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Dr. Paige
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1368
Experience:  Psychologist; Parent
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My beautiful, smart and energetic 7 year old is stretching

Resolved Question:

My beautiful, smart and energetic 7 year old is stretching me to my limits. Tonight he 'kicked off' when his gums bled during teeth cleaning and I said I should clean his teeth for the next week. This continued while in bed and eventually I said to him if he continued to behave in an way that wasn't using his 'normal voice' I couldn't read him his bedtime story. He continued to thrash about in the bed. At this point I leaned over to kiss him goodnight as he was still screaming and thrashing about in bed. He jumped up and his head collided with my eye. I have a huge 'egg' just below my eyebrow and my eye is bruising. I have cried all night...not because of my eye but because I don't know what to do next. My Husband went in to see our son and told him he knew it was an accident but because of his temper, he had given Mummy a black eye. I also spoke with him and acknowledged his annoyance and the fact the head/eye clash was unintentional but also that this had caused injury. He fell asleep in tears. This is what our lives are like everyday and I am at breaking point. We love our Son very much and want to parent him in a way that enables him to be a strong, secure, responsible and loved child and adult. What can we do? Thank you for listening, Steph.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 1 year ago.

jenhelant :

Hi, I would like to help. What disciple methods have you tried so far?

Customer:

Hi there,

Customer:

We try to keep consequences immediate and inline with the behaviour. We don't smack. If our Son is being defiant we will give one chance to stop the behaviour. If this is ignored, we will impose a sanction such as withdrawing a privilege. We try to ensure any outdoor play eg trip to park or skatepark are not withdrawn as he responds much better after exercise and outdoor play.

Customer:

We also reward positive behaviour through a marble jar. For actions that shows responsible, kind or positive behaviour we award a marble. At the end of the week we count the marbles and if an agreed total has been reached then Ethan will get to choose his reward. It might be a morning at work wit Dad or a milkshake with Mum or a trip to the indoor skate park.

jenhelant :

Thanks for explaining. I understand how difficult this can situation can be when you feel you are doing your best and still not working. This can be frustrating. The marble jar is nice. When you do take away a privilege when he misbehaves how does he react? Also, what does he do with his time when that particular privilege is taken away?

Customer:

He is at the stage where he reacts ok...we may have some initial opposition but he does follow through with the consequence. The main privilege he has is 30 mins each day (Except Monday as we have sport and it it is too much to squeeze in) on the xbox. If this is withdrawn he will either read, draw or play lego. We try not to have chores as part of discipline unless it directly relates to something he has done.

Customer:

If he is being really rude or obnoxious then we may ask him to have some time in is room to think about how he has responded. We acknowledge his displeasure or disappointment and encourage him to have some time to calm down so that he can tell us what the problem is. He can articulate very well and we do resolve issues. It's just that this can happen 3 times a day (after school hours). We also have 14 and 13 year old Sons.

jenhelant :

It sounds like you are very organized and on track. Some children go through phases. Just be sure to discipline each behavior he does. Consistency is very important. If you take away ex box then it may not be a good idea to allow him to play legos. If he has something else "fun: to do then he will not feel the consequences. I agree that punishing with chores would not be a good idea. You may also want to try time outs where when he does this type of behavior you explained. This would consist something like standing in the corner for 15 minutes or etc together with getting a privilege taken away. As for the rude behavior

jenhelant :

that can be a challenge in day to day life especially if happening so often. It may be coming a cycle to him at this point. He is rude, goes to his room, then talks. It is good to talk about this, so he can understand why it is wrong and you will understand him better, but you may want to send him in a time out rather his room. I would not recommend his room to be a site for punishment.

jenhelant :

You may want to let him know if this continues his punishments will be increased. Children are very smart and they play on our emotions.

jenhelant :

It may be a good idea to take away privilege for the rudeness as well. It is very important he respects you and knows his boundaries because it will only get worse with age.

jenhelant :

The main thing here is consistency and being patient. Sometimes we do not see the results of our hard work right away. It may take some time, but if you continue then you should have good results in the future.

Customer:

Should have explained better - we don't use his room as punishment. It's more that it is a safe space for him to think in private and to be alone for a while. He will be 8 next month and this has been our lives for the past 6 years. He has been assessed in school using various checklists for ODD, ADHD, ASD but does not fit any of these. I work at the same school and the teachers that work with him are marvellous. He is very bright but often appears 'disengaged' in class. There is a long standing history of impulsive behaviour and 'copying' naughty behaviour. He also has history of chronic constipation since I stopped breastfeeding at 6 months. We have recently been attending a paediatric chiropractor. After initial success we have now returned to 5-7 day intervals between bowel movements (inspite of daily medication and dietary measures). I have no doubt this is tied into the problem.

Customer:

Please tell me I didn't pay $18 to be told not to let me Son play lego! Is that the end of the chat?

jenhelant :

Hi, I apologize for being away. When you are back online we can continue the chat. Also, the money you paid is just your deposit. You only pay when you accept an answer.

jenhelant :

It may be better for you to speak to a medical doctor on this site or someone in the mental health field since this issue seems a little deeper than parenting. Would you like me to see if I can switch the category for you?

Customer: Yes please. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 1 year ago.
Hello. I will try and help a bit here, but from what I have read, you and you husband are excellent parents and are doing everything correctly. Sometimes, no matter what we as parents do or don't do, children still have behavior issues. Being consistant is the key as Jen had mentioned. This is an issue what requires ongoing care and observation and it sounds as though you have some support in that area as well. I would recommend a book to you which has helped many parents in the exact same situation as you are. It is called SOS: Help for Parents by Lynn Clark, PhD.
This is not an easy question/answer situation where there is one answer I can give which would solve all of your issues. All children are different and react differently to rewards, discipline, etc.
I would make sure that you continue to have adult level conversations with him about his behavior and the concequenses, make sure you reward positive behavior, be consistant and try to stay positive. If you find yourself losing patience, ask your husband to help while you take a few minutes for yourself. It sounds as though you are doing most if not all of these things. Most instances such as this are phases, especially with young boys. As long as you have a dialog with him about it and remain calm, he will realize he cannot get a reaction from you unless he is exhibiting good behavior.
The fact that you talk and get results is a sign that what you are doing IS working, even if you do have to do this 3 times a day, keep doing this. It will pay off.
As far as his constipation, going to the chiropractor is what I would have recommended. I know you have taken a step back in the progress, but if you add some massage to his treatment, this may help. If it continues, I would seek the help of a Gastro specialist who can look into other causes.
Overall, I think you are doing a good job. I know it seems like you are not getting anywhere and you are frustrated, but any advice I would give you would be what you are doing. Continue the dialog, try to keep your patience. Ask him a lot of questions about how he feels and keep rewarding the good.
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1368
Experience: Psychologist; Parent
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