What's your difficult child shorthand?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by slsh, May 29, 2008.

  1. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Randomly thinking today and I wondered what you guys use with your difficult children for verbal cues. We use/used:

    Toothpaste - started when he was 3 or 4, a cue when he was starting to rev up and get really oppositional or generally gfgish. It was a nonthreatening cue, not a command or instruction or anything he really could argue with. I'm proud of this one because we came up with the idea all on our own. ;)

    Personal space - 'cuz boundaries mean nothing to him.

    Volume control - 'cuz he has no concept of moderating his voice volume.

    Asked and answered - I'm a fan of Law & Order, and this still comes in handy when he asks the same doggone question, over and over and over and over (perseveration anyone???).

    Hoop (as in go thru, not around) - when he's expending *way* too much energy trying to beat the system when it would be just so simple to do what he's supposed to do.

    Argh (seriously) - because he has this incredibly irritating habit of cracking his hands, neck, and back - over and over again. Drives me mad.

    Not my problem - when he's trying reeeeeeally hard to get a rise out of me by telling me about some goofball stunt he's pulled. His junk is his junk, not mine. He *hates* it when I say this - unfortunately, I'm saying it a lot these days.

    What do you guys use??
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, unfortunately I never got difficult child to this point. He didn't really exhibit extreme signs until 10 or 11 yo, so maybe that has something to do with it. It seems like when he cares, he doesn't need them. When he needs them, he doesn't care or blanks it out or something. He notoriously says stuff to open more cans of worms to people after I have just discussed with him that this would not be the time or place to discuss things. No matter what I say or how many dirty looks I shoot him, he keeps right on going..... you know, like the energizer bunny! So, I must congratulate you- if you can get any word(s) to cue your difficult child in, more power to you!! How on earth did you do it?
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I stick my index finger straight up and swish my hand in a circular motion when she's paying more attention to me than what she's supposed to be doing.

    I also make a "turning down the volume" motion when she's too loud.

    I take a deep, cleansing breath to remind her to do the same when she's ratcheting up.

    "My parenting time is over for tonight" when she tries to push her bedtime out.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    klmno... sorry, I didn't mean to mislead you! :rofl: In no way, shape or form do all of these work. Volume control works if we're in public. Argh just gets me a nasty look and more joint cracking. Toothpaste worked for a very short while. Personal space works at home, but for heaven's sake, I can't believe I'm having to prompt a 17-year-old, still! Asked and answered never really worked, but I got tired of having to explain I'd already answered the question 14 billion times, so this at least makes him think about it.... before he asks again. Hoop and not my problem don't work at all, other than to let him know what I think and in the latter case, that I'm simply not going to engage with him about whatever goofy thing he's done.

    It was either shorthand or buying a loop recorder to play continuously, because I swear I've said the same things too many times to count over the last 14 years!! Actually, when we were still doing family therapy (at last placement), most of the time when the therapist asked me what I thought about something, I'd ask thank you to tell her. He's heard the same things from therapists and psychiatrists and teachers and us for years - I'm just tired of repeating myself so I let him do the talking, LOL. Unfortunately, hearing and internalizing are 2 completely different things, but that's a whole 'nother topic. ;)
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you- I don't feel so incompetent and alone now. :)
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    With my difficult child, hand signals seem to work WAY better than words.
    Words give him something to interact with, which will inevitably lead to the mother of all debates.


    Hands flat palms towards floor, pressing down. Means "you're amp'ed enough to raise the ceiling, so dial it down a notch or 2"

    Pointing at one of the charts on the wall, no eye contact. Means "pay attention to THIS rule. Yes, the one I'm Pointing at"

    Singing. Anything. Usually embarrassing parent songs (Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head is a favourite for this). Means "You're acting like a typical teen, so I get to be an embarrassing parent. Yay!"
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    "Are you asking or are you telling me?" for the tweedles need to control any given situation. This one has worked from day one with both kt & wm & made "redo".

    "Excuse me" with a mom look for inappropriate talk. You know that look.

    I've used the "asked & answered" phrase; the personal space & bubble for boundary issues


    "Stop & think" as a consequence. Kind of like a time out with-o using that phrase which always sets them off. Now, stop & think is used when kt is being incredibly impulsive or arguing with us. She knows the consequences when husband or I say "stop & think".

    "I don't think so" ~ applies to many situations; mostly when a stunt is about to be pulled. More of a warning.

    "Room time" instead of bedtime.

    "Take five" for timeout.

  8. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    We use "titanic" as shorthand when difficult child is getting wild in public.
    I use a hand signal for "quiet down."
    For those times when I catch difficult child just about to do something impulsive, I shout, "Think it through!" (Better than shouting "No!" all the time.)
  9. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Code Words! difficult child will love it! This is something we will have to try :)
  10. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I need to say there are positives too:

    "Good job" or "you're doing great"

    A gentle squeeze or pat on her shoulder

    two thumbs up

    a smile coupled with a wink

    "I'm proud of you"

    "I know you can do it because I have faith in you"
  11. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Ooh, I am just starting to work on these at psychiatrist suggestion, these are great ideas.
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    "How about you stop and try that again?"

    I do the hand motion to lower your voice when she gets too loud. I use that one A LOT.

    When she's just going on and on and on and on and on and on - she is nothing if not persistent - about the same old things, I just look at her and bat my eyelashes. A lot. It's kind of code for overload, as well as I'm not going to get drug into this again and it has the nice bonus of making her smile or roll her eyes rather than get mad. Most of the time.

    "I'd take a minute and think about that if I were you."

    "Deep breath" while doing a deep breathe myself.

    Sometimes, just the word "breathe".

    I know there are dozens more.
  13. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Red balloon - when difficult child is getting too wild/hyper/whatever - its the word he chose to be his signal that he needs to rein it in.
    Pizza - as in smell it. The word that means to take great big deep breaths to (attempt to) calm himself
    Redo - if he jumped over all 8 stairs coming out of school, this is the word that means go back and do it the right way.
    Just right - reminds him to be aware of where his body is. Particularly useful in stores - the "just right" position is "hands at your sides, feet on the floor, body upright, head up, eyes watching, mouth closed, ears open". His early intervention preschool came up with this one, so he knows this one WELL.
    Whatever you say, TJ (from the TJ Hooker tv show - LOL) - my response to all the wild difficult child tales he tells.
    And I gotta throw this one in - my horse was indirectly struck by lightning when he was 3, so he can be a difficult child in his own right. A year or so ago, he decided it would be a good idea to start bucking going down hills, so that's been our lesson. So when we ride and are heading down a steep hill, I still have to remind him to deal with it by repeating to him over and over and over "think about it. think about it. think about it." Which means if he doesn't calm down and do it right, we're doing it again - and again and again and again and again.....
  14. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Rephrase that, please.

    “The look.”

    Inside voice, please

    Put your brakes on

    “T” hand signal to get his attention and indicating a time-out is imminent

    Saying “5” and pointing to the floor (means 5 pushups right this second!) The exercise helps him refocus.

    I used these fairly often in years past – hardly ever now. Last weekend I did say “put your brakes on.” difficult child says, “Haven’t heard that in years.” lol

    There’s one exception – with- teenage mouth in full gear these days, “Rephrase that” is used regularly -- often dropping the "please.":angry-very:
  15. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    I don't consciously use too many of these. I do use "Excuse me" and "are you sure that's what you want to answer" when they get too disrepectful and it's going to be consequences if they continue. Gives them a chance to stop and think perhaps rephrase or retract what they just said. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't but usually they do pause and consider before choosing.

    I know that unconsciously I start to sigh deeply when I'm very annoyed at something. Even the dog will head off to "her corner" when I sigh too much. A few times I've done it on purpose to let people and/or animals I'm not amused. LOL
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    First Cup. don't talk to me, be anywhere around me until I have had my first cup of coffee in the morning. Same for Gma. We are NOT able to cope until after the first cup - so if you bug us there had better be more than a teaspoon of blood, or a broken bone.

    Repetitive motion. Started this with Wiz at about age 3. He would drive me nuts with these. And when enough was enough, I said repetitive motion and he stopped. The deal was, sometimes he couldn't cope with-o it (same for thank you) so it was my job to know when to use it. But each of mine have done their best to stop with this.
  17. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I am not sure, but I am thinking my kids use more of this type shorthand at me than I use with them? :)
    I know for too loud I cover my ears.....for do not laugh, becuz we all tend to laugh a LOT I cover my mouth. Even tho the oldest is now 19, and even tho my kids are GREAT about buckling seat belts, I still say buckle when we get in car and even tho none of my own kids ever sat in front seat as a child, I STILL throw out my arm towards passenger seat if I stop.....yeesh, and I still say "cow says moo" when we pass by cows when in car, nevermind we live by a cattle farm.....so my kids often say mom is being a mom, again. or, they say daaaaaad........and that means I am being a mom again. we do use lots of faces at each other for things----seems someone is always makeing some kind of face at someone else around here, trying to convey something or another. and I use the word "stop" a lot, to both kids and husband. Mostly I think my kids think it is ME who is usually the one too hyper, ME the one who goes on and on and on......and then they point their finger at ME. and sometimes ask what I might have been smoking........yeesh. As if? or they take my water glass and smell it...yeah right, nothing has ever been in MY water glass.......
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We do the hand signals with difficult child 3 - volume control, or a hand (or finger) held in "stop" position indicating, "Do not talk for a second, I am paying attention to someone else."
    With the younger kids, because they all went to a child care centre which counted to 5 for time-outs - I wouold hold up fingers, counting off. So I could be talking to someone, see my kids misbehaving, catch their attention with a finger snap then begin holding up fingers - it got fast compliance which in turn got some surprised responses from other people. I wish I could take the credit but the child care centre did the hard work, I just cashed in on it.

    Our newest signal phrase is "I think I'll order that aerial in pink." Or something else referring to aerials. It means, "You just said something totally random and completely irrelevant."

    And the kids have a phrase for, "We've heard it before, too often." It's "chocolate shale" because this is a rock layer which forms part of the Sydney Basin, it emerges to the north and the south, as well as the west. Near where we live is an emergence point (very small band) which I used to point out to the kids, obviously far too often!

  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Maybe I am too far removed now but I cant really remember too many of these things. I know we used some hand signals but I cant remember any key phrases that meant certain things.

    If my kids want to tell me they have heard me tell them something before...they just say...yeah yeah mom, we know...lmao.

    Now I do find it interesting to watch Cory interacting with Keyana in the discipline department now that she is hitting the terrible twos. She is behaving in perfectly normal (at least in my eyes) two year old behavior where she will "show out" and he has to deal with this. Everyone in this house gets the giggles because he is just getting a micro mini taste of what he was like. In fact, he is worse than that now but she has the excuse that she is 2!

    By the way, yesterday she was tired and cranky in the car...whining and crying. husband was mock crying at her and she looked up and said clear as a bell...shaddup! LMAO!