helping SPD/explosive kids learn patience? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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a lack of patience seems to me to be one side of the inflexibility coin.

anyone have any suggestion for helping 7 yo DS learn more patience? he is EXTREMELY inpatient, to the point of becoming irrational or explosive when he can't get what he wants RIGHT NOW.

i'd like to help him with this, but i have no idea where to start.

i have heard it's also a right brained trait, which we both are... so maybe that is why i don't have a clue.

TIA!

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#2 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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i'm subbing. DS isn't quite 6 but i'd love to give him some coping skills. rationalizing just doesn't work with him. it's very frustrating for both of us.
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#3 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 11:48 AM
 
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Oh, boy...I'm right there with you. DD is newly 4 (SPD, possibly ASD), but cannot. wait. In line, while I'm on the phone, whatever. Yesterday she had a huge meltdown b/c she wanted DH or I to play with her. We were eating breakfast and said we'd play when we were done....she could either join us at the table or play by herself for 10 minutes. I even set a timer. No go.

We had been using a visual schedule, but it made the waiting issue worse in some ways--being able to look ahead at the whole day was too much for DD. Our EI person recommended breaking the picture schedule into smaller time frames, more like a 'First, Then' schedule.

I also try not to give DD too many details about what's coming up, but she perseverates on things like holidays, birthdays, etc and has supersonic hearing , so it's almost impossible to do. Looking forward to hearing some real-life strategies.
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#4 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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ugg, birthday's. DS has been talking about his birthday for months. it's around Christmas and i swear i had daily questions about how much longer until his birthday for weeks. he even got really upset with me one morning because it wasn't December yet and he thought it was. he recently learned the months of the year and days of the week in school and now understands there's still some time to wait until his birthday.

i've always felt like i need to give DS a lot of warning because he doesn't transition well(= explosion when it's time to switch tasks). maybe i should stop doing that and see what happens.
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#5 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 02:26 PM
 
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subbing

i have heard the suggestion for picture schdules before -- but -- it is not, in our case, he doesn't know ... it that he wants it NOW and not in a few minutes ...

4 yo here

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#6 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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what's a picture schedule?

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#7 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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I SO wish I knew. It's a huge issue with DS7. I get very angry sometimes because he tends to treat me so badly around it. This morning, I'd been awake maybe 45 seconds when he asked (politely) for pancakes. I said that yes, I would make pancakes after I got dressed, let the dogs out, and made coffee. Not a full minute later, he started nagging, cajoling, pleading, yelling, etc., until he progressed to the point of telling me I hated him, etc. All this in the time it took me to pull on some clothes and come downstairs! We go through a similar routine several times a day.

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#8 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post
what's a picture schedule?
It's a picture-based daily schedule that helps kids see their day (or parts of their day) visually laid out to help with transitions...I bought one from this Etsy seller, although you could easily make your own:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php...ng_id=34170142
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#9 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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I SO wish I knew. It's a huge issue with DS7. I get very angry sometimes because he tends to treat me so badly around it. This morning, I'd been awake maybe 45 seconds when he asked (politely) for pancakes. I said that yes, I would make pancakes after I got dressed, let the dogs out, and made coffee. Not a full minute later, he started nagging, cajoling, pleading, yelling, etc., until he progressed to the point of telling me I hated him, etc. All this in the time it took me to pull on some clothes and come downstairs! We go through a similar routine several times a day.
Yes. This. I tell DH that I'm just tired of being yelled at all day.
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#10 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 04:35 PM
 
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Yes. This. I tell DH that I'm just tired of being yelled at all day.
Yeah. It's incredibly hard to be the adult and not react. Some days I do really well, and on those days Carter does much better, too. Some days, I just can't quite maintain my composure no matter how hard I try. However well (or not) I manage to deal on any given day, I often just feel used and abused, at best like I'm Carter's slave, at worst like I'm nothing but a punching bag for his demons. It blows.

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#11 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 05:50 PM
 
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Picture schedules are wonderful, but their success truly depends on the individual child. I'm sure you have tried tons of things, and I may be preaching to the choir but I live and breathe by Applied Behavior Analysis. The beautiful thing about it is that you can really tailor it to match any kid.

Maybe trying positive reinforcement or extinction would work for your child. Just give them a reward for every certain time amount, say 5 minutes, that they don't yell for pancakes or whatever it is. It will be hard at first, but it has huge results in the end. If you chose extinction (just ignoring the undesired behavior) it will be a lot harder to do especially if yelling is involved because it will go on until the child realizes that his behavior is not getting the desired consequence.

Like I said, i'm sure that you have tried something similar to that, but if you haven't I definitely recommend looking into it. ABA really is a lifesaver.
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#12 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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we believe that behavior modification is not respectful, collaborative parenting. it is not consistent with our family values.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#13 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 09:44 PM
 
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oh, to each their own. didn't mean to offend or anything : )
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#14 of 21 Old 11-23-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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I just suggested because it help my son stop EXTREME self-injurious behavior and eventually learn to use a communication device.

Another idea that doesn't really use ABA is the "first, then" thing. Someone mentioned it earlier in the thread, but I feel like it helps give my son some independence. Like he has some control in his life. I try to have him make his own schedule by making choices between two things. I make a "family schedule". It will say things like "mommy's shower, CK's breakfast, CK's shower, mommy's coffee"...something along the lines. It helps him see in what order things come and how many things he has to wait. I also have a checklist next to the schedule (erasable) and he can put check marks on the things as they are done. It really helps him feel like he has some control in his crazy little life. Hope that helps a little bit more : )
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#15 of 21 Old 11-24-2009, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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we have been doing "first things first" for a long time. i'm not sure it helps him *learn* to be more patient.

i guess i just need to learn to better address the issues that drive the impatience. the fear/anxiety that things won't happen the way he wants/needs them to happen is probably the biggest motivator to his horrible impatience. maybe if i get better at identifying that and helping him deal better with *those* feelings, it will help him be a bit more zen. maybe EFT will help too. i wonder if i teach DS the tapping sequence for anxiety, he can be reminded to use it when he's having an impatience party.

hmmmmmm

one of the reasons i dislike BM is that it only changes the behavior the parent has identified as problematic. i am way more interested in my DS learning to cope with his issues so he can better function as a person and learn to look for his own creative solutions as an adult. humans are way more complex than a collection of behaviors.

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#16 of 21 Old 11-24-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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Try to find any time he is patient, even for a few seconds and draw attention to it. I thank dd for being patient and also try to mention it to dh later while dd is listening, it really seems to help build her sense of herself as a person with patience and selfcontrol.
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#17 of 21 Old 11-24-2009, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i do, always.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#18 of 21 Old 11-24-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katz1216 View Post
Maybe trying positive reinforcement or extinction would work for your child. Just give them a reward for every certain time amount, say 5 minutes, that they don't yell for pancakes or whatever it is. It will be hard at first, but it has huge results in the end. If you chose extinction (just ignoring the undesired behavior) it will be a lot harder to do especially if yelling is involved because it will go on until the child realizes that his behavior is not getting the desired consequence.
Katz, we have used ABA with our sons and found it very effective. I don't find ABA to be disrespectful of the child or the parent when it sets clear goals with clear rewards for fulfilling those goals. We use a lot of positive reinforcement because it is the most effective means. We don't use punishers because they're not effective. We do a lot of redirection -- "If you want X, here's how you get it." When our kids comply, we reward them immediately. It's as much teaching them to train the adults to do what they want as it is us training them to do what we want.

You're right about extinction bursts. They are terrible. On the other hand, it gets the whole problem over with quickly.
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#19 of 21 Old 11-25-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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i guess i just need to learn to better address the issues that drive the impatience. the fear/anxiety that things won't happen the way he wants/needs them to happen is probably the biggest motivator to his horrible impatience. maybe if i get better at identifying that and helping him deal better with *those* feelings, it will help him be a bit more zen.
I think you're onto something here. One thing we learned with dd was that her anxiety (didn't even have to be anxiety about whether or not things would happen how/when she wanted, but could be) really decreased her level of frustration tolerance. The impatience when things didn't happen when she wanted really was just her inability to tolerate the frustration of not getting what she wanted immediately. I mean, anyone who is already stressed/tense is going to have a harder time handling frustration well. In order to increase her frustration tolerance we had to address the anxiety-she had to learn coping skills in order to reduce the anxiety she felt, she had to learn to communicate her feelings, she had to learn to relax and to calm down, she had to learn better problem solving skills. We worked hard at reducing stress overall, and building time into the day to relax and to specifically teach relaxation skills.

Also, are you certain you've identified all his underlying issues, triggers, and lagging skills? We found that when we got stuck wrt a given issue, it was usually because there were things that had to be addressed that we had not yet identified.

That said, we also had to address impatience as it was happening. Sometimes she could be distracted, I still use this strategy-"sure, I'll make those pancakes for you! Hey, can you go find the flour for me? I'll be right there." Things like that. Maybe we'd talk about something interesting, or she'd find something relaxing to do. Didn't always work, but it was always worth a try.

Also, empathy in very few words (ONE time) helped her learn to express herself. "You're frustrated. You're hungry right now." We'd give her ONE reassurance: "I will cook breakfast as soon as I am finished getting dressed. I'm almost done." And then we worked very hard at remaining calm and matter-of-fact while she was upset. We'd just go about the business of doing whatever needs to be done, getting dressed before heading downstairs to cook or whatever, as calmly as possible, without doing a lot of talking about her impatience or tantrum. She needed to know, I think, that she'd get through it and be fine--and we showed that by being calm and confident (that she would be fine) ourselves in that moment. If she's flipping out and anxious, we need to be her rock and her zen. KWIM? And if we drew too much attention to her impatience (too many words, too much empathy, too much talking about it, too much asking her to calm down or be patient), then we sort of fed that frustration and anxiety. It sort of sends the message that "hey, this really is something bad and scary" and makes her even more anxious.

All that said, we did find that there were times when learning to cope was particularly hard for dd. At those times we did use rewards for brief periods of time. And it did work quite well with the collaborative approach we were using. I preferred to have dd design her system. She currently, for example, has a chart that she made. She puts a star on it every time she tries one of the new coping skills she's learning. She sets a goal of how many stars she'll need in order to do something special and fun. This does two things for her: 1) it gives her a visual way of tracking her own progress, which can be very helpful for a kid struggling with something as huge as anxiety and 2) it gives her a goal to work for, which helps her find the motivation when the anxiety is so overwhelming that it's very hard to even try to cope. I wouldn't write off this kind of strategy completely. It can be done with respect for the child, and with the child's collaboration. For example, in terms of impatience I could see having a chart that you can point to and say "hey, look at that! Waiting is hard for you but you did it! Twice already today you tried to wait/waited/found something to do to help make waiting easier." Because it is hard, and even 7 year olds can sometimes benefit from a visual showing of their effort and progress. JME, of course, and I offer it as someone who used to be solidly against rewards of any kind just in case it might be helpful.

Oh, and yeah for my dd having a written schedule for the day helped a lot. She does better overall when she knows what to expect and (roughly) when.
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#20 of 21 Old 11-25-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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A couple of book suggestions, if you haven't already read these:

The Explosive Child -- I know a number of people who swear by this book for kids who lose it very easily.
The Challenging Child -- I love this book because it focuses first and foremost on connection with your child. It does have a section where it talks about consequences for actions, but they only talk about that after you've done the connection and the problem solving with your child. You could ignore that, or you could read that with an eye to how to develop consequences that fit with your family ideals.

The question that I would ask myself is: how can I teach my son these skills when he currently has very few resources to draw on? Our ds (also an SPD kid, but not explosive) needs much more direct instruction than our dd does. He needs overt strategies to try. In addition, some way of charting progress is sometimes very very helpful. Since your son is in a negative cycle, what can break that cycle and give him a sense of progress, even if it's incremental?

For my parenting, I'm OK with a short-term use of 'behaviorist' kinds of things if I'm aiming to teach a specific skill. So, I bribed ds majorly to learn to wipe himself. He had NO intrinsic motivation to try, and a lot of intrinsic motivation to avoid it (he's a sensory avoider). I figured I wouldn't have to keep bribing him into his teens, but for a few weeks when he was 5? No problem. I'm strongly thinking about a reward system for our family chore time. The whining about it has gotten out of hand and I need to break that cycle in a way other than yelling at my kids . The reward would be something like a family movie night or a family game night -- so what they gain by not using up all our energy trying to get them to be on task for 15 minutes would be more time with us in a fun activity.


Other reading suggestions would be books about executive functioning. I haven't read these, but the reviews look interesting:
No Mind Left Behind: Understanding and Fostering Executive Control--The Eight Essential Brain Skills Every Child Needs to Thrive

Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parents' Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning (despite the title, the reviews suggest it might be helpful for outbursts: "Late, Lost, and Unprepared delves deeply into the world of executive functioning skills, explaining their role in learning and in critical life skills: time management, impulse control (in words and deeds), cognitive flexibility, and initiation, planning and organizing, among others.") (bolding mine)

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#21 of 21 Old 12-02-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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This is my DS. I find giving him choices helps. Otherwsie I am at a loss as of recently. He is have MAJOR issues in his homeschool co-op classes and I am about to pull him out. (he got sent home today for hitting a teacher due to having to stand in line to wash hands) He tol me he was "protecting" himself when I asked him why he hit her.

The simplest things can set him OFF. Which is extremely hard for those that don't know him. (he has only been to HS co-op 6 times and has exploded EVERY time) I find giving choices helpful but I am at a loss otherwise. Especially when I am not there to help him.

I am going to the library ASAP for the Explosive Child book!

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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