Stubborn refusal to be amused...


Active Member
Do any of your kids do this?

easy child & BF1 have arrived, ready to come away with us to NZ on Monday. They brought their DVD of "Silent Movie" to watch together. difficult child 3 is anxious about watching anything new because the unknown always worries him. Any plot conflict seems to be the cause, although the more we get him to watch, the more he seems to be able to cope.

Tonight we did a deal - he said he would watch for only half an hour, unless he laughed. He said if the film was funny enough he would watch it all.

OK, we know he likes other Mel Brooks movies, so we felt confident. And yes, he chuckled in a few places, plus the pop-up dialogue boxes are perfect, for a kid with hyperlexia. difficult child 3 read every single one of them aloud.

But he stubbornly refused to admit he was enjoying it. He kept saying, "I'm bored, I haven't laughed yet," even though we had heard him a number of times. We let him off after 45 minutes because it was his bedtime anyway, but told him we would be watching the rest of it tomorrow.

husband just asked me to ask you guys - do you find this with your kids? You want to share something enjoyable with them, and despite themselves they refuse to admit the obvious, that they really ARE having fun?

And if so, what do you do? Short of "you did" and "I didn't", which is futile and frustrating, how do we get through to him?

The more he locks himself off from films he hasn't seen or books he hasn't read, the more narrow will be his horizons. Once he's seen a film or read a book, he goes back to it obsessively and memorises it. We're trying to find ways to open him up, but not having a lot of luck.

All ideas welcome!



No real answers to life..
Could you do a special night where one member of the family gets to pick the movie and you all watch it together? Meaning tonight is "Mom's" night and she wants to everyone can see what kind of movies mom likes, etc. It is important that everyone watches together and discusses why they thing mom likes this week it's difficult child's night, and so on...

Push the idea that its to find out more about family members...can have person's favorite snack, etc. Probably the kiss of death to your evening was the "challenge" you made that if you laugh....he was never going to admit he laughed, even when he did.....just my two cents....I really think you are doing a great job with your kids.....


Active Member
difficult child 3 is the one who insisted that he wasn't going to watch it. We said, "you'll enjoy it, it's slapstick comedy," he replied with, "If I don't laugh in the first half hour, I'm not watching any more of it." I said, "Deal!" because I was sure he would - and he did.

The movie night idea - we'd need to try a simplified version of it. easy child 2/difficult child 2 has been getting him to watch "Tokyo Fruits Basket", which is in episodes so he can limit himself to half an hour. But slowly, he's working his way through the series and now will sit and watch old episodes over again.

difficult child 3 is intensely avoiding some movies/TV series especially, purely on principle I feel but his avoidance is so intense we simply can't force it without undoing a lot of the progress we've made. Slowly I'm breaking down his defences, by having a movie or series on when he walks past; he sees something funny and watches it for a minute or two. When we watch it again, he sees a bit more, and so on. We really have to do it this slowly - it grates. But we know from experience that forcing him to watch something risks making him extremely phobic about it in the future.

I like the movie night idea, I think we can try to work towards it. But he's not ready for it yet. It really would be like trying to force a five-year-old to do it.

At least he will watch the rest of the movie tomorrow. With easy child here, she can persuade him to do almost anything. I was watching him tonight, snuggling up to her, head on her shoulder and looking soppy. At the dinner table! Although difficult child 3 & I are very close, he will drop me like a hot potato when easy child is around. I'm glad she's OK with it, and she really can get a lot out of him.

Actually, it was funny - easy child started going out with BF1 when difficult child 3 was only three years old. difficult child 3 was still non-verbal back then but we could see that he was VERY jealous, even though BF1 wasn't being demonstrative of anything - he just seemed to sense a rival for easy child's attention. We all went on an outing to the museum and we literally had to keep BF1 out of difficult child 3's line of sight, or difficult child 3 would begin screaming in rage, especially if BF1 went anywhere near easy child. Now - difficult child 3 adores BF1, he got over the jealousy in only a few months.

I think I'll make a big bucket of popcorn for tomorrow's movie session. husband & I can organise the packing while the kids watch movies. We're also bringing a book for difficult child 3, as well as some DVDs, with us on holiday. We can watch the DVDs on our laptop computers. On our last holiday two years ago this was how we got difficult child 3 to watch "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" - it was the only movie we had. Putting subtitles on for him always helps - although he's got great hearing, his understanding works much better when he can see the words as well as hear them.
And once he's seen a film he likes, with someone familiar, he is more likely to watch another film with the same actor. He likes Robin Williams, Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder - maybe I'll pack "Blazing Saddles" as well. DEFINITELY a popcorn bucket movie, that one!
He watches "Simpsons", which opens doors for us to show him the films these cartoons are sending up. "Young Frankenstein" as well, maybe.
Popcorn movies. Hmm. Maybe the way to go. Long winter evenings, snuggled up with hot chocolate with marshmallows, maybe snowing outside (if we're high enough in the mountains), easy child and popcorn - I think this might work. Wish us luck!


timer lady

Queen of Hearts

The tweedles refuse to admit they are having fun, even though it's blatant they are really enjoying themselves. Doesn't matter what the activity is....

Saying that, husband & I acknowledge just how "bored" they look & mention that we probably won't be doing this again. It generally shakes them out of it.

A favorite phrase I use (sparingly, mind you)...."if you're bored, your boring". Again, I can only use this phrase in certain circumstances - when I do, kt gets all indignant & tries to prove me wrong. Gotta love defiance.


New Member
<span style='font-size: 11pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #660000"> i admit to some confusion on this. why is it so important that he watch movies or tv shows? most parents are thrilled if their kids aren't glued to the tube. if he can show enjoyment in other situations i think i'd let this one go. .....or is there something i'm missing here???

</span> </span> </span>


Active Member
Our difficult child is like this too.

He's a great reader, loves reading. But getting him to read something new is almost impossible. We try to get him to read series, but it's really hard. We buy him new books and they sit in his room. When difficult child is grounded or home because he's suspended, the only thing he can do for pleasure is read. We tell him he can't read his comics or any other book he's read before, take out a couple of the books we've been trying to get him to read and tell him these are all he can read.

I also do the reverse psychogology. He doesn't usually read chapter books and especially not one he's never read or isn't part of a series he hasn't read, but will spend all day reading comics. That's fine, but for school he has to read chapter books. He prides himself on being a great reader. A few months ago we were at the bookstore and I was trying to get him to buy a chapter book. I tried suggesting books of all kinds. We came upon Eragon and I could see he still wasn't biting. So, I said it's just as well, because that book was way too long and he surely couldn't finish it. He picked it up and said that was the book he wanted. We bought it and he started reading it that night. Every day he told me how far he had read, and was so proud when he finished. I told him I knew he could do it, and he told me he knew I just said that so he would bring it home and read it. Sometimes, he's so perceptive.


Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
T doesn't do this with movies or books. They're his world.

But I have noticed this tendency with festiviles, fairs, and the like. I've noticed it with husband too. (also AS) They still go along with the family and we stay as long as they can tolerate it. T's tolerance has increased over the years while husband's has decreased. lol I've decided husband is regressing with age. *sigh*

I'm not sure if it's a Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) thing or not. T does have sensory issues, but husband doesn't really.

Now there are occasions when us girls will just slip away on our own to simply enjoy ourselves without having to listen to either T or husband.


Active Member
Kris, I do agree that with most kids we're desperate to get them AWAY from the box. In difficult child 3's case, the problem is his refusal to watch any movie or TV show, or read any book, when he doesn't already know the plot in detail. He reads MAD magazine (the satire is something he's trying to understand) but won't watch the thing that's being satirised. As a result, his horizons are very narrow. This is a bright kid who still prefers to read "Spot". Over and over again. And over and over and over ...
Because he finally was made to sit down and watch "Harry Potter" films, he has now read SOME of the books. We know he wouldn't cope with "Goblet of Fire" so he has stopped reading the series.

The problem is the extreme phobia over it, we're trying to break it somehow without making it worse. He was told back in primary school that he shouldn't be watching "South Park" and so even now, if it's on TV when he walks into the room he shades his eyes and tries to block his ears all at the same time - makes it hard to talk to him when we've called him into the room for our own reasons (such as "have you cleaned your teeth yet?").

This morning he watched the rest of "Silent Movie" and seemed to really enjoy it. He was getting caught up in the plot, saying, "Oh, no" when things looked bad, and I think in the end he enjoyed the film. He would never watch a 'new' film alone.

At about lunchtime easy child & BF1 told difficult child 3 they were going to the mall. BF1 had to buy a pair of trousers for our trip and they thought they might go to see "Shrek 3". Did difficult child 3 want to come too?

difficult child 3 LOVES the mall. He also loves "Shrek" (eventually). But he wouldn't go to a film. He suggested he sit and wait outside, playing with his Nintendo DS, whole everybody else watched the movie. easy child told him, "No movie - no coming to the mall with us. But don't worry about missing time with me and BF1 - we'll all be together for the next three weeks."
difficult child 3 finally agreed to go, and to go to the movie. And it turns out - we haven't got "Shrek 3" yet, so none of the kids went to see a movie.

We get upset at our kids always watching TV, but it is where a lot of social skills are learned. For difficult child 3, watching movies with subtitles is where he has learnt the most. And to have him refusing to watch anything, for fear of the unknown, has been limiting him in the extreme. I know it sounds bizarre, but nothing else has ever worked for him as well as this.



Active Member
Same with our difficult child, reading the little books when he's so much more capable. He will read easy child#2's books over and over again.

He also doesn't enjoy going to new places - we have to drag him along. We had Riverfest last weekend and the group Gym Class Heroes was scheduled to play. He loves Gym Class Heroes. He would have gone if it was just the concert, but didn't want to go to Riverfest. It was really hard to get him to go to Six Flags the first few times - now he loves it (so I know it's not the crowds, it's the new situation).

He won't play new video games until he watches easy child#1 play them over and over again.

I agree with you that normally, we WANT to keep kids away from the TV and video games. But with difficult child, it's a way for him to fit in a little better with his peers. He loves Monty Python and has introduced many other kids in the neighborhood to them. They have a great time watching, and then difficult child can joke with them about it. Same with video games. He can be successful with them, have something to talk about with the other kids, and play the games with him. These are the best tools we have to help him connect with the other kids, because he isn't particularly good at sports and the ohter kids don't read nearly as much as he does. And, if he watches a movie he is more likely to read the book - like Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter.