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To whom it may concern, I have an 8 yr. old son who was badly bullied in kindergarten and till this day, he still feels uncomfortable in school even though it is a different and much better school. He is seeking therapy and slowly gaining confidence in himself. I am having problems at home with his behavior when he does not get his way. He gets in my face and starts to yell at me and talks back. I put him in quiet time / take away toys, t.v. etc.... and nothing works. He just does not care about any of the consequences. I was advised to put him in quiet time sitting on the potty. This sounds crazy to me, please help me. Thank you


Kraig Kidd Replied: Wow - there is a lot going on, isn't there! First, FIRE anyone who has recommeneded using humiliation or bullying your child back as a discipline. I simply do not support punishment. Hurting a hurting child back just won't work and will not send the message in the loving way I hear you seeking. If you are feeling hurt yourself by your boys actions, know he is hurting too. That means first repair the relationship between you. Empathize deeply with him. See how he is hurting and see what mistake has been made creating this pain. Then, empathize further. Begin first with your relationship and then you can work with the issues. He won't hear you until then! Let me know how you are doing.
Posted On 2008-08-30 23:01:38
Dr. Vicki Panaccione Replied: Your instincts are absolutely spot-on. Sitting on the potty should never be used as a punishment. That kind of discipline could lead to all kinds of other problems, such as soiling, withholding and constipation. And besides, the most effective consequences are usually natural and logical. There is nothing logical about, "If you yell, you will have to sit on the potty!" You mentioned that your son is in therapy. If this advice came from his therapist, I suggest very strongly that you discuss this directly to make sure that there was no miscommunication. If, indeed, the advice was understood accurately, please seek a second opinion with another therapist. It sure sounds as though treatment with a child specialist is certainly in order. These problematic behaviors should be addressed as part of his treatment. Make sure that you are not compartmentalizing issues—thinking that his treatment is strictly to get over his having been bullied. His behavior toward you, in fact, may be directly related to how he had been treated. Kids tend to act out toward others what they have experienced themselves. So, his ‘bullying' behavior toward you may (or may not) be directly related to how he's been treated in the past. Also, check to see how the adults in his life express their anger and frustration. Do they get up in people's faces and yell—at him or others?? If so, he may be modeling what he sees. If this is the case, part of the solution is for the adults to model more acceptable behavior. If consequences haven't ‘worked,' review your strategies with his therapist. There may be some more effective ways that will work for your son. Personally, I like to use rewards more than punishments; this includes praising for cooperative and compliant behavior and giving rewards of his choice for demonstrating any amount of self-control in the face of frustration. Furthermore, when he throws you the rope (yells, talks back, etc.), he can only play tug-of-war with you if you pick up the other end. Sometimes it is best NOT to respond to that kind of behavior and get into a shouting match with him. Try walking away after you tell him your decision. When things cool down, then address the back-talking and yelling in a more calm, rational manner.
Posted On 2008-08-17 07:35:15
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