new here... long but opinions wanted

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by trsturself, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. trsturself

    trsturself New Member

    hello everyone. I'm with all the other newbs and am so thankful for finding a site where people actually understand having a difficult child!
    my story... my daughter is 5 1/2. She has no diagnosis yet but we think she is gifted and possibly Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and ODD. She is extremely sensative and emotional. The smallest things can trigger all out fits. We are starting the process of getting her tested (appointment with pediatrician this coming friday).
    because of the opinions on this forum i'm going to push for a neuro-psychiatric test.
    we have been a squeaky wheel with- her teachers because the work they are doing is stuff she mastered a few years ago. her teacher refuses to give her harder work (even though they are supposed to).

    my last few days....
    last thursday my daughter's day care called and said she needed to be picked up immediately. she was screaming and spitting at the teacher. I was not told what started the fit only that they couldn't handle it anymore. When I got there I was informed that she was not welcome back. Talk about stress! Her K class is only 3 hours long. husband and I both work full-time an hour from home. The daycare she was going to was on the school grounds. We do not have anyone that can pick up/take her to daycare after school.

    So... friday my husband and I both take off work (I do not get paid for days off) and talk with- her principle. This is when we find out that she has been in her office half dozen times already (we were not told once!). We talk with- the principle and are told that her tantrums are not normal and come about because she is spoiled! She also said "tantrums do not continue unless they work somewhere". She denied that difficult child was acting out because she was bored (even though she's getting in trouble for talking to other kids during work time after she's already finished her work). So! Today is the first day for difficult child at a new daycare (we found one down the street that has a bus to take and pick her up from school), the first day of a new schedule at school (parent-teacher conferences), AND first day with a new teacher (back from maternity leave)!!!
    Of course you can see where that's leading.
    I get a call from the principle around 10 letting me know difficult child was in her office (I requested to be notified). apparently they were working on journals and the teacher told difficult child to turn the page and start working on the next one. i assume difficult child did not feel she was done with- the page she was on and didn't want to turn the page. teacher insisted. difficult child ended up throwing a chair (accidently hit a kid) and kicking at the teacher.
    this was her first incident of violence, usually she's just a screamer.
    the principle said that she was on off-the-record-in-school suspension (she wasn't allowed to go back to her K class the rest of the day).

    Where I want your opinion is... my husband wants to take away TV and social visits for the week (my parents spend wed nights with- her) as punishment. if it happens again, take away the right to pick out her clothes (don't ask me how that relates), then if she still does not "see that her actions are wrong" take away all of the toys in her room and make her earn them back with- good behavior.
    at first he went the most extreme and wanted to take every possesion, priveledge, and item of control away from her. this is what i've talked him down to.

    what do you think?
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    First of all - welcome!

    I think your difficult child for sure needs an evaluation and I am glad you have decided on the neuropsychologist route. That is really a great place to start.

    The principal needs to get a clue. Has she never dealt with kids before this year? Tantrums only happen if they work somewhere! Maybe with a easy child. Has she never seen a truly frustrated child? Or adult for that matter!

    I understand your husband's thought process. They are the usual parenting techniques. Unfortunately, those usually do not work with our kids. It ends up frustrating them more.

    I think at 5 & 1/2 you do have to try everything. I am assuming there has been reason for punishment before this? What have you tried and what was the outcome?

    I have seen the take everything away and let them earn it back a bit at a time work for some time. Out of your 3 options that is the one I would try first.
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    And how does taking things away from her at home help her learn to control her temper? She's not going to understand the correlation between that type of punishment at home for her behavior at school. I tried your husband's method. It not did not work, it caused an escalation in school behavior. Ultimately, it caused a serious hatred of school.

    Try talking to the principal again and see if appropriate consequences can be thought up for her at school. Explain you are working to get her evaluated but the appointment for testing is still a bit down the road.

    What do you do when she has temper tantrums at home? Is there anything that works to keep some of them from happening? If so, give these tips to the teacher and principal.

    Do be sure that the new after-school care is aware she has problems and that you are working on getting help. It will go a long way if she has a hissy fit there. I found the more honest I was about my daughter's behavior, the more likely the day care was to work with me.

    First, it is time to get an IEP. If they have gifted classes, fight to get her in. If they don't, fight to get her more advanced work in class. Maybe you could contribute some work books she could use in class after she finishes the regular class work. Boredom can cause a lot of bad behavior.

    Another thing to check is food allergies. You can do this via elimination diets. For a week or two, record her behavior on an hourly basis (best done when school is not in session). Then, eliminate an item of food such as gluten (breads, pasta) and keep up the diary. See if there is any change. Then try eliminating food dyes. These are two of the largest culprits for behavior issues for many kids.

    Good luck in your battles with the school. I hope you can get the neuro-psychiatric evaluation. It really is the best way to go.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board. :flower:

    Principal needs to get a clue. :rolleyes:

    I'm also glad you decided on going to neuropsychologist route. A good decision.

    As far as punishment, I guess that would depend on what usually works well for her. I've had to get awfully creative with my difficult children over the years.

    If getting to choose her outfits each day is a really big deal for her, taking it away might be a good punishment. At this point, though, I'd hesitate at any extreme in punishment. She's already highly frustrated at school, school is also punishing her, and home should be a place she can relax and unwind. Plus you may need a hold out punishment later on down the road.

  5. trsturself

    trsturself New Member

    Thanks for all the replies.
    I found out after picking her up that she didn't have breakfast. The new daycare provides breakfast and she didn't like their choices so she didn't eat. So that's 2 major changes, no food, and reduced sleep all on the same day. Ask me why I'm not surprised at her behavior.

    Daycare... we talked in depth with the director of the new daycare before deciding to put her there. She is aware of her triggers, how to help her beat the tantrums (cooling off alone), etc. She was very understanding about finding what works for each child and offered a chair in her office as a cool down spot. difficult child had no problems there today (except for not being allowed to eat the breakfast she brought from home that I didn't know she wouldn't be allowed to do).

    Gifted... they offer differentiated curriculum for gifted K at her school. The problem is her teacher was a sub and didn't want to put any extra effort in. We already tried giving her a math workbook to give gtg work out of and she said it would be a great thing at home, but that she wouldn't do it at school. We talked to the principal and she grudgingly and dismissively said she will talk to her regular teacher when she comes back (wed - sorry I was mistaken in my original post, I thought she came back today).

    Punishment... we haven't found anything that works for her. She is upset about it at first but one or two days in she gets over it. The thing she likes the most is tv. She uses it to wake up in the mornings (one show before school) and to unwind after school (one show while I make dinner). If we threaten the loss of that she usually does what we're asking. However one day she lost the tv for 2 weeks. she missed it every once in awhile but I don't think it accomplished anything.

    principle... she supposedly has over 30 years of experience and has a Special Education. background. We've told her that we are working on getting the tests done and she thinks that's a good idea. More to help people see difficult child's reactions as a symptom not just a bad kid.

    I'm with meowbunny. I think the discipline should be about teaching. The only thing I see this punishment teaching her is that we don't like the behavior. Which is a good thing to learn, but it doesn't teach her how to avoid it in the future. Is there a happy medium? What are some techniques you guys have found for helping your difficult child learn how to manage their behavior?

    I have the books The Strong-Willed Child and The Out-of-Sync child but I'm not making as much progress on them as I'd like.

  6. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    A lot of people here have had success following the ideas in the book The Explosive Child.

    Milk is another common food allergy that can affect kids' behaviour. My former difficult child gets mean and aggressive if she has any milk.

    FWIW, I wouldn't take away TV for 2 weeks, especially for a 5 year old. Mostly because it would leave me with nothing else to take away for 2 weeks.

  7. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hi there and welcome to the board.

    Get a hold of "The Explosive Child" (Ross Greene). It specifically deals with consequences and picking your battles when it comes to difficult children.

    in my humble opinion, if your child is already being punished IN SCHOOL for something she is doing IN SCHOOL, then there is no reason for her to be further punished AT HOME. I don't think the correlation is there.

    Your school's principal sounds like a real gem. :rolleyes:

    You found a very safe place to land. Again, welcome.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome. I hear you. We went through this too. I feel I know your child.

    My 2c worth -

    * Get her tested. Fast. neuropsychologist. There are a number of possibilities, but high on the list to be considered, I would put Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form. This is screaming at me, this sounds so familiar.

    * Get "The Explosive Child". Fast. Read it. PM me if you want an advance, private, review of the book to give you a heads up and some early tips. You need this book. The principal needs this book. It isn't a cure, but it might help.

    * DO NOT PUNISH WHAT SHE CANNOT CONTROL. The purpose of punishment is to help teach the child that certain behaviours are unacceptable and will be met with negative consequences; the eventual aim to reduce the negative behaviours and bring about improvement. Is it working? No? Then why is it not working? Think about how it all connects together.
    Bad behaviour - is it deliberate? Can the child stop him/herself? Or is the child simply out of control?
    The next thing to consider - does the child know what is the correct behaviour? If so, then why the bad behaviour?
    In general, a very bright but badly behaved child who has other issues beginning to really be seen - they know what is right and how they should behave. They really do know. But in the heat of the moment, they lose control. Punishing afterwards - they're often already punishing themselves for losing control, especially if you handle discipline the right way and reinforce this. You don't need to take anything away, they have got the message. But getting the message, and preventing the next meltdown - a long way apart. Punishment will not increase their success in maintaining control when frustrated. Again, read "The Explosive Child". Kids like this generally do a lot worse behaviourally with the sort of discipline methods which worked so well on us and which are considered the benchmark. And if it's not working, find another way.

    * Please, NEVER AGAIN use the term "act out". Message for everybody - I think this is a term foisted on us parents by teachers/caregivers who see any 'misbehaviour' as under the control of the child, deliberate, malevolent and indicative of deep problems at home. Instead, I feel we should use the term "misbehave" because that does not imply deliberate control. Better still, refer to "behaviour problems" or "tantrums". But "act out" is a misleading euphemism, in my book. Sorry to sound so harsh - it's just that I've heard it used too often to downplay the urgency of getting help for a child who simply isn't coping. "Oh she doesn't really have a problem, she's just acting out." Acting WHAT out? What does it really mean, anyway?

    I think your daughter has Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) issues affecting what she is prepared to eat. You need to negotiate with them about her breakfast. You shouldn't bulldoze through what the school wants, nor should you insist she "eats up like a good little girl" if it really is a big issue for her. This will only lead to bigger problems for you as she gets older. There ARE ways of encouraging her to diversify her exposure to other foods, but force is not the way. In many ways with these kids, force is NEVER the way. You will lose.

    I also think she has major issues with task-changing. She needs to be allowed some leeway to progress at her own pace (faster, if necessary) and also some warning of task-change. For example, "Sharon, in five minutes we will be finishing with our colouring and putting our books away to go outside to play. Get ready to finish; maybe close your book sooner if you finish sooner." They need support to task-change, not force or ultimatums. An egg-timer can help, the ones with sand in them. The only problem here - she might get engrossed in watching the sand and not get ANY work done!

    And an advance tip from "The Explosive Child" - you, and the school, need to watch and study her to see what sets her off - then do your utmost to head off a tantrum BEFORE it happens. Never expect her behaviour to be age-appropriate (forget "You should have grown out of that by now" because it just isn't appropriate for a lot of difficult children). They do eventually 'get it' but not at the same age as others, no matter how much smarter in other areas they seem to be.
    An example - she's about to run outside in the snow, with no coat on. You COULD stop her and force her arms into a coat, but she could begin to rage. Or you COULD say to her, "You need to put a coat on first because it's really cold outside," and insist until she gets angry at being delayed and you get a meltdown. You COULD say, "Do you want your red coat or your blue coat?" and give her a choice - she's at least wearing A coat, now. Or you COULD say, "Put your coat on," but stop insisting because you can see that if you do, you will get a meltdown. Instead, you let her go out in the cold without having forced the issue - she will very soon be back for her coat - her own choice - because SHE accepts that she needs it. If you have tried to force the issue she may choose to be stubborn just to make a point, but a lot of tis comes down to them needing to learn self-management, rather than having us always trying to manage them.

    It seems like spoiling, it seems to be a disastrous way to go, but if you think it through and can get into her head, this can work far better (and it's not as much work as you'd think, either).

    Keep on being the squeaky wheel. And at home, give her as much academic stuff as she wants. Immerse her in it. Put posters up on the walls, buy educational software for the computer. If she shows an interest in something, let her have more info about it.

    It sounds like you are already doing a lot of good things for her. Keep us posted on how you go. She sounds like a kid with real potential.

  9. Mrs Smith

    Mrs Smith New Member

    Ditto what Marg said. This teacher sounds like a bad fit for your daughter. Is there another option? With kids like this, the right teacher can make all the difference.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi and welcome,

    My son at age 5 was also "gifted". I worked with him at home as much as possible with colors, shapes, numbers. He talked at 7 months old and by 1 year he was forming 3-4 word sentences. I refused to have him tested. I wasn't sure I wanted to know just how smart he was.

    When he hit kindergarten it was pretty mild. He was ahead of most of the other children and did get a little bored and fidgity, but for the most part there was enough stimulation in the class for him to keep occupied. First grade he was a little chatty, but not ugly. He had a teacher that was back from maternity leave and had twins, a cheating husband, no money and suffered from lack of experience, and PPD after birth.

    He was taken by his biofather and abused during the last half of second grade. And after that he was the most difficult child ever. He couldn't sit still, he would rage, he would trash personal property, his mouth would have made a sailor pale. I lost a terrific job (40k) year because of the schools inability to do what I had WASTED countless hours writing ideas and speaking to them about.

    His second grade teacher however was a GEM in a box of very unpolished rocks. She was in her own right - an outcast. At nearly 500 lbs. she had to have special "everything" so maybe it was that reason that let her be more understanding and tolerant (NOT a pushover) of my son.

    She very clearly set the limits with him. There were no dumb beads on the desk or clothespins taken away for behavior. She said "No one in life takes your chips, or clothespins or beads away for misbehaving I'm not going to do that in here." Her classroom was MAGICAL. You walked in and it was just so cool. So many things to inspire young minds- not sterile. It made you want to stay in there and get the rewards that she offered for good behavior. She would rock the kids in her special wooden rocker reinforced for her weight, hugs all day long - just tons and tons of praise. My son is a praise junkie if you know how to do it properly. Just praising all the time is hapless.

    When my son wasn't able to stay at his desk - she offered him choices - when he wasn't able to make a decision she would then reaffirm the consequence, then add the reward of making the choice. Much like Marg said about the coats. When he absolutely would say "I'm not going to either desk, THEN he was given the consequence. Sometimes it was taking away his recess time. It was soon discovered that he LIKED skipping recess to stay in her room and the consequences were modified. She never told him he COULD NOT stay in with her - it just wasn't a punishment any longer.

    When he would finish his work ahead of the other children - it was checked then and there. When his paper was 100% she gave him a new puzzle to work on, and a desk ALL to himself in a corner of the class to do it at WITH headphones that had hooked on phonics playing.

    Immediate and short term punishments work best. If he did feel the urge to rage they had a code worked out and he would grab the hall pass and travel down the hall to the "gym" (a room with mats on the wall) or he would have to stand in the corner but ONLY until he could get himself together. There was no time limit on the "THINKING" corner. It wasn't punitive as much as it was creative- You need to go THERE and think, it's like the place you go to think QUIETLY. When he couldn't be quiet she would get him by the hand and lead him up onto her lap for a rock again saying "When you choose to be quiet you can go back to your desk OR to the thinking corner." He really got into the PUZZLE DESK for HIM ONLY thing -he still talks about it today and used puzzling in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) as an outlet for anger.

    I think a few more years in her class would have made a lifetime of learning greater and better. She was a true teacher. Unfortunately for us - my x got into the scene and ruined a little life. By the time we got him back and safe - the damage was done and it's been 11 years trying to help him help himself.

    The best thing I can advise to you at this point, and probably sound like a broken record to newbies - is therapy. NOT just for her - but for you and your husband too. If you don't know how to "play the game" you aren't going to be good opponents unless you can find a way to "one up" her, and cut across her behavioral playing field. I liken the therapist to a coach. He's going to have strategies, a game plan, and you and hubby are going to have to think like never before in order to help her win.

    Without someone coaching your team - I predict utter chaos. This isn't something to be ashamed of, and actually most people find that going to someone and talking about the "YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR HOUSE." is healthy. Nothing gets solved with people who don't have a clue - your preschool is clueless and has no game plan with her. A therapist - would.

    Best of luck

    Oh and by the way - the principal that told you that tantrums are tolerated somewhere; has never had the pleasure of dealing with a child that has a DISABILITY. My standard comment when I heard that one for the first time was "MY GOD - I bet you expect kids in wheelchairs to navigate stairs and blind children to just sit quietly and listen to the other students!" My son isn't spoiled, he isn't bad - he's disabled, but NOT as badly as you for not having tolerance for someone with an invisible disability." (She's the kind that look at those people with the blue or red handicapped tags in the handicapped spots and say "I don't see a disability - they are faking getting a closer parking spot, and of course she would KNOW more than a doctor that did the paperwork to ISSUE that tag FOR the person who if given a choice would park farther away and walk.) Baboon.
  11. happymomof2

    happymomof2 New Member

    Welcome, kinda new here myself but everyone seems to be very nice and lots have been there done that and have great advise.

    My husband also likes to do the knee jerk reaction thing and take everything away for a long period of time. My son is now 14 and that still doesn't work. When we do that he doesn't feel like he has anything to loose so he just gets worse. Plus then I don't have any bargaining chips to use.

    Your son is so young maybe he would do well with taking one thing he really likes away and when he changes his behavior/attitude then give it back - same day type deal. Just a thought.

    I know how you feel, before my son was diagnosed he was getting ready to be expelled from Elementary school. He was diagnosed with ADHD and put on medications and placed in Special Education at school which did wonders for him.

    Just a word of caution with the Special Education. Seems like it was real easy to get him in but is extremely difficult to get him out. If that is the route they are suggesting at school see if they can put him into a plan but keep him in regular ed classes.

    Hope things start going better for your family soon.
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Hi there and welcome to the board.

    I'm with BBK on this...if she was punished at school for her behavior at school then that should be it. Our children are not being bad for the sake of being bad. They don't have the capacity to handle stressors the way we expect neurotypical kids to. As parents, we have to guide them in that process. Punishment for something the child has little control over is going to backfire, in my opinion. Instead of making the child feel even worse - because in my experience they already feel bad enough after the fact - it is our job to identify triggers and then help the child learn to identify and cope with those things.

    I also highly recommend The Explosive Child. It explains (much better than I could) what I was attempting to explain above.

    As far as not letting her pick out her own clothes as punishment, if she has Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) I would be totally against that. That is asking a child who is already struggling to hold it together to possibly wear something that is going to be the equivalent of a thorn in the side for an entire day AND be expected to maintain behavior. That is setting her up for failure. My easy child has some minor Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) issues and if I made him wear what I wanted him to wear, we would have explosions here and he's 16. He's very particular about how things fit and feel. Both of my kids are. With both of my kids, there is only one detergent and one fabric softener that can be used on their clothes. In fact, we made a late night run to the store Saturday night because I had gotten a different fabric softener (they were out of what I usually buy) and easy child couldn't stand the way his clothes felt. It's a very real, albeit hard to understand, disorder.

    I understand where your husband is coming from. My knee jerk reaction, even after years of doing this and learning what I have, is to do the same kinds of things. Years of experience has taught me that with our kids, it just isn't effective at best and backfires at worst.

    I also recommend sending a certified letter to the school asking them to evaluate your child for an IEP. There is more info on this on the SpEd forum. Sheila and Martie there can help guide you in the right direction. One of the things it does is provide protection for your child when it comes to behavior/discipline issues that arise. Again, Sheila and Martie can answer those questions for you. My difficult child didn't act out at school. Rather she shut down; turned inward.

    The principal at your daughter's school is an idiot, and arrogant, but unfortunately we've all come across many staff members like that with our kids. They're not all that way. They just ruin it for the rest of them, you know?

    Good luck! We're here anytime you need an ear. Welcome, again. :flower:
  13. trsturself

    trsturself New Member

    Ok... here's what happened last night. husband got home and talked to difficult child about what happened. At first she kept saying she didn't know what happened. husband said, when you're ready to talk about it, come get me. Eventually she came out and told us what happened. Then she told husband that she threw the fit trying to get put in a new class. Thanks daycare for showing her that if you make enough trouble you get to get out of a place you don't like!
    In this case since she said she did the act on purpose, she was grounded from TV for the week.
    We also had a long conversation and some role-playing about situations that can happen and good ways to handle them. She was cracking up watching husband pretend to throw a fit. :smile:
    I was very proud of husband. He stayed calm and caring throughout the conversation and tried to give her other options for her choice of behavior. Yes, that is assuming it is within her control. No, I'm not sure if it is or not. The main goal of mine in getting her diagnosis is to know whether or not she can control the outbursts. That way husband and teachers will be more patient with it if she can't. We have seen an improvement at home since calming ourselves and being making sure we are firm and consistent.

    Her triggers can be as simple as asking her if she's hungry. instead of a simple "no thanks" her reaction is more inline with us forcing food into her mouth. It's as though she thinks we can see her thoughts and when we act opposite them it puts her into an emotional frenzy. We're working on getting her to use her words and explain things to people without jumping off the deep end immediately. We have made significant progress at home, but I have a feeling they just start threatening her and/or sending her to the principals office immediately instead of helping her calm down and use her words. It's like dealing with a 3 year old except that when she does use her words you get a paragraph about what she wants and how she feels. lol

    Food... she's not that picky with food so I wasn't worried about the meal. I just wish the daycare would've told me that no outside food was allowed so she wouldn't have thought she could have it. We will most likely eat at home before we go, and she can have snack on some fruit there if she's still hungry.

    Clothing... i'm big on giving control of stuff like this to the kid. she's been picking out her own clothes since she was old enough to grab. As for the Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) part of it... all of her clothes are ones that she can wear. I would never force her to wear something that bothered her. I pick out her clothes when she is grounded from TV simply because I let her sleep in the extra 30 minutes and get her dressed at daycare before we go in (putting the clothes on the heater on the drive over so they're nice and warm when we get there is always a good incentive).
    I just didn't feel like it was a good punishment because it had no correlation to her behavior. I think logical punishments work best, or if none available then a privledge taken away. Picking out your clothes isn't something I consider a privledge, so taking it away without a direct correlation to misbehaving seems silly to me. Now if she had purposefully destroyed her clothing or something like that, it would make more sense to have clothing be involved in the consequence.

    school... She gets a new teacher tomorrow that has a lot more experience (according to the principal so you know how much weight I give that). Hopefully that will help things. The other big thing is that she thinks she doesn't have any friends at school (some of the kids like her but she doesn't feel like it). Having someone outside of family that likes you is so important. She has a good friend from her old school that we try to see as often as we can, but it would be so nice for her to have a friend like that at school. I think it really helps her handle all the other stuff of the day. Not having friends just adds stress and makes her not care about anything.

    I'm sure there's more topics I was going to reply to but I've forgotten them by now - besides this is long enough.
    Thanks all for your replies!

    Ah yes... I meant to mention that my mom has her masters in special education and was a resource teacher for years (currently teaching a 4-5 combo). she knows the system and says a diagnosis is good but to keep her from being labeled as Special Education.

    The Explosive Child... sounds good. Someone on here wrote a great summary of the ideas presented in the book and it sounds a lot like what we've figured out through trial and error. Biggest problem is getting husband to change his way of thinking. He grew up with a barely tolerant father who used physical punishments and a cowardly mom that catered to the men's (husband, father in law, brother in law) every need. He's come a long way from that! I'm very proud of him, just wish he was a reader so he could get the same info I do with-out it seeming like I know more than him or am nagging him.
    I'm hoping for diagnosis so I can convince him that his ideas are good for a easy child but not difficult child.
  14. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I feel your pain there. My difficult child is the same way. When I repeat her words back to her, using the tone she used, she becomes angry and says, "I didn't say it like that!" Oh, yes you did, darling girl. I've threatened to secretly record her so she can hear herself. I really don't think she realizes how she sounds.

    I just ignore her now when she does that. (Ok. Most days. I'm human, too, and some days her tone and attitude make me want to come out of my skin.) When she can talk nice, then I'll respond.
  15. trsturself

    trsturself New Member

    Our current tactic when she is demanding or rude is, "I'll give you one chance to say that in a nicer way" and if she doesn't know how we will give her the words, such as "can you please get me a drink of water" (instead of yelling Thirsty!). if she chooses not to say it nicer than i choose to say no to whatever she was asking until she can say it nicer.
    if i try to just ignore her it makes it worse. she doesn't understand why i'm ignoring her but if i bring it to her attention and then ignore, it works most of the time.

    so nice to hear from others that have the same issues. as i'm sure most of you have experienced, most people think i spoil her or am a horrible parent because of her outbursts. it truly makes you realize that what works for one kid (or even thousands) doesn't mean it will work for yours.

    i was attending a lecture on gifted kids and a lady had a great response for unsolicited advice. "When you have given birth to and tried to raise MY child, then you might have something helpful to say"
  16. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Trst, are you raising my difficult child's twin? Wow.

    No additional advice, everything you've gotten here is gold, in my book, just want to let you know I feel your pain, too.

  17. trsturself

    trsturself New Member

    lol shari.
  18. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just wanted to add my welcome as you have already received great advice. As a teacher I'm appalled to hear a principal say something like that-I love Star's response!
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Trsturself, you said, "In this case since she said she did the act on purpose, she was grounded from TV for the week."

    When I said, "Don't punish, you really don't need to in a lot of cases anyway," I really did mean that this is very important. If she has accepted the punishment you have now given her, then keep going as you are. But do you realise - you have just punished her for being honest with you?
    By admitting it to you, she did a really brave thing. An honest thing. And it was also a free admission that she did the wrong thing and knew it. THIS DOES NOT NEED TO BE PUNISHED. Instead, reward with praise for the honesty, but sit with her and talk it through - how SHOULD she have behaved? What does SHE think she needs to do?
    This will put the ownership back onto her, not only of the problem she herself caused, but also of the solution.

    I know this is a radical idea, but this really does work. You have to get back to the aim of the punishment - it is to help them learn the right way to behave, and to help them learn self-control. When the lack of self-control is at least partly NOT under control, then punishment not only doesn't work, it eventually teaches the child "I can't be good no matter how hard I try, so I might as well accept that my life is going to be one long punishment. And why try? I might as well enjoy myself if I'm going to end up being punished no matter what I do."

    Think - why did she confess? Your husband did a wonderful thing, when he said to her, "Come talk to me when you are ready." That is EXACTLY what she needed and it worked. She came and told you because she was feeling so bad inside herself, knowing she had done the wrong thing. And as you said yourself, this was a 'wrong thing' which she had been trained to do! Can we really punish our children for doing what they have been taught to do? Instead, we need to find more effective ways to teach the RIGHT way.

    You said yourself, she is bright. She will learn fast, where she is capable of understanding. Where she is not capable of understanding or performing, no amount of punishment can change that. But if you have her cooperation (and it sounds like you do), then SUPPORT and respect shown to her will teach her to MIRROR this and give support and respect back, in turn.

    As I said before, this seems counter-intuitive. But this is what we have done, and it works, brilliantly.

    Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids (and your daughter seems very similar to this so I admit I am working on this premise) are VERY law-abiding. But the laws they abide by are the laws they assess for themselves, winnowed from their observations of people around them. If you show them respect they learn that it is best. If they instead are exposed to dog eat dog, that is how they will behave. When they experience 'because I said so," they interpret this as someone else exerting control over them purely for control's sake, and resent it. But they then will adopt this behaviour for themselves and it is often interpreted as insolence, rudeness - and what do we do? We punish them. All this does, in that scenario, is reinforce the problem.

    If, instead, you teach the child to be their own moral barometer, you can take a step back from the bossy parent role that so many of us assume is the right way to raise a child. It seems scary and I'm not advocating walking away from parental responsibilities and ignoring what your children do - but what you then do, instead of chivvying your children to do this or that, is you stand back with your hands outstretched at the ready, to support them if they stumble. You help them get their balance back and let them try again, with you as the safety net.

    We didn't start doing this until difficult child 3 was 11 (nearly 12). Two years ago. We saw improvements within a week, but it has taken two years to get us to where we are now. Still problems (especially as viewed from the outside) because we have recognised that he doesn't distinguish between adults and children, parents and child (he can't, I don't think - part of the inappropriate social stuff in his autism) and so we don't punish what seems to be rudeness, although we do correct. Instead of guiding him with punishment/reward, we view his communications/interactions as rehearsal, and just as you handle a rehearsal of a music piece (make a mistake? Then stop, practice that little bit, then try again) that is how we view his interactions with others. He said something tactless? We stop him, point out gently that what he said was inappropriate and try to prompt the correct response, then have him say it again.
    Any malice is tromped on and corrected - reminding him that he doesn't like to be receiving malice is generally enough (these days) but may be too advanced a concept for a five year old.
    Example - in difficult child 3's drama class (for Special Education kids) is a boy who is VERY difficult. Yesterday he was being inappropriate and touching everybody else, apparently trying to provoke a reaction. He is unhappy in the class, I think he knows the other kids don't like him. And they don't like him because he is socially inappropriate - vicious circle. The teacher sent him out, much to the relief of difficult child 3. But another boy, also autistic, was singing a made-up song about how glad he was that the difficult boy had gone.
    As we were leaving I talked to difficult child 3 about it. "Poor boy," I said. "How mush he feel, knowing you all dislike him and want him gone? No wonder he didn't want to ask if he could go back into class! How have you felt, when other kids were like this? How would you feel if you heard someone singing a song about how they were glad you had been thrown out of the class?"
    It's difficult to get this across when they are so thoroughly egocentric, difficult child 3 still isn't good with theory of mind, he will be looking at the computer screen which is facing away from me, and say, "Doesn't this picture look great?" It has been very hard to teach difficult child 3 that this boy is naughty because he is unhappy and he doesn't know how to handle it in a more acceptable way. His life is unhappy because of his particular disability. Yesterday he was being taunted, it even seemed to him that other parents were taunting him too. So he began to be even more disobedient, but in subtle ways that most people didn't notice. I suspect his mother had a hard time with him when they went home, he seemed to have the attitude of, "I give up!"

    Sorry to go on for so long, but I do feel this is a really critical issue, where so many of us go wrong.

    And before I get jumped on, there are times when punishment CAN be appropriate. It's just that too often it's our knee-jerk reaction and it's far less necessary than we think.

    Older kids who have different issues with behaviours they can clearly control, kids who deliberately invent complex lies and fantasies purely to get other people into trouble, kids who have learned to be manipulative, kids who have got involved in drugs, theft, vandalism - this won't work. They have learned to manipulate on principle and they will manipulate this as well.
    But if you can begin early enough, you can change a great deal, and without wearing yourself out in the process.

    Avoid blame. Avoid fault. Instead, focus on helping the child do better next time. Sometimes no fault is involved, sometimes bad things happen which maybe with hindsight we could have avoided, but it's not a matter of blame and punishment, it's a matter for talking out, "how can I do better?"

    You also said, "It's as though she thinks we can see her thoughts and when we act opposite them it puts her into an emotional frenzy."
    I think you've hit the nail on the head. (As I said before, I think you and your husband are doing a lot of things just right).
    This again comes back to theory of mind. And autism. To a certain extent you get this also in very young children.
    To test theory of mind, I give you an example:
    The child being tested is in a room with the tester and her mother. It is a standard room - chair with cushion, toybox, couch, table. While mother is in the room, the therapist takes a doll from the toybox and hides the doll behind the couch. Mother then leaves the room.
    With mother gone, the therapist takes the doll from behind the couch and hides the doll under the cushion on the chair. The doll is completely hidden. The child saw it all.
    Then the therapist asks, "Where is the doll?"
    The child answers, "Under the cushion on the chair."
    The therapist asks, "Where does your mother think the doll is?"
    A child with good theory of mind will say, "She still thinks it's under the couch, where she saw us hide it."
    A child with poor theory of mind will assume that her mother sees and knows exactly what she does, and will answer, "My mother thinks the doll is under the cushion on the chair."

    If your child has poor theory of mind (as I said, common in very young children anyway) then they will get frustrated when you ask what seem to be dumb questions. Or when you ask them to do something that they're not ready to do. And if you get 'heavy' with them, it WILL provoke a tantrum, because to their mind - why are you being so obstructive? And as I said before, these kids will give back what they observe, and so they will become obstructive in return, modelling what they perceive your behaviour to be.

    You need to find a way of asking the question, that will not have her feeling 'got at'. It's like the coats again. I can't help you there, all I can suggest is maybe ask her to help you choose what meals to prepare FOR LATER. If you don't react to her tantrum but instead simply wait and reassure her calmly that you're NOT about to make her eat, you just want to know how she is feeling, she might settle down. I used to say calmly, "Why are you shouting at me? I'm not shouting at you, am I?" Her behaviour is coming from anxiety - fear that you are about to exert control over her and her body in a way she can't handle. She needs to know this will not happen, and it takes a lot of reasoning to overcome blind panic. difficult child 3 still panics and I still have to use MY calm voice to help him regain control of himself. Getting her to use words is really good - it's what we do also. It DOES take time. And you're right, her problems with foods are probably part of the problem, a big part of Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) for a lot of kids involves foods - tastes and textures.
    Giving her one chance to say it more nicely - if it's working for you then that's great. But with some kids, knowing they only have one chance can make them more flustered and more frustrated (with themselves as much as with you for not reading their minds!)

    About getting your husband on the same page - he already sounds like he's making great progress. But I do understand, my husband (Marg's Man) is dealing with the same issues himself. Brought up to be a bit of a martinet. He's been lurking here since I first joined and finding he understands the problems better now. Not tat I was keeping my feelings and thoughts from him, but sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day to remember the tiny, fiddly details. This way we have taken what was already very good communication and cooperation, and taken it to great heights. He's now a member here also.

    And last night - he had been asked to address a forum of other fathers of autistic children, talking about how they are coping, answering questions about what to expect as they get older. He was flattered to be asked and somewhat terrified, I think. But he did great. We talked things through beforehand, which was useful for me, too, to try to crystallise all these years of radical parenting!

  20. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    My difficult child has a few years on yours. If I ignored her when she was 5, it would have been the same reaction from her as you get from yours. They need to understand and be taught the appropriate way to communicate their wants and needs and I really like how you give her an opportunity to do it over. I did something similar and then as she got older, it evolved into: difficult child: "I'm hungry." Me: "That's nice." difficult child: "I said I'm hungry." Me: "If you would like something to eat, you need to ask. 'I'm hungry' is a statement, not a request."

    With mine, by this time I *know* she knows the correct way to ask or respond because I see her do it with others. Sometimes, it does become a habit they get into it with us - the way they talk to us, etc. It's easier than having to put some thought into it. Since I no longer feel like being a broken record - and to maintain any remaining sanity I have - I ignore. Plus, I think I deserve better treatment from my child.