I wonder how many of you manage your children in the same way no matter where you are? Do you let your children get away with just that little bit more when you aren’t at home? Or the opposite?
I know we don’t always offer the same discipline/consequences. As much as we would really like to, we don’t. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this either? I know that consistency is key to helping Mini, but
I am we’re struggling.
Mini’s behaviour is improving, or at least, the way we’re dealing with it is improving. We’re more consistent and we follow through on what we say. We’re becoming more confident in taking him out again – baby steps at the moment, but out for walks, to the supermarket, we’ve ventured to friends recently, and Mini had a much wanted sleepover at Nanna and Grandad’s.. But I know that without timeout, happy faces and our other strategies, we don’t handle him as well out as we do at home.
At home if Mini screams, he goes straight onto time out. If Mini screams when we’re at the shops, what do we do? There is no time out. I know some mums create a time out wherever they are, but I’m just not brave enough to do that, and because of the way we ‘do’ timeout, I can’t just drop everything and bear hug/hold/cuddle a crying child in the middle of the highstreet, especially if I also have Dollop with me too. So if I’m on my own, he gets away with it. I have no choice - I have to shop – we have to eat, have clothes etc (although I admit I do try to do things like this in the evenings, so it’s not so much of an issue now I’ve changed my own routines) If the NC is with us, he’ll often take Mini outside, or back to the car, to remove him from the situation.
When visiting family or friends, things are different again. I have, in the past, used time out at my in-laws house – only once, because it was awful. Nanna and Grandad got to see Mini at his worst (well, it wasn’t that bad, but probably the worst they’d seen at that time). I felt awful they had to see it. They didn’t like seeing Mini so upset. I wasn’t confident at using time out then because a) we’d not been doing it long and I wasn’t sure how well it was working and b) because I was worried that my in-laws would judge me for using a technique that they wouldn’t have. Nanna’s very good at talking to and reasoning with Mini, but it doesn’t work for me or the NC, hence us using other techniques.
There’s that fear of being undermined too, At times I’ve asked Mini to stop doing something at a friend’s house and he’ll ignore me, so I’ll ask him again. Then friend will sweep in and say ‘oh it’s alright, I don’t mind if he draws in green felt tip pen all over my new hardwood floors’ and he’ll stop straight away. Mini then has that smug look on his face, we feel pathetically useless and friend doesn’t realise that he/she has just undermined us.
Now there’s a bit of a debate…is it best to stop (as we’ve previously done for our own sanity) all contact with the outside world so these opportunities just don’t present themselves? Mini doesn’t get stressed, we don’t get stressed.
Do we make a concerted effort to go out regardless of the possible behaviours that might occur? And if this is the way forward, how do we cope on those days where Mini is less….
willing to co-operate comfortable
in the situation?
I kind of think the overall decision about going out or not can only really be made when we find out why these situations bother Mini. We think that part of it relates to his worries about being moved on to a new family (although we don’t know quite why he feels like this). It seems to us that often Mini’s less desirable behaviours occur when he’s in (or after he’s been in) a situation where he feels under threat of this happening. So do we use these opportunities to re-assure both whilst we’re out, and afterwards, that this won’t happen? Or do we avoid those traumatic situations altogether?
Only time (and therapy!) will tell….