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What do you do when one child's behaviour problems influence anoth child's behaviour?

(11 Posts)
PrettyCandlesAndTinselToo Tue 14-Dec-10 16:58:14

8yo dd does not have SN, but she is on long-term medication which we think may be seriously affecting her behaviour. It sorts out the physical problem for which it has been prescribed so we are reluctant to stop it while she still needs the medication.

4yo ds2 is heavily influenced by dd's explosions, tantrums and mood swings, and he imitates them.

None of this is helped by the fact that I'm fighting my way up from depression.

So, what would you do in this situation?

zzzzz Tue 14-Dec-10 17:21:35

My youngest has similar reactions to her meds. My first stop would be to phone your consultants secretary and explain the behavioral problems and ask if there is an alternative drug [with us there is a vast difference just between brands of the same meds]. If that doesn't help I would just explain, and go for a no tolerence attitude. I know that sounds harsh, but life isn't fair and your 4 year old can probably understand one rule for her one rule for him. It's not easy but that's just how life is in your family.

PrettyCandlesAndTinselToo Wed 15-Dec-10 12:59:32

GP and consultant don't accept that the behaviour is connected to the medication. I think it's not extreme enough for them!

zzzzz Wed 15-Dec-10 13:25:16

First you have to ask yourself if the behaviour could be due to something else. Food, other meds, bullying, worry.....If not and you are sure it's the meds then ask for a change regardless. There are usually options both within a particular prescription [ie with mine one brand of her anti-convulsants gets her more antsi], and you may even beable to change drugs and/or dose.
If all that fails then you are where you are and you are going to have to find ways to deal with it. My ds's are 5 and one is nt one sn, they both understand there are different rules for each at home but find it harder outside the house. I think this is basically because it makes their teachers feel they are being "unfair" to as they see it favour one. Every rule family expectation in our house has to be aimed at the individual there are no blanket policies. Everyone understands that and why. Sometimes it makes us cross, but frankly a lot of our situation makes me cross/sad/worried/anxious. It is what it is.

PrettyCandlesAndTinselToo Wed 15-Dec-10 13:34:32

Does that mean that you let the explosive child get away with behaviour that you won't accept from the other children?

(NB straightforward question - I couldn't think of a way to phrase it that didn't sound judgemental)

PrettyCandlesAndTinselToo Wed 15-Dec-10 13:38:40

I'm sure her behaviour is in part related to external factors (which we are addressing), but one reason that we are convinced that it is, fundamentally, caused by the medi ation is that it began with the medication and has worsened every time her dose has been adjusted.

TotalChaos Wed 15-Dec-10 14:41:47

well as I only have one child, take what I say with the requisite pinch of yeah right SALT. but yes actually, I would go harder on the 4 year old than the 8 year old. But at same time really big up the 4 year old when he is being good, plenty of positive attention as well.

zzzzz Wed 15-Dec-10 17:03:40

I have 5 children, one is explosive because he has trouble making sense of the world and one is explosive because she takes a god awful cocktail of drugs to stop seizures that will otherwise fry her brain. I don't encourage her rage,but frankly if you've ever held a child who is biting down so hard on your shirt her gums are practically bleeding saying "I want to owey you Mummy" again and again with tears of horror in her eyes, you would feel more pity than judgemental. I'm very lucky I got to take my dd off her drugs for a year and I knew her before, it just isn't her doing it. I've had PMT which I imagine is a poor shadow of what she feels as her dosage is upped. I love her and we will just ride this out. I could no more punish her for it than for the other "side-effects". She is disaplined normally when I concider she is on an even keel and I am as calm as possible when life is hard for her.

zzzzz Wed 15-Dec-10 17:06:05

sorry Disciplined and probably hundreds more I lose the ability to spell when I don't sleep and it's been a very long week already!

PrettyCandlesAndTinselToo Wed 15-Dec-10 19:24:01

When dd is overwhelmed with rage she screams in a particular way, throws things and hits. Obviously she has to be prevented from hurting anyone or causing damage, but other than that we try not to interfere and just let her work it off.

But when Ds imitates her, it is usually quite clear that he is not overwhelmed. Angry, quite possibly, but not completely lost in his emotions.

He sometimes asks us why we punish him for throwing etc, but not his sister.

Often dd's tantrums are triggered by us applying some form of discipline. In other words, she misbehaves in some way, gets a warning or is told off, then kaboom! Usually on the way to her time-out space.

I appreciate that we need to see it as the medication, not innate misbehaviour. Though I hadn't really thought about it that way until I read your post, thankyou Zzzzz. We just don't know how to deal with it all.

PrettyCandlesAndTinselToo Sun 19-Dec-10 20:26:02

Dd is just coming down from a tantrum during which she flung all the wellies and outdoor shoes across the kitchen, which is now awash with footwear and mud. She is refusing point-blank to tidy them up.

So, what do we do about this?

Should we just comfort her and get back on with bedtime? Tidy up, ourselves, later?

Or should we trigger a renewed tantrum by staying with her and insisting she tidies up, as I can hear dh doing? (Bless him, he's doing his best to be calm, mess upsets him a lot.)

Or should we leave her strictly alone until she gets control of herself, as she will eventually do, and then may or may not tidy up the mess?

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