Strategies that Work


New Member
I am beginning to compile a list of strategies that sometimes work. Anyone have any ideas to add that have worked for you???

Strategies that Work

1. Reverse psychology-after stating a request, if he refuses multiple times to do it, then tell him he doesn’t have to. He usually knows what the right thing to do is and will then comply because the power struggle is over.

2. Distraction-when he refuses to do something and seems to be “stuck” and headed toward a meltdown, switch the topic and give him something active to do.


New Member
#1 has never worked for me, and quite honestly, I wouldn't ask any of my children, difficult child or not, to do something multiple times. Ever. I say it once, if it isn't done, there is a consequence.

We had the most luck with things they can see. So, at one time, I had construction paper all over my house LOL! Rules and consequences, clearly marked, saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and being consistent. That's my best strategy.


Active Member
HUMOR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Works about 50% of the time for us in deflating a tense situation. Not to mention my fav strategy.

"What sweetie? You want a root beer that costs 3.50? Aren't you cute!"


With our difficult child 1, the request is made then I WALK AWAY!!! He is the greatest for getting into an argument about not doing something. If he has no way to argue AND has processing time, compliance is ~90%.

by the way, we always phrase requests as "I would like you to please ..." rather than "Would you please .." since the second way allows the option of a "No" response and the first one doesn't. (Ideally)

I'm also a big believer in natural consequences & humor.



New Member
I'm slowly learning that requests are not allowed. If I say, difficult child 1 take out the trash please instead of "difficult child I Would you take out the trask or Can you take out the trash?" That doesn't get the same reaction. I used difficult child I as an example, but really difficult child 3 is the only one at this point who says no to me. I'm waiting for the bomb to drop with the older 2, but so far so good. The oldest difficult child does say no to teachers, but complies with my requests.

Humor works great with my oldest two as well.

Now I just need a no fail approach with difficult child 3.


Active Member
For minding I ask him to do something, if he doesn't I re-phrase into a tell him, if he doesn't I remind of the consequence and then walk away. Example. difficult child 1 please make your bed... no response... difficult child 1 make your bed now... no response... You may not do anything else until your bed is made. Go sit in your time out spot until you choose to make your bed.

For hyperness I tell him to fold his arms. This took awhile to get grained in him, but now its great. He folds his arms with out thinking, so it stops him and gives him some time to think about what he is doing.


Active Member
I think I was far more easy child than most PCs, but I do remember getting cranky with my mother because she always said, "Would you please...?" when asking me to do something, when I KNEW that I was expected to do it without argument.

I did say once, "What would you do if I said, 'No'?"

She got very angry with me, when all I was asking was, "What would you say?" I really wanted to know. I guess that was the literal-minded side of me that has now contributed genetically to Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids.

She really didn't understand I was trying to work out the logic, not be defiant. I had no intention of refusing; I just wanted to be asked in an honest way.

What works for us with difficult child 3 is similar - but we team-tag. Sometimes we give him a choice. "OK, the chooks have to be fed and watered, and the vegetables have to be peeled. I'll do one, you do the other and when we're both done we can play a game. Which one do you want to do?"

It demonstrates that in our household we all have to pull our weight to produce results that benefit everybody; and to work cooperatively brings a net benefit.

If I ask him to do too much in too short a space of time, he gets his back up. "Please empty the dishwasher, do the chooks and then run the bath," will get him saying, "No! It's too much! I'll do one of those things, but no more!"

What works best of all, long-term - showing respect to get respect. But we have to start first. There is no point chiding a kid for shouting, if you're shouting at him. Even if he started it - as soon as your voice is raised, you lose your bargaining position.

The other thing that works for us - getting inside his head and working with what's there.


timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Good topic....sometimes it's good to remind ourselves what actually works.

For kt - humor & redirection are two of the best tools I've learned to use. I also use time to remind kt of her responsibilities, when they need to be finished & then give her time for questions or ask for help. I'll take that over any meltdown.

wm - again, humor. However, wm needs things written down for him in a clearly defined step by step manner.

Nine times out of ten, the tweedles have learned to negotiate & to ask for help. They are now of an age where I sometimes refuse that help & let them know this is something I know they can handle.

Thanks for starting this thread - I will be watching it closely.


New Member
LOVE this topic! I'm trying a new plan based on what is being used at the Y. We're (yes, everyone in the family) getting "chips" for doing the good stuff. Being nice, doing good deeds, going the extra mile, or to start, even following through on what you're supposed to do. My difficult child has a lot of trouble organizing and keeping track of his tasks, so each day that he remembers his homework or to write down his assignments etc, he gets a "chip". At the end of the week, if enough are earned he'll be allowed to do something he wants the next week (for him, things like going to varsity soccer games to ball boy are big incentives, so I try to keep it low/no cost).

We're still in the infancy of this at home, but so far it seems to work pretty well. We've always had a real struggle with the lack of responsibility and lack of remourse, hopefully, the visual reward for doing the right thing will work better?!?


Active Member
Another thing that I try to do is enlighten my difficult child as to the intrinsic value of why he should do something. My son is very ODD, so everything I ask is routinely met with a "no". Explaining why something was important, and how if he did XY&Z would effect his life, was something I started with him when he was very young, and now, it is really how we operate. I am not sure this is the best method - however - it worked so well, at the time, that I still use it, with variances here and there.

So for instance, if I want him to take out the trash, I usually tell him he needs to take it out, because it is the day the city picks up trash. We just can't wait to do it, because then it won't get picked up! Or if I need him to clean his room, I explain to him that if he doesn't, mold will grow in that coke can that has been in his room for days. Gross!

One point I also try to make, if I can incorporate it, is how him doing what I ask might affect the dogs. I know that sounds wacky, but he is completely obsessed about the well beings of our 3 dogs, and he feels responsible for them, so I try to use that to my advantage. Like how if he doesn't take out the overflowing trash, the dogs could get in it and get sick. Or he needs to pick up the backyard so that the dogs don't ruin chew his things. That kinda thing - I tend to be very creative.......and probably bizarro with it.....but it works for him and that is what matters. I can concoct a story a mile long about why he needs to do XY&Z, in a half second.

I am sure, most would say that in the easy child world children just need to do as they are told - but when your child NEVER does what they are told without a series of "no's", and then a tantrum, you have to get creative.

I remember one time my son's second teacher called me, irate, because my difficult child was making fun of a girl with Spina Bifida. He was calling her horrible names, and the teacher called me to "talk to him" about it. (Greaaattt!) Anyway, instead of reprimanding him, or scolding him, I explained the situation to him. No one had even told him that the child had a disease, he just thought she was "weird". So when I explained the disease, all the symptoms, and the prognosis, he did a full 180. He never made fun of her again. I thought that was extremely powerful. I decided then, and there, that with my son information was power, and I needed to capitalize on it.

Just my 2 cents................keep the ideas coming, I think it is helpful for all.