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OK, here's the deal--sorry it is so long.

 

Last week at scouts, my 6.5yo decided that he didn't want to listen to the guest speaker. So he turned around and put his fingers in his ears. I told him that wasn't OK and he couldn't be rude to the speaker. He insisted. I levied consequences. Rinse and repeat. I kept increasing the consequences (giving him a little time to cool down between each one) and he finally got so mad that he attempted to leave the building. The scene ends with the following consequences earned and us leaving scouts early:

 

--time out from 3pm until 9am (meaning: had to stay in spare bathroom, I brought him dinner, we also let him come out for chores and family devotional)

--15$ fine

--two weeks no screen time

--one week in bedroom as soon as dinner is over until the morning

 

(Note that these were earned in very small increments, as in, "if you choose to continue to be rude to the guest, you will lose another night of TV," I walk away, wait a minute, go back, "you have chosen to be rude and have lost another night of TV. If you continue to be rude . . ." etc.)

 

On the way to scouts today, I reminded him that he has to participate (they were playing volleyball at the park) or he'll have more consequences. I reminded him that in our family, scouts is considered part of "school" and therefore mandatory. "OK mommy," he cheerfully agreed.

 

A half hour into it, he walks over to me. "I got kicked out of the game." The adult leader had told him not to throw sand. He did it again and she kicked him out of the game.

 

He's back in the spare bathroom for now.

 

My sense is that participation in scouts has become a power struggle where he wants to prove to me that no matter what I do, he won't participate. I hate power struggles, but, again, I consider scouts to be a mandatory part of school and not optional since I consider the sports, socializing, activities, etc., part of our schooling.

 

What would you do?

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I have a couple thoughts.

 

Number one, the reason adding all those consequences didn't work is that it's just not something he can grasp fully at his age and developmental level. It is easy for us moms to get into those kinds of situations with our kids and it SEEMS to US that we were making their lives increasingly miserable and surely they'll come around SOON, but really, two days or two weeks really makes little difference to him upfront. Same with an hour vs 6 hours of bathroom time. It is VERY important that you realize this because you are going to be miserable giving out consequences with no response until you do. Developmentally, it's just not possible for him to GET this in the moment or for it to make a difference in his behavior.

 

Number two, have you discussed the situation with your son and seen where he is coming from? You can let him know that this is mandatory, of course, but work WITH him in order to make it work. Sometimes, there is a reason (good in the child's mind) for the behavior. It's a lot easier to work with him when you understand where he's coming from. Also, kids are AMAZING at their ability to make things work appropriately when you work WITH them instead of AGAINST them (even if you MEAN it to be FOR them).

 

It may also be helpful to help him SEE the progress of the meeting as I know that scout meetings can be a bit long for young children. A checklist, a picture of what is done when, a clock stamp, etc may help SIGNIFICANTLY. Some kids just do better with seeing the progress. One summer (in fact, my son was 6), my kids had to go to daycare for a few hours per day. My son did not handle this well AT ALL and we were at a loss on how to get him to do better. My mom suggested that we have a paper with the number of hours sectioned off and each hour, he could put a smile in a box. That reassurance of "I have been here 3 hours, 2 more to go" that he could EASILY see at a glance helped him so much that he could participate in the class instead of crying, moping, etc.

 

One question. Is you dropping him off and just being available by phone a possibility? Sometimes kids show rear more for mom in certain circumstances. In order to meet your goals for him being there, it may be worth you NOT being there. I'm hoping that makes sense.

 

Anyway, so those are a few ideas.

 

Of course, the other thing I would highly suggest is that you teach your kids to mind you without the need of punishment overhead. The situation you described is something that would DEFINITELY happen with my son if we parented with punishment. Instead, we taught our kids that they had to mind US, not decide whether or not the punishment was worth the bad behavior. Some kids just do need better discipline and it sounds like your son may be one of those.

 

I hope this helps...and please do take all of the above in the helpful tone I mean it in. I know that doesn't always come through in posts online, especially about sensitive topics such as discipline.

 

Pamela

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OK, here's the deal--sorry it is so long.

 

Last week at scouts, my 6.5yo decided that he didn't want to listen to the guest speaker. So he turned around and put his fingers in his ears. I told him that wasn't OK and he couldn't be rude to the speaker. He insisted. I levied consequences. Rinse and repeat. I kept increasing the consequences (giving him a little time to cool down between each one) and he finally got so mad that he attempted to leave the building. The scene ends with the following consequences earned and us leaving scouts early:

 

--time out from 3pm until 9am (meaning: had to stay in spare bathroom, I brought him dinner, we also let him come out for chores and family devotional)

--15$ fine

--two weeks no screen time

--one week in bedroom as soon as dinner is over until the morning

 

(Note that these were earned in very small increments, as in, "if you choose to continue to be rude to the guest, you will lose another night of TV," I walk away, wait a minute, go back, "you have chosen to be rude and have lost another night of TV. If you continue to be rude . . ." etc.)

 

On the way to scouts today, I reminded him that he has to participate (they were playing volleyball at the park) or he'll have more consequences. I reminded him that in our family, scouts is considered part of "school" and therefore mandatory. "OK mommy," he cheerfully agreed.

 

A half hour into it, he walks over to me. "I got kicked out of the game." The adult leader had told him not to throw sand. He did it again and she kicked him out of the game.

 

Wow. All I can say is wow. That seems harsh, unkind, unrelated.

 

He is a 6 year old boy. What he did was disrespectful and inappropriate. But your approach to discipline is unkind and counter productive.

 

If my child(ren) were being disrespectful in a public setting, the first thing I do is remove them; period. From there, we would talk about disrespectful behavior, role play, practice and set up success with very specific standards.

 

My approach to parenting is not a match to yours. If you decide a different approach is something you'd like to pursue, I'd welcome the chance to discuss it.

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Nothing harsh about it.

 

Really? I find it borderling abusive.

 

I told him that wasn't OK and he couldn't be rude to the speaker. He insisted. I levied consequences. Rinse and repeat. I kept increasing the consequences (giving him a little time to cool down between each one)

 

Repeated spankings, with "increasing" each one is harsh, unkind and disrespectful.

 

 

 

--time out from 3pm until 9am (meaning: had to stay in spare bathroom, I brought him dinner, we also let him come out for chores and family devotional)

--15$ fine

--two weeks no screen time

--one week in bedroom as soon as dinner is over until the morning

 

This child is being sent away from family to stay in a *bathroom* for hours on end. That's wrong. Simply wrong.

 

(Note that these were earned in very small increments, as in, "if you choose to continue to be rude to the guest, you will lose another night of TV," I walk away, wait a minute, go back, "you have chosen to be rude and have lost another night of TV. If you continue to be rude . . ." etc.)

 

Little to none of this is related to the issue of disrespect of the time, authority, energy and planning involved in the scouting events.

 

A half hour into it, he walks over to me. "I got kicked out of the game." The adult leader had told him not to throw sand. He did it again and she kicked him out of the game.

 

This child needs *coaching* and *discipline*, not over punishment which has clearly not worked.

 

My sense is that participation in scouts has become a power struggle where he wants to prove to me that no matter what I do, he won't participate. I hate power struggles, but, again, I consider scouts to be a mandatory part of school and not optional since I consider the sports, socializing, activities, etc., part of our schooling.

 

There is a reason this child acts this way in this environment. Energy needs to be spent and focused on that.

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I do think your punishment was very harsh. Engaging in a power struggle with a 6 yo does not usually have good results. He is, developmentally, unable to judge the consequences of his actions. He was just reacting emotionally to what you are saying, like a normal kid. Judging by the volleyball incident, adding harsh consequences like that for misbehavior is not working.

 

I also agree though, that he was being defiant and therefore discipline was needed. But personally, they would have been taken out of the room and reprimanded verbally with maybe consequences like, if this is how you behave at scouts, then you will not be able to participate in scouts.

 

It sounds like he is a strong willed child. Does he sometimes do disobedient things just because you said not to? If so, chances are he feels he is not being heard. I agree with Pam that you should have a conversation with him about why he is acting the way he does - at a time when there is no emotional upheaval. Like after the speaker, at home while in time out, I would approach in a nonthreatening way, "Why did you behave this way tonight?" This can provide some insight.

 

It may also take a while to sort this out. I also think dropping him off is a good idea, but if I remember correctly, you cannot do that in Tigers. Can another adult take him? Have you talked to the leader about his misbehavior?

 

It really sounds like he is acting out to be heard. You are in a hard position and I feel for you. With some tenderness and love may be the two of you can resolve this.

 

I will be praying for you!

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I disagree with Joanne. Nothing harsh about it. He was choosing defiance and hostility. You gave him the option to change his behavior or face a consequence that would hopefully matter to him. I guess it didn't matter enough. But once you've laid down the law and *he* sees it as a power struggle, it's imperative that you win. What's at stake is his ability to understand that your authority as a parent will not be thwarted. If you back down, you'll be teaching him that if he makes your life difficult enough, you'll give in. You certainly do not relish the idea of doling out punishment. He chose to take a gamble on the consequences. None of this is unkind. We all have to learn to deal with authority, and if we don't isist our kids respond appropriately, we're cutting them off at the knees with regards to their preparation to deal with the world. "Get your fingers out of your ears or I'll continue removing privileges" is a loving way to deal with this. It's loving him enough to help him see that there are consequences to his actions.

 

Except:

 

1) kid wasn't REALLY choosing because he didn't GET it. It was spitting into the wind in this case.

 

2) her authority WAS completely thwarted. Even if he had respected the punishment, he never did respect her. And in this case, he didn't respect HER authority OR the punishment. It was a complete bust.

 

3) she DID back down. She handed out all those punishments he didn't care about or even completely understand AND she ended up giving up in the end which MIGHT have been the right thing to do but the kid lost by winning since she added all that stuff first.

 

4) this situation, from start to finish, couldn't be further than the real world. Certainly you aren't controlled (but rarely) by punishment IRL. Neither am I and neither will this child.

 

5) the kid didn't see there were consequences to his actions. The consequences weren't understood and he won't recall the situation that caused it by the time they are over. And calling them to mind every single day for weeks is more unkind than the inappropriate consequences.

 

 

Now, please don't take me wrong. I COMPLETELY agree that the child has to be taught to be respectful. I believe he MUST learn to behave acceptably. I COMPLETELY agree Mom should be in authority. I totally agree in consequences even.

 

I just believe that mom met NONE of her goals in disciplining this child and that he's learning very little, if anything, good from this situation.

 

Joanne and I do not advocate for permissive parenting.

 

In fact, my parenting (I won't speak for Joanne) tends to hold a child to higher standards and for better reasons. And it works faster and better too. And the good thing is that kids CAN and DO live up to that when taught. I have counseled MANY parents (much easier IRL, btw) who need to practice better discipline and less punishment. Those that can wrap their heads around that tend to see a quick turnaround in themselves and their children's relationship. But ALL were parents that would have done something like the OP (or spanked a few times or whatever) originally. They finally sought help because that obviously wasn't working for the reasons I list above.

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He obviously hates it. The only times my kids EVER behaved as yours did was when they really did not want to do something. What could possibly be so important about Scouts that you would FORCE your child to go when he is constantly telling you (behavior) that he really doesn't want to be there?

 

He's six years old. If he'd prefer solitary confinement to Scouts - you should be listening to him. Give him a year and try it again if it is so important to you. Consider listening to what's important for him.

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IMO, that was way out of hand. Mom had lost complete control of the situation. You just can't "reason" with a 6yob in that manner.

Have you asked ds why he seems to not enjoy scouts? If he gives you a very good/valid reason for not liking it, what do you think you will accomplish by "forcing" him to participate against his will? I think the whole situation needs to be re-evaluated when both mom and ds are cooled off. You have turned this into a battle of wills, but engaging in "battle" to begin with. DS didn't want to listen to the speaker, so he stuck his fingers in his ears. Did you find out why he didn't want to listen? How long had he been sitting there listening? How much of the speaking was actually applicable to ds? Were ds's needs being met? Was he hungry? Tired? Did he need to use the restroom? Does he have sensory issues? Were the chairs very uncomfortable? Was the speaker speaking too loudly for ds? Did the speaker have a very high or very low booming voice?

First, you need to address the reasons for the behavior- without negating your ds's opinion. Listen to him without any "but's". Try to find a positive way to work with the issues, and encourage ds to participate. Use some bribery- and stop looking at it as a war that either he will win or you will win. You're supposed to be working together as a team.

Suggestions for next time: now you know ds doesn't like to listen to the speaker, but you dont' want him to make rude gestures (stick his fingers in his ears). Maybe you can make a behavior chart and give him a sticker for every 30 minutes that he behaves while the speakers are speaking. Give him a sticker for every scout meeting he gets through without being kicked out of the class. After so many stickers, he gets a reward of some kind (nothing BIG, but something to acknowledge his hard work in controlling/behaving himself at scouts- which seems to be a big priority for you but not him).

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OK, here's the deal--sorry it is so long.

 

 

 

What would you do?

 

Julie, I've screwed up with parenting more times than I can count. I've backed myself into some doozies of corners, too. You are not alone in this regard.

 

I'll not add to the advice -- I think your expectations are a bit on the high side developmentally speaking -- but just to say I know all too well what it's like to forget how little six years old is, and that I admire the heck out of you for asking for a different-viewpoint reality check. In a multitude of counselors, there is safety. (Somebody wise said that once. ;))

 

Hindsight is easy. In the thick of things, not so much. (That's why I find rehearsal and role playing even for myself, for my own parenting, to be beneficial. "Ok, she'll probably do this, then I'll say...")

 

Hugs to you, Julie. May we all be blessed with wisdom as we walk this road.

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Hindsight is easy. In the thick of things, not so much.

 

What a kind post and SO true. I've made some doozies of mistakes also, some even on purpose (ugh)! We just learn better and then do better, apologizing as necessary.

 

This is one of those few circumstances it would be more beneficial to come up with appropriate discipline, sit kid down and say "I made a mistake" then move on. IF it were just one or two minor consequences, I wouldn't bother, but with it being so much, kid is going to get a lot more out of mom admitting the mistake than the following through of the punishment.

 

But it is important to realize we ALL make mistakes. No one is perfect. I'm so afraid some of my posts sounded more harsh than I meant them. I really meant them in the "so sorry you're struggling" voice. I know the one post was arguing with someone else which probably masked that voice too. I really hope the OP knows I was only trying to be helpful.

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I can only say what *I* would do in this scenario. My kids aren't your kids, I'm not you, my family is not your family.

 

I would let him know that if there were any disruptive behaviors or if he wasn't participating then we would leave. If we had to leave 3 times then we'd drop scouts. I wouldn't consider a 6 year old sticking their fingers in their ears to be disruptive and I would leave it for the adult leaders to reprimand children for those sorts of behaviors.

 

There must be other programs that he could participate in to gain some socialization. If all he's doing is racking up punishments in scouts then it's no wonder he hates it. eta: and believe me, I feel you, I have been a scout leader, I have a child who can be disruptive and I can get quite angry in the heat of the moment, there's *no* judgement on my part at all.

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Really? I find it borderling abusive...

Repeated spankings, with "increasing" each one is harsh, unkind and disrespectful.

 

 

I don't understand. Did you read the word "consequences" as "spankings" in the first post? I don't see that word anywhere.

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OK, here's the deal--sorry it is so long.

...

So he turned around and put his fingers in his ears.

.....

The adult leader had told him not to throw sand. He did it again and she kicked him out of the game.

 

He's back in the spare bathroom for now.

 

...

What would you do?

 

I don't know your situation and your child, but my only child that I could imagine acting that way is the one with sensory integration issues. If you haven't looked into it, do some research and see if it "fits." I don't let situations escalate. When he starts acting rude, inappropriate, etc., I remove him from the situation and work on helping him realize what he was doing and why he was doing it (Did the speaker's voice grate him the wrong way? Was he having a hard time coordinating himself for the volleyball, and the sand was a convenient distraction?). Whatever the reason, we help him work through it and come up with appropriate responses. This in and of itself is an important life skill. If scouts are a problem (Too many surprises? Mine likes to know exactly what to expect at all times) I would pull him from it for a year or so.

 

By the way, my child is now almost 11 and we diagnosed him about 2 years ago. DH is MD, but we haven't had him formally tested other than reading a lot of books and websites. He has what we consider a mild case, most people wouldn't know there is a thing wrong with him, but we realized there was something wrong.

 

My child actually loves "alone time." He would gladly spend all day in a bathroom rather than endure a situation he didn't want to deal with.

 

PM me if you're interested in more info.

 

:grouphug:

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Oh, Julie, I've BTDT too! If your ds really hates Tiger Scouts that much, I'd look for a different activity. I've had to drop team sports completely after multiple fiascos (probably they weren't that big a deal, but they felt like fiascos to me). However, I found something else that works well (ballet-could have knocked me over with a feather). Outside activities are a bit like curricula, what works great with one kid goes over like a lead balloon with the next. I think you can require an activity, but it has to be something your kid actually likes (or at least doesn't detest). My own rule of thumb is once we commit to something for the year, you will participate cheerfully and respectfully (actually I make my son say this phrase when we discuss behavior which we do a lot). But, I do give him a chance to back out of something if he hates it or if I see that there is no way he can hold it together for the class.

 

I reward (okay, bribe) ds with a diecast Thomas or Cars mini vehicle each week for good behavior in his activities. If he's awful somewhere, he loses his prize. If he refuses to go or gets kicked out, I confiscate a couple of vehicles (and put them back in the prize box to be reearned). He's only refused to do something once and I think he learned his lesson.

 

I'm personally quick to remove my kids from any situation where they start acting up, but to be totally honest, this is to save my face more than it is to discipline them.

 

I hope you find a way to calm the waters with your ds and find a solution that you both can live with.

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Pamela H: Thanks for your comment. You wrote, "The situation you described is something that would DEFINITELY happen with my son if we parented with punishment. Instead, we taught our kids that they had to mind US, not decide whether or not the punishment was worth the bad behavior."

 

Can you explain this to me? Because I'd love to have a child who minded me instead of weighing whether the punishment was worth it. How do you (did you) get to that point? I think that is what I am missing here. My goal is obviously for him to think, "I don't particularly want to play volleyball, but I do want to watch TV, so I guess I'll suck it up and play" much the same way his mother thinks, "I don't really want to do laundry, but I don't want to go naked, so I guess I'll suck it up and start folding." But apparently this isn't working, and thus I ask for advice.

 

Joanne, you wrote, "If my child(ren) were being disrespectful in a public setting, the first thing I do is remove them; period. "

 

If he were an only child, this is exactly what I would have done. But he has a 3yo brother who was happy to have his time to play with the scout siblings and an older brother who was involved in whatever the Webelos were doing that day, so yanking out all three boys really wasn't an option. (I did eventually leave, as the meeting was almost over at that point. But that generally isn't an option and I certainly wouldn't have yanked the 3yo out of park time and the 9yo out of the middle of a volleyball game.) I'm wondering: in the situation I was in, where leaving wasn't an option, what would you have done?

 

Joanne, I'm not sure if your comment #5 was making an analogy or if you misunderstood me, but I have NEVER spanked or anything like it. Ever.

 

As far as the bathroom issue: like most kids, his bedroom is a paradise of toys, books, etc., so sending him to his room as a major consequence strikes me as silly. The point was that it was supposed to be boring. See above on how I realize this isn't working.

 

Joanne, you then wrote, "little to none of this is related to the issue of disrespect of the time, authority, energy and planning involved in the scouting events."

 

Well . . . OK . . . tell me what would have been relevant. I'm hearing you criticize me (which is OK, because it is the purpose of this post--I want ideas on what to do better) but it isn't constructive. Maybe instead of being heavy on the adjectives (harsh, unkind) you could get heavy on the practical advice?

 

"This child needs *coaching* and *discipline*, not over punishment which has clearly not worked."

 

Again, if you could give me some examples of what coaching and discipline would look like, I'm all ears. I would have considered, "This lady is here as a guest and we need to be polite, which means no fingers in ears, because you wouldn't like it if someone put their fingers in their ears when you were talking to them" to be coaching and "If you can't be polite, you can't watch TV" to be discipline.

 

If I'm sounding a little frustrated here, Joanne, it is because I've (not today, a few months ago) read your website extensively AND read your comments here avidly AND more parenting books than anyone should read in one lifetime and I'm feeling frustrated with advice that seems to me (maybe I don't understand it?) to run like this:

 

(1) Remove the child from the situation (well, if it were possible, I would have--in the world of siblings and commitments and groceries to buy, it usually isn't for me)

(2) Provide relevant consequences (well, maybe I'm just not creative enough, but what is the logical consequence of being rude to a speaker or throwing sand or saying "no, I won't" to your mother?)

(3) Don't punish. (sounds really good on paper but I'll be darned if I'll let my kid throw sand at other kids without sending him the message loud and clear that we don't do that and I'm not hearing how exactly to convey that)

 

I'm not trying to defend my behavior here. (I'm clear that I'm doing isn't working.) I'm looking for ideas.

 

Pam SFSOM, thanks for being nice. In writing up my post, I realize that the situation looks stupid in retrospect. (Looks that way because--drum roll--it was!) But this isn't a kid with a history of being a royal pain at scouting--all year, he's been happy to see his friends and participate. I appreciate the concern those of you have shown for his response to the activity, but in my book, a normal 6yo should be able to sit and listen to a lady talk for 15 minutes without being rude (wiggly, maybe, but not rude). This is not a kid with a short attention span or sensory issues (this is a kid who sits still in church every week with no major problems). He wasn't punished because he wouldn't listen to a speaker--he was punished because he very willfully and very deliberately chose to disobey a direct order from his mother. (And not a "please organize the 9,000 small toys on the floor" order but a "please face the front and take your fingers out of your years" order.)

 

I'm hearing (not from you, Pam) a lot of criticism of what I did but not anything (so far--not finished with all the comments) constructive that would tell me how to avoid power struggles and/or respond to direct refusals to obey in the future. I'm here asking for help. I've already got the criticism part--y'all can stop now. I'm in the market for ideas. When you give a child a direct (and reasonable, and developmentally appropriate) command such as "take your fingers out of your ears" and they refuse to do it, what do you do?

 

Quitting scouts is not any more of an option than quitting church or teethbrushing or math is in this family--it is just something we do. (And something he has enjoyed doing for the last 6 months.) I'd like to note that after he was removed from the game, he asked if there was anything he could do to earn the right to return to the game. He doesn't systemically hate scouts (or volleyball or sand). He's maybe testing the waters or something here--that's what I'm trying to figure out and figure out how to respond to. One idea that I thought of is to present him, before the next scout meeting, with a simple statement of what will happen should he choose not to participate in the activity (or participate inappropriately i.e., throwing sand). Because the fact is that he has to attend the meeting _anyway_ since his brother is involved (and all parents stay--I can't leave and so he can't either).

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Hey Julie, now that you've described your Scout situation, I do have an idea. I've only used this once (when ds refused to go to TKD and dd went) but it worked pretty well. I did math fact drill with him for the whole 30 minutes. Substitute whatever your ds will find boring and a bit of work and make that his choice. Do scouts cheerfully and respectfully or sit with mom on this bench and do XXX. You'll either have a happy scout or a kid who KNOWS his math facts, phonograms, cursive, etc.

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Julie, I've screwed up with parenting more times than I can count. I've backed myself into some doozies of corners, too. You are not alone in this regard.

 

I'll not add to the advice -- I think your expectations are a bit on the high side developmentally speaking -- but just to say I know all too well what it's like to forget how little six years old is, and that I admire the heck out of you for asking for a different-viewpoint reality check. In a multitude of counselors, there is safety. (Somebody wise said that once. ;))

 

Hindsight is easy. In the thick of things, not so much. (That's why I find rehearsal and role playing even for myself, for my own parenting, to be beneficial. "Ok, she'll probably do this, then I'll say...")

 

Hugs to you, Julie. May we all be blessed with wisdom as we walk this road.

 

Oh, wouldn't I love to just rep the heck outa you right now, Pam! Great post!! (It still won't let me rep you, although I keep trying!)

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Ha, well, you have my sympathy. I think my method of "yanking kid out" in your situation would be to ask a friend to keep an eye on the happy younger kid (I'm assuming that there are other moms there too), yank out naughty kid, and go sit in the car. He can sit in the car, I'll hang out nearby with my book. We'll go home after everyone's done.

 

I can't actually think of a better logical consequence any more than you can; no entertainment sounds fine to me.

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If I'm sounding a little frustrated here, Joanne, it is because I've (not today, a few months ago) read your website extensively AND read your comments here avidly AND more parenting books than anyone should read in one lifetime and I'm feeling frustrated with advice that seems to me (maybe I don't understand it?) to run like this:

 

(1) Remove the child from the situation (well, if it were possible, I would have--in the world of siblings and commitments and groceries to buy, it usually isn't for me)

(2) Provide relevant consequences (well, maybe I'm just not creative enough, but what is the logical consequence of being rude to a speaker or throwing sand or saying "no, I won't" to your mother?)

(3) Don't punish. (sounds really good on paper but I'll be darned if I'll let my kid throw sand at other kids without sending him the message loud and clear that we don't do that and I'm not hearing how exactly to convey that)

 

I'm not sure how to respond to you. I think it's possible your frame of reference for reasonable consequences, expectations of behavior and the effectiveness of punishment are off. I think that maybe you don't see how your imposed consequences are over the top (and not working, as you've noted).

 

1) The reality is that if a person can't behave appropriately for the situation, you leave. Is that reality "fair" to the others involved? Of course not. Living with siblings 24/7 from age 0 - 18 isn't fair. It's not fun, convenient or easy to leave a situation when one child is behaving poorly. The reality is, however, that it needs to be done on occassion. FWIW, I've only had to do so once (or so) over the course of my parenting.

 

2) The related consequence to the behavior in question:

a. Apologize to the leader

b. Do something respectful for the organization/person (such as pass out papers, clean up, etc)

c. Have outside situations that are fun removed until they are earned back by appropriate behavior.

 

3) Your perception of "don't punish" and my reality don't match. I do not advocate for permissiveness.

 

Removing a very small (or very big, for that matter) from family interaction, from access to community rooms at home, for HOURS is harsh - at minimum. It doesn't matter to me if the bathroom is state of the art. Trying to bore a child into compliance is counter productive. He needs to develop appropriate ways to get his energy out, to develop the habit of attention - even when bored in social situations.

 

Children rarely thrive when their emotional energy is consumed in punishment. Almost any child would *learn* (discipline) better in an atmosphere of connection while being coached in how to meet the high expectations arising from firm boundaries. Removing him from family and into a bathroom for hours of awake time is counter to everything I've come to believe in in terms of parenting.

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My son had a hard time sitting through the 4H meetings. It turns out that he really wasn't interested in 4H and it wasn't important to our family so we dropped out. I understand that's not an option for your family. It sounds like your ds does like scouts, but is testing the limits as you say. I used to react the way you did at your recent scout meeting. I say "react" instead of dicipline. I had to realize that helping my ds was more important than the way we looked to everyone else, ie, it doesn't matter if I'm embarrased, I have to look through his eyes. I realize the speaker he was being rude to was only 15 min., but had the meeting been long? Look for circumstances that you can control to reduce the frequency of problems with him.

So here are some things to try:

 

1. Try to make sure he's not over tired or hungry. That might mean foregoing a playdate or park day before scouts. If you do have a busy day before scouts, pack a protien-rich snack. Make sure he gets enough sleep the night before scouts.

 

2. In the case of fingers in the ears: take him into the hallway or a more private area, get down to his level and tell him that his behavior is unacceptable and that he needs to be respectfull. Explain exactly what you expect respectable behavior to look like (it sounds like you did this in the meeting). You could have him pretend he's at church since you don't have a problem there. Take him back in the room and hope it works. If not you may need to wait in the hall or the back of the room with him. One thing is certain, compounding punishments just don't work because at some point the kid decides that life isn't going to be fun for quite some time so why not continue to act up?

 

3. In the case of the sand: There were surely some warnings made to him before he was ejected. I would have reinforced the warning given by the leader. If he did it again I would have taken him aside and told him that he could not participate if he didn't quit throwing sand. Explain the rules of the game and that sometimes in sports there are "waiting" times where he needs to pay attention to what others are doing.

 

4. Something else that has worked for me in the past is to have a talk before hand about the expectations. If he really does weigh the consequences with the intended bad behavior then threatening punishments won't work. So, instead offer a reward if he behaves for the whole scout meeting and activities. Maybe an extra 1/2 hour of TV for that week or something else that is special to him.

 

I agree with the other's suggestions to have a talk with him also. Come to him with an open mind to listen to everything he has to say no matter how ridiculous it sounds to you. He needs to know that you value what he has to say. Maybe say something to him like "you've had trouble at scouts the last few times. What was the problem?" If he gives you the "I dunno" Ask if he was tired, didn't feel well, didn't like the speaker, didn't like what was happening in the game, etc. Your attitude should be "we need to fix this problem you are having", not "can't you just behave!!!". I noticed a huge difference in ds's behavior and general attitude when I started relating to him from a problem solving point of view. I do remember about a year of these types of struggles though.

 

For your question about what to do about the defiance, (not taking his fingers out of his ears when you tell him to). Tell him he needs to obey you or there will be consequences. Tell him that if he doesn't like something to let you know quietly or after the fact. I think a punishment for not taking his fingers out of his ears is completely acceptable, but building them up just doesn't work. I would keep it to one punishment, but make it worthwhile. So after the scout meeting I would say, "Son, remember when I told you to take your fingers out of your ears and listen respectfully?" He'll say "yes" or you prompt to say "yes" Then you say, "You didn't obey me so your consequence is this..." Be very calm, there's no need to fight. If he tries to argue or cries, just tell him that you are sorry he feels bad, but he should obey you. When you enforce the consequence make sure you remind him, once, why he's being punished. So the way this would look: at the time of the disobedience- "Son, take your fingers out of your ears and listen respectfully, like you do at church." If he doesn't, but is being otherwise not disruptive I wouldn't do anything else during the meeting. I would have the aforementioned talk after the meeting and then enforce the consequence at the very next available time. If he's being disruptive; I would remove him and wait someplace else where he will be less disruptive, have the aforementioned discussion and enforce the consequnce as soon as possible. The next time he misbehaves you can then remind him of his previous punishment and how unhappy he was about it. Tell him that if he doesn't do what you tell him, then he will be punished again. It's his choice.

 

The most important thing I've had to remember is to control myself. It's so easy for me to escalate when my ds doesn't obey me. Everytime I had to say something to him I became more angry and he got another consequence lumped on him. I had to coach myself to remember that I am the parent and my job is to help him LEARN HOW to behave, not just punish him into behaving. From that point on, things really turned around. It was an epiphany for me and I'm sure my son was very happy about it. Now, alot of the time I calmly reinforce my expectations, let him make mistakes and suffer the consequences of them. He doesn't weigh the consequences against the misbehavior anymore either.

 

I hope this helps. I hope it comes across clearly, because it all seemed so jumbled up in my head!

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I had to re-asses my expectations. Sometimes I really was expecting more than ds could handle. Even if others his age could handle it. If he truly starts to hate scouts and doesn't want to do it you might have to consider some other way to entertain him while his siblings are there. I really think it's unfair to expect all siblings to enjoy the same activities. Maybe a friend could watch him during scouts. Maybe, he could play at the park with the 3 yo you mentioned. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I would be ready for that situation. As they get older their interests will not always be the same.

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Okay, here is my best practical advice.

 

I would find another mother at scouts (or a father, of course) who is willing to exercise oversight over the three year old. Or else I would leave this young guy with his father or a sitter. Or I would get his father or another help to go with me to watch the 3 year old at the meeting. I"m assuming the nine year old doesn't need direct supervision.

 

And then I would "shadow" the 6 year old meaning he can't get more than an arm's length from me. I think I would do that for several meetings, and I would explain what I am doing and why. I would immediately correct any misbehavior. I would remove him to a very quiet and boring place the minute he starts to misbehave, and I would keep him there for the duration of that meeting.

 

Honestly, I think that's the only punishment I would impose. After a few meetings I would step back from the six year old a bit, but I still would not let him out of my sight. I would be aware of exactly how he's behaving so that I could step in immediately for any misbehavior. My guess is eventually he will stop this.

 

But I have to also say, Julie, you aren't there yet - not by a long shot. But at some point I think it's unfair to have a blanket "scouts is not optional" rule. Because if he really digs his heels in and continues to be a constant problem, I don't think it's fair to everyone else. We quit scouts because the other parents would not or could not make their children behave - not all of them, but 2 or 3 who really just were so constantly disruptive that it robbed the meetings of significant value for us. Again, I am not saying your children are behaving such they would make us want to quit the troop. I think this all sounds like things kids sometimes do that you have to address but not overreact to. But I do think that at a certain point a child has to behave or else, in fairness to the others, he needs to be removed. Whether removal is for one night or for a year or forever is something you have to figure out. But I don't think you can rightly say that you simply can't remove him because it's not fair to your other children if letting him stay starts to seem unfair to everyone elses.'

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I have a strong-willed child. I do not advocate freely spanking, but with my dd, that is the only thing that worked. She would suck me into power struggles and I finally resorted to spanking. Once I started spanking, the power struggles were reduced DRASTICALLY.

 

If there are no other developmental or behavioral issues, I probably would have removed and spanked, for the finger in the ears episode. For the sand throwing, I probably wouldn't ahve done anything else; he was removed from the game. That is something else I did with dd for a couple of weeks. Every time there was a possible disobedience, I reprimanded; if a power struggle ensued, there was a spank. After that couple of weeks, she was much more obedient.

 

jmho

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My oldest is only 4.5 and she can reduce me to a reactive bundle of raw nerves with very little effort on her part - poor kid! So, while I've never dealt with your exact situation, I've had to look back on my own episodes of "Oops! So, what will work?"

 

I've read a lot of (what sounds like) great advice in this thread and can only add a couple of tidbits that my dad has given me.

 

1) As a parent, I must keep the initiative. Like Rommel in North Africa in WWII - as I remember it he kept the Allies reacting all the time, making it virtually impossible for them to plan and execute an attack. Now, I know that your ds is not your enemy. But sometimes the principle seems to work.

 

2) Like any argument/power struggle/etc., she who stays calm the longest wins. Now, this may not even apply to you - it didn't sound like you were overly emotional. I just know that this has been a necesity for me in my parenting. If I can divorce my emotions from the situation, I have a much better ability to come up with better alternatives for the current (unacceptable) behavior. Like . . . I don't know . . . at my home growing up, it was cleaning out the chicken house. Or the basement. (There was a little difference . . .:)) I liked the idea of doing drill that Chiguirre mentioned, but then I enjoy efficiency whenever possible . . . :001_smile:

 

Seriously, you're being incredibly brave in opening yourself up to criticism like this. I hope more of it is actually constructive in the future.

 

Admiringly,

Mama Anna

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Quitting scouts is not any more of an option than quitting church or teethbrushing or math is in this family--it is just something we do. (And something he has enjoyed doing for the last 6 months.) I'd like to note that after he was removed from the game, he asked if there was anything he could do to earn the right to return to the game. He doesn't systemically hate scouts (or volleyball or sand). He's maybe testing the waters or something here--that's what I'm trying to figure out and figure out how to respond to. One idea that I thought of is to present him, before the next scout meeting, with a simple statement of what will happen should he choose not to participate in the activity (or participate inappropriately i.e., throwing sand). Because the fact is that he has to attend the meeting _anyway_ since his brother is involved (and all parents stay--I can't leave and so he can't either).

 

I'm a firm believer in TINY uncomfortable consequences. Even at six, I would have glared at my kid and hissed in his ear, "You have just lost the privilege of sitting in your chair for two whole minutes. Stand up beside me and look at my watch. When two minutes are done, you can try sitting again." I might accelerate to three, then four minutes. But he would stand, and then he might appreciate the chair. If he couldn't stand or sit, he would stay in my lap, even at six. And for every minute -- MINUTE -- that he lost by fighting with me, if he chose to do that, he would get the privilege of standing by my side and listen to me yak, yak, yak about Mrs. Whosits bunions and other scintillating grown-up topics after the meeting was over. I would inconvenience him just as much as he inconvenienced me, no more, no less.

 

Throw sand? "Congratulations, you've just earned six minutes with mom. We need to chat with Mrs. Beano about her latest bout of gastroenteritis. No, you can go back when you've thought about where sand goes for a few minutes. Where does sand go? Into the air? Yep, you're right. It goes on the ground. And what do we do when a grownup tells us to stop? Do we go or stop? Yep, we stop. I think you'll remember in about... five more minutes. Now hush, or I'll have to add another minute of thinking. Ok, six minutes is done. What will you say when you apologize to Mrs. Monitor for throwing sand when she said stop? Good. And where does sand go? Ok, I think you're ready. You ready? Good. Go." VERY small increments. VERY quick and to the point consequences.

 

[i realize that other, gentler parents wouldn't glare and hiss. But I'm not there yet. LOL]

 

I remember being six and covering my ears to hear how different the speaker sounded when I covered-uncovered-covered-uncovered-put-fingers-in. I was just a kid, and disrespect honestly didn't cross my mind. I know the issue is that he didn't stop when told, but some kids just have a "fight" reaction when they feel they've been misunderstood, they're feel backed into a corner, and they see no way out. Try to find ways out that give him the chance (or simply no choice but) to obey, to please you, and not to lose heart.

 

 

Edit: Hmmm, I'm changing my answer about the sand. Whoever said (and I closed the post and now cannot FIND it!) that the natural consequence was to leave the game was right. He lost the privilege and the leader dismissed him. Oh, well. Next week, he can try again. Watch carefully next week, catch him doing well, give him a thumbs up. Nothing more was needed. You don't follow the rules, you don't play the game. Follow the rules, enjoy the game. Simple as that. Over and done.

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Now y'all are giving me some ideas! Thanks! That was what I was after! Chiguirre, I like the "alternative assignment" idea. Dangermom, I like the sitting in the car idea.

 

Joanne, I appreciate your continuing this conversation. I think I'm still not getting you, though: I'm wondering what you would have done when this child looked you in the eye and said, "No, I won't apologize to the leader!" (This didn't happen, but I can virtually guarantee you that it would have if I had asked him to apologize.) I'm also glad that you've only had to pull "innocent" siblings away from activities once, but, after living with this child for 6.5 years, I can guarantee that I'd be doing it a lot more often than that. I have sometimes left my other boys with another parent while taking the 6.5 yo home, but there's only so many times that you can rely on the kindness of strangers, KWIM? (And, having done this more than once, I know that doing it just once wouldn't stop his behavior. How many looked-forward-to activities do I need to pull my other boys out of? I would worry a LOT about the resentment that would build toward the 6.5yo on the part of his brothers.)

 

Cheryl, that's a good checklist.

 

Danestress, your comment made me realize that, yes, there is a point where if he were continually disruptive then I would remove him from scouts out of deference to the other families (and I'm sorry you had such a bad experience!) but as I said before, he's participated in scouts for 6 or 7 months with no behavior issues at all and it is just these last two meetings where things have gone nuts. I posted because I sense a trend now and want to address is, but if he were really interfering with other kids, then I'd take him out.

 

Mama Anna, thanks for your comment. Truth be told, I frequently do lose my cool with this child and raise my voice, and then when I reflect on what when wrong with the situation, I usually start and stop with, 'well, you need to stay calm.' I think the reason that I am thinking about this incident is that I did (for once! woohoo!) not get at all emotional (it helps when a dozen other mothers are watching you and you imagine that they are judging you, right? :tongue_smilie:) and very calmly tell him what would happen. I think the fact that I *did* stay calm but still had two very bad outcomes is what made me come here for advice.

 

Pam, I found #27 very helpful. Because this child is incredibly clever (book smart and street smart and so darn funny--I have to say this--we were in a restaurant last week and when the waitress asked him what kind of drink he wanted, he said in the most perfect diction, in the most formal voice, "May I see your wine list?"), I think I am guilty of thinking he needs larger consequences than he does--what you describe sounds like how I would react to my 3yo throwing sand, but maybe my 6.5yo needs the same treatment in that situation.

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Pam, responding to your edit: my concern here is that I think (although I am not sure) that he was looking for a way out of participating and that he threw sand to get out of the game. In that case, I think that missing the game isn't an adequate consequence because it is what he was after.

 

But didn't he ask to be let back in?

 

I always think I know what's going on in my kids' respective heads. I'm rarely right. :glare:

 

:D

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Julie, I have been in your shoes. I know you are looking for some practical advice and you have gotten some, but I do have two thoughts to offer. They have to do with your perspective/goals, which is exactly the paradigm shift that I went through a few years ago. I hope I can help you think this through based on one comment you made:

 

My goal is obviously for him to think, "I don't particularly want to play volleyball, but I do want to watch TV, so I guess I'll suck it up and play" much the same way his mother thinks, "I don't really want to do laundry, but I don't want to go naked, so I guess I'll suck it up and start folding." But apparently this isn't working, and thus I ask for advice.

 

 

1. Perhaps your goal should be reconsidered. Is it truly your intention to make your child one who complies with rules because he wants something (or wants to avoid something unpleasant)? I do understand that in certain situations the behavior needs to reigned in, but for me, that is not the goal. My goal with my children is for them to have the tools to cope when things are not going their way, and for them to desire to do the right thing out of respect for others. A lot of this happens over time, mostly by me modeling (including talking outloud) handling unpleasant situations. And by reinforcing during good times how important it is to respect others, etc. A great resource for this is Elizabeth Crary's Dealing with Disappointment. She has great ideas for modeling and for equiping your children to be successful and productive.

 

2. There is a big difference between the consequence in your son's situation and the consequence in your hypothetical situation. In the example you provided about the laundry, going naked is a natural consequence. Because you didn't do the wash, there is nothing to wear. It makes sense. But for your son, his choice to not play volleyball does not actually cause TV loss. There isn't a logical connection. If he threw sand, the consequence should be that he cleans up the sand and apologizes to anyone who may have been hit by the sand. By refusing to play volleyball, he needs to apologize to his teammates for disrupting the flow of their game. If a consequence is going to have more than a temporary impact it needs to make sense relative to the offense.

 

I hope you can see what I have learned, that while techniques are important, it really is more about how you look at the situation.

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Gailmegan, thanks for your comment.

 

You asked, "Is it truly your intention to make your child one who complies with rules because he wants something (or wants to avoid something unpleasant)?"

 

Ideally, no. Ideally, he'd do the activities because he thought that the people who planned them had the wisdom to know what activities would benefit him. But I don't think it is reasonable to think a 6yo (at least, not my 6yo!) would think like that. I will look into that book you mentioned, but I guess I'd rather have him play the game for a bad reason (i.e., wanting to watch TV) than to not play the game.

 

As far as your (2), I agree that this is not a logical consequence. But all of the logical consequences that I've seen here--i..e, apologizing--well, again, I can virtually guarantee that if I required him to do that, one of two things would happen: he would either have refused or he would have gone to the kid involved and very grudgingly (in a voice dripping insincerity) said, "sorry." That's not what I want, either.

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yeah, Pam, you are right: he did later ask to go back in. I guess at that point missing the game was its own punishment.

 

I'm real big on the whole "You got what you wanted, but as you can see, you didn't really want what you got" philosophy of consequences. :D

 

I missed this before, so I'll go back and check: Did you "unbanish" him from the bathroom?

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He was unbanished because we had to run an errand. When we came home, it was bedtime, and he already had his bedding set up in there, so I decided that I'd follow through with having him sleep in there since the day was over anyway.

 

Just a suggestion which may or may not work for you, but "feels" right to me:

 

Instead of banishing him from you, bring him TO you. He's now your special friend so you can work with him about obeying and remember rules. Special time with mom. Not punishment. Just pulling on him with everything you have to win his heart and mind and attitudes. He's now close, you explain, so that you don't have to shout for him to hear you. He's now close so that you can reach over and pat his hands and help him sit still. He's close because you don't want him to be in trouble for throwing sand and missing another game. (Of course, if you have something else to do during the game, he gets to go with you and help.)

 

I think it might be worth it. Bring him back into the full bosom of the family. Remember that he's a very young boy, and he's acting like one. Your job is to make sure he lives to be seven. :glare: :D

 

Tomato-staking, some call it. I'm not sure I like the name, but I like the idea. And it does soften hearts, both mom and child. And a tender heart and the preservation of the strong will (for when he grows up more and *needs* it badly) is your aim.

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Julie, I've screwed up with parenting more times than I can count. I've backed myself into some doozies of corners, too. You are not alone in this regard.

 

I'll not add to the advice -- I think your expectations are a bit on the high side developmentally speaking -- but just to say I know all too well what it's like to forget how little six years old is, and that I admire the heck out of you for asking for a different-viewpoint reality check. In a multitude of counselors, there is safety. (Somebody wise said that once. ;))

 

Hindsight is easy. In the thick of things, not so much. (That's why I find rehearsal and role playing even for myself, for my own parenting, to be beneficial. "Ok, she'll probably do this, then I'll say...")

 

Hugs to you, Julie. May we all be blessed with wisdom as we walk this road.

 

A very kind and thoughtful post. I tried to sling rep your way, but couldn't for some reason...I gave you rep recently? I don't know. Anyway, you are so kind and helpful.

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I completely agree with Pam.

 

I still have to do this with my special needs 13 year old. She gets wound up, and I literally have to hold her hand and remind her how to behave.

 

My husband used this approach when he taught Sunday school, and still uses it as an assistant scout leader.

 

The great thing about bringing the child having problems close to you is that it works if they have sensory overload, but it also works if they are just being disobedient.

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I think I am guilty of thinking he needs larger consequences than he does

 

awww Julie. I think that is THE most prevalent parenting mistake I've seen ESPECIALLY with challenging children. It is COMPLETELY opposite of what will WORK, but it's common and SEEMS to make sense....thing is, WE aren't particularly challenging; we would have stopped at the first 15min time out or loss of television! We certainly wouldn't have pushed it for double that! But our kids aren't us.

 

I'm sure you have heard of tomato staking. I'm not for everything the woman says, of course, but the basic idea of reconnecting and giving plenty of opportunity for positive and "everyday" attention is VERY good. It also allows you to deal with the challenges immediately, the first time, every time so you can teach kiddo better. Better yet, if you do it in a nice positive manner, kiddo can ENJOY it rather than feeling punished.

 

I gave a number of ideas in my first post regarding the scout thing. I personally agree that it is fine for you to say "this is a must in our home." I also am one that has had a problem with the "remove from situation" thing. It seems to make sense and if it works, GREAT. But to give you an example. There is a little boy in my congregation who figured out JUST how to get out of the congregation meeting. He played his mom something awful! She turned to spanking when they left the meeting hoping it would deter him. He'd rather get a spanking than behave in the meeting. This is EXACTLY how my son would have done. Instead, when it was my son many years ago (he's now 13), I taught him how to participate fully even at two years old. He looked up every scripture. He tally marked certain words (like Jesus, Bible, etc). He held a songbook, answered during Q&A times (though he was nonverbal til 3.5 and used sign to supplement until 5), etc. I also taught him how to do tongue and toe aerobics, how exactly he was to sit, etc. By teaching him what TO do, we managed not to have nearly the issue with what NOT to do. You can do that same sort of thing with the scouting.

 

BTW, Pam's idea of replacing your time with his is something I've heard many use successfully. Practicing for 6 minutes after the meeting may help, for example.

 

As for apologizing. My son would not be able to apologize to almost anyone except family at that age. He took something from the school one morning when we dropped off my nephew. I found out on the way to the doctor. I told him we'd have to take it back and apologize. He still "got it" by me apologizing for him while he handed it to the principal. She was VERY nice about it and thanked him, but more importantly explained that Mr. So-n-So would be so glad to have the badge back so he could go help the other kids. So Ty learned the WHY of the situation in a very loving manner.Another option might be to have your son help you plan out an apology and he copy it during handwriting the next day. Then he can give it to his leader.

 

You can set things like that up in a way that is non-threatening and can be done as he's ready ("when you're done with that apology note, we'll play outside").

 

I hope this helps a little. You have been so gracious with your response to criticism. I can really appreciate what a good mom you are and your kiddos will also :)

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I hear your passionate commitment to having Boy Scouts be an integral part of your family's homeschooling plan, but, personally, I would be very reluctant to push one specific way of meeting my goals if it seemed to be not working for one of my children. If you could, perhaps, think of Boy Scouts the way you might think of a specific math program, and explore how you might feel about finding a 'program' better suited to this specific child.

 

This is a TOUGH one.

 

First, *I* would likely do just like this poster says because I think of things like Boy Scouts, specific sports, etc as optional and there are various other ways to meet specific goals such as exercise, socialization, skill set learning, etc. And maybe this mother will consider the math program analogy.

 

But IRL and in our homes, especially as we homeschool, there are things that we just consider necessary. For some people, Scouts may be considered like math rather than a specific math program. In that case, kiddo deals and will in time learn to be happy with it and will benefit from it.

 

I think of our spiritual activities similar to the latter (though honestly, I've been very fortunate there and both my kids have greatly appreciated the activities making it a non-issue for us). It wouldn't be a choice for them not to meet with the congregation at scheduled times. It wouldn't be a choice not to work in the community. It wouldn't be a choice not to do formal study, personal study, Bible reading, etc. And for US, it is a must to the point that we couldn't just choose another religion or to not do these things. So if my kids didn't take to it, we'd have to hope they got the point later on (and enjoyed it!), but just insist for now. Thankfully that is so not a problem for us, but.....

 

I don't know if I'm making any sense. I just completely understand the idea of something being important and not tweakable in a family's view. And I think it's okay for some things to be like that. So for this family, they have to decide if Scouts is equivalent to a math PROGRAM or if it's more equivalent to math itself.

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The thing about quitting scouts: if I honestly felt that, deep down in his bones, this child detested scouts, then I would begin to consider other ways of accomplishing what scouts accomplishes. (But I have to admit that my thresh-hold would be very high here, since scouts does a lot for us: a wide variety of activities, opportunities for all siblings, a supportive group that we've been a part of for five years, at a very lost cost, close to home. There is no way I could swap it out the way you could one math program for another. )

 

But what I think many commenters have missed is that this has happened twice (only) and that before that, he happily participated in about two-three dozen scouting activities. It doesn't make sense in my mind to pull him out of scouts in those circumstances--maybe you would have to know this kid to see this, but I'm almost positive that for him, this isn't about scouts at all but rather about doing what mom says.

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Joanne, I appreciate your continuing this conversation. I think I'm still not getting you, though: I'm wondering what you would have done when this child looked you in the eye and said, "No, I won't apologize to the leader!" (This didn't happen, but I can virtually guarantee you that it would have if I had asked him to apologize.) I'm also glad that you've only had to pull "innocent" siblings away from activities once, but, after living with this child for 6.5 years, I can guarantee that I'd be doing it a lot more often than that. I have sometimes left my other boys with another parent while taking the 6.5 yo home, but there's only so many times that you can rely on the kindness of strangers, KWIM? (And, having done this more than once, I know that doing it just once wouldn't stop his behavior. How many looked-forward-to activities do I need to pull my other boys out of? I would worry a LOT about the resentment that would build toward the 6.5yo on the part of his brothers.)

 

Julie,

 

As evidenced by the progressive consequences you levied, we approach parenting in disparate ways. My approach to parenting is not formulaic and does not make room for unrelated and punitive consequences. It emerges from a belief that discipline is learning, that relationship and connection are foundational and that kids can and do learn without measures that make them feel bad.

 

It sounds like this child has been a challenge to you for a while. There are things I'd follow up on about that if you were a client or were interested. My approach to parenting does include tools for strong willed children.

 

FWIW, I have not had anyone who has had to repeatedly leave places after using that logical, related consequence. In addition to the leaving, I never blocked the sibling consequences of them communicating their frustration and disrespect.

 

I did not only offer "apology" as a consequence, I offered a suggestion on having him *do* something respectful to counter the disrespect.

 

I can tell by your responses to my posts that you do not *get* how my approach is effective, practical and firm. It seems clear you are not interested in it anyway.

 

FWIW, I hear you that the examples you offered were scout related but that leaving scouts is not an option. If his pattern of behavior isn't limited to scouts, scouts isn't the issue.

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We spend time here teaching our children to apologize to one another properly. With five children, two of them only 14 months apart, they get lots of practice, lol. This is our script:

 

I'm sorry I *insert offense*. It was *mean, direspectful, inconsiderate, and accident, etc.*. Will you forgive me?

 

This seems to accomplish several things for us. 1) The child who is apologizing gets sobered up, and often upset, or realizes just what they did. 2) The child who got hurt or offended (or sometimes the parent) gets validated in their feelings to be upset. 3) The offended child gets the ball put in their court, so to speak. They get to be the one to forgive, and we teach quick forgiveness and no grudge-holding.

 

Fwiw, I don't think this is an issue of going to scouts vs. not going to scouts, but one of having a strong-willed child. Some great books about this type of child are The Strong-Willed Child and You Can't Make Me (But I can be Persuaded). I have two strong-willed children: one is 7 (and getting better), and one is 4 (and driving me crazy). Both dh and my younger brother were(are) strong-willed, so I can tell you that they tend to be born leaders, steadfast in their convictions, and undeterred in their goals. This can be terrible on a mother's nerves, but wonderful when they are grown. Pick your battles, but win the ones you pick, always show them you love them, even when you could kill them, and let tomorrow be another day. Strong-willed children often can't remember what they did the day before that caused a consequence two days later, and the advice about tomato-staking is terrific for the strong-willed child. I happen to love that word, because to me it means helping a child grow straight and true.

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Joanne, I'm not sure if you are choosing not to respond to some things I've written (which is fine) or if you just don't have answers for them (also fine) or if I am just too thick to pick your answers out of the other things that you have written (likely). More than once I've posed a variant of this question to you: What do you do when you ask the child to do something and the child looks you in the eye and says, "No, I won't!"? and I'm still not sure how you would respond to that.

 

I guess bottom line is that I see the kinds of discipline/learning/coaching ideas that you (and others like you) offer as very useful for minor issues and/or basically compliant children, but that isn't what I'm dealing with here. Offering service to the group and/or apologizing and/or leaving the activity are *great* ideas for a child who will _do_ them, but I don't have one of those (at least, not in some cases). I'm missing this very basic element in your philosophy: What do you do when the child flat-out refuses to comply with the logical, developmentally appropriate, etc., consequence that you set out?

 

Mrs. H., you have described my son very well and I do try to focus on his strengths and he is normally a well-behaved child and a delight to be around for the very reasons you suggest. I really like your apology formula--we might do some role-playing of that this evening--it seems much more effective than the kind of apologies that we have required in the past.

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I guess bottom line is that I see the kinds of discipline/learning/coaching ideas that you (and others like you) offer as very useful for minor issues and/or basically compliant children,

 

Julie,

 

The assumption that my kids or the families I have worked with have children that are compliant is erroneous. Of my 3, I have 2 spirited children and one strong willed one.

 

I have helped countless people over the years and have a handful of paying clients. I ran a full daycare and also a before and after school program at a local elementary school.

 

My approach is *not* useful for and effective only with compliant kids and/or minor issues.

 

What I do know from personal experience and professional observation is that many children who match the personalilty profile of your son get *worse* with a punitive approach.

 

Since my advice isn't percieved as helpful to you, I suggest you read Raising Your Spirited Child and Setting Limits with Your Strong Willed Child.

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I've only read up to page 2 - but here's what I would have done -

 

1. Walk up, take his hand, and lead him to sit with me or stand with me in the back of the room. I would not sneak up to him - nor would I make it my mission to embarrass him. He would *know* he was being summoned.

 

2. When it was over he would have been required to go walk up to the speaker, apologize for being rude, and asking his forgiveness. I would say nothing for him - it's up to him to handle it. I would require that he look the speaker in the eye and that he be sincere, otherwise it would not count. If it was a man speaker I would have him shake hands at the end. (Dads are really good at this man training thing with the hand shakes and all that jazz).

 

3. Depending on the severity of his disruption (and only you can judge that), I would also have him stand up in front of the group at the beginning of the next meeting and apologize to the other kids in the group for his disruptive behavior and his being a hindrance to the other kids. It's not an embarrassment issue - it's a respecting others, repentance and restitution issue.

 

4. We would also have some meaningful consequences at home - not screen time for a week, WORK (which I am finding is a great motivator for young boys), an early bedtime that one day, etc. I have only use isolation once - and it was very powerful and short - and I would save that for bigger issues (ours was the kids not getting along and losing the privilege of eating lunch with the family and spending time together). I always *try* to make sure I am addressing the heart issue over the actual offense, and that helps me to decide on a form of discipline.

 

 

I have no problem with going back on an assigned punishment if you want to. You're the Mom. You choose! I will not falter for whining, but when I pray and I am led to change my mind - I will explain that to the kids. I think that's real life and - you know - there's alway grace.

 

I would highly recommend "Creative Correction" by Lisa Welchel. It has TONS of great, creative ideas for heart training (which I think is what you really are asking - how to train him to be respectful when he's disinterested). Good luck - you sound like a great mom with a totally normal boy!! Hang in there!

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What do you do when you ask the child to do something and the child looks you in the eye and says, "No, I won't!"? and I'm still not sure how you would respond to that.

 

In ANY situation, a child has a choice to do it themselves or have help doing it. What exactly that looks like in any situation can be significantly different because of many factors. Here are a few tools which helped with my challenging kiddo.

 

1) Make them comply. This is SO much easier when you are starting with a 2 or 3 yr old, but can still work for some 6yo issues. You'd likely use it for fewer though. Where you could give a 2yo the choice to walk or be carried, it could be harder moving a 6yo, for example.

 

2) Give them time to adjust. "Tyler, it is 5:45. By the time says 6 o'clock, you need to be in the tub." My son responded REALLY well to this. He just seemed to need a little time to wrap his head around an order.

 

3) Give choices. "you may pick up before lunch or before supper; whichever is fine." Make it choices you can live with. Make them ones that help your cause (ie, time before something important, not before something else that MUST be done like bedtime or leaving for doctor office).

 

4) make it a game, an assignment, a family affair, etc

 

5) Encourage his help on figuring solutions (outlined in first post so I'll spare ya).

 

6) ORDER less. Sometimes we moms are just plain bossy! LOL

 

7) Have a set response he's to use every time. Not having to think about it can seriously help change the dynamics of the situation. He can learn to "argue appropriately" after regular compliance has been learned.

 

8) Don't pay too much attention to attention getting tactics and such. Him complying is much more important. Deal with that first, the rest will come pretty naturally. When he's used to #6, for example, he's not going to be saying "no I won't" as much. When he does, you use #1 or #2 to help him comply; doesn't much matter what he SAID.

 

9) Progress charts can help CONSIDERABLY. ONe method is to have him tally mark each time he does it wrong so he can see how he's improving. That is okay but I worry about negativity. On RARE occasions, you might use a reward chart. I wouldn't use it much but 2 or 3 weeks to focus on a specific behavior you'd like to see changed probably would work AND change the habit so you can move to better discipline (rewards aren't generally good discipline, just as punishment isn't). I've used a reward program with my son twice, each time for 2 weeks and each time only for VERY specific behaviors.

 

10) and again, reconnection, positive interaction, encouragement helps considerably. Keep him closeby, keep your time together positive, praise him sincerely as reasonable, help him make good choices, etc.

 

What is MOST important regardless is that you have "mommy power." You CANNOT repeat yourself, count to 3, offer threats or bribes, etc if you want him to take YOU seriously.

 

Two more things for you (as if I haven't rambled on long enough).

 

PLEASE do NOT get Welchel's book. Though there is some decent stuff in there, there is some child abuse also. She comes from a very punitive angle, not from the viewpoint of siding WITH kids to HELP them.

 

Instead, you might try Raising a Thinking Child by Myrna Shure and/or Positive Discipline A-Z to learn where he is coming from and how to teach and guide him "in the way he should go."

 

I hope ANY of this helps.

Pamela

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Joanne, I'm another one who isn't understanding your posts. You say that your methods do all these things, which is great, but I'm not seeing them described so that I can use them.

 

Dangermom,

 

I have written hundreds of pages over the years, suggested dozens of books, linked to my own and many other helpful sites. I have offered practical ideas within this thread.

 

But, quite honestly? I'm not obligated to continually offer for free what has taken me years to organize, process and develop. I responded to this thread in particular because the punishment imposed by the OP was extreme.

 

On this very board, I have offered pages and pages of very practical, workable advice.

 

My site is in my sig line.

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Just a suggestion which may or may not work for you, but "feels" right to me:

 

Instead of banishing him from you, bring him TO you. He's now your special friend so you can work with him about obeying and remember rules. Special time with mom. Not punishment. Just pulling on him with everything you have to win his heart and mind and attitudes. He's now close, you explain, so that you don't have to shout for him to hear you. He's now close so that you can reach over and pat his hands and help him sit still. He's close because you don't want him to be in trouble for throwing sand and missing another game. (Of course, if you have something else to do during the game, he gets to go with you and help.)

 

I think it might be worth it. Bring him back into the full bosom of the family. Remember that he's a very young boy, and he's acting like one. Your job is to make sure he lives to be seven. :glare: :D

 

Tomato-staking, some call it. I'm not sure I like the name, but I like the idea. And it does soften hearts, both mom and child. And a tender heart and the preservation of the strong will (for when he grows up more and *needs* it badly) is your aim.

 

 

This is our family's take on grounding. For me, the point is to help the children become more "grounded"--something that is more easily accomplished by bringing the kids in close rather than pushing them away.

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