"For every 'negative', find 2 positives."

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Sounds good to me.

    This is IHBT's mainline of attack. Reduce the negatives to difficult child and give at least double the amount of positive feedback to him in any given hour/day.

    So, armed with my new plan, I headed out to take difficult child and his dog to the vet for a checkup. Since the dog is difficult child's, and he's proud of it, I took him, thinking it would be good for him.

    Bad idea.

    40 minutes of he!! at the vet later, the only thing positive I could think of during that time was to say "Oh look, you're still breathing!"

    And I was really, really digging to find something positive to say, cause the "don't throw that ball" and "stop dragging that other person's dog away" and "stop poking the dog on the grooming table" and the physical restraint required to make him actually stop these things was the primary focus of that trip (dog's fine - good thing it behaved).

    Seriously. He was so bad the vet rushed us out. Yesterday he ran everyone out of the swimming pool (a public pool - only 2 kids stayed in once he got there). Now, I understand the concept here, but really...when they are in that mode, where do you dig up positives???

    Oh yeah, and in order to reduce negatives, we may have to overlook some things, but not so many that he's not socially acceptable...

    Um, ok...
  2. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    OMG, sorry, that made me laugh. I have SO been there. And really you were probably thinking - you are lucky to be breathing!

    However!!!! This form of therapy really does have an impact. I know, sometimes all you can come up with is, "oh wow, I really like the way you that shirt looks on you"...........or "I like the way you are sitting there silent (for one second)." None the less, it really can shape the way a child behaves, especially difficult children. They feed off of energy. Whatever energy we give them, they will multiply.

    Sending all my cyber strength your way.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    "Oh look, you're still breathing" Who were you referring to? (you or difficult child?)


    I honestly think that statement counts for atleast double under those circumstances. Sounds like you handled it well and kept everyone breathing! :)
  4. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Our therapist suggested we say things like, "You're SO smart. You always know how to make your brother cry when you want. But...I wonder, do you know how to make him smile?"

    You may be able to use his activity level as a compliment, like, "You're SO strong, and SO fast. You really know how to get the dog excited when you want to. But, I wonder...do you know how to calm him when he's scared?"

    Another thing we compliment on is Doing the Right Thing after screwing up. (My difficult child can be really impulsive.) So, we might say, "I'm really proud of you for apologizing after you said that," or even, "I'm really proud that you stopped yourself after that and didn't say anything else inappropriate."

    The trick is not to make it sound demeaning or false. Verrrrry tricky indeed!

    Good luck!
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    We actually started what I refer to as "narrating difficult child's life" when the in-home came last year.

    "Look at you sitting down coloring!" and "Wow its nice how you picked up those socks!" amd anything besides "Good job!" and "Nice work" and the good ol' generics. What's new is the tracking and the 2:1 ratio amd the phrase "not to ignore so much that he's not socially acceptable..." Well, we didn't send him to private school cause we just wanted to spend a lot of money....

    But hey, I'm trying! I'm tracking my negatives and positives and charting what I'm correcting and what I'm ignoring and being a good little student. Just hope her 2:1 plan works.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I'm laughing 'cuz I'm right there with ya!

    I'm not good at charting anything, but I can see what the BT is getting at and it makes sense. I need to try that with the two boys here since there's been a lot of negativity coming out of my mouth on their behalf lately.

    Just curious, how did you go about qualifying for an IHBT? I could sure use one some days!
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I think it will work - just hard in those "modes". I really like what both you and Best I Can are implementing. And like Steely says, sometimes it has to be the smallest thing cause we can't find something bigger. They are very important techniques - ones I think you both knew about but maybe forgot in the frustration of raising a difficult child. I think they will start coming natural for you both soon.

    I would find it most challenging to use in the midst of a negative situation - It is so difficult to be positive when you are so frustrated you could scream. been there done that (well maybe not scream - well, maybe screamed but not in public.)

    I hope I didn't offend with my "Who were you referring to" statement. I do know that was not a funny moment. I just wanted to put a smile on your face. (smiling and laughing to reduce some stress) You really are doing a good job and your input and experiences and strategies are helping me and I bet others also. Now that you have reminded me to do so, I will also try to be more positive with difficult child even if it takes some doing to do so.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I had a hard time with this one. I didn't want to track how many negative things and "bean count" so it was 2 nice to 1 neg. Idiot therapist at the time told Wiz that it should be that ratio. So HE tracked it and would get all bossy and "you said X negatives and 2x-1 positive" so we discontinued that. We simply focused on being better "bosses" - we have all had bad bosses and know how miserable they made us, so we worked to be good bosses of Wiz and the other kids. But that was us. and our bean counting Wiz. We did learn that he did not register any positives we said to him, only ones we said to other people while he was there. So we would fake phone calls to people to say nice things.

    Good luck with this!
  9. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    "I'm doubley - positive that there's a negative on it's way".

    Did I do it right?


  10. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    LOL! OK, so maybe you can't be positive in all situations!

    We tried this with difficult child way back when and it worked for a while. We don't track it anymore but we try to let him know whenever we see good. We have to be careful to be subtle and not too positive, though, because it backfires.

    difficult child had a great year in school. At the last teacher conferences everyone came up to us telling us how proud they were of him for the great year he'd been having. The next day, difficult child had his first meltdown of the year and probably one of the worst. He overturned a teacher's desk and kicked in file cabinets. No one could figure out why but I wasn't surprised - it has happened so often in the past after he gets tons of compliments he just crashes.

    I think it's a great approach, though, because difficult children hear so much negative throughout the day, we have to make a real effort to give them some positive.

  11. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    :dont_know:I have a hard time with this one for difficult child I, but now at least I can praise him about the job. Praise him for not breaking probation latley.
  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is the honest truth.

    If I praised difficult child for anything, she would undo it within days of that praise. I mean that exact thing I mentioned as a positive would now become a negative.

    I had to stop giving praise all together. I figured out she is completely uncomfortable with it. Hates to hear how smart she is, how pretty she is, etc.

    Go figure!
    I will never understand her.
  13. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Oh gosh, Shari, I'm just laughing over your "well, you're breathing" thought.... because some days the best I would have been able to come up with is "you do have pretty blue eyes". :rofl:

    I think this is a good strategy when you're dealing with a easy child. I know that around the time thank you left for his first Residential Treatment Center (RTC), I was so entrenched in difficult child parenting that the other kids got mostly negative comments from me, which was so unfair. They respond *so* much better to positive reinforcement and once I got into that mind set, things got a whole lot better around here.

    But with thank you? Some days there just *weren't* any positives, truly, and I didn't feel like praising him for something he had no control of (his stunning blue eyes) was appropriate at all. I think our kids are smart enough to know when we're being condescending and that sets up a whole trust issue thing, in my humble opinion.

    Compounding the problem with finding something to praise thank you for was the fact that any positive reinforcement whatsoever provoked a negative response.... ARGH! I've only recently (last 3 years or so) finally gotten out of cheerleader mode. Neutrality is the only way to go with him (even when I called him about ACT scores, I really did try to keep it more on an informational level with him, not big yee-haws). Hopefully your kiddo will seek out that praise!

    It's a balancing act - socially acceptable behaviors, praise, limiting the negatives, and ignoring stuff. I hope IHBT can offer some additional ideas as she/he gets to know difficult child better and see him in action.

    Hang in there!
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We also had the problem with any praise resulting in difficult child undoing whatever it was we praised him about. We had to really work to get him to the point where people can say good things about him with-o having him fall apart into horrible behaviors the next day (or next hour!).

    Part of the problem was difficult child felt he couldn't continue to live up to whatever standard the praise set. Praise set up pressure in his mind to continue the good behavior. He didn't think he could, so he turned it into a negative ASAP. We were blessed to have a good therapist here, and then a good therapist at the psychiatric hospital to help all of us with this.

    It really is a good strategy with pcs, but difficult children don't work like pcs.
  15. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    No offense taken. Sometimes in these situations I am so exasperated I can barely breathe myelf, other times, I almost find it laughable. This was one of the laughable moments...simply because the in-home had said this 2:1 thing, and there was NOTHING to comment on that was positive.

    We have a county resource agency that we were put in touch with by the DevPed. They provide the in-home. I also just found out there is a service thru his Psychiatrist's office that is an intensified case management program, much like IHBT. We will use that when IHBT runs out if we still need it (imagine we will).

    I'm all for IHBT and trying her plan, but I have my doubts.