Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by meowbunny, May 4, 2008.

  1. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Saw your comments on another thread and copied it here. Hope you don't mind but I want to make a couple of comments.

    "My husband and I are talking about taking everything but the mattress and clothes in the closet, but for another reason. Our son has already lost video games and TV, pretty much for life because he won't stop stealing and lying. Boy he got one over on us though. Even with just a few things in his room he managed to hide a Gameboy Advance that was taken from him months ago. He actually went in our bedroom and took it back, and he had to dig to find it too. No remorse at all. Since he continues to steal and hide things we're going to take everything but the mattress. We already took his bedroom and closet doors off the hinges. We don't trust him to be out of our sight. In fact as I'm typing my bedrom door is closed and I'm wondering if he left his bedroom to go take things out of his brother's room."

    I tried your methods. They didn't work for my daughter. They're obviously not working for your son. If they were, he wouldn't still be stealing and lying about it. If he's in the same situation mine was, he really doesn't see any choice but to lie and steal to get what he wants. He has no way to earn them back.

    It took me awhile, but I learned that if I was going to take something away, to just take it for that day/evening. No longer, no matter what. For some of our kids, that really is all they handle. Any more of a consequence and they just give up, assume they're bad kids and prove you right.

    I don't have any answers for you. My daughter quit stealing when she matured. Before then, she truly couldn't stop -- the impulse control wasn't there and she really did think that what was mine (or whomever's), was hers. She'd also just as readily give you anything of hers you wanted.

    The lying I got to stop by the simple fact I didn't give her a chance to lie. I didn't ask. I simply said such and such is missing. If you have it, you have 10 minutes to return it. After 10 minutes, I will search for it. In the long run, it was worth it. She was no longer accused of lying because she wasn't lying -- I wasn't asking.

    I'm not criticizing your parenting style. I tried your way. I'm simply saying that it hasn't worked to date. So, maybe it is time to try something different.
  2. neednewtechnique

    neednewtechnique New Member

    I would kind of like to add to this statement about taking things from them for long periods of time. On occasion, if an offense is particularly horrible, we will take something for a while, but for the most part, it is only for the day (unless it is late in the evening, then it is for the next day). We have chosen this method for two reasons. The first one being that once something is gone, they usually move on and find something else to occupy themselves and they don't really miss it anymore, so after a while, it loses it effect. The biggest reason though, is because we started getting to a point when the cell phone was gone, the video games were gone, the stereo was gone, and there was nothing left to take away!!!!! Then our hands were kind of tied. And for some reason saying "we were going to give this back, but now we will have to hold on to it a while longer" doesn't have the same effect!
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    FWIW, this strategy didn't work for my son either. From what I gather now, it is because other things were going on with him, so for one thing, punishing him for lack of control was never really TEACHING him HOW to be in control; for another thing, when he was in a period of doing things like this, he could lose all priviledges so quickly that if I were going to stick to that method, I would have no choice but to never give them back or kick him out of the house. This is when I decided that the strategy was not accomplishing my objective. Some strategies work for some kids but not for others...

    Still, for typical misbehavior (that is in the normal range of other kids his age), my discipline is based on "if you abuse the priviledge, you lose the priveledge" (temporarily). For instance, if he doesn't return from riding his bike on time, he might lose his bike for a couple of days, or whatever. If he's stealing, breaking the law, etc., then we are in a different league and something is clearly not right so the strategies have become very different- first, he has to pay it back or otherwise make restitution and then depending on what it is, other things are oput in place. With my difficult child, this behavior comes with other signs of instability (that are not behavior oriented), so I know medications and everything need to be reviewed.

    A big mistake that I used to make- (like there has only been one LOL) - if difficult child did well and I had promised him a reward, then he had a "bad day" or got in trouble at school or something, I would say, "then you just undid all the good you did and you no longer get the reward". That is a bad thing to do, I have learned, so I had to stop that.
  4. KarenB

    KarenB New Member

    All your comments make a lot of sense. Now can you tell me how to get my husband to do this? I can see it now. He'll never agree to this. I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle with my son AND my husband. Much like another dad here, he has a military career. I keep saying that if what we're doing isn't working, it doesn't make sense to keep doing it. I have gone back to counting down the days until he's 18 to make myself feel better. Meanwhile I'll be trying to help him any way I can. My husband has been gone for over a week, so I've had to let my baby scream while I take care of my difficult child. Talk about frustrating! I try my best to keep the baby away from all the negativity, but it's impossible to do this 100%. At any rate, there will be no more paddlling for punishment on my part. I realized a long time ago that this was ineffective.( I'm sure I will get a flood of comments now about physical punishment. ) I really appreciate all of your input, everyone. I am writing things down that have been posted to me and trying to learn. I hope and pray I do what's best for him in the long run. Thank you all!
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Something tells me the majority of us have tried corporal punishment on our kids. We've also discovered it didn't work. So, no comments from this end.

    As to how to convince your husband .. maybe asking him what he would do for one of his troops who just wasn't getting it, couldn't be kicked out and the "tried and true" methods weren't working. See if you can get him on board by making him be creative. Also remind him that a good troop needs hope. If things are taken permanently or so long that there is no foreseeable relief, the hope is gone. No hope, no reason to fight, no reason to try, no reason to ...... If that doesn't work, a cast iron skillet to the side of his head.
  6. KarenB

    KarenB New Member

    LOL..thank you!
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We did remove difficult child's door to her bedroom and we also removed all the contents except her bed and dresser. It helped in some ways, she wasn't slamming the door any longer and ripping the moulding off the doorway, we could see what she was doing in there, although we did hand a blanket over the doorway for privacy, and she no longer had any of her favorite things to play with. We gave her the conditions and time frame for earning them back and she eventually did.

    At the time there really was nothing else we could do. Her behavior was so out of control that something had to make her think. Just recently we took her car and driving privileges away for two months. She has to learn that if her behavior is unacceptable she looses her freedoms. That's what will happen in society when she turns 18.

    I don't advocate corporal punishment at all, in fact all the police we have ever dealt with told us it was permissible and we have told them we believe that only escalates the behavior.

    I so understand your pain. I have counted down the days until my difficult child will be 18 so many times just to show myself that an end is in sight. We are in the home stretch as she will be 18 in 13 months. I'm not naive enough to think our troubles are over but at least we have more options.

    I hope you can get your husband to soften a little, not give in, just soften the approach. I found 13 to be a very very difficult age.

  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    We've also been there done that...didn't work. Miss KT is so "in the moment" that anything too long term doesn't sink in. I do my best to make the consequences logical, and directly related to the behavior. She has a curtain over her bedroom doorway, because she tore her door off the hinges and threw it at me. Cell phone usage gets out of control...I take the phone. Grades dip below a C...I take the truck keys.
  9. KarenB

    KarenB New Member

    WOW! I can't imagine my son having driving priveledges! That is a WAY scary thought. Thank you for sharing suggestions and experiences with me. I spoke with my husband about this, and he is agreeable. When he comes home from being out of town in a few days we're going to discuss a new strategy, and we talked about how we have to be on the same page.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That is great! I hope you didn't take any suggestions as criticism- most people here just want to let others know what worked or didn't work for them and remind the rest of us when what we are currently doing doesn't appear to be effective. That actually keeps some of us from giving up many times. Good luck and keep us posted!!
  11. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Karen and husband, thank you for taking this thread in the vein it was meant. I'm so glad you didn't take it as a criticism. It wasn't meant that way.

    I hope you two can find something that does work for your son. As I said, I learned the hard way that being too punitive caused more damage than it helped. We have to give our kids a chance to see there is a way to redeem themselves; that they're not bad kids, just do dumb things sometimes. They really do have to see that light at the end of the tunnel, not just hear that there is a light somewhere down the road.

    Good luck on this leg. The early teens are brutal under the best of circumstances. For our immature ones, they're really just kids with raging hormones, which means less impulse control than their peers. By the time they hit mid-teens, they've grown up a little and the hormones aren't quite raging (just always there). Then comes the scariest times -- they're almost adults, think they have the right to all the privileges of adulthood but don't want the responsibilities.

    If we can keep them off drugs and in school, we do have a good chance to see them become adults that do have some of our values, do show some morals and are on the path towards being responsible.

    by the way -- Just to give you a little hope, my daughter lied and stole a lot at ages 11-15. It did stop. Today, she may take something of mine without permission but she does tell me she took it and does return it if told to do so. That would have NEVER happened when she was 13.