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Challenging child, what is the right response

 
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amother




OP
 

Post  Sun, Mar 15 2020, 1:54 am
My very bright, 7.5 year old somehow got this notion that "before bar mitzvah mitzvos/aveiros don't count" and has started doing things like turning lights on/off on shabbos, playing with muktza toys, saying "I davened in my bed" and is generally being disrespectful to us, his parents, has said things like "I don't want to live here" and "I wish I was never born to this family". "You're so mean" etc.

I really don't think my rules are THAT different from other kids his age.

Yes, I know these are power-struggles and he's trying to provoke, but now given that we're going to be spending a LOT of time with each other over the next 2+ weeks, how to I communicate properly that I do love him, but he needs to respect his parents and keep the mitzvos like we teach him.

He is SUPER literal, not autistic, but he is talking back and using my exact words to disrespect and he thinks its funny.

He will be acting super-silly, or mean like today I was trying to daven mincha and he was asking me an inappropriate question and I was trying to ignore him, meanwhile he was trying to rip my siddur/turn the page in a rough way so that it would rip. I tried ignoring him, but then before he could ruin my siddur, I pulled his hand away and he moved in such a way that he tripped and fell, and then cried saying "What's wrong with you?!" Or there was another instance where he was dilberately not listening and making a mess in the bathroom when I was trying to move him along and just wash his hands and get out, he was trying to knock things into the sink and play with the water, so I was trying to give him a little nudge-potch and he reacted like I smacked him hard. Or I will tell him "get ready for bed" nicely like 5 times, finally when its close to the deadline or over the deadline my voice will get louder and sometimes to the point of yelling, when I get very frustrated with him he will say "Stop yelling at me"-- and its like "you weren't listening when I asked you nicely, I will stop yelling if you listen the first time"

He won't usually submit himself to a conversation to discuss his behavior. Even when I do get to *talking* to him he will say "You ALWAYS yell" and if I say "now I am talking" he will only focus on the yelling and not all of the other times I was trying to warn him and tell him nicely.

I know that R' Mechanic says that a lot of OTD starts with bad relationships with parents and I don't want to ruin my relationship with him. I've discussed taking him to a therapist, but he won't go and I don't know how to force him.
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smss




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Mar 15 2020, 2:04 am
Sounds so difficult! Look into Blimie Heller's parenting classes. She's also on Instagram @unconditionalparenting.
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amother




Scarlet
 

Post  Sun, Mar 15 2020, 2:14 am
Look into the nurtured heart approach. It’s supposed to be very effective. (And quick!)
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amother




Blush
 

Post  Sun, Mar 15 2020, 2:23 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
My very bright, 7.5 year old somehow got this notion that "before bar mitzvah mitzvos/aveiros don't count" and has started doing things like turning lights on/off on shabbos, playing with muktza toys, saying "I davened in my bed" and is generally being disrespectful to us, his parents, has said things like "I don't want to live here" and "I wish I was never born to this family". "You're so mean" etc.

I really don't think my rules are THAT different from other kids his age.

Yes, I know these are power-struggles and he's trying to provoke, but now given that we're going to be spending a LOT of time with each other over the next 2+ weeks, how to I communicate properly that I do love him, but he needs to respect his parents and keep the mitzvos like we teach him.

He is SUPER literal, not autistic, but he is talking back and using my exact words to disrespect and he thinks its funny.

He will be acting super-silly, or mean like today I was trying to daven mincha and he was asking me an inappropriate question and I was trying to ignore him, meanwhile he was trying to rip my siddur/turn the page in a rough way so that it would rip. I tried ignoring him, but then before he could ruin my siddur, I pulled his hand away and he moved in such a way that he tripped and fell, and then cried saying "What's wrong with you?!" Or there was another instance where he was dilberately not listening and making a mess in the bathroom when I was trying to move him along and just wash his hands and get out, he was trying to knock things into the sink and play with the water, so I was trying to give him a little nudge-potch and he reacted like I smacked him hard. Or I will tell him "get ready for bed" nicely like 5 times, finally when its close to the deadline or over the deadline my voice will get louder and sometimes to the point of yelling, when I get very frustrated with him he will say "Stop yelling at me"-- and its like "you weren't listening when I asked you nicely, I will stop yelling if you listen the first time"

He won't usually submit himself to a conversation to discuss his behavior. Even when I do get to *talking* to him he will say "You ALWAYS yell" and if I say "now I am talking" he will only focus on the yelling and not all of the other times I was trying to warn him and tell him nicely.

I know that R' Mechanic says that a lot of OTD starts with bad relationships with parents and I don't want to ruin my relationship with him. I've discussed taking him to a therapist, but he won't go and I don't know how to force him.


That is exactly (sans the "I dont need to do mitzvos before bar mitzvah" shenanigans) how my 6.5 yo kid with panda acts during a flare.
Down to the water play. And all that.
My kid will torture everyone around. Including a small baby. Laugh an evil laugh. But if I so much as touch him lightly to just nudge him along nonverbally, oh, all hell breaks loose!
He will try to provoke me and dh by any means. Nothing is off limits.
Also, my child has trouble regulating emotions, problem solving, reasoning, and impulse control issues. Including sensory seeking and avoident behaviour.
Was your child always like this?

This same child is completely different when not flaring. Totally unrecognizable. Such a sweet gentle soul, emotionally intelligent beyond his years. Kind and giving. Fun and happy. No sensory issues. Better impulse/self impulse control than most adults I know!
Last week, he did something dangerous to the baby. I told him to stop and he wouldnt. I gave him a strong potch. He stopped instantly, caressed his face, and walked off to cool off. 2 min later he was out and about like nothing happened.
He knew it was coming. I potch only for dangerous things that I dont get an immediate response.
In a flare, omg a potch would have put him onto such a rage that hed continue that behaviour only more violently. And would attack everyone around and cry for an hour or more.....
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amother




Lemon
 

Post  Sun, Mar 15 2020, 5:21 am
The world is full of children like this.

Hevlei Moshiach?

Help,!
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amother




OP
 

Post  Wed, Mar 25 2020, 1:58 am
amother [ Blush ] wrote:
That is exactly (sans the "I dont need to do mitzvos before bar mitzvah" shenanigans) how my 6.5 yo kid with panda acts during a flare.
Down to the water play. And all that.
My kid will torture everyone around. Including a small baby. Laugh an evil laugh. But if I so much as touch him lightly to just nudge him along nonverbally, oh, all hell breaks loose!
He will try to provoke me and dh by any means. Nothing is off limits.
Also, my child has trouble regulating emotions, problem solving, reasoning, and impulse control issues. Including sensory seeking and avoident behaviour.
Was your child always like this?

This same child is completely different when not flaring. Totally unrecognizable. Such a sweet gentle soul, emotionally intelligent beyond his years. Kind and giving. Fun and happy. No sensory issues. Better impulse/self impulse control than most adults I know!
Last week, he did something dangerous to the baby. I told him to stop and he wouldnt. I gave him a strong potch. He stopped instantly, caressed his face, and walked off to cool off. 2 min later he was out and about like nothing happened.
He knew it was coming. I potch only for dangerous things that I dont get an immediate response.
In a flare, omg a potch would have put him onto such a rage that hed continue that behaviour only more violently. And would attack everyone around and cry for an hour or more.....


His issues became noticeable around 18 months old when he would start having meltdowns and refuse to walk to his babysitter like a block away. I attributed it to gas. Then around 3 he started having tantrums when his baby sister learned to crawl and get into his toys and he wouldn't let us leave his sight--even just to take out the garbage. Now he's almost 8 and there are times when he's pleasant and very bright also, but so ungrateful, intolerant, uninterested in utilizing his intelligence properly, Mr. know-it-all, talks back. I used to be an "only potch for danger" Mommy, but he really does all he can to get in my way sometimes and I have to "forcefully swat" him away and he literally "crumples" and "wails", "What's WRONG with you?".

So I gave no specific consequence for Shabbos' incident. But what bothers me is that there's never any learning of what he did was wrong or carry-over with him. When he's in the right mood he'll remember all of the rules and abide by them and he's wonderful, but when he's in the wrong mood I can't seem to get anything through to him and I become the "Meanest Mommy" and he wants to run away.

Tonight I was in the middle of doing something for myself--a hobby--and was using my computer. The first time since this quarantine to work on my own project and he wanted to watch a movie using my computer. He's seen the movie twice already this week, I let them stay up to watch it both times, they were up WAY too late last night, and I said not tonight, he sat there insulting me, trying to hit me. I managed to stay calm and he eventually left.

This afternoon I made myself available to do a planting activity and he would not stop asking questions--not by itself a problem, but he wouldn't listen for the answer and would take everything I said literally and nitpick at every utterance that came out of my mouth. Like if I say "don' be so selfish" He would say "I'm not a fish". There are times we've called described him as a brat (he can be so demanding and ungrateful) and he'll say "I'm not a rat". His recent REALLY annoying behavior is that he'll SQUWACK loudly in your ear at random times--like a parrot.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm dealing with a personality disorder. I give him LOTS of attention, would much rather prefer positive but he doesn't really want to do anything with me and sometimes when I am doing something with him and he's excited he's full of this nervous energy it makes me crazy.
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TwinsMommy




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Mar 25 2020, 2:11 am
and you're sure there's no autism there? (I'm a mom of 2 with autism). The key to a lot of behaviors at this age is to figure out the function of the behavior-- is it for attention? for something tangible? sensory? For my daughter who is an attention hog I do a lot of ignoring of behaviors that parents of neurotypical children would NEVER ignore. I quietly take away her "currency" while leaving the room. If she's reading a fave book I take it with me. If she's on the ipad I take it with me and put a passcode on it. etc. Ignoring all screaming except when she attacks her brother. When she's calm, then I talk to her and demand an apology. No, it doesn't stop the behavior from happening next time, but it cuts the duration of the episode in a big way. Talking back to her (I don't potch, ever) or reasoning with her---- I know it won't work for a lot of things to cut her meltdown from 30 minutes to 5 minutes.

PS--- maybe don't describe him as a brat--- try telling him you know that he's such a good boy and he has some trouble with some behaviors and he's still learning....

hatzlacha!
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TwinsMommy




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Mar 25 2020, 2:16 am
oh I forgot to add---- I used to hide muktzeh every Friday afternoon until I could trust my kids to avoid it (they were older than yours by the time I stopped hiding it all I think)--- -also I ALWAYS tape lights every Friday afternoon--not just for the kids-- it's a reminder for all of us because I've turned off the bathroom light at 3:00 am on Shabbos when I haven't taped lights--- when lights are taped, I reach for it and... oh right--- Shabbos!
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crust




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Mar 25 2020, 2:22 am
I really feel for you OP.
I once heard that every parent has one child that will make them be zoche to Olam haba.

I also heard a story from Reb Elimelech Biederman which is too long to repeat here but in short there was a big Gadol that had tremendous tzar giddul bonim from one of his sons. He called him my Olam Habba.

What I'm trying to say is that some children are just so challenging its impossible that they just so happened to be thrown into our homes.
Remembering that there is a higher purpose to this is somewhat comforting and lets us relax.

Relaxing helps us realize it's not because of us. The problem this child has was given to us by Hashem. It was not created by us.

When we are not stressed out about it we can think logically like;
Why is he saying or doing this?

Is it a teaching moment for him for myself?

What does Hashem want me to do in order to help this child?

When we start thinking this way, everything becomes about the child and about our tafkid to Hkb"h. It's so much easier.
It's so liberating to be out of the picture!


If we remember that Chinuch is never about the moment we can remain calm in times like the ones you had with him at Mincha. (I think you did a great job there).


If you ask me, I dont think at this age you should think of a personality disorder.

What I'm reading in your posts is impulsivity more than anything else. I think ADHD is more applicable at 7 years old.

Yes children with ADHD can be soft mature kind and super kids one minute and the exact opposite the next minute.

Have you asked a proffesional? He might be a good candidate for meds.

The more you refrain from calling him brat or selfish the less work you will have in rebuilding this child once he is on proper meds or therapy.


Good luck!
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Mar 25 2020, 6:46 am
Once all this is past, it sounds like a neuropsych eval would be a good idea.

The behavior you describe is common with certain diagnoses (ADHD, ASD, NVLD, PANDAS). But regardless of diagnosis, there are things you can do, especially when at home during this time.

1. Amother Scarlet suggested the Nurtured Heart approach. I agree, 100%. Read about it, follow the steps in order. It really helps! ONLY AFTER you have done the first steps will you be likely to have success moving on to the rest of what I say here. You absolutely must reestablish the relationship first. It will help you find ways to state things positively ("pick up that toy right now please" rather than, "you're being selfish leaving your toys out like that".)

2. Figure out a quiet time to decide on family rules. Some children need structure. If one night they can stay up late, and the next night they can't, they get angry and confused.

3. Have a family meeting where you review the rules and the consequences for breaking them. Write them down, and post them in several places.

4. Make a schedule, and give it a good 2 weeks before making exceptions, if possible. When you have an exception, state it. "Just for tonight, because ______, you all can stay up late. But tomorrow, back to regular bedtime. Understand?"

Hatzlacha! This time at home together might lead to some very positive changes!
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Mar 25 2020, 7:14 am
I'm sorry, but "I'm not a FISH!" made me LOL so hard! LOL

You son sounds extremely bright. I do think that a thorough evaluation is in order, to rule things out if nothing more.

When he is throwing things, grabbing, etc. do you take the item away from him, and tell him that he won't get it back until he can prove to you that he can behave? That always worked wonders with DD.

She was also a very difficult child, until I got her tonsils out. Within 36 hours it was like I got a whole new kid. She was harboring drug resistant strep in her tonsils and adenoids, and no amount of antibiotics were able to clear it up. After we got that resolved, she was so sunny, sweet, and cooperative it was amazing.

Hang in there. It sounds like whatever he's dealing with, you shouldn't take it personally. He's obviously struggling with something that doesn't have anything to do with how well you are raising him.
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Jewishmom8




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Mar 25 2020, 9:27 am
amother [ Blush ] wrote:
That is exactly (sans the "I dont need to do mitzvos before bar mitzvah" shenanigans) how my 6.5 yo kid with panda acts during a flare.
Down to the water play. And all that.
My kid will torture everyone around. Including a small baby. Laugh an evil laugh. But if I so much as touch him lightly to just nudge him along nonverbally, oh, all hell breaks loose!
He will try to provoke me and dh by any means. Nothing is off limits.
Also, my child has trouble regulating emotions, problem solving, reasoning, and impulse control issues. Including sensory seeking and avoident behaviour.
Was your child always like this?

This same child is completely different when not flaring. Totally unrecognizable. Such a sweet gentle soul, emotionally intelligent beyond his years. Kind and giving. Fun and happy. No sensory issues. Better impulse/self impulse control than most adults I know!
Last week, he did something dangerous to the baby. I told him to stop and he wouldnt. I gave him a strong potch. He stopped instantly, caressed his face, and walked off to cool off. 2 min later he was out and about like nothing happened.
He knew it was coming. I potch only for dangerous things that I dont get an immediate response.
In a flare, omg a potch would have put him onto such a rage that hed continue that behaviour only more violently. And would attack everyone around and cry for an hour or more.....

omg

I just wanted to say that sounds exactly like my son who has pandas

exactly!!
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dancingqueen




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Mar 25 2020, 10:01 am
Around 18 months is when many developmental disorders become noticeable, such as autism. But with or without a diagnosis you have a very combative relationship with him, with a lot of hitting and name calling based on what you write here. Hugs it sounds tough.
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