18 Comments

  1. Keriann Collmann

    Do you have any additional resources surrounding the “always try” rule? I am finding this is applying to my ADHD son more and more, where he’s afraid to try/afraid to fail.

    • Just a lot of talking about how it’s ok to fail, ok to mess up. A lot of modeling (talking about your own failures). With food, OT has helped. Modeling too with mommy eating / trying foods she doesn’t like.

      Rewards for trying.

      First/then. First you try. If you can’t figure it out / do it , etc, then I’ll do it for/with you. (We are still dealing with him refusing to tie his shoes and this is the tactic we use).

      The Daniel tiger episode with the song “keep trying, you’ll get better.”

      There’s a song on Pandora about trying / practicing. I’ll try to find it tomorrow and post it here.

  2. We added to this, be safe. I always think that it’s a good goal to instill safety, we are all safety officers. Teach them this while they are young! You gave us the start of the four rules, and for that I’m greatful.

    • I’ll be honest: consequences is a big struggle for us as parents.

      1) It seems like no matter how many times we give consequences for offenses, the next day he will do the exact same thing. This is truly an issue of impulse control and emotional regulation problems.

      2) Often, “consequences” punish the parents more than the child. Such as no screen time or taking away other “fun” activities.

      We use a color clip-chart system, which I explain in detail here: https://www.facebook.com/specialneedssurvival/videos/1768995683321070/

      I also talk about cognitive behavioral therapy techniques we are using here: https://www.facebook.com/specialneedssurvival/videos/1802309059989732/
      and here: https://www.facebook.com/specialneedssurvival/videos/1802337943320177/

      The big thing is not that he doesn’t know the rules and expected behavior (he can recite these rules by heart), or even that he doesn’t know positive alternatives and coping skills for negative behavior (we’ve practiced, role played, and gone over them a million of times). But rather than, in the moment, his ability to regulate his emotions, stop and think about what he needs to do…it all happens so fast that it’s not until after the fact that he’s able to process what happened and how he should have behaved.

      I promise, if I ever come up with a good solution about how to “fix” this aspect of ADHD/ODD, I’ll let everyone know. It’s exhausting, overwhelming, and very discouraging.

      • Paula McLoughlin

        My son is 9. I’ve tried all the charts and behavior systems. Some work some of the time. What I’ve come to realize is that often his behavior problem is really an expectation problem on my part. Not that I don’t have high expectations for him. I push him pretty hard in the areas that I know he can do better. But in the areas where he struggles, more often than not it’s my attitude and behavior that needs to change. For example, my son gets distracted in the simplest things. He will regularly set off to do something I tell him to do and get side tracked. I want to discipline him for not following through on the task because of my desire for him to be past this stage. That is the real issue. When I accept that this is still something he struggles with, then I am able to see his need for me to coach and redirect to help him finish what he started with success. I am trying to see my role as coach in those areas as very unique from my role as parent who still needs to address the actual obedience issues that need consequences: failing to obey right away, using inappropriate language, throwing or kicking instead of choosing better ways to express his frustration, disrespectful attitude, etc. When I make that distinction and see his needs and my roles clearly defined in relation to those needs I realize that while I get impatient with his needs sometimes (yes I’m human) my kid is actually a really good kid who really is obedient most of the time. My perspective and attitude changes and he of course picks up on it and off we go into a much better, healthier upward spiral of relating than the more traditional one where he is punished for he gets consequences for his deficits.

        • Paula, this is SO good. I feel like we are headed in this direction, but it’s still a daily struggle to sort out – what is behavioral problem that needs disciplined, what is something that I’m expecting him to do that he may simply not have the ability to do it without couching? I’m getting a better handle on it the older he gets (he’s 7 now), and we are having him evaluated for high-functioning autism. I’ve been adamant that he does NOT have autism, but now that he’s 7 and professionals are noting he’s still struggling with a lot of basic things, we are thinking that it may simply be a struggle of capability rather than willfulness. I think for me, even seeing autism as a possibility has softened / adjusted my expectations of him and allowed me to be more flexible. I hope that 2 years from now, I’ll be in the place you are!

  3. Jill Natale

    My son tends to yell and argue a lot! What do you do when you say the rule and you get an eye roll or “blah, blah, blah”? I want to stick to a routine but I know consequences have to be enforced to get them to stick.

    • Copying this from another comment I replied to that asked about consequences:

      I’ll be honest: consequences is a big struggle for us as parents.

      1) It seems like no matter how many times we give consequences for offenses, the next day he will do the exact same thing. This is truly an issue of impulse control and emotional regulation problems.

      2) Often, “consequences” punish the parents more than the child. Such as no screen time or taking away other “fun” activities.

      We use a color clip-chart system, which I explain in detail here: https://www.facebook.com/specialneedssurvival/videos/1768995683321070/

      I also talk about cognitive behavioral therapy techniques we are using here: https://www.facebook.com/specialneedssurvival/videos/1802309059989732/
      and here: https://www.facebook.com/specialneedssurvival/videos/1802337943320177/

      The big thing is not that he doesn’t know the rules and expected behavior (he can recite these rules by heart), or even that he doesn’t know positive alternatives and coping skills for negative behavior (we’ve practiced, role played, and gone over them a million of times). But rather than, in the moment, his ability to regulate his emotions, stop and think about what he needs to do…it all happens so fast that it’s not until after the fact that he’s able to process what happened and how he should have behaved.

      I promise, if I ever come up with a good solution about how to “fix” this aspect of ADHD/ODD, I’ll let everyone know. It’s exhausting, overwhelming, and very discouraging.

  4. I really like this concept AND the rules you laid out. We are ADHD household, with my youngest having several tag-a-long disorders like OCD, SPD, and anxiety. These would be really helpful for us. I also had to giggle at Ezra’s attempts to get around the Use Your Words rules and the subsequent amendments. I can see my youngest trying the exact same tactics! We are going to try these!

    • I hope it helps! I think with ADHD kiddos (or kids with OCD, SPD, Anxiety), parenting techniques are ALWAYS in flux. So many of our babies are highly intelligent and can figure out workarounds for just about anything! While our rules have remained consistent (my husband wants to re-write this post to explain things better), but our ways of enforcing them (consequences, rewards, etc.) change from week to week – sometimes from day to day. I think that’s one of the things that makes parenting special needs kiddos SO overwhelming and exhausting, don’t you?

  5. This is a really great article. I realized I’m already implementing these four rules with my twin sons (yes, both have ADHD), but maybe I’m not making it “short and sweet” enough so they can wrap their brains around it more easily. Thanks for pointing that out to me. You’re obviously a great mommy. Keep up the good work. God bless!

  6. Lupix

    I have an ADHD boy 6 years old. I tried giving him a gluten free, milk free diet an it has worked incredibly. We didn’t get rid of all the behavioral issues, but there’s a great difference and he has much more control of himself. I just wanted to share this with you.

    • Thanks, we have not found this to really help him at all, although dairy does impact his bowel habits which affects his behavior. So, we do have to limit dairy and that has been helpful.

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