Friday, February 13, 2009


So tonight Quinn was a little outta control at our dinner out (at 5 PM, eaten quickly, as all dinners out must be), and in the car on the way home, we started wondering if and how we should provide some discipline when we think Quinn is exhibiting behaviors we think he knows are inappropriate (but we don't know for sure what he knows, cause there's that whole talking thing that isn't happening much yet). We're not yellers and certainly not ever hitters. I'd say we're reasoners, but given his cognitive abilities, well, probably talking it out won't work, at least not yet. So we mostly opt for distraction. Tonight I pulled many fun items out of the swiss army diaper bag, and when those were all exhausted, I let him jump (literally, as in standing and jumping) on my lap while I tried to eat with one hand, a skill I perfected in his first year of life when he weighed considerably less and could not stand. Hey, at least he wasn't crying and I did actually eat.

I've read that permissive parenting styles are not associated with good outcomes, but I'm afraid we're pretty permissive with Quinn, since we don't really know what else to do. We can already see we will have to change our ways as he slowly but surely begins to act like an actual toddler. But without good communication, how will we do it? Any books or workshops you can recommend?


Vicki Davis said...

Its hard to say but I would guess that Quinn's receptive language is much better then his expressive language and he still might know when you say "no" or want him to not do something.

I think the hardest part of discapline is follow through as it inconvieniences the parent, but the best thing to do is remove the child from the situation. So for example tell him no and to sit and play nice but when he doesn't he has to go sit in the car for 2 minutes, like a time out. But that also means you have to leave the table too.

This works so far at least with taking away a toy or removing Holly from a situation in which she is misbehaving.. But I am really just blowing smoke since i have never done this before and have no idea if all the books I read about parenting and this stuff will even apply to a special needs child.

Good luck and please share what you find does work, when you find it.

PS.. I am pretty permissive myself, but holly is still pretty little so doesn't get into too much trouble yet.. I can tell she will be a handful though.

Sarah said...

Thanks, Vicki. I've thought about using time outs with him, but I really think he would have no clue what that means and would not make an association between being "removed from a situation" and whatever behavior he was doing. He does usually respond to "no", although lately he has found it fun to pull my hair very hard, and when I say "no", he just laughs.

Jen said...

I don't think I've come across a book like that...hmmm...
I've always said that I've had to work twice as hard to get half the results. The same is with discipline. I think it helped having Chelsey first; we had certain expectations for her, and basically, we had those expectations for our boys, too.
Yes, I take into account the differences the boys have, but I don't use those differences as excuses--it just meant that both they and John and I had to work even harder to get the results we expected.
That doesn't mean that we didn't use distraction, because we did! I guess it's a balancing act.
Even if Quinn doesn't know what time out is now, he'll quickly learn. I used it with the boys when they were quite small. And even if he doesn't associate it with "punishment," he probably still needs to be removed from the situation he was in and given a chance to "cool it."
Oh how I wish I could give you examples from school! It's just so obvious the parents who choose to be more permissive because their child is "special." They are not doing their child any favors.

the other lion said...

Do you get the FX Foundation Quarterly? They have great articles in there about managing behavior. If you don't get them, they are available for free online. That's the first place I would start. They are the same techniques we use at our preschool, but adapted slightly for our kiddos. The articles are titled "Brayden on Behavior."

the other lion said...

The best "Braden on Behavior" is called "The Ten Rules of Time Out." It stresses immediate time-outs wherever the behavior occurs -- even in the middle of the grocery store -- and denying access to all preferred items and attention for a SHORT period of time. The general rule is one minute for each year old they are, but it should be cut in half for our kids b/c of their shorter attention span.

Mrs. Smith said...

Coming from a teacher's point of view (and a mom of a kid with FX) I say he needs the same boundaries as any other child. I have 3 full inclusion kids in my class and it is very obvious they have no responsibilities at home. Their parents even say they don't really...It's mostly because they feel like they have to compensate or that the kids can't handle it because they don't understand as much. It definitely does them no favors because when they go to school they are expected to behave a certain way. Obviously, there are differences because of the fragile x, but I don't think we can use that as the crutch. I may be talking out of my a___ but that's how I feel today. Tomorrow may be different. I just had a conversation with the mom of a girl in my class who has cognitive delays. Mom babies her like you would not believe. I told her that it would be VERY good for her daughter if she had chores, etc. around the house because at school she acts helpless. This is not just for kids with special needs but for ALL kids. I'm no expert...sorry if this sounds offensive.

Sarah said...

There's no question we want/plan to provide structure and discipline for Quinn. The question is HOW. One of Quinn's therapists once wrote in a report that he requires "literally thousands" of repetitions to learn something. This is true. He does not yet say "mama", and only about a month ago indicated that he knew what "mama" meant by looking in my direction when someone said "Where's mama?" So many discipline techniques require a higher level of cognitive ability and understanding of communication than Quinn yet demonstrates. He is about 2.5, but is cognitively around 1 year old. I don't think many 1-year-olds have chores yet! Even having Quinn help pick up his own blocks requires constant supervision and reminding - i.e. sitting right next to him, putting the block in his hand and saying "put in" and offering praise for EACH block. We've been doing this for many months, and we're still at the one-block-at-a-time stage. I know his abilities will increase, and I see the development every day. But regardless, figuring our effective strategies for teaching him anything, including discipline, is very hard.