OT (or not?)- Strong-willed child... - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 5 Old 01-20-2003, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
hawleyclan's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Texas
Posts: 227
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi! I don't know if everyone gets one, but we've got a live one here...

Our second son is 5, and he is really putting life (and me) to the
test already. Of any of the children, he is the biggest repeat offender. He just can't seem to get the victory in the first lesson.
He is always into something, up to something, disobeying any directive given. He is the one who, no matter the consequence, no matter the warning, will end up doing the deed. Its not that the others don't do these things, it is that he will do them over and over and over and over and over... and over... ?

He's the one who had the hardest time with bedtimes and naptimes at 2 or 3, maybe that was a sign of things to come? He was the one who just kept coming down the hall, and went back up it fussing and crying all the way, time after time.

He is like a raccoon, into everything, and thinking to do things that none of his siblings have devised. He gets into food, Dave's dresser drawers (flashlights, tools, money, mints, etc.), the workshop tools, the vitamin cabinet, the freezer, ... the latest thing was matches- he ate several books of them?!! I found kitchen matches outside, burnt, and after confering with my husband I realize that it was our son...

Of the children, he is the only one who has stolen things more than once from stores- all the rest seem to have learned on the first lesson... he is on lesson 3...

At chore/clean-up time, he is the one who will hide stuff and lie
about having done it. We have to double-check everything he does, we have to check in on him repeatedly to ensure he is actually doing it. Sometimes he will just goof off, playing, or even just sitting there, over and over. There are days that I practically have to stand there on guard detail at the doorway, and even then he will move in slow motion?!!

The kitchen has become a battleground. He will sneak anything, it
always seems to be the items that are limited dispersal items- ice-
cream, snack items, children's vitamins, cake, eggnog, soda, anything designated specifically mine or Dave's, popscicles, etc.
The hard part is that he will do it over and over again. We have
tried most any punishment, and yet he will do it again and again.

He will wake up at 4am and get into the vitamin cabinet... 7am and sneak olives out of the fridge...

I can't run a 24 hour patrol. It has begun to feel like I need to
restrain him so that I can sleep! But worst of all, I worry that if
we don't find a way to get the victory now, this cycle will continue
into something much worse at 13 or 15...

In ways he has improved, learned to work with his emotions and tantrums. Sometimes he will shock us and do a really awesome job of picking up, or following through. We do really praise these moments in hope that he will continue... but...

I have to really work to catch him doing something good. He responds well to positive feedback, but finding opportunities to give it is a challenge.

Funny thing is, he does all of his homeschool work without any hassles. He becomes positively animated when it is time for his homeschool. He loves it. The trouble comes when he is told that he can't do certain activities that his older brother does. Then I will find that he has gotten into the science kits, or math manipulatives, etc. and done whatever... parts lost or jumbled up... etc.

It feels like a control issue at this point, but I am so frustrated that perhaps I can't see the forest for the trees? At any rate, I'm out of ideas...

I'm looking for suggestions on consistent methods of following
through with a strong-willed child. Some way to guide and motivate him to grow better character. If anyone on this board has had any experience and success with this, please share.

Thank you.

The Lord bless you,
hawleyclan is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 5 Old 01-21-2003, 01:40 AM
CerridwenLorelei's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: BIG SCARY TEXAS/World of Warcrack
Posts: 5,729
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i know i said before but i truly havent forgot you
And in advance apologize for typos etc have taken the pain pills they gave me for after surgery (no flames please lol) and I will do my best to mail it sat
anyway you may be dealing with more than high spirits we went through this with my adhd son when he was younger and he had odd subset
what you have described sounds exactly like ODD oppositional defiant disorder
there is a bach flower essence that is good for it I dont remember all of the ingredients ( been too long and mom doesnt do bach anymore) but it did have the walnut ( NOT NOT NOT black walnut)and clematis
when I am more myself I will try and email you or pm you and see if I can help more
CerridwenLorelei is offline  
#3 of 5 Old 01-22-2003, 02:57 AM
gilnikche's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: C.H.A.O.S.
Posts: 2,800
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Do we have the same child? My son is also five (born 9/97). He does everything you mentioned plus...

-Destroying things (cut a hole in the back of sofa)

-He is always hitting. I have to constantly be listening for what he is doing to his older & younger sisters (8 & almost 3).

I will come back & post more tomorrow.
gilnikche is offline  
#4 of 5 Old 01-23-2003, 12:00 PM
heartmama's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the bat cave with Irishmommy
Posts: 5,982
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reading the OP, I can understand what a challenge this child is, but I honestly don't see anything he is doing that is really unusual or inappropriate for his age. I disagree with the advice that this child has a chemical balance and needs medication. From your post, I do not see where that is warranted.

You mentiond several times in your post wanting "victory" over this child. I hope you can see how damaging it is to the trust in *any* relationship when you start defining it by winners and losers. The whole "Strong willed child" concept by Dr. Dobson is a damaging and unhealthy view of children with that personality type, and encourages parents to lock into a battle of wills and defeat spirited children. You know the saying you can win the battle but lose the war? That is exactly the outcome with that approach. A child who feels his parents are out to defeat him is going to harbor tremendous insecurity, resentment, and frustration.

If you want things to change with this child, I would start by getting into attunement with him, and re evaluating your expectations of him. I would spend a few days in close proximity to one another through the day, working very hard to eliminate negative intereactions as much as possible, a kind of "detox" to negative habits we might have formed without even realizing it. Just observe him, listen to him, and live in the moment.

Once you feel more connected to one another, I would look at what he needs from you without comparing it to what worked with your other kids. Like Dr. Sears wrote in his books, he had 3 children who were all "easy" without having realized it. When the 4th child came along, they were unprepared for the degree of patience and attention it took to raise that child. They went on to have 8 kids, but that one child was unlike the others in what she required from them. She just needed much more.

You said he gets into matches and unsafe objects. At his age I would still keep things like that in a place where he could not get into them. 5 is still to young to rely on a child to stay out of danger. You said he does not finish tasks independently, like cleaning his room. At 5, that is normal! Many 5 year olds (including my son at 5) are not able to be left unsupervised and stay on task with something that requires more than a moment's attention. They need reminders, directions, etc. to keep on task. You said your son does enjoy school time. Is it possible he craves structure? Some children do not cope well "being at loose ends". I would try spending some time snuggling with him on the sofa each morning, talking with him about creating "a plan" for the day. Let him think of a few things he wants to work on that day. Then when you find he is getting unfocused during the day, remind him of his idea's. Better yet, let him draw a "schedule" for himself each morning. He might really like feeling more in control of his day. It might reduce the negative attention getting behaviour, by making him feel "seen and heard" each morning, and more in control of what happens through the day.

Additionally, I would limit motivating any child to better behavior by phrasing it in terms of "my" needs or expectations. I try to phrase it in terms of the demands of the environment. Children are much less likely to become resentful and angered when they see it is not just mom or dad that limits their behaviour, it is a bigger picture. Instead of "I don't want to catch you playing in the kitchen or getting into your brothers school supplies", I would phrase it as "These cupboards have dangerous tools. Children can get hurt with them, so the lock is there to keep you safe. This cupboard has safe tools and pots in it. You can dig in there anytime. It's a nice feeling knowing you won't get hurt when you explore in here, isn't it?" or "Do you like these school supplies?Why do you like brothers better than your's?" then based on the answer, offer to spend time when he can use the older kids school supplies, or get him a set of his own. See what he would prefer.

Good luck. I'll keep you in my thoughts.


Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
heartmama is offline  
#5 of 5 Old 01-23-2003, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
hawleyclan's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Texas
Posts: 227
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi Ladies! Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post...

Looking back, I can see that it must have been a culmination of a few bad days in a row plus pregnancy hormones... plus insomnia... plus... plus... plus...

It is some comfort to know that I am not the only mother who has been blessed with a spunky little fireball...

The key seems to be for me to keep my cool, be firm, and remember that I am dealing with a sanguine who is brimming with energy and melodrama...

I take comfort also from the feedback I received from another mother who shared that her little fireball is now 23 and in college, and doing well. Her exortation to other moms raising these intense bundles of energy and creativity is that these children will grow up to be the movers and shakers of our world...

Makes the pill easier to swallow at any rate...

The Lord bless you all!
hawleyclan is offline  

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 14,442

26 members and 14,416 guests
agentofchaos , AnnPerkins , awill , BirthFree , cheeseRjedi , ClothBaby5 , Deborah , girlspn , IsaFrench , Katherine73 , Lolita2345 , manyhatsmom , moominmamma , Motherof3already , MountainMamaGC , NaturallyKait , RollerCoasterMama , samaxtics , Sonja416 , SPrada , sren , Tara 1st Timer , verticalscope
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.