Parental lines are Blurred


New Member
I don't know what your living situation is,since you wrote "He constantly tells me that he does not have to listen to me since this is not my house."

Your post stuck out to me, because I am my difficult child's maternal aunt and legal guardian, and I have heard too many times, "You're not my mom!" I countered with, "I'm your parent. I am 100% responsible for your needs and your behaviors." She's 17 now, and understands that much better today than she did as a very young child.

My advice is to remind your son that you are the mommy, and that mommies are in charge of their children wherever they are.

I read The Explosive Child many years ago. I remember Basket A for non-negotiable items that you will endure a meltdown for -- which is safety for all. Basket B -- important items that you don't want to tolerate, but will accept, which will avert a meltdown even though you won't like it (swearing, sporadic school attendance). Basket C - unimportant items (forgotten chores, cleanliness of bedroom) that are not worth having a meltdown.

The other part is learning to detach. Much easier said than done. Hope others will join in soon with other ideas.

Mantra to repeat: "I AM the mommy. He is the little kid.!"


New Member
Ditto on reminding your son you are the mom and mom's word counts no matter where you are. As to the book, get it from the library.

What do you mean by "safe zone?" Is this where he went when you were overstressed? If so, he may feel he shouldn't have to listen to you there.

You may have to decide exactly what is important right now regarding discipline. Is something a safety or health issue? That he has to listen to immediately. Is something simply you'd like him to not do but is actually causing no harm? Then you may have to ignore it for now. Set your priorities and stick with the important stuff. Let the little stuff and maybe even the medium stuff go for now. Pick your battles.


New Member
When living there, do your boyfriend and her husband help discipline? Would your son listen to your BFs husband better since he is a man? I know that sounds awful, but sometimes one or all of my boys will listen to their dad over me. Sometimes its just the opposite. Maybe if your son would listen to him, maybe all he needs is a stern reminder from the BFs husband that he should be respectful of his mom always, because she is his mom and does so much for him.

I'm sorry you're having a hard time right now. I hope it starts looking up soon.


New Member
I know, sometimes things that would work with a easy child child just don't cut it for a difficult child. I wish I had some better advice. I hope it helps to know that the board is here and we understand.


Active Member
I'm wondering if you could adjust his safe spot to only one room or one spot in the house instead of the whole house. difficult child 1 once in a while tries to say I don't have authority. I let the consequences speak for me. Getting into an argument about it doesn't help him. "I'm sorry you feel that way. You still don't get Mama time unless you get in pjs and brush your teeth."

Unfortuantly the bedtime fight is common on this site. My 7 year old sometimes takes hours to go to sleep, and we've just started Melatonin for my 2 year old because he has a hard time going to sleep. The transitions of moving and starting school might have something to do with it.

Good luck. I'm fighting the bed fight as well.
I am going to give you specific suggestions, due to Beaner's age and his "I don't have to" (Tink's first words, seems like just yesterday...)
You mentioned bedtime and mealtime. Those two were the absolute worst for me as well.

I gave up on mealtime. I see that Beaner is an only, which will work to your benefit, as it did for me since Tink is an only. I let her eat when she is hungry. She has sensory issues and is not necessarily hungry at mealtime. I really do not make a fuss out of it. Nor do I make a fuss out of what she eats. That is not to say that I let her eat sweets all day long. As a matter of fact, she pretty well follows my rule that she gets one sweet a day. But if she wants cereal for 2 meals in a day, I don't argue. She is getting calories.

For bedtime, I swear by Melatonin, as do many other mommies on the board. A 3mg tablet is just right for a boy that age, 1/2 hour before bed, and he will not be able to stay up.

Good luck to you guys...


Active Member
It is an over the counter sleep aid. The pediatrian said it was a hormone (sp?) already found in the body and he didn't know any side effects. He did say that we should try to wean him off of it after he starts having a regular pattern of sleep. I think it is also used for jet lag.


New Member
Warm milk is a natural melatonin source.

I understand your desire to have him ready for kindergarten but you may just have to hope that his behavior at home does not trail over to school. He may actually surprise you and listen to the teachers. Plus, if you put too much emphasis on him doing such and such now to get ready for kindergarten, he may end up disliking school before it even starts.

Here's another mom who had major problems getting her little one to bed. I actually reached the point that at a certain time she was in bed in whatever state of dress or undress she was in. A few nights of that and she actually got ready for bed on time even though getting her to stay in bed and go to sleep was another issue entirely. For awhile bribes worked. If she stayed in bed, an extra 30 minutes at the park the next day. If she was asleep by X time, another 30 minutes at the park and she could pick dessert. I tried punishing but that didn't work.

I agree that I wouldn't try to force him to eat if he wasn't hungry. Just isn't worth the battle. Let him know that his breakfast/lunch/dinner will be made at a certain time but if he doesn't want to eat it then, you will wrap it up and he can eat it later.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
It took more than 3 years after placement to get kt up to her room at a regular hour & then to stay there. The majority of kt's issues had & are due to anxiety. Her feelings of being safe & her place in the world.

Your difficult children world was been disrupted due to the move (hey, life happens), & difficult children hate change.

difficult child may need to "relearn" that your job as mom is to be sure he's in bed & & is prepared for the next day of school. A mantra of sorts, "I'm the mom - I'll take care of that. You're the kid - here's what you need to do". Really define it for him at his age level.

Good luck - this is one of the harder situations.


Active Member
You can check your local library for the book. If they don't have it they should be able to get it via interlibrary loan.


A regular soothing and comforting bedtime routine can really help kids Beaner's age. It should include the same elements -- for example, bath, story, back rub, song, kiss goodnight -- every single night. Getting Beaner involved in setting up the routine can help him buy into the process. A chart with pictures cut from magazines and posted on the wall can serve as a visual reminder instead of Mom's nagging words the entire time. When he strays from the routine, you simply have to point to the chart and ask, "What's next in our routine?" He will know what to expect every night and this consistency will offer him a sense of security.



Former desparate mom
The move and possibility of another move is extremely disruptive to a difficult child. I would expect a lot of difficult behavior to surface.
Work on a routine as much as possible. I'm sure he is not happy to be pulled away from what he knows. Our kids tend to be inflexibly and resistant to change.

I think the meal thing was invented by kids to torture their mothers. Three meals and a snack. If he doesn't finish it, leave it for later when he is hungry. I wouldn't be too strict for a while.
Working on the sleep thing is probably the biggest issue since if they don't have enough sleep they get more irritable than they already are. See about the melatonin.
Don't let him sleep too late in the AM. Keep him busy throughout the day and then help him go to sleep at a reasonable time with some soft music or a story on tape or a warm bath. Anything to help him wind down.

If you go to the site and look for the used books, you can often get them for very cheap. Click on the icon on this page. I pay 2 to 5 dollars. Just check the shipping costs before you order. It also helps the site support itself.

You want your son to talk to you the same way you talk to him. There should be a certain level of acceptability in the conversation between the two of you even in arguing.


New Member
I was going to suggest the same thing, Melatonin and the library. Also see if there is a parent-resource center in your area. They are like a library but can refer you to all sorts of places. They have books, videos and referrals. Then I took my son to the Child developement center in town. They have a sliding scale to help people who can't afford it. That will help you get some recommendations on what you can do. Also ask the school for an IEP early. That way if the behavior carries over into school, you have certain rights.

Kisses and hugs....

We are all here to help


Well-Known Member
First of all, I want to second the comments from other posters about the IEP, The Explosive Child, help with the discipline, etc.

My difficult child has struggled with sleep all his life, mainly due to anxiety, as one other poster (BBK, I think), mentioned.

I wonder if part of your little one's sleep-rebellion is due to anxiety too. For years, difficult child would have what my husband and I call "encores". After a big fight to get him into bed in the first place, he would be back out every 10 minutes. Asking for water, complaining that there were spiders in his room, pitching a fit, ANYTHING to keep from going to bed. He will be 18 in the fall, and he still regularly has trouble with this.

The thing that has worked best for us have been a very strict routine. For example: shower at 7:30 pm, a bit of free time doing quiet things such as reading or working on a jigsaw puzzle, and then straight into bed at 9:00. We leave such a long time between shower and bed because it still gives us plenty of time to have the bedtime battle, if the shower thing didn't go very well. We post lists and schedules and reminders on walls around the house, and provide a lot of prompting.

Arguing about anything, even little things, just doesn't seem to help. Sometimes I find that eliminating words altogether works better than trying to talk my difficult child around. Although he can talk the hind legs off a mule, he has trouble processing words and his ODD makes him just want to fight everything I tell him. If I stand and point at the chart, it stops a lot of the nagging and makes it easier for difficult child to remember what he's supposed to do.

I wish you all the best with everything you're having to deal with last night. Try to find some time to look after yourself.