Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Fibbing and such

  Oh the little ones with issues, how they try me so. If it's not one, then it's the other. They are awesome at the tag team tantrums. The past two weeks have been especially trying. I am not sure what has spurred the recent craziness since none of the normal triggers are present. Nothing has changed, no new routines, no holidays/birthdays/vacations, nothing. I guess sometimes they ramp up 'just because'.

  There has been a huge spike in anger, lots of door slamming, talking trash, telling me No when I ask them to do something, and all around poor behavior. I can't even count the number of tantrums brought on by NOTHING and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. No logical reason anyway. They hit out of the blue, like a tornado, and rain destruction on all in their path. Sometimes all I can do is duck and cover and wait until it passes.

 Here is an example: I asked one boy to come into the kitchen. Whammo, kaboom, pow, his head blew off and venemous lava spewed forth. He wasn't in trouble, I just wanted to ask him a question. It didn't matter. I could have told him he had just won a new car and probably still gotten the same response. I made him sit next to me until he had cooled off, then asked him how he could have handled that better, then asked him my question - what would you like for breakfast.

 On another occasion, one child 'borrowed' something that wasn't his. I then told him that I would have to take one of his things to pay them back, and I told him I was going to take his remote controlled helicopter. Oh the screaming and hitting that ensued! Only problem is, this child, not any of the kids, owns an RC helicopter. I was just joking. I actually laughed at that tantrum it was so absurd. Afterwards I pointed out the joke and he laughed.

  And then there is the lying. Lies about little things, lies about bigger things, lies about nothing. It doesn't matter why, it just is a lie. All. The. Time. Normal consequences have no impact on this. Logic has no impact on this. Rewards for the truth have no impact on this. The only solution I can come up with is to NOT ask them, but just TELL them. As in, someone took my phone out of my purse and I found it in the bedroom. No one is allowed to get into my purse. Therefore everyone will do the following to help them remember this rule. (Insert punishment here) I like to use punishments that take a little while and hopefully benefit everyone. Things like pick up dog poo, pull weeds, put away clothes. (OK, things that benefit ME, but I deserve it!) Oh, and I talk, talk, talk all the time they are working. They may stop fibbing just to shut me up!

  Has anyone else noticed that kids with trauma issues do not understand humor? According to the experts, the development of humor is part of the ability to think outside of oneself and a part of normal development. It starts very young, when a small child will laugh when you put his shoe on your head and call it a hat. He sees that this is not true and gets the humor in the situation. Our traumatized kids do not think like this. They see the shoe and think, that's not a hat. Ahren gets humor now, but it took a long time for him to get it. Seth is still struggling with it. Sometimes he gets it, and other times he is totally lost. He can see humor better than he can do humor, though. He tries so hard to be funny and it is so sad how far off the mark he usually is. If he does make us laugh, he is so pleased and proud of himself, even if it was accidental. The other day I asked him what our phone number is, something we have been working on. He replied 877-cash-now and I belly laughed out loud. He then proceeded to repeat that about a million times, and also point out to me how he made me laugh. Each time I tell him it was indeed funny, and why. He will eventually get it, but the poor kid does not have a future as a comedian.

  The other thing I have been thinking about is how normal behavior modification absolutely does NOT work on these guys. Sticker charts, rewards, earning points, none of that works. They just do not have the ability to think beyond the moment and weigh the outcomes, good or bad. The type of behavior therapy that has worked for us is the visual cues coupled with verbal cues. Seth had a very hard time modulating the level of his voice. Everything was either a whisper or an ear-splitting yell. He had no clue if he was too loud or too quiet. So we developed a chart, using Mario characters. Bowzer was the 'outdoor' voice. Mario and Luigi were conversation voices, one a little louder than the other, and Princess Peach was a quiet voice. The chart hung everywhere and we would refer to it often and point out which voice he was using and which one was appropriate. I even modeled the voices for him so he could hear the differences. It took about a month but he got it. He is so much better now. No more screaming he loves me in my ear and no more whispering from the back seat of the van. It helped the other boys too. Only on rare occasions do I have to remind him to use the Mario voice, or Peach voice.

1 comment:

ManyBlessings said...

Sticker charts? I laugh. ;)