So today difficult child earns me a $80 ticket.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I have to go on field trips with difficult child or he doesn't go. Since I am going, generally there are other kids in the group assigned to me as well. Today was another field trip. I had 2 older boys.
    difficult child was in the backseat in his carseat. He is a master at escaping and I honestly didn't even know it happened, tho I have no doubt it did. While stopped at a red light, it seems difficult child loosened his belt enough (or took it off and put it back on later, I am truly not sure which) to stand up on the seat and lean forward. There was a state patrol directly behind us. I feel like an idiot becase I did not see this take place, but when the officer stopped us and I turned around, difficult child's seatbelt had 10 inches or better of slack in it.
    I was polite to the officer, because if he was not belted in, it is my problem, but I don't think he beleived me at all that I didn't tell difficult child to put his belt on real fast after-the-fact.... I asked the officer to please also talk to difficult child. He went around the car and opened the door and had a polite but firm conversation with difficult child. This has happened one other time and it didn't make a lick of difference, so I don't expect this one too, either. In fact, on the way back from the field trip, he did it again and the kid in the backseat with him stopped him that time.
    difficult child was nearly in tears both times, apologizing profusly..."I'm sorry mommy. I'm sorry mommy. I forgot. I'll do better, mommy. I'm sorry." And ya know what? I'm sick of hearing empty "sorries" and empty "I'll do betters". I don't think he can do better right now.
    I was angry. I still am, but I didn't lose my cool. One of the other boys, who's been thru the DFS scene, got angry with the cop and I calmly told him if difficult child was out of his seat, the cop's just doing his job...its the law, and difficult child broke it. The two boys then said if they'd have done that in their family cars, they'd have to work to earn money to pay the ticket, so it was an easy and natural progression to say difficult child will have to work some of this off, too. But it doesn't change the fact that it happened, again, and it most likely will happen again and again some more.
    I'm so frustrated.
  2. Lori4ever

    Lori4ever New Member

    I am so sorry. It really is frustrating when we can't get things to "sink in" with our difficult children. I hope something clicks to get him to stop doing that.
  3. threebabygirls

    threebabygirls New Member

    My difficult child used to unbuckle all the time. It's a miracle I've not been pulled over because of it. A majority of the time, I didn't even realize she'd unbuckled until she buckled herself back in. I really don't have any advice. Just wanted to let you know that I've been there. And I too, would make difficult child work to pay some of it (most of it) back.
  4. Oh I remember all too well when difficult child was the master of escape. I remember when he was a toddler trying different car seats in hopes of finding one he couldn't get out of.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I wish I had a way to help. We never experienced this, not with any of my three kids. For some reason wizard was always very conscious of car safety and he would even help with making sure the others stayed in their seats - even in his most irrational and violent times.

    I would say that if difficult child has a game system or other expensive toy maybe it should/could be pawned to earn part of the $$. Then if he wants to work he can do things to pay off the pawn ticket and get it back. If he doesn't, then he clearly doesn't need the items. It is a method mentioned in Love and Logic parenting. Not sure if it would be feasable in your home or not.

    I am so sorry.

    Maybe the next times you go shopping if you would normally buy a book, toy or candy tell him he can't have it and the amount goes toward teh $80 he owes for the ticket? I have done this with my kids. thank you really seems to "get it" when I do this after he pulls a stunt and breaks things or messes them up.

    BIG HUGS to mommy. It must have been nerve wracking and embarrassing to be pulled over like that.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This has happened to me but Cory was much younger. Cop actually told Cory that if he was his son he would get whipped one time for each dollar it I thought to myself...well couldnt you just take him out of the car and whip him then instead of fining me?

    I never did find a way to make Cory stay in a car seat and he wont buckle up in a seat belt today. He is just that obstinate.
  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    First of all, that school has too many field trips! Just kidding, I am sure it's great but what a nightmare for you. Any chance you would consider keeping difficult child home from the next field trip to give yourself a break and try to make the point to difficult child that if he can't be safe, he can't go?

    I understand the angry feeling. I subjected my son to a twenty minute "I feel angry when you....." rant on the way home from the therapist today. He was such a brat in the appointment!

    Hang in there,
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Well, the good news is that IHBT came tonight and she now gets it that positive reinforcement isn't cutting it. I didn't even try to impress her with her own methods tonight, when difficult child started kicking me, I packed him out of the room and shut him in his room and said "you are not going to kick me".

    That's a far cry from her suggestion of "ow, that hurts me" and walking away. Been doing that a month now and he's just gotten worse.

    She said she liked my tactic. Our first order of business right now is getting back to a livable level with him - getting school and agression back under some semblance of control. Starting with a meeting at school and a behavior plan of some sort. She still maintains that public school is out without a 1-on-1, and that would need to be in place BEFORE HE EVER SET FOOT in the buiding, not after they'd tried it and it failed. Which I totally agree. And right now, I still think the private school is the better option because of class size/student teacher ratio, and instructional method. I think I'll have far more luck getting his teachers there to follow a behavior plan than I would in the public setting. So we will see.

    I overheard IHBT telling husband when I went to retrieve my planner from the car that she realizes now this is a little more than positive reinforcement will fix and we're doing a great job, but she can see I'm running on E.

    Ya think?
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Guess I should clarify this is wee difficult child, but he'll still be earning some money to pay the ticket. Or help, anyway.

    And the little twirp hacked off all my lillies in the garden while IHBT was here. Not a big deal, but...
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Shari, a couple of thoughts about the seat belt thing. We've had compulsory seat belt legislation in Australia for decades, so I've had experience both with my kids, and with hearing the various problems when kids are difficult about it, like weeGFG. easy child 2/difficult child 2 was a Houdini too, although not so much in the car (I think she learnt to be obedient there). In the stroller she was a menace - I kept adding extra leather straps to the five point harness on the stroller and she could still get out within seconds.

    What worked for us -

    1) The legal seat belt requirements for kids, for us, includes a five point harness. The buckle is at about navel position on the kid and has a stiff catch. Generally too stiff for a very young child to open, but not so stiff a parent can't unbuckle to rescue the kid in the event of an accident. We found our kids began to be able to unbuckle at about 5 to 6 years old, by which time (hopefully) that had learned to stay buckled up. The five point harness also had to be on securely, and because it holds them firmly over both shoulders and legs as well as tummy, I think they felt more secure.

    2) For kids who don't learn, or who for various reasons don't comply, there are gadgets, covers etc which can go over the buckle and can only be undone by a parent. The harness can't be loosened by the wearer, the extension bits are behind the child seat that the harness is attached to. One buckle cover I've seen is soft and made with a mixture of foam rubber, velcro and nylon webbing.

    3) Something I don't recommend, but used to use in the bad old days when smacking was accepted - I had a bright red fly swat beside me in the car. Any misbehaviour and the fly swat got used on the kid causing trouble. This included trying to get loose in the seat belt. The bright colour was as much a deterrent as the whistling sound it made. The swat is soft, it bends a great deal when you use it so doesn't really hurt. But the point is not to hurt, but to send a short, clear and immediate message that bad behaviour must stop NOW.

    4) Ask the police for advice. You have a kid who keeps getting loose despite your best efforts. You are not the sort of parent who the punishment is for; you are not the sort who doesn't care about safety and who lets the kids ride free of seat belts. No, you just have a kid who doesn't seem to stay in touch with this rule no matter how hard you try, and who sometimes gets loose before you realise (because he's good at ducking below your radar, especially when you're trying to keep your eyes on the road plus other kids).
    So asking the cops for suggestions, as well as any gadgets you can LEGALLY use to keep him in his seat, might be helpful. Clearly, being told by a cop to smack him once for every dollar he cost is not going to be legal, however tempting it might be. Besides, this kid doesn't learn, it wouldn't prevent a recurrence. Your aim now is to prevent a recurrence.

    If there isn't any such device available that you can use, think about designing one. What you need is something that wraps over and under the buckle, completely covering it. You need a rounded piece of hard plastic (like a cricket protector that male cricketers wear, to protect their private parts from collision with a very solid cricket ball moving at speed) that will fit over the buckle bit that you press to release the belt. The whole thing could be fabric-covered with velcro on the ends so it can attach easily. If you make the velcro pieces wide and long (say, three or four inch squares of velcro to meet and lock) then his fingers should be too weak to pull it apart, especially if you can then get the end of the strap folder through a loop and back on itself. Using a second, smaller piece of velcro to lock down the end of the strap should finish the job - to get out, he would need to unlock the end of the strap, thread the strap back through the belt loop underneath the buckle somewhere and then pull apart the strap ends, to lift the hard plastic shell off the seat belt release button. Then press the buttron.
    The other advantage of using velcro - you should hear it as it releases. Several square inches of good velcro make a loud sound. And you should hear that sound well before he gets loose.
    Of course, this means getting him into and out of his harness will take a bit longer, but that is HIS problem, having to wait until you're ready. With practice, you can be quick.

    Check that such a device is legal according to your state's seat belt regulations, but something like that used with a five point harness (tell difficult child that all the top racing drivers use a five point harness), if it's legal, should hold him for long enough to avoid any further tickets.

    And if such a device doesn't already exist, then patent it.

    I'm sure we have something like this in Australia. You could find something, mail order it maybe.

    If you have to invent something, make its function counter-intuitive, so he has to pull something tighter (or seem to) to get closer to getting it released. A kid with impulse control then has to THINK about what he is doing, and hopefully should then remember, "I must not do this."

  11. threebabygirls

    threebabygirls New Member

    It'd be a big deal at this house if anyone ever hacked off my lilies. There are a lot of plants in my flower beds, but the lilies are the ones that are "sacred."
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I would definitely make him work to pay off that ticket. I put Miss KT to work at a very young age when things like that would happen. Scrubbing toilets, taking out the garbage and newspapers, picking up the dog poop from the yard...either assign a value to the jobs or an hourly wage.
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How frustrating! I definitely agree with having him work it off. I'm also really glad that you are going to meet with teachers and school staff before the year begins. In fact, I just finished sending an email to difficult child's new principal asking about setting up a meeting before school starts.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    i understood that it was weegfg.

    I strongly feel that his gameboy or whatever should be sold to help pay the cost. You need something MAJOR to get across to him. This isn't a joking matter it is a safety issue.

    I do agree with-asking the police for help/advice - NOT to get out of the ticket but to helpprevent it. Also like Marg's idea of something to make it harder to get out.

    Even sell his videos/dvds - they won't get more than a dollar or 2, but it will make a HUGE impact. He is NOT too young to work for his privileges, and to pay with them when he ignores the major rules. We don't mess with safety issues. I have to say that this was one of the ONLY issues I WAS willing to spank over - and would have EVERY time they unbuckled like that. But that is me, and I understand that every parent has to do it differently.

    I am sorry, Iknow this kind of thing is scary.

  15. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Thanks for the input, as always. I am looking for something like you describe, Marg. Surely, surely, it exists. I'm not against designing, but who has the time?

    I'd be glad to sell his toys if he played with any. He doesn't have that many to begin with because when he does play with toys, Legos and Lincoln Logs are about the extent of what he plays with, but he hasn't touched a toy or video in over a month. Maybe longer He doesn't play video games. He wouldn't give a rat's patoot (sorry Star) if I sold everything he owned right now.
  16. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Oh yeah, and IHBT gave me the name of a local doctor who works with natural things and spectrum kids that has done wonders for some of her other clients.

    I think IHBT really saw the end of my rope tonight.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont think there would have been anything that would have gotten Corys attention at home to correlate between his toys being sold and his staying in the car seat. Thankfully for us, they aged out of car seats at around age 4 back then. I dont know what I would do in todays world where they have to be 8! Its not fair that Cory gets this easy kid who jumps into her car seat no

    I still have to sit in my car and refuse to turn the key until he buckles up in my car. I think the only reason he complies now is my new car makes this ungodly beeping sound every 10 seconds if anyone isnt buckled Its quite annoying. My car is the only car he will buckle up in though. He will actually disable the automatic seatbelts in cars that have them...idiot!

    Now I do think they make some sort of car seat latch covers to make it harder to unhook. If not, is he old enough or big enough to use the car seat as a booster seat and use the regular seat belt and then find some sort of clamp type thing over that contraption? Even if you had to use one of those harnesses to tie him into the car seat first, then buckle him in. Maybe then he couldnt actually reach the seat belt clamp.