for those with difficult child and easy child's...discipline question

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by wintak, May 24, 2011.

  1. wintak

    wintak New Member

    Those with difficult child's and easy child's know that discipline doesn't work the same for both types of kids. How do you all go about disciplining different ways and how do you explain the "unfairness" that either set feels at being disciplined differently?

    Or am I the only one that has to deal with difficult child differently in terms of discipline?
  2. LookingForAnswers

    LookingForAnswers New Member

    You are not alone Wintak! That is always a struggle in our home. We really can't parent or discipline our difficult child like our easy child. The consequences don't work the same for each child so we have to do what works for that child. difficult child always thinks things aren't "fair". He will even get mad if we give him a consequence for something he did and we don't give easy child the same consequence (and easy child didn't do anything wrong). He will say "That's not fair! easy child can blah blah blah but I can't!" I will just tell him that it's not fair to punish easy child for something difficult child did. He doesn't like it....but he will get over it! : ) difficult child always feels like easy child "never gets in trouble" but he does get in trouble...just not all the time like difficult child. On the flip side of that easy child feels like difficult child gets all the attention. It is definitely a lose lose situation and I don't think that this is an issue that will ever change!
  3. erbaledge

    erbaledge New Member

    Wintak - good luck! And another good thread/question, hopefully someone has some tips.

    As for my family, gfg16 still cry's the 'it's not fair' card on a daily basis; I've kind of assumed that this will end when she's eighteen/living on her own.

    To help thwart that as best as I can, I do my very best to consequence consistently for all three kids. There's even a pretty good age difference, gfg16, ds13, and dd10.
    (by the way, just realized my typo in my last post, my difficult child is now 16, will fix it and my siggy)

    I just recently started another new level system and a reward system. Everyone has the same target goals and same discipline/consequence/rewards available. One thing the therapist had questioned, she thought my oldest should have a later bedtime - eh, not in my opinion, not if said oldest child wants fairness. :) Plus it just makes it easier overall.

    (edit: I may have failed to clarify why I think this is a good thread/question - because I would love to know how to make it work, hence why I'm trying this new system, that is working for one kid well, one kiddo okay, and gfg16 can't tell a difference)
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Once upon a time, long long ago, when I was very young, I heard about a family with two boys, very close in age - and polar opposites. The boys became teenagers, and got their drivers licenses. And then the REAL differences came out.

    Boy 1: give him a curfew and a car, and he was home on time, but give him a curfew and no car, and he was late.
    Boy 2: give him a curfew and a car, and he was late, but give him a curfew and no car, and he was home on time.

    So, boy 2 complains that its "no fair" that HE doesn't get the car.
    Discipline didn't work. At all. Not punishments, not rewards. Because it wasn't until 10 or 20 years later that the rest of the picture came to light...

    The real issue? The group rules for their friends were different:
    Boy 1's group: whoever has the car, sets the curfew, and everyone else goes home in time for driver to get home on time.
    Boy 2's group: whoever has the car, takes everyone else home to meet their curfew times, and goes home last.

    I guess, from the stories, these would both have been difficult children, but back then, both were considered "normal".

    So, the problem is as old as the hills. If anyone finds the magic formula, they will become very rich. The rest of us... just keep trying.

    In our house, we've thrown "discipline" out the window (<gasp!>), including the rule book and the punishments and the rewards. We have one set of "expectations" that apply to EVERY member of the household. Negative behaviour on all sides is dropping fast. We're getting way more compliance, with way less hassle. And it isn't supposed to work this way. So, go figure!
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    See, I would have figured out Insane's scenario pretty quickly because I would just badger the boys with questions until I found the pattern, but that's me.

    I'm not huge on discipline, but when it's necessary, it doesn't always fit the crime but it fits the person. DD1 LOVES to play outside, so If I have to ground her, she loses outdoor privileges first. DD2 LOVES computer, so guess what she loses first? Son I haven't had to discipline in years, but I think it would be the computer which might just kill him because it's his passion. If I has a "blanket" punishment, it wouldn't be effective for all of them. Discipline has to be targeted to the individual. Even if the house were full of PCs the consequences should be different because they all are different. Look at carreer criminals. Going to jail is no big deal anymore, actually makes life easier - free room and board. If they're not afraid of the punishment, why would they be afraid of committing the crime?

    Regarding the "no fair" thing. I recall saying that more than once as a kid for various reasons (from a kid's perspective it sounds like a great argument because kids are always taught to "play fair") My Dad would always bellow back, "Life's NOT fair!" Once I became an adult, a parent, I fully became aware of the reality of this statement. I decided to elaborate it for my own kids.

    That's right. Life is not fair. If it were, all the nice ppl would be rich and good looking, and the bad ppl would be ugly and broke.

    Yeah, while writing it out I realized that exact wording might not work in homes with difficult children and pcs, but maybe someone can come come up with another variation.

    I know some "progressive" teachers have been posting signs that say "Fair is what you need" My kids' first gifted class teacher tried using this,and all I can say is that I think it's the STUPIDEST thing I ever heard. She did try explaining it, and for some scenarios you can make it work, but it won't fit in EVERY scenario when a kid shouts "That's not fair"
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Fair is what you need? HUH?

    My kids would have come back with "No, the Fair is the last week in September!" LOL.

    My kids never thought life was fair or that we treated them exactly the same. Still dont. Oh well.
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I always told my big boys (easy child 1 and difficult child 1 who are 11 months apart in age) - "when you treat me exactly the same? I'll treat you two exactly the same."
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    Shari, that's a good one!
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Couple of things...

    When Onyxx says, "That's not FAIR!" I respond with a quote from the movie Labyrinth:
    "You say that so often. I wonder what your basis for comparison is."
    ...When she finally saw that part of the movie? She lost it laughing. I don't hear much about fairness from her these days.

    When Onyxx is grounded? She cannot hang out with friends. Jett? Cannot sit inside and watch TV/play video games. MUST go play with friends.

    And... In one case, both kids got the same "punishment": no cooking without adult permission and supervision. Onyxx due to wasting food, and Jett due to making AWFUL messes. Same consequence, different crimes.

    ...And fair? Fair is when the consequence fits the child and/or crime. Fair does NOT mean equal. Never has.

    I don't care if the teachers try to be fair to all the kids in the class. What I do care about is if they treat all children equally. Because NOT ALL CHILDREN ARE EQUAL. It's a fact.
  10. erbaledge

    erbaledge New Member

    Great comeback!
  11. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I did what Shari did. I also explained that being fair does not mean being the same, and that I parented to each of their needs.
  12. wintak

    wintak New Member

    Interesting thread. For the most part difficult child has no consequences because nothing works and I have given up. He cares about nothing so there is nothing I can give or take away that he cares enough about to behave.

    Mainly it's my guilt on doling out the consequences to the easy child's when they test me.
  13. keista

    keista New Member

    I know you've got a tough situation, but please don't give up on the difficult child. I noticed that even if my kids didn't seem to care about losing privileges, their behavior did improve - I reduced their stimulus input. Granted mine are not true difficult children but.....

    As far as your guilt, you need to learn to shed it. All kids need consequences. How guilty will you feel in the future, if because you felt guilty now, you ended up creating difficult children? Each child must be treated to their needs.
  14. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    And in the end? When they're all grown up and better portion of the difficult child and easy child life is behind them? Well, in many families they switch things up a bit---just to keep mom on her toes!

    Seriously, this really happened: all within the time frame of ONE week this past winter, both easy child and difficult child told me, on completely separate occasions, that they each thought the other was my favorite and that I was closer to the other....bahahahaaaaaa. I literally just laughed in their silly mini adult faces.

    My point is that no matter how you parent them, whether the same or differently, kids will always think you are not fair or favoring their sibling, easy child or difficult child. Find a method you are comfortable with and stick to consistent. If that stops working, find another method. You can be honest with them, i.e., easy child cleaned her room so she gets to go to the circus....difficult child didn't clean his room, so he's stuck at home all day....and when difficult child screams that's not fair, ask him what he was supposed to do and make him figure out why you are being fair. I know that's a simplistic analogy, but hopefully you get the idea. It's late and I'm not at my peak...big hugs, don't give up.