HELP FOR PARENTS WITH STRONG-WILLED, OUT-OF-CONTROL CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

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We can't make it through the next 6 weeks without blowing.

Hi M.,

I’ve responded to each of your points below.
Please look for these arrows: >>>>>>>>>>>

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Hi Mark,

First -- I spoke with you a few days ago about my out-of-control son who is 8 (almost 9). Thank you so much for your time and counsel -- we have now been implementing the techniques for saying "yes" and "no" for about 4 days and are having interesting results.

The first 2 days were great. My son was stunned by the approach and, as you predicted, he tried every trick to get us to cave. He went to his room when "grounded" for a period of time and calmed down. Now, however, he is frustrated with how things are going and demanding that we stop the stupidity. Last night in the midst of a tantrum he even screamed at me "Why don't you just yell instead!" Needless to say my response we "I'm not going to argue." You can imagine his rage...

Anyway, here are concerns: His tantrums are, indeed, getting more intense as we stick to our plan. And, he is more violent now as a result. I can keep my poker face on when he uses the "F" word to me in his rage (although he is clueless as to it's meaning, he just knows it's unacceptable) or flips me off

>>>>>>>>>>>>> When you have issued a consequence (e.g., grounding for one evening with no games), and he uses the ‘F’ word or flips anyone off, the clock should be re-started (i.e., the one-day discipline starts over).

BUT WHAT DO I DO when he attempts to hit, kick, bite or throw things at me, or worse, his sisters, who are just a year younger?? This is all occurring during his rages now and I can't seem to make him stay in his room when he has been grounded there.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>If he gets physical with anyone, look at your watch and re-start the original discipline, whatever that happens to be.

Last night his consequence was that he had to go to bed early because of his behavior and refusal to go to his room for the set period of 15 minutes. The consequence ultimately escalated to 3 days of being grounded out of the playroom that he shares with his twin sisters (where most of the toys are also kept). None of this seemed to matter enough to him to cause him to choose to calm down or end the violence.

>>>>>>>>>>>> The 3-day-discipline does not start until he calms down. As soon as he goes to his room for a time out, the clock begins.

How do I respond when he is being so physically aggressive?

>>>>>>>>>>>>> If he injures anyone, you should call the police, file a report, go to your local probation department and file a battery charge. If his physical aggressiveness is not of the kind that injures anyone do the following:

1. Model respectful behavior and treat your son with respect. Eventually he will respect himself and others.

2. Spend one-on-one time with your son several times a week.

3. Give him something to be responsible for each week (e.g., he gets to decide what the family will have for supper on Friday evenings; a couple times a week, he gets to be in charge of a work detail, in other words, who does what chore).

4. Continue to display NO emotion when he’s upset and attempting to push your intensity-producing buttons.

5. Coach him by modeling and practicing non-violent ways of expressing his needs and wants.

6. Greatly limit television viewing and computer games (and monitor what he watches on T.V. and plays on his games).

7. Find ways to reduce the stress in the home (e.g., slow down the pace and lower the noise levels).

Additionally, both my husband and I are amazed at how accurate your description of his need for intensity is -- we can really see it now that we have read about this in your ebook. We kept ourselves totally low key and poker-faced for well over an hour last night during his rage. But I feel that the sheer time it took to work through this episode last night was enough to continue to fuel his need for intensity as he supplied plenty of his own.

>>>>>>>>> When confronting his negative behavior, do not do it in front of the other kids. Tell him you need to speak to him, take him to another room away from the others -- then issue the consequence. Also, he gets to choose when the consequence starts. For example, if he’s grounded from the playroom for 2 days, the 2-day-discipline does not start until he calms down. When he’s done spraying on everybody like a skunk, look at your watch and tell him the clock has now started.

Additionally, even if we keep our intensity at zero, we have to daughters very close to him in age and they can REALLY feed the intensity factor. How can we work with this situation most effectively?

>>>>>>>>>> Again, try to keep your son and the other kids separated as much as possible while “things are going wrong.”

Mark, we are strongly committed to making this work. We are working to find the right medication as well and, unfortunately have not found the right things yet. But, while I'm good at poker I'm scared that I can't -- we can't -- make it through the next 6 weeks without blowing. And we don't know what else to do.

>>>>>>>> If you haven’t tried it already, Clonidine would be a good place to start (½ pill a day). Other possibilities would be Risperidone and Tegretol (small doses to start with).

Any words of wisdom and advice would be so greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much for your website, ebook, and continued support!

M.

My Out Of Control Child

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