Thursday, October 8, 2009


Well, positive reinforcement for little kid worked yesterday but the magic seems to have worn off already.

Yesterday morning I told him if he got 5 "strikes" he wasn't allowed to ride his Jeep around the neighborhood. He struggled with it all day long, but managed to only get 3 strikes. I made a big deal out of his good behavior, called daddy with the good news, told him how much fun he was when he was a good boy, all kinds of ass kissing. He had the Jeep ride, everyone was happy. That night though, he wiped toothpaste in Big Kid's hair and I told him he just used one of tomorrow's strikes, and that now he had only 4 strikes for the whole day or he wasn't riding the Jeep. He spit on the floor. 2nd strike and go straight to bed. Everyone was sad.

Before breakfast this morning, he lost his remaining 3 strikes for the day.

I try not to take them either, he usually gets 2-3 chances to straighten up before the strike which is pretty ridiculous, because that means he gets like 15 chances at bad behavior a day if you combine the strikes and the "serious warnings". That's not acceptable.

He was a good boy most of the morning, so I told him I would give him one more try to be a good enough boy to ride the Jeep tonight. Then he snuck out to the garage (I thought he was playing with the magnetic responsibility chart in the laundry room) and covered his arms and face in a red stamp he found. I was even going to try to let this slide, but he refused to come out of the garage, resulting in a strike.

He's not riding the Jeep tonight and now he's pissed. I also think he's realizing that once you've lost the opportunity, that you're free for the rest of the day to act how you please. That's not true, but it does mean I'm forced back into ineffective time-outs and taking stuff away and being mean all day long.

Do they have those wilderness camps for 3-year-olds?? Toddler boot camp? Preschool boarding school? If not, they should. Strait Jackets should be standard issue and perfectly acceptable.

I'm hoping the red stamp body art comes off easily because we have Big Kid's school conference today. It's a "student led" conference. Yeah. I love their liberal, laid back, modern approach to things but I try having a "student led" conference every day on the walk home from the bus stop and it is full of big fat fail. My student has led me to believe that they play all day long and that the only new thing he's learned this year is that he wants to be a farmer when he grows up. A freaking farmer.

I have nothing against farmers, but Big Kid as a farmer? Come on. He hates dirt and germs and aspires to live in a swanky studio apartment. He's happy when it rains and they can't go outside for recess because it's too hot out there and sand gets in his shoes. The sight of potatoes makes him gag. I'm not seeing a farming career in his future.

It's also early dismissal day AGAIN today meaning they get out at 11:45 and I think that's just absurd. Collect all these half days and make them full days off. Half days just feel like more effort than they're worth.

Other than that, I really love his school. I just hope they're learning something.


Mommy said...

MIL told me when BIL and DH would fight, she'd make them touch noses... and I've also heard of taping. So if all else fails, tape them together. Or tape lk to a chair. It's all the same, in theory.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine has a 3.5 yo son just diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder. LK's behavior sounds A LOT like her ds's. It might be something worth looking into. Of course it hasn't cured him by having a diagnoses, but it certainly has helped her and her husband in finding better ways to deal with it. HTH

Unknown said...

Have you considered the possibility of food issues? Like gluten free might make a difference?

Jennifer said...

Have you tried "the corner"? Remember this from when we were kids. It isn't just regular time out, but where he has to go put his nose in the corner and stand there. I'm sure it would be a battle for you to get him to stay there, but it is worth a try. I guess.

I think three is just a really, really hard age.

I hate Dr. Phil, but I like his advice about finding a kid's currency and dealing in that. Of course that is harder to find with some kids than others.

Lori said...

I haven't really heard of any toddler boot camps/boarding school but I think it's a fabulous idea. I'd be a little worried about little kid turning the place into a baby fight club though. But I guess that's their problem!

MzLiz said...

maybe shorter chunks of time--like be good for one or two hours so the positive consequences come faster--an entire day may be to lk what a week is to us (and I can hardly be good for a week). on the other hand, you could just start taking valium

Lorena said...

You're going to have to call in Super Nanny. There's just no other option available. lol

Anonymous said...

If you are truly worried that there could be a problem and this is more than just typical age appropriate bad behavior, you might want to try taking the little man off of gluten and dairy for a month. It made a HUGE difference for my child's behavior and she never tested positive for allergies to those foods through a pediatric allergist. Also 123 Magic is a behavior program that works well for more "spirited" kids. It is very simple and common sense, but with consistency, it does the job.

Unknown said...

The Gluten comments are interesting, I'll have to look into that. He is notably affected by sugar or caffeine, where Big Kid never has been, so keeping an eye on his diet is a good idea anyway and something I wasn't really thinking of.

I've heard of the Oppositional Defiant thing before, and I don't know...isn't that just getting a diagnosis that your kid really is a brat? That's a completely unresearched, inexperienced, probably ignorant comment on my part, but I'd lean more towards little kid just being naughty before I'd call it a disorder. We jokingly say he has "impulse control issues" but it's really not a joke since that's exactly what's going on. Even when he knows the consequences are going to suck, he just can't help himself if it's something he really wants to do.

I do like the idea of making the time frame smaller. He loves lollipops, maybe he could have a sugar-free one after lunch and then the Jeep ride at night.

Super Nanny was looking for families in my area and a few friends said I should do it. I don't want to hear her shit though, lol. He'd probably be great while she was around anyway.

We did 1-2-3 Magic with Big Kid and it was pretty effective, but mostly because he really hates time-out and us not bargaining with him. It doesn't really bother little kid, he goes right through the 1-2-3, straight to time out and waits it out patiently.

He was pretty good (relatively speaking) this afternoon because he really, really, really wants to go on that Jeep. Maybe I do need to get him into baby fighting, just so he can torture non-family members for a while.

Katie said...

I was going to say you need more frequent rewards and a shorter timeframe. We were having battles at bed/naptime with my 3 year old (only a few weeks older than lk) and I too started having images of myself in court pleading guilty to child abuse. We set the rules and initiated a sticker chart for good bedtimes and naptimes, it took about a week and she was going to bed well. It's been a few months. We are working through the control battles and they are getting better, hang in there. They do grow out of it.

Claire said...

All of my students have ADHD, ADD, I have ADD, my 3 1/2 year old is exhibiting classic signs and my husband has ADHD. The impulse control thing is a HUGE red flag for me. I found that when I gave my son ANYTHING with Red Dye 40, he was defiant, naughty, his impulse control was OUT of the window and there was no controlling him. I have stopped giving him anything with red dye 40 and it has made a HUGE difference. Seriously, a huge difference in his impulse control and his responses to me.

Sasha said...

I'm picking up the Kazdin method book tomorrow about positive reinforcement and shall report back.

I don't know if I told you, but after all the SPD stuff, WC was diagnosed with Conduct Disorder earlier this year. Not ODD, which can be scary, but just conduct disorder, which just means I have an official diagnosis so that my insurance company will pay part of the bills for her behavior therapy sessions. Things are so much better lately in general, but still there are some bad days. Shoot me an email if you'd like to chat about our children who are destined to be partners in crime.

Just Lisa said...

My little girl is 3 and a half, and our biggest problem is that she doesn't listen. If she would just listen and hear me and obey, we would never have another time out again.

But I don't think the problem is gluten or ADHD or any of the other issues that everyone has suggested. I think it's just part of being a 3 year old.

Let me know if you find something that works!

Rachel said...

I agree with the other commenters in regards to modifying his diet. When I taught there was a mom whose child was diagnosed with ADHD and when she took charge of his diet, it made a huge difference.

I also really think that lk's behavior could be going beyond the normal 3-year old "difficult" stage. I'm not sure about FL, but in the states where I have lived there has always been an Early Childhood Intervention center where children are professionally evaluated and screened for both cognitive and behavioral issues. Qualifying children usually get free pre-school in a very small class environment that is sensitive to their needs with the goal of preparing them for school in a much larger classroom.

Returning back to the diet thing, though...why do food producers even need to use dyes? I moved back to Europe last week and just finished my usual breakfast of cherry yogurt (arguably, one of the best parts about living in Europe is the yogurt) and it contains no dye. It doesn't look or taste any less "cherry" without the dye. I did buy organic but I would imagine conventional yogurt is the same and even if they do use food coloring it's surely not Red Dye #40. Food additives are a scary thing in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

My brother was horribly high energy (hyperactive), but if he got store-bought cookies/treats it was worse. My mom had to make all his treats and make sure he didn't have pop (soda) so that he wasn't bouncing off the walls.

Joy said...

The difference with an ADHD/ODD kid is not an excuse for their behaviour - it's a strategy to help them overcome their behaviour.

We have struggled for years with my DD, but now that we have a diagnosis, we can better understand her - we can't use the same approach that we use with our other kids.

I highly recommend the book "Raising your spirited child".

Former Fat Chick said...

Getting a Diagnosis helps you figure out how to best deal with your kid. has great resources, and tips on how to help ADHD kids. He is NOT a brat, he is sweet, loving, creative and funny. He never tries to be bad, he just can't stop. this is my son as well, you can't battle him, you will NEVER win.

Unknown said...

I think he's sweet, loving, creative, funny, and a brat. I agree that with a lot of kids, a diagnosis would at least help you know what direction to take, but I truly don't think little kid would ever be diagnosed with anything. For other people, he is charming, personable, and perfectly well behaved. He's not hostile or angry (that's part of the problem, he's happy 98% of the time even if he shouldn't be because he's in trouble). He has a great attention span, he can easily sit through 2-hour movies and will sit and play out elaborate super hero storylines for 30 minutes at a time. We did the early intervention screenings with Big Kid and he barely passed, with only his speech being a concern, and he had more apparent issues.

I will also admit that there are better moms than me dealing with worse kids than him. My only parenting experience is with raising Big Kid, who is very independent and always has been. little kid would be happiest had we never cut the umbilical cord. Big Kid fears our disapproval, little kid knows that we love him no matter what and knows he has nothing to lose. I do think it's a matter of figuring out what his currency is (and continuing to hope he grows out of it...)

I am going to look into the red dye/gluten thing just because it can't hurt. Thanks for everyone's suggestions, I'll look into that CHADD site too.

Unknown said...

Oh, Sasha, I also want to hear all about that method (I will email you) and I do plan on getting that Spirited Child book, I've heard good things on that before too.


Ashley-I am the mother of 2 sons also. Boy energy is tough to combat solo. I actully think LK is a smart little guy who may need more interactions than staying at home with mom may offer. Have you thought about "school" a few days a week for him? Making friends, listening to a teacher, having many activities to move through during the day helps boys use those busy brains and hands. Trust me-he would come home exhausted-and happy.

Sasha said...

I have the book in-hand. It's called The Kadzin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child. I think WC and lk definitely qualify!

I shall read it this weekend and embark on it beginning Monday. (because you and I both know it's really the only day you can start something new)

Raising Your Spirited Child is fabulous. Also the Out-of-Sync Child.

I think you'll agree this quote applied to both WC and lk.

From page 193:

A mother wrote me this letter: "By the time Rob was two, I felt he had a special need, but I couldn't figure out what it was. He required constant attention. Time-outs didn't work because I couldn't contain him. He was defiant, disobedient, disrespectful, and demanding. He was always busy, always talking (great verbal skills!), strong willed, contrary, and easily frustrated. I felt blessed to have Rob, and wouldn't trade him for the world, of course, but he constantly tested and rejected me."

Do I hear an amen sister? :-)