Suggestions for outbursts in public?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by IT1967, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    Hi all! Things here are mostly status quo. The focus/concern always seems to swing between difficult child 1 and difficult child 2 ,so lately it's been difficult child 2, my 8 y.o. I'm just wondering how you all here handle your difficult children' outbursts in public? For example, yesterday we were all getting haircuts and difficult child 2 was crabby and being very very rude to me in front of the hairdresser. Honestly, I don't even know how to deal with these types of situations. I feel like people look at me like I'm pathetic for not reprimanding difficult child 2. But if I try to reprimand him or redirect or whatever, it usually will just escalate the situation. Then I hate that somehow difficult child 2 (or difficult child 1 for that matter, if she's the one acting that way) feels reinforced in behaving badly because I don't do the right thing/respond the right way/don't respond at all. difficult child 1 has been better (*knock on wood*) but we'll still have occasions mostly at home where she'll get angry at me for something and say "I hate you". I don't know what to do! I feel that's unacceptable behavior, but again, I feel like any response just escalates things. I'm starting to feel run over by these situations. Frankly, I'm exhausted by it all, and am sick of confrontations. Blah, would love to hear how you wise people deal with-these kinds of situations. I'm still working on neuropsychologist testing for difficult child 2. While I feel the medications have helped difficult child 1, I'm not feeling the medications are woking as good for difficult child 2 - and we have tried many different combos. He still can be all over the place. There are still lots of outbursts when things don't go his way and there's no predicting what will set him off. I'm ready for them to go back to school. I do think the routines are much better for my kids.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree that routine is important for our kids, especially in the younger years. Predictability is comfort. It doesn't raise the anxiety or frustration that many of our difficult children feel when they are in new or unplanned situations. Many times the anxiety and frustration are what cause the behavior.

    Only you know the kids and only you know "your line in the sand". Following through with consequences and clearly explaining your expectations before outings is what really helped us. I would say to difficult child, "this afternoon we have to go to the shoe store to get you new sneakers. I expect you to listen to me, not run around in the store, and not talk back. If you break the rules, there will be no discussion in the store but when you get home you loose tv privileges." - or gaming privileges, or outside time, or whatever is good motivation for your kid.

    It won't work the first time or perhaps the second or third. But, just as our kids do well with schedules and routine, once they really know you mean business and will follow through with your consequences, it can make a positive difference.

    Having said that I will also say I only took difficult child along if absolutely necessary when he was really young!!!

  3. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    I agree with LDM when it comes to taking difficult child 1 anywhere. In your situation, that wasn't an option to not take him along. For us, if difficult child 1 was tired or hungry, we rescheduled our plans for another day whenever possible because those were the biggest catalysts. Also, back then GameBoys were popular, we'd bring along a bag of things for him to do that were ONLY for necessary outings. Those are some of the preemptive things we did.

    As for issues out in public at that age, I picked him up and carried him out of the store, went straight to the car, and only then did I say a word to him. In the angriest voice I could muster, I would tell him that "I will not allow you to treat me that way/act that way in public. You will stay right where you're at until you can either sit/stand/walk by me quietly in there or until difficult child 2 is done. Then we will go home and you will go straight to your room until ...." It sometimes caused worse problems but mostly when I started the process until he figured out I was serious OR if he really didn't think he did anything wrong, in which case I would hear him out and then decide (his explanations were usually way out there so I'd have to EXPLAIN what behavior I expected and thank him for telling me NICELY). It's hard to put everything in writing since there are so many different scenarios for so many different situations.

    The key was to prepare in advance, verbalize my expectations, and follow through with the consequences immediately. Yes, we have left full grocery carts sitting in the aisle. That was minor embarrassment but was outweighed by the "I like the way you handled that" I heard occasionally from other customers/store owners. When I got smart (after reading the Explosive Child), I would have him look at me and quietly, calmly ask him "why did you .... I have no idea why you just .... and I really need you to tell me why so I can understand." He didn't always have the right words but I usually got his meaning and then I'd explain what he should have done/said instead so he doesn't get into trouble.

    Good luck. Sorry I rambled and if it doesn't make any sense to you. Like I said, there are so many different scenarios for so many different situations as far as what worked for me.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If a situation is frequently a problem, figure out a different way to accomplish it. Insanity is... doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    We had NO success trying to change difficult child at that age. There was no option but to change the situation. If a certain outing created a major blow-up once, or minor twice, we found alternatives to the timing, to whether it was a group outing or not, different provider, etc. Change something... don't assume that difficult child is at a point where he can handle re-learning how to manage a dozen different problem situations. It isn't going to happen. They don't generalize well. ONE at a time, pick what's important, pre-plan, pre-teach, pre-practice, pre-arrange the "if something goes wrong" game plan. Make as much as possible totally predictable.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Mostly we avoided taking difficult child places like the grocery store because it was never a good thing; even today we watch for his mood before deciding whether or not to take him.

    As for haircuts, that is a bit trickier because obviously he has to be there. We have been lucky with that because the two people that have done his hair immediately have stepped in to help in a positive way. They let him know his behavior is in no way acceptable and that he needs to be respectful. The guy who does his hair always asks us if difficult child has "earned" a design in his hair.

    When we had to take him with us to places we made sure to limit the time we would be at a certain place.

    Sending hugs because I know how difficult of a situation this is.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    This is a hard one and I have heard quite a few interesting ways to handle it. There is the good old have a tantrum yourself so he gets just as embarrassed as you are. I havent managed to go that far but I have stomped my feet and whined back at them when they start doing that. I have whispered in their ears that they are going to get it good when they get home. We have taken them to the bathroom and had a come to jesus talk that involved a good spanking. That one always worked well at sit down restaurants.

    I have to say I was extremely impressed watching one parent in McDonald's. She was standing in the line with two little boys who started to act up. She promptly stepped out of line and marched them back to the car. I overheard her say "you just missed your Happy Meal, you get a PBJ tonight."

    I have no idea what the right thing is. Personally I would like to know what to do when a full grown, middle aged man does this.
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I used lots of what I had learned from training animals in trying to raise my boys. With animals one of the biggies is reasonable expectations. What ever you demand from the animal has to be something animal knows how to do. And if things don't go as you hoped, the first thing to consider is, if the animal knew how to do what was expected and if they had a fair chance to succeed. That includes distractions. Even if your dog knows how to sit, when you ask it in your kitchen, it is unlikely it knows how to do it middle of the busy street. You have to work slowly adding distractions and go from sitting in the kitchen to doing so in the yard, in the park and so on.

    With kids that means that you have to consider if child knows what you want and if the child can manage to do it with distractions in any given situation. If what you ask is too overwhelming to the kid, you have retreat and train with easier, similar things. And try to make sure, most (with animals preferably all) training situations are successes. Every step has to be as small as possible. With kids that is not always possible. But I did try to remember that if I put my child to impossible to succeed-situation, it was not fair to punish or give consequences if they didn't do well.

    So when my difficult child was young, I did everything possible not take him for example to supermarket. It was too much for him and he really didn't have a fair chance to do well in there. However we did go often to easier but similar places. Started with ice cream stand and clear rules like: a) Mom will carry you and you will stay still and not flail your hands or feet and neither will you keep noise. b) you will say Hi! to the person selling ice cream and try to look at them. c) Dad will buy us all (similar) ice creams. You wait nice and quiet. d) when you get your ice cream, you say thank you. When he had mastered that, he was expected to walk himself and keep my hand. After that went well, we moved to the very small corner stores, then to very small grocery stores etc.

    Hair dressers were absolute no-goes when he was young. Almost worse than amusement parks or sport games (taking him to the game was a lot of work even though there was nothing he wanted more. We were not able to take him a game of the team which juniors he played for before he was ten. Till that it had to be a lower level, with less than 500 spectators, in arena with lots of free places, taking him to empty part of the stands, and when he was even younger also putting him ear protectors and keeping him in your lap wrapped to the quilt. And that was something he really wanted to do and was motivated to work with.) When he was very young, I cut his hair when he was asleep (and it looked like that) and later when he was able to handle the sound and the feel of hair clipper I used that. Both sensory stuff and just someone he didn't know touching his head was way too much well into the teen years. Heck, before his ex-girlfriend made him to go to the salon regularly, he tended to use a clipper to cut his hair to bare minimum maybe twice a year and let it grow between. And clip it again when it started to be in front of his eyes and bother his eyesight. Ex-girlfriend made him keep it trendy, but we will see when he will go to hairdresser next time now that they are not together any more. May take some time.

    So shortly: My tip is to avoid too difficult situations, make expectations clear beforehand and if it is not working out, to cut the outing short.
  8. LadyJ9

    LadyJ9 New Member

    SuZir I love your advice on dealing with children in the same approach as training a dog. That is not to say I think one is the same as the other, however the techniques you point out I think are very helpful!
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The very hardest thing for me was "leave the scene". So many parents have no idea what a difficult child is or how a difficult child behaves or responds...sigh. I am by nature very self assured BUT it took all my emotional strength to pick up one of the difficult child's and EXIT the location. Half cut hair?? I would hope I would have the strength to politely say "Thank you for your efforts, sir, but evidently we must leave right now." Pay the fee and the tip and leave.

    Warrior Moms not only are they tough but they can pretend to be free of embarrassment & humiliation. been there done that. Hated it every time. on the other hand........everyone is now a legal adult. Hugs to you. DDD
  10. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    Great advice and thank you all! Honestly, with-the hairdresser thing, normally, he's very well behaved there. That's the thing. I never quite know when things can go south. I mean, there are situations I know will be bad and we try to avoid them. But when we're doing something that we normally don't have a problem with and something happens, honestly, I'm flummoxed. Funny about the dog training thing. husband has been trying something like that with-difficult child 1 and it does seem to be working a bit. I'm frankly at a point where I live on pins and needles ALL. THE. TIME with-difficult child 2. We see our therapist Monday, and the psychiatrist in a couple weeks. And I'm waiting on scheduling for the neuropsychologist, although reading about some people's experiences here lately has me concerned that maybe I should forget neuropsychologist testing!
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Comprehensive evaluation is a great thing to get... if you can really get a comprehensive one. neuropsychologist isn't the only source for that... but the other sources have about the same mixed track record.

    The "never quite knowing when things will go south" bit...
    We found that some things were direct-trigger: too noisy, too late in the day, etc.
    But many things were accumulated-trigger: it depended on what the rest of the day had been like, and sometimes on what the previous WEEK had been like. Any one piece may not have been the problem... it can be the accumulated overload, and then something has to give.
    We kept simplifying our lives until we mostly stopped getting accumulated-trigger meltdowns.
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I just didn't take him because, very logically, clearly he couldn't handle it. I didn't believe he was acting out in public to embarass me. I don't believe little kids even think that way. I didn't get angry. Just did my shopping at odd hours when husband was home from work. Now if you live alone, that's harder, but maybe you have a friend or relative to leave him with.

    My son is twenty now and I can take him shopping :) It will happen, even if you have to go slow with him. And part of it depends on what's wrong. I think the neuropsychologist is the way to go. Good luck!