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Old 01-30-2013, 07:47 PM
Willow Willow is offline
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Default How Do You Fine Tune....

...the "stinker" out of a kiddo?

But seriously, I've got a 3 year old who is awful to his parents (mom specifically) and I'm learning not just at pick up and drop off times but while out in public too (mom has opened up a bit lately about her frustration and another one of my families has told me horror stories about some of the behaviors they've witnessed when they've seen the family out and about). He seems (is?) completely 100% out of control when he's not here and that's no exaggeration.

While he is here and he knows I am directly supervising he is an angel. Active but sweet, smart, creative, obedient, helpful...I couldn't ask for a better kiddo. During free play though or when he thinks I'm distracted with one of the babies or making lunch he will attempt to get eeeeeeveryone's goat. He'll get physical (in an annoying way, not a violent way) by sitting too close to others, driving his cars over their legs, flipping the girls' hair, running up and getting up close in their face. He'll copy others or repeat phrases he knows will upset others....if someone is playing with an elephant he'll position himself close enough for them to hear and then say over and over "******'s playing with a cow, ******'s playing with a cow, ******'s playing with a cow." Seems silly but when ****** is a sensitive 4 year old and in that stage where correcting mistakes is of utmost importance things spiral quickly. He will literally watch a child finish up with what they are playing with, and when they head towards a new toy he'll up and race to get to it first. He tries to take full advantage of my rule of if you put it down it's fair game and will snatch up a lego tower while someone is simply fishing for another piece for it. I feel like I have to be on him aaaaaall day long to keep the peace. When I catch and correct him he acts surprised but is quick with an apology and is easily redirected onto a more appropriate action. While segregation isn't acceptable practice I have set him up with parallel activities and told him until he learns to treat his friends nice he can't play with them directly. Doesn't phase him at all. No remorse, no longing to rejoin in cooperative play, but he'll apologize when prompted and tells me he'll try harder.

I feel like I'm missing something here.

I took a training on development and they had some practical advice pieces that I've tried to utilize to step back and try to sort out why he's doing what he's doing. One of the biggest points emphasized was if a child is struggling with an area of development (social or emotional in this case?) something further back down the line was missing - that I can't view this issue from a 3 year old vantage point, there is a step he missed previous to what he should be doing now. If I can sort out where he went wrong I can hopefully correct the deficit and then he'll be able to start making progress as far as his cooperative play goes....right?


I love him to pieces, but he's an absolute turd to others and seems to have no real conscience about it. I am firm with my boundaries, no fuss, no drama, but far from structured here so I don't get why he's so respectful of and around just me. His mom on the other hand is just white knuckling it every single day (not in any sort of productive way). If less is more shouldn't he enjoy his relationships with other kids more than any others? He is oppositional and intentionally annoying as possible to the entire rest of the world. I'm rambling but I guess what I'm looking for is answers as to what would cause a child to be like that? What steps in his emotional or social development did he miss?? To constantly be trying to get away with such snark, to ENJOY ticking off other kids, to ENJOY trying to physically hurt his mom and deliberately disobeying every single word she says..... He gets the same nasty grin on his face when he's upsetting another child as he does when he's punching her and I want to tweak that out of this kid.

I feel like on some level he respects me and I think if anyone can get through to him, at least in regards to his interactions with other kids, it might be me.

I'd hate to think of what his school mates are going to endure if he doesn't get it through his head that kids loathe the way he treats them! Or start caring that that's the way he's perceived! He's NEVER going to make any friends if he keeps going the way he is and right now I don't think he cares!!!


Anyone have any advice or insight?
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:07 AM
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laundrymom laundrymom is offline
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Hugs to you, I've had a child like that and I've called them out on it in front of their parent.

"Olivia, you will not act that way to your dad. Go sit in the yellow chair."

I saw one in target once and he was smacking his mom, throwing a fit. I could hear him 2 rows over. yes I used my big voice and his first & middle names.

"Rowan David, That is NOT the way you treat your mother. Close your mouth and sit still."
He did and when I say ' you could hear a pin drop' I'm not kidding.
I apologized to mom

" I'm sorry but he knows better. He will NEVER hit you again, will you Rowan?"

"No Miss Xx"

I had a SA 3yrs ago who lives behind me. His mom texted one morning that they had a bad morning, he got mad about taking the trash out and spilled it all over the alley. I told mom id talk to him When boy showed up after school I took him aside and whispered in his ear- if I ever hear you disrespecting your mom like that I will come over the fence and get hold of you. Do you understand me? Your mother loves you more than anyone else in the world and youre treating her like garbage.

Now, I have a friendship w this mom and know her personally because we live 40 feet apart. So I did overstep my "childcare provider" boundaries. But this boy was acting out the way his dad did ( jailed for beating mom to a bloody pulp more than once) but it worked. He never again disrespect her when I could possibly have heard.

I woold call the kid on their behavior in front of parents.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:07 AM
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Angelsj Angelsj is offline
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I would tomato stake him, until he can play properly with his friends. It is very hands on, but it might help in your case.

In mom's case, she will have to step it up and put a stop to it. It really isn't all that hard to grab the child's hands and tell him, "No!, we do not hit mom!"

He really sounds like he is looking for any attention, good, bad or otherwise. Maybe enlist his help when dealing with the infants? Bringing you clothes, or a toy?

I wonder if you are dealing with a developmental disorder? How is his language other than the repeating? Is he really trying to be annoying, or does he honestly not know?
I ask because I have a child (actually more than one) that HONESTLY does not believe that others have feelings. If you tell them, they are always surprised, like they want to believe you, but they don't...really. You might want to read up on developmental disorders and see if any of it fits. I would also check into ADD and ADHD criteria. If you see him in any of it, and mom is receptive, you might be able to lead her in a direction.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:10 AM
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lolaland lolaland is offline
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Hugs to you... I had that boy for 2 years! I lost count of how many termination letters I wrote... never gave the letters because on the process of working with the family on "how to fix this", we became REALLY good friends. I can't begin to describe how bad and how much joy this boy got out of being oppositional and making everyone around him miserable while he smiled in delight!! ...to the point of trying to asphyxiate one of my babies with a pillow over baby's head and boy loudly laughing That bad!!! We tried EVERYTHING!! The only thing that changed on those 2 years was he learned how to hide his behavior (hurt only when he supected I was distracted...) and I learned how to keep an invisible line between him and the rest of my group of kids...

That kid made me realize we can't "fix"/teach every kid!! There are "things " in their personalities that were born with them and will stay with them forever... they'll just learn how to camouflage it.

By the way... because of financial family problems, the boy is no longer with me and is staying home with his unemployed father... You wouldn't believe how different is my daycare atmosphere now!! Wow!!!
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:38 AM
Willow Willow is offline
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I haven't directly called mom out on it. I don't think I have to, she seems embarrassed enough and she's definitely not in denial about what's going on. She fully admits he loses it and is obviously skeptical about my claims of his perfect daytime behavior because she never sees him that way. We have discussed it briefly in email but everything I say seems to go right out the window.

I have on really bad days boomed an "ALL YOUR POMS - NOW." I don't typically use reward type systems but I do have cups of poms as behavior gauges. Every child along with myself have cups. Mine is full of poms. If I catch a child being good they get to take a pom out of my cup and put it in their own. If I catch them being a booger I have them take one of theirs out and return it to mine. Once they fill a cup we do something special or they get to pick what we have for snack. It's a set up this kiddo in particular takes very seriously and his cup is only empty on those rare occasions I demand he does it. It visibly shatters him but he always complies and when I ask him to apologize he does immediately. Behaviors improve for a couple of days but it never sticks. Mom has asked me about the poms and said it sounded like a great idea, but as far as I know she didn't start that up at home like she said she would.

Before that I tried putting him on time out right in front of her and getting down to his level to explain to him (and her) that his behavior wasn't ok and wouldn't be tolerated. She always hugged him to bits as if I'd traumatized the heck out of him when she went to say goodbye those mornings. I capped HER "one more hug bit" with an ultimatum of when he hits you you need to turn on your heels and leave but holy buckets does she struggle with that even though she doesn't come off as a terribly affectionate mother. When the scenario still kept repeating itself over and over and over again every morning I started the changing of the guard bit where mom wasn't even allowed in the front door. The behavior was a direct result of her and I wanted her to keep it out of my house. They said their good byes in the car and I took him in myself from the front step because I told her I didn't want the other kids to see it anymore. Worked for a long time but I wanted to see if he had matured enough to handle coming back in for that transition. Went ok for about a month and now day by day it's degrading again and mom's only response is to grab his arm harshly, ask him why he always does this and tell him to knock it off. Which he doesn't respond to or let phase him a bit.

Seems like me addressing it isn't the issue as they're both so responsive after the drama is already in full swing, but I don't get why he ever starts up in the first place. I do agree it could have to do with lack of attention, or lack of the right kind. Lack of any sort of effective discipline could also be an issue. Mom has asked me how I handle him screaming through his time outs. When I tell her he rarely has moments where he needs to "take a break" and when he does he sits quietly she scoffs like she doesn't believe me and tells me she "just can't handle it." Admittedly, I didn't have the nerve to ask her what on earth that meant.

His vocabulary and language usage is great for his age. No motor skill developmental delays that I can ascertain. Cognitively/academically he's already doing all the things required to start kindy. As far as the repeating he is absolutely genuinely trying to be annoying lol. He obviously knows he has that power to manipulate and enjoys pulling the strings. That same smirk that comes out with mom comes across his face when he manages to irk another child by irritating them and my intervention is the only thing that stops him and wipes it right off his face. It's like the light bulb comes on and he snaps back into good boy mode. He can at times be genuinely be sympathetic/empathetic. It upsets him especially when the babies get upset and he does what he can to help me calm them. I don't see any ADD or ADHD in him. His focus and ability to take direction is stellar. I see him doing awesome in school as far as the work goes, even excelling, but falling far faaaaaar behind the mark when it comes to making and maintaining friendships. I don't see how ANY other child is going to want anything to do with him because every time he thinks someone's not watching the switch flips back the other way and he turns into such a pest.

I haven't seen the behaviors he throws at mom merge with anything he's throwing at the other kids but I think as he ages that line is likely going to blur.

I care about him a lot and am hoping to help him catch up in this area if it's at all possible. I just don't know how! Not sure if it's because I just don't know how to proceed or it it's an issue of this being so many issues all rolled into one that I don't know where to start....


Thanks for the thoughts and support guys!
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:42 AM
Willow Willow is offline
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Originally Posted by Angelsj View Post
I would tomato stake him, until he can play properly with his friends. It is very hands on, but it might help in your case.
I'd love more information on this technique.

Currently I use "spots" for a lot of his play, which just consist of a blanket on the floor that gives him a physical boundary reference when I can't be right there directly engaged with guiding his interactions....but it doesn't stop the verbal harassment
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:43 AM
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how was this kid as a baby? just curious but i agree with the others, it definitely sounds attention seeking for sure. and some kids cannot separate negative and positive attention. poking another child and getting them to cry is basically as satisfying as playing a fun game together.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:49 AM
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Personally, I think the missing link from the past is no consequences as well as some reinforcement for his negative behavior in the form of attention (even though it wasn't intended to reinforce, discipline can do that for some kids...kwim?)

You said he "enjoys" bugging the other kids and getting under their skin....to me that says, it is attention as well the immediate reaction to his behavior. Just like the mice in the mazes that ring a bell and get a treat....


If he is capable of behaving when he KNOWS he is being supervised, then you KNOW he can do it but is choosing NOT to. I think THAT is the difference. He CHOOSES to be naughty because he is getting something out of it that is somehow in his mind better than whatever he gets from being that little angel.

My own DS was just like this. (Thank goodness he is grown now and a totally different kid )

I think he is also VERY perceptive and the frustration and helplessness that mom is feeling is a giant neon flashing sign to the child so again, he KNOWS he is getting to her. Which again, is reinforcement to him to continue doing what he is doing.

Wish I had an easy answer for kids like that because really the qualities he has are great (as an adult) but horribly frustrating for the caregiver/parent of the child. My only advice is to advise mom to be consistent at ALL times and to be swift.

My DS taught me in hindsight the mistakes I made. They were:
1) Over explaining......HE knew EXACTLY what he did wrong but I kept explaining
2) Giving him warnings and reminders......I should have reacted with a consequence IMMEDIATELY
3) Lack of frimness..... I was such a pushover for him (he KNEW how to work the charm when necessary) and I should have been much firmer.
4) Rewards/priviledges should have been removed not given after the fact.

I'll explain that last one. It took me a while to figure out that rewards do work for most kids but there are different ways to implement them depending on the child.

For example when my kids behaved in a store, I would usually reward them with a small treat (My DD got a Little Golden book at the check out and my DS got a Hot Wheel car at the check out)

With my DD, she FULLY understood the concept of behave first and reward after. She was great in the store and the would get her $1 to buy her treat at the end.

My DS didn't get behave first/reward AFTER so we actually gave him 4 quarters upon entering the store. He knew that if we had to reprimand him or discipline him, he had to give me back a quarter each time. IF he had enough money left at the end, he could buy his treat. If he didn't then he didn't get anything.

SAME results but different ways of getting there. Does that make sense?

I think this little guy sounds like mine and he really is a good kid and even though he is heading in the same direction as everyone else, he is simply CHOOSING to take the path less traveled. A good thing later, but super frustrating now

HTH
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:15 AM
Willow Willow is offline
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how was this kid as a baby? just curious but i agree with the others, it definitely sounds attention seeking for sure. and some kids cannot separate negative and positive attention. poking another child and getting them to cry is basically as satisfying as playing a fun game together.
Unfortunately I don't know. They started with me just a smidge over a year ago and this is the way he's been from day one.

I do know I am at least his third provider, his sibling has spoken of at least two others.


You could definitely be right about the not being able to separate negative and positive attention. I have zero experience dealing with a kiddo like that, is there any way to separate the two in his mind at this point?
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:38 AM
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Personally, I think the missing link from the past is no consequences as well as some reinforcement for his negative behavior in the form of attention (even though it wasn't intended to reinforce, discipline can do that for some kids...kwim?)
I absolutely know what you mean.

We've discussed the "weirdness" of this family dynamic before, this could definitely be some of the why behind much of what happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
You said he "enjoys" bugging the other kids and getting under their skin....to me that says, it is attention as well the immediate reaction to his behavior. Just like the mice in the mazes that ring a bell and get a treat....
Perfect analogy.

When I intervene it's like I've just taken the candy away from the baby, or the treat away from the mouse even after he's worked so hard to get it lol




Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
If he is capable of behaving when he KNOWS he is being supervised, then you KNOW he can do it but is choosing NOT to. I think THAT is the difference. He CHOOSES to be naughty because he is getting something out of it that is somehow in his mind better than whatever he gets from being that little angel.

My own DS was just like this. (Thank goodness he is grown now and a totally different kid )

I think he is also VERY perceptive and the frustration and helplessness that mom is feeling is a giant neon flashing sign to the child so again, he KNOWS he is getting to her. Which again, is reinforcement to him to continue doing what he is doing.

Wish I had an easy answer for kids like that because really the qualities he has are great (as an adult) but horribly frustrating for the caregiver/parent of the child. My only advice is to advise mom to be consistent at ALL times and to be swift.
Yes yes, YES.




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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
My DS taught me in hindsight the mistakes I made. They were:
1) Over explaining......HE knew EXACTLY what he did wrong but I kept explaining
This is the only part of this whole situation that's really getting to me. My style is to let the child learn organically. Let them learn from their own mistakes, let the environment guide them via natural positive and negative consequences. I don't mind the extra supervision, or the challenge, but I feel like I am on this kid like white on rice and I am literally lecturing and guiding all day long long. Seems like when I am really really thorough (this is what we're about to do as a group, this is how I expect you to act, this is what will happen if you don't etc. etc. etc.) he does better than if I don't. I just feel playing broken record is over kill because that isn't usually how I manage my group lol



Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
2) Giving him warnings and reminders......I should have reacted with a consequence IMMEDIATELY
3) Lack of frimness..... I was such a pushover for him (he KNEW how to work the charm when necessary) and I should have been much firmer.
I've got both of these down lol. He knows full well the only thing that impresses me is his good behavior. I give him absolutely no wiggle room and although I don't have to do much to rein him back in I do it fast and firmly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
4) Rewards/priviledges should have been removed not given after the fact.

I'll explain that last one. It took me a while to figure out that rewards do work for most kids but there are different ways to implement them depending on the child.

For example when my kids behaved in a store, I would usually reward them with a small treat (My DD got a Little Golden book at the check out and my DS got a Hot Wheel car at the check out)

With my DD, she FULLY understood the concept of behave first and reward after. She was great in the store and the would get her $1 to buy her treat at the end.

My DS didn't get behave first/reward AFTER so we actually gave him 4 quarters upon entering the store. He knew that if we had to reprimand him or discipline him, he had to give me back a quarter each time. IF he had enough money left at the end, he could buy his treat. If he didn't then he didn't get anything.

SAME results but different ways of getting there. Does that make sense?
ABSOLUTELY!!!

I am definitely going to play around with that and see if it nets me any better results.

He likes when he's caught being good and gets to put a pom in his cup well enough but poms taken away has an exponentially bigger impact. I do think if I could sort out specifically how to execute such a technique it could make a bigger dent in him not understanding THERE IS A DIFFERENCE! I wish I could get him to understand that while he indeed has the choice to behave or not...he really doesn't HA! Right now he knows full well he does and when the consequences are seen almost as a positive reinforcements themselves it sure muddles up things in a kids brain!
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:09 PM
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I'd love more information on this technique.

Currently I use "spots" for a lot of his play, which just consist of a blanket on the floor that gives him a physical boundary reference when I can't be right there directly engaged with guiding his interactions....but it doesn't stop the verbal harassment
Tomato staking is essentially keeping the child within 2-3 feet of you at ALL times. If you are changing a baby, they stand beside you. If you are cooking, they can sit in a chair in the kitchen. "Free play" is for kids who are kind to their friends.
While this may look like a punishment, it is more designed to have the child help you. Could the child cut bananas? Hold the diaper? You may have to get creative. It also allows some talking time, and will often bring out issues or problems the child may be having.

The thought process you have to convey is one of... "I care so much about you that I just can't allow you to act in a mean way toward your friends. I don't think it makes you happy and I KNOW it doesn't make me or your friends happy. So, I need you to be close to me until you can control your behavior better by yourself. Now, let's fold some laundry together!"

If he tries to behave and is better, great! If not, just say, "Oh, oops, wrong choice. It's ok, we all make mistakes, but you need to come be my tomato for today, and we will see how tomorrow goes." You can decide time periods, but I would start with at least a week of him right next to you until he gets to try again. If nothing else, it sounds like the others could use a break.
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