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I DIDN'T REACT


Hello Mark,

Well, I don't want to jinx myself because C___ has only been home for one week and I am aware this is a honeymoon phase, but let me cautiously say, it is definitely working so far. And really, who needs botox once you have perfected the "poker face"? In my case, I have been fairly expressionless all week!

Also in our favour is that he has picked up a part time job, which requires him to be responsible, organised, and courteous to customers, which is all fantastic. He still asks me to do everything for him, like driving him to work, ironing his uniform etc...I will drive him if it is nighttime or raining, otherwise he has had to find his own way there. I am very proud of him, (and me for sticking to my guns). I have made the effort to praise him on little things through the week, even if he was spitting venom at me merely 30 minutes before hand. And his stepfather has initiated conversation with him, those open-ended questions worked treat. (That relationship is severely fragile).

It has definitely not been easy, but we have picked our battles. Within half an hour of picking him up the swearing etc started. Telling me he only came home because he assumed by me calling the police that we wanted him to come back. (?) That he should've gone to live with his nanna, anything that would've caused me to become emotional and have an argument. I merely told him that we love him, are happy for him to live here with us if he chooses to live by the rules and if he chooses not to then he can go. Well, at that moment I think he nearly died. The threat to run away and leave home no longer had an effect.

He has pushed us though. The first night home he asked if he could go out, I said no, he went anyway. The next day I asked if we had not made ourselves clear about him choosing to live here, and he hasn't gone out since!

I have used ‘the art of saying no’, a lot. The ‘art of saying yes’ is a bit more difficult because to spite me he would rather do without something from me than to give me something in return. BUT, in telling him that I love him at night times before bed, he returns the sentiment in kind. (I know he must love me deep down if he needs to ring me during his break at work to talk to me about his shift so far.) He is surprised at the attitudes of some customers toward sales people, however has done remarkably well in keeping his temper in check (then venting to me....swearing and all.)

He has tried all the old methods of pushing my buttons, and then, guess what....? after the whole morning of giving me everything he had yesterday, he simply gave up! Mind you, I was exhausted by then. He let fly with the whole arsenal of swear words, at me and his little brother. He matter-of-factly told me that I need to reconsider my parenting style and that I should have had him when I was older. That’s funny, because I have changed my parenting style....it just doesn’t get him what he wants now. He tried bullying me into re arranging the house so he could have the room he wanted, all manner of criticisms and jabs....BUT I DIDN'T REACT. I wanted to, but that wrinkle saving poker face worked a charm. He persisted in yelling out to me rather than coming to the lounge to talk to me. When I refused to converse with him this way he started to send me texts via mobile phone rather than walk to the lounge, which of course ignored. If I didn’t drive him to work, then I should not bother picking him up afterward, he would just sleep in a park. Fine. His attempts went on and on all day.....NO REACTION>>> He must think aliens took his mother and left this person instead.

I know it is early days, and right now it is exhausting and a 24/7 effort to remember what to do at certain times, but with time it will become second nature, hopefully for him too! Lets see how we are in a months time....fingers crossed.

B.

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Hi B.,

Thank you for the update. This is very good news. Keep doing what you're doing. I think you're over the biggest hump now. Oh ...and thanks for being a great student. Well done!

I predict that his "acting-out" will occur less frequently, but when he does, it will be as intense as before...

...then after a few more weeks, the problems should also reduce in intensity since he is learning there is no payoff (i.e., reaction from you) for "intensity-seeking" behavior.

I'll be waiting in the wings for a future update.

Mark

Online Parent Support, LLC

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