Father - AND he's got to deal with even at 4 - that his Mom and Dad are very damaged and can't raise him. So his life IS going to be different than other kids and he's got that to deal with as well and may never say anything but at 4 - he knows. How do you help him deal with it? Again - therapist?

    I think telling him you're not happy with his behavior is excellent. I think giving him examples of HOW he should behave the next time you go out is great.

    I think having a place for him to go to get the built up anger and pent up rage he's certainly suffered from - would be very good idea.

    Even angels need guidance Mom -

  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have long wondered WHY car dealerships are set up to be so uncomfortable for kids?? Cause all of them are. They may have a small play area, but they really do not have a child-friendly atmosphere. And many of them here advertise aimed at families, they have "events" for families, and kids are totally uncomfortable there!!! We even were in one where the staff refused to let kids shows be on the giant screen tv (literally as tall as I am - and I am 5'0" short!). It wasn't because other customers - there was only 1 other customer, and it was a single parent with a child in tow!!! Even with them joining in my request, it was denied!! While husband really wanted a car they had, I wouldn't stay, and told him if he bought one from them he could live in it!! (I was pi$$ed off, as you can imagine!).

    I strongly suggest reading the book "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood". It is excellent. They also have a book on L&L for kids with special needs which might be helpful to read.

    Explosive Child is great, but this book has other tools which are also very helpful.

    I think Star expressed things beautifully. She probably nailed what was going on in his head. Something to think about, in my opinion.


  13. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I know why car dealerships are uncomfortable for kids. Think about it - what a better distraction for parents than uncomfortable kids? How can you really hear what the paper work is saying if your attention is on your kid? How many people willingly sign what they really didn't take time to understand just because, "Yes, that is the car I want - I will do anything for it - where do I sign so I can get my kid out of here before I blow my top?"

    So then you get home and find out that you signed up for a five (5) year warranty program that added a hundred dollars to the price of the car that you had previously decided not to do. That you agreed to pay for who knows what else that sales people can find to increase the car price (plus their commission). They want to give you a loaded vehicle but they also want you to pay for the extras.

    They can smell a weak link when they see one. When we buy cars, I let my husband do the dealing and the dealer is always trying to turn the decisions to me. NOPE - I know husband has more knowledge in this - whatever he says I will go with. I will speak up if there is something I don't agree with or want more info on - otherwise, deal with husband.

    A distracted parent is a salesperson's dream sale.
  14. uncheerleader

    uncheerleader Pollyanna

    I read your post and a few other replies. Here's what I think. For whatever it's worth.:tongue:

    I am a childcare teacher (over 20 years exp.) I have found that 4 year olds need to know what's going on and what's happening next.

    Next time, tell him in the morning what is going to happen after school. Have him participate in finding something to do when he's there. ie, gameboy, coloring book or other small toy to bring. Promise a reward for after, if his behavior is good, like maybe getting ice cream afterwards or some stickers for a sticker book.

    Don't be afraid to ask the advice of his childcare teachers or the center director. They know him probably as well as you do and may have some great ideas for you!!

    It sounds like you did all the right things.

    Better luck next time!!