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Behaviour help

(14 Posts)
LauraMercier Sat 09-Jul-11 22:35:24

I need some practical advice to help me deal with me with DS1's (3.5)behaviour - I feel like I've totally lost my way, I'm really stressed with it and I know I'm making it worse because I'm not being consistent.

I need some help with working out what's ignorable and what really isn't. Eg, today he picked his nose (his favourite past time at the moment) and wiped a massive bogey on the wall. I didn't see as I was dishing up dinner, but he pointed it out to me confused so I told him that's NOT what we do, and that he should ask for a tissue etc, and as I wiped it up, he stuck his tongue out and blew a raspberry at me. I was really cross (stressy day) and DS2 (10mo) was getting beside himself (hungry and tired, bad combination) and just needed his dinner. So I just ignored it. DS1 will not currently (i'm working on it) not stay on time out with being constantly put back there and if I leave DS2 for even a second in his high chair, he does a pretty good job of looking terrifyingly like he's about to climb out. So really to take DS1 to time out would have just made an already stressy dinner time worse. BUT, his behaviour/whining/backchat is getting progressively worse and I wonder if I just need to have a zero tolerance policy and see if that helps?

If he hits DS2 then he gets timeout, but what do others do if they don't see anything but then DS1 says they hit?? Do you give time out or whatever else you use in its place?

What about general back chat? What do you ignore and what do you deal with? And how?

Nose picking - he's 3.5, he's been OBSESSED with it for about a year now and I am at the end of my tether. I am sick of seeing him with his finger up his nose, but I know it's quite normal at this age and I don't want to mke an issue out of it. Until recently I ignored it and occasionally suggested a tissue, explained it's not very nice etc etc. He's now started wiping bogeys and eating them blush which drives me mad. I don't want to just nag him constantly, it would be constant because his finger may well be lodged there it,s there so often, so I've been making him go and wash his hands whenever I see him do it, he's gets fed up having to stop what he's doing to go and wash his hands so I thought it might work but I don't know? Carry on with this or ignore? I don't want to give him some kind of handwashing issue!

We had friends over the other day and he kept saying he didn't want them there blush. Then he got a toy golf club and was swinging it around - he didn't hit anyone but he was menacingly close to it. I took the club away and after a warning and he threw an almighty tantrum, kicked and pinched me. I put him on timeout but gave in after continued screaming and kicking me as friend was there and whole situation was stressful and awful really. Instead I made him play on his own in his room until he (and I) had calmed down. He stayed there for about 15 mins and then returned calm.

I wonder if going to his room is actually more effective for him as a way to calm down. Or is that a cop out for me because it's easier? Nursery say they have given up on timeout as he doesn't respond to it.

Cuddles - he asks for cuddles but it's not really a cuddle he gives. When I go to cuddle him, he climbs on me which is painful/dangerous/uncomfortable - he's toppled us both over before now, or if i'm sitting down he'll pretty much strangle me - standing behind me 'cuddling' me around my neck. he knows it hurts and that I don't like it but he gets all whiney "i just want cuddles". It feels extra hard to know what to do on this one as he's asking for "cuddles" but that's not what he actually wants/does.

He gets up 5-6 times a night "my blanket has come off/i need a drink" - he never drinks the drink and he is more than capable of pulling his blanket up. Grow clock/sticker charts etc make no difference - I've stared to ignore his requests and just put him back to bed (tantrum then happens) but this has been going on for about 6 months and is no better.

Will not share at all with DS2. Ever. Do they ever learn to share? Other friends kids seem to be so much better at it, but they all seem a lot calmer generally. My DS is has a very passionate nature but at some point he needs to learn to rein it in - how do I help him to learn how to without nagging him 24 hours a day?

Be brutal and honest. I really need some practical help, before we end up on supernanny.

NorksAreMessy Sat 09-Jul-11 23:00:54

Sorry, but this whole post SCREAMS of a little chap desperate for love, attention and affection. You need to 'act as if' he is the most important, magical, wonderful, fascinating, delightful person in the world ever ever ever.

He sounds like he is deeply jealous of your time spent with DS2. obsessive nose picking is similar to hair twiddling, or any other repeated behaviour, it is a comfort to him when he is feeling stressed.

I know this is hard, but he needs to be shown that he is MORE important than DS2, so that he believes that he is EQUAL iyswim.

NorksAreMessy Sat 09-Jul-11 23:03:51

Oooh, and the 'time out' thing....he is getting some time WITH YOU and attention FROM you, which is what he desperately wants.
Can you think of some ways to allow him some positive time with you, so he doesn't try so hard for the negative attention.

This age is bloody hard, and I cqn only be calm because I Have been there, done that and eventually worked it out.

Good luck, and remember the MN mantra 'this too shall pass'!

Lambskin Sat 09-Jul-11 23:16:33

I would agree with Norks but at the same time 'time out' is valuable for you and your ds and I wouldn't discount it, it does work to cool down if nothing else.

My ds is very much like yours (he's now 6 and we believe he has PDA) but I'm not going to dx your ds with anything, he could, as Norks says just need a lot of love and attention at the moment. Give it to him. You can never give a child too much love. This is what we do with our ds.

Try to keep calm and not show any irritation and pick your battles very carefully - what can you not tolerate and what is annoying but liveable with for now?

Btw grin @ Supernanny! We say all the time - like to see her with our ds!

LauraMercier Sat 09-Jul-11 23:24:26

That's what worries me Norks - but you know how it gets into a vicious cycle? I do really try to spend proper time just with him but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference, maybe it just hasn't been enough. And when it's all tantrums and whining I kind of don't want to spend extra time with him which is awful and I know I'm making it worse - i try to hide it obviously but he probably picks up on it. He's such a clever, funny little boy and I miss seeing that side of him. I'm going to book some time off work to spend just with him to see if that helps to kickstart things. My DH is much more 'discipline' oriented and thinks I'm too soft and that's what the problem is so I'm now just inconsistent and usless, getting cross when he probably needs comfort and feeling guilty and giving a cuddle when he probably needs a firm boundary. Funny how it's easier to see it like this when he's asleep. I do love him to bits, and I want us to get along better and break out of this cycle.

LauraMercier Sat 09-Jul-11 23:28:56

Whats PDA Lamb?

He has always been 'spirited' but my DH now thinks he acts the way he does because I've been too soft but I think he's just quite sensitive to things. Like I now know not to take him to places like zoos/really big play places - it's just too much for him. He plays up no end which I think makes some people think he's really badly behaved and pushy but it's actually because he's quite sensitive and can't really cope with it all. he comes across like a super confident, shouty child but he's actually not, I think it's his way of coping with the noise and general chaos that you get in busy crowded places full of families.

NorksAreMessy Sat 09-Jul-11 23:37:26

Laura I ink you know the right things to do, but just need some help actually doing them.
I tend to think that any action performed from the position of total love can only be good. Discipline and strictness can work with some children, but most children cannot be shown too much love, to the point that you might puke with the saccharine of it all. As long as it is genuine, and in his interest, he will respond.
This has the added benefit that when/if you do withdraw affection (not love, just the outward sign) then it will be such a stark contrasr, that it will really make a difference.

If your DS could articulate, what would make him totally, blissfully happy?

NorksAreMessy Sat 09-Jul-11 23:38:07

Apologies for rum-fuelled typos

Lambskin Sat 09-Jul-11 23:51:03

Pathological Demand Avoidance. It's on the Autistic spectrum, so it's like Aspergers but he has excellent eye contact (just stared and watched as a baby), says no to everything (has to be in control), lives in a fantasy world a lot of the time (has obsessions about people and things), and really struggles with school.

He also comes across as super confident and loud but a lot of that is extreme anxiety. Only recently been able to take him to shops etc (in short bursts if he has tasks/missions)

Don't worry about what other people think - I know that's hard! Listen to what he's telling you and don't fight him, try to give him choices so that he feels he has more control. If he chooses to go somewhere he may be calmer about being there. My ds thinks he's an adult not a child so does not respond well to having things forced on him.

As I said though this is my ds and this is what works for him, yours does sound similar but he us a bit younger so please don't worry! The same strategies may work for him though.

LauraMercier Sun 10-Jul-11 00:03:24

Norks - He loves pottering and transport so as strange as it sounds, given I said we avoid zoos etc, I'm thinking of taking him to london for the day, outside of rush hour, so we can just do what he wants. He mostly wants to go on buses and trains and look at aeroplanes so we could easily do that. Just a travel card and off we go. He would love the DLR and being out near city airport watching the planes come and go. we could even jump in a cab for a quick ride, as he has a few toy cabs that he loves. Much cheaper than an entry fee to a place he'd hate.

He'd also love going to a fancy ice cream place where he could have lots of fancy flavours. He would love love love that! Thinking of what he would really enjoy is making me cry! He deserves much more from me in terms of time and attention, it's all too easy to get stuck in a rut of seeing him as hardwork and demanding. I kind of forget that as the adult, I have the power to make his day, very easily. And that's a lovely thing to be able to do.

I've never heard of that Lamb - thanks both for your advice, it's nice to get honest opinion rather nothing or getting glares for being too soft (MIL etc)

LauraMercier Sun 10-Jul-11 00:06:59

Sorry, I don't mean to be all self absorbed, it must be really difficult Lamb - your DS seeming kind of the opposite to how he feels. I'm sure my DS is similar like that in some ways and it has taken me a lo ng time to work out that that's how it is iyswim. I used to think he was pushy and over confident - guess its just the same with adults really

Lambskin Sun 10-Jul-11 00:11:21

Sounds like you're a fantastic mum! I bet he'd love that day out with you smile

NorksAreMessy Sun 10-Jul-11 08:39:41

"I hav the power to make his day"

What a lovely way to put it. I used to say that one of my main jobs as a parent was to make happy memories for the DC. Looking back, they do remember days out, treats etc, but mostly they say they remember the atmosphere of their childhoods, which, when I got my head around it, was quite calm and chilled out.
We only had VERY FEW rules in the house, so I didn't need to stress myself out constantly telling them off. The main two rules were 'be kind' and 'be careful'. Most of the important things in life come from those two, and it helps for a tiny child to remember. I think this style is also called 'don't sweat the small stuff'!

Inlove the sound of the day out. You really do know your DS well.
Just a word of warning, my DCs tended to behave really badly on a long awaited and supposedly brilliant day out, oartly I suspect because the anticipation had been so much, and they were too excited. But how you avoid that, I don't know!

Please report back, I would love to know how you got on

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sun 10-Jul-11 12:20:16

Laura i think you have some excellent advice here. Re time out i'd say if it isn't working you have two options. One, check you are doing it correctly iyswim...maybe look in to the theory behind it, behaviourism. Or try a completely different route, maybe try a more unconditional parenting approach. smile

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