Natural/logical consequences, plus child with high anxiety... SO FRUSTRATED!!!!!!!!!! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 09-18-2012, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know who to turn to with my questions because I don't know anyone IRL who practices natural/logical consequences -- in fact, several of my friends seem very unapproving of my parenting approach so I feel 'stuck' when things aren't working out well, kind of like I'll get that "I told you so" reaction or something if I ask for ideas & advice.

DS is 3.5 years old. In many ways he is kind of the opposite of a typical toddler -- he can sit through an hour long church service, he is incredibly cooperative when we're shopping, he is well-behaved with friends. (So of course I get the eye-rolling disbelief if I so much as squeak about any of our issues!) But at home he can be a living nightmare. Our house literally looks like a tornado hit it, because he is just wild at home, breaking things, knocking things down, etc. He also has been hurting me & DH (hitting, biting). He's like Jekyll & Hyde. It's like he has an on/off switch, and most of the time we're out, and half the time when we're home, he's just fine, and then out of nowhere the switch is flipped and he turns into a crazy, out-of-control kid that I don't even recognize.

We cannot seem to trace the triggers. He will just be hanging out or playing nicely and completely out of nowhere there is an outburst. When I talk to him afterward, he doesn't have any insight whatsoever into what happened/what went wrong. When I retrace the previous hour or two there doesn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary, overwhelming, etc. that would explain his sudden change in behavior. I can't even seem to link it to any specific food or anything.

Anyway. So I guess what I'm really looking for are logical consequences for hurtful or destructive behavior. When he hurts me, I leave the room, and this does work for the most part (in that it decreases how often he hurts me) but he has incredibly high anxiety and is literally terrified when I leave the room. I would love to come up with something less traumatizing (and maybe even more effective). Another problem is unbuckling the car seat. I had to stop 6 times today to re-buckle him and was about to tie his arms down so we could get home safely! And destroying stuff -- it's not just his stuff he is destroying, and even if it is his stuff he just doesn't care that it's ruined, or that I take it away if I manage to stop him before it's ruined.

There is nothing that is meaningful enough to him that he'd be upset if I took away the privilege (like no TV or taking away his favorite toy -- these things are irrelevant & meaningless to him). He is not at all reward-motivated either. His high anxiety means things like time-out would be truly traumatic to him. So basically I'm saying most of the things I've read or heard suggested just would not work for DS. He also seems to lack empathy? I don't know if this is a typical toddler thing or more related to his social/emotional delays. But anyway, appealing to his sympathetic side ("That really hurt me!" etc.) won't work either. So logical/natural consequences are not just a philosophical choice but a real necessity for us, I think, unless there is some other discipline method I'm unaware of. It works well with him for many things, but right now I feel stuck.

I feel like a bad mom... bawling.gif and like my friends view me this way too... I'm failing everyone, especially DS. Help!

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#2 of 12 Old 09-18-2012, 08:19 PM
 
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I feel like a bad mom... bawling.gif and like my friends view me this way too... I'm failing everyone, especially DS. Help!

 

You sound like a wonderful, thoughtful mom! It sounds like you are trying a lot of gentle techniques and even if they are not addressing the immediate issues, my personal belief is that our children feel that and it makes a big difference. smile.gif

 

I also empathize with your frustration. My first thought was sensory; I don't know much about sensory sensitivities and needs, but I did wonder if part of destroying things was an attempt on your DS to meet a sensory need. I'll keep thinking. In the meantime, I'm sending support to you!


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#3 of 12 Old 09-18-2012, 10:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

 His high anxiety means things like time-out would be truly traumatic to him. So basically I'm saying most of the things I've read or heard suggested just would not work for DS. He also seems to lack empathy? I don't know if this is a typical toddler thing or more related to his social/emotional delays. But anyway, appealing to his sympathetic side ("That really hurt me!" etc.) won't work either. So logical/natural consequences are not just a philosophical choice but a real necessity for us, I think, unless there is some other discipline method I'm unaware of. It works well with him for many things, but right now I feel stuck.
 

 

I see red flags for something going on with him. Were his milestones on time or delayed?

 

Some of what you say about him parallels my DD at that age, and she has mild special needs. For her, melt down behavior is related to not getting her sensory needs met. This is not a discipline issue, and no form of discipline will be helpful if this is the situation. The book that helped me sort this out is "The Out of Sync Child."  I was able to get it from the library.

 

It can be complex to sort out, because for her, either not getting enough sensory input OR getting to much of the wrong kind of sensory input would set her off. What helped was figuring out what types of sensory input worked for her and then making them part of her life. It was like playing detective.

 

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#4 of 12 Old 09-19-2012, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He met all of his physical/cognitive milestones on time (or way in advance) but he was in EI for awhile for social/emotional issues. I think that he has mostly caught up in these areas but is still kind of quirky... like Aspergers-y I guess, except of course he's way too young to know at this age, and sometimes he can totally pass for 'normal'. I have gone through the SPD checklist many times but I get really confused because he seems both hyper- & hypo-sensitive in each area (especially tactile & auditory) so I don't understand how to meet his needs. He outgrew EI (and they weren't particularly helpful in this area) and we can't afford OT (and can't even get his doctors to understand what's going on with him enough to get any necessary referrals). I did read Out of Sync Child but I guess I didn't find it that helpful for practical advice? Maybe DS was too young when I first read it or I just need something more solution-oriented, but I will see if I can get a hold of the book again.

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#5 of 12 Old 09-19-2012, 07:18 AM
 
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I agree with Linda, I see some red flags. Have you considered getting in contact with a OT for a SPD evaluation?

 

Certain classes were really helpful for my sensory kiddo around this age, they were Gymnastics (pick a play based one), Horseback Riding, and briefly Swimming. He sounds hypo (under) sensitive mainly, by what you're describing, to tactile input to me. Here are some sensory stimulating exercises you can try:

 

*trampoline

*messy play: think shaving cream, theraputty, finger paint, play-doh

*something like a teething necklace for him to chew or suck on

*lots of outside time

*limited media time

*playing catch with a sensory ball

 

I would ask a OT about a sensory diet. You may also want to look into possible food allergies, and supplementation.

 

ETA: Have you looked at, or tried, any Playful Parenting games/strategies for your specific behavioral concerns of his? Things like time-outs, taking away things, and punishment did not work for my sensory kiddo, it just made her flip out. We use a combo of nvc, playful parenting, and consensual living here.


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#6 of 12 Old 09-19-2012, 01:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

 I did read Out of Sync Child but I guess I didn't find it that helpful for practical advice? Maybe DS was too young when I first read it or I just need something more solution-oriented, but I will see if I can get a hold of the book again.

 

I found the back of the book helpful for figuring out a sensory diet for my DD. But she is a teen now and more books have been written since then, something newer might be more helpful.

 

I suggest that you post this question on the special needs board as well. There are several moms on mothering with kids with sensory issues, and some of us have found different things helpful for our children.

 

At age 3, movement classes through parks and rec were great for my DD -- creative movement, tumbling, that sort of thing. She did really well with swimming, too. She ended up being a competitive swimmer for several years because she was at her best when she spent 1-2 a day swimming (not just playing in water, but swimming laps). For her, activities that were about her whole body moving in through space were most helpful.

 

for other kids, it's other stuff.

 

But getting my DD's sensory needs met each day was imperative for her to be able to function, and once we figured it out, my life kinda revolved around it. She's much better now in her teens.

 

But just as you take foods out and put them back in to figure out if it a diet issue, sensory activities are kinda the same way. I did find using a book and talking to other moms helpful, but part of it was just trial and error.


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#7 of 12 Old 09-19-2012, 02:05 PM
 
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Is the difference when you and he are alone, or is it specifically inside the house?  When you said he was like that at home, I wondered about a possible environmental trigger...?  Pet allergy, sensitivities to cleaning products (if you'd like to start making your own, the Frugally Sustainable blog is an amazing resource), etc.  If it's more so just when you are alone (you did mention the car), then maybe it's that he just feels safe enough to act out when he's alone with you.

 

I don't know a lot about sensory stuff, and I have no idea what a sensory diet is, but your mention of anxiety and Asperger's-type stuff made me think the GAPS or SCD diet might help.  Here is a video of the author of the GAPS book doing a lecture:

 

http://youtu.be/Z_0NvcJZwa8

 

Best of luck!




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#8 of 12 Old 09-20-2012, 07:44 AM
 
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luckiest; A sensory diet is a schedule of sensory activities created for the indivuals specific sensory needs to help regulate their systems so they don't always feel the need to be searching out something to calm or stimulate their bodies, especially so since their bodies don't adequately do it on their own as they're "supposed" to.


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#9 of 12 Old 09-20-2012, 11:28 AM
 
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luckiest; A sensory diet is a schedule of sensory activities created for the indivuals specific sensory needs to help regulate their systems so they don't always feel the need to be searching out something to calm or stimulate their bodies, especially so since their bodies don't adequately do it on their own as they're "supposed" to.

 

Thank you for the explanation!




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#10 of 12 Old 09-20-2012, 12:20 PM
 
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I don't have any specific advice, but I really liked the book "the Explosive Child."  It's not so much a discipline guide, but it focuses on determining what skills a child is lacking that are causing the maladaptive behavior.  The basic premise is that children want to do well, and will do well if they can.  Explosive children cannot be punished into behaving, or disciplined into behaving.  Punishment and discipline do not teach the social and emotional skills that Explosive children lack. By teaching the skill you can lessen the behavior.  I'm still sorting out what skills my DS is lacking, but the ideas in the book are helping. 

 

We've just started working through this at our house.  DS can't seem to connect any consequence (natural or not) with what he did wrong.  He's too focused on the consequence.  But, like your son, he is usually an angel when we are with others. I'm sure my friends think I'm making things up.    


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#11 of 12 Old 09-20-2012, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all. I am making an appointment with a child therapist who came highly recommended & seems to have experience with this kind of thing. I'm crossing my fingers that she is able to help us zero in on what's going on with him. Right now I feel like a complete & utter failure as a mother. I would do anything to help DS but my efforts just aren't enough. mecry.gif

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#12 of 12 Old 09-20-2012, 06:24 PM
 
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Thank you all. I am making an appointment with a child therapist who came highly recommended & seems to have experience with this kind of thing. I'm crossing my fingers that she is able to help us zero in on what's going on with him. Right now I feel like a complete & utter failure as a mother. I would do anything to help DS but my efforts just aren't enough. mecry.gif

 

Thanks for updating, crunchy_mommy. I hope the appointment with the child therapist goes well. It's not the same situation, but when my DD was a newborn, she had lots of issues with eating and I was putting so much effort in and it was so frustrating because it feel like it wasn't enough. When I finally figured out (with help from my DD's ped, a specialist, and a LC combined) what the issues were that were causing my DD so many challenges and what would help, I was able to help...and it took much less effort. I think you're doing a great thing by continuing to look at what might be a challenge for your DS and how you can help and hopefully the therapist will have some good insights. Hugs to you. hug.gif


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