question about enabling behavior

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Giselle, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Giselle

    Giselle New Member

    Another thread made me think of a question I have pondered sometimes. I'm going to transport a another poster's post into a new thread, if that's o.k...

    My son's behaviors have ALWAYS been worse at home than at school. His teachers have no clue what we are dealing with here. I've been told it's because a school day has much more structure to it than does his time spent at home. Plus, he doesn't want the other kids to see him throwing a tantrum or having a meltdown, which would mark him for teasing or bullying, so he holds it all together and falls apart in my doorway.

    It seems like sometimes kids can hold it together when they know there will be negative consequences (like teasing and bullying from the other kids). But then I also read that these kids can't help the way that they behave (I know that's a broad statement and may depend upon the diagnosis, but I've seen it written about many varieties of troubled children). So sometimes they do control their behavior, and other times they don't or can't. How much is "don't" rather than "can't?" Like, if some of these kids who can't keep it together at home lived in boarding schools where there was always the threat of teasing and bullying, would they always hold it together? I wonder about this because sometimes I wonder whether when we give them the space to act out, it allows them to, and that's not always a good thing. Like, when I was growing up I think I COULDN'T have acted out as badly as some of our difficult child's, because the consequences from my family would have been too severe. Does our tolerance for their issues sometimes enable their issues? Thoughts?
  2. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    GREAT post! I can't wait to read what others think.

    I say "yes". In my case, I think my tolerance of difficult child's diagnosis's/issues and wanting to show him compassion rather than a constant firm hand, enables his poor behavior. I feel like I would be on him constantly otherwise.
  3. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    I do think in our case, I am more tollerant....but sometimes its also survival mode! son was always able to pull himself together and keep it presentable at school....but the other day he just started crying and didnt want to go to school.....This happened in the school reception....The stres and anxiety was so bad that he couldnt care less....But they handled it so great! They didnt judge...just supported us and I went home and later he went to class...I do think he knew that there is more support and less judging in this new school?
    I think it depends on the severity of the anxiety my son feels that contributes to his abillity to override his behaviour....AND I have seen that he can " pull himself together" for a few days, like on holiday with his grandparents, but it takes alot of energy and causes more harm than good in the long run...
  4. Giselle

    Giselle New Member

    To extend it a thing I've noticed even with non-difficult child's - it is "normal" in our culture to throw a certain amount of tantrums, act out, be whiny and entitled, etc. Sometimes I see easy child's having this behavior, and I think, "wow, I would NEVER have been able to act like that as a child." It just wouldn't have been catered to - no emotional payoff at all, and quite possibly a dangerous reaction (towards me) from my folks. Obviously that was a terrible way to grow up and I don't emulate it at all, but I wonder, with both easy child's and difficult child's, how much our tolerance of behavior enables it. And then it becomes, if they don't HAVE TO behave better, they may not choose to, even if they could.
  5. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    I do think that whether they can control their behavior or not...they need to realize that they need to take the consequenses of their behaviour....If my son gets very angry and he starts braking stuff...I will inform him that he will need to pay for it....or if he hurts us he will loose some computer time...His diagnosis is no excuse for bad behaviour! One day he must be able to cope in society, and they will not tollerate some behaviour! He can do what he wants, but hurting any one or himself will NEVER be tollerated!
  6. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    I think they can control it to a greater extent then we realize or want to believe. It is easy for us to shrug off the behavior and say it isn't their fault. I think a difficult child's success is largely dependent on what we accept. This may not be true for every child or all diagnosis's but I think it's true of my child. She knows what behavior we expect and doesn't have a problem giving us that behavior when it is beneficial to her, when there is no carrot dictating her behavior that is another story and the behavior isn't just bad it is -strange- some things are small and can be over looked but collapsing into tears at the slightest provocation and being violent because someone touches her towel, these are not normal.
    Now I accept that spanking may not be the answer to her behavior and some methods of correction seem to feed into the behavior and cause more of it, specifically the more I try to talk to her about the behavior the worse it gets, putting her in a restricted environment where she can not yell scream hit or rage (or i dont hear the raging and there for don't react) seems to be more effective as a punishment and does not usually escalate the behavior.

    My main problem is I react to the behavior more often then I should and there for she does more of those behaviors. I forget that I have to deal with her in a different way then the way I was raised or the way that works best for my other child.
    I absolutely feel that this failure of mine contributes to her behavior and contrary wise if I control the chaos and control my actions and deal with her in a detached manor I absolutely get better results. The fact that she does not hit other children or stomp on them or burst out in tears at the first sign of trouble absolutely does mean she can control some of this behavior to a greater or lesser extent depending on the day and circumstances.
  7. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    I don't know. I've wondered myself. Both my difficult child's have had things happen in school, so I'm more of the school of thought that they truly cannot control it. When I've seen easy child's have a meltdown, it seems more "controlled" to me. And it's usually over pretty quickly, as opposed to when my difficult child's melt down. It's a downward spiral that I don't think they're capable of controlling. On the other hand, difficult child 1 is in Occupational Therapist (OT) and has learned a few coping techniques that I've seen her use recently. But it takes great effort and does not come naturally. I hope that it will become more second nature for her (and I've started difficult child 2 in Occupational Therapist (OT) in the hopes that it will help teach him some calming mechanisms too).
  8. Bunny

    Bunny Active Member

    That was my post from the other thread, and I'm going to give my honest opinion. I think that my difficult child chooses to hold it together at school and chooses to loose it here at home. He knows that home is where he is supposed to be loved no matter what happens ornhow badly he treats people here, and he knows that is not the case at school. The teacher don't have to love him. They don't even have to like him, but he wants them to. BADLY. He's a teacher pleaser and has been since day one of preschool.

    I have had other parents here tell me that he can't help it and its not his fault, but after seeing what I have seen with him over the last 14 years, I truly and honestly believe that difficult child is making a choice. Maybe have been days when he does come home wound up so tight that he really can't help it, but that would not justify the behaviors that he exhibited on an almost daily basis before he started taking the medications that he's on.
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Bunny: If it would be about choice; those medications would not do any difference. medications are not making choices so if medications changed things it means that with medications something else changed than what he just chose to do. If you take Tylenol, and stop being grumpy after that it doesn't mean, that Tylenol made a choice for you to be cheerful that you were too stubborn and annoying to do yourself. More likely what happened was, that Tylenol helped with your headache and you were able to choose being cheerful instead of grumpy because you weren't hurting any more.

    I don't believe that being different in different places means that it is about choice or that you could just be same every there. I'm able to stand on my head in yoga class. I'm not able to stand on my head all night at home or all day at work. Doesn't mean that I just stubbornly choose to not stand on my head all the time because my work or home life is enabling me to stand on my feet or even sit. I can also be very social and cheery person at work and when we entertain or visit or I'm out with friends. But you really, really don't want to make me do it 24/7 without lengthy downtimes for more than few days. It won't be pretty. I find it perfectly normal that people can do something for certain time, but not longer. And that doing something is much easier in some environments than in others.
  10. Bunny

    Bunny Active Member

    SuZir, I understand what you are saying, but I think that this is just something that we are going to have to agree to disagree about. For my son, I really believe it's a choice. He can do it at school, and if he really wanted to, he could do it at home. That's just my opinion.
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    You of course know your son the best. I just worry that, that kind of thinking from your part creates negative feelings for you towards your son and it makes it more difficult for you to deal. If you kind of think, that he is being difficult just because he wants to p*** you off, while he feels he can't do better and you are never (remember we are talking a teen here, even easy child teens are masters of exaggeration) happy with him, it makes life very difficult for both of you.

    Unfortunately with difficult children the same is very much true than with other people. They give you what you ask. If you expect the worst and have lots of negative feelings and exasperation towards them, the chances are, they are not going to give you a pleasant surprise but making it even worse than you were afraid of. And when talking about minor kids, we just can't write them off so to speak but are obligated to provide for them aso their emotional needs. And one of the biggies is lots of positive attention from parents. That is not a want but a need. Children need that for healthy growth. It's not something they have to earn, they simply need it like water and air and food. And when deciding to become a parent we did sign up to provide for also that need. And it can be hard to do (because pretending doesn't really cut it, you really have to mean it), if you let yourself to wallow in how unpleasant the kid 'chooses' to behave. And makes it just harder for you than it needs to be.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If a child who really can't hold it together all the time is sent to a boarding school or residential treatment centers, they do fall apart and those they live with get to see the behaviors. They can only hold it together for so long and as they get older sometimes that changes and they start to act out in school too. There comes a point where a child no longer can keep it in, threat of bullying or not.

    Some kids do not care about even the toughest consequences. That's why they are difficult children. They require a different type of parenting.

    Adopted kids have a higher rate of issues than non-adopted kids. I adopted a few myself.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is interesting. When difficult child was young there was no doubt he couldn't hold it together-anywhere! Not school, visiting, stores, movies, or home. As he got a little older (and had different medications) he tried so hard to hold it together at school (as much as he could) and then couldn't hold it together at home. Middle school was really hard-he tried to hold it together at school-not sure how much he could control at home. Now with medications that have really helped, he is doing way better, still a difficult child but often his behavior is more "choice", however, you can still see if he is excited about something or missed a dose for some reason that he has much less control.
  14. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    As I am reading the posts about medications and choice, I am wondering: Some medications helps with impulse control and some also with moodregulation.....and this can lead to helping the child be more 'clear' about things and giving him a bit more tollerance and control to make better choices? So maybe its a bit of both? medications enabling them to be able to choose?
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    That is how I see it. medications (well most, there are few that do sedate anyone to drooling veggie) may (if they work) give person more control over their actions and feelings. After that, it's up to person what they do with that control. You can also stay grumpy after Tylenol helped with your headache if you want to.