View Full Version : Discipline Advice


mrs40something
02-01-17, 06:22 PM
Hi there. I am new here! My 5 year old son is being referred with suspected ADHD and possibly ODD. I have always known he was different. Even from a baby. Very demanding, sleep problems and clingy. Once a toddler he was always doing something he shouldn't - smearing body cream all over my daughters carpet, smearing a tube of oil paint all over my sons carpet, smearing toothpaste all over the toilet, himself etc!! Since then he has been very defiant at home, but never any issues at pre-school. Now in Reception of full time school and in the last couple of months his behaviour is going downhill. Being defiant with teachers etc, and yet more issues at home - blocking the sink, scribbling with felt pen on the hallway ceiling (a budding Michelangelo, I am suspecting and hoping!!).
However, my question is in regards to discipline and how to deal with these episodes and defiance. I have always been strict, but as the GP said, when my son says he does not know why he has done these things, that is because he probably doesn't know why and doesn't even understand it is wrong. If that is the case how do you deal with it? He obviously still needs to be told it is wrong, but to what extent do you punish? Do you take away treats etc as he hasn't been naughty, he cannot help it? I am confused! As we now have about a 3 month waiting list before he is diagnosed with whatever, I would be grateful for some advise in the meantime as to how to handle his behaviour. When he is good he is such a loving, caring boy, and it makes me so sad to think that all these things he has done, he couldn't help it and doesn't know why. I really don't want him getting a 'label' of naughty boy for himself. Any advice appreciated. :)

Lunacie
02-01-17, 09:01 PM
In my experience, first you need to understand ADHD so you'll know which
things can and should be corrected, and then what methods are most effective.


There's some very good advice here: Dizfriz's Corner (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60130), and other sticky threads
at the top of the parenting sub-forum.

I highly recommend a book called "Parenting With Love and Logic."
Also "The Explosive Child" by Dr. Ross Greene for ODD.

When children are expected to meet standards that are just not possible for
them, they naturally get very frustrated. It's not that they can't learn what is
right and what is wrong, it's getting that information to influence them at the
proper times.

Dr. Russell Barkley (look for his youtube videos) says that it's not a matter
of knowing what to do, it's a problem with being able to do what you know.

Sadly, my granddaughter expressed a lot of defiance until she medicated,
at which point it was like a missing connection had finally been made and
part of her brain got turned on and she stopped arguing about everything. :D

sarahsweets
02-02-17, 06:42 AM
He obviously still needs to be told it is wrong, but to what extent do you punish? Do you take away treats etc as he hasn't been naughty, he cannot help it?
Thats the thing, you dont punish. You have to make sure you are looking to change the behavior not punish the child for doing it.

Caco3girl
02-02-17, 09:22 AM
I don't have much experience with this but I have to say if you have told the child not to draw on the wall, and he still draws on the wall I would adapt. My ADHD kid needs rules, but he also needs to be able to follow his compulsions.

If I were you I would paint a room in a high gloss paint and find markers that can be easily cleaned off. If he absolutely HAS to draw on a wall then make a wall that is cleanable and make sure HE knows how to clean it.

I would also talk to him about how his behavior affects others. My son responds well when I explain "I understand why you felt you needed to open the paint and see what it looked like, but do you understand that it wasn't your room and your things and Johnny didn't want paint on his carpet? That wasn't very nice of you to damage HIS things, and now he is sad. Next time come ask me where you can play with paint, or toothpaste, I'm sure we can come up with a place that won't hurt anyone's feelings."

Little Missy
02-02-17, 10:58 AM
Hi there. I am new here! My 5 year old son is being referred with suspected ADHD and possibly ODD. I have always known he was different. Even from a baby. Very demanding, sleep problems and clingy. Once a toddler he was always doing something he shouldn't - smearing body cream all over my daughters carpet, smearing a tube of oil paint all over my sons carpet, smearing toothpaste all over the toilet, himself etc!! Since then he has been very defiant at home, but never any issues at pre-school. Now in Reception of full time school and in the last couple of months his behaviour is going downhill. Being defiant with teachers etc, and yet more issues at home - blocking the sink, scribbling with felt pen on the hallway ceiling (a budding Michelangelo, I am suspecting and hoping!!).
However, my question is in regards to discipline and how to deal with these episodes and defiance. I have always been strict, but as the GP said, when my son says he does not know why he has done these things, that is because he probably doesn't know why and doesn't even understand it is wrong. If that is the case how do you deal with it? He obviously still needs to be told it is wrong, but to what extent do you punish? Do you take away treats etc as he hasn't been naughty, he cannot help it? I am confused! As we now have about a 3 month waiting list before he is diagnosed with whatever, I would be grateful for some advise in the meantime as to how to handle his behaviour. When he is good he is such a loving, caring boy, and it makes me so sad to think that all these things he has done, he couldn't help it and doesn't know why. I really don't want him getting a 'label' of naughty boy for himself. Any advice appreciated. :)

It would be a lot easier if he was watched more closely and the offending items were not able for him to get a hold of. But hey, I have never encountered any of this in my life. If he can't get to them, he can't schmear up the place and himself. Stop it before it can happen, perhaps, because things can go a lot farther south in 3 months.

mrs40something
02-02-17, 05:43 PM
It would be a lot easier if he was watched more closely and the offending items were not able for him to get a hold of. But hey, I have never encountered any of this in my life. If he can't get to them, he can't schmear up the place and himself. Stop it before it can happen, perhaps, because things can go a lot farther south in 3 months.

It is quite impossible to monitor a 5 year old 24/7. When he says he needs the toilet, I trust him to do this and 99% of the time he does just that. And in a house with 2 older children (16 and 13), it would be very difficult other than to lock away any pen/pencil/crayon/felt/toothpaste etc. Even if we did, I suspect he would find something. That is what is so hard. He does things you wouldn't even think of a child doing. But he is watched, I just don't think it's feasible to follow and watch him constantly. As this has started to get worse over the last couple of weeks though I am more conscious of when he is not in sight of knowing where he is and what he is doing.

mrs40something
02-02-17, 05:47 PM
I don't have much experience with this but I have to say if you have told the child not to draw on the wall, and he still draws on the wall I would adapt. My ADHD kid needs rules, but he also needs to be able to follow his compulsions.

If I were you I would paint a room in a high gloss paint and find markers that can be easily cleaned off. If he absolutely HAS to draw on a wall then make a wall that is cleanable and make sure HE knows how to clean it.

I would also talk to him about how his behavior affects others. My son responds well when I explain "I understand why you felt you needed to open the paint and see what it looked like, but do you understand that it wasn't your room and your things and Johnny didn't want paint on his carpet? That wasn't very nice of you to damage HIS things, and now he is sad. Next time come ask me where you can play with paint, or toothpaste, I'm sure we can come up with a place that won't hurt anyone's feelings."

Thank you. That is quite helpful. I may look into painting one wall of his room with chalkboard paint and that is his easel to do as he wants. I don't want to hold him back and banish him wanting to use pens/pencils and he obviously needs to do this to learn pen control and writing, which he really enjoys and thrives doing. I do try to tell him how it makes me sad (especially when he put my fabric hand made doorstop in the bin!) but he doesn't seem phased sometimes by this. Other times if I get to the point of crying, he gets upset and cries too. He is a caring boy, and hoping that if we can just keep reiterating that his behaviour makes us sad, it may make a difference.

Caco3girl
02-03-17, 09:50 AM
Thank you. That is quite helpful. I may look into painting one wall of his room with chalkboard paint and that is his easel to do as he wants. I don't want to hold him back and banish him wanting to use pens/pencils and he obviously needs to do this to learn pen control and writing, which he really enjoys and thrives doing. I do try to tell him how it makes me sad (especially when he put my fabric hand made doorstop in the bin!) but he doesn't seem phased sometimes by this. Other times if I get to the point of crying, he gets upset and cries too. He is a caring boy, and hoping that if we can just keep reiterating that his behaviour makes us sad, it may make a difference.

Like I said I don't have much experience, just with my own kid, and he's fairly mild. I think the key to my kid isn't trying to stop the behavior, it's to get him to pause the compulsion long enough so it is a less destructive behavior.

Have a conversation with your kid about if he was allowed to draw on a wall in his room, without getting into trouble, could he stop drawing on other walls? I've found that my kid will usually tell me the truth about his compulsions if asked a direct question. If his answer is "I don't know", then I would ask him if he has any ideas of what would help him to not draw on other walls. Surprisingly, sometimes he actually does have a good idea on what would help him stop doing certain compulsions.

dvdnvwls
02-03-17, 12:09 PM
It can be hard sometimes to remember that despite the behaviour your son will always be immature for his age and hypersensitive.

sarahsweets
02-09-17, 04:59 AM
It can be hard sometimes to remember that despite the behaviour your son will always be immature for his age and hypersensitive.

This is a good point and something I forgot. ADHD have an emotional maturity that is 30% less then their peers. (am I explaining that right?). So if he is 12, his maturity level would actually be about 7 or 8.

Duckgrl
02-10-17, 10:50 AM
Our son is now 8 and has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD and possibly ASD. We have started medication for adhd and it definitely helps with school, but not the ODD. Based on what you've described, i wonder if your son has some sensory things going on too? Certainly some executive function challenges, which are typical of ADHD.

We have learned (continually learn) that threats just do not work the way they work for other kids. Instead, average things must be rewarded and rewards must be immediate. It took a long time for me to get on board with this and i still struggle, because he's 8 and i should not have to cajole him into taking a bath every night (!). I recommend trying to set him up for success. If he's scattered in the morning, give him a white board with a check off list of things he needs to do to get ready. He can check them off as he goes. If he gets them all done, he gets a small reward. With my son, he gets 1 tv show. This list has really helped. We started it when he was in K. We have also made things in to a game: I bet you can't get dressed in 2 minutes. If you do, you'll get 2 pokeman cards.

My son is very jealous of attention paid to his sister. Often his bad behavior stems right from this. Look in to Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) which is a step by step protocol for playing with your child, during short, dedicated sessions, that are intended to build his confidence while also shaping him to follow your directions. It is the gold standard for ODD treatment as meds sometimes don't help. We've done this and now have documented house rules (there are only a few), which if broken result in time out (a more effective kind of time out than we used to give). We also have a daily score sheet for behavior. If he has enough points, he can use them for privileges - TV, extra time with a parent, ice cream at mcdonalds etc. None of those things are free any more.

We were also helped by reading the book Parenting your Strong-Willed Child. It helped me feel less alone. We are now reading The Explosive Child, which has you work with your child to 'drill down' to their issue, then you work collaboratively to come up with a solution. This has been very hard with an 8 year old who only wants to argue and complain, so i suspect it would also be hard with a 5 year old, but it's good to know about.

I worry about the comment of crying to get him to understand the impact of his behavior. While this works (and i've done it too), I worry this adds additional guilt for him. AHDH is a neurological impairment and he can't control it. Its hard to deal with, just something to be aware of.

Best of luck to you,

mrs40something
02-11-17, 05:34 PM
Our son is now 8 and has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD and possibly ASD. We have started medication for adhd and it definitely helps with school, but not the ODD. Based on what you've described, i wonder if your son has some sensory things going on too? Certainly some executive function challenges, which are typical of ADHD.

We have learned (continually learn) that threats just do not work the way they work for other kids. Instead, average things must be rewarded and rewards must be immediate. It took a long time for me to get on board with this and i still struggle, because he's 8 and i should not have to cajole him into taking a bath every night (!). I recommend trying to set him up for success. If he's scattered in the morning, give him a white board with a check off list of things he needs to do to get ready. He can check them off as he goes. If he gets them all done, he gets a small reward. With my son, he gets 1 tv show. This list has really helped. We started it when he was in K. We have also made things in to a game: I bet you can't get dressed in 2 minutes. If you do, you'll get 2 pokeman cards.

My son is very jealous of attention paid to his sister. Often his bad behavior stems right from this. Look in to Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) which is a step by step protocol for playing with your child, during short, dedicated sessions, that are intended to build his confidence while also shaping him to follow your directions. It is the gold standard for ODD treatment as meds sometimes don't help. We've done this and now have documented house rules (there are only a few), which if broken result in time out (a more effective kind of time out than we used to give). We also have a daily score sheet for behavior. If he has enough points, he can use them for privileges - TV, extra time with a parent, ice cream at mcdonalds etc. None of those things are free any more.

We were also helped by reading the book Parenting your Strong-Willed Child. It helped me feel less alone. We are now reading The Explosive Child, which has you work with your child to 'drill down' to their issue, then you work collaboratively to come up with a solution. This has been very hard with an 8 year old who only wants to argue and complain, so i suspect it would also be hard with a 5 year old, but it's good to know about.

I worry about the comment of crying to get him to understand the impact of his behavior. While this works (and i've done it too), I worry this adds additional guilt for him. AHDH is a neurological impairment and he can't control it. Its hard to deal with, just something to be aware of.

Best of luck to you,

Thank you so much!!That advice is invaluable as so far feel helpless. It was a bad day today. He did inadvertently tip over a full glass of coke and then says he needed to go and turn off the tap upstairs!! Found he had put his sock over the tap and left it running. No damage done this time, but it tipped me and I did break down as it feels relentless now, everyday he does something. He has also bitten someone this week, which he has never done. GP has recommend ringing Barnardos and a charity called Families First, which i will be doing Monday. But the books are going on my list to purchase right now.
This is what I find hard, knowing how to manage this and will he get worse, before hopefully getting better. I just want him to be able to live a happy life and not be labelled and called 'naughty'. It broke my heart tonight to think that he can't help doing this, but I can't help him.
There is definitely something going on. He is such an intelligent, interested child, but also so sensitive and emotional on times too. I think definitely limiting TV time and any screen time (he rarely is allowed the iPad now as think this is bad for him) and encouraging him as much as possible for rewards, but as you say, disciplining him doesn't work in the same way as a conventional 5 year old. Thank you again so much and hope things are going well with your son. Medication is something I am not sure of yet, but we can't continue like this though. :o