tips on being consistent and following through

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by seeker78, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. seeker78

    seeker78 New Member

    I have a 6 year old who doesn't listen to me hardly at all. If I tell him no, he goes beserk and sometimes gets aggressive. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to deal with that honestly so sometimes I give in, even though I know that makes it worse. We've been to several different counselors and they all say you need to be consistent, follow through on consequences, etc. and take charge more. Has anyone else struggled with being consistent and following through and found something that helped them with this?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. All I can say is get him to a neuropsychologist and forget the "counselors." Have him totally evaluated. Consistency won't help him...something else is going on and it's not your fault. Can you tell us more about his earliest years to now?
    I don't think family counseling will help either. You have to get to the bottom of how his brain works. He is probably one of our differently wired children who don't respond to traditional parenting methods, again not your fault.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ditto MWM.
    While you're trying to get a comprehensive evaluation lined up (neuropsychologist is just one option), you could try and get a copy of the book "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene.

    Lots of us around here have found it useful on different levels.
    For me, it was a real eye-opener to consider the skills which my difficult child just happens to be missing.

    Yes, parenting a challenging kid requires consistency. But it's not about consistency of demands or consistency of punishments... it's about order, planning, communication, fore-sight, and so on. This is why it helps SO MUCH to have a comprehensive evaluation, and actually start understanding what makes this kid think. I say "start" because... difficult child kids often come in layers of problems, and the first comprehensive evaluation is not likely to be the last... we've had 3, trying to line up #4, and difficult child is in HS.
  4. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    6 of my 7 kids have some kind of treatment plan I'm supposed to be working on. I agree with the others and have to remind myself ( especially with difficult child 1) that we don't live in an institution. There isn't going to be someone else comeing to do the laundry or cook the meals or let me go for a break. They have to get used to minding and working with what they've got - me. Still to help me keep it all straight I have several dry erase boards up on the walls in strategic places. Some have routines on them and one has a list of all the kids and what we're supposed to be working on this month. I don't get to everything on the board and that's ok. It just stays up on the board until its mastered.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Ditto the others! Yes, we do understand consistency is hard, but as IC said, not consistency with punishment.

    Kids do not want to be in trouble all the time, they do well if they can.

    Get that book (The Explosive Child) and another is What Your Explosive Child is trying to Tell Doug Riley.

    Kids who fall apart like this are missing skills they need to cope and handle the world.

    Counselors look at it from a family systems perspective. And there are situations where family problems are an issue. Plus we can all improve. But you've tried it their way and if things don't improve it's crazy to repeat the same methods. Time to look for other possible causes. To find out how his brain "works". Get a comprehensive evaluation and insist on a neuropsychologist or if you can't get one, a team approach with a developmental pediatrician and thier team ( don't go with that choice if they dont offer a comprehensive team evaluation). Insurance may dictate which way you have to go.

    We get it, hang in there. Let us know how you're doing.

    (PS, would love to know more about your difficult he ok in school and other places?)
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Seeker -

    I went back and read all your posts. You've mentioned your son has difficulties in school - are they mainly social or does he struggle academically too? Another question would be the family history - you say in your signature you're in recovery and have a hx of depression/anxiety - anyone else in the family tree with similar issues (diagnosed or not)? No judgement there at all - once my difficult child starting completely wigging out, I took a long hard look at myself (bipolar, untreated most my life) and our family tree (some big red flags on both sides - depression, substance abuse, etc.). It can be quite enlightening to look at family members' behaviors in hindsight. Did your son hit developmental milestones late, on time, or early? Was the pregnancy/delivery uncomplicated?

    While I agree that further evaluation of your son is probably a good idea, I think you are also on the right track in looking at your consistency too. Parenting our challenging kids has to be creative and has to be a multifaceted approach - seeking help and input from professionals while also adapting our parenting strategies to our kids' needs. I found consistency to be one of the hardest things to master. I totally hear you - some days you're just so wiped out you just cannot possibly fight one more battle with your kid. But consistency is absolutely key. One of the books below talks about how oppositional/defiant kids are optimistic - they just know they are going to win. Doesn't have to be today or this week or even this year - the one time you're inconsistent, they've "won", and that just further reinforces them. Some kids have a ridiculous capacity to wait you out for that "win."

    The other thing I had a hard time with was *not* reacting emotionally to my son's behaviors. I mean, c'mon - he just (insert over the top behavior of the day here) - it's normal to react emotionally to that, right? But what I learned is that when I had an emotional response (angry, sad, even happy), it just fed his behaviors. When I got being neutral down, I gained some control over the situations and he lost control over me. Does that make sense? I was also a yeller - a really bad parenting strategy when you have a kid who feeds on chaos and power and control. When I was yelling, he was in control.

    Two books I'd recommend - The Defiant Child by Dr. Douglas Riley, and The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene. One of them (sorry - it's been so long, I can't remember which) talks about putting behaviors in baskets. Basket A is for behaviors that you absolutely need to address right now (for us, it was always violence). Basket B is for behaviors you want to address but they're not immediately important. Basket C is for the stuff that you'd *like* to address but they're not a huge priority at this moment. The baskets really helped me identify the really important behaviors, and it also helped me get more consistent - if you're fighting every single battle (from being slow to not bathing to back-talking to being physically aggressive), you're going to wear out, fast. If you only pick 1 or 2 behaviors to immediately address, you get the chance to work on your consistency. As you get stronger and able to be more consistent, you can add another behavior to address.

    I understand your son's father's attitude. My husband was the same way, as was my extended family. Nothing wrong with- my difficult child that a little discipline wouldn't fix. But you know what? My kid *loved* being in "trouble", thrived on punishments, and couldn't give a darn about parental approval, starting at about 18 months. Positive reinforcement provoked negative behaviors. In my experience, that's just not right. There was something more going on. We starting looking for help when he was 3, mainly counseling and parenting classes (not a bad idea for a parenting tune up, but I found most parenting classes were not geared towards parenting the really defiant/oppositional kind of kid). When he was 6, the violence had gotten completely unmanageable and I sought out psychiatric help for my son - against my husband's wishes, but when the professionals validated that something more was going on with our son, he finally got on board.

    Hang in there!! ;)
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Slsh, really great post.
    I totally can relate. Q feeds off any reaction, positive or negative and only now is he starting to do better with compliments and rewards.
    It's a whole different way to parent, to view consistency as keeping routines and not giving in to negative behaviors in a creative way ....avoiding power struggles and not having a winner /loser scenario.

    Yes, hang in there, it's worth the struggle!
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Seeker78.

    From your brief description, I can guarantee you that it is not your parenting skills that are the issue. You can learn new skills. But with-o a proper diagnosis for your 6-yr-old, you don't know which skills to use.
    Consistency, yes.
    However, there is more to it. For example, if you consistently give your son 6 things to do, and he forgets all but one, then it's not working. Maybe he can only remember one thing at a time.
    Routine is good. But if it's a routine that he can't cope with, then it's useless.
    I totally agree with-Buddy--he lacks the coping skills to do what he is supposed to do. He is missing something. A good evaluation will help.

    So sorry about your husband. Unfortunately, that kind of response seems to be the norm.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I couldnt agree more with SLSH but then again, we have been here on the board together since dirt was
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

  11. tammybackagain

    tammybackagain New Member

    with getting my 7yr old grandson i have had to rethink consistancy, the main thing is if you tell him he will be punished for something, ie.... if you throw a tantrum then you get X taken away, he throws tantrum you take it. right now my difficult child is trying to earn everything back he was acting up and it has taken a while to get back what he lost. each day he gets smileys at school and no trouble at home he gets x back... 1/2 hr tv time added another toy. he is now working on getting computer time back. as far as ignoring when he has said tantrum he has time out seat, he sits in it and time out doesn't start till he stops, when he is in chair. I go to computer and ignore him. it's hard but even if it is getting on my last nerve he doesn't see it. walk and get something to drink...
  12. seeker78

    seeker78 New Member

    Not reacting is huge and something I'm working on. I get into yelling sometimes too and it doesn't help anything. I like the basket idea too. Thanks. There is a lot of substance abuse and depression/anxiety in my family history. I would say mild antisocial personality disorder too and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) on his dad's side. He does pretty well academically; he mostly struggles with the social stuff. Pregnancy/delivery was normal and no developmental issues I don't think. Thanks for your suggestions!
  13. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    Struggling with social issues is a developmental issue, one that usually isn't recognized until they hit school age. A full evaluation will help diagnose him, and social issues may speak of possible Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Even if he's not Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), parenting him like he is may help matters. ADHD and ODD were the first diagnosis's my daughter had.