For those with older kids (well, older than 8)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by wintak, May 14, 2011.

  1. wintak

    wintak New Member

    My difficult child has a diagnosis of mood disorder and severe ADHD which may or may not be correct. If we go on that, though...

    I've been told how to change my parenting style (which I'm sick to death of hearing) and how to literally walk AROUND this child. I'm supposed to get down to his level (but far enough away in case he gets physical) and have open palms to show I'm not aggressive.
    Use a soft, soothing voice
    Don't use "cooperation busters" (lines that do not promote cooperation)
    Use contracts (yeah, have tried those MANY times...they don't work with him)
    Brainstorming a solutions
    positive reinforcement
    no negativity
    Model the behaviour I want him to be like

    I've DONE all this and he's still beligerant (and after being on this site, I'm finding there may be other issues but), defiant as all can be (even told me today I can't ground him because he doesn't like to be grounded....even his 5 year old sister said...Uhm, SHE's the parent, I'm pretty sure she can ground you), mouthy etc.

    I keep asking WHEN is HE going to have to be responsible for changing. When he was 4, it was...oh, he's still young
    at 5..same thing
    at 6, well, he'll grow out of it
    at 7, well, he's still small
    at 8, I"m like HELLO...

    So for those who have older kids who have issues...when DO they have to start learning that in the REAL world, people aren't going to get down to their level, speak to them nicely, that people are going to say NO and tell them what to do and such?

    As I've posted before, I have 2 others who are the opposite end of him and they have needs, too.

  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Have you read The Explosive Child by Ross Greene? I think it will help you understand the mindset of these kids and help you work with your child rather than against him. He's not likely going to change except in baby steps, and it's going to take a lot of time, maturity and intervention (the type of intervention is determined by the disorder).

    By the way, welcome! You've landed in a great place for support and understanding.
  3. wintak

    wintak New Member

    Yes, I that when he was THREE. Maybe I should revisit it. But we do try those techniques...that's the one that says you give them choices and if they don't make a choice, then you make it for them, right? Like you may whine in the other room, or stay in the kitchen and help me cook. Then if the kid doesn't do either, you tell them now their choice is to whine in the other room or go do XYZ...did I Remember that book correctly? I've read so freakin many that it's hard to keep them straight
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    My youngest difficult child is 9. He functions at about a 5-6tear old level, but we do see improvement. But it is darn slow. However, prior to explosive child methods, there was no improvement at all.
    The other thing is consistency. If he's getting one style at home, one at school, and one at a sitter, it's gonna take longer.
    I wish we had a magic wand.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Nope, that actually backfires really bad with our kids.

    TEC is about baskets (A, B, C). A basket issues are the ones that the Adults declare how it will be and these rules are enforced 100% of the time, even if the child has a huge meltdown. But there are very, very few A basket behaviors. For your son, I'd recommend two: 1. Take your medications. 2. No hitting

    C basket behaviors are when the child declares how it will be. This will be everything else at first. If he goes to school in a punk nightgown and orange rainboots, fine. If he refuses to eat dinner, fine.

    B basket behaviors are the ones you are currently working on. There is a whole structure to how you choose what to put in the B basket and how to come up with the plan to address it (actually his book Lost At School does a much better job of explaining the steps of Collabarative Problem Solving.)

    Please do not focus on what he needs to be doing when he is an adult. His reality is that, right now, he is constantly supervised by either you, his teacher, or a caregiver you have chosen. Everyone can adjust their behavior to match his needs. Only then can he be taught the skills he needs to move forward.

    Tigger was very wild at 8. He could clear a classroom with his meltdowns. He was definant. He hit us (not 'attacked' us, just random shoves or jabs).

    He is now 12. He is doing amazingly well. At 8, if it was time to leave the park, I would have to phsyically drag him to the car and sometimes need to call another adult to help. At 10, I would have to walk next to him each step to get him there. At 12, he can go to the park with his sister or a few (carefully chosen) friends and play for hours without a problem (I can see the park from our yard, he's less than a football field away from me.) When I call him to come home, he tells me he doesn't want to, that he is not going to, etc -- all while he walks home as requested (it is just his way of saying he'd rather keep playing). I'm hoping by 14, he just complies without the negative talk lol.

    Just a couple of questions..... you know any birth family medical/developmental history?
    ....has he had a full neuropsychologist evaluation? or an autism evaluation? has his behavior changed since you started the Concerta? since the Risperdal?
    ....has he ever tried other medications? does he do if the schedule has to change unexpectedly?
    ....what is he best at?
    ....what is the #1 behavior you would change if you had a magic wand?

    You are not alone. Many of us have walked this path. Welcome to the board.
  6. wintak

    wintak New Member

    ok, I remember that one, too. And we did that in IOP (intensive outpt therapy 3x a week for 5 weeks). He won't participate in it though. We get the buckets going and then he wants to change stuff and gets ****** about the things that he can't change and it goes downhill from there.

    Just a couple of questions..... you know any birth family medical/developmental history? no, nothing, nada
    ....has he had a full neuropsychologist evaluation? or an autism evaluation? neither, but many ppl on the board recommend it. has his behavior changed since you started the Concerta? since the Risperdal? I personally don't see a change, but the school does in his focus. He has stopped his aggression towards me but I'm not sure it's the drugs or the threat that he gets to go to the hospital if he hurts someone in the house.
    ....has he ever tried other medications? no does he do if the schedule has to change unexpectedly? he seems ok
    ....what is he best at? annoying the **** out of me and his siblings.
    ....what is the #1 behavior you would change if you had a magic wand? gosh, only one? what is told/asked of you the first time, no arguments. Is that too much to ask?

    maybe the book I was thinking about was the Difficult Child. Like I said, I've read so so so many of them. Tried them all.
  7. seriously

    seriously New Member

    So a couple of thoughts for you. As much as I was amused by your reply that annoying you was what he was best at - is that really the only answer you have for that question? If so, I understand your frustration but it will help you both if you can find something - anything - to see about him that is positive or hopeful.

    For example, your answer suggests that your child is very persistent. Know that one well here. Got a kid with thought disorder issues and when he believes what he believes you cannot stop him from pursuing his goal with an intensity that will drive us all up the wall.

    Well persistence is actually a very positive trait - when focused on an appropriate goal or objective. Without persistence you can't graduate from college, plant a garden, get through a marriage. So, can you see that aspect of his annoying behavior as potentially positive?

    You sound very angry. You have worked hard to try to make things better and really expected those things would have worked by now. It sounds like you feel you have done your part and he's "not" doing his.

    He is 8. He is not 28. Those expectations may be reasonable if you are working with an adult or older teen with normal brain function.

    They are not reasonable expectations for an 8 year old.

    Part of what you are longing for is likely to come as he grows up and matures. His brain is very immature. Big parts of his brain are not yet connected to each other. They don't work in tandem to help him make sense of the world the way you do or to enable him to decide what to do/not do in the way a normal adult brain can do. Is part of this unwillingness or anger or intentional behavior on his part? Probably. Is there more going on than that - absolutely yes.

    Unfortunately, the reality is that he is not, for whatever reason, going to meet your expectations for adult behavior until he's an adult - maybe not until his 20's or later. You are, understandably, frustrated and disappointed. I'm sorry life has handed you lemons. It isn't fair. Definitely not fair.

    I found that I had two choices - to continue to be angry and perhaps even bitter and blame my child for being who he is. Or to find some way to accept that fact and move on. Unless you are prepared to abandon this child and risk serious questions about your ability to parent your other children too, those are your choices too.

    Do you have any respite? Are you a single parent? If you don't have any respite right now, is there any resource that you can turn to for help with that. Having a break may be all that you need to recover some balance and perspective = I don't know. For some people, having a therapist to talk to, especially one who has worked with difficult kids, can be very helpful.

    Every time you engage in argument with him - you are teaching him to argue. So try not to get into that place or stop it as soon as you realize that you are arguing with an 8 year old.

    I've had a hard time learning this one but if you aren't already doing it try it and see if it helps - use very few words and lots of action.

    If he's making a scene in the car, stop the car and refuse to go on until he stops. Keep a book in the car and start reading. This drives my kids crazy and they stop within 3 or 4 minutes. You can give one warning and then you must do it. Even if it makes you late or is frustrating.If he gets violent in the car you stop and wait it out without engaging verbally. If you don't think it's going to stop and it's dangerous call 911 and ask for help. If he's making threats and you think he may become violent - drive to the nearest police station and tell him to get out of the car with you because you are going to get the police to transport him to the hospital. That one worked really, really well with my son. He absolutely knew I would do it. And not only did he stop - he said you're right I do need to go to the hospital and he let me drive him there. He was 14 - your son is probably not old enough to expect that to happen but you never know.

    If he's arguing you just stand there and wait until he stops. Then you say what his choices are - you can brush your teeth before your bath or after your bath. Which will it be? If he doesn't choose then you say, OK you are going to brush your teeth after your bath. In the tub with you. And then you stand there silently until he does it. You want to be the wall - very low key emotional content, concerned but distant works well if you can do it. You are going to out-persist him and you can do it - you're a grown up and he's a kid. You have to decide to do it and not let yourself get impatient with the fact that he needs you to do this right now.

    If he attacks you physically you must go and call the police for help. They can restrain him and transport him to the hospital or ER for you and that's what needs to happen in my opinion.

    It's so hard because you have younger children that require your help and care. Having a difficult older child means they get less of your attention and exposure to aggression and problem behaviors. If you can give them time with grandparents, extended family or friends who can help balance that - do it. And send the 8 yo to them so you have time with your younger kids if possible. Even if it's only a couple hours - do it.

    Another thing is that the other children are watching you. When you calmly stand up to him, when you stop the car, when you call the cops, when you drive to the police station, you are sending your other children a message too. You are helping them understand that YOU are in control of things, that this is what you will do if THEY get out of line, that violence is never acceptable. And this will reassure them and help them feel secure with you and at home even when things are bad. At least that's been my experience.

    I hope you don't feel criticized by my reply. I am NOT criticizing you. Just trying to offer some distance from the problem and share the things that have helped me personally.

    Last edited: May 15, 2011
  8. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Like PJ said, LEE is KEY

    LEE = low expressed emotion

    Ignore the langauage and just 'be the wall'. He can't argue if you won't engage. The hard part of this is that it takes an immense amount of time at the beginning. Tigger's record is over 9 hours of refusing to take his medications. I just refused to engage him or turn on the tv or even feed him until he got took his medications . Once he took his medications, I put food on the table quickly cause I knew he had to be starving and then he got to play and watch tv cause there is not punishment for just refusal to comply other than the 'stop the world' of doing nothing until he complies. A bad time now is about 20 minutes but compliance is usually good.

    It is 100% worth putting the time and energy into it when he is 8, because the sooner you get him to start complying, the better for all of you.

    WRT to Basket B, if he is still arguing after an agreement, then the agreement is flawed. Start with small things and go from there. A therapist trained in CPS can be a huge help.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    We got nowhere until we took the above "but" out of our thinking.
    Do whatever it takes to find the other issues... its worth it - when the kid, and you, and (hopefully) the school, understand where the kid is coming from and what he needs... the behaviors (now ingrained and habitual) can be changed... in our experience: " but not before getting to the bottom of the real issues".

    (at least, its the key for that proportion of kids where there are other issues... they tell me there are a few who don't, and I'm not a professional, so...)