Originally Posted by mamaduck
What about some sort of middle ground, or "bridge" between punishment and GD? What about "Love and Logic", or "1-2-3 Magic?" It seems you need to get control, and those methods will help you acheive that. Then at some point, maybe you can re-evaluate and gentle it down a little.
If nothing else -- going to a Love and Logic class once a week will give you a break! LOL.
Ita... get yourself into some GD classes, or counseling, JUST for you, just for a new point of view and an hour off, at least...
The thing about the books and the classes and the advice is that trying a dozen different approaches over 2 years will do little else but scatter you and your family, especially
with the cocktail of extremes you've got to contend with. (Behavioral/chemical imbalances, 5 year age difference, Dad outta the pic for most of the important rearing...) No parenting philosophy is without it's quirks, and each approach generally requires some serious time and commitment to acclimate to it and get it flowing in the family.
Do you have any groups you do things with, or close friends with similar parenting ideals, that you might reach out to for some allo-parenting help? I allo-parent with a friend whose a mom of 3, the oldest has acute behavioral issues, and the other two are a mess of modeling. 1 to 3 is a HARD ratio... but 2 to 4 is a little better, and having another person there to help thin out the pack can be VERY valuable.
How do you feel about divide and conquer? On bad days, have you tried to separate them completely? They are at totally different stages developmentally, this will put them at odds a lot. What about creating some structured and routine seapration? Is your older ds in any kind of movement classes? Disciplines such as karate, tae kwon do, poekelan, etc are great kinesthetic releases for children with ODD, ADHD, and other behavioral challenges. Perhaps while ds1 is in his class, ds2 could be in a younger version of one, too... At home, you might set up a time when ds1 is outside, in the garage, or in his room practicing while ds2 is engaged in a sensory project.
Boys are nuts. Even without all the added bonuses of negative attention seeking, behavior/chemical imbalances, age-transitioning, and age-difference... they can be crazy. Tactile and kinesthetic (touching and moving) activities will help to channel some of that excess in a positive manner.
As for the yucky, rude, violent stuff like kicking persons in the privates and wiping snot on people and things... Wow. Just wow! Totally NOT ok. I truly admire that you have tried to maintain an air of respect and dignity with them... High five, Mama. What kind of verbage do you use regularly with them? Do they have (especially the older) a concept of what respect ACTUALLY is, why it's so important, and what it looks like? How are your rules structured, your limits and consequences? Is it a "No Hitting, no spitting, no kicking, no boogers" thing? I have seen that sometimes with the "No ___, no___ & no ___" situation, often kids with the issues you have discussed will just kind of key into the behaviors that you are saying no to. Like, when you say "Don't hit your brother
" unfortunately, you're simultaneously saying: "...hit your brother
". Not that you're telling
him to... but you still say those very words and he hears them, and he starts to think about them... "...hit...brother...
" Inevitably, the behavior you had hoped to prevent rears it's head... you asked for it. How do you feel about turning that around into behaviors you want to see, verus highlighting the ones you don't
want to see?
Example: You might have said before~ "Today we'll be going to the park. If either of you acts out, hits, screams, hurts or is rude to anyone else, including eachother, we will have to leave."
Next time, what if you approached it like this: "Today we're going to the park. Please use respectful words and manners. Please remember to say things like 'Please', 'Thank you', 'Excuse me' with other people including each other. What are some other ways we will be respectful at the park? I will be watching for these words and actions. I hope we will be able to stay and have a lot of fun."
Maybe just keep reaffirming that it's time to start really practicing their virtues... Good behavior consists of not only an adherence to virtues, but an understanding of what they are and why they're important. Respect, humility, honestly, empathy, generosity, patience... these virtues help us to be a better society... You can highlight that heroes have to practice these virtues, if they're into heroes... or if you're spiritual or religious, you might be able to key into the various spiritual leaders who exhibited these traits... These traits aren't always inborn, they take practice. You might be able to provide them with opportunities to practice these traits... "Tonight we're going out for dinner, and this will be a chance to practice your manners and respect."
My friend with the 3 that I already spoke of has agreed to try a Virtues Chart for each of the kids... when she sees them practicing their virtues by being respectful and loving, etc, she gives them a pen to mark it on their chart (for the littlest, just a mark anywhere on the paper counts...) or gives them stickers to place on their charts... then she counts them up and when their charts are "full" they're rewarded with something really special... like the oldest took a month to fill his chart (the other two did it in about a week or so...) but she kept encouraging him... "Look, you're getting close to full!" and when he did, she took him to an exhibition put on by the local hip hop kids' dance school where he danced his ADHD ODD butt off, and got him signed up for classes.
Does any of this shed any new light on your situation? Sometimes, it takes some hard charging to break out of the cycle of all the books and all the techniques you have already exhausted. Maybe try to really shake off the feelings of doubt and anger, and commit to trying a few new approaches... with some real longevity. Journal about it, about the successes and the disappointments... And commit to sticking with whatever 2-3 new ideas you elect to try for at least 6 months... it will take time and lots of repetition and lots of misstpes to see the progress... But remember:
Slow progress is still progress.