M.D. asks from Rochester, NY on July 22, 2009
5 Year Old Defiance
I am new here. I found mamasource from a google search...I searched because I am at my wits end and need A. to speak with others who may understand and B. get some "tried and true" advice.
I am a teacher on summer vacation and, as such, have been spending a lot of time with my son lately. So far, summer has been stressful. My son seems to expect my constant attention and constant entertainment and when he doesn't get it (and sometimes even when he does) he does everything wrong; defies me, hits people, breaks all of the known "rules," etc. I know that some of this is age and gender appropriate and that some is likely the impulsivity of ADHD, but I'm losing patience and running out of ideas with regard to discipline/consequences. We have a system in place which involves a 3 chances per day to make mistakes...if any chances remain at the end of a day, we call it a good day and he gets a magnet on a calendar for each chance remaining...then a small toy or other reward for every 10 magnets. If he keeps all 3 chances in a day, he gets a special token gift. (usually a Pokemon card.) Discipline usually consists of time outs.
It is so important to me to raise a respectful, decent, happy young man and at the end of the day I just don't feel successful.
I'm not sure that that is enough for you to go on, but can't wait for some feedback.
2 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
We had a great day today!!!
Thanks so much for all of your input...I feel better just having vented and heard from people who get it. I will follow up on your links and book suggestion and come up with some sort of new chart plan.
K.H. answers from New York on July 23, 2009
Is he getting services from the school district? If not, request an evaluation right away and get their services. It will help tremendously! If you are, call them and request more services.
N.H. answers from New York on July 23, 2009
As a teacher, I'm sure you've heard something about 1 - 2 - 3 Magic. I've seen flyers sent home with my children notifying parents of classes at the school. It is very benificial. It works with my kids, I have 4.
You didn't state how many good days you've had in the last couple weeks, or how many bad days. I am assuming that the bad outweighs the good days?
Have you thought about taking away a "chance" and have him only start out with 2, then, if there is more, they carry over to the next day?
Or offer something a little better than a sticker, like take him out for ice cream, a special day at the local pool, or park/playground, a hiking trip, a playdate, or just out to lunch. Something away from the house, different, something you don't usually do together/or do often.
Tell him ahead of time, when you both wake, that you would like to take him out tonight for ice cream, but only if he doesnt use all of his chances.
Try one change at a time, like better things to look forward to, first, then if that doesnt work after a week, take away 1 chance per day, and keep minor, cheap extra treats.
This may have been a little confusing, sorry, it all kind out popped out of my head. You'll figure something out.
I know, its hard to keep kids occupied all day long. And it can get expensive trying to treat them when they are good.
I do not like seeing kids diagnosed with adhd, and medicated. I do understand that some kids do need help with this, but most, I think only need to be stimulated, find something to keep the kids busy, keep the minds busy and learning.
I have no clue what to do with my 8 year old son around the house here, so I send him to my parents. He hangs with his pop-pop, helps him fix lawn mowers/cars/tractors/tires, chop & stack wood, (anything my dad can get his hands on), mows the lawn, weeds the garden, rides his bike, fixes his bike. Everything that his pop-pop does.
Does your son have a man close in his life that he can learn these things from? It may help alot to keep him busy, entertained.
1 mom found this helpful
M.B. answers from Rochester on July 23, 2009
Wow, there wasn't much here that I gave you - just my thoughts really.
Not instead of activities but in addition to them - take him to the park. You don't have to run around. If there are undesirable influences there you can find another one. Get a soccer ball on a tether. he can kick the ball back to himself. :)
Bring lots of little snacks, too - healthy and stuff that boosts his protein a little in between meals. Sometimes hyper is because of hunger or thirst. His own water bottle would be great. (I always pack TP & soap for the park - bc they don't want to stop playing!)
Back to my original post:
Nothing is an instant fix.
You will get new ideas and new perspectives. Above all, you might find a new level of closeness with your son.
Be sure to read the introduction.
Discipline to my understanding teaches the correct behavior. We all learn as a result of being taught over and over and over again what is the right way to do something. As adults, we can make the connections faster and sometimes if not most get it on the first try. Kids don't have this advantage.
It's hard not to lose your cool, but keeping it will help your son learn something else: keeping his cool.
I wish you luck and send hope that your son will be able to discipline his actions by himself soon.
N.D. answers from New York on July 23, 2009
The fact that you are on summer vacation and spending more time with your son seems to tell the story. He is testing you and enjoying your attention..good or bad. The testing isnt working since you give him 3 chances to mess up. He cant figure out his limits if he is allowed to mess up at all. Instead of 3 chances to mess up, give him to the count of 3 to STOP whatever he is doing. At his age he needs to be reminded often that he is breaking the rules.
You want him to say please and thank you and be respectful, then dont give him what he wants unless he says it. I always said "I cant hear you." Or "whats the magic word?" They do forget and so do adults. Soon all you will need to do is look at him expectantly and he will remember. You can see the little wheels turning and then the light dawning.
As far as the ADHD is concerned are you sure he just isnt a normal active 5 y/o? Is he getting enough exercise? Kids especially boys that age have an extraordinary amount of energy. Also a very short attention span, well its really that so much interests them that they jump from one thing to another, this is great for their development, but hard on the parent.
When it comes to hitting he should not get a warning, he is old enough to know its wrong. Immediately give him a time out, no warning, no scolding. After the time is up ask him if he knows why. he will know. Then tell him you will not tolerate hurting other people or animals. Hug him and send him off to play.
When he defies you,do you argue? This is giving him the attention he needs, warn him to behave, count and punish. Dont argue, this is an easy trap for a parent to get into and it never works.
Now perhaps your expectations are too high. I dont know, but you mentioned he constantly breaks "all of the known" rules. Perhaps there are too many rules. He isnt in school and you shouldn't expect him to behave as your students do. Try to see if you cant ease up on some of the rules and spend more time having FUN.
K.Z. answers from New York on July 23, 2009
Hi M., and welcome!
I can't offer any personal advice as I don't have a child with ADHD, but I can share what has worked for my cousin who has a seven year old with ADHD. She's struggled with him last summer and keeping him busy, and what she finally did was enroll him in morning camps this summer. He worked with her on picking the camps that interested him the most (mostly sports, but he did go to one art camp and in August he's going to a computer camp), and he goes from 8-12 p.m. every morning. A few of the camps offer lunch, and he decided he wanted to stay through lunch so he could talk to his friends. My cousin felt a bit guilty at first, but he loves it and it gives her time to spend with her other kids without the fear of the ADHD acting up.
On a related note, my cousin also completely eliminated Red 40 food dye from her son's diet, and that helped dramatically with her behavioral problems. I'm not sure if it will work for you, but it is worth suggesting.
My best to you!
A.C. answers from New York on July 23, 2009
Most of the response I read seems like good advice and information that you can take to tailor to you and your child's needs. If you're interested in reading, there is a wonderful book about children who have challenging behavior, it's called "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I think that you can a lot of great ideas from this author. Ideas that will probably be more beneficial for you at this moment. I hope that you have the opportunity to read it. A.
K.S. answers from New York on July 23, 2009
I really feel for you and your son and I hope you can find some answers. I also have a 5 year old son who I stay home with. I think your expectations are a little to high. Five years olds make mistakes... it's how they learn. It's also part of how they test their boundaries. They want to see how far they can push the rules.
As far as your 3 chance plan I think it's unfair & unrealistic. I'm sure you make mistakes every day, possibly 3 or more in a day and you're an adult. Mistakes makes us human.
Try to see him as a fun adventurous boy and enjoy the fun times. Reward and recognize the good behavior. It reenforces it and if he sees it makes you proud he'll continue to do it. Recognize the little things too... like dressing himself and brushing his teeth. Try to focus more on the good things he does because the bad things will decrease and they won't bother you as much.
Just remember that he's not one of your high school students so don't expect him to act like them and please don't label him. So many teachers are quick to label little boys. Boys just need some time to run & play and some boundaries where it's o.k. for them to be active healthy boys. Be patient and just remember he won't be five for long! All the best!
D.R. answers from New York on July 22, 2009
hi M., i struggle with my 6 year old too, he just seems to require so much more attention than the other 2. i guess maybe its a first born thing. anyway, one thing that struck me about your post is your discipline/reward system. i think that a full day is just too long for most 5 year olds, and especially if your son has adhd, or just adhd tendencies. i think you are setting him up for failure without meaning to, its just too overwhelming. i would shoot for a much smaller block of time, and fewer tokens or whatever, so he can experience more immediate and meaningful rewards and consequences. at 5 years old, time on a clock probably doesnt mean much to him, i would think of a way to break up your day that makes sense with your routines, ... also, chances "to make mistakes" is very broad and nonspecific, it expects an awful lot of any 5 year old. unless thats just how you were wording it to sum up for your posting? i would do something like, if you can keep your hands to yourself from now until lunch, or whatever, then you earn....etc.... try to focus on one or 2 behaviors at a time, whatever is most important to you, and whatever you think he can succeed at right away so he gets a real taste not only of your rewards, but much more importantly of your genuine and very enthusiastic (overly) praise and attention. i know you must be exhausted, and it can be so tough to muster up that kind of of emotion by late in the day (or even early in the day, some days!), but it sounds like that is all he really wants anyway, not so much trinkets, which im sure he likes, but your attention and time. try rewards like that, it might be more effective. if you get ready quickly/pick up your things/have good manners during lunch/play with your toys while i make dinner/whatever ..... we will go for a walk together/play one game of....., something like that. the time you invest now will pay off later. i have tried so many different reward systems, charts, tokens, prizes, etc. in the end, i find it much more effective to keep it simple, and that my big smiles and hugs and genuine words of praise and appreciation and reiterating what they did right and why it was good, and time spent together is the most effective. (and time outs too, make sure he is truly miserable if you are giving time outs, lots of times they really dont mind, be sure your negative consequences ARE negative to him) oh, and dont underestimate the power of good old exhaustion, he might need to burn off more energy in a positive way. go do something physical, swimming really wipes them out! plus it can be really nice quality time for the 2 of you. i know its hard, and i often need to take my own advice, but try to look at the summer not as something to survive, but as precious time during which you have full control and can really focus on him and turning things around a bit. i wish you all the best. i am a stay at home mom, and hubby works hard and i often feel like i do everything, and i catch myself thinking that i feel like a single mom sometimes, then i think to myself, holy cow, i have some nerve because i cannot imagine how actual single moms do it! i give you so much credit. ...and i was a teacher before i started having kids, and i know how all consuming and exhausting and unappreciated that often is, so you really have your hands full. i wish you both all the best, really. i hope you enjoy the summer.
A.R. answers from Albany on July 23, 2009
Hi M.-my 5 year old has been going thru the same thing-acting rude and breaking the rules. We went back to daily treats for 1-2 weeks for good behavior on her chart and also some more down time in her day and she eventually turned it around. I know it's not easy!!!