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He can’t seem to handle anything not going his way...

Hi Mark

Thank you for all that information re school – it’s enormously helpful.

I have to ask if you might be able to help with a question about public ‘meltdowns’. I don’t know how to handle this situation and it seems to be getting worse. He can’t seem to handle anything not going his way or anyone daring to do something other than what suits him or benefits him. We had another one on the weekend where at football he was put into a position he didn’t like for the first quarter. At the end of the quarter he yelled rudely at the coach to move him. The coach then quite rightly and calmly put him on the bench for the next quarter. He sat there crying and fuming and carrying on about how unfair, everyone’s got it in for him, why me, coach hates me etc. etc. Tried to explain it was only about everyone taking their turn in all positions etc. but then he just became aggressive and insulting to me. It’s a typical scenario. Do I just implement the ‘when I want something from my child’ strategy? (Ie I want him to calm down and be sensible.) Then do I just ignore him if he doesn’t? Or punish him after? I really need guidance on this one.

Thanks again,

Hi L.,

Re: Do I just implement the 'when I want something from my child' strategy?

Re: (Ie I want him to calm down and be sensible.)
No. "If you choose to ________ (be specific here, for example: hit, push, yell, etc.) ...then you'll choose the consequence, which is ____ (pick the least restrictive consequence first).”
Re: Then do I just ignore him if he doesn't?
No. Follow through with the consequence.

Re: Or punish him after?
Yes (actually you’ll be disciplining rather than punishing).
You may be making this more difficult than it needs to be. Do you get upset when your son gets upset? If so, this is adding fuel to the fire (remember to use your poker face). Simply use the strategy entitled "When You Want Something From Your Kid" exactly as it is laid out.

Keep up the good work,



That’s clear thanks Mark.

And I apologise, I should have mentioned our successes. Last week, our son received a merit award at school assembly for his ‘amazing improvements’ in class. He was also sent to the headmaster to show him a piece of creative writing he’d done, which was beautiful, detailed and above all way beyond what he was asked to do (he had been doing absolute minimum, and nowhere near what he is capable of). The headmaster wrote him a note of congratulations, which he proudly brought home. Mark, I just want you to know this is completely unprecedented. I believe it is entirely due to the changes we’ve made at home by following the program . As you mentioned, it is going to take some time to turn around behaviour that has become habit over 11 years, and I’m sure there are continuing challenges ahead, but we really want to thank you this program, and the insight and support it provides.

Best regards,


My Out-of-Control Child

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