Today was a new experience...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Christy, May 7, 2008.

  1. Christy

    Christy New Member

    My son was upset about something in the car. It wasn't a big issue just typical difficult child stuff but he was stuck in the mood and just couldn't let it go. I stayed calm and tried not to engage, this just made him angrier He took off his shoe and threw it at me. The first one missed. The second one hit me in the back of the head. Then he threw something else that knocked my sunglasses off my face. Luckily I was able to keep my eyes on the highway during this. I dedided enough was enough and took the exit and found a parking lot. I stopped the car, got out, and told him how unsafe this was. I told him that I wasn't going to drive until he was calm. He said that he wasn't going to calm down and got out of the van. I said that I was going to call his dad to come and help me get him home. He tried to knock the phone out of my hand and then took off running. It was a dangerous area due to the amount of traffic. He kept getting further and further away so I called 911. The operator stayed on the line with me which was good because we ended up a long way from where we were parked. difficult child was always several hundred yards away from me and would run if I started moving towards him. The cop pulls up to the side of the road and difficult child runs back towards me. The cop meets up with us and I tell him what is going on. difficult child says that he is sorry and won't do it again. The cop notices he is wearing a tae kwon do uniform and uses that as a way to discuss how he should be in conotrol of himself like he in tae kwon do. This launches difficult child into a discussion of tae kwon do class and the forms he is learning. Now I am annoyed, I steer the conversation back to the issue at hand. I was lookig for something more stern from the cop. difficult child did not need a pep talk he needed to understand the seriousness of the situation. So difficult child is calm at this point and we thank the cop and head back to the car. difficult child is all bubbly and excited from the experience. He is chatting like there was nothing unusual about the whole thing. I am about to have my own temper tantrum but I keep my voice calm. You do realize that there is going to be consequences for this don't you? I ask him. I won't do it again, he says. This is a big deal, you could have caused us to have an accident in the van and you might have been hit by a car when you ran away. Can I play outside when we get home, he asks. No, I say. Can I watch a movie? No, I say. Then I'm not going home, he yells and runs in the other direction. I watch him a minute to see if he's coming back but then he starts down the road. I follow but he is way ahead of me. I call 911 again, quickly explain, and ask for the officer to come back. Seems like forever and difficult child is covering a lot of ground. At this point, I can no longer see difficult child, the cop drives by and I see him turn into a parking lot. difficult child sees him and takes off running away from the cop. The cop gets out, runs after him, grabs difficult child, takes him down and cuffs him. Then he stuffs him in the back of the police car. He drives to where I am. difficult child is crying and looks scared to death. This time the cop is not nice. He tells difficult child that he is taking up too much of his time and if he picks him up again, he's talking him to jail. difficult child is silent and this doesn't happen ever. We get home and difficult child cooperates fully in the bedtime routine. Consider yourself under house arrest I tell him. There are no priviledges. He just nods and says that he never wants to go to jail. I hope he remembers that.

    So how long do I punish him for this? Any logical consequences for somelike this?

  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I think those ARE the consequences!
    But if you want to, you could ground him off of his favorite thing--video games or whatever, for a few days. Don't let him earn it back. I've made that mistake before (and may be in the middle of it right now, but that's another thread).
    But don't nag him, whatever you do. Clearly, he loves the battle and it sets him off. You've got the upper hand. Keep breathing.
    I like that cop. :)
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree, he's had the consequences. Well done all round. That cop deserves a big box of chocolates.

    Something you could do - sit with your son and ask him what he thinks was going on and what you can both do to avoid a recurrence. Maybe a code word to remind him? He needs strategies to calm himself down and to stop him from getting hyped up by the conflict.

    When our difficult children get upset, it really is a big deal for them that moment, no matter what we think. Proportion - it's gone. They can't think clearly, they often can't use the strategies they've rehearsed while calm - it's not pretty. They need to have strategies in place that they can use (even if you have to remind them) to get some level of control until they get to a point where they can calm down enough to talk about what they're upset about.

    We try to not talk about an issue until the kid is calm. So if they're yelling - we don't engage. They have to calm themselves before they stand a chance of being heard. As a result, they have been working on staying calm (or getting their calm back) in order to have a better chance of getting what they want.

    Good luck with this one. I think the incident and the outcome have brought their own punishment. Anything more you do is not going to teach him anything more. And surely that is the aim of punishment?

  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you handled this very well. I wouldn't ground him for too long if you decide to but a night or two away from something he enjoys would be o.k. One thing I learned the hard way, is I wouldn't have brought up the consequence thing until I got home. The last time I did that difficult child got very violent in the car. Hugs for you, I know this had to be a scary experience.
  5. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    It's done & over. Consequences have been dealt out & the incident is over. Make difficult child aware of the consequence if/when he chooses to pull this again. Then let it go.

    I agree with one of the above, difficult child loves the battle - the chaos. Don't engage. On another note, we learned fast to engage the child safety locks when the tweedles pulled this. I also learned quickly to stay in an exit lane & even pull over to the side of the freeway safely. I wear a headset that's connected to my cell phone & have a speed dial for 911.

    While things have settled down & wm is in a group home I haven't let down on these precautions. I'm not sure when I will disengage the child safety locks or delete the speed dial.
  6. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I think I would tell difficult child that I wasn't going to take him in the car for anything unneccessary until he could show that he could ride safely. So no after school activities, movies, friend's house, etc. for at least a few days. I would do this partly as a consequence but also because I would be scared to drive with him for a while.
  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    You are all making godd sense but I have to admit I'm having a difficult time with this one. I guess what I need to realize is that nothing after the fact is going to help the situation; HOWEVER, I'm still furious. He hit me in the head with a shoe while I was driving. We could have been killed. He ran off, which is a new thing of his evidently, it happened just the other day when we were hiking in the woods, last week he walked out of the grocery store, and he took off accross a shopping center parking lot. We talked about this very thing at his counseling appointment earlier in the day.

    So today he is without privileges (and to be honest, that's a punishment for both of us as it means I have to find clever ways to keep him occupied). And the thinking me knows that this is not going to change the overall issue but the emotional me can't let it go. We discussed the sitauton briefly this morning when he got up and I told him that is the reason he has lost his priveleges but that we were going to have a good day together and make te most of it. Yesterday, I was thinking a WEEK of lost priveleges, but luckily I did not say this to difficult child because I now know that would be a nightmare for both of us. So I made some progress in convincing myself to let it go, but I can't get totally past it because it was so scary and infuriating at the same time and I guess I want justice for what he put me through. This is just a vent, I know that isn't going to make the situation better but I wanted to be honest about it.

  8. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Another thing I would do: Once a difficult child is out of control, you have to be in control---you did a good job. the consequence talks until you are both in a safe place. I would have waited until I got home to explain to difficult child what the punishments would be. That way, you insure that you get home safely.
  9. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Christy, You did great! I would think that 2nd police visit did the trick. I agree with others, don't ground for more than a day or two and, whatever you do, don't let him out of the vehicle. Parking was a good idea though. I can so feel your frustration.

    My tactic - that would not work in this situation but may help others another time - When the kids were misbehaving in the car, I would park the vehicle down the road from home and we would walk home. When my difficult child was about 5 years old, he was so upset about leaving the vehicle abandoned. A neighbor saw me do this once and said, "He probably likes the walk home" "Not with me walking beside him chewing him out the entire time." This happened about 4 -5 times before the kids knew I was serious - you HAVE to behave in a vehicle. On the way home from vacation one time, the kids were physically fighting in the vehicle (a new one for them) so I did pull over and threw their luggage out. "O.K., You put your stuff back in the vehicle and sit here. You put your stuff back in the vehicle and sit in the way back." They were so sure that I was going to leave them in the parking lot.
  10. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I think you handled the running situation great! You know best how difficult child responds to consequences. I believe, in the calm molments, you need to discuss safety with difficult child while this incident is fresh in his mind.

    Safety is two-fold; his and yours. It is obvious that the cuffing and ride in the backseat made an impression on him. Let him know that, in the future, if you ever feel the situation is unsafe for him, i.e., running away, or unsafe for you, i.e., him hitting, punching, kicking or throwing objects at you, you will call 911 and make sure the same cop responds. It is unacceptable for him to hurt you (or another member of the house) or put himself in harms way. Period.

  11. happymomof2

    happymomof2 New Member

    I think you handled it extremely well. I think the cop should have handled it that way the first time and there wouldn't have been a second "run".

    My son did that once but he jumped out of my vehicle while it was moving - thank God I wasn't going that fast. That was just a few weeks ago and my son is 15!

    I would be holding him under house arrest as well for a few days. That was extremely dangerous!

    You did good!
  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    We had some minor run-in's with the law when difficult child 1 was young - probably 8 or 9.

    I had a friend who was a deputy sheriff. difficult child, thanks to bio mom, didn't think jail was all that bad, so my friend set up a tour of jail, complete with an incarcerted recovering addict's stage show while difficult child was present. This man got hooked on meth and was nearing the end of his second 2 year sentence. He was on work release, but spent all free time in jail. At home, he had a wife and kids, and my friend said he's a man who really wants his life back, and was willing to help make a scene that we all hoped would deter difficult child from thinking jail wasn't so bad.

    This man did a beautiful job, too. Talked to difficult child thru the cell bars for a while, then later, staged a way-too-realistic attack of mania. difficult child recalls it to this day (tho doesn't know it was staged). Jail was suddenly not the place to go. I beleive he's part of the reason difficult child stopped the stealing at that time.

    We needed to repeat the lesson when he got hsi liscense, but worked while it lasted and it lasted a while.
  13. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I understand you're angry but there is a huge difference between consequences and punishment. I also understand exactly how dangerous his behavior was, both in the car and in the parking lot. It seems as if your son has learned his lesson -- at least for awhile. At this point, I'd let it go. I would discuss exactly what the consequences will be if he ever throws anything in a vehicle again and those consequences would be dire.

    I know for my daughter at that age, I would pull over as soon as I could when she started getting agitated. There was just no way she could control herself. One consequence of throwing things was they were gone -- permanently -- and it didn't matter what it was. If she threw it, it was then mine to do with as I deemed appropriate but it would never again be hers. Losing her favorite stuffy, umbrella and pair of shoes did in fact stop the throwing. Also, when she was agitated in the car, when I pulled over, I would get out of the car. This gave her a chance to cool down with no audience to fuel her.

    My daughter was a runner. One thing I found that worked was letting her walk while I drove slowly at a distance behind her but where she was always visible. We talked about me doing this beforehand. The rule was always that she would walk in the direction of home, no paths that the car could not follow and no repercussions when we got home. If the distance was under five miles, she would not be getting back into the car -- she chose to get out and walk, walk it she would. Over five miles and I would let her get back in the car when she was truly tired. She also knew that if she broke the rules, I would call the police and they really did not like chasing her down. If that happened, all privileges at home were lost for the rest of that day. Strangely, it was one of the few consequences that she accepted. Somewhere in the recesses of her wonderful mind, it all seemed fair to her.
  14. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Thanks and more thanks for all of the input! There is some very helpful advice here from all of you and I appreciate the support, but I'm still having trouble with this. I guesss what I can't understand, or am too stubborn to understand, is the idea that calling the cop was the consequence and he learned from it. I called the cop so that he wouldn't be get himself hurt or lost. I called the cop because I did not have the ability to get him back to the car. I needed help. Yes, difficult child was scared the second time, and that's a big plus towards not doing it again but I still think there needs to be consequences for the choices he made.

    Meowbunny, you wrote and I believe someone else wrote something similar earlier in the thread:

    "It seems as if your son has learned his lesson -- at least for awhile. At this point, I'd let it go. I would discuss exactly what the consequences will be if he ever throws anything in a vehicle again and those consequences would be dire."

    What will the dire consequences be? If punishment is not effective this time, why will it help in the future? Not a critisim, I am actually trying to understand.

    This is what I've come up with as "logical" consequences.

    1. He will not have access to anything he can throw in the van. No toys, no drinks, no books, and his shoes will ride in the front with me.

    2. He made several very poor choices, because of this I will be making the choices for him until he can show me that he has better self-control. I may decide to let him outside to run off some energy in the yard. I might decided that he can work on a lego project or play a boardgame. I might be so impressed with how hard he is working on his schoolwork that I will let him watch a half hour of tv with me. We are always telling him that the right choices lead to better results. So if he handles things well, he will regain some of his ability to choose for himself.

    Thanks! Christy
  15. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    To me, the consequence was twofold -- the police officer cuffing him and your restrictions at home. To go any further is just punitive, sorry. It's not going to teach him anything more than he has already learned and that's normally the idea behind punishing a child -- to teach them that their actions have consequences.

    So, if you remove everything he can throw, how does he learn to control himself? How does he show he has better self-control if you are controlling all of his movements?

    I do understand your anger, but I'm hoping it is not your anger that is doling out these present punishments. I went that route. It was an unmitigated disaster. My daughter learned that she may as well do what she wanted because she was in so much trouble already it was irrelevant. She did not learn self-control, I was controlling her. When I finally saw what I was doing and how it was affecting her, I changed things around.

    I never gave a consequence in anger. I made sure the punishment fit the crime and, whenever possible, let natural consequences rule the roost. Once I was sure the message had been received and understood, I did not continue with the consequence. She was intelligent enough to not need the repeated hit by the 2X4 -- just the first one to get her attention.

    I hope your way works for your son. I just know it didn't for my daughter. I do understand the anger and frustration as we watch our kids do stupid, dangerous things when they're angry and frustrated. I also understand the need and desire to try to teach them better methods to control themselves. For me, the trick was to learn when I was teaching and when I was just being vindictive. Once I quit letting my anger do the talking, I really did begin to teach my daughter how to control herself. If nothing else, it probably saved me a few bruises when she hit her teens.
  16. Christy

    Christy New Member

    "So, if you remove everything he can throw, how does he learn to control himself? How does he show he has better self-control if you are controlling all of his movements?"

    And if the next time he hit's me with a shoe, and it causes me swerve and hit another car? Is killing someone a logical consequence, sorry for drama, but distractions while driving cause serious accidents.

    I think your point is valid but this is a safety issue.
  17. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    You really don't think he learned anything yesterday?

    I do understand the safety issue -- my daughter was a pro at throwing and the back of my head was a favorite target (I even have a few scars to prove it). At home, she immediately lost whatever item was thrown. In the car, I pulled over the second I could sense she was getting frustrated for whatever reason and the car was not moved until she was under control. I did not wait for her to reach the throwing stage. Heck, I didn't even let it reach the screaming stage because I find that exceedingly distracting. But the thing is, SHE got herself under control, not me. It was far better to stop the behavior before it started than waiting for the frustration to reach the throwing point (especially, if yours is like mine -- if you can't throw, then kicking and/or hitting is okay, too). As Linda said, you do learn how to pull over in traffic (just make sure the child safety locks are on). It ain't fun, but it is doable and can be done safely.

    For me, the logical consequence is we pull over and we don't leave until I'm satisfied it is safe to drive. If we're late, I'm sorry. There will be no excuses made for you. If it means you miss something fun, too bad -- it was your choice to not control yourself.
  18. defeated

    defeated New Member

    I commend the cop and you for calling 9-1-1. I probably would have had a breakdown and been hulled away to an insane asylum. (Sometimes I think it would be better than most days least I would be drugged!)

    You did a great thing and if he is different from my difficult child then he will have actually learned something and it will not reoccur. My husband and I have a nickname for our difficult child...Homer. If you have ever seen the Simpsons you know what I mean. :)

    As for taking something away or continuing punishment. I think the house arrest is good for a day or two. It is hard to really make a good suggestion because most times - nothing works. I try so hard to take things away and stick to the punishment, but hours of arguing or manipulating usually result in getting/earning a portion back.

    I read a book a few years back that inspired me. I cannot remember the name of it but there was a mother who had had it with her uncooperative, disrespectful teenager. One day when he went to school she took EVERYTHING from his room except for a pillow (with no case) and a blanket. He had one very "uncool" outfit and the only way to get something else was to earn it. He could earn back items with good behavior and each item had a cost. I would love to use this idea and if my son ever shows signs of caring about his room, I will.

    On a more self-pity note....I used to love being a mom and I so desperately want that euphoric feeling back!!!!

    Signed by, Another mother feeling extremely defeated, completely empty and much like a failure.
  19. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello Christy,
    First of all, you handled a difficult and dangerous situation beautifully.

    With regard to consequences, you've received great advice from the others on what works and what doesn't, so I just want to weigh in with my perspective on punishment.

    I have found that a natural immediate consequence, with no further repercussions works best. If the behaviour happens again, your difficult child knows what the consequence will be, and knows what to expect.

    With my difficult child, if I made the punishment too severe, or it went on longer than a day or two, he ended up feeling hard done by and unfairly treated, which is exactly the opposite of how I wanted him to feel. By that point he had forgotten all about what he did wrong, and mom was just now being mean for no good reason, which made him more defiant and started the whole mess escalating to an untenable level.

    I also found that taking away privileges for more than a day didn't work at all. After a day, difficult child adapted and lost interest in whatever it was, so it ceased to work.

    It's a fine line we tread, and I think you've walked it well. To add anything else might just upset the balance.

    Just my $0.02
  20. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Okay one more comment and I swear I'm done posting about this and moving on! I did pull over as soon as it became safe to do so. I did get out of the car and tell him that I was waiting for him to calm down. The child safety locks were engaged the first time he went over the front seat and out the door. The second time he never go in the car.

    As for a learning experince. I do think he was shaken up a good deal from the experience. Do I think it will have any lasting inpact? Nope. So then why do I think a consequence will help if the experience didn't? I don't. Taking things away in the car makes me feel safer and the other consequences are punitive; ie, a reaction to his behavior. He deserves it. I may sound like an angry parent here but I am actually very fair with him. And, he has plenty of atttention and positive things to do even without his toys and such. We live in a society where we are held responsible for our actions and I feel like this was an occassion where a consequence is in oreder. But, I was obviously second guessing myself because I posted and asked for everyones opinions. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to think this through.