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Parenting

Constant cycle of consequences/telling off/bad behaviour

28 replies

Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 21:14

I have 2 DS . 7 and 5. Very very different. I'm am really struggling with ds2. His brother is very rule driven, does as he's asked , does the daily stuff (teeth brushing for example) without being asked. He's sensitive and easily upset, doesn't make friends easily , very bright.

Ds2 - also very bright, lots of friends, and so loving. However, he reacts badly to so many things. Shouts/cries/stamps. About brushing teeth, or getting shoes on. (as an example) small stuff. Without beating about the Bush, the way he speaks is awful. Rude,abrupt, scathing even. Straight away, no build up. Answers back, argues the toss over everything. Yet...thinks that he "sucks" at most things. That he's rubbish at football , can't read well (his reading is excellent) took 40 attempts to draw a Christmas tree he was happy with, getting more upset as he went and berating himself.

I've just been reading another thread where OP was advised asking 15 times was 12 or 13 too many. 1, 2 then consequence. But what if they still don't stop? I am consistent with consequences. Today I picked him up from after school activity, I already knew he'd been very difficult. He was messing about (really hyper and taking no notice) I'd said hello etc to both, and was getting in the car,chucking it down. Said come on ds let's get in the car nicely and get home "YOU get in the car" etc. Said don't be rude please, he answered back 8 times, or so. I did lose my patience and really snapped at him. It wasn't my finest moment but I got through and he stopped. Then asked why I was cross as soon as I saw them. I wasn't at all. But all he's sees is me raising my voice to him.

I try to praise the good but he counters it with a denial (no, it's not good, so what, etc).

It feeks like a constant round of threats and consequences. I have tried to reframe it so that he earns time on his tablet for example, but he's constantly trying to bargain about it. They were both watching YouTube and I have put a stop to that as they had started branching out from the suitable stuff and I believe that's where sone of the words/way of speaking has come from.

I will stop there, just to add, I don't compare him to his brother badly, it's more of an explanation that I havent had to deal with this before and really have no ideas how to.

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Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 21:17

Ds2 is very down on himself and it makes me so sad that he feels that way at his age.

I am single BTW, they see their dad once a week. I'm not sure how things are there (we don't speak really) but I think they're both "plugged in" for much of the day, and get quite a free rein.

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purpleme12 · 25/01/2023 21:19

Consequences don't seem to work on mine either 😓 mine isn't so down on herself and different issues but I've no idea if I'm doing the right thing anymore

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Muststopeating · 25/01/2023 21:23

Well your post sounds like my future. You are two years ahead but our children sound very very similar (except my eldest is a girl). First child is an absolute rule follower, good as gold and easy as pie. Second is testing everything constantly, very negative, constant screaming tantrums and driving me to absolute distraction.

I also have an 18 month old so its absolutely relentless.

Have no advice but here to say I sympathise (and to try any tips you get before I run away into the sunset on my bloody own).

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Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 21:26

@purpleme12 it's so hard isn't it. They are both doing much more imaginative play since the reduction of tablet/minecrraft/YouTube. They play really nicely sometimes. It's the negativity I really struggle with. Their GPs took them out to buy new trainers, and he was really difficult for them, when my DM said something about how it was a shame as it was supposed to be a nice time together, he said "what's nice about buying trainers?".

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Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 21:29

Ds2 was an absolute angel as a baby snd toddler. He had toddler moments of course but they were kind of expected, and actually often comical as he had such a great vocabulary . He was always contrary though. My main worries are how fmdiwn on himself he is, and the way he speaks to people. Demands that they do things/buy things/take him where ever.

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RudsyFarmer · 25/01/2023 21:39

I have similar. 9 and 6 and the 6 year old is completely feral. I will say my older child had a complete personality transplant for the good at around 7/8 so I am full of hope.

I have banned all screens during weekdays. I allow TV but only iPlayer. They are now back to playing with toys and behaviour if youngest has improved slightly.

He is just a defiant, wilful child. Absolutely loves being with other children playing football and rough housing. Is perfectly behaved at school so is only this way at home. I manage it through consistency and consequences. It’s hard work but I am just about winning everyday and that’s good enough for me.

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swanling · 25/01/2023 21:42

Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 21:26

@purpleme12 it's so hard isn't it. They are both doing much more imaginative play since the reduction of tablet/minecrraft/YouTube. They play really nicely sometimes. It's the negativity I really struggle with. Their GPs took them out to buy new trainers, and he was really difficult for them, when my DM said something about how it was a shame as it was supposed to be a nice time together, he said "what's nice about buying trainers?".

From the perspective of a 5 year old, that's a valid point, isn't it?

If an adult takes a 5 yo out for a boring activity and then chastises the 5 yo for acting like a 5 yo that's harsh. Spending money on someone is an adult concept of a treat. Keeping quiet about boredom is also a social and cultural concept that adults have learned, why are you expecting a 5yo to understand that nuance?

In your example, you told him not to be rude. He's 5. What are you actually asking of him? He will only learn a concept of what social politeness means in his culture if you teach him. So telling him not to be rude is meaningless - all he can understand from that is that he's bad in your eyes, but not what he could do to be accepted.

It's like if someone told you off for the way you walk without teaching you how they want you to walk instead. Just snapped "don't walk like that" then got angry and punished you. How would you know which part of your walk annoyed them? Or what to do about it? That would be incredibly frustrating and upsetting, right?

It's not clear communication.

I know you're not doing it deliberately or maliciously, but it does come across like he's being treated as an extension of his brother and being punished for not reacting like his brother. You know and say yourself that he's very different, yet you're treating him the same and holding him to the same expectations as his (older) brother. Why do you expect that to be effective? He's not his brother and he's not as old as his brother.

If you stop framing this as him being your adversary and instead see him as an upset and confused little boy who is as unhappy about the situation as you, might that help you change course? You can be partners in communicating and collaborating more effectively, if you want.

You need to change your own behaviour if you want to see a change in his.

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WeightoftheWorld · 25/01/2023 21:45

My DD sounds like this although not quite as severe. She's better behaved with other people though, like at nursery and holiday club they never have any problems with her at all. She comes home and unleashes it on us instead though. She's 4 - summer baby but we delayed her school start. Which I'm very glad about as she definitely wasn't ready for school in September. She has a tantrum in the car park of the nursery whenever shes picked up in the car (which is most collections), it's very tiresome. I don't know how to discipline her either. We often do no TV as a consequence/threat, I don't like it because it's not a logical consequence but it does work to some extent and she will often stop/change her behaviour because she doesn't want to lose TV rights. She absolutely loves watching TV and always has done! I used to threaten to leave places if she didn't stop x as well and that worked to some extent too, but now I don't feel I can do that, because DS is 1 and I don't want to take him home and him miss out because of her.

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Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 21:53

@swanling he wanted new trainers and was thrilled to be going to get some. They went to his favourite place for a drink and cake. It was a nice time for him, or at least should have been. He says that sort of thing to be , I don't know, argumentative I guess. It wasn't an outing that was forced upon him. He didn't need trainers, he wanted some fancy ones for football

I dont treat him the same as his brother though, (they are very different and im aware ive listed the negative stuff here.)There's just no way I could.

We've had many talks about using kind words, and how the way you say something can be hurtful or rude. Honestly, he knows what rude is. I model good manners, and communication all the time but really come unstuck when he's so defiant for so long. I would love to be able to communicate better with him. I dont know how . What about my own behaviour do I need to change?

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swanling · 25/01/2023 21:53

www.icancharity.org.uk/i-can-help/

speechandlanguage.org.uk/talking-point/parents/ages-and-stages/

If you think some of this might be a speech/language/communication issue for him (eg struggling to understand or make himself understood - both of which could be knocking his confidence too), the above might be a useful starting point for resources and support.

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Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 21:57

@RudsyFarmer sounds like I'm a year or so behind you. It's good to hear things are improving for you.

I'm genuinely interested in suggestions of how to turn things around. It's heartbreaking to hear him say "I can be good sometimes".

Hes so forward in many respects but is still so young.

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Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 22:00

@swanling thanks I will take a look. I'm not sure it is that, his vocab is great and he's able to use so many more advanced words (for his age) in great context.

I have started bringing bedtime earlier abd ensuring we have time for bedtime stories together most nights, which he enjoys. I am also going to ask the GPs to have each child separately over night so we get some 1 to 1 time, which we never ever have.

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swanling · 25/01/2023 22:03

how the way you say something can be hurtful or rude

I would just observe that this is a really nuanced concept even for adults. Developmentally it's still quite a lot to expect of a 5yo. Getting frustrated with him and punishing him isn't going to help him grasp it any faster.



He says that sort of thing to be , I don't know, argumentative I guess.

I doubt that was his thought process. Attributing that kind of malice is going to influence how you feel about his behaviour and how you react. That's probably what he was picking up on when he said he felt you'd been negative from the moment you picked them up. (And let's face it if you were tense and braced for trouble you probably were. )

If you weren't attributing negative intent to his behaviour, would you find it more manageable? Seeing it as a communication mismatch instead of a personal slight?

You both sound sad at the moment.

I do hear what you're saying about the bigger picture - I of course only have snippets - and I'm not trying to 'attack' you, I'm really not.

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swanling · 25/01/2023 22:05

Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 22:00

@swanling thanks I will take a look. I'm not sure it is that, his vocab is great and he's able to use so many more advanced words (for his age) in great context.

I have started bringing bedtime earlier abd ensuring we have time for bedtime stories together most nights, which he enjoys. I am also going to ask the GPs to have each child separately over night so we get some 1 to 1 time, which we never ever have.

Those sound like positive plans.

I truly do hope you can all get to a happier place.

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Hypofeticalyspeekin · 25/01/2023 22:06

What about 100% ignore any negative behaviour/ expressions and starve it out if him so there's only recognition of good? So if he says I'm rubbish at drawing...don't tell him he isn't but ask him what he thinks he's good at and divert him to that. He may be being exposed to content online if he has free reign at Dad's...I couldn't sleep with that worry....

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Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 22:18

@swanling thank you, it is tricky to explain everything in even lengthy posts. You're right, he is only young and has always presented as older than his years.

@Hypofeticalyspeekin we wouldn't get to school/work if I did that! I do try, it's very wearing and I'm far from perfect. I suppose it's harder because it's all on me. Abd yes indeed, it is a worry. It's astonishing how a few hours a week can have such a negative impact.

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NuffSaidSam · 25/01/2023 22:31

The 'contrary' phase is one of the worst phases imo! It's so wearing. All you can do really is remember that it takes two to argue and just avoid getting caught in it as much as possible. I think it's often an attention thing/a way to make conversation, if you constantly ignore and divert it's does help.

Ignore the negative where possible. Always praise twice as much as you chastise, even if you're praising them for standing nicely/walking well/holding his school bag nicely!

Phrase things in the positive not the negative. Tell him what he should be doing, not what he shouldn't. Be specific, avoid instructions like 'don't be rude' it's too vague and it negative.

Model self-confidence. Do you ever praise yourself within his hearing? Do you tell them things that's you've done that were successful? About how you're proud of yourself? Just praising THEM isn't enough, you need to show them self-confidence too.

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Malaisey · 25/01/2023 22:38

I would go down the route of carving out regular unconditional 1:1 time with you (eg 20 minutes a day before bed), playing a game of his choice. Lots of positive attention through the day, but not necessarily praise because it sounds like he doesn’t ‘believe’ it. Just noticing him and making it clear you enjoy his company. Combine with consistent boundaries for some of the bad stuff while just ignoring as much as possible. In my view it’s a bit of a myth that consistency = well-behaved children. I think it is often not that straightforward or linear. But some of the above might strengthen the relationship which can often help with behaviour.

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Malaisey · 25/01/2023 22:39

Also consider whether there’s something else going on: trouble at school, missing dad, or something else

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TwoShotsInMyCup · 25/01/2023 22:53

They both sound like they could be neuro divergent to me - ASD/ADHD. Obviously we can't diagnose over the internet but it's worth considering. If that's the case, regular discipline could be inappropriate or pointless.

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purpleme12 · 25/01/2023 23:01

TwoShotsInMyCup · 25/01/2023 22:53

They both sound like they could be neuro divergent to me - ASD/ADHD. Obviously we can't diagnose over the internet but it's worth considering. If that's the case, regular discipline could be inappropriate or pointless.

How would you discipline in this case?
And what about this makes you think asd/ADHD?
I'm just very interested

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Bemyclementine · 25/01/2023 23:44

@NuffSaidSam your point about praising myself is a good one,no I dont really. I will start to do that.

@Malaisey some good suggestions, thank you . The 1to1 time is very difficult, it's just me, and any time with grandparents etc us used when I'm working. I find it difficult to manage separate bedtimes, they share a room. There doesn't seem to be any trouble at school.

@TwoShotsInMyCup I wouldn't be at all surprised if dS1 was ND. I'm not so sure about ds2 though.

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Bemyclementine · 26/01/2023 07:05

I've been thinking a lot about this. I had FAR more patience when he was younger. Then again, I had a long maternity leave, then when he was 3, Covid. So we had a lot of time of not needing to be out of the house. My patience to work through it is less , possibly because I'm exhausted (health) have to get to school/work, it's been going on so long etc. I do expect that at almost 6, he should be able yo do everyday tasks without putting up such a fight.

It's a new day, I'm going to try very hard to avoid the "tantrums". I think if I can deal with that differently, the other things will improve as our day to day "interaction" will be more positive and happy.

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3ormorecharacters · 26/01/2023 07:30

I'm not sure if this will be relevant to your situation from what you've described but might come in handy - one key thing I've learned as a teacher to avoid this kind of negative cycle is to ignore secondary behaviours. Secondary behaviours being those in response to the consequence. E.g. child misbehaves, consequence happens, child says "I hate you". Just ignore (or calmly bat away) the "I hate you", it's a secondary behaviour. Responding to it distracts from the original action / consequence and leads to a negative cycle. It can be counterintuitive to ignore these things but I've found it a useful rule.

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3ormorecharacters · 26/01/2023 07:34

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