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Parenting a child who thinks rules are optional


Plateau Mama
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How do you parent a child who thinks rules are optional? Or who looks for all the loopholes? Honestly I'm exhausted. Consequences don't work with this child.

 

Here is our current issue (among many).

 

We recently enacted a rule that says no laptops in bedrooms. All electronics (phones etc) must be out of rooms by 9 pm. So Friday, child was in his room on both laptop & phone at 10. Lost both Saturday. This morning his phone is on his bed. When I ask him why (knowing it was put in the classroom at 9 last night) he tells me he got it at 2am and wasn't breaking the rules because it was morning. He know we don't want them in their rooms while they are sleeping, we've talked about that but since we just said "till morning" and technically 2am is morning he argued that he didn't break the rules. Then it turned into my fault he couldn't sleep.

 

I could give nonstop examples but this is our entire life. Him spending his days ignoring our rules and then when caught telling us all the reasons he didn't break them, telling us he didn't understand the rules, or telling us the rule is rediculous and it shouldn't be a rule.

 

What can we do? My husband is perfectly content going around and around with him. I'm exhausted and want to do something drastic but do won't let me.

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Have you read the book "Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child?" I have a rule negotiator and the advice in this book really helped. With kids like this you have to be very specific about exactly what is expected, very specific about consequences, and always follow through.

 

Hugs. I know how exhausting it can be. Funny thing is, this kid is a great rule follower outside the home. She would never give grief to a teacher, other mom, etc. But with dh and I, everything is up for argument in her mind.

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How old is this child? And are there negative results to him spending all night reading on his electronics? Results YOU have to deal with, not DH (e.g., in terms of daily schoolwork, attitude when overtired, getting out of bed, getting places on time, etc.)?

 

If there are negative results you personally have to deal with, I would unilaterally override DH on this. As the teacher and parent who is with this kid all day, I would not allow the parent who doesn't have to deal with the bad attitude to dictate how I deal with that attitude. 

 

However, if the concern is more about content and this kid can still be cheerful, get schoolwork done, etc., then I'd probably insist on parental/content filters and then leave DH to deal with it. I would remove myself from the situation entirely and let DH be the one who wrestles with him. 

 

Personally, I have one of those kids, and I am of the "if you don't like the rules, you don't get to have the privileges" mindset these days. I recently told this child that I can no longer live with the level of overall conflict we have in the house anymore, so if I have to, I'm just going to start eliminating the sources of those conflicts. She knows I will, too. Things have improved some. But my DH is fully on board with me, so I don't have that to contend with.

 

:grouphug:

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In this specific case, I'd probably point out that at 2am, he's supposed to be asleep because that's what's best for his body, and even if he doesn't care you are required to care by law.

 

And then I don't know what all else I'd do, but it'd probably involve locking things up next time I had to confiscate them.

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I KNOW! What is up with this?!

 

You're safe. They can be total jerks to you all the time, and they'll never suffer the ultimate consequence - you'll still love them, you'll still care about them, and you probably won't tell the entire world know.

 

They don't have this guarantee with anybody else.

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Welcome to my world, and the same world many of us live in, lol.

 

Kids work around rules. That's their mission in life, so far as I can tell -- to outsmart their parents.

 

Is this your eldest child? I'm guessing that either this is your eldest, thus your inexperience with this, lol. If you have other kids who don't/didn't do this sort of thing as a preteen/teen, then you're really, really lucky!!

 

I've got 3 kids. First one didn't do this sort of thing. She's an angel. Full stop, lol.

 

Both #2 and #3 have done this sort of thing routinely. #2 made it his life's work to evade my rules. #3 does it more just to get what she want as opposed to #2's doing it for the pure joy of disobedience (read: independence in his hormone addled brain)

 

Drastic things will not help, in my experience. (And, I have a lot of experience, lol)

 

For your example, I'd simply impose whatever consequence you would for breaking the rule. His "2AM does not equal night" is nonsense, and you don't need to argue it. Your rule,  you are the judge, your definition, not interested in debating it. 

 

You can try to be more specific on that sort of rule. That'll help some for the future. I've learned not only to be very specific but also sometimes to make my son write the rule in his own hand (or text it to me!) and sign and date it . . . My electronics rule was "No laptop or phone in the bedroom or bathroom between 9PM and 5AM"  Another electronics rule was "Laptop and phone must be plugged in on the kitchen desk between 9PM and 5AM. No exceptions."  

 

Get used to being exhausted. Try not to get crazy. Just set the rule, STAY CALM, and enforce the rule according to your best judgment, consistently, tweaking as needed. Don't bother debating the specifics of the rule. If the kid seems genuinely confused about the rule, then clarify . . . But go ahead and enforce your most reasonable interpretation of the rule at that time . . . (I.e., clearly 2AM is breaking the rule, so enforce the consequences accordingly, no matter what nonsense the kid argues . . .)

 

((((hugs))))

 

 

This, too, shall pass . . .

 

 

 

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I have at least one of these. It is exhausting.

 

Framing things in terms of what is allowed versus what isn't has sometimes been helpful. Electronics may be used downstairs between the hours of 8:30 am and 6 pm after you have completed your work and chores.

 

That kind of chicanery and deliberate obtuseness would make me say you know, this electronics stuff is causing friction. We are on an electronics break. Try again in February.

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I would stop arguing about it. Just implement consequences. He knows knows knows he's being ridiculous and it's a game for him to see if he can convince you or dh he's actually correct. I would answer the question once, state the consequence, and move on. Maybe he has a future as an attorney :).

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Fortunately I only had one of these kids and she's my oldest so she's other people's problem now, lol. She never really followed rules for other people either, but she was very passive aggressive (and super smart) so most people don't get when she's working them. Meditation for mom, keeping calm is the most important thing, and don't argue with the child. Consequences first. I hate to be that authoritative jerk, but reasoning with this child wore me out. As a senior in high school she pulled a nasty stunt and she had tickets to the big American Idol concert. The one with Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood. I took her tickets. No arguing, nothing until she figured out how to clean up what she had done. She kept trying to argue and I kept stonewalling and she freaked out. She did fix her problem and go to the concert (she is smart, lol). These kids want what they want, so you have to keep them from killing you. The whole summer after this child graduated I sat in a chair with one tall glass after another of Newman's Own lemonade. I let her move back in once and she nearly wore us out again at 25. You must preserve yourself. You have other kids and a life. 

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I would take unemotionally take all electronics for at least a week for that kid.  All phones would be checked in/charging in my bedroom at night.  Is it just electronics that are an issue or any type of rule?  Rules would be clear on exact hours and usage.  I wouldn't engage in argument and only one discussion would happen.  I might even put the rules in writing somewhere.

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If he's going online at night you can set up your router to turn off between certain hours. You can also unplug it and lock it away in your room at night.

We have been reasonably happy with Circle by Disney. It lets us set the access by person and device. We can control time within general access too (e.g. Netflix can have its own time limit).

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I'd laugh with him about it, and then explain that he really does need sleep even if he doesn't think he does.  Electronics can be addictive.

 

Overall, I'd be working to set up a team effort with him to figure out sensible rules.  I'd pick battles very, very carefully and stick to what is important letting him have freedom elsewhere. I might even change something to match his desires to work on that team effort if his reasoning makes sense (doesn't with the current problem, of course).

 

I'd lock up electronics overnight eliminating that addictive power.

 

Then I'd rest with the comfort that these types of kids often are extremely intelligent and if you can get him through his teen years, he's likely to be an awesome adult.

 

And I might vent on a bulletin board rather than pulling out my hair figuring out the details or when things go wrong even when "I've" done as much as I can correctly... (sigh)

 

The other thing might be to get someone outside the family as a guide for him.  Kids OFTEN are better for others than parents.  That's their job...

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Have you read the book "Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child?" I have a rule negotiator and the advice in this book really helped. With kids like this you have to be very specific about exactly what is expected, very specific about consequences, and always follow through.

Hugs. I know how exhausting it can be. Funny thing is, this kid is a great rule follower outside the home. She would never give grief to a teacher, other mom, etc. But with dh and I, everything is up for argument in her mind.

  I will have to check out that book. Thx. And yes, outside of the home people just afore him. He also is the first one to point out when others aren't following rules.

How old is this child? And are there negative results to him spending all night reading on his electronics? Results YOU have to deal with, not DH (e.g., in terms of daily schoolwork, attitude when overtired, getting out of bed, getting places on time, etc.)?

 

If there are negative results you personally have to deal with, I would unilaterally override DH on this. As the teacher and parent who is with this kid all day, I would not allow the parent who doesn't have to deal with the bad attitude to dictate how I deal with that attitude. 

 

However, if the concern is more about content and this kid can still be cheerful, get schoolwork done, etc., then I'd probably insist on parental/content filters and then leave DH to deal with it. I would remove myself from the situation entirely and let DH be the one who wrestles with him. 

 

Personally, I have one of those kids, and I am of the "if you don't like the rules, you don't get to have the privileges" mindset these days. I recently told this child that I can no longer live with the level of overall conflict we have in the house anymore, so if I have to, I'm just going to start eliminating the sources of those conflicts. She knows I will, too. Things have improved some. But my DH is fully on board with me, so I don't have that to contend with.

 

:grouphug:

He is 14.5. He goes to school (because I could no longer deal with the arguing/debating every little thing. That being said I'm the one making sure he gets out the door I the morning and making sure homework is done etc.   

In this specific case, I'd probably point out that at 2am, he's supposed to be asleep because that's what's best for his body, and even if he doesn't care you are required to care by law.

 

And then I don't know what all else I'd do, but it'd probably involve locking things up next time I had to confiscate them.

. I did point that out and he started down the line well it was technically morning so I didn't break the rules. I told him he knew what we expected and I wasn't going to play that which just set explosions off all morning.
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How old is the child?

Does he show signs of executive function difficulties (messy/disorganized, trouble with initiating/completing work, poor sense of time, inpulsiveness?)

 he is 14.5. He shows lots of signs of EF issues. I have him scheduled for testing in March. Do thinks it's a waste of time but after 3 years of me saying it's needed he has agreed to let me do the testing.  

 

Is this your eldest child? I'm guessing that either this is your eldest, thus your inexperience with this, lol. If you have other kids who don't/didn't do this sort of thing as a preteen/teen, then you're really, really lucky!!

 

I've got 3 kids. First one didn't do this sort of thing. She's an angel. Full stop, lol.

 

Both #2 and #3 have done this sort of thing routinely. #2 made it his life's work to evade my rules. #3 does it more just to get what she want as opposed to #2's doing it for the pure joy of disobedience (read: independence in his hormone addled brain)

 

Drastic things will not help, in my experience. (And, I have a lot of experience, lol)

 

For your example, I'd simply impose whatever consequence you would for breaking the rule. His "2AM does not equal night" is nonsense, and you don't need to argue it. Your rule,  you are the judge, your definition, not interested in debating it. 

 

You can try to be more specific on that sort of rule. That'll help some for the future. I've learned not only to be very specific but also sometimes to make my son write the rule in his own hand (or text it to me!) and sign and date it . . . My electronics rule was "No laptop or phone in the bedroom or bathroom between 9PM and 5AM"  Another electronics rule was "Laptop and phone must be plugged in on the kitchen desk between 9PM and 5AM. No exceptions."  

 

Get used to being exhausted. Try not to get crazy. Just set the rule, STAY CALM, and enforce the rule according to your best judgment, consistently, tweaking as needed. Don't bother debating the specifics of the rule. If the kid seems genuinely confused about the rule, then clarify . . . But go ahead and enforce your most reasonable interpretation of the rule at that time . . . (I.e., clearly 2AM is breaking the rule, so enforce the consequences accordingly, no matter what nonsense the kid argues . . .)

 

((((hugs))))

 

 

This, too, shall pass . . .

 he is my 2nd of 3. My oldest is unhappy about it but has followed the rule. She just isn't talking to her dad if she doesn't have to. Every time he argues with my husband he make child write down the rule/expectation etc and sign it. I have all kinds of papers with random things and kids signature.  

I have at least one of these. It is exhausting.

Framing things in terms of what is allowed versus what isn't has sometimes been helpful. Electronics may be used downstairs between the hours of 8:30 am and 6 pm after you have completed your work and chores.

That kind of chicanery and deliberate obtuseness would make me say you know, this electronics stuff is causing friction. We are on an electronics break. Try again in February.

. He went about two months Oct-Dec without phone/computer. Didn't help anything. All we had was two months of him doing everything possible to make my life miserable.
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What does your DH think you should do about what happened last night? What does he have to say about the fact that, in the long term, things aren't improving? Does he have some kind of backup plan? 

 

What do you think would happen if you let the electronics thing slide for awhile but stopped helping DS get out the door in the morning and stopped making sure his work gets done? If you tell him that you're done fighting about it, but that means that you're assuming that if he's mature enough to take responsibility for his own electronics, then he's also mature enough to take responsibility for his own schedule and schooling?

 

Oh, also, why were the rules put in place to begin with? Inability to control screen use, or was it a "getting into undesirable content" problem? 

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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I would stop arguing about it. Just implement consequences. He knows knows knows he's being ridiculous and it's a game for him to see if he can convince you or dh he's actually correct. I would answer the question once, state the consequence, and move on. Maybe he has a future as an attorney :).

I have said this since he was three. Too bad he has the memory of a gnat. He'd never make it thru Law School.   

If he's going online at night you can set up your router to turn off between certain hours. You can also unplug it and lock it away in your room at night.

  Dh won't turn the router off at night but we  have been known to set his computer to only operate certain hours. But he just uses his phone on data and circumvents the router.

I would take unemotionally take all electronics for at least a week for that kid.  All phones would be checked in/charging in my bedroom at night.  Is it just electronics that are an issue or any type of rule?  Rules would be clear on exact hours and usage.  I wouldn't engage in argument and only one discussion would happen.  I might even put the rules in writing somewhere.

any rule. Electronics is just the battle of the morning. I made a list of rules but dh thinks if I post that then we will just go round and round and that he's old enough to understand the rules and if he wants to write them down then he can.
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I have said this since he was three. Too bad he has the memory of a gnat. He'd never make it thru Law School.  

 

 

 

any rule. Electronics is just the battle of the morning. I made a list of rules but dh thinks if I post that then we will just go round and round and that he's old enough to understand the rules and if he wants to write them down then he can.

 

Oooh, he sounds just like mine. I have so much sympathy for you. I'm encouraging mine to go into real estate with her dad or event planning (she would crush that, but says she's not interested, even though she's constantly planning party ideas, making banners and signs, putting together menus at home, etc. Ooookaaay?)

 

Hmm, well, the more you tell us, the more I think I'm starting to agree with your DH. However, that means that any and all rules are probably going to be counterproductive. Honestly, in your case, I might experiment with giving him more responsibility rather than less, and start letting him fail on some things. IME, rules just make these kids fight more. Would that be possible at all? I know he has EF issues, and you could offer support on those kinds of things, but no (or limited) rescue, no berating, no yelling. Just simple encouraging statements designed to prompt, but then walk away. Maybe?

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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I have to be very clear about rules and try to close all the loopholes.  We couldn't say "until morning" because that would mean until what is technically morning to one of my kids, so we have a time frame like "until 6 am" or whatever time.  My DH was one of those kids that found loopholes and technically followed rules and our youngest is the same.  I am not sure that my DS sees it as trying to break the rules but more trying to stay within the boundaries but still get what he wants.  He is a very black and white thinker and has trouble understanding the difference between letter of the law and spirit of the law.

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Change the rule so that there are no electronics allowed from the time you take them in the evening until you hand them back in the morning?

 

Honestly with a kid like that all you can do is update the rules to exclude loopholes.  If you post your rules and example of loopholes here, we can help you re-write the rules to exclude loopholes.

 

This kid will make an amazing lawyer.

 

ETA:  We put electronics in our room at night, in a drawer out of sight, and with one stubborn kid we literally locked them in the safe for a few weeks at a time, to prevent sneaking.

Edited by Katy
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Only regarding the phone and laptop issue, you haven't said why you can't just lock them into your room at night? I understand difficult and persistent kids will find workarounds if they don't like your rules, but you still have the ability to take things away from him. Just because he made you miserable while he was without access doesn't mean you should give them back so he'll bother you less...

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What does your DH think you should do about what happened last night? What does he have to say about the fact that, in the long term, things aren't improving? Does he have some kind of backup plan?

 

What do you think would happen if you let the electronics thing slide for awhile but stopped helping DS get out the door in the morning and stopped making sure his work gets done? If you tell him that you're done fighting about it, but that means that you're assuming that if he's mature enough to take responsibility for his own electronics, then he's also mature enough to take responsibility for his own schedule and schooling?

 

Oh, also, why were the rules put in place to begin with? Inability to control screen use, or was it a "getting into undesirable content" problem?

my dh thinks this is totally normal boy behavior. He keeps taking things away for a day or two. Repeat.

 

 

He would never get out the door. I'm sure of it. If I don't nudge him along he is usually 20-30 minutes late. If he doesn't get out the door and get a ride with his sister the I have to wake the homeschooled child up to take him and that's not fair to him (or me).

 

If I don't check in with him on his work he doesn't turn it in or doesn't do it. I just ask what he has so I can make sure he's not forgetting something. I don't check it when he's done. I didn't do this for two weeks last semester and his grades went from A/B's to B/C's and he spent the rest of the semester trying to get caught up. He cannot, and I mean cannot, not wont, manage his time. He is late everywhere he goes and I mean everywhere.

 

Rules were placed because daughter wasn't sleeping because she was texting bff etc. Son was inability to control screen use time, not content per say. We have strong filters and they'd have to try really hard to circumvent them.

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I find  this sort of behavior in my children perversely entertaining and tend to encourage calm, reasoned (even if their logic is wonky) discussion and negotiation.

 

I would clarify the rule to remove the vagueness and move forward from there.

 

Now, if the child threw a fit about it, that would be different.

 

Rules are more enforceable, especially with my 13 yo., if the child helped develop them in the first place, understands the reasons for them, and has agreed to them ahead of time, rather than having them handed down from on high.

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Oooh, he sounds just like mine. I have so much sympathy for you. I'm encouraging mine to go into real estate with her dad or event planning (she would crush that, but says she's not interested, even though she's constantly planning party ideas, making banners and signs, putting together menus at home, etc. Ooookaaay?)

 

Hmm, well, the more you tell us, the more I think I'm starting to agree with your DH. However, that means that any and all rules are probably going to be counterproductive. Honestly, in your case, I might experiment with giving him more responsibility rather than less, and start letting him fail on some things. IME, rules just make these kids fight more. Would that be possible at all? I know he has EF issues, and you could offer support on those kinds of things, but no (or limited) rescue, no berating, no yelling. Just simple encouraging statements designed to prompt, but then walk away. Maybe?

but how do I do this and not have chaos reign in my house. Other areas we battle are getting out of the house on time, picking up after oneself, especially after cooking in the kitchen, keeping room so it's safe (not clean, simply safe to walk in), bathroom clean enough so guests can use it.   

Change the rule so that there are no electronics allowed from the time you take them in the evening until you hand them back in the morning?

 

Honestly with a kid like that all you can do is update the rules to exclude loopholes.  If you post your rules and example of loopholes here, we can help you re-write the rules to exclude loopholes.

 

This kid will make an amazing lawyer.

 

ETA:  We put electronics in our room at night, in a drawer out of sight, and with one stubborn kid we literally locked them in the safe for a few weeks at a time, to prevent sneaking.

I was trying not to be a total gatekeeper. Even if they are in my room he will come in while we are sleeping and get them.   

Only regarding the phone and laptop issue, you haven't said why you can't just lock them into your room at night? I understand difficult and persistent kids will find workarounds if they don't like your rules, but you still have the ability to take things away from him. Just because he made you miserable while he was without access doesn't mean you should give them back so he'll bother you less...

I don't have a way of charging them that isn't a total PIA and he needs it for school. Also the random alarms and alerts keep me up all night.
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Get another surge protector for your bedroom, plug them in and charge in your room, learn to use the "silent" and do-not-disturb functions, and lock either your bedroom door, or the container used to charge them in. There, we solved it.

This.

Way less stress than fighting with a kid over rules.

 

You could put them in a safe like this one, in your room or elsewhere. The holes are big enough for the end of most charging cords to fit through.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00UG9HB1Q/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485194701&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=safe&dpPl=1&dpID=41mFZ7-JjfL&ref=plSrch

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but how do I do this and not have chaos reign in my house. Other areas we battle are getting out of the house on time, picking up after oneself, especially after cooking in the kitchen, keeping room so it's safe (not clean, simply safe to walk in), bathroom clean enough so guests can use it.    I was trying not to be a total gatekeeper. Even if they are in my room he will come in while we are sleeping and get them.    I don't have a way of charging them that isn't a total PIA and he needs it for school. Also the random alarms and alerts keep me up all night.

 

You can turn the alarms and alerts off. Lock your door.

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I have a kid who vigorously works to find loopholes in any rule that I make. It is exhausting, frustrating and the constancy is enough to drive me to tears sometimes. I tell him that I am not open to negotiating and that he is a smart kid and can perfectly understand what I meant and that he should be able to follow the spirit of the rule rather than being literal about the rule.

 

OP, if your son is notoriously late, grades are suffering and is loosing sleep, a parent has to be the policeman, I don't see this issue going away any other way. 

I would tell the kid that I do not like him playing with the semantics of my rules. I would also tell him that I do not want him to find ways to break rules and that he needs to find ways to conform to rules.

I would also turn off the internet router at night (or password protect it) and take away all the electronic devices at 9 PM every night and plug them in a separate room for charging overnight and lock that room up. If the devices are making noise during the night, I would power them down during the night and plug in for charging and power them back up in the AM.

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How do you parent a child who thinks rules are optional? Or who looks for all the loopholes? Honestly I'm exhausted. Consequences don't work with this child.

 

Here is our current issue (among many).

 

We recently enacted a rule that says no laptops in bedrooms. All electronics (phones etc) must be out of rooms by 9 pm. So Friday, child was in his room on both laptop & phone at 10. Lost both Saturday. This morning his phone is on his bed. When I ask him why (knowing it was put in the classroom at 9 last night) he tells me he got it at 2am and wasn't breaking the rules because it was morning. He know we don't want them in their rooms while they are sleeping, we've talked about that but since we just said "till morning" and technically 2am is morning he argued that he didn't break the rules. Then it turned into my fault he couldn't sleep.

 

I could give nonstop examples but this is our entire life. Him spending his days ignoring our rules and then when caught telling us all the reasons he didn't break them, telling us he didn't understand the rules, or telling us the rule is rediculous and it shouldn't be a rule.

 

What can we do? My husband is perfectly content going around and around with him. I'm exhausted and want to do something drastic but do won't let me.

Are you living in my house?  ;)

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I'd throw his lights on and tell him to get up out of bed at 2am, since, as he said, it's morning time.

 

Either he gets up and does it (cool cool) or I say, "do you understand now why your stretches of the bounds of reason are maddening?" Either he gets it or he doesn't, but hell have a funny story some day, it's not "drastic" so there's a compromise with dh, but it satisfies your urge to do something about it.

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BCBA's (credentials for a behaviorist) can help create behavior plans for people with EF issues and issues with arguing. It's been a real help in my household. Depending what the testing shows, you might be looking more broadly at resources, but BCBAs do this all.the.time. You want one that is teen literate, but behavior plans are awesome. 

 

Be sure you get testing for social pragmatics in the mix of what's being tested--it is possible that your child doesn't "get" social stuff, even if they do well in public/outside the home. Mine is like that. He knows enough of what not to do to get along well enough outside the home, but the underlying what to do and how to understand the nuances of communication are off.  

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What consequences will the school impose if he's late?  Detention? Losing sports?  
How far is the school?  Do you HAVE to drive him if he's late, or can he walk but will then be even later?

What about if assignments aren't handed in?  

Is it important TO HIM to get good grades?  Does he have plans for the future?  Or does he not care?

 

You have 3 1/2 more years to help him find ways to deal with his functioning issues.  I would work on setting him up with supports to help deal with his function issues since you say he CAN'T get anywhere on time, not that he won't.   Identify what the issues are, read about what kind of supports help with these issues, give him time to find what works for him, and then back away.  Let him have real consequences to his actions once he has the support in place.

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but how do I do this and not have chaos reign in my house. Other areas we battle are getting out of the house on time, picking up after oneself, especially after cooking in the kitchen, keeping room so it's safe (not clean, simply safe to walk in), bathroom clean enough so guests can use it.

 

 

Baby steps, and letting some things slide while you're working on other areas? I can't really say, since I don't know exactly what's going on in the other areas. If he leaves a mess in the bathroom, can you call him in, completely unemotionally, and say, "Hey, you left X, Y, and Z in the bathroom after you left. Can you quick pick them up so I can clean the rest of the bathroom?" Would he balk at even that, or would the tone change help him be more compliant? 

 

We have the problem with the kitchen too, since I mostly only cook dinners anymore. So I do the above there as well. "Hey J, you forgot some things in the kitchen after you made lunch. Can you go clean them up? I'm trying to get the kitchen ready so I can make dinner on time tonight." 

 

As for getting out the door on time in the mornings, well, that's a harder one, and may require some fails before he gets his act together. In all honestly, my oldest DD's absolute inability to get out the door on time anywhere is a major reason why we started HSing. Currently, she just started getting a ride to her teen group every week, and we're now having the same problem. I'm about to inform her that she cannot make her ride (who is absolutely crazy about being early for things) sit outside for 10 minutes while she finishes getting ready, so from now on if she's not ready to walk when they pull up, she isn't going to go to her teen group that day. That's a Very Big Deal for her. No more of me harping and following her around, harassing her and handing her things. But only you can decide whether the consequences of that are too serious to be acceptable. I can only say that I've been handing over bits and pieces of responsibility to both of mine and they're mostly rising to the occasion, but there's nothing so big as public school on the table for them. 

 

What if you picked a good day when everyone was in a good mood and talked about this with him? If you explain that you're going to try handing off more responsibility to him, bit by bit--that you'll be there to support him if he asks for it, but that you think he can manage X, Y, and Z by himself now? Do you think he'd respond well, or is he just prickly and rebellious and nothing you say is right these days? 

 

Others have given good advice about dealing with EF issues. Both of mine have EF issues for sure, but it may be that your son needs more direct assistance from an outside source. Without knowing him, I couldn't say. I think you said earlier that he agreed to evals? (I may have read that somewhere else.) If so, that may be a good step toward solving some of this. 

 

Of course, it also may be that you just have to hang on and get through the next 3 years in any way you can manage until he gets out into the real world. You certainly won't be the only one  :grouphug:

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You're safe. They can be total jerks to you all the time, and they'll never suffer the ultimate consequence - you'll still love them, you'll still care about them, and you probably won't tell the entire world know.

 

They don't have this guarantee with anybody else.

 

Ugh, I know it, but it's still frustrating to no end. Honestly, I'm so over HSing these days, and this is a major reason why. She would never, never talk to a teacher the way she talks to me. It drives me nuts.

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With the updated info this sound more like my oldest. I don't have many parenting tips, because she is 28 and still difficult, lol. Although much more responsible for herself and not pushing the envelope nearly so much. 

 

Two big things with her were, direct confrontation, every time makes things better. Then, no matter how much the child may have gotten under your skin, pretend to be perfectly happy. If necessary put on fun music and dance around while cooking or cleaning. This is not what the child wants. They are looking for control. 

 

The most important thing I should have done was not let this child take so much time away from my other two. I am lucky they don't resent her. I suspect they don't because there was seven years after she was out of the house to focus on my other two before the next oldest moved out. 

 

Self care is essential. You need regular breaks from this kid, and you need a hobby that takes your mind off said child absolutely. Preferable two or three hobbies, lol. Don't let this kid deplete you. They are still your child and need energy and love, they just don't need the control they think they do. Meditation is huge for me now. I wish I had started this years ago. 

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If it's any consolation I know a couple people from college that were both just like him and now, 20 years later, both have sold companies they started and are now worth half a billion dollars or more.  So the same stubborn traits that drive you crazy will also make him stubborn and refuse to quit when it comes to whatever he sets his mind on as an adult.

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I totally get the 2 a.m. argument. It is morning. 

 

If 2 a.m. is when his morning starts, then he has no excuse for ever having a hard time getting out the door on his way to school. Like someone else said, if that's the case, then his mother can show up at his bedside at 2 a.m. and get him up, have him eat breakfast, dress, etc., and he's welcome to use his phone as well. He should have no problem getting to school on time!

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I don't want the electronics in my room. For many reasons but the two biggest are I am a very light sleeper and if I get woken up I have a hard time getting back to sleep. So, if the devices aren't totally powered off for whatever reason I am the one to suffers. Drs. Orders I am to get more sleep at any cost, nonnegotiable. Second is my husband is usually still asleep when they are up in the AM. I don't want him woken up by someone (even me) rummaging around in the dark to get devices. I also don't want the kids coming in and out of my roomEven if there was a spot for them to charge in my room, which there isn't. We could lock them I the office but I don't think my husband will go for that because he'd be the one that has to lock/unlock the office all the time. Even if he agreed I doubt he'd be consistent about it.

 

I won't lock the door. I sleep with the door open because said child will decide to get up at midnight to watch TV or play Xbox or cook and I need to be able to hear him so I can shuffle him back to bed.

 

I agree I need to figure out where to put these devices where he can't get to them but I can't picture the logistics. If they are In a locked room and daughter has to leave at 5 am I don't want to get up at 5 to get her devices. I a trying to make the rules the same for both because if I don't then he claims unfairness blah blah blah.

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I have a couple of children like that in my household mix.  (I was also one of these type of kids growing up. I became an attorney).

 

A few thoughts:

1. I'm guessing that EF weaknesses with some social delay are in the mix.  

2. Let actions, not words direct your efforts at behavior modification.  There is some positive reward coming to your kid through the arguing--either you're giving in, or the act of arguing with you is rewarding.

3. Build a positive relationship with your child in other ways.  

 

We handle the electronics battle by taking down the wi-fi at night and collecting all devices. Any struggle over the devices results in their removal. At some point, our children will have to learn self-governance with regard to electronics, but that day is not today.  

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Every person CAN learn to be on time, especially somewhere they go every day. Some people need more scaffolding to learn it, but every person can learn to be on time to school. You gether the necessary information; i.e., it takes 15 minutes to get to school, minimum, 20 with a cushion; it takes 20 minutes to dress and 10 to pack lunch. (Or whatever). That means the latest time to get out of bed is X, or Y to have a cushion. Then, he has alarm(s) and alert(s) set the remind him to get his butt out the door by the correctly-calculated cushion time. If he "can't" use an alarm or alert to get out the door at the correct time, then that is a WON'T, not a CAN'T.

 

I say this as the resident Time Savant in a family of Time Idiots. (Props to Faith Manor for that excellent description.) I know that the main thing my DH does that screws up his time constantly, is he underestimates the amount of time it takes to get somewhere, a fault that is more glaring when one is bringing kids long, too. So if the perfect-case scenario is that from driveway to parking lot it takes 15 minutes, he still thinks that's 15 minutes to allot, but it's NOT!

 

Time cushion. All people can be on time if they use time cushion and accurately figure their true travel time.

 

Sorry for the bunny trail.

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What consequences will the school impose if he's late? Detention? Losing sports?

How far is the school? Do you HAVE to drive him if he's late, or can he walk but will then be even later?

What about if assignments aren't handed in?

Is it important TO HIM to get good grades? Does he have plans for the future? Or does he not care?

 

You have 3 1/2 more years to help him find ways to deal with his functioning issues. I would work on setting him up with supports to help deal with his function issues since you say he CAN'T get anywhere on time, not that he won't. Identify what the issues are, read about what kind of supports help with these issues, give him time to find what works for him, and then back away. Let him have real consequences to his actions once he has the support in place.

he has to be driven. School is 5 miles away on a non-walkable road. If he doesn't get a ride from sister I either have to disrupt our morning or he has to stay home. If he stays home it would take him several days to get caught up. His grades are important to him. He doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up but he definitely wants to go to college and be a successful adult.

 

I have tried and tried to help him with his EF issues but he is absolutely resistant to anyone telling him what to do. We helped him make his own plans/routines but he never follows them.

Baby steps, and letting some things slide while you're working on other areas? I can't really say, since I don't know exactly what's going on in the other areas. If he leaves a mess in the bathroom, can you call him in, completely unemotionally, and say, "Hey, you left X, Y, Z....." Would he balk at even that, or would the tone change help him be more compliant?

 

We have the problem with the kitchen too, since I mostly only cook dinners anymore. So I do the above there as well. "Hey J, you forgot some things in the kitchen after you made lunch. Can you go clean them up? I'm trying to get the kitchen ready so I can make dinner on time tonight."

 

 

What if you picked a good day when everyone was in a good mood and talked about this with him? If you explain that you're going to try handing off more responsibility to him, bit by bit--that you'll be there to support him if he asks for it, but that you think he can manage X, Y, and Z by himself now? Do you think he'd respond well, or is he just prickly and rebellious and nothing you say is right these days?

 

Others have given good advice about dealing with EF issues. Both of mine have EF issues for sure, but it may be that your son needs more direct assistance from an outside source. Without knowing him, I couldn't say. I think you said earlier that he agreed to evals? (I may have read that somewhere else.) If so, that may be a good step toward solving some of this.

 

Of course, it also may be that you just have to hang on and get through the next 3 years in any way you can manage until he gets out into the real world. You certainly won't be the only one :grouphug:

. I have even working very hard at asking him to clean up his messes. It takes 3/4/5 times and hours to get him to do even the simplest thing. Then he gets upset because we keep telling him to do things. Edited by Plateau Mama
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It is really hard to enforce an electronics break when they need their phone/ipad/computer for school. The question is "how much do you want to fight?" If school is the priority, you will have to save all your energy for getting him out the door and going over homework. I would do two things: turn the electronic monitoring over to your husband. And I would focus on getting evaluations and some behavioral counseling. If he is a freshman and can't get places on time or do homework without serious intervention it is time for real help and/or allowing some failure with real consequences. No one will be destroyed by Cs or Ds in 9th grade. 

The wandering around the house late at night is something I hate. Here, that resulted in a loud and early wakeup call with no mercy for tiredness, no sleeping in ever. But, the best solution for that was serious athletic activity, every single day.

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Every person CAN learn to be on time, especially somewhere they go every day. Some people need more scaffolding to learn it, but every person can learn to be on time to school. You gether the necessary information; i.e., it takes 15 minutes to get to school, minimum, 20 with a cushion; it takes 20 minutes to dress and 10 to pack lunch. (Or whatever). That means the latest time to get out of bed is X, or Y to have a cushion. Then, he has alarm(s) and alert(s) set the remind him to get his butt out the door by the correctly-calculated cushion time. If he "can't" use an alarm or alert to get out the door at the correct time, then that is a WON'T, not a CAN'T.

 

I say this as the resident Time Savant in a family of Time Idiots. (Props to Faith Manor for that excellent description.) I know that the main thing my DH does that screws up his time constantly, is he underestimates the amount of time it takes to get somewhere, a fault that is more glaring when one is bringing kids long, too. So if the perfect-case scenario is that from driveway to parking lot it takes 15 minutes, he still thinks that's 15 minutes to allot, but it's NOT!

 

Time cushion. All people can be on time if they use time cushion and accurately figure their true travel time.

 

Sorry for the bunny trail.

Personally I don't understand this being late thing. I am never late unless someone else (i.e. Son) makes me late.

 

He has 3 alarms. He had 4 but w/o phone now 3. He knows I may or may not come to make sure he's awake.

He is supposed to be downstairs fully dressed 20 minutes before departure.

We tell him 10-15 minutes before actual departure so we have a chance of being on time.

I try to point out the time when he gets in the car and praise him if it's on time (or w/in 5 minutes).

 

He can be all ready 20 minutes before and still be late. I don't get it.

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