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Natural Birth & Parenting Natural Birth & Parenting

Toddlers and Negative Attention

Posted by on Sep. 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM
  • 18 Replies

I am hoping it is just my altered sense of emotions and perception (32 weeks pregnant) but I feel like our toddler (38 months) is in a new phase where he is actively seeking (pushing for) negative attention.

Not that he has ever been a complicit sort of child to begin with (ADHD, often difficult to engage in new activities, sociable - but for much shorter spurts than some of the other children he plays with, struggles with transitions despite "count-downs"), but I perceive that lately when he is doing something really wrong (hitting or hurting things or people, inappropriate touch, etc.) , that our responses that were working well enough before (not great, but to a level we could live with), aren't working at all.  Sometimes now he is even getting into the habit of giving what I would label a  genunie and obviously attention-seeking  "shit-eating" grin as he is doing exactly the opposite of what he is being directed to do.

Again, I'm pregnant and he's a headstrong and super-active  toddler, but what are some other things I can try to avoid us getting into a rut of giving him negative attention to poor behaviors?  I see my husband getting into this rut also and I think that tells me our patience is getting stretched too thin and something needs to change.

We do currently try:

  • Count-down warnings to let him know an activity is coming to an end, that we are about to change locations, bedtime routine is starting, etc. ( usually 3 notices over  a 10 minute interval)
  • We do take the 3-warning approach to most inappropriate behaviors before applying a time-out or taking a toy/object out of the scene
  • Since his expressive language has been intermitent ( he frequently abandons language that he has used well previously), we do try to patiently put requests from him or from us into slow words ... so I can't say we've been taking the caveman approach to parental guidance language lately - that could be an area for improvement.
  • We make time for a lot of physical activity outdoors most days and include him in our work as much as possible to ward off boredom (sometimes even to the sacrifice of including him in quiet activities he still seems to not have the maturity for)

Any thoughts that come to mind will be of interest.  Thanks!


by on Sep. 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Terpsichore
by Member on Sep. 16, 2013 at 10:32 PM
1 mom liked this

Bump.

lenashark
by Member on Sep. 16, 2013 at 10:37 PM
1 mom liked this

Give him one warning and thats it. Kids don't need to be told three times before they face a consequence. If its something that he clearly knows beforehand is wrong, like hitting, don't even do a warning. Speak to him in complete sentences, just because he can't say some thing doesn't mean he doesn't understand and talking "caveman" to him will just encourage him to do so as well. And your child is three, 36 months in unecessary. 

jconney80
by Group Mod on Sep. 17, 2013 at 1:26 AM
2 moms liked this
Does he have an autism/ Aspergers diagnosis? My son is exactly the same way and he was diagnosed with ASD last year but now that he gets older it's more like Aspergers because he's very social and very smart with high expressive language. If he doesn't have an autism diagnosis I'd have him screened by a neuropsychologist for autism. It would possibly help him qualify for Aba therapy. Occupational therapy is also available for kids with these issues and can help with behaviors due to sensory issues.

To be honest this isn't just going to go away overnight and it's going to take a lot of work. It sounds like he would do well with a visual schedule for transitions as well as lots of prepping with social stories. What I do with my son is set very clear rules and boundaries. I give him very clear choices. I started using the Boba as a timeout in a way (it gives him deep pressure which helps him calm down). He also doesn't associate anything negative with the Boba because of it. "You don't hit your sister. If you don't stop you are going into the carrier" "you need to share and take turns or you're going into the carrier and I'm taking the toy away" I just follow through every time. Part of this is age appropriate part of it isn't. My son gets in moods where he knows he's doing something wrong and he will laugh at us while doing it. I make him apologize every time to everyone involved and believe it or not he's learned remorse. Real remorse not punishment induced remorse. It really does help to have a very structured day with kids who don't transition well. And explaining everything before hand.

Also put a positive in front of a negative. This works so well! I have 3 kids with Aspergers. "First you need to take your bath and then you can pick a show to watch" etc etc. You can do that with so many things all day long. I believe in picking your battles and making things as positive as possible while still having structure and rules.

I don't mean to offend you or scare you at all. I'm just trying to help. Everything you listed above can be signs of an autism spectrum disorder and their inflexibility is at the heart of it. It can be very challenging to work with. And they can be funny, smart, social, and really brilliant but on the flip side they can be very inflexible, struggle with transitions, have sensory issues, become exhausted from social interactions quickly from "performing", seem hyper from sensory issues, and have difficulty focusing. Anyways, feel free to message me if you want. I'm sure I have a lot more ideas to help.
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JoJoBean8
by Group Mod on Sep. 17, 2013 at 1:42 PM
1 mom liked this

I like to build up good behavior. We have a red,yellow, and green chart. They start on green everyday. If they stay on green for the week they get to pick a special treat.

Sarah725
by Group Mod - Sarah on Sep. 17, 2013 at 5:43 PM

that's a cute idea.

Quoting JoJoBean8:

I like to build up good behavior. We have a red,yellow, and green chart. They start on green everyday. If they stay on green for the week they get to pick a special treat.


conejoazul
by on Sep. 17, 2013 at 5:53 PM
I am not sure that he has ASD or Aspergers, but I have been trying to get help ( i.e. a trustworthy evaluation) in that area for almost two years, not to mention trying to read anything I can get my hands on or find time for. He certainly has a long list of red flag behaviors, but unfortunately, our current location in Mexico is making getting assessments done by qualified providers a nightmare.

I am not sure what you mean by Boba above - can you elaborate?


I have tried to experiment with visual charts, but probably only to a level that sounds half-hearted. I can't find anything premade here, so I was trying to make my own earlier this year for about a month. After he wouldn't make eye contact with it for about three weeks (I tried stars, Toy Story stickers, dinosaurs, and rockets), I felt I needed to postpone that effort for the moment, since I wasn't connecting with him in any meaningful way.


Quoting jconney80:

Does he have an autism/ Aspergers diagnosis? My son is exactly the same way and he was diagnosed with ASD last year but now that he gets older it's more like Aspergers because he's very social and very smart with high expressive language. If he doesn't have an autism diagnosis I'd have him screened by a neuropsychologist for autism. It would possibly help him qualify for Aba therapy. Occupational therapy is also available for kids with these issues and can help with behaviors due to sensory issues.



To be honest this isn't just going to go away overnight and it's going to take a lot of work. It sounds like he would do well with a visual schedule for transitions as well as lots of prepping with social stories. What I do with my son is set very clear rules and boundaries. I give him very clear choices. I started using the Boba as a timeout in a way (it gives him deep pressure which helps him calm down). He also doesn't associate anything negative with the Boba because of it. "You don't hit your sister. If you don't stop you are going into the carrier" "you need to share and take turns or you're going into the carrier and I'm taking the toy away" I just follow through every time. Part of this is age appropriate part of it isn't. My son gets in moods where he knows he's doing something wrong and he will laugh at us while doing it. I make him apologize every time to everyone involved and believe it or not he's learned remorse. Real remorse not punishment induced remorse. It really does help to have a very structured day with kids who don't transition well. And explaining everything before hand.



Also put a positive in front of a negative. This works so well! I have 3 kids with Aspergers. "First you need to take your bath and then you can pick a show to watch" etc etc. You can do that with so many things all day long. I believe in picking your battles and making things as positive as possible while still having structure and rules.



I don't mean to offend you or scare you at all. I'm just trying to help. Everything you listed above can be signs of an autism spectrum disorder and their inflexibility is at the heart of it. It can be very challenging to work with. And they can be funny, smart, social, and really brilliant but on the flip side they can be very inflexible, struggle with transitions, have sensory issues, become exhausted from social interactions quickly from "performing", seem hyper from sensory issues, and have difficulty focusing. Anyways, feel free to message me if you want. I'm sure I have a lot more ideas to help.
conejoazul
by on Sep. 17, 2013 at 6:01 PM
At the risk of sounding like the least crafty mom alive, could you share some description or maybe photos that show how you use your chart with your kids? We also try to start everyday with a "in-the-green" mentality, but I would say our son doesn't yet perceive it. His mood swings are so unprecipitated and volatile, that we could be walking straight toward the thing we've just agreed upon and in the course of a meter a complete reversal of opinion overtakes him and which may include a complete anger episode and then we have to choose how to respond

Quoting JoJoBean8:

I like to build up good behavior. We have a red,yellow, and green chart. They start on green everyday. If they stay on green for the week they get to pick a special treat.

Roo1234
by on Sep. 17, 2013 at 6:02 PM

I have never been a fan of the three warning approach...it just teaches the child to ignore your first two requests.

 I have always been more of a swoop and redirect parent.  I watch them close enough to know their signals and when they go to make a move I swoop in and remove them with a firm not this, do this instead type comment.  

In those times when I felt like I spent more time being negative than positive, I would focus really hard on only the positives for a few days...more to reset my perceptions than to change the child's behavior, but often it worked for both of us.

Focus on being as empathetic as possible, work on building as many simple choices as possible into the day to give him a greater sense of personal power, give him a sense of the idea that you and he are on the same side, not you imposing your will on his.  Both of these last ones will make a big difference in helping him to transition.  When he is frustrated, continue to help him find the words for his feelings.  

Accept that there are days when he is just going to push.  Remember that often those days are more common right before a big developmental leap.  

tabi_cat1023
by Group Mod - Tabitha on Sep. 17, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Sounds like my 3 year old..I have a new baby an he started this near the end of my pregnancy..it was his way of getting attention.  He gets tons he just wants more I guess.  If you find what works besides time let me know

JoJoBean8
by Group Mod on Sep. 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Do you have a teacher store? I went to a local one and bought a happy green apple, sad yellow apple, and a very sad red apple. 

Quoting conejoazul:

At the risk of sounding like the least crafty mom alive, could you share some description or maybe photos that show how you use your chart with your kids? We also try to start everyday with a "in-the-green" mentality, but I would say our son doesn't yet perceive it. His mood swings are so unprecipitated and volatile, that we could be walking straight toward the thing we've just agreed upon and in the course of a meter a complete reversal of opinion overtakes him and which may include a complete anger episode and then we have to choose how to respond

Quoting JoJoBean8:

I like to build up good behavior. We have a red,yellow, and green chart. They start on green everyday. If they stay on green for the week they get to pick a special treat.


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