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to expect some kind of improvement by now?

(20 Posts)
scorpionne Wed 31-Oct-12 10:36:43

In my DS' behaviour. If you are consistent and firm, you should see improvement in behaviour, right? But still everything is a battle. He never does what we ask without a fight. Rewards and consequences have no effect. He had tantrums at the normal age and I thought it would be a phase, but it wasn't, he still does it all the time.

So where have we gone wrong?

scorpionne Wed 31-Oct-12 10:37:18

He is almost 10, sorry, should have said.

escape Wed 31-Oct-12 10:37:35

How old is he?

scorpionne Wed 31-Oct-12 10:41:10

We follow through on what we say and he screams a lot about the consequence every time but it seems to make no difference for the next time. DH and I are both exhausted by him.

mummytime Wed 31-Oct-12 10:55:45

Have you been to your GP and got a Paediatrician referral? How is he at school?

scorpionne Wed 31-Oct-12 10:58:30

No we haven't, partly because we are living overseas. He is doing ok at school but could be doing better. He is very stubborn and only does things when he decides. He wants to control everything and automatically says no to any demand.

whizmum Wed 31-Oct-12 10:59:11

You could try reading 'Secrets of Happy Children' and 'More secrets of Happy Children' by Steve Biddulph. It does not give prescriptive instructions of what to do. It does give you more confidence in your parenting though, so you will know better if you are going 'wrong'.

whizmum Wed 31-Oct-12 11:09:03

I have a son who will not do anything unless HE thinks it a good idea. This included writing, homework, learning to talk, eating anything that is not bread.

I have never been sure whether he has some sort of pervasive development disorder, or just takes after his father..............

I have always found that taking an indirect and non confrontational approach so that he does not have the opportunity to say 'no' worked. This involves outwitting him, presenting something as a good thing before you ask him to partake, giving him two options (where the one you want him to take is the more desirable). It does not work all the time - he is clever so sees through most of it, although tends to give in anyway if you can get him into a good mood. A direct, confrontational approach just results in 'shutdown'.

It is bluddy hard work, but has it's rewards, eventually!

exexpat Wed 31-Oct-12 11:19:16

Did you post about your DS before? This sounds familiar.

Have you heard of pathological demand avoidance syndrome?

Usual disclaimers: I am absolutely not an expert (just heard about it from a friend whose son was displaying some similar traits), you can't diagnose someone over the Internet etc etc, but it might be worth reading a bit and seeing if it rings any bells.

In any case, if you have been struggling for so long and making no progress, it does sound like talking to a child psychologist might be a good idea, though I know it's easier said than done when you're overseas and don't have access to the usual referral systems & English-speaking help. Are you planning any trips back to the UK soon?

scorpionne Wed 31-Oct-12 11:38:28

I have posted but it was a while ago. I've wondered about PDA, but he doesn't tick all the boxes. I'm not convinced he has any SN, but could be wrong.

Whizmum it's hard isn't it....we use all those strategies too. I just find it hard that he still fights me on everything, when surely he knows the deal by now. At the moment I am trying Halloween (party at the weekend) as an incentive - not sure why really as we've never had much success with rewards before. So far it's looking like he won't get to go.

mummytime Wed 31-Oct-12 12:02:22

I would really want to get a paediatrician involved. Try keeping a diary of what happens. Do also talk to him about what he wants to do, what he enjoys, how he feels about his behaviour and how he feels about school. You could start to educate yourself on things like Asperger's and see if the strategies used their will help you (regardless of what his "issue" is). He and you have an "issue" as family life is not working at present, the label might help but isn't crucial.

Do you have a routine? I wouldn't bother with long term rewards eg. Halloween party; are there any short term ones (even playing on the office chair, stickers, being squeezed for 2 minutes)?
If you lose a reward for not behaving, then it has to go, and you need to be consistent.
I would look at the special needs area for more advice.

BuntyPenfold Wed 31-Oct-12 12:04:21

fwiw I think some children, even at 10, can't 'save up' good points for a reward that is several days away.
the reward/sanction needs to be immediate ie game goes away until task completed, backchat = no tv today etc.

scorpionne Wed 31-Oct-12 12:14:16

Thanks, yes, we also use immediate rewards like tv and computer, whatever is supposed to motivate him. We have a really strict routine, more rigid than I would like really, as we've found that this reduces fights somewhat if the same thing always happens at the same time. I don't know what else we can do. He had a good diet, sleeps well, gets plenty of exercise. I've started him on a fish oil supplement just out of deperation.

scorpionne Wed 31-Oct-12 12:15:24

He HAS, not had.

mummytime Wed 31-Oct-12 12:20:39

The more you say the more I think you need to see a paediatrician and ask for expert help.

whizmum Wed 31-Oct-12 13:36:21

I read about Pathological Demand Avoidance, after watching a programme about a group of children with autistic spectrum problems in a drama group. I must say, I cried my eyes out for the parents of these children. It often goes with autism, yet requires methods that are the polar opposite to deal with it. The prognosis is not good, as most will not be able to function in the world. I could see similarities in my son but however bad it was, it was not that bad! Difficult to see when he has spent an entire weekend hanging upside down from a chair rather than complete the writing the school has sent him home with (coz they do not want to deal with him!). It was useful background reading, as was ASD (see NAS website).

I have found daily routine good. He did not learn to stay up late on the computer until after A levels, and always got a good sleep and good meals (he probably eats a very good healthy diet, much better than his contemporaries, after such a difficult start).

I remember having a family star chart when he was about 9 (we went through a stage where the whole lot of them were misbehaving) and he just was not bothered at all. Later, we tried drawing up 'behavour contracts' and that didn't work either. As he got older we used to talk about what he wanted to do, how he wanted to get there, and how spending all day shooting pixelated men would not achieve it, and that it was under his control to do something about it. Whilst none of this seemed to help at the time, I think it may have had some effect in the long run.

If you can try and relax and appreciate him when things are going well, it will help a great deal. It is not easy when you feel like you are being put through the mill. One of my son's teachers pointed out his sense of humour, which had completely passed me by! Felt a right idiot! (Brilliant teacher, by the way).

Do get some help if you can, but don't count on it. Look after yourself, and stay strong x

bubbles1231 Wed 31-Oct-12 13:42:59

Our DS is stubborn (age 11). We have had to allow him to make some mistakes to help him learn, rather than stepping in to protect and prevent every eventuality. We've tried to get him to have a think about consequences etc. The thing which made a huge difference was giving him more responsibility, and trusting him to do it.
We decided this year he could mow the lawn with the petrol mower & he loves it, especially the extra cash he gets for it. It takes him about 2 hours but he doesn't mind. He's also now allowed to go out for a cycle on his own provided he takes a phone with him.

bubbles1231 Wed 31-Oct-12 13:48:33

Ooh the other thing is that both my boys went through a little rebellious phase about 9yrs and looking back I think it was related to a testosterone peak. In both cases it did pass but we had to be quite firm. Some weeks he missed out on an activity he liked if the behaviour was really bad. At the time it resulted in an epic tantrum followed by model behaviour for about 3 weeks after!

scorpionne Thu 01-Nov-12 00:05:22

It's good to hear that the effort should hopefully be worth it in the long term! What I find difficult is that the normal discipline strategies have little effect with DS, so it's tempting to just not bother with consequences etc, but then my other dcs feel that DS gets away with a lot so I feel I have to try to be fair. For example, if I ask DS to feed the pets (one of the chores all the dcs are supposed to take a turn to do), he will always refuse. He doesn't hate doing that particular chore, and will sometimes just decide to do it, but only at a time when I didn't ask. So it's easier to just ask one of the others, but I know that's not the answer. I really pick my battles with him though.

digerd Thu 01-Nov-12 14:14:14

My brother was born "contrary". My mother related stories about him ( first born) and just smiled. She had to resort to telling him NOT to do what she wanted him to do and VV. When he was at school, he was a bit disruptive, but teacher was amazed after asking him " what did I just say?" and he recited it word for word. Later it was discovered that he was bored because he was very fast learner, which my mother told us with pride. However, he is 71 now and still will not be told what to do, or be told anything. No doubt he could be labelled with this syndrome. But achieved a first Class Honours degree in Appled Maths and Physics, and has always done all his own electrics, gas, and building work. In his 20s he took 2 years to build a speed boat, sewed all the linings on mum's sewing machine and his wet suit.

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