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oppositional behaviour

(19 Posts)
RaisedByWolves Sun 31-Jan-16 20:15:31

My 7 yo DD is being very difficult at the moment. It's been a long week of what can be summed up in a nutshell as "I won't do what you tell me to do".

Today she flat out refused to do her required homework reading. She made up a whole set of reasons why she wouldn't do that, and flat out lied about having other homework to do.

This ended up being a screaming session (she has this really loud high pitched wail it's difficult to describe exactly) where she threw herself around the room and screamed and wailed. When DP took her to her room to calm down she screamed that he was hurting her. Throughout this we both showed a lot of control and kept trying to reason with her. (Obviously no one was hurting her!)

Anyway it's all really draining and upsetting and i wonder if people have any advice about what to do with a child who just doesn't seem to understand why she should do what we ask her to ?

We use consequences and rewards system but when we stick to our guns and insist she has to do as shes told to do it always turns into this kind of a drama and I wonder if anyone has any good advice

Re posted this from the parenting section as I've realised this is where tI should have posted it in the first place

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 31-Jan-16 20:29:40

Let her throw herself around in her bedroom. When she's calm stick to your guns and keep at it. Why should she have to? Because life is cooperating. The roof over her head is paid for by work. Hers is to cooperate with learning. Don't get pulled into drama.

wevecomeonholidaybymistake Sun 31-Jan-16 20:38:01

DS is very similar. It stems from anxiety, he has to be in control.

I have no advice I'm afraid but you have my sympathies.

PolterGoose Sun 31-Jan-16 21:21:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

knittingwithnettles Sun 31-Jan-16 21:50:11

If she doesn't want to do the homework reading, why not just read a different book with her, and make it enjoyable? I think arguing with her about school reading has to be the fastest way to make reading a deeply unattractive activity. Which surely is not the point????

Write a note to the teacher saying she has refused to do the homework and don't argue with her further about it. Let the teacher convince her it is worth doing (if the teacher has set it)

Dd used to do these drama things; (although never about homework, which she liked, but I have two boys with Sns who found homework really frustrating) Looking back it was important to recognise that for dd the slightest touch or territorial encroachment felt really overwhelming. I think she had a lot of sensory issues although otherwise NT. I wouldn't invade her space and issue ultimatums. I would talk through matters long before they rise to a level of crisis, try and make the day more peaceful and give her a framework so she knows what to expect hour to hour, when certain things are going to happen, what things matter, not warnings or threats but reminders that in an hour such and such will happen, outings, meals, playtime, parktime, travel, getting ready. Children get very agitated when you ask them to do things like get ready when they are engaged in something else, even if it seems to us a perfectly normal request.

What really matters? Pick your battles, and don't try and fight about everything. Find things to compromise on, perhaps food or clothes or activities, if there are few other things which are non negotiable. For example my children always took their shoes off when they came in doors, despite being very badly behaved in other ways! It was just habit.

7 year olds can be very difficult and passionate, it does get better, but try not to make her feel you are her enemy. They take things very seriously and feel things very deeply.

knittingwithnettles Sun 31-Jan-16 21:53:33

Dd also hated being sent to her room and all forms of time out. It really didn't help. There's a great book called How To Talk So Kids will Listen by Faber and Mazlish which discusses these aspects. Making a special space for her, and offering her a chance to calm down however is quite different from Time Out and benefitted dd who could escalate things if you kept trying to reason with her (partly for the sensory reasons I have outlined above)

Good luck and keep her close.

amunt Sun 31-Jan-16 22:38:46

Ds is extremely oppositional and complies to no request automatically so virtually everything he wants is contingent on complying with something. When he's oppositional we keep engagement or reasoning to an absolute minimum and are resolute that nothing else enjoyable will happen until the request is complied with.

Ineedmorepatience Sun 31-Jan-16 23:17:37

I was also going to say, dont try to reason with her when she is in a state! Try to talk about it at a calm tine! Although that never existed where homework was concerned in our house!

Definitely read the explosive child! Its very rare for children to want to behave like this, exploring the reasons why it is happening is the first step to beginning to unravel it!

Good luck flowers

wevecomeonholidaybymistake Mon 01-Feb-16 14:39:37

If homework doesn't get done here, it doesn't get done. I've told school I'm not battling with him over it. He's stressed enough after a day at school, his mental health trumps unnecessary homework for me.

bibblebobblebubble Tue 02-Feb-16 20:48:45

DS (5) is like this - stubborn and oppositional. He is also sensitive to noise, smells and texture. Not ASD though.

Even though we never give in to screaming and tantrums he still does them, perhaps once a day. Tiny things like brushing teeth (non negotiable, as he knows) are a battle ground.

We do now shut him in his room if he is tantruming. He used to try to break the door down but now goes quiet fairly quickly. He has also very recently started taking out his anger in drawing - picture today said Mummy is rubbish - not great for me to see but at least he has an outlet which I think is a good thing. We've tried, in quieter moments, explaining that it's ok to be angry but you need to express yourself in words rather than growling and that some behaviours (kicking, biting etc) are unacceptable and will result in him going into his room.

It is worrying and exhausting, it feels we are making a few tiny tiny steps one day then we'll have a meltdown the next.

knittingwithnettles Tue 02-Feb-16 21:08:08

bibble I believe that time out is not a good way to help explosive or oppositional children. It just makes them feel angry and afraid, unless it is presented as a positive solution rather than an "aversive"/ or punishment.

When I volunteered in school I used to see children (quite young ie:6/ 7) standing out (ie isolation/time out) it was terribly humiliating for them. Perhaps it worked, perhaps it just masked some of the reasons they were behaving badly because they became scared of being singled out and told off. Either way it was not a pretty sight.

You train your child to be compliant but not to work with you.

knittingwithnettles Tue 02-Feb-16 21:09:48

Personally with some children, forcing them to go to their room (and the ensuing tussle which is inevitably physical) creates new patterns of defiance and anger.

bibblebobblebubble Thu 04-Feb-16 21:45:08

food for thought, thanks. it is very hard to know what to do for the best - when he is in that highly oppositional mood, being constructive doesn't work either - he just screams, kicks etc. will not be distracted or reasoned with. would love to know what the 'right' way to deal with it is. surely bad behaviour has to have a consequence of some kind (and yes we've tried sticker charts, and no they haven't worked)

today he wrote on his bedroom wall when he was up doing time out sad

nickEcave Sat 06-Feb-16 15:54:55

I have a very oppositional 5 year old. Probably borderline PDA. We have pretty much given up on sticker charts as they never worked. We tried a zero-tolerance approach for a while - straight to her bedroom when a tantrum started and the bad behaviour really escalated - she would damage stuff in the room and try to kick the door down and attack us. Once we accepted that her behaviour was anxiety driven and started reducing demands on her things started to improve. So, for example she still has to get dressed for school in the morning but now I let her have breakfast in her pajamas and try to make a game out of getting dressed. It is exhausting and people who don't understand will say that you're giving in to bad behaviour but it has made our home life far less stressful. The techniques on the PDA website and National Autistic Society websites are really helpful. If you have a child driven by anxiety you really have to forget the kind of parenting techniques you get from Super Nanny. Unfortunately those are the parenting techniques most of the population know about!

knittingwithnettles Sat 06-Feb-16 18:57:05

wonderful post Ecave. The thing is, if you start establishing confidence and reducing anxiety, later on you can find they are much better at accepting rules of the house. At least, some of them...

shazzarooney99 Sat 06-Feb-16 21:24:58

Apparently the homework and the reading is because they associate it with school, and they are not at school they are at home.

When my son is like this i dont push too much as it leads to meltdown, if it gets done it gets done and that is it. It was a pychologist that told me the above.

Echoing what others have said about anxiety being the driving force behind problems like this.

Definitely recommend the lives in the balance website. I've found this stuff has completely changed my attitude towards my DC and given me hope.

He talks of there being 3 plans -
Plan A - when you force your child to comply
Plan B - when you try and discover the reasons behind them not being able to do stuff, almost always due to a lagging skill
Plan C - when you let them 'get away' with not doing stuff

So at the moment we are using plan C for stuff like toothbrushing, wearing a coat and attempting plan B for more important stuff like being completely unable to wait for help with something, or not going to the toilet until desperate. It's definitely not an easy solution but it does shift your thinking towards "how can I help this kid?" Rather than "what the hell is wrong with this kid?"

I also agree with others that time out probably won't help fix the skill that's missing, it may stop the behaviour through fear or shame but sticker charts and the like don't work for DC like mine.

You've come to the right place anyhow. Hope you find a ray of hope wink

Sorry I should add I'm not opposed to sending DC to their rooms from time to time. (In our house particularly meltdowns only get worse if they happen anywhere where there are other people and if one of them cannot stop lashing out) but on the whole I'm trying to encourage them to notice the signs that they need time out and take themselves there (with a little encouragement of course) rather than it be a punishment. In my experience the latter only leads to more destruction and oppositional behaviour

shazzarooney99 Sat 06-Feb-16 22:28:06

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown , stickers and charts dont work for us either, however we do have a chart where he can earn his xbox if he goes into school without a kick off, and sometimes it works, we also have a visual timetable, for b club,school,afs club and home, we seem to be onan even keel at the moment, even if we are still having meltdowns at home, i think its either home or school that he has them until we learn how to deal with it properly, and its not for want of trying.

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