Help me find the consequences for a button-pusher - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 06-18-2014, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Help me find the consequences for a button-pusher

I have a very headstrong ten year old boy, and a easygoing six year old girl.

The 10 year old boy is a limit-pusher and always has been. He is constantly trying to push the boundaries of what is permitted.

Lately, he has been more and more just plain "messing" with everyone in the house. Being a pest, annoying people on purpose, and pushing everyone's buttons.

He's just plain not being kind. And we homeschool, so the three of us are together all day and he's making everyone miserable.

He seems a bit old for a time-out, but that is how we have handled discipline up until now. Taking away privileges (like screen time or toys) just makes him angry. I model appropriate behavior and let him know calmly what I expect (just be nice!) but to no avail.

What to do with a 10 year old button pusher? He's making me miserable and I'm on the verge of sending him to school so I can get some peace.
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#2 of 4 Old 06-18-2014, 05:27 PM
 
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When he is annoying, just ignore and redirect your attention to his acceptable behavior. Disable your buttons so they don't work at all, they get no response when he tries to push them.

But perhaps you mean is disruptive? Please explain.

When you disable your buttons, the kid will typically try to push them harder and try to find some new buttons for a day or two. This is called the extinction burst. Then the behavior will start getting better. Should be noticeably better in 4 days to a week and a lot better in 2 weeks.

You say he gets angry. Just ignore that too, and redirect you attention. Direct your attention in particular to the positive opposite: self-control, being nice.

I assume you have let him know that you expect him to be nice more than three times without effect, if so then stop doing that that and retool your strategy. Instead, do this: If he is ever nice in the smallest way, give that social reinforcement (positive attention) immediately, get close, touch, be enthusiastic but don't bowl him over (depends on the kid, your can overdo it with some, the sky is the limit with others), say something specific and positive about what he did, don't caboose any criticism on the end, no "but...". Think about what you value about nice behavior and come up with things to say that sincerely express your feelings. With a kid as old as 10 years old sincere expressions are particularly important. You might want to pop up a word processor and write a little essay on why you think nice is good as a way to find words that are a sincere expression coming from you.

If he is never nice? There are ways to get it going, but if he is sometimes nice, do the above.
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Last edited by tadamsmar; 06-25-2014 at 05:43 AM.
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#3 of 4 Old 06-21-2014, 04:51 AM
 
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Have the TV (or whatever perk he enjoys) be dependent on a morning free from ridicule and disruption. That way he 'earns' it rather than having you take it away. You can then reinforce the good choices he is making for that chunk of time with verbal appreciation, followed by him getting to watch TV or whatever. Decide ahead of time if you will allow one slip up with a warning or not. Be firm and consistent. Waffling encourages the behavior.
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#4 of 4 Old 06-21-2014, 07:16 AM
 
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I'd find him some summer activities that he can do. The Y and some community centers have scholarships if price is an issue. He may just be going a little stir crazy and in need of space to develop some other friendships. My dd seemed to ne driven to be more social at this age than she already had been and I suspect it is a developmental thing.

I would also try to find time to do something just with him though. My dd loves going to get tea at the coffee shop, long drives are also great times to talk, and walks are also a good time. I have found that even though dd is starting to seek independence she also wants and needs quality one on one time more than she did when she was younger.

If you have a city pool itmay be worth investing in a family pass and spending a lot of time there so he has a lot of physical activity and time to meet new people. Time in parks is also a great way to get energy out and feel refreshed.

You might also try to look at how you talk to him and making interactions with him different from the interactions you have with his siblings. I only have one child but I have had to change my interactions with dd in the last few years as she has matured and that was hard to recognize and do, especially since at work I'm interacting with three year olds.
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