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Member since: Tue Jul 13, 2004, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 2,978

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lots of good suggestions here--and I wouldn't rule out filming or threatening to film it

The physical time out thing never worked for us. There was no way to hold my child in time-out without getting injured myself (I still take meds for an injury I got them when it flares, 15 years later. That little maniac is doing quite well at an Ivy League college today, btw.) People who aren't there say you can just carry them to their room. Trying to carry a 40-80 lb wild animal to a room without injuring them just in the act of protecting yourself is very hard. I was at least covered in bruises.

Different things worked with different kids, and consistency was critical in taking away privileges (which was difficult, as I was the heavy), but of course, number one was recognizing and then intervening before escalation. Once escalation is there, whatever we could do to extinguish the behavior without enabling it (usually ignoring) was necessary, before approaching it later with much more positive, validating strategies that also set limits. That's a book so I won't elaborate on that one.

One thing I did find--and it might sound awful and shame-based to some--when all else failed was to tell them this was inappropriate behavior that they wouldn't show to their teachers or friends, and that I was going to film it so that I had a record of it. One parent I knew actually ran around the house following his daughter with a camera while she screamed and raved and she ended up laughing at the end of it. The thing is, if they care enough about their reputation at school, then they're capable of controlling their behavior at home. If they don't care, you have another (and bigger) problem, because they may have some issues where they really can't control themselves yet.

But when I saw out of control behavior at home and controlled behavior there, I knew that I had leverage. Also, there's something about "film" that says accountability--and it gives them a neofrontal cortex kind-of sense of how they might appear to others. Maybe people used "God" like that in another era. I believe in a Higher Power personally, but we weren't a Christian church-going family so I didn't have the whole social apparatus of that to reinforce the rules, which in earlier days helped I'm sure.

As much as I can't stand being saturated with "screens" and despise how social media has directly screwed with my daughters' lives, this is one way I can harness easy video capability on an iPhone for my own advantage. Again, it needs to be used in a context of therapeutic understanding of appropriate boundaries and stuff, but it may help to de-escalate a tantrum in a pinch.

If nothing else, it's diagnostic. Like I said, if they really give a crap, that's telling. That means they have a lot more control of their behavior than they're letting on.

Both my kids are strong, poised, successful, personable, accomplished young feminists now--but they were hell on wheels for the first 10 years. Both of em. I think spunk is a good thing--if channeled well, it'll keep them from being pushovers as adults. That's the hope, anyway. I'm hoping for a thank-you on my death-bed.
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