I knew it was bound to happen...(long)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mandy, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    difficult child went into a major rage last night, and I just need help figuring out if I did something wrong.:(

    I saw it coming this week so I feel like I should have been more prepared. difficult child has not been sleeping very much at all so matter what i try so I could tell his behavior had been deteriorating this week. His gluten free diet had been doing wonders and we had not had a full blown out of control rage in about a month. Well last night I put on a Christmas show for them to watch and let them know TV time would be over shortly after the show. When the show was over difficult child asked to watched his favorite channel, Noggin so I told him as long as he laid down in bed he could watch it for a few minutes. As soon as I left the room he was jumping up and down and bothering his brother again so i went in and turned it off. That sent him into a full blown rage. I could see him storming down the hallway with a wild look on his face so i knew immeadiately he would probably get violent. I gave the baby to my husband and carried difficult child back into his room.

    He started kicking, hitting, so I used a safe hold to try to get him under control. While I am holding him somehow he bit me, scratched my arm pretty deep, pinched me, and then ripped my shirt. I couldnt beleive how much strength he had because I am no little woman:confused: I finally had to let him go because I couldnt hold him anymore while he was raging so I put him down and walked out of the room so I could just hold the door shut and let him get it out. I got my finger smashed in this process from him chucking a toy at me while I was closing the door. Well he proceded to try to turn the TV back on while he was screaming so i went back in to take out the sattelite receiver. I think that is where I went wrong... He was holding the receiver so tightly and hitting me while I was trying to unscrew it from the TV that it took me a good 3 minutes just to get it unplugged. Finally I am standing at his door in tears so my husband comes to take over and let me retreat for a minute. He starts screaming he is bleeding and needs a bandaid so we let him out to take a look. He has cuts on both hands pretty good where he was gripping the receiver so hard to try to get it away from me. I take him in the bathroom to try to talk it out because he is finally starting to calm down a little. I got him to lay on the couch for awhile and after abt. 15 min he just looks at me again and says... "I want my tv back". I told him that isnt an option and we are all going to bed. I finally got him to lay down with me, and he stayed awake for another good 45min in the dark.

    Sorry, this is so long but I wanted you to know all the details of the rage so hopefully you can give me some advice as to what to do next time. He is so out of control during his rages that no amount us talking to him even gets through. This lasted abt. 45 min so I think i was wrong in thinking they lasted for hours... they just feel like it. I don't know where to draw the line between dicipline and pacifying him??? I bought some melatonin to try tonight because if he continues without sleep he will just keep getting worse. We have went through these cycles before. I could only buy 3mg so I plan on cutting them in half to see how they work. Any advice on this would also be great!

    Today I am exhausted, sad, hopeless, helpless, and just feel defeated that I can't "fix" this. I know he doesnt feel good after his rages, and our whole family just feels broken....

    Thank you if you read all of this
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No advice- just ((HUGS))...have you read The Explosive Child? I'm not sure it could help diffuse a situation that has gotten to that point- I just thought maybe it could help prevent things from going that far sometimes.
  3. Mayapple5

    Mayapple5 New Member

    been there done that and it does seem like hours! I can't hold ours difficult child any more and my husband even has trouble, she is taller now and oh, so strong! I was told gently sit on them, face down. Because then they can't spit at you or bite you. I know it pains you to see that they have hurt themselves and you feel somehow you are to blame, you can't convince them it was their fault! Maybe you can at least look at it this way...once a month isn't so bad! But when it happens it sure makes up for all the "little" ones that haven't happened. huh? I'm sorry I don't have any advice either, but a book was recommended to me this week by a counselor who is going to be working with us, it's called "Beyond Consequences" by Heather Forbes.

    Our difficult child is adopted and has attachment problems. She never got a healthy first year of love and attention, being tossed from one foster home to another, not knowing where she belonged and now we have a whole lot of problems to deal with so a book titled "The Connected Child" was also recommended.

    I don't know if either of these might help you or not but I sure can sympathize with you and give you lots of hugs and know that you have come to the right place for love and support!
  4. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    These are feelings. You are not hopeless, helpless or defeated. You can't "fix" this. There isn't anything to fix. All you can do is move forward. Get some rest yourself. Sounds like you really need it. Seek the help of professionals that can assit you. I have no idea what to do with my son anymore either. I often feel like giving up but instead I use that same energy to say that As long as I have breath in my body, I will NOT give up on this child. He needs me.

    ((((Hugs)))) Hope today is better for you.
  5. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    I just want to say thank you for responding!! I will check out those books for sure, and I have read the Explosive Child. I didnt think abt. holding him face down which I will definitly do from now on. He will be 5 in April but is in the 97% for height and 91% for his weight so he is more like a 6yr old in size which ***** when he is totally out of control. I get scared thinking abt. what we will do the older he gets...
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Just a reminder that we are not professionals here and do not recommend any specific type of restraint on the site. We strongly encourage you to seek the face-to-face advice of a mental health professional to determine whether you should be restraining your child, and if so, what type of hold is safest to use on your child.
  7. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    I understand your position as a moderator but I just have to say..

    Unfortunatly I have went to a mental health professional and still have to wait until January to get any answers. In the meantime I can't have my difficult child throwing things throughout the house, screaming, hitting, kicking, and putting my other children in danger. Our psychiatric knows everything abt. him and evidently didnt seem to think it warrented her working a little faster to get things moving (sorry that is my sarcastic anger coming out).

    I am not meaning to offend, but I am just plain tired today and I am just trying to do my best with the resources I have so far.
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Fightingforcole, I was specifically referring to another poster making the suggestion that you should restrain your child by holding him face down. I would hate to see any child on this site hurt needlessly, and unfortunately it can happen if you use the wrong kind of hold. My comment was meant to protect your child.

    I can certainly understand your frustration in not getting help as quickly as you need it. Many of us here have walked in your shoes. It can take a long time to get the right diagnosis, the right interventions put into place, the right school accommodations and services set up. And meanwhile, the child and his family suffers.

    I have a few suggestions for you in response to the episode that occurred last night. I hope you understand that I offer these thoughts to help your family weather the storm until you can get the professional help you need and not as criticism for how you handled things.

    If I want my kids to settle down while watching a few more minutes of a TV show, I either lie between them so they don't interact or I put them in separate rooms to settle down. That removes the temptation to bother each other.

    If my child starts acting up during a TV show, I give him a warning that if it continues, I will turn the TV off. Simply turning it off mid-show without that warning will elicit a very vigorous response.

    We have identified safe places for our children to go to when they rage. These places have no stimulating activities (like TV) or things that can be broken, but rather have calming activities like soft pillows to punch or throw or stuffed animals to cuddle. You might want to work with your difficult child to set up a safe place for him to go to when he needs to calm down.

    I'm sorry you're struggling so. Hang in there.
  9. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Thank you for the suggestions Smallworld. It is hard because we have a lot of land... small house:( So we are limited as to where we can put him when he rages. I try really hard to give him many warnings first so we don't have a rage, but sometimes when he is tired I don't think it matters because he will NOT compromise in any way and he seems to get stuck on one subject.

    I thought waiting a month just to get an appointment was going to be torture and the thought of going through another month with no diagnosis or help just makes me want to cry.

    I am sure everyone here can relate that "when its good, it's good, and when it's bad... it's really really bad."

    Again thank you for all the suggestions so far!
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Owie! So sorry about your finger.

    As soon as I left the room he was jumping up and down and bothering his brother again so i went in and turned it off. That sent him into a full blown rage.

    No transition. That's what I see here.

    My son takes things literally, but when he's not given an exact time, he will make up his own time. You said "for a few minutes." That does not mean to him what it means to you. His concept of time is very different, especially when he is doing something enjoyable, if he is like my difficult child. You need to set a timer. A timer will take you and your voice out of the equation.

    Also, I wouldn't dare put a TV in my son's room with-his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I keep it in the living room, where it is the "family TV." Once something is in his room, he thinks he owns it and it just adds to his sense of entitlement and his addiction, and increases battles. You have to create an atmosphere of being in control.

    I would not have fought him for the controller. Well, yes, I would have :) a year ago. But I know not to do that now. It makes things worse. Sometimes I can stand there and have a stare-down, but since you said your son was escalating all week, even a stare-down for the controller wouldn't have worked. You have to walk away and tell him he has one minute. Then you come back and say, thirty seconds. It has to be calm, calm, calm, or it will increase his anxiety.

    Whenever I see my son getting out of control with-his controller, I wait until he is out of the house to take it away. While he's at school is the best time. Then I wait until he gets home and tell him, calmly. The first few times, he had meltdowns, but now he knows how the system works and he's much, much better.

    Mayapple, I've never heard of holding kids face down. I've only heard of the seated hold, where you sit behind the kid with-your legs wrapped around them, and your arms crossed in front of them, and make sure your head is back far enough so they can't head-butt you. I've accidentally had my difficult child on the floor, face down, but only when he was older, and only because he squirmed out of the traditional hold. I'd worry about his back, since we're bigger and weigh more (can you tell my husband is a chiro? :) )

    At any rate, I would strip the room of the TV for several days and have him earn back privileges. And again, I would not allow the TV in his room. Just in my humble opinion.

    You can tell his brother, in front of him, that you will make a special time for him to sit with-you and do something special, just the two of you. These kids learn that life will never be fair, and if you make the gesture to make it up to them, they really appeciate it.
  11. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    Are you in my house? OMG, that's so similar to how difficult child rages here too. We've gotten so much better in the last few years because she's gotten help with- coping skills thru school SW's. She does have a tv in her room, but she didn't have that until last year when she's able to better understand the rules. She's lost it a few times but has earned it back. It was easier for us to give her a tv than to listen to the kids fighting and her going into full blown rage over who watches what. Ya know?

    I also use the "bear hug" with- legs and arms around her when she gets violent. That way she can't get near enough to an appendage to bite it. (But that's what WE do. I'll follow smallworld's exampe and not give a recommendation for you to do that.)

    And if you want to read on, some suggestions on how we ward off a possible event:

    *I have timers that are set so difficult child knows the limits
    *I give many warnings before I act because I know if I don't it means trouble
    *check lists and charts so everything is in writing (chores, to do lists etc)
    *warnings about how much time left before tv goes off so she's forewarned
    *she's old enough now that I can tell her I'll TIVO her show to ward off problems
    *she hasn't had a bedroom door for about 6 years (since she pulled it off the wall)
    *REWARD REWARD REWARD. we've found that she is VERY productive when rewarded or told "good job", "thank you for helping (even when it was minimal)" and "wow"'d at all the artwork and school work she wants to show off.

    I certainly understand how much this kind of thing takes out of you. It is very exhausting, kinda like always walking on egg shells!
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I want to go over this with you, but it's late at night here after a very tiring day.

    A quick summary - smallworld touched on this, the need to not just step in and take over; that is what sets them off. And while our main aim as parents isn't necessarily just to keep them calm, I HAVE found that if I want difficult child 3 to learn from an encounter, then having him rage is not the way to do it. Once he begins to rage, any chance of a positive outcome or a lesson learned is gone. If anything, it sets us back because he gets righteously indignant and is far less likely to see any other point of view but his own.

    I also would handle it by giving warnings. The worst thing I can do, is to shut things off. I have threatened to, I have even said, "Do you want me to shut off the power to the house?" But a VERY important part of how to make Collaborative Problem Solving work, is to not only involve the child in the management process, but to also build his confidence in me, that I won't take away his power.

    It must never be a power struggle. Once it becomes one, you set the stage for oppositional behaviour. And as our kids get bigger, they are more likely to win. and they must never win. Better to not engage, than to engage and lose. Besides, our kids are not so distracted as we are, we are generally multitasking and juggling a lot of things in the air at the same time, whereas kids like our difficult children are able to focus intensely on exactly what THEY want, and so if/when we engage, we are up against a far more intensely single-minded purpose. It's very hard to win against tat.

    What works better, is to slowly turn that single-minded purpose back onto the right tracks, so it becomes the driving force for the child's own self-control.

    It can be done, and frankly, the more inclined a child is to be oppositional, the more effective that child can be at self-control, once he feels confident that you and he are on the same side.

    Once you can teach this, then any other person who also allows him some self-control will also see cooperation. However, anyone who is still trying the "Because I'm the adult, you're the child, and because I said so," is going to receive an even bigger dose of opposition. At least in our experience.

    It's not a cure, it's simply a better way to manage and slowly work towards good social skills. It varies depending on WHY our kid is a difficult child, but in general this does work.

    I would have also suggested, since you have space outside, that when difficult child needs to cool off tat you send him outside instead of to his room; but while that may be perfectly acceptable here in Australia, it probably isn't if you're in the full grip of a cold winter! still, when it IS possible it could be a better alternative.

    I'll put my thinking cap on while I sleep and check in in the morning.

  13. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Last night went much better thank goodness!! Unfortunatly if I take his TV out then that is the only privelege we do have to take away that he cares about. We have stripped his room of every single toy before and he could have cared less. We got a V-tech Vsmile from my mother so they can start some learning games and they did well with it last night. We did set a timer so both of them had a turn and difficult child did better than easy child with that. lol

    This was the hold I was trying to use:D I just evidently wasnt very good at it, or he was way to slick on getting out of it!!

    I also gave difficult child 1.5mg of the melatonin before we go went our nightly routine for bed and he fell alseep in about 45min instead of hours!!

    I do know that i screwed up and it went more into a power struggle with difficult child, but I am new at this whole new way of thinking and I know I am bound to make a few mistakes.This is completly different than how I parent(ed) easy child. We had always punishment & rewards with easy child and difficult child could care less most of the time about either.

    Thank you so much for all your suggestions and I am so glad to have other parents that understand!!!:D This site has been a blessing for my sanity. lol
  14. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    :faint:As young as your difficult child is, you can probably count on a lot of difficult behaviors over the holidays. I don't mean this to horrify you (!) but so you can hopefully anticipate the likely meltdowns and handle with caution.

    I've done things wrong a lot of times, but in looking at your situation, I would have let one parent take the baby, and then try and negotiate with difficult child and definitely not put a hand on him unless it was a matter of safety. (Few preschool age difficult children can turn off in the middle of their favorite show!) And at the point where he went back and turned the tv on he was already in rage mode so I would have left him there to calm down for a bit and then a little later quietly offer a juice or snack.

    You almost never win by forcing your hand with a young difficult child in a rage. They don't learn the lesson when they're so upset so shoot for keeping him calm instead. I know it goes against your mother's grain to give in but you'll need to think of him making progress at a different pace. Think a stew that simmers long and slow vs. fast food.
  15. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    SRL~ That is a really good point about the holiday's! I am trying to arrange things differently this year so he is not out too late or has too many activities in one day. I notice if he has to sit for any period of time or gets too bored he tends to really act out. So we just decided to skip a few traditions with extended family to help us all out.

    I am learning everyday and I was mad at myself because I(we) had been doing so well with making sure to handle him differently.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Mandy, you said, "I do know that i screwed up and it went more into a power struggle with difficult child, but I am new at this whole new way of thinking and I know I am bound to make a few mistakes.This is completly different than how I parent(ed) easy child. We had always punishment & rewards with easy child and difficult child could care less most of the time about either."

    Of course it happens, especially in the adaptation process. Don't beat yourself up over it, just learn form it yourself and move on. This takes time, for everybody.

    SRL is right about the holidays and ANY change in routine, for that matter. You need to try to plan ahead, build in "escape hatches" for everybody, try to encourage him to let you know when he's needing to take time out.

    Time out shouldn't be for punishment necessarily; it's for taking a break, literally. With my older kids, I learned to send them to their rooms for being naughty. Then I found to my surprise, my kids would, in the middle of a fight with me (or a sibling) run out of the room and head to their room! They had put themselves in time out, not for punishment but for refuge.

    Unfortunately, I couldn't do this with difficult child 3. He was too single-minded to be successfully sent to his room. I tried the punishment thing, I tried physically carrying him to his room but he would come right back out again. I couldn't shut the door because by then difficult child 1 had accumulated so much stuff, the door wouldn't shut. We also stopped shutting doors when we had a failure in the door latches in our house and kids would be on one side of a door with the latch broken so the door wouldn't open. Our house is like Fort Knox, you can't get into it under those circumstances without breaking the door.

    Anyway, we no longer send him to his room, or even try to. Our main tactic these days is partly give way,and partly use logic and reason.

    A big help here, is to look inside the kid to find the anxiety within. A lot of problem behaviours that are anxiety-driven and I've found that we do much better if I don't react to it. difficult child 3 can rage at me about something, and I just talk gently to him to settle him down. For example, on the train heading in to the city, he will get anxious that we're getting lost, that we're on the wrong train, that we have to change trains and should be up and standing in the vestibule of the train several stations before the one we have to get out at. He will try to push his way onto the train as soon as the doors open, when really we have to let people get off first, to make room for us. He will begin panicking, worried that people will still be getting off and the train doors will shut ready to go again before we get a chance to get on.
    Pushing onto the train is rude and upset people. I COULD scold him for rudeness; I'm sure a lot of people would applaud. But it wouldn't achieve a darn thing, because it's NOT primarily rudeness; rudeness is just a side effect, a result. We have to deal with the initial problem, which is anxiety.
    So I prepare - as the train comes in I point out the station staff whose job it is to ensure people get on and off safely. They can see all the people waiting. I show difficult child 3 that some people aren't standing forward on the platform, they're sitting reading the paper, leaning against a wall, showing no interest in the approaching train. This is because it's not their train, they're waiting. There is a big difference in how people look, when they're waiting for another train, or wanting to catch this one.
    On every train there is a guard, his job is to make sure that the driver doesn't leave too soon, but also to make sure that people don't waste time. He watches to make sure people are getting on and off safely. The guard will see tat we're waiting to et on his train but loads of people are getting off; he will make sure the driver waits to give us time. If he doesn't, we can complain to the station staff and they will fix it for us. But I have never needed to complain yet, in all my years.
    So difficult child 3 is more prepared to wait patiently. But as the train comes in and people are getting off quickly, and the people on the platform surge forward, difficult child 3 starts to panic again. "There are too many people! We'll never get on the train!"
    I tell him, "It's OK, a lot of people are getting off here, and every person that gets off is making room for one person to get on."
    difficult child 3's voice can get shrill, it can get angry, people listening in think he's shouting at me and angry with me, but that's not it at all.

    Once we're on the train I tell him, "See? We managed it. We are now on the train to... and the next stop will be... We will have X more stops before we get to our destination."

    He needs to know, in order to not feel so anxious. He learns more when he's calmer, he learns more when he has a success. And even if he was upset for a bit, if we successfully navigated a problem and we made it onto our train, then it's a success.

    You will make more mistakes. We all do. Don't beat yourself up, just pick up and go on.

    With the holidays, try to keep an eye on him to make sure he has available to him:

    1) Food he will eat, when he is hungry. Preferably before he gets too hungry; some kids, boys especially, difficult children even more so, get frantic when they get hungry and act as if they are about to starve to death. They cannot be reasoned with, barely even spoken to, until they have eaten.

    2) Somewhere to sleep if he is tired, or just an opportunity to go sit somewhere quiet by himself where he won't be disturbed. Being around a lot of other people, especially if they are people he doesn't often spend a lot of time around, is very tiring. even if he is having fun, he is going to get tired more easily. A tired kid is far less reasonable.

    3) Quiet activity organised for after the evening meal. Try to avoid anything too noisy or too active. Especially try to avoid games (or movies) which have a lot of tension in them, it can heighten anxiety at a time when he needs to be calming himself for sleep.

    4) For car trips, especially long car trips, we used to keep at least one seat between two kids where possible. We have even resorted to barriers of cardboard between them, when they were younger and being difficult. A cardboard barrier stops physical attack. We found as they got older we did better with quilts and pillows. The kids sleep better on a strange bed if they have their own pillow, which also provides something to sleep on (or relax on) during the trip. We keep in the car, bottles of water (we have a cardboard box full of water bottles which we refill at the next stop), healthy snacks/food for meals (we stop and eat on the road sometimes, or just hand food around sometimes), spare coats/blankets for kids who are cold or who are getting sunburnt through the car windows, sunscreen, insect repellant and a small hand towel hanging on each door for kids to use to clean themselves after eating food on the road. A packet of wet wipes for the little darlings who just HAVE to keep taking the sweets out of their mouths to see what colour it is now... you get the picture.
    Also, always have handy some sort of toy or activity to keep the kids occupied. Bored kids will hassle each other. A much younger difficult child will REALLY annoy an older sibling he admires, in order to get ANY sort of reaction. To break this habit try to head it off before it happens by producing some activity. For instance, we play a form of Spotto in the car, with different rules for older kids. Try to tailor the rules for each child's ability level, so that each has a fairly equal chance of winning. Or you can sing songs in the car. We got a lot of tapes to play, with songs the kids liked and could sing along with.

    Choose your battles. Sometimes there's not much to be gained by getting cross at kids (especially the ones who keep taking the sweets out of their mouths to check them out). They will get the message when they keep finding sticky patches on their things. A reminder is of course OK, but you can give reminders without having to sound cross.

    Think about a lot of what you say to your child. Try to say what has to be said, in a friendly tone. Use "please" and "thank you" when you talk to your child, to model its use for them.

    Catch your children out being good and praise them. Be honest with your praise. For example, in a long car trip you could say, "difficult child, you've been very good on this trip. Thank you for being so quiet and being good."
    I know some kids will use this to then misbehave - if that happens, don't change tack. Also, don't say anything like, "Now you've spoilt your good record" because he hasn't. FOR THAT PERIOD OF TIME WHEN YOU SPOKE, he was good. Then is then. Now is now. You COULD say, "You were good before, I really valued that. I will be glad when you can do it again."
    Also try to think of other reasons to misbehave - how long since the last toilet stop, for example? Or is he hungry? Sometimes you haven't got a lot of choice, you could be miles from anywhere with no pit stop in sight. Then you just have to improvise, be patient and encouraging. He may be whinging, "I'm hungry!" over and over, don't let it get to you. Instead say, "I'm hungry too. Let's check the map and see how far we have to go before we can find somewhere that has food." You can then watch signs, or mile posts, or estimate from the car speedometer how much closer you're getting to that destination. Or if you have some food and the kids are hungry, stop and feed them. You will find the trip much more pleasant and you are greatly reducing the risk of further meltdowns. Or you could have a sweep, to see who gets the closest time to the proposed pit stop.

    And when your boys are fighting, separate them. This punishes both boys, including the one who seemed to be copping the worst of it. Because no matter how they complain, they DO enjoy the interaction at some level.

    I remember my mother telling me about this. She had said when she was a teenager, "My children will never misbehave, because when they do, I will send one to the front yard and the other to the back yard."
    Which she did. But what she found, was the kids would sneak around to the side gate dividing front yard from back yard, and conspire through the fence palings about what a mean mother they had!

    "Explosive Child" methods - use them on all your kids, including the PCs. They will come to value the self-determination this offers.

    There are ways, and there are ways. You can still be a controlling, strict parent if you feel you need to be, but you need to know when to take a step back and watch instead. Always keep in mind your ultimate goal - for your children to be independent, happy, functioning, productive members of society. By loving them, supporting them, praising them, encouraging them you will have a much greater chance of success than if you scrutinise, criticise, punish, chastise, ostracise.

    You are not a bad parent if you don't punish. And frankly, most transgressions bring their own punishment. Natural consequences will work very well, probably more effectively. You're not the one inflicting punishment (which, to a lot of kids, seems less like punishment and more like revenge). They are being taught that when they do something antisocial, nobody wants to be near them or to spend time with them. They then learn that they have to make it right again.

    A kid who offends the neighbour by being rude, shouldn't be sent to his room; instead, he should be sat down with pen and paper and made to write an apology. Frankly, it's a nastier punishment from the child's point of view and it FITS THE CRIME. It's natural consequences. The child may not have meant to be rude; doesn't matter. You can even be sympathetic, but point out that we all say things we shouldn't sometimes, because often people speak without thinking. That doesn't mean you didn't hurt someone. And if you hurt someone, you should apologise. A written apology means even more.

    Natural consequences - the child doesn't come when called to go have his bath. As a result, the bath will be cold. Natural consequences. Or the child doesn't come to the dinner table when called - OK, dinner will be cold. He can heat it up in the microwave oven, but it takes time and it can be fiddly. OK, let him heat it up. It's still a little inconvenient.

    difficult child 3 sometimes asks me to help him with his dinner, while I am eating mine. I tell him that I am eating my dinner because I came when I was called. He has to either wait for me to finish, because it's not fair to me that my meal be interrupted because he did the wrong thing, or he has to try to do it for himself. Or find someone else to help. Being rude to people doesn't make them want to help you.
    Sometimes you need to just stand back and wait. If you make a big fuss about something, they may dig their heels in stupidly and make things worse. For example, a kid rushing out to play in the snow - he rushes out without putting on a coat. You COULD stand in his way and say, "You're not to go outside without a coat, mister!" and risk a meltdown and a showdown. If he goes out NOW without a coat and feels cold, pride won't let him back inside until he's got pneumonia.

    But if instead you say, "Do you want your red coat or your blue one?" you have given him choice. Or maybe he gets out the door before getting on a coat at all. If you didn't make a fuss about it, he will be back inside as soon as he feels cold. He doesn't have any reason not to.

    This is actually much gentler on you, than constantly riding them. The punishments, the loss of privileges - I don't remove privileges unless I can find a way to link it to the "crime".
    When difficult child 3 was very little and LOVED to use our big family computer, he would be punished for computer transgressions with being banned from using it. We didn't ban ALL computers, just the main one. For example, difficult child 3 learned to bypass our password protection by crashing the computer and removing the password option on restart. He was 3. For doing that, he was banned from the big computer for a week.
    But he had to be warned first - "Do that again and you're off the computer for a week." You can't make punishments retrospective. Always ensure you have justice in the equation.

    Think about it. It does all come down to common sense and compassion, which means that after a while it becomes second nature, and that is about the time your child begins to see you as an ally, not as the enemy.

  17. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Thanks Marg for all that good advice! I will definitly be using some of it.lol