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helpingmom
helpingmom asks:
Q:

My nine-year-old believes no one has 'authority' over him. He refuse to do anything he does not want to do.

This is a new phenomenon. He has been questioning my authority for months now, but three weeks ago he began saying 'no' to requests from his teacher, grandparents and me, and--yesterday--the school principal. He has also left (run away) twice, and I am honestly worried about his safety. I tried to stop him from leaving once, but he bit and kicked me just like when he was three.
He is taking Straterra for ADHD, which was helping a great deal until he refused to take it (about three weeks ago too). His pediatrician told me to pick my battles, use carrots (bribery) and referred him to a psychiatrist. We have 5 weeks of school left, and I just want to get him through until summer.
Questions: What will a psychiatrist screen him for? Is this a stage, or does it sound like a disorder? Are there any parents out there whose child has a conduct disorder?
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

ParentCoachLisa
May 29, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

First I want to respond to the spanking replies, then I'll give you some other ideas. If your child is nine and kicks and bites you when you try to set limits, then spanking is not the correct course of action here. It could end up in a brawl! That would obviously not be helpful to anyone and could end up crossing the line to abuse.

Most experts do not support spanking including the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to (the few) experts that do support spanking, spanking after age 10 is inadvisable. Den Trumbull MD says: "Spanking is inappropriate before 15 months of age and is usually not necessary until after 18 months.  It should be less necessary after 6 years, and rarely, if ever used after 10 years of age."  

As a parent coach and educator, I don’t tell parents whether or not to spank- that is a decision each family must make on their own and with great thought and correct information about the pros and cons.  My job is to provide parents with information to make a good decision for their family. In fact, I’ve written an article about the different points of view on this so that parents can be informed.

If you or anyone else here does decide to spank, doing it correctly is very important: No anger, only as a last resort after other methods have failed, should be a planned action (not a reaction), child should be forewarned about “spankable offenses,” done in private,  one or two “spanks” on the buttocks only, lots of love and hugs afterwards, and a sense of remorse should be present in the child.

If there is no remorse and resulting closeness with the child, or it only escalates things (like it did with my son when he was two which was why we stopped spanking and thankfully discovered Love and Logic) then spanking is not an effective disciplinary response for this particular child.  

For me and my family, we made the decision not to spank. A key component of a good parent/ child bond over the long haul is treating children with respect and dignity and I haven’t figured out how to spank respectfully. :-)  Plus, I worried that spanking my children could come back to haunt me in the teen years…

That being said, the poster is correct that your child needs "something" to teach him about firm limits and respect for parental authority. I am going to copy my reply from a similar post on this forum because the answer is also relevant to you. This other mom's child has ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). Her question was “How do I deal with a problem child?” Her son is eleven:  

This question can't be answered in a Q&A forum, it is really a counseling or coaching issue.  
 
I don't want to sound like a commercial, but the best advice I can give you is to take the "Becoming a Love and Logic Parent" class which is probably offered somewhere in your community (do a google). This class will give you the answers you seek- or at least the foundation to begin making healthy changes in your home. Love and Logic also has books, but this class is what will help you because of the video clips and the interaction with other parents and the facilitator.  Many counselors recommend L&L along with therapy.
 
One thing I can tell you is that with resistant kids, it is especially important that you use choices instead of demands and learn how to set limits without saying the word "No." That little word just gives them a reason to fight. So try this instead:
 
Say Yes Instead of No!
Parents can still set limits and say 'Yes!' by using the following phrases:
• "Yes! Just as soon as ..."
• "Absolutely! Right after..."
• "Yes! And..."
• "Sure! As long as ..."
• "Great idea! But first..."
• "Yes, if..."
 
Be sure to put the emphasis on the word "Yes!" with great enthusiasm and big smiles. It helps to pause for just a moment right after the 'Yes!'  And then say, "as soon as" or "right after", etc.
 
Examples: "Can I watch TV?" "Yes! As long as your homework is done."
 
"Mom can I have that?" "Absolutely! Just as soon as you earn enough money to pay for it!"
 
Here's one for teens: "Hey Mom, can I borrow the car to go over to Bill's house?" "Sure! Right after you're done mowing the lawn."
 
Remember, the key is to be cheerful and encouraging as you deliver your message.
 
It sounds simple but is amazing how well it works.
 
Another thing to remember is that anger and frustration fuel misbehavior. So if you are responding to your child with anger and frustration (and who wouldn't?! You're in a tough spot), you could be making things worse. Love and Logic will give you some tools to replace anger responses with. Check out their website- there are many free articles and a good free audio which will help (www.LoveandLogic.com).
 
There is also a good free audio by the co-founder of L&L on the website I manage at: www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com. The audio will really help you as it directly addresses the frustration/ sympathy issues parents often face in situations where a kid has health issues and is resistant.
 
Good luck and hang in there. There is hope! I've seen 1000's of lives change with this material (including my own).
 
Lisa G.
Parent Coach and Mom
Co-author of "Parenting Children with Health Issues"
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mama2kas
May 24, 2009
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Sounds to me like regression.  Sometimes kids, especially kids with ADD, ADHD, and kids who are Autistic, revert to younger age emotions as a way of dealing with stress.  Check into what is going on at school (ie, bullying, fights with friends, being picked on, etc.), and also look to his home life.  If there has been a serious problem in his life, like the death of a family member that he was close to, separation of parents (divorce) or even the birth of a new baby, it can be traumatic enough to bring out this regression in demeanor.  If there is no cause of this "attitude" you may want to ask your son's psychiatrist about ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder).  My son was diagnosed with this on top of his ADHD.  There are no medications to deal with this disorder.  It needs to be dealt with, by working closely with his psychologist, and looking up as much information as possible.   Here is a good place to start, if ODD is in fat an issue for your son.
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Additional Answers (5)

Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Simple, spank him when he acts out! And stick to your guns...be consistent and fair.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Let me add something further to spanking, you may want to alter his diet. If he is eating bad foods and you are giving into him with sodas etc...this could very well be adding to the problem. Go on a week with veggies and good food. Talk to him and tell him you will spank him if he acts out again and just do it. Trust me, we had this issue and all along my grandmother was telling me to spank. I used to read all those books regarding "time-out"..etc. Nothing seemed to work. Well one day, I tried spanking. And now, it is so easy. My child is better behaved and also respects adults.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
It is amazing to me that the experts think spanking is a bad thing. When in reality, some things just don't work. I was told all my life not to spank and of course I tried other things. And guess what, it didn't work. Until one day I tried spanking and the behavior stopped. So I agree with expert's advice on crossing the line into abuse. Of course, nobody should abuse the spanking method, but to advise that it is not "appropriate" is a reflection of the culture we live in today ( it does not mean it is true). So when I followed all the "expert" advice all those years, it simply did not work for my situation or family. So keep an open mind when you choose your own method, and YOU have to be the one who finds the answers not anyone else. So do what works :) Don't be afraid to spank as long as you are doing it out of disciplinary purposes and not emotional or anger related.
> 60 days ago

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sloane39
sloane39 writes:
Kids learn from us.  So if you spank, he may think its acceptable to hit.  After all, mom does it.   To me, it comes down to pretty basic stuff.  How can you tell someone not to hit while your hitting.  Mixed message.

As for ADHD, you stated that he stopped taking his meds.  He is 9 yrs old, he shouldnt be given choices around his medication.  

I guess my question is, what are his consequences for his behavior.  Does he like playstation, tv, computer time?  if so, he needs to earn them back when his behavior improves.

he could have ODD, thats a possibility and I agree with the first poster...."yes, you can have a cookie right after dinner"  the word NO does set some kids off that they cant hear anything after that.

also, do you yell when he gets upset?

if so, when he is having his meltdown, then whisper to him.  sometimes kids get stuck in their meltdown and by yelling is adding fuel to it, so by whispering, he needs to stop yelling to listen to you.  Ive done this with my kids and it has worked.  (sometimes)

the biggest thing, do NOT give into him when he has a tantrum.  If you do, I can almost promise you that the behavior will continue.

choose your battles wisely, and when you pick it, you MUST win.

but spanking, well, it really just teaches them to hit.  I do agree that maybe look at his diet.  pastas and such turn to sugar and for a kid with ADHD really could be a problem.

If he totally gets out of control, call 911.  I dont think 9 yr old kids should be running away from home, kicking their mothers, and refusing to take his meds.

My suggestion is get him evaluated and maybe find a therapist for him.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
The spanking and the "hit" theory is a bunch of hogwash. If my nine-year-old is telling teachers "no" and this woman has already gone to the "professionals", then it is time for a spanking. I realize that the child may have additional issues, but a strong willed child that disrespects several people needs to be repremanded.
I had a friend the other day I ate lunch with. Her child is similar in acting. The child was running up to the dessert counter and getting ice cream with syrup, chocolate covered raisins, and a chocolate brownie. She used the "I'm going to put you in time-out", "You are going to have no-tv"...etc The child simply laughed and kept on doing it. The child shrugged her shoulders and said "so, I don't care".
This child is nine years old too. My friend does not believe in spanking. As a result, her child is out of control and it shows. Now, if that was my child, I would have walked with her to the dessert counter and tell her "this is all you can have and if you go back up here you will get a spanking".
> 60 days ago

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