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How to Handle 'Challenging' Children

Sometimes, my oldest son and I butt heads. He's sweet, empathetic and loved by his teachers -- and parents, for that matter. He listens well outside the home.

But come inside, and stubborn meets stubborn. Maybe it's the mistakes some of us make with firstborns or maybe we're just too similar. We both know which buttons to push to set each other off, and we've both done it plenty.

It's taken nearly six years of mom and dad night-time discussions to work out strategies to handle this one's behavior. And he's nowhere close to being the "spirited" or "challenging" child that I've read about in several parenting books.

So, it's both not surprising and welcoming to read Sandra Boodman's story in today's Post about two books that advise parents on how to deal with difficult children. One point the authors of two books make is that while many parents think they know how to deal with their kids and their tantrums, they often cling to strategies that simply don't work.

"Most popular parenting books violate the tenets of what we know is effective," Yale psychology professor Alan Kazdin said. Many, he observed, advocate that parents "understand your child, talk to your child so he won't be angry. It's wonderful to talk to your child, but talking won't change his behavior for a minute."

Instead, Kazdin and Washington area psychologists Georgia DeGangi and Anne Kendall recommend the "positive parenting approach," in which parents both catch their kids being good and reward the kids for that good behavior in specific ways, both via speech and actions. And when you see your child having a tantrum, make sure the kid is safe, then ignore it or walk away. If you'd like further advice on how to handle situations in your house, please join Kazdin live online at 11 a.m. ET today. Can't make it? Leave your question ahead of time and check the transcript later.

Do you have a "challenging" child? How do you deal with him/her? How does your "difficult" or "spirited" child's behavior affect the rest of your family?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  March 25, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Discipline , Elementary Schoolers , Preschoolers
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Comments


I wish I knew how to deal with my spirited step-son. Almost every request is met with "I don't want to". Even as something as simple as, "Put on your coat, we need to leave" invariably is met with a "No", pouting, yelling or even a full on temper tantrum. I wish I could say it was just with me but I see him do the same thing with his mother and his report cards are coming back with comments that he won't listen to the teacher.

I am starting to dread the nights that I have to look after him. It all starts with arriving at the house where he absolutely refuses to get out of the car and it generally escalates into a temper tantrum in which he actually cries all the way to the house. And no... I can't just leave him in the car because I live in a condo with a general parking lot and he is 5.

His sister on the other hand is a real joy to be with and we rarely butt heads.

Posted by: Billie | March 25, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Billie, you should write to Margeurite Kelly, who writes Family Almanac for the Post, with this problem. She gives first class, workable suggestions for parenting problems. I find her outlook is intelligent and helpful. Be specific with her about the overall situation (is Dad there when the boy melts down, what is your relationship with the boy's mother, how long this has been going on, how is he with others, etc) and I'm sure she'll give you some great strategies.

Posted by: Postie | March 25, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Billie, time to smarten that boy up with a rattan across his insolent buttocks.

Posted by: Lugo | March 25, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Some of this is about control. If you are giving too many instructions, you may be making the problem worse. (I know, I've been there).

If you are going out the door, and your child refuses to get ready, say, "I'm leaving in five minutes..." then give a warning closer to the time. Follow through, and start to leave. Stop the nagging and cajoling. (My son often had trouble with these transitions. Try to think about life from their point of view, not yours. Do what works, instead of trying to win every battle.

Also, my neighbor (a therapist) once gave me great advice: don't give too much information. Give children the information they actually need. If you are thinking of doing something a week from now, don't mention it. This helps especially as children get older. It prevents you from having to go back on your word, or explain why plans have changed, especially for some children who have difficulty with change.

And, finally, you will survive. I had a very challenging child (at times). Now, he's a teenager, nearly adult, who for the most part is a decent kid, easy to get along with (most of the time) and well liked by teachers. He's his own person, and not easily swayed...a good thing for teenagers.

Posted by: Kate | March 25, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The only thing I've found that consistently works with my daughter is unflappable calm. Usually when she freaks about things, it's because she feels very insecure and overwhelmed. Lights are too bright, sounds are too loud, even the tags on shirts are too itchy. So when the world seems so out of control that it terrifies her, she responds by trying to control everything she can -- dad, mom, brother, the cat, etc. She gets very bossy, whiney, and demanding.

My own breakthrough was realizing that her tantrums and bossiness were driven by insecurity and fear -- not because she felt powerFUL, but because she felt powerLESS. So I have to be her rock, her stability. Which means, rule number one, that I cannot afford to lose my temper. If little old her can provoke her one unchanging constant into losing my temper, then that sense of security goes away. Of course, not losing temper with defiant child? Hardest. Thing. Ever.

The way I've learned to help her over time is to give her a sense of order and control over herself and her life, so that she can relax a little because she knows what to expect. We have an evening routine, which doesn't change much. If something doesn't matter, I don't make a big deal out of it. I tell her what's going to happen before we go anywhere. When she misbehaves, I do the 1-2-3 magic approach -- counting, calm consequences, and no big lectures/nagging/angry voices.

Billie, I feel for you. I suspect your stepson also feels powerless, so his fits are an attempt to regain control of the situation. Plus he's terrified of being rejected, so he's testing you, trying to provoke you into doing the very thing he's scared of. If you haven't read 1-2-3 Magic, it might help both explain his thinking and provide a technique to help manage him better.

I suspect the best thing you can do is remain as calm and unaffected by his fits as you can, and just go on as though things are completely normal -- believe me, I know first hand how impossible that is!! I keep in my head the mental image of a horse standing in a field, chewing on the grass -- this annoying horsefly is buzzing around, but the horse just swishes its tail at it, all the while eating the grass. So you need to be accepting and loving of him, even while showing him his behavior is unacceptable.

Again, the key is a calm, loving attitude and clear, unemotional consequences. Tell him it's time for dinner; if he doesn't come, start without him, and no snacks later. When you can, offer to include him in fun things; if he sulks, go on without him. When you absolutely need him to do something, tell him (calmly!) that you'd like him to get out of the car (or whatever), and that he can do it himself or you'll carry him; when he calls your bluff (he will), just pick him up and carry him inside, completely ignoring the fit he will throw along the way (my daughter HATED being carried!). Once you get inside, put him down and let him throw his fit while you go about your business. If he's disruptive, then calmly tell him that he can go to his room until he's calmed down and ready to join the rest of you, and carry him there if need be.

And most important: no grudge-holding! When he calms down, be glad to see him, and invite him to do something fun, whether it's sit down with you and read a book, or join you at dinner, or whatever. He needs to see that you like him and want him around. When you catch him doing things right, THAT's when you reward him with your attention and praise.

Posted by: Laura | March 25, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Oh boy, here come all the posts about how people should just beat their children. (Incidentally, my husband was a "difficult" child, and his parents dealt with it by beating him with a belt. Today they concede it never made a bit of difference- in fact it made things worse- and they wished they hadn't done it).

With my 3yo, staying calm is the most important thing, and also heading off problems before they start. If I notice she's getting hungry, tired, or overwhelmed, I try to intervene before the meltdown occurs. I am not perfect at this, but it does help a lot, mainly because if she's entered any of the above-mentioned states she is impossible to discipline. When she's rested and has a full tummy, she's an angel and any naughty behavior is easy to nip in the bud.

Posted by: reston, va | March 25, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I am starting to cajole/fight less about stuff that I don't care about or I have no choice in what I need him to do.

For example, I no longer try to convince him to get out of the car. I ask a couple of times and if he doesn't do it, he gets a choice. You get of the car on your own or I get you out. Very rarely, he gets out on his own... usually I lift him out by the front of his coat. The very next thing we used to fight about was his knapsack with his homework. He wouldn't carry it into the house. We don't fight about that at all now. I ask him once, maybe twice and if he refuses to take it, I drop it on the ground next to the car. The very first time I did this, I said to him... Thats fine, if you don't want to carry it then it will get left here. He picked it up immediately and now if he refuses, I simply say Ok and drop it on the ground. He always picks it up and I suppose if he doesn't in the future then he might discover it stolen.

I am still working on how to discipline him when he does something unacceptable. He thinks that discipline is a joke - with everyone. The other day, I ended up disciplining him with a 5 minute time out right when supper started. So he sat in a chair in the dining room (his timeout spot) but not at the table. He was told he could start eating when his timeout ended and I proceeded to ignore him when he spoke to me and just spoke to his sister. That really, really bothered him and he quit laughing and started to get my attention for real by repeatedly saying he was calmer and he would behave.

Posted by: Billie | March 25, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Billie:

One of the things that really struck me about the experts in today's story is just how much praise matters. Look for the times that your stepson does what you've asked and tell him that you like that he did x specific behavior. Maybe even give him a sticker for it. Here's a sidebar to this morning's story that has some good tips:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/21/AR2008032102818.html?sid=ST2008032401102

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | March 25, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Hi billie,

What you just posted is great. You are on your way to figuring him out. Read what laura and kate say and do what you're doing. Remember that you are working on the long haul. Differences won't come quickly but they will come. My difficult child is now almost 10 and while he's still difficult, he's sooo much better. And I can make a change in his behavior much faster now. (other adults in his life who have known him since he was 5 or so have told him he's so much better behaved!)

Posted by: anonymous | March 25, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I read that article this morning and thought she made good points about not talking too much.

As a trivial thing, about this time of year we used to have shorts wars, as in "I want to wear shorts today." Fast forward to child shivering at the bus stop in 37 degree weather with his shorts on. After a few of those we established the 70 degree rule. Child could go get the newspaper and see what the high was predicted to be. If it was 70 or greater then it could be a shorts day. The rule was set, child could verify it himself -- no daily discussions of what was appropriate to wear.

Billie - you mention that this is your "step" son, so I assume the kid has issues beyond just being a stubborn 5 year old. Is he so difficult with his Dad as well?

Posted by: RoseG | March 25, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I think part of the problem is that parents negotiate with their kids. We're going to do this now, OK? Mine didn't. If it was time to go out the door, we went out the door. No words, no fights, nothing. Good behavior wasn't "rewarded" or praised. It was expected.

Posted by: Silver Spring | March 25, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

If you haven't read "Children the Challenge" by Rudolph Dreikurs, it's time you did.

Posted by: Lilly1 | March 25, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

What's wrong with smacking their insolent, entitled, spoiled little butts? The biggest part of the problem is the parent, not the kid. The parent should be in control. The kid should listen. Period.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't mean to monopolize the board but I do want to respond to people's questions.

The best combination seems to be myself with Daddy and maybe Mommy and Daddy(not sure since I am not there). The worst combination seems to be when all three parents are together. I also think that Mommy and Step-mommy together do fairly well. We don't spend that much time together but we do spend time together. Each of us individually seem to have a moderately rough time of it. Perhaps this is because when two people are present they can balance each other when dealing with him.

Part of his 'bad' behaviour could be adjustment. They just moved to a new country. We each speak a different first language and are not fluent in the other language but can get by. He knows who Mommy and Daddy are and I know has hoped they would get back together until somewhat recently. I think he thinks I am just another adult. He is adjusting to kindergarten in a different country and they have a less than ideal schedule as we try to patch together child-care between the three of us.

In comparison, Daddy and I have come to the conclusion that our daughter has a much different understanding of the situation because she never had Daddy in her life until now. This is the only way she has known him. Daddy has never stayed the night and Daddy has always come with step-mommy who she also calls "mama" occasionally. She definitely knows who her first mommy is and prefers first mommy over second mommy when hurt or wants to snuggle and when they are both present. The stepdaughter prefers stepmommy over Daddy when hurt or wants to cuddle. Daddy thinks that our stepdaughter simply thinks she has two mommies and doesn't quite realize that not everyone has that privilege. Perhaps that elevated status helps me with her.

Posted by: Billie | March 25, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

What's wrong with smacking their insolent, entitled, spoiled little butts? The biggest part of the problem is the parent, not the kid. The parent should be in control. The kid should listen. Period.

Posted by: | March 25, 2008 10:17 AM

Being beaten on your insolent, entitled, spoiled little butt does not seem to have improved either your disposition or your ability to analyze a problem coherently.

Posted by: anonforthis | March 25, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

"Oh Timmy, if you don't stop Mummy with withhold love". KRAP - if Mummy would lay a big smack across Timmys face he might respond! Anyway, most of these "Child Experts" are writing this krap advice while sipping coladas on the beach with their other SINGLE peeps!

Posted by: DoTheJob | March 25, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

To all who advocate beating your kids, the threat of a spanking always elicits better results than an actual spanking. Use the nuclear option sparingly or not at all.

Regarding difficult children, most of the good stuff has been said:

1. Too many words will kill you. Give one command it in simple terms then SHUT UP.

2. Tantrums are an attempt to get a reaction out of you. Many parents get upset and throw tantrums, themselves. What good is it if the parent joins the child in acting like a 2 year old?

3. Prefer natural consequences to parental consequences. How often has, "Now Kaytilquxin, if you do [incorrect action], you will suffer [consequence]," actually resulted in a behavior modification?

I've found it 100x more effective to simply allow [consequence] to happen, as long as my kids aren't in real danger, and let the world around them be their teacher.

Posted by: Bob | March 25, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I'll admit that I spanked my dd once to get her to stop having a tantrum. Big Mistake. It only succeeded in making her more hysterical and out of control, and the tantrum lasted even longer than it would have otherwise. It was a stupid move on my part and I won't do it again. What actually works is just talking to her calmly to try to find out what's making her so upset (since I don't always know), and, if that doesn't work, just leaving the room.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Haha, this made me laugh out loud because my husband is trying to help me do the job my parents didn't, and get me to stop throwing temper tantrums. Yes I'm embarrassed that it still happens as an adult but it is still hard for me to control. I will attest to the value and effectiveness of his absolutely unflappable calm--he just ignores me when I lose it, and then talks to me about it later; he tells me what a good person I am and how he knows I am capable of more than this and encourages me; and he doesn't for a minute let me get away with it. My parents used physical discipline with me as a kid and clearly it was NOT successful, so don't waste your time.

I'd also suggest a great article in the NYT about applying techniques used in animal training to people called "What Shamu Taught Me About A Happy Marriage"--amusing article but also effective.

Posted by: tsp 2007 | March 25, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

anonforthis obviously has an out of control kid she can't handle. So do all those who advocate 'negotiating' with the kid instead of being a parent. There is a difference between beating and discipline. Beating is abuse. Discipline is not abuse.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Discipline is not abuse, but spanking a child is not necessarily discipline. Especially when it DOESN'T WORK.

Posted by: to 11:32 | March 25, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

anonforthis obviously has an out of control kid she can't handle. So do all those who advocate 'negotiating' with the kid instead of being a parent. There is a difference between beating and discipline. Beating is abuse. Discipline is not abuse.

Posted by: | March 25, 2008 11:32 AM

Who advocated "negotiating"?

If you think that there are no parenting techniques other than "negotiating" and "hitting", then you should do your personal sanity a favor and do some reading. Do you really enjoy getting so worked up you hit your kids?

The parenting techniques I choose tend to be as easy for me, and as frustrating for my kids as possible. Want to throw a tantrum? I don't care. But realize that you've just lost the discussion with no hope of changing my mind. Want to continue the tantrum after I ask you to stop? I don't care. But realize that you are going into timeout until you calm down because I'm done giving you my attention.

The message: If you want something to go your way, don't throw a tantrum. If you want my attention, don't throw a tantrum.

I don't see too many tantrums anymore. How's "the belt" working for you?

Posted by: Bob | March 25, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

All of these are great comments/ideas, however, does anyone have any ideas on how to TEACH a difficult child?

I have a 4 1/2 year old student who is out of control...there are days like today where she is an absolute dream, follows directions, participates, etc. and then there are days when i want to go home at 10:30am, go to bed and pull the covers over my head.

I am seriously at a loss. the amount of attention she demands is crazy, to the point where my other students are pushed completely to the back burner.

I talk with her mom almost everyday, I send home a daily note outlining her behavior, I have tried different reward systems and time outs.

Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas on way I can handle this bundle of joy?

thanks!!

Posted by: pre-kteacher | March 25, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"I think part of the problem is that parents negotiate with their kids. We're going to do this now, OK? Mine didn't. If it was time to go out the door, we went out the door. No words, no fights, nothing. Good behavior wasn't "rewarded" or praised. It was expected."

--The best comment I read so far.

Posted by: Soguns1 | March 25, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

My daughter has had episodes of being challenging, for whatever reason. I agree that hitting or yelling just escalates the conflict. What has worked is ignoring the tantrum, saying "I'll listen to you when you can talk to me in a normal voice" (repeat as necessary) and making it clear in various ways that when you're cooperative, you can have more fun.
I cannot stress this enough: consistency. Do not threaten anything that you're not willing to follow through on.
I try to let my daughter make choices whenever feasible, such as park vs. library or jeans vs. skirt, even when I am pretty sure what the choice will be. I remember childhood as a time of having little control over anything, and it's not a great feeling.

Posted by: Angela | March 25, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"Who advocated "negotiating"?" -Bob

It seems like many of today's parents and so-called "child experts" advocate negotating with children.

Example #1: Mommy will give you her full attention once you stop screaming, Billy.

Example #2: You can come out and join the rest of us once you stop throwing a tantrum.

Example #3: Giving children choices (not small ones such as choosing between the blue pants or red pants to wear today) but choices such as if Timmy doesn't want to get out of the car, that's fine-he'll come out eventually. Or if Sally doesn't want to finish dinner, she can't have anything until breakfast.

Parenting skills like this sickens me as a mother.

Posted by: Soguns1 | March 25, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, wow, Soguns, that's an interesting definition of "negotiation." Negotiating means back and forth -- I give something to get something from you. When I tell my daughter she can come have dinner with us when she's ready to act like a civilized human being, I'm not giving her jack -- I'm simply reminding her what's going to happen if she keeps being a twit.

I'm not going to "negotiate" (my meaning) with my kid; my rules and expectations are what they are, I'm not going to let her talk me out of it by whining or throwing a fit, and I'm not going to bribe her to behave. But I'm also not going to impose an arbitrary "do everything because I said so with no backtalk or I'll whup your [butt]" rule. One, because I've known two relatives who did that, and both their kids ended up leaving home and going completely nuts in ways that affected their lives for years thereafter. And two, because I'm not always going to be there to make her choices for her. At some point, she's going to have to make decisions on her own, and it's my job to help her learn how to make good ones. And the way you do that is a little at a time -- and let her feel the consequences of whatever choice she makes.

So, yeah, I don't really worry about reminding her that if she doesn't eat dinner she's not getting a snack later. Worst thing that can happen is she's kinda hungry that night. BFD. And way better than forcing a giant power struggle over a choice that doesn't really matter.

Posted by: Laura | March 25, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

We don't force the kids to eat supper but we do require them to sit at the table. Often they will say... we aren't hungry and threaten a little melt-down. We just remind them that they don't have to eat but their presence is required.

We put food in front of them and they can eat it or not. Often enough... they start eating once the rest of us start. The other rule which hasn't given us too much trouble is that no one leaves the table until everyone is done. It is quite funny to hear my stepson repeating the rule to his sister when she is trying to leave knowing that he has no issues with trying to leave the table himself on occasion.

Snacks after supper are usually tied to whether or not they made an attempt to eat supper. We don't necessary require their plate to be clean but they had to give it the college try.

Posted by: Billie | March 25, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Two other good resources on handling children's challenging behavior are: www.challengingbehavior.org and www.vanderbilt.edu/csefel. They have good info for parents and teachers on Positive Behavior Support (PBS).

Posted by: telecommuting mom | March 25, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

My mother used to whack the daylights out of us for no reason except she was PMSing big time, or angry at somebody else (usually our father) and we were the easiest targets. If we said something she didn't like we got a smack across the mouth. She used one of those wooden paddles with the rubber ball on it, tore off the ball and used it to whip us on the butt. I started plotting to leave home when I was about 8. When I got older I just gave her the silent treatment. Ignored her. Didn't speak to her for days except for a perfunctory 'yes' or 'no. Drove her nuts. Now she's quite elderly and frail and we get to choose her nursing home. AHHHHH, sweet revenge!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I think understanding that these are unique individuals stuck in an often unfair situation can help. How often is a challenge just a challenge? Are they overtired? Hungry? Sad? Scared? Lonely? Bored? These are complex beings trying to balance being 'good' and being 'who I am.'

Sometimes challenges CAN just be challenges, and that's ok. But what's wrong with challenges? We don't want them to stop challenging, we just have to teach them to challenge in the right way.

And how do we teach things? We emulate the skills ourselves consistently, we stay on focus, and repeat the lesson through experience.

But first comes awareness. Most parents suck at that.

Posted by: Liz D | March 25, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"When I tell my daughter she can come have dinner with us when she's ready to act like a civilized human being, I'm not giving her jack -- I'm simply reminding her what's going to happen if she keeps being a twit."

--That IS negotiating. You're giving her a choice. That gives her a choice NOT to act well behave if she so chooses to.

How about this approach- if she doesn't act like a civilized human being, there will be consequences. It's the good ol' fashion-do what I say, or there will be repurcussions approach. No wonder too many kids walk all over their parents today. Parents give their kids too many choices.

Posted by: Soguns1 | March 25, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

My challenging child was our first born. Many of our friends looked at his behavior and tut-tutted and said that THEY had great systems for their kids that we should try. Heck, two of my son's friends were so well-behaved that time spent at our house was a joy and time my son spent at theirs could result in arguments and tantrums. But their well-meaning comments persisted. They talked about their "Spirited" children when their children were quiet and docile. They lied to themselves over and over again.

As some twist of fate, our second child has been a dream. Everything we do is right and everything we do makes him happy and he listens and follows everything.

My first son's best friends have two younger siblings who are far far worse than he ever was. Those friends have come around to ask us what worked for our oldest now that they realize what they thought was a challenge was really quite easy.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out if you have a truly challenging child.

Has the child ever broken something like a plate or glass on purpose in a rage? Has the child ever demanded that you wake up at 3 or 4am by smacking you on the face? Has the child ever been sent home from school, daycare or a friend's house due to preventable behavior?

My son, at 5, has turned into a dream. We focus on eating lunch at noon no matter where we are and even if we won't eat food there. We focus on multiple physical activities for our son every day. We focus entirely on what's right and ignore what's wrong. We have an easy-to-understand grading system for his behavior that can be traded for things he likes. We read to him quietly every day, even the toy catalogs he wants to read. We give him rewards, such as a video every day so he knows he gets good rewards. We got a pet for him to take care of. We did that over a TWO YEAR period.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

It's the good ol' fashion-do what I say, or there will be repurcussions approach.
----------

How is that not offering the child a choice? You criticized someone for the same thing you're doing?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Three suggestions:

1) get the book, "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk." It's got a lot of good tactics for communicating with kids. Not a lot of psychobabble. (the same authors wrote "siblings without rivalry," also a classic.)

2) Look into PEP classes. The Parent Encouragement Program. Great programs, good suggestions. It's a positive approach, but event the sterner among us (like me) appreciate the classes. THeir idea is to get kids to be useful, good citizens of their families.

Posted by: MarylandMom | March 25, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Ooops... that was only two suggestions.

Third suggestion: Read "Raising your spirited child."

Posted by: MarylandMom | March 25, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Being beaten on your insolent, entitled, spoiled little butt does not seem to have improved either your disposition or your ability to analyze a problem coherently.

Posted by: anonforthis | March 25, 2008 10:40 AM

anonforthis obviously has an out of control kid she can't handle.

Posted by: | March 25, 2008 11:32 AM

You continue to display the same lack of logic you exhibited in your initial comment. The fact that someone comments on your ill disposition and incoherent analysis tells you nothing about whether the person has reproduced. Use your brain as it was intended to be used and, once you have children, you might be able to approach parenting with maximum efficiency.

Having children who are obedient isn't an accident and it is not contingent on the amount of hysteria and extremism you bring to the table.

Posted by: anonforthis | March 25, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Pre-K Teacher: I don't know if I can help much, because we struggle with this ourselves, and some of the solutions are beyond your control. For ex., my daughter really needs a lot of physical activity, but she's stuck with the school-mandated limited recess. You, I'm sure, have things you need to teach and a schedule you need to stick to, so you have limited flexibility.

One thing that is tremendously simple yet important and effective with our daughter is to catch her doing something right. When your student is sitting still, or being quiet, make a point of letting her know you noticed and giving her a pat on the back for that. Also, it might help if you can work with the mom to track her diet and sleeping patterns a bit -- the good day/bad day thing could be as simple as she didn't have breakfast, or she didn't sleep, or dad was out of town, or it's been raining and she's been stuck inside. It sounds like you're giving the mom great feedback (I would LOVE to hear that kind of detail from my kid's teachers!!), but maybe she can give you some, too.

Also, distraction is probably one of your greatest weapons. The big tantrums, like a big storm, always seem to build over time, and there are usually some symptoms that you can pick up on if you're looking out for them. The most successful teachers my daughter has ever had were the ones who found ways to calmly distract her with something else before everything blew. Maybe she can be your "attendance helper," or water the plants, or walk down the hall to get a drink -- just something to get her up and moving on to something different, thus forgetting about whatever the problem was.

Finally, to the extent you can, keep the "must sit still and be quiet" times relatively short. I'll never forget visiting preschool when my girl was 3 1/2, and realizing that they were expected to sit cross-legged and not talk for 45 minutes during "circle time." I read a story near the end of it all, and a couple of kids started asking questions about what was happening -- and the teacher immediately jumped on them, in a really critical tone of voice, for talking in class. And I thought, wow, talk about completely unreasonable expectations about 3-yr-olds. Certainly, you need to help them learn to sit still and pay attention for longer periods, but you also need to watch out for the signs that say maybe this isn't the day to push that particular lesson.

Posted by: Laura | March 25, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"How about this approach- if she doesn't act like a civilized human being, there will be consequences."

Umm, I thought that was precisely what I said. You just seem to disagree with my decision not to phrase it as a threat. Unless, of course, "consequences" is code for "whipping."

As to "the good ol' fashion-do what I say, or there will be repurcussions approach": sorry, channeling Eric Cartman now -- "respect my authori-tay!"

In my own experience, the people who truly command respect don't have to shout about it.

Posted by: Laura | March 25, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

to preK teacher...my son drove his preschool teachers nuts. Yes he is truly adhd but he was also smarter than the rest of his class (he's a 4th grade gt student so I have had confirmation of that). If your student doesn't nap, do anything you can to get rid of that nap. It's torture to kids who don't nap. Find something for her to do. If your student is really verbal, you may have a smart cookie on your hand so work with it. Never make a promise or a deal with her that you cannot keep. If some days transitioning between activities is tough (she wants to keep doing what she's doing), you should set up a warning system every day. Keep the schedule routine as much as possible so she know what to expect.

And lastly, having the parents talk to her doesn't work. Having them tell you what they do at home will give you pointers.

Posted by: beenthere | March 25, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Please let's just ignore the commenters who come on just to rile us up.

I am enjoying reading everyone's methods and enjoyed Dr. Kazdin's suggestions, which I am going to immediately employ. I **thought** I was doing them, but I see that I did temper some of my remarks with negativity. I try hard to use specific positive praise and I always see clear results from that. But as a busy parent of 3 close together, it is often hard to always be calm! And if it's hard for ME, the adult, to be calm, imagine how hard it is for my child.

This is GREAT help!! Thanks!

Posted by: Andrea | March 25, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Hogwash. All of it.

The way to achieve is civilized child and productive, ethical member of society is as follows:

Set extremely high EXPECTATIONS and intermediate GOALS for your children and HOLD THEM TO THE EXPECTATIONS AND GOALS WITHOUT FAIL OR WAIVER. Make sure the goals are where they can see them, and review those goals with them daily.

Reward the child when the expectation goal is achieved. Watch their self-esteem grow, and their behavior improvement grow in equal measure.

As the child ages, goals can move from praise to physical things like a trip to a favorite park, or later upon graduation from high school, a car.

Education experts who say otherwise are ignorant of human behavior and capitalism -the very nature of the American way. Look how well they have done with our public schools, for example...

Punish the child SEVERELY when behavioral expectations are not achieved. When the child gets up and runs around the restaurant - the entire family will leave the restaurant immediately, with food ordered boxed and taken home.

The unruly child is spanked with the swats on the bare bottom so it hurts and are told why, as it is being delivered: "They disobeyed and endangered themselves and others by running around waitresses with pots of hot coffee, burning hot food, someone elses meal, breakable glass, and china".

"They destroyed the peace and quiet and the enjoyment of others and endangered them".

"They were very bad and will never be allowed to be that bad again."

"This is the result of being bad", etc.

Finally, that is the last restaurant or public space they see for a month and are reminded they are suffering the baby sitter each time everyone else goes out to have fun because they got up and walked around the restaurant last time.

Never, ever mollify the child.
Never, ever offer a boobie prize when a goal is not achieved.
Never, ever spare the three swats.
Locking a child in their bedroom only makes them hate being alone in their bedroom and you'll deprive them of independence by making them hate their own space.

In short BE A PARENT - NOT THEIR BUDDY.
They will respect and love you for it in the morning!

People will admire your child's good behavior and will comment on it, along with your amazing parenting skills, effusively, and in public.

Are you worried about being too severe? You need to remember that in cave-days our ancestors' children simply got EATEN BY WILD ANIMALS if they disobeyed, and ran around outside of the cave, or away from the immediate grasp of their parent's hand. So in comparison, getting up and asking for take-out boxes, then delivering three swats and a reciting of rules, goals, and behavioral expectations to a child who's actions cause everyones good time to go down the drain isn't so harsh, is it?

Those would-be parents reading this and thinking: "Its not so bad when my kids run around" are irresponsible, bad citizens, bad parents, and are spoiling our civilized society. YES IT IS THAT BAD!

Now go forth and PARENT!

Posted by: JBE | March 25, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Beenthere: If your student doesn't nap, do anything you can to get rid of that nap. It's torture to kids who don't nap. Find something for her to do. If your student is really verbal, you may have a smart cookie on your hand so work with it.
***
I don't see why naps should be gotten rid of. I'd say it would be a great boon to help an ADHD child learn very early to take quiet time and that it's important to learn to know when to rest and relax. Since it's harder for them to do so, learning those skills, or at least starting to recognize the need for them and coping with it will be invaluable for the future.

I don't think naps should be mandated, but certainly quietly laying down and thinking, or perhaps drawing quietly.

Posted by: Liz D | March 25, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"The unruly child is spanked with the swats on the bare bottom so it hurts and are told why, as it is being delivered -"

So JBE what do you do when your 13 year old gets out of hand, if your ultimate punishment is physical? Is it fear or respect you are looking for?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

i think there is some confusion over discipline vs. punishment. the two are not the same.

Posted by: quark | March 25, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

so jbe - your child is bad when he/she acts in an age appropriate manner. your child is bad when he/she can't meet your expectations? sad.

Posted by: quark | March 25, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Good lord, some of you people are frightening. To the folks who view discipline more as an opportunity to punish . . . I really don't understand it. I don't understand how you can -with a straight face- teach your child it is not appropriate to hit/bite/whatever other people and then you smack or spank your kid? It's hypocritical.

Putting aside the fact that I think the approach is atrocious and abusive, it must be nice to live in your black and white world where only one approach is the acceptable definition of parenting. Pdretty harsh. Not to mention ignorant.

Posted by: JS | March 25, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"In my own experience, the people who truly command respect don't have to shout about it."
-Who said anything about shouting? Why are you ASSuming that a parent must be shouting when they command respect from a child? How about a very stern tone of voice while looking a child straight in his/her eyes?

"Umm, I thought that was precisely what I said. You just seem to disagree with my decision not to phrase it as a threat. Unless, of course, "consequences" is code for "whipping.""
-Again, quit ASSuming. Consequences can be anything from spanking, to time-out, or taking away material goods, etc.
The 'you can come downstair when you stop screaming' approach is not met with immediate discipline. That's the problem. It gives children the flexibility to acted up for as long as they please until they are ready to be good. They create their own timespan which can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as 30 minutes. Another fine example of parents giving kids too much control.

Posted by: Soguns1 | March 25, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"So JBE what do you do when your 13 year old gets out of hand, if your ultimate punishment is physical? Is it fear or respect you are looking for? "

--As a mother, I look for both. I'm a firm believer that it's good when children fear their parents. And before anyone jumps on my case, I don't mean fear as in a child quiver and shakes whenever the parents enters a room. But rather, I can throw an evil eye look if my child starts to misbehave in the grocery store and that's enough to set her straight. Or my teenager being scared of bringing home a report card full of "D's" to me. I know *I* don't want my child to think "Psshh! Mom won't do anything if I earn D's in all my courses." Fine example of kids thinking their parents can't touch them/ do anything to them or punishment is a big joke to them.

Posted by: Soguns1 | March 25, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"your child is bad when he/she acts in an age appropriate manner. your child is bad when he/she can't meet your expectations? sad. "
--*rolls eyes* Good Lord. Quit reading too much into it. The child is not bad. Rather the child is ACTING bad. I don't believe there's anything wrong with telling my 4 year old old she is behaving or acting badly.

Posted by: Soguns1 | March 25, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"The 'you can come downstair when you stop screaming' approach is not met with immediate discipline. That's the problem. It gives children the flexibility to acted up for as long as they please until they are ready to be good. They create their own timespan which can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as 30 minutes"

But the punishment then becomes in direct proportion to the behavior. If the family is watching a movie, the longer you scream the more of the movie you, etc. Sort of like the more you speed, the higher the fine. The nastier you are the less friends you have. Etc. A good lesson for a child - the worse you behave the worse the punishment.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"The 'you can come downstair when you stop screaming' approach is not met with immediate discipline. That's the problem. It gives children the flexibility to acted up for as long as they please until they are ready to be good. They create their own timespan which can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as 30 minutes"

But the punishment then becomes in direct proportion to the behavior. If the family is watching a movie, the longer you scream the more of the movie you miss, etc. Sort of like the more you speed, the higher the fine. The nastier you are the less friends you have. Etc. A good lesson for a child - the worse you behave the worse the punishment.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Soguns1, what are you teaching your child: that because they misbehaved, they are not worthy of your love and their presence is unwanted--and they can't even come back to you to reassure themselves that you love them, because they're not allowed to??? God, how sad for them. How TREMENDOUSLY sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Most of the comments I read are from people without challenging children who shouldn't be commenting on this story. Do I need to repeat myself that when your child responds to simple, organized encouragement, punishment and regular society that they, by definition, are not challenging. We're talking about the kids who do not respond to regular, every day parenting!!! You people lie lie lie to yourselves. Grow up, you with your picture perfect theories, you made fools of yourselves today.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm looking at YOU Soguns. You don't have challenging children and you think it's because of you when it's because of THEM. I have one child who responds normally to normal rewards and punishment and one who doesn't. I have one kid who, during time outs, sits quietly and sadly in a chair and smiles when he gets let out and another who screams at the top of his lungs and tries to throw the chair at me. Do you at long last understand that you have no clue about challenging children? I have one of each and as our son's therapist has said, challenging children have nothing to do with parenting when one kid responds and the other cannot. It's like I'm talking to a group of people who never met kids before.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

"Do I need to repeat myself that when your child responds to simple, organized encouragement, punishment and regular society that they, by definition, are not challenging."
***
Those concepts are anything but different, and it would be silly to assume that just because a child is challenging to one parent means that they would be so no matter what.

The methods may be GENERALLY the same, but how they are applied can vary greatly.

And I think it should go without saying that just because a child isn't "challenging" in the normal sense hardly means good parenting is going on.

Posted by: Liz D | March 25, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"You don't have challenging children and you think it's because of you when it's because of THEM."

-Oh? But it is because of *me* why my 4 year old is not a challenge to discipline. *I'm* the one raising her. I get the praise when she acting good or get the dirty looks if she is behaving poorly. I'll get the credit when she is successful later in life and get the blame is she fails in life. If I didn't do my job, she would be running amok. And people would rightfully blame me.

Posted by: Soguns1 | March 25, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

To the 4:59 commentor:

Way to read too much into my comments.

Posted by: Soguns1 | March 25, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

To Soguns1 - I hope so. But I know how much pain I've gone through in my adult life because my mother wanted to be feared and had similar parenting theories to yours. I hope you are right and I am wrong, for their sake.

Posted by: from 4:59 | March 25, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Well I've been there and done that on spanking and swats. The only thing it does is let the child blame you, the parent, for being the punisher. They never get it that their behavior is the problem and they need to change it. All they get is that you hit them.

Then they go to school and hit other kids. At that point you, the hitting parent, gets to spend a bunch of time with Social Workers and Counselors. If ever there was a group I'd choose to avoid!

So get off the swatting/spanking avenue, it's nothing but trouble for the parent who does it.

I think the commenter's who say that children who respond to organized discipline aren't truly difficult are correct.

From reading the chat, all the Dr. did was talk about therapy. He made no mention of age typical misbehavior. So I feel his approach was limited for most parents who don't have truely psychopathic kids.

The best points of his approach were in the paper and include: not talking your kid to death and imposing predictable rules.

Posted by: AnnR | March 25, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

But it is because of *me* why my 4 year old is not a challenge to discipline. *I'm* the one raising her. I get the praise when she acting good or get the dirty looks if she is behaving poorly. I'll get the credit when she is successful later in life and get the blame is she fails in life. If I didn't do my job, she would be running amok. And people would rightfully blame me.

Posted by: Soguns1 | March 25, 2008 05:36 PM

You are quite a bucket of insecurities.

Posted by: Wow | March 25, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

"I'll get the credit when she is successful later in life and get the blame is she fails in life"

Actually her sucess or failure in life will ultimately be your daughter's responsiblity. You can give her a good foundation, educate her, teach her right from wrong, proper behaviour, how to listen, etc. But go to the nearest drug rehab or prison and you will find some people whose siblings are successful, etc. and they were raised by the same parents. Yes you can definitely increase the odds for the sucess but you can't guarantee it. And if your family and friends blame the parents if their adult children aren't successful in life (and defining success is a whole other topic) you live in a more judgemental community than want to live in.

Posted by: mom_of_1 | March 25, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Setting high expectations is great, but they have to be realistic. I have a good friend who works in a psychiatric facility. True story: they had a 7-year-old (the youngest age the facility took) who was there because he had threatened to kill himself. Once in the facility, he was OK and happy (she says a lot of kids straighten up in the facility once they get calm, consistent rules). When it was time to discharge him, he begged to be allowed to live in the facility and not go home. His dad had these incredible rules about all manner of things...making the bed perfectly for instance...and the kid dreaded going home. My friend tried to talk to the dad about expectations but he was not interested.
While I'm sure no one here has this level of unrealistic expectation, it's worth remembering that we are talking about kids here.

Posted by: Angela | March 25, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

LizD--all well and good to teach the adhd kid to relax but the preK teacher is not going to be able to do this in a class room setting when the kid is spending most of his/her time trying to find some sort of stimulation. If it is a full day preK/daycare situation, almost all places mandate nap time because that is the only time the teachers get their breaks. And very rarely are kids allowed to do anything for the nap for at least for the first hour except lie on their cots.

Posted by: beenthere | March 25, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Very, very sadly, we do not have nap or rest time in our program (public school pre-k). I think a great deal of the problems stem from the fact that she doesn't sleep well at night. She is the only one of my students who takes a nap almost everyday (which I allow, I am a firm believer to let sleeping kids sleep).

I also think that a lot of her behaviors stem from the fact that she is a very young, very immature 4 1/2 year old. she turned 4 in June and school started late August.

Thank you all very much for the comments and ideas. I'll try to implement some of them this week.

At any rate, only 9 more weeks of school!!

Posted by: pre-kteacher | March 25, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I'll get the credit when she is successful later in life and get the blame is she fails in life.
------

You're living in a dream world. When I got my latest promotion, our CEO took me out to a bar and never mentioned my parents once.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

to pre-kteacher
since you are in a public school look to your counselor/school psychologist for behavior mod help. I would look into the needs of the sensory integration kids and the adhd kids for some ideas to help you. NOT that this child is anything but immature (she's the same month as my son, but his problems weren't maturity). A lot of the kids with those two issues have behavior issues and lots of hints as to help can be found by looking for resources for those kids (and they are often things you can implement class-wide)

Posted by: beenthere | March 26, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

"Why are you ASSuming that a parent must be shouting when they command respect from a child?"

Soguns, why are you ASSuming I was talking about yelling at the child? You're sounding more and more like Cartman by the minute.

Posted by: Laura | March 26, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

fr Lugo:

>Billie, time to smarten that boy up with a rattan across his insolent buttocks

That is child abuse. It is a felony, and punishable by a prison sentence. Grow UP and get a life.

Posted by: Alex | March 26, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

fr JBE:

>...The unruly child is spanked with the swats on the bare bottom so it hurts and are told why, as it is being delivered ...

Hogwash. All of it. Sound familiar????

Posted by: Alex | March 26, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"That is child abuse. It is a felony, and punishable by a prison sentence. Grow UP and get a life."

Wow, what a bummer that my parents didn't know that. Or indeed, anybody's parents back when I grew up. They were ALL "felony child abusers". How strange that all these products of child abuse grew up to be normal, responsible, well-disciplined adults.

Posted by: Lugo | March 26, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

fr Lugo:

>...How strange that all these products of child abuse grew up to be normal, responsible, well-disciplined adults.

Completely incorrect. MANY studies have shown that kids who are beaten as children usually grow to be abusers themselves. Whatever anyone does, stay far and away from "dr" jimmy dobdumb's line of garbage. He has NO idea what he is talking about.

Posted by: Alex | March 26, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I have involved the school team to get her referred to child find (an intervention process for early childhood).

The goal at this point is to survive this year and have a plan in place for next year, when she goes to Kindergarten.

The guidance counselor has been involved, but, she is not trained for the little ones. When she makes suggestions, I smile and nod, because developmentally they won't work.

Oh, well, 51 more days!!

Posted by: pre-kteacher | March 26, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

A lot of this gets down to personality. Some children are born loving order, eager to please adults, focused on being part of the group,willing to steer their behavior so it conforms to the norm, wanting the praise and pleasure that goes fitting in. Other kids have no idea what any of this is or how to achieve it. They spend their lives butting-up against society and authority in every phase of their lives. Most kids are on the spectrum between these poles: they learn to desire tsome of these goals and they learn to achieve the ones that are most important to them.

Smart parents and smart educators work with children to get them as far as possible. Everyone has to come to the table with the best intentions, and that includes tolerating failure, adjusting goals, and pushing forward the next time.

Humanity is a tough job and a grown-up with inflexible ideas and quick fists is a failure as a human being.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Beenthere- for sure it's not easy. Perhaps give your son a "memory stone" especially for laying down time? This can be a touchstone for him to look at and feel and "get sensory input" to remind him that this is his lay down time to think and daydream. Do you practice nap time during the weekends and holidays to be there to reinforce and keep schedule?

Posted by: Liz D | March 26, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Beenthere- for sure it's not easy. Perhaps give your son a "memory stone" especially for laying down time? This can be a touchstone for him to look at and feel and "get sensory input" to remind him that this is his lay down time to think and daydream. Do you practice nap time during the weekends and holidays to be there to reinforce and keep schedule?

Posted by: Liz D | March 26, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Beenthere- for sure it's not easy. Perhaps give your son a "memory stone" especially for laying down time? This can be a touchstone for him to look at and feel and "get sensory input" to remind him that this is his lay down time to think and daydream. Do you practice nap time during the weekends and holidays to be there to reinforce and keep schedule?

Posted by: Liz D | March 26, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

lizD--this boy is now almost 10, so naps are not an issue anymore ;-)

preK teacher--the behavioral issues of young kids and how to manage them is a horribly not understood area. So much more is an extreme of a developmental stage that they can grow out of. Dealing with it is more of an issue if you have public preK. For private preK, the answer is to kick the kids out. howard county has a service for daycare providers to contact with the goal of keeping young kids with problems in care. that wasn't around when my son was in preschool. His preschool advised 'anger management' then wouldn't listen to our psychologist's advice about coping with his adhd. For your little one, please see that she is evaluated completely for learning skills (issues or talents--both can occur simultaneously in the same child) as well as behavior. In our experience, behavior plans are done first, looking for LD's are not done, unless the child is below grade level. kids who aren't failing but have LD's can get frustrated too and that hurts behavior.

Posted by: beenther | March 26, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"MANY studies have shown that kids who are beaten as children usually grow to be abusers themselves."

Nonsense. Or at least, it depends on the definition of "abuse". I got my ass smacked plenty of times, including with wooden spoons and the back of the hairbrush. Didn't do me any harm, and it wasn't "abuse" in my book. If it was abuse, then basically _everybody_ before maybe the 1990s was "abused".

Posted by: Lugo | March 26, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

If it was abuse, then basically _everybody_ before maybe the 1990s was "abused".
--------

I think you mean born before 1960. My childhood neighbor was arrested and jailed overnight for beating his daughter in 1974 over a broken plate. 1974! I remember her crying and then hearing them out on the lawn as she ran away from his house and let me tell you, my pop and plenty of others were out there to see what happened.

Guy went to a VA psychiatrist for what we used to call Vietnam Veteran's Syndrome and they moved by 1976. I remember he had a busted eardrum from when his helicopter went down and so everyday kids' noises drove him nuts.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

A few well-timed smacks on the butt never hurt anybody. Just don't leave marks or bruises. If strangers are looking at your kid's butt for marks, there are other issues to be concerned about.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

fr anonymous:

>A few well-timed smacks on the butt never hurt anybody. Just don't leave marks or bruises. If strangers are looking at your kid's butt for marks, there are other issues to be concerned about.

Completely untrue. How would YOU like YOUR butt to get "a few well-timed smacks"? Wouldn't YOU want someone looking out for YOUR well-being, and intervening when marks are left on a child? I would certainly hope so. Leaving marks on a child IS abuse, whether YOU like it or not.

Posted by: Alex | March 27, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, Alex, my mother was quite adept at smacking us around. I recall a few whippings that left me unable to breathe. Nobody ever intervened on our behalf. None of her four kids have done time in jail, none were discipline problems at school, none were ADHD, none have drug problems, none have committed suicide. Maybe you Yuppies with your 'challenging' children could take a few pointers from my mother.

If you have 'challenging' children, it's your fault.

Posted by: Anon at 9:02 | March 27, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

If you have 'challenging' children, it's your fault.
-----

That's what my brother says about my child's blindness.

Posted by: bbcrock | March 27, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

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