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#1 of 6 Old 01-09-2012, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am sure that this has been posted about previously but I am at my wit's end.  I have two boys, a 5 1/2 yr old and a 13 month old.  My 5 1/2 year old's defiance and hurtful behavior has intensified since my youngest one's arrival.  He is a very emotional child and extremely smart for his age. He's been reading at a 4th grade level for about 5 months now.  We homeschool and seems as though the last few months have been pure misery.  He blows up at the slightest bit of frustration and this generally includes hysterical screaming, crying, throwing, slamming doors, stomping etc.  When we try to offer help or if he doesn't like something we say or do, it becomes "I don't like you, You're not my mommy/daddy, I wish I didn't have a mommy/daddy, I hate you, You're stupid".  We used to to time out and take things away.  I read "Parenting the explosive child" and it has shed a lot of light on the situation.  The idea is that there are kids that are easily frustrated and chronically inflexible.  This is actually an emotional deficiency/disability so the parent neds to choose one behavior that they are willing to endure meltdowns over and all else is ignored until the meltdowns diminish.  This makes total sense, but how much can someone take of this on a daily basis?  We homeschool and I want to be homeschooling but I am tired of being driven to tears.  It is sometimes at the point that i dislike being around him when this behavior happens.  I am looking at some AP based discipline books but I think what I need the most is to feel that I am not horrible and a bad mother.  He basically held every quality for the short list of ODD but I don't want to medicate him.  I feel like this has escalated with the arrival of his brother who breastfeeds and co-sleeps and has never been a great napper. He is at one nap now at 13 months and it can range from 1-2 hrs and I generally  have to nurse him back down at one point during the nap.  My 5 yr old has made comments about his brother taking his place, etc. and we have explained to him that he is unique and special and that no one can replace him.  We talked about how he is special because of the big boy things he can do, etc.  These chats seem to work for an hour or two until the next frustration hits and then it is right back to old ways.  It feels like he has become mean and selfish and I don't know how to move him away from that.  We go to church and implement bible lessons into our day and talk about what it means to respect and love others and treat other the way you want to be treated.  I think he knows but he can't control his emotions.  I know that nothing is going to happen overnight but can anyone recommend any strategies or books/resources that can help me in this journey.  I want my son's sweet spirit to come back because I know it is in there underneath the anger and defiance.

Thanks!! 


Happy homeschooling homeschool.gif, cosleeping fambedsingle2.gif, babywearing femalesling2.GIFmama to DS 3/06 superhero.gif, DS 12/10 jog.gif,  and wife to DH hug.gif.

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#2 of 6 Old 01-09-2012, 05:58 PM
 
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We homeschool too. My DS is now 8; he'll be 9 next month. Also very very verbal, bright, intense, emotional. We used to have a lot of what you describe until I snapped out of it. LOL!! Really, I had been asking too much of the wrong thing from him. Focusing more on his "behavior" and "discipline" (time outs and consequences) than really understanding him, hearing him, validating him, teaching him. It was all about how HE needed to do better and how I was going to make him do it. At some point I started to examine my own methods, my own expectations of a child with his age and temperament. The great thing about homeschooling is that you can totally adapt to wherever your kid is at the time.

 

I wonder...how much schooling does a 5 and a half year old really need? If you don't mind my asking, what sort of homeschooling do you do, and how much? (Just wondering if he might feel overwhelmed; maybe too young to sit and do seat-work for X number of minutes or hours....the schoolwork plus the new baby maybe it's all too much....just thinking out loud, here...)

 

Also, this comment of yours jumped out at me:

 

"My 5 yr old has made comments about his brother taking his place, etc. and we have explained to him that he is unique and special and that no one can replace him.  We talked about how he is special because of the big boy things he can do, etc."

 

Next time he starts to say this about his brother taking his place (or any frustration, really), maybe try just validating back to him what he's saying. Example: "Yes, you liked it better when you had all my attention; it's not easy having a little brother." And giving a hug. I am imagining that trying to talk him out of his feelings, sort of contradicting them, might make him feel frustrated, and maybe he just doesn't have the emotional tools to say it that way to you. Try just echoing his feelings. Say, "That must be hard for you."  Minus any judgement. (You know that tendency we have, where we parents always seem to tack on some added advice, like "That must be hard for you, BUT...you need to do X, Y or Z better." or "I know that probably hurts BUT you're going to need to learn to handle it." That type of thing.) Just echoing their feelings, with no added advice or judgement, so they know you hear them, and maybe giving a hug or kind hand on the shoulder, might help defuse the situation and keep it from ramping up.

 

Some favorite books are:

Between Parent and Child , by Haim Ginott

P.E.T. (Parent Effectiveness Training), by Thomas Gordon

How Children Learn, by John Holt (re: homeschooling/unschooling)

Kids, Parents & Power Struggles, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk, by Faber & Mazlish

 

Some things I "Like" (i.e. follow) on Facebook:

TEACH through Love

Dr. Shefali Tsabary's Conscious Parenting Page

 

A web site:

www.handinhandparenting.org

(be sure to visit the Articles page and click "browse all articles")

 

Really, in a nutshell...just try and look at things from his perspective, and maintain the emotional connection, and try  not to focus as much on some externally imposed notion what you think you "should" be doing as a parent, because in my experience that is where I get into most of my trouble.  :-)  Speaking from experience, that led me to be more harsh and less understanding, which just increased the friction between me & my son.

 

My eyes are bugging out from staring at the screen too long and I just need to sign off. I hope this all makes some kind of coherent sense.

Best of luck to you!

 
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#3 of 6 Old 01-09-2012, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Most of what you said makes a lot of sense!  We definitely scaled back "school" to do more unit studies and hands on things.  I found that things were getting too schooly and I changed things up.  I do notice a change in the way I deal with DS because I am frustrated.  My DH is gone 10-12 hours a day at a job he hates so DS doesn't get a lot of time with him until the weekends.  When weekends hit, it is the same behavior but where it was first directed at my DH it has now become more directed towards me.  He still definitely directs things to both of us but it is more towards me lately.  I know it's hard on him because DH is gone by 9/10 and doesn't get home until the kids are in bed so I am juggling both of them.  I am going to try to adjust my own reactions to my DS.


Happy homeschooling homeschool.gif, cosleeping fambedsingle2.gif, babywearing femalesling2.GIFmama to DS 3/06 superhero.gif, DS 12/10 jog.gif,  and wife to DH hug.gif.

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#4 of 6 Old 01-12-2012, 05:03 PM
 
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Sounds like us, seriously, except that DS1 is 6 in March, and DS2 is 1.5. The only words of comfort I can give you is that in the last 4 months I have seen a very serious change in empathy that has improved things a lot. Changeability and inflexibility are so impossible to deal with, I have stopped reading for a while and tried to just confront in the moment. I am homeschooling, but not doing formal lessons, that works very well for us right now. No workbooks, I want him to feel as if he's stumbled onto something, way better results for me.

 

Plus, honestly I feel for them.. what can they do that is NOT interrupted by baby brother? We can't even do a jigsaw when DS2 is awake, by no fault of his... Somedays he loves his brother to bits other days, well, I won't tell you what he wishes!!

 

" Lessons" don't work with my son, since day 1 he wants to do things on his own and thinks he knows best. Reasoning is just starting to work. The thing is, too - is when they're smart and understand us on so many levels, we forget they're only five and really don't have a handle on their feelings. Huge changes for us happened after five and a half... so I'll cross my fingers for you. We have had less and less tantrums and flipping out since then... good luck!


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#5 of 6 Old 01-12-2012, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for this encouragement!  My DS will be 6 in March too.  I am beginning to think that formal lessons have to take a sideburner for a bit.  We have the same situation.  Little brother does interrupt everything, mostly because he just wants to be in the mix.  Today was one of those "I hate my brother" days.  I had him make a list of things he liked about his life and things he disliked.  Having a brother was on both lists!  I know he is already ahead of the game in schooling.  The former teacher in me is having trouble letting go and taking on a more unschooling approach for the time being.  I have to remember that if he doesn't work on writing letters, his educational world will not crumble.  It seems to me that he needs mommy time not time working through school lessons.  I have decided to scale back a bit.  We have started a unit study on ancient greece so we will continue with that but in a more laid back manner.  Lots of reading and fun activities.  His true struggle is dealing with sharing mommy's attention especially because daddy is gone so much.  I have definitely stepped back and taken a more concious approach to the hurtful words, even though they are hard to hear.  I remind myself that there is something more there and I need to take a deep breath and not engage in a way that creates the battle.  That approach has resulted in fewer complete meltdowns.  I know we'll get there and a big part of it is how I deal with things!  Thanks for all of the encouraging words :)


Happy homeschooling homeschool.gif, cosleeping fambedsingle2.gif, babywearing femalesling2.GIFmama to DS 3/06 superhero.gif, DS 12/10 jog.gif,  and wife to DH hug.gif.

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#6 of 6 Old 01-17-2012, 08:25 AM
 
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Well, I'm sorry to say that I don't have much advice for you, but I can offer you hugs and let you know that you are not alone!  My son is 7 and has SPD and also exhibits some ODD symptoms. We homeschool as well and some days are just how you describe them: a full-on battle!

 

I will second the advice to read "How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen." It is a classic for a good reason. "Siblings Without Rivalry" is also good. I also really love "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne.  It is by far my favorite parenting book. "Simplicity Parenting" is good for helping a child overwhelmed with "too much."  Too much media, too much sensory input, too much noise, too many toys, etc.

 

Hugs to you and good luck.

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