I'm not sure if I'm doing this right.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by butterfly31972, May 19, 2008.

  1. I have noticed myself trying to be very careful about "not" angering my child lately. It is almost the end of the year of school and I am just trying to get him through the end of the year and I am so exhausted with his tantrums.

    I feel that I may be putting things in basket B (Explosive child) that maybe shouldn't be. Such as, today he is standing near the edge of the driveway waiting for the bus and doing it while the bus is pulling around the corner to come in front of my driveway. Now, with my other son, I would pull him back immediately (he is my runner) and no tantrum would ensue but with difficult child I know he would not actually step out in front of the bus so I keep my cool and tell him calmly not to step out there because he'll become a smashed potato. I have found that light humor works for him. If I react, he reacts.

    Now If I reacted and pulled him back myself without giving him the chance to obey himself, etc. he would have thrown down, screamed and kicked me and the poor bus driver and probably had a bad start to his day in school. Which may have spiraled into an office visit before the end of the day.

    By the way, he is 5 and in special needs pre-k.

    I am wondering if I am doing more harm than good by walking on eggshells in the morning trying to keep our mornings as pleasant as possible so as not to disrupt the rest of his day?
    Is this how the baskets in Explosive Child work?

    This mornings behavior at the bus stop is a little over the top for him. He has never done this before so this afternoon I will definitely discuss with him seriously the danger aspects of what he did this morning which will inevitably start his screams. He thinks if he goes into all out scream mode we will let it pass but we just wait for him to stop screaming and talk to him then. His video games will come after the "talk". That usually gets him to listen real quick

    It;sweird how sometimes he can do fine then other times--- kaboom---!
  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    It's not walking on eggshells, it's just preventing the unnecessary explosions. As you said, he's not a runner and you used humor and words to get him to stand back. To me, you did an excellent job! If we can get our kids to do what is necessary without them melting down, without even a minor battle, a lot has been accomplished.

    However, if you feel your are walking on eggshells all the time, you're going to end up feeling resentful. It really is a matter of picking your battles and just letting the rest go. At first, it is hard and you do have to rein in your natural inclinations. It becomes easier and more natural. It also stops some major tantrums, gives you a better relationship with your child and, ultimately, gives you more fun time with your child.

    Good luck! The change in parenting style can make a huge difference in the long run.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think you did the right thing, too. Now, if the bus is about to hit him, that is when you grab and pull him back- screaming or not!!
  4. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    It's funny how what you called walking on eggshells and I know what you mean,believe me, is what I call changing my parenting and communicating. If you will deal with the safety issue tonight, then leaving it go in the AM will prevent him from having a meltdown and an awful day. Obviously if he is doing something that is dangerous you have to deal with the meltdown.

    I am so much more well thought out when I talk to difficult child. I don't use confrontational behavior for the most part. Obviously at 23yrs old, I have been darn confrontational but that was late teens. I wasn't wishy washy but I had certain priorities when difficult child was younger and I had to learn to talk to difficult child a different way. I thought of it as growing into parenting effectively.

    Your goal is to help difficult child learn how to be part of our world with proper behavior. Everything you do should be aimed in that direction. Your parenting is either a help or a hinderance to that goal.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Butterfly, you said, "He thinks if he goes into all out scream mode we will let it pass..."

    The reason he thinks this, is because he has already got into bad habits and this has worked for him so much in the past.

    What you are trying to do, is change this mindset, change the pattern of behaviour and teach him new ones.

    You are doing it exactly right. Yes, it does feel like you are walking on eggshells, but you need to stop and think - how is his behaviour? What was the outcome this way, compared to how it would have been? Keep checking like this and as long as it continues to show improvement, then keep it up.

    Using humour is good. Humour is a marvellous tool for defusing tension.

    This takes practice, but I found that the more I did things this way, the easier it was on me - I felt less tension too.

    But meowbunny has a point - you do need to be careful you don't resent the effort you are putting in. The way you are doing things now - it's not permanent. He IS only 5, this will take a while and as time moves on, you will find there are different issues. Older problems will no longer be problems. Things do change.

    Keep a diary for now. Write down this sort of thing. In a year, go back and read it. You will see far more improvement than you would think.

  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with-Meowbunny and everyone, that you are doing the right thing, but perhaps need to change your mindset. It can be exhausting trying to pre-think or out-think every single thing, but eventually it will become second nature. I know exactly how you feel, though, about just wanting to react "normally" via your own nature, which will crash head-on into his reacting "normally" for his nature.
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Are children can't be parented via traditional methods. I could have pulled my easy child away like you do with yours, but difficult child would have had a meltdown like yours. So, I think you handled it well.

    That said, it's all too easy to get into the habit of walking on eggshells all the time. That is where I'm finding myself with my daughter. I've spent a lot of time over the last year trying to find the line between helping and hindering and I think that in trying to help so much and in trying to keep the peace, I've actually hindered my child's ability to accept responsibility and to mature. And now I'm dealing with the consequences of that.
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yep, I agree with everyone. Go with your mommy gut. You know the right way to parent this child - do not let any parent, teacher, or authority tell you different.
  9. Mitzi Paws

    Mitzi Paws New Member

    Hi butterfly. I know exactly how you feel. Your story caught my eye because I have two girls. My difficult child is 12 and my other daughter is 15. I understand wanting to hold back, but I have found myself in wyntersgraces shoes because I too have hindered my difficult child's taking responsibility for things and her maturity by doing this. Alot of professionals have basically asked me how long my difficult child has run the household and at first was hurt but in hind-sight I can see that they are right. I'm not saying you did wrong, but I recognized that reaction that you had. I've had it many times. I have also caused alot of heartache for my 15 year old because they see this and recognize it too eventually. It caused alot of jealousy and resentment for her. Well, good luck and hang in there!!
  10. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are doing it right. It is considered 'walking on eggshells' because it is not natural parenting to us. It is not the way we would react normally. That is what these kids need, non-traditional parenting is the better way. That is why we all found this site. Because what we were doing was not working.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    What is SUPPOSED to happen, is that with time and using this method, the child DOES begin to learn personal responsibility, often a lot sooner than they would have otherwise. However, they may not learn it as fast as a easy child would. Do you follow me?

    With a difficult child, we're beating our heads against the wall. They do take longer to learn to fend for themselves, and to learn tot behave appropriately. If we try the usual discipline methods on them, it takes even longer and we deal with some horrible behaviours as well.

    BUT - "Explosive Child" methods DO make it easier than it would be otherwise, to get them to where they are supposed to eventually be - happy, productive, tax-paying and independent adults.

    Yes, we go through a stage of walking on egg-shells, or feeling like we're living in a war zone. But they have more chance of getting the message if they're not being oppositional because they're angry or frustrated.

    As they learn, we move behaviours around the baskets. For example, difficult child 3 now does his schoolwork with determination. He doesn't try to be sneaky and get out of his work as soon as my back is turned. I can trust him to be motivated to work. However, he does have days when he is more distractible. That's just how he is. But knowing this, changes how I handle it. I no longer have to nag him, "Get back to your work! I know you're sneaking comic books inside your text!"
    If I tried talking to him like that, chances are he WOULD start sneaking comic books inside his test.
    However, I DO have to keep him on task sometimes, by saying, "It's almost midday, how close are you to finishing that first task? Remember, the target is two worksheets a day. Is there a problem you need to discuss with me, or maybe ring your teacher about?"

    We've already won the battle about getting him to have a go, and to have a good work ethic. He is working independently, he is now highly motivated. HE is the one working, I am no longer pushing him to work.

    But other areas - he has daily chores, he still needs reminding. Once reminded, he does them willingly. This too is an improvement. IN the past, pre-Explosive Child, I would say to him, "It's time to feed the chickens," and he would blow up at me. Then I changed tack and would say, "I know you're watching your favourite cartoon, but at the next ad break will you please go and feed the chickens? You can be done before the show is back on. I will call you if you're not."
    With time, he learned that I WOULD support his cartoon-watching, as long as he did the right thing by me and did his share of the work. He learned that I was respecting his choices, as long as he respected my requests.

    Now, I just say, "Have you fed the chickens yet?" and he either goes immediately, or says, "I'll be ready to do it in a few minutes." If he leaves it too long, I remind him and say, "Did you forget? Do you need me to remind you? Or can you pause that game for the few minutes this job will take?"

    The flip-side of this, is when HE asks ME for something, such as a sandwich or a drink, and I say to him, "I'm busy this minute, I'll be able to do it for you when I've done this job," he no longer hassles me. He knows from experience that I give him leeway, so he now gives me leeway. Maybe not as much as I would like sometimes, but far more than if we had never tried this.

    We see improvement in other areas too, which we didn't realise we were influencing. difficult child 3 is now much more patient with other people. mother in law sometimes hassles him, and difficult child 3 no longer shouts at her or gets loudly angry, even if we can see the signs that he's feeling frustrated. For him, this is a huge improvement.

    So don't get too depressed at what seems to be your child being dependent on you keeping things calm. It does get better, and it does lead to a faster improvement than you would get otherwise.

  12. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    the key is to understand how your child perceives your interventions and you are doing great. If we had to point something out to a friend or a friend's kid , we would be careful in framing our comments , (criticism is the poison to all relationships). The main work , even if an issue is basket A , is to still go back to the drawing board and do basket B on the issue.
    basket B is essentially parallel learning , a learning experience without blame.
    I think you could talk to him in general terms about road safety - that it is more being clever, thinking ahead , thinking of the mistakes others can make rather than being in the right , so standing on the edge of the curb may in theory be safe assuming the truck driver does not make a mistake and of course one can also trip up and the result - it takes a split second to get killed. maybe you could look up something on the web or pay a visit to your local traffic department . Basket B is also about informal learning.


    Ross Greene says kids need 30-40 basket B experiences to trust and become more skilled in CPS , when we become better at CPS , when the scripts flow , we don't feel we are walking on egg shells
    take care
  13. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Sounds like thing turned out well. You prevented a meltdown and difficult child got on the bus safely, but I'm wondering, did you feel safe in the situation? If you were in arms length so that you could have intervened then you probably made the right choice. I'd be reluctant to trust my son at the edge of the road because I know that he too impulsive. I like your idea of using humor to get him to back up. I would discuss it with him tonight and see if you can negotiate a safe spot to wait.
  14. Thank you everyone for your replies. I am finding it difficult to distinguish between the two children and understand that what I am trying to achieve with the difficult child will actually have the best payoff if I parent them differently.
    I am having him evaluated for ADHD and he has two referrals from the school so I am saddened that we have to do this but I have to take my head out of the sand.
    I would like to do this now instead of waiting until he is older and ostracized in the school system and labeled. I am hoping this will help his mainstream next year in school be a success!!!
    Thank you for your support in this journey!
  15. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    sweetie it's called survival, and it sounds like you're doing a better job then I am
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I know it feels unnatural, like you are not parenting the way you "should" but I think you did exactly the right thing. With kids like our difficult children, they don't respond in typical ways, so our parenting cannot be typical.

    After a while it will feel more natural to parent this way. If you have not read any of the Love & Logic books, I highly recommend them. They helped me see that the parenting I was doing was not what my child needed. What felt like walking on eggshells was closer to what he needed. My husband also learned to modify his parenting to fit what each child needed.

    Good Job, you did the morning bus stop wait just right. And the reward for you?? Your child had a much better day.

    You may be interested in checking out Love & Logic - they have books and audio cds and videos tailored for each age range, and for children with special needs. You can get an idea of what it is about for free at www.loveandlogic.com before you buy a book or an audio cd. I got a couple of their cassette tapes at a thrift store and had to copy them before we wore them out! It was really very helpful for us.


  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Butterfly, you are doing a good job with difficult child. But you don't have to parent the kids differently - these techniques also work well for PCs. Obviously you will have different things in the Baskets, and in other ways handle things differently, but if you have kids of different ages you ALWAYS do some things differently anyway. For example, easy child could stay up until 10 pm because she was in her teens and using the time to do homework. difficult child 1 could stay up until 9.30 pm because he was insomniac anyway, and could function next day without being overtired. But easy child 2/difficult child 2, who was still only about 8 years old, had an 8 pm bedtime because she desperately needed sleep. Plus, she was younger. And of course, difficult child 1 back then was a baby and as sleeping the way babies do. I wouldn't have inflicted HIS bedtime on the older kids!

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 is now an adult (according to the calendar, anyway). But we still walk on eggshells with her at times, she still throws tantrums and has meltdowns. We have different Baskets with her, to difficult child 3's Baskets, but they're still very much in use. And with both of them, we still have "discussing the problem after they've calmed down" in Basket B. The food they eat - basket C still, because they each have very strong likes/dislikes (to the point of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Sensory Integration Disorder (SID)) and although I occasionally ask them to try something new, I've found it's less effort to cook for the individuals than to argue about it. So for example, if I'm cooking a roast dinner - difficult child 3 gets his meal served first. he gets meat, lots of peas, roast potatoes, roast carrot. No gravy. easy child 2/difficult child 2 gets meat, very few peas, roast potato, raw carrot and double gravy. In fact, the kids mostly serve themselves and that way can choose how much and where to pour their gravy. easy child gets meat, peas, no roast potato, roast pumpkin, roast kumara (orange sweet potato), roast carrot and no gravy. BF1 - meat, roast potato, roast pumpkin, LOTS of roast kumara, maybe a roast carrot, no gravy. And so on. BF2 & difficult child 1 - eat whatever is left over.

    One meal prepared, with a larger than usual range of extras - but it serves a range of different tastes.

    "Explosive Child" is similar. One method, a range of different baskets, can be easily adapted to the individual without having to "cook two different meals".

    You are doing really well.

    Do let us know how the evaluation goes. difficult child 3 was only three years old when we started him on stims - to the horror of some people who knew. But for him, it was exactly what he needed. difficult child 1 was six years old and should have been on stims much sooner. He'd already had two years of utter misery at school, trying to cope. I think you're very wise to look for answers and support NOW. Good for you.