Monday, April 20, 2009

Advice needed before child is bound in a straight jacket

I'm at my wits end with Porter. I just don't know what to do with the kid. He gets into EVERYTHING... he does things repeatedly after being REPEATEDLY told not to and after repeatedly being sent to time out, to his room, spanked etc. I just don't know what to do. I get to the point where I'm so frustrated with his actions that I feel my blood boil and I just want to whip the daylights out of him. White trash, huh?

Let me outline some things he does. Mind you... some of these things were found to be "humorous" the first time or two it happened. And mind you... he was disciplined for his wrongdoings but yet continues to do them.

  • "Laying" his brother down. He is constantly laying his brother down on his back. Sounds stupid, I know... but Hudson will be happily playing, crawling, sitting etc... and Porter grabs ahold of him and lays him down... he does it gently but sometimes manages to bonk his head and in general, pisses Hudson off. He's been told time and time and time again not to. He's been put in time out. He's been spanked. He's been "layed down" like he does to Hudson, and when he sits up, put back down on his back again. The look on his face was so confused... And I explained to him that that's how Hudson felt... that if Hudson could talk he probably would tell him not to do that (because Porter said "I don't want you to do that to me again")

  • The sink. The God-forsaken flippin sink. I can't tell you how many rolls of toilet paper we've gone through because Porter thinks he either a) needs to clean the sink b) needs to throw soggy wads of toilet paper around or c) needs to load up the toilet with the entire roll of toilet paper. He goes to the bathroom on his own. Sometimes he brushes his teeth on his own. I don't always have time to follow him to the bathroom to make sure he's "only" going potty. And there are plenty of times he wander to a different level of the house than I'm on and gets into trouble.

  • The cats. Ella is too damn laid back to be mean back to Porter... he lays on her, squishes her stomach, pushes her off things just for the hell of it. He gets consequences... either a time out or sent to his room. Or sometimes spanked. I hate spanking but I just don't know what else to do!

  • Messing with things that aren't his. I found my new point and shoot on the livingroom floor. With multiple video clips recorded from Porter. Aparrently he hauled it around the house trying to take pictures. I had a talk with him... asked him if he was supposed to play with my new camera (because when I got it I stressed to him that he could NOT play with that camera)... he told me "No... I can't play with it." But obviously he didn't care enough to listen to the rules when he decided to pick up the camera and galavant around the house with it. I took away his Automoblox for a day as a punishment.
  • Along the lines of messing with things... we were upstairs today putting away the 50 baskets of laundry and I had the baby gate up at the top of the stairs. It is one of those pressure mounted ones... I know, not the best for the top of the gate but we rarely hang out upstairs and its fine for keeping Hudson from tumbling. Anyhow, I had to run downstairs to grab another basket of laundry and swap the stuff in the washer. So, I left the boys upstairs playing in Porter's room. I literally took stuff out of the dryer, threw it on the couch in the basement, and put the stuff from the washer into the dryer. And then I heard Porter walking down the basement stairs. Which meant only one thing... the gate was no longer up at the top of the stairs to the 2nd floor. I flew up the basement stairs, flew up the stairs to the 2nd floor and luckily Hudson was still playing in P's room... but oh my god I can't imagine how terribly hurt he would have been if he had tumbled down the hardwood steps. This was the last straw for me. I was so angry that Porter took it into his own hands to move the gate. I asked him why I put the gate up to which he said "I don't know..." I explained that its there to keep Hudson safe so he doesn't fall down the stairs and get hurt. That Hudson is just a baby and he can't walk up and down the stairs like Porter and that if he (Porter) needed to get down the stairs he needs to ASK mommy or daddy to take it down... he is a little boy and little boys are NOT allowed to move the gates. And what does he do? He turns the story "One time I pushed Rory on the stairs and I fell and I bonked MY head...." WHAT???? What the hell am I doing wrong? What the hell is wrong with my kid?????
One might say to accompany him to everything he does but good lord... I have a life and another child to look after. I can't follow him around all day. My thoughts right now are to put a leash on the kids and not let him leave my side. I just don't know what to do with him. Time outs and being sent to his room don't seem to phase him that much... he takes it in stride. He might be ticked at first, and after he's done he can always reiterate exactly why he was in time out/sent to his room... so its not like he's not making a connection.



  1. I am very curious to the suggestions people make because we are having the EXACT same problems at our house (made worse by the fact that Cooper knows that I am too big to keep up with him.) Time-outs, taking toys away, losing priveledges . . . none of it seems to phase him! I sent the kid to bed with no dinner Saturday night because after the 11,476th time of me asking him to pick up the toys and the 11,476th time of him not doing it, I was fed up - he could have cared less!

    Anyway, I really, really emphatize with you and hope you get some good responses - both for your sake and mine!

  2. Aside from actually spanking, I totally know where you are coming from. I recently signed up for a discipline parenting workshop and literally had my eyes opened. I was doing everything I had learned on Super Nanny shows and what I learned from my friends and my parents, and none of it was working. I was battling my child, hating her, and frustrated.

    Anyway, the parent educators talked to us about positive parenting and I can honestly say I'm much happier. It's hard work to change habits, but it's better for everyone. I wrote about it on my blog you can find it here:

    To me it sounds like your son is doing stuff he knows not to do to get attention. Negative attention is just as good to him as any. So instead of disciplining him, physically redirect him to something else. Lead him away to play a new game, to read a book, etc. It'll be hard to make the time, but I really believe he wants more attention and engaging activities at that moment.

    I don't do timeouts anymore except for the biggies, like hitting. It only works if you do it once a week, not every few hours.

  3. I was thinking and reading your post over, I forgot to mention lowering your expectations and accept what is age appropriate. He's only three, it's normal for him to only think of himself and remove the baby gate, for example. Kids are in a huge me, me, me stage until about age six. It's unrealistic to expect him to think about the safety of his brother when he's still so young himself. That's why he impulsively pulls his brother down too. He'll forget the rules over and over. That's normal. Kids don't really starting getting until age six, on average. That's another thing I learned in that course I took.

  4. I agree with Cara about the impulsiveness thing - they do it without any sort of thought behind it. It's like how they can bolt into the street to go get a toy without thinking that hey, a car could hit me.

    Honestly, I would restrict his access to places until he proves that he can handle it. Morgan is allowed to play in the playroom where I can keep a general eye on him but I don't let him play upstairs because I don't think he's old enough to make great choices yet. Some rooms are totally out of bounds for both kids - mainly my computer/craft room as I have things that are a) too small for Callie and b) too tempting for Morgan.

    I think at this age it's important to somewhat control their environment so they aren't presented with the opportunity. We tend to do things like leave something that isn't kid friendly out then get pissed when they do something to it - this happens all the time here. But really, if I had of put it away, he wouldn't have had the opportunity so who is to blame? Tough one.

    Also, and this one has been huge for us, I explain very clearly what my expectation is. As in, when we went out to brunch, we talked in the car about what is and what isn't a good way to act. We talked whether we would be loud or quiet, would walk or run, how we would behave and what the consequence would be if there was misbehaving or not listening. That way he knew full well going in what was OK and what wasn't and what the result was. (And he was awesome!)

    And definately, definately follow through. Morgan was not listening in Toys R Us the other day and I told him that if he chose (and that's big, because it gives them the power) to act like that again, he would be getting a time out in the store. Now, he hasn't had a time out in like a month but sure enough, he pushed it and found himself in timeout in front of the other kids. Doesn't embarrass me any and he knows I mean business when I say it. One time of not following through and you've created a weak spot and they will keep testing.

  5. Wow!! I'm really loving what Cara and Kim have to say....great ideas I need to try some of those tips as well :)!

  6. I am loving this advice too. We have the same problems sometimes... and we just have to remember that our kids are so smart, seem like they "get it" more than they really do. I am constantly reminding myself that Tiegan's only 3 and kids that age only want what they want - they haven't learned to think of how it affects others yet.

    But believe me.. I can TOTALLY relate to how angry/frustrated you get! I feel like I have such a short fuse lately especially after reminding and scolding 234897234 times in a row. Tiegan will repeat my explanations as to why she's in trouble, but she doesn't seem to put it to use in future situations. I think because kids @ that age emulate us so much, we expect them to reason like us too.

    I know (BELIEVE me I know) it's hard but I think the best course of action is to just take a deep breath, keep reminding, keep teaching WHY he's in trouble and lower the bar a little bit. You're not alone!! :)

  7. I agree with Cara on redirecting. Ben went through a stage where he was acting out for attention. You must acknowledge he did bad then redirect him to something else. When he does something you ask praise him, for everything. I understand you can't be with your child every second, so have them get involved with what you are doing; household chores. This will benefit them in the long run. My kids love to wash the table, sweep the floor, load and unload the dishwasher, and help with laundry.

  8. I agree with almost all of the suggestions except kids not getting it until age 6. They need to be taught if we just ignore or redirect until there 6 they will never understand about consequence. Even as young as 3 they can understand, although some may get it sooner then later. My son is 7 and at age 2 he understood what he could and couldn't do around babies(like keeping the gate up), my daughter on the other hand I know would understand but wouldn't think twice about opening it. Kim had great advice in limiting them to certain areas, my daughter can go up and down stairs but there are too many things to get into say we have a gate to keep her down. She would also play with the toilet paper so I took it out of the bathroom and when she had to go she asked me for it, It was a huge pain because I had to try and remember to take it in but after a couple of months she forgot about it. I know I'm not much help because I feel at my wits end with her lots of times and we redirect first with warning and then timeout and she still does it over and over (mostly yelling and demanding things when I'm talking to other parents (I do daycare). I hope things get better and you get lots of good advice. Take care.

  9. Cara definitely left some good suggestions. Since Reyna is still a little younger, I don't have much advice for you. And, we haven't had to deal with the sibling issue yet. I'm a little scared for that one. :) hahaha.

    I like Kim's idea where she restricts places in the house. It's definitely a good idea since your house is a lot larger than your last and there is a lot more area he can cover.

  10. i think there has been some great advice here. i was anxious to read the comments. we have a small house (i feel like i can see nearly the whole thing from standing in our living room) so tucker can't go far to get into trouble. he's pretty good about getting into things he shouldn't, but sometimes you just feel like a broken record trying to get them to understand/listen about their behavior. wish i had something more to contribute - i agree that somehow restricting his access to certain areas might help.