General Question

Supacase's avatar

I really need parenting help/advice.

Asked by Supacase (14483 points ) February 2nd, 2011

I have accepted that my daughter (5 years old) is not going through a phase – she is a “strong-willed” child. Our parenting has been inconsistent and ineffective so we are working on this.

Our goal is to calmly send the message and the consequence. Examples would be “Please turn the volume down now or I will turn off the TV for the rest of the day” or “Please put your school clothes on. I am setting the timer and we are leaving when it goes off whether you are dressed or not.”

What I need are ideas for consequences for bad behavior. Taking things away and time outs do not work. She can happily occupy herself with a sock and a piece of fuzz and she enjoys being in her room even after we have removed just about every toy.

Consequences should be immediate, related to the misbehavior, proportionate to misbehavior and consistent.

Specific behaviors I need the most help with:
Hitting
Name-calling
Not taking shower or taking forever to finish

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48 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Well, Dr. Phil always asks “What is her currency? What does she value?” That is what should be removed as a consequence.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

We use the wall in the hallway – nothing to play with, nothing to look at and we remove ourselves during the time out so they can’t react to our reactions. Timing-wise it begins with 2 minutes (for an unreasonable tantrum) to 5 (for premeditated refusal to listen) to 10 (for hitting) and the microwave clocks is our timer. When they hear it beep, they can come to us (if they’ve stopped crying) in order to discuss the situation. But, you’re right, consistency is key. If I said no candy or cartoons for the day because they misbehaved early in the morning, I don’t turn it on for them later on in the day no matter how much better behaved they are.

ducky_dnl's avatar

Have you tried spanking her? My mom would make my brother and I wipe down the walls. Try that. It’s not too harsh, but it’ll get the point across that you’re not playing.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

If she can play with a piece of fuzz, then put her in time-out in the kitchen or somewhere where there would be nothing on the floor to play with. A 5 yr. old can entertain herself with just her imagination though, so I think taking things away would work better. You just haven’t found what works the best. There has to be something- a tv show, an afterschool activity, a favorite outfit, a toy, etc.- that you can take away. When she hits, are you completely against spanking? I am against spanking except in certain circumstances, and hurting others is one of them. If she is 5 years old then she is definitely old enough to know better. Be consistent. Only tell her ONE time before you take action (example, ask her to turn the tv down only once. If she doesn’t, turn it off, just like that.). She needs to know that when mommy says something she expects to be obeyed the first time, every time.

YoBob's avatar

I too was going to suggest that since taking away privileges doesn’t seem to work, perhaps spanking is a reasonable alternative. Then I saw that one of the behaviors they are trying to address is hitting.

That’s one of those Bill Engvall “Here’s your sign” moments…. Slap your kid on the behind and tell them “We don’t hit other people”... ;)

josie's avatar

It always a mistake to treat small (5 yrs old) children as if they are miniature adults. They have to be a little older to appreciate the new age sensitive approach. If you are uncomfortable with a single swat on the butt (I did that until my kids were 5 or 6, then I stopped) then see the above about Dr. Phil. Find out what they value, and take it away.

wundayatta's avatar

Like @Simone_De_Beauvoir, we used timeout. We used to have… actually we still have this little wooden step stool that we put in the corner of the kitchen, and that was the time-out place.

My daughter needed time-out about once in her life, I think. My son was another story altogether. We tried having him be in timeout facing the wall, but that bothered him too much, so we allowed him to turn around as long as he didn’t talk to anyone. If he did, he had to start all over.

I think our time outs were three minutes at the time. One day, he refused to go into timeout. I told him that if he wasn’t there in ten seconds, he would get an additional timeout. He stayed away until the fourth timeout. Then he served his 12 minutes and never questioned a timeout again. I never had to touch him. It was always his choice about what he would do.

Pretty soon, I think he came to secretly like timeouts. They always happened when he was getting terribly excited and couldn’t really think about other people. He just did whatever he did without thinking. Giving him a timeout gave him a chance to cool down, and I think he liked being able to cool down. I don’t think this was conscious, but it seemed like he liked himself better after the cool down time.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@YoBob I doubt she needs parenting advice from Bill Engvall of all people. A 5 year old can understand that parents spank as a correction technique, but children and even adults cannot just hit another person. I know lots of people- myself included- who were spanked as kids but never once thought that meant it was ok to hit their parents back.

YoBob's avatar

@BBSDTfamily Hey, I have no problem with spanking as a disciplinary measure if that’s what works for the particular child. However, surely you can see the irony.

blueiiznh's avatar

Sounds like a battle of the will already. She may be independent, but may not yet have reached the age of reason. You certainly are right in trying to nip this in the bud.
Certainly making sure that she knows what is acceptable and what is not is key to start with.
Sticking to whatever solution or corrective action is also key. She has to know you mean business period. At various ages, they are trying to push the line and see what they can and can’t get away with. Choose you battles wisely on what are the real key ones to deal with.
That being said and as others have mentioned, you need to find something that works and never loose your cool. Stay firm however. There is always something that will work and sink in. It varies at times, but you will find it.
As @wundayatta mentioned, doing a count down and her knowing the consequence can be an effective measure to getting real attention. Once I didi that with my daughter, it would make her think it out and would comply.
Talking to them after the episode about why hitting and name calling is not accepted and putting it to her on her level can help. Ask her how she would feel if a friend hit her or called her a name. Reasoning is a powerful tool even at any age.
My daughter went and to some effect still goes through the not want to take a bath/shower and then once in it takes forever. I focus on the hygiene of child first and let the long bath or shower not an issue.
I also engaged her pediatrician with some of these topics. My daughters pediatrician has been able to bridge some of these issues too. Sometimes children listen better when it comes from others that they regard as important too.
Stick to your guns, make sure she knows the consequences, choose your battles, keep your cool.

Supacase's avatar

She laughs at a swat on the butt.

We have taken away everything imaginable and she does not care. Desserts, TV, playdates, a friend’s birthday party, etc. We finally cleared her room of toys and she said, “Good, empty. Just the way I’ve always wanted it.”

Time out is just… not helping.

tinyfaery's avatar

How about instead of taking something away you offer her something? Example: If you do put away your toys 3 days in a row I will take you to wherever. Start with small chunks of time and small rewards, and work your way up. Let her know that each time she does not keep her part of the bargain you will not keep yours.

BTW, I am not a parent, this is a technique I learned as a counselor at a treatment facility for BPD girls. It worked well a lot of the time.

Scooby's avatar

Got a few minutes?? :-/
Then check this out, it may give you some ideas…. My sister swears by her!

Judi's avatar

So sorry. I know how tough this is. I never could figure out consequences that worked with my VERY strong willed children.
In retrospect, talking to my children now that they are grown, I have figured out (and you touched on it) one things my dificult children (2 were dificult and one was very easy) needed.
They really needed consistency. My free spirit made them feel insecure because they never knew what to expect. They needed a schedule with very few deviations.
I was pretty oblivious at the time. My first child was very “go with the flow.” it never occurred to me that my flexibility was causing my other kids stress which manifested as defiance.
I don’t know if this is true for your kids but now that my kids are having kids we have spent a lot of time talking about approaches to parenting and the different needs of different kids. I’m glad they have forgiven me, and I can tell they have taken my mistakes, learned and have become the most amazing parents I know.

Cruiser's avatar

My suggestion would be to make her world smaller. You are asking and expecting way too much from a little child and her only 5 year old mind. What worked for me is to imagine putting your child in a small box. A box with comfortable choices that are understandable, manageable with results that you know she can succeed at doing. And no matter what choice she makes or how marginal the result, find something that she did that you can praise her for doing. Focus on and reward the positive good behaviors and choices and she will notice this and begin to make better choices on her own you then offer praise and your struggles and battles will be fewer and farther between.
Another thing is kids that age have no real concept of time. They know the minutes and all but not the duration so avoid giving time limits for choices and tasks or if you have to give gentle “5 more minutes” reminders so they are better prepared to complete or end what they are doing.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t know you or your daughter and so my advice may be worthless but it sounds as though the relationship you have with your daughter has become very confrontational. Rather than look for ways of upping the ante I would take a step back and try and gain her cooperation in more subtle ways.

I found with my kids I could explore issues of bad behaviour through stories. I always read them a story last thing at night. I didn’t choose stories with this purpose in mind and I didn’t make a point of stressing the moral of a story or relating it to my daughter or son’s behaviour directly. Rather we enjoyed the story together and I answered questions as they arose and I found we were on the same side as if by magic.

I never devised a system of rewards and punishments for my kids. If I was annoyed with them I didn’t feel like being nice to them and I wasn’t but more often I was pleased with them and enjoyed their company.

the_sherpa's avatar

Oy. I’m sorry, this must be so frustrating.

I don’t have children, but I raised my little sister, who was (and, at the age of 17, still is) extraordinarily strong willed. Mostly now I see things I wish I had done differently. I had no model other than strong-arming and being hyper dominant. Which doesn’t really help a child who’s so strong willed figure out how to exist in the world. I really like what @Cruiser has said about making her world smaller.

In the battle of wills, your daughter is probably going to win. She has no bills, no job, no marriage – nothing else to occupy her brilliant little mind and feelings. She has more resources, and at this time, she clearly has the upper hand and knows it.
I don’t have an answer for you, but I have a question – how else can you engage her other than in a head on battle? How can you support her will (this will be SUCH an asset for her in life!) while still letting her know that you’re in charge?

I’m noticing a lot of attention on consequences, which certainly are important. But my attention goes to support, CONSISTENT positive re-enforcement.

I don’t know any books personally, but you might want to Fluther something like “what are some good books on raising strong willed children?” Or even Google it. Amazon has a great review system where you can get a good feel for book before buying them. Or go browse the parenting section at Borders.

I wish you the best.

glenjamin's avatar

My son (4) doesn’t hit or call names, he just tends to dilly-dally alot. Usually the counting thing works for me and usually the threat is to take away one of his bedtime stories (if in the evening), or his opportunity to play video games (he likes the wii). Luckily I haven’t had to spank him once (not that I would anyway). We’ll see if I’m this lucky with my upcoming second child. Good luck!

wundayatta's avatar

I really like some of the advice you’ve gotten here. I think that @blueiiznh and @Cruiser and @the_sherpa all have some very good ideas.

I am particularly struck by what @the_sherpa said about supporting your daughter’s strong will while letting her know you are still in charge. It was the last part—about still being in charge—that made me think.

The “in charge” model of parenting is like the military model of organization and, in many cases, the corporate model, as well. Usually we think of it the other way around by saying it’s a “Daddy knows best” organization, or it’s a more open management system, or even a democratic system.

Do we actually need to be in charge? I never actually wanted to be in charge. What I wanted was for my kids to be in charge of themselves. It is so much easier if they decide to do stuff that I approve of then if I have to try to coerce them to do it. I really don’t want to be in the coercion business.

We would always talk to our kids about the reasons we wanted them to behave as they did, rather than telling them what to do. We spoke of consequences, but the consequences we spoke of had nothing to do with taking away toys or whatnot. They had to do with relationships. As in, if you keep on playing with the stereo like that, I’m going to like you less. If you don’t help me with this (whatever age-appropriate task), then the next time you ask me to do something, do you think I’m going to want to help you?

It’s a long trek because of course they don’t understand it at first. The more immediately you show them you don’t want to do something for them since they didn’t cooperate with you, the easier it is for them to get. And the beauty of it is that it is true. This is how people outside the family relate to each other. We reward people who cooperate by being nicer to them and we ostracize those who don’t. Insofar as we can.

You can do this without threatening them, too. You never say “or else.” You don’t tell them you won’t like or love them. It is only that you will not feel kindly about their requests. There is no battle of wills. There is no being in charge. There is the very real treating a child as a person who makes choices that have consequences.

Threatening them with consequences actually is protecting them from consequences. It’s artificial and they know it. They don’t believe it. They know they can wheedle or whatever. Real consequences require treating children as real moral thinkers who participate in a social group wherein they have power. If you have real power, that’s a big responsibility. You can’t just wield it as you will. You have to think about how it will affect others. Letting children behave badly and letting them experience the natural consequences of bad behavior; letting them see what it’s really like—can be a great learning experience, I believe.

To this day I follow this idea. My kids, most people might think, are pretty disrespectful to me. But we play around and I am not concerned about what they really think about me. When push comes to shove, I know I can rely on them, and they know they can rely on me.

Judi's avatar

I should have added, that my daughters use the “naughty corner” very effectively with their first children. They can find a naughty corner anywhere! My grand daughter (the third) fights that a lot more than the boys did. She will be much tougher.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t have children, but it does seem like a battle of wills; power struggle of sorts. Kids live in a world of everyone telling them what to do, I can undertsand why it is annoying for them, and they sometimes want to push back, gain some control over their own world. I like @cruisers advice to make her world smaller. Make sure the demands you put on her are really necessary, make sure she has time to do her own thing, and be sure to empathasize with her feelings. If she says she wants cake now, paraphrase and legitimize her desire, so she feels heard, and tell her when she will be able to have some, even if it is not now.

Also, if you can, do more with her. Putting on her school clothes, cleaning up her toys. I think she wants to be with you. When you tell her what to do it is her opportunity to get attention from you if she acts up. If she just does it, you still are not with her. The punishment of being in a corner is the same as her being by herself anyway.

Jeruba's avatar

I can sympathize. My younger son was very much like that, a very bright child who was early labeled “divergent thinker.” He learned very young to detach automatically from anything that was taken away. He has a strong instinctive comprehension of other people’s motivations and intentions—always has had—and uses it to thwart their attempts to control, manage, and discipline him.

Just about anything we attempted backfired. When he was three, I tried this: “Please put your (pre)school clothes on. I am setting the timer and we are leaving when it goes off whether you are dressed or not.” I thought being scooped up and taken to school in his pajamas would embarrass him and he wouldn’t let it happen again. Wrong. When I did that, his little mind registered, “I don’t really have to get dressed after all and she will take me anyway.” He got dressed at his leisure, in the car.

This is kind of how it went for the next twenty years.

Unfortunately I can’t offer much help. When he was in first grade, his teacher asked me, “What do I do to motivate him? He doesn’t care about getting star stickers on his name card, he doesn’t care about having his name written on the board . . . ” All I could say was, “If you figure it out, let me know.”

His school career, which ended early, was rocky all the way.

I still don’t know what we should have done with this one. He tells us now (in his twenties) that he needed more structure (even though he fought it at every turn) and that when he stole things, I should have made him give them back. Well, but he lied so well that I believed him and I was afraid of doing him an injustice with false accusations. How could I have made him give them back?

It probably didn’t help that my husband and I were not much for structure and control ourselves. We honestly believed in “precept and example” and thought that if we taught him the right principles and lived by them ourselves, that would be most effective. It wasn’t.

He is still a mystery to me, and if he turns out all right in the end, I think it will be his own doing and nothing of mine.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t really like the diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder but I thought you might want to check it out if you feel your child is very extreme. I have a friend whose son received this diagnosis along with ADHD.

cocojustice's avatar

She seems like me when I was a little girl. I wanted attention, So maybe rewards for when she is behaving accordingly..Then maybe she will start to see life as a five year old is a lot more fun and easy when i listen and behave.

stardust's avatar

This sounds really tough. I’m not a parent so my input isn’t coming from experience, but I do agree with rewarding good behaviour – if and when that happens. Good consequences might change her behaviour. Otherwise, I don’t know :/

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Supacase Sounds like she needs a stronger swat on the butt that won’t make her laugh.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am totally against the practice of giving the child a choice to obey or disobey. I would never say do this or…......anything. They are expected to do as I say, and that is all.

If I am giving a choice, it will be “Do you want to turn of the TV in 5 minutes or 10 minutes.” I respect their need to have choices, and try to fit it in as much as possible. I give them at least 5 minute warnings for specific tasks, as in “It will be bed time in 5 minutes, do you want to brush your teeth first, or put on your pajamas first?”

I enforce my words with compliance, turn off the TV means they will turn it off, period. If they don’t, I take them by the hand or put the remote in their hand and push their hand on the off button.

When I say “come” they come, because they have already learned that if they don’t, I will walk over and get them – every time, no exceptions. This type of training has to be started when they are infants and used consistently.

Important note: Pick your fights carefully. Do not issue ultimatums unless absolutely necessary.

JLeslie's avatar

I am stunned at how many people suggest hitting her.

After reading the answers again positive reinforcement for doing things right might be the trick if you are not doing it. I was reminded of the time my friend, the very same one who had a defiant child, was visiting me with her son. We three had spent many hours out driving, then to see some animals at one of those zoos you drive through, then an adult oriented restaurant for lunch, and finally drove to see the beach. He had behaved well the entire time, must have been 8 hours. It would have been a long day for any young child. On the way back from the beach she said to her son, “you were so good today, I am so proud of you, I have some of your favorite fruit candies in the car for you.” Then she leaned over towards me and under her breath said to me, “I know that sound ridiculous, but the psychologist told me I have to give him positive reinforcement when he does something right.” That sound ridiculous? Doesn’t everyone want a pat on the back when they are doing well? Not just kids?

JLeslie's avatar

@YARNLADY Good point. Fair warning. I like to have fair warning that my play time is almost up, or that I will have to do something. And, I like what you said about limiting their choices to 5 or 10 minutes, not do it or don’t do it.

cak's avatar

Something we made our son do when he went through a hitting stage was simple, but effective. He had to face the person and ask them how it made them feel. Then he had to apologize for his action. Additionally, he served a timeout. My son is ADHD and has been diagnosed ODD. To him, discipline is nothing, so it has to really make an impact for it to register with him.

Yes, we do the groundings and he loses things and acts like it doesn’t bother him; however, when we make him confront the person he’s wronged, asked them how it made them feel then apologize for it, it seems to set in a little more.

It’s not perfect, but it has made a difference.

Supacase's avatar

I’m looking for alternatives because I honestly don’t want to resort to spanking her several times each day. I wasn’t raised like that – I had 2 or 3 spankings and, because they were so rare, I remember to this day why I got each one.

My problem as a child was lack of attention, so I would get it any way I could. I don’t know that attention is her problem, though. I stay home with her and am with her all day. Her defiance comes when there is something she does not want to do – like go to bed. In general, things are fine during the day.

I am planning to get a day planner or notebook and give her stickers throughout the day for everything good she does. I won’t take any away for bad behavior – she earned them and will keep them. If she gets so many per week she will get special extra mommy or daddy time… or something. I haven’t worked that out yet.

Thankfully, she has kept this behavior away from school so far.

I appreciate all of the advice. You have all given me a lot to think about and, not that I’m glad any of your children were difficult, it is nice to know I’m not alone.

JLeslie's avatar

@Supacase The stickers sound like a great idea. Maybe when she fills a row or a page she gets something special? Also, if bed time is difficult maybe involve her in deciding what will be her routine. Let her help you solve the problem. Tell her she has to go to sleep by 8:30, but she can decide what time she goes to her room and if she wants to read a story or play a game or whatever. Like I used to baby sit these kids who had to go to their room an hour before they were expected to be asleep. They could play quietly, listen to music, read books, they just had to stay in their room. Your daughter might be a little young for that, but maybe she will be able to articulate why she does not want to go to sleep? I still hate going to sleep. I don’t like going to bed unless I am very tired and can fall asleep within a few minutes.

Jeruba's avatar

@YARNLADY, what is your relationship like now with your adult children?

Supacase's avatar

@JLeslie Once she is actually in the bed, she is fine again. As long as she stays in bed, which she usually does, she can look at books (by nightlight), sing, or talk to her dolls and stuffed animals She tells them the funniest stories and puts on hilarious little plays with them. – We listen through the monitor.

It takes me forever to fall asleep, so I know that is one thing I cannot force.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Have you tried positive reinforcement instead of negative? Use popsicle sticks. Give her a list of things that she’s required to do every day: Get school clothes on, eat dinner and clear plate, go over school work, pick up room, take bath. One stick for each task for each day. Make a rewards chart: 5 sticks = a friend comes over on saturday 10 sticks = breakfast at McDonalds 15 sticks = new craft item/barbie outfit/whatever floats her boat. If she gets them all, she getst something bigger.

If she’s not dressed when it’s time to go to school, send her “as is”. You will only have to do it once.

This is about controlling her environment. She gets a reaction from you for negative behavior. She needs to get little to no reaction from negative, and great positive reaction from the good behavior. Stress the act of choosing the outcomes.

A real helpful book is Mega Skills by Dorothy Rich.

filmfann's avatar

The Bible says that if you don’t spank your children, you will end up hating them.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Jeruba We have had our ups and downs. Both have lived with me off and on, with their families and without. I was estranged from my oldest son for awhile, but that has changed now.

My youngest son lives in a house we are currently paying for, and he spends a great deal of time at our house, while looking for work.

P. S. I was still learning all this with my oldest son, and I worked the entire time he was growing up, plus he lost two fathers, one he never knew, but the other helped raise him for nearly 10 years.

Kardamom's avatar

I agree with @Scooby that you should take a look at the TV show The Supernanny. Jo Frost, otherwise known as the Supernanny really knows her stuff. I’ve tried out some of her techniques and they do work, but you have to be 100% comitted and consistent. You don’t need to hit or yell, but you do need to decide ahead of time (before the problem erupts) exactly what you are going to do, then do it, immediately. Each and every time. Some behaviors take many, many times of repeating the same consequence each time before the kid catches on (or gives in as the case may be). And like some of the others have stated already, find out what is meaningful to your daughter and take that away from her when she misbehaves. And like the others have stated, find a safe, but really boring place to put her during her time-outs. Even if you have to put a playpen in your kitchen or put a fuzz-less mat on your living room floor. And if you have an S/O, you and he/she need to decide together, ahead of time how the consequences will be meted out. Never argue about what you are going to do in front of the child. You have to be 100% prepared ahead of time and each one of you needs to do the exact same thing, every single time, and be able to put up with the screaming and crying that will go along with this method in the beginning (without showing any agitation or anger).

I wish you luck!

wundayatta's avatar

@cak I think that having your son face the person he hurt and asking how it felt is a great idea! I think that helps a child understand that there are real consequences—not just parental consequences—to their behavior. It can help them learn that hurting people, even just with words, can make it harder for them to get what they want.

Scooby's avatar

Thanks @Kardamom :-)
Re ; Jo Frost, aka, supernanny..

You know she makes sense……. My Sis followed her series & picked up loads of helpful, professional advice……For free!!

@Supacase

Just remember the naughty spot…. :-/

Judi's avatar

@Jeruba; I think our sons must have been twins mixed up in the hospital. Your story is so familiar. The worst is the judgmental people who blame the Childs temperament and choices on the parent. They obviously never had a child as challenging as ours!

tranquilsea's avatar

My youngest son has a BIG personality, can be stubborn and passionate about many things. When he was 3, 4, 5 he could have easily been diagnosed with Oppositional Personality Disorder. He used to threaten to kill me in bizarre ways like putting me on a space shuttle and shooting me out in space with zero oxygen. He also used to pitch things at me in anger and frustration. I can’t tell you how many times I got conked in the head with something. I spent many afternoons in my room in tears completely frustrated and terrified that I was raising a future convict.

I couldn’t punish my son because doing so things ramped up to levels that were quite scary. He is my third child. All the discipline methods that I used, with great success, on my older two children didn’t work at all with him.

Thank god I was in therapy at the time. My therapist suggested taking a break from the punishments and focusing on, and reinforcing, the good things. He also suggested I read, Don’t Shoot The Dog. It is an animal training book but she makes hundreds of parallels to human behaviours like leaving your laundry all over the floor instead of placing it in the hamper. I read the book and encorporated nearly all of her positive reinforcement ideas into my day. I recruited my older children and my husband too. This was an intervention.

After three months the difference in my son was amazing. The temper tantrums decreased and his general outlook improved.

From what you wrote the first thing I would do is make her life very predictable. There are few things that are worse than inconsistent parenting. As you do this build into her day things that she can experience success with. When she does them make sure you praise the heck out them. As you go through your day with her make sure there is more positive than negative. In the beginning when I did this with my son I had to ignore a lot of behaviour as we were trying to balance out his day.

My son is 11 now and he is still a passionate kid but you could never label him ODD. My job now is to help him deal with strong feelings in a way that is a: socially acceptable and b: helpful to his mental health. I think I’m going to start teaching him how to meditate.

My thoughts are with you :-)

Cruiser's avatar

I completely concur with @tranquilsea. Praising the little victories really paid off for me as well. Worked beautifully and with almost immediate results. Instead of clean up your room and expect it to be immaculate, I started with praising what ever got done. Even giving smaller portions to task at. Instead of asking him to clean up the whole mess I asked him to put away his clothes. When he did that…he got a big hug and a high five! Soon he was proud of how well he did his chores instead of the verbal war of words and commands that apparently was overwhelming him before.

Timing was everything too. Asking an overtired and or hungry child to do anything is sure fire lost cause. I found if I planned accordingly I can get him to do a lot more successfully when he is rested and fed! All seems so obvious in retrospective but I will admit I was picking the wrong battles at the wrong times and when I wised up to his needs as a child we both were much happier and still are.

My son has what is know now as Sensory Processing Disorder and this site is chock full of great common sense advice and learned a lot on how to manage a difficult child. Here is a link if you are curious.

wundayatta's avatar

@Cruiser and @tranquilsea Those are great stories and I think they provide some really good examples of a collaborative way to work with your kids. GAs all around!

Supacase's avatar

Quick update: Using the timer has been a success. Of course, it has only been two days, but things are looking up. Last night’s shower was much easier. Now that she sees what we are doing, she doesn’t want to use the timer anymore, but we are anyway.

She is starting to get the picture that I am only going to tell her something once. Yesterday she kept climbing on the rail at Wendy’s and I told her not to do it again if she wanted her Frosty. She did it, she lost it. She said “I don’t get it?!” and I told her no, but the lady behind us was more shocked than my daughter was. Especially since I still got my own.

@Cruiser I think I am making her world smaller by doing things in smaller blocks. One is getting ready for school. We do a, b & c with the reward of being able to play from the time she finishes until it is time to leave. Instead of working on an entire day at once, we are taking it in stages.

I DO think she is taking time to regroup and decide on her next plan of attack. She doesn’t give in easily. Still, I now KNOW that consistency is key.

I am waiting to see how the next big tantrum goes. I’m still a little at a loss over the hitting me bit. I thought about making her wipe the walls like @ducky_dnl had to do. Something to make her arms too tired to hit me!

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks for the update @Supacase. I’m glad what you are trying is working. I love that you still bought a frosty for yourself.

cak's avatar

@wundayatta : thank you. It’s been a journey with him, finding the one thing that really sends the correct message was difficult; since nothing fazed him. He cares about other people, immensely, sometimes he can’t put it all together in a way that makes sense. He’s a good little boy, just needs to the right message and right people in his life.

Jeruba's avatar

@Judi, I agree. Not to minimize the parents’ role or deny our mistakes, but we do have an older child who is completely different. I wouldn’t say he was ever easy (even though the second made him seem so by comparison), but we could always discuss things and reason our way to a solution. Not so with #2. And the only difference in their upbringing, aside from the fact that you’re a first-time parent only once, is that #2 had an older sibling.

I do have to add that our relationship with the first is and always has been very close, and that even while navigating the rocky shoals of the late teens we almost never fought, never doubted each other’s love, and had only a few problems with trust. With the second, it’s been rougher, and trust has taken a beating along the way, but I still think if it came right down to it he would do anything we asked of him. And we are still living together, not without problems but virtually without conflict.

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