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Not a biggie but how best to deal with negativity/refusing to accept praise

(6 Posts)
notfromaroundhere Thu 15-Oct-09 10:52:50

I'll start by confessing I had/have very poor self-asteem so I could be guilty over-thinking the subject.

DS1 gets very upset if he is praised. If he is complimented or praised about anything he will refute the praise and either cry or go off and hide under something.

He is also very oppositional. If you want him to do something he will find reasons why not e.g. "shall we read a book"
"no, books have too many words"
but if I was to agree with him "yes they do have too many words"
he would respond "no they haven't. I want to read a book"!. This pattern repeats itself endlessly about nearly everything.

It's not just limited to home, he is exactly the same at preschool. They get him to complete games/tasks by saying the opposite of what they want him to do as then he will do what they actually want, and he won't accept praise from them either. Although he now just goes to the toilet when it is suggested to him so that is a major step forward (and far less washing for me!).

I think the oppositional stuff stems from a need to have control - which I get but don't know how to tackle it. (or indeed if I should). The praising has me stumped - I usually just say "well I think you are very good at xyz" and leave it at that.

Any thoughts/suggestions would be much appreciated.

notfromaroundhere Thu 15-Oct-09 10:53:23

Should also add he is 4.0 and has a DX of ASD

logi Thu 15-Oct-09 11:08:09

hi,this sounds like my son 5 (ASD).Although at times my son will accept praise youve just got to know when and what sort of mood he is in (im the only one who can really read him)...for ex. if you praise a picture he will tear it or rip it up,and if i buy new clothes i never let him see the tags on or say that looks nice or he will take it off.
My son can be very oppositional and controlling he likes things to be his idea which i generally can make him think it is his idea my OH isnt to good at this and often gets into banter with my son lol...it is hard work i find im always careful how i word things.I think the control thing is to deal with his anxiety.

likeacuppa Thu 15-Oct-09 14:14:26

This sounds like my ds1 who has a dx of AS. We have tried to give praise in a very neutral way, eg just saying 'well done' calmly and then changing the subject, or giving a tick/sticker and then changing the subject, or a thumbs up and then ditto. It's important I think with a child who has low self-esteem (often with ASD children why they won't accept praise, they have such high standards for themselves) to keep on praising and ignore the crying/hiding/tearing up pictures or whatever. Also we now try to praise more specifically, instead of 'what a lovely picture', 'I like the way you have put the sky at the top' -- so the child feels you are not telling untruths about how wonderful it is. But it's hard and very discouraging when your child won't let you praise and encourage him.

With being oppositional we find that offering a limited choice 'we can read a book or play lego, which would you like to do?' can work, as can strategic compromises -- if you can get into the bath then you can have a fruit pastille etc. Incentives and rewards, and using 'when ... then' also work. But IME nothing works all the time and there are just times when you just want to slash your wrists rather than have another confrontation sad. You are definitely right it is a way of trying to control the world because having AS makes everything so confusing and produces so much anxiety. I try to bear this in mind when he's frustrating my every last suggestion but I wouldn't say I keep my lid on all the time wink!

troutpout Thu 15-Oct-09 14:31:20

Ds doesn't like direct praise at all
He does however listen and take in indirect praise. So if i comment on something he did to his dad or his sister and say how good it was, he seems to really listen in and for some reason is very alert to it. He never interrupts it or disputes it either.Sometimes i have seen him smile secretly to himself at what we are saying too smile

notfromaroundhere Fri 16-Oct-09 10:19:09

Thanks for your replies.

Thinking about it he does react better to specific praise and we get some secret smiles with indirect praise so I will lay off the generic praise for a while. I also wonder if he understands what "clever" or "good manners" mean (I find it hard to pitch where his understanding is).

I very much relate to likeacuppas point of sometimes nothing working as when he gets into ranty unhappy mode it goes on for hours and hours. Offering limited choice used to work well but recently he struggles with it - so if we say do you want to read a book or play trains he will say trains then as soon as it is out cry and ask for the book but even if you go along with it he will then revert to the other choice. He is better with first and then as I suppose that is a "rule" but actually making choices for himself is torturous atm!

I probably have been guilty of changing tack with him too often but it's hard to know whether to stick with a particular way of dealing with it if you don't know if it's the best way. But I suppose that is parenting!

Thanks again

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