This is my first post, and I would like some advice on the right kind of consequences to give our son for his behavior. Brenden is 13, and he has been diagnosed by a neuropsy with a learning disability in math, and slow processing speed. He does not have ADD or ODD, but he can be defiant and extremely angry when he doesn't get what he wants. Brenden has been suspended from school two times this year for swearing in front of his teachers. Brenden needs to be pushed to do his work and then to hand it in to his teachers. Yesterday Brenden and I had a big argument over the homework he needed to complete. Brenden went outside to get some music from our car before he started his work. He tried to get my attention to unlock the car, but I was inside and didn't hear him. Then Brenden threw a rock at our dining room window to get my attention and the glass shattered. We are making Brenden pay the $200 from his savings to pay for a new window. My husband also wants to ground Brenden from going outside or seeing any of his friends for the next 4 days. Brenden has already been grounded for the last two week-ends for his defiance and bad attitude. I am not sure if grounding him again will make any difference at all. We have been seeing a psychologist about Brenden's behavior, and he is trying to help to control and anger and impulsivity. My question is: Is there anything else that we can do to help Brenden to think before he acts, and do you think that it will help if we keep him inside for another week-end? Brenden is not on any medications now. Thanks for any suggestions you can give us.



I happen to believe in not piling consequence upon consequence for the same misbehavior. I personally believe that when you break someone else's window, you pay to fix it. End of story.

In terms of helping Brenden think before he acts, what is the psychologist recommending? Has Brenden been evaluated for any mood issues (anxiety, depression, etc) that might be a result of struggling with learning disabilities?

A book that is highly recommended around here is The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many of us parent our extra-challenging children.

When you get a chance, please go to "My Stuff" at the top of the page and create a profile similar to mine below. It helps us keep everyone's story straight.

Again, welcome.


Hi and welcome. I agree with the previous poster about piling on consequences. To our difficult children, a month can seem like an eternity so they don't even try to comply since they feel all is lost anyway.

Is he in Special Education at school? Does he have an IEP? As bad as throwing a rock through a window seems, he probably just thought he had to get your attention, now! My difficult child once broke a window because she had forgotten her keys. When I told her she should have just waited for someone to get home, she said she had to get in right then.

My difficult child does not take any medications now, but she did when she was 13, and they helped with the impulsivity. Has your psychologist provided any strategies?


New Member
Welcome! I am sorry you had to find us, but glad that you did! As small world said, "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene has been an EXTREMELY helpful resource to a lot of us.

I don't know a whole lot about the diagnosis you described, so I would have to do a little research before I could comment much, and even still, it would not be based on any personal experiences. I know with our difficult child that the "consequences" thing doesn't work so well unless they are NATURAL consequences. Such as you suggested, he broke the window, he should pay to have it replaced. See? You are already on the right track! As for adding another consequence on top of that, in my humble opinion it probably would not be very effective. Again, I don't know much about your son's conditions, but for the mindset of most of our difficult child's, this would not be helpful at all and if it isn't helping, there isn't much point in you enduring another weekend of hell at home because your son is upset that he is stuck inside. Because if your difficult child is anything like mine, he will spend the whole weekend finding not so friendly ways of making you miserable for punishing him.

But I can tell you that this board will be one of the best things you will ever find, the people here are wonderful and there is ALWAYS someone around to help and comfort you. We are all very non-judgemental, you will find that you can come here and let loose all the anger and frustration that you cannot show your child and no one will judge you because of it. I think we have all been at the end of our ropes on more than one occasion. This is never the situation a parent expects when they think about having children, but there is help and advice here, and there are people here who KNOW that it isn't because of "bad parenting" that we are in this place.

Again, welcome and sorry that you had to find us, but very glad you did.
From Pinevalley: Thank you everyone for your advice. I agree that grounding our son in the past has not helped at all. However my husband insists that if we continue to impose our punishments on Brenden then eventually he will realize that he has to follow our rules. Our son has received testing by the psychologist and recently by the neuropsy, but no one has said anything about mood disorders. We tried Adderall and Straters this year to help with the attention problems in school. We discontinued all the medications after 6 months when we didn't see any improvement at all. That's when our psychiatrist recommended the testing by the neuropsychiatrist. We have been seeing a psychologist for over a year, but I haven't seen any improvement in our son from this help. Anyway, I am going to call the doctor tomorrow and ask him what we should do to help our son think before he acts. Also, Brenden does not have an IEP yet, but we just received the report from about his math disability and we have given a copy to the school this week. We have requested an IEP for our son, so that services can be in place for next year. I will also read the book that you recommended about explosive children. thanks again.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Hi Pinevalley,
Just wanted to pop in to add my welcome. No new advice to add-I like your name as I'm an All My Children fan! You will find much support here-glad you found us.
Welcome Pine Valley!

I'm a neighbor of yours, in the W. burbs. Just wanted to let you know that you found a wonderful place here. There are many warrior moms (and dads) with lots and lots of wisdom.

Get a hold of that book, "The Explosive Child". Get it YESTERDAY. It really opens your eyes to the world of a difficult child.

Again, welcome, and hugs.


Well-Known Member
Hi. Most covered what I'd say, but I'm wondering if he actually HAD the neuropsychologist testing and what the result was. The throwing a stone for attention is what my son would have done before his He's on the high end of the autism spectrum, and we got all sorts of other, wrong diagnosis. before that he was put on all sorts of medications that didn't help and that he didn't need. He was more "quirky" than anything, but he got ADHD/ODD as a diagnosis. and then bipolar, both were wrong. I strongly recommend following through with the neuropsychologist testing. Sometimes they don't catch what is wrong until they are older and things become more obvious--my son was 11 before his diagnosis. was actually the correct one and he got the right help. I have to agree that over-punishing doesn't tend to work with our kids--and in my opinion they don't tend to learn from it either and it punishes US more than THEM because the kids make us miserable and miss out on much needed socializing (for those with very poor social skills). But it's up to each family as to what to do. I think the $200 for the window is the punishment fitting the crime. My son broke five windows before he finally got it (big sigh). He had a thing about throwing stones. Fortunately, he is really doing well with intensive interventions and no longer behaves in destructive ways. Unfortunately, the right diagnosis. is soooooooo important because each diagnosis requires different treatment. At the same time, it is sooooooooooo hard to get the right diagnosis. because there are no blood tests. Once you do get the right treatment plan for your particular child it can bring you a whole new kid. in my opinion, I don't trust plain psycologists. They are too into behavioral therapy, which, in my opinion, isn't that effective and tend to blame parenting for our children's differences. This is JMO.


New Member
In the beginning, I made the mistake of piling on too many consequences. It never did a bit of good, it just caused the situation to escalate until there was nothing left for difficult child to lose and he would still be out of control. recommended allowing him to earn privileges back. also said he preferred natural consequences.

I learned not to dictate punishments when difficult child was out of control, once he was in control of himself an appropriate consequence was enforced: you make a mess you clean it up, you break something you bought it etc...My difficult child was at his worst in his pre-adolescent years. He never had any of his own money to pay for things that he broke. Restitution came in the form of working it off with extra chores.

Not all of my difficult child's impulse control issues were in conjunction with OD behavior. He often did silly, stupid things for no good reason. His impulse control improved as he got older.

I think you are on the right track having him pay for the window, in my opinion, that is enough for this particular incident.
TO Midwest Mom, My difficult child had a full day of testing from the neuropsch two weeks ago. We received a report that listed all the tests that were given with the impressions and implications. The most stiking result of the personality evaluation was the high impulsivity of my difficult child. The reports says that my son only thinks in the here and now, with no considerations about future considerations. They recommended behavior modification behavior strategies. I have to talk to the psychologist we have been seeing about what strategies he can offer. We may need to find another specialist who has more experience in this area.


Well-Known Member
If you know he thinks in the here and now, you know that a punishment is only going to anger him. He can not rationalize that next time he better not do that (whatever it is he is being punished for) or he will get grounded. If he is impulsive, he certainly is NOT going to rationalize anything in the moment.

I did punish and punish and punish. It did nothing to help. I finally realized after my difficult child missed a birthday party (her own) and trick or treating in one year - along with many other punishments - that it was not doing ANY good to punish this kid and all it was accomplishing was she was missing out on her childhood, the experiences that I remember from my own childhood. She was stuck in her room for most of them. None of it ever worked. She never learned.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Hi & welcome,

My children are extremely impulsive & live in the moment. Cannot connect the dots to save their souls.

Having said that, we work hard on "stop & think". It's a cue we use all the time - many many times a day for kt.

The Explosive Child is a good resource for parents.

Again, welcome.


New Member
Finding that trying to punish our difficult children while they are in the midst of a meltdown will only make the situation worse, in the instance of a child who has impulsive tendencies and isn't really capable of thinking about consequences before acting, I would agree that you need to get ahold of THE EXPLOSIVE CHILD like YESTERDAY. This book is ALL about working on defusing these stressful situations WAY before they happen and helping teach the children HOW to get their impulses under control. THIS is the BIG key, because for a child with these tendencies, it simply CANNOT be about punishments and consequences for inappropriate actions, becuase they won't mean anything to him at the time. Not only that but we as parents MUST find ways to teach and train our children HOW to function despite their disorders. As difficult as it is, that HAS to remain the ultimate goal, and if it is made obvious that consequences will not help, not only do we need to learn the way to defuse the situation before it turns into a meltdown, but once we can do that, we then need to find ways to help our difficult child's learn to recognize their "meltdown patterns" and start to figure out how to defuse the situations for themselves.

I know I already said hello, but after a few other posts, I thought I would go ahead and throw my 2 cents in again. And welcome again...I am glad you are here!!


New Member
oh, honey, i LOVE your screen name. yes, another huge AMC fan!

THE EXPLOSIVE CHILD saved my life back in the day. i consider it a must read for everyone on the board. read it twice as a matter of fact. get it on CD for husband to listen to going to & from work. from experience i can pretty well bet he won't read it other wise lol. it's different way of parenting for sure & it sound like your husband may need some convincing to give it a try. that being said what you guys have been doing hasn't been working so it's time to try something new.

it's pretty obvious from what you've said that difficult child didn't STOP & THINK....herein lies the problem. i'm doubtful you can punish him into doing it either. hence the need for something(s) different.

it's a long journey, but you guys can do it.



New Member
Hi! I read your initial post and agree with the others about not piling on groundings.

With respect to what's going on with him - if he has a disability in math, he may have what's known as "Non-Verbal Learning Disability". It can look similar to other stuff like ADHD and Asperger's. Here's more info:

It can cause a lot of frustration which can result in defiant behavior.


Well-Known Member
Are you talking about the child who was adopted? I adopted four, and my autistic spectrum son is the one we got from foster care/adoption. Was your child ever exposed to drugs or alcohol during his birthmother's pregnancy? That can make a big difference too. My son also lives in the here and now, but he has learned about consequences and is actually my best behaved child. What diagnosis. did your neuropsychologist come up with?


New Member
I always found with my difficult child, now 20, that grounding never did any good. It took me quite a while to figure out natural consequences worked best. If he broke the window, he should pay for it, period. I would hope he would think twice about doing it again.