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To punish or not to punish for bad behavior?


Ann280
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I am struggling with figuring out how to punish my daughter for some behavior that is not acceptable. I feel like my husband and I are constantly allowing my daughter to get away with behavior that we would never let our other two non panda kids get away with. We still need to teach our daughter what is or what is not acceptable behavior at times. I'm not talking about when she is having a major episode and she is definately not all together sad, silly, argumentative, defiant etc... I'm talking when she is days into her treatment and she is acting okay most of the time ,but has her moments that are just not acceptable. My therapist says I need to be somewhat consistent and set my rules and stick to them which I agree. I just feel a bit guilty as I'm not always 100% sure she can always control this behavior...I know at times she can really try hard and hold herself together fine, but then there is other times I'm confused. How do others handle this with their kids? Any advice would be great

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Ann-

 

I have totally been where you have been- so I will add my two cents, fwiw.

 

When pandas ocd hits in our house, it is overnight and like a mack truck. A child normal one day, is the next day consumed with ocd, and completely panicked. The child begins to "listen" to the ocd, and NOT to us. The child also begins to lash out at us, because their stress level is SO high. We see this, and feel so much compassion for them, that we lower the bar for behavior, do more for them, and try to make their lives easier. Then after a period of this, we wonder how our family life has gotten so out of control, with in many cases, the kids running the show.

 

We sought intense ocd therapy this summer, and ended up working a lot on this issue, mainly an issue of compliance, with the therapist. It was extremely helpful.

 

So- here are my thoughts:

 

Do not ever let them get away with hurtful (physical or emotional) behavior. Do not ever become involved in their ocd rituals. These two things, no matter how hard or how long a tantrum, should be held firm.

 

I personally think it is okay to temporarily lighten their load of stress if the ocd is really bad. I think you can have a frank discussion, and tell them they can skip their chores (or whatever it may be) for a week while they are working on the ocd, but that after that week is up, they will need to return to their responsibilities.

 

We try to use a very consistent behavior management. Basically we sat them down this summer, and said that we no longer will tolerate what has been going on. We would no longer let ocd be an excuse for bad behavior. We expected them to act age appropriately, and discussed every issue we had and what are new requirements would be. And we started all at once. What happens now (we had to use this a lot initially, now, very seldom) is that we use a timeout strategy. For any hitting or physical behavior they immediately get a time out. For most other behavior they have one warning, and then if they don't comply, they get a time out. The time out is 4 minutes in a designated spot. If they refuse a time out, that is fine, but they get nothing (no one speaks to them, no food, no tv, no computer, until they take the time out). If necessary a loss of privileges can accompany the time out, but we found it wasn't needed. Once the time out is over, the crime is "paid for" and everyone moves on.

 

I will say, this has worked FANTASTIC for me. I used it a lot for maybe two weeks, and now the house runs really smoothly (even through a most recent uptick in ocd). The kids HATE the time out, so they do try to avoid it, yet if they do take one, it calms them and diffuses the situation. It is truly not only used for bad behavior but for any compliance issue. In other works if I say: daughter, clean up your desk now, thanks. And she says no- I say, you can either clean your desk up now, or you can have a time out and then clean it up. :):):)

 

I will say, it has not worked as well for my husband. He doesn't use it as consistently. He gets angry with them very quickly and yells- instead of using the time out. And things frankly, go haywire. When I can successfully coach him to use it, everyone is happier.

 

I hope this helps a little bit...

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I think where the line is drawn between "latitude" and "unacceptable" also has to do with age, frankly.

 

Sometimes, our PANDAS kids have some catching up to do in terms of age-appropriate behaviors due to extended periods of illness, and then we really have to give some thought to gauging what they're capable of and when.

 

Basically, though, since most kids long for approval and to fit in, I think we have an obligation to let them know when their behavior is of a type or scale that is unacceptable out in the world, even if we, at home, are willing to look the other way or withstand it on occasion. So, for instance, if your 11-year-old (sorry, don't know how old your kids is) is having a tantrum on a four-year-old scale over something, even if you've now worked up to the ability to shrug and just think, "That's the way it goes with him/her sometimes," you know that sort of behavior isn't going to cut it around her 10- to 12-year-old peers, and she needs to know that; she needs to think through the consequences of it.

 

Our DS is 14 so discipline or "punishment" is sort of not an issue, particularly as his remaining OCD tends to be of the scrupulosity variety. But our reaction to age-inappropriate behaviors (meltdowns, tantrums) in recent months has been to basically remove him from the activity or company he prefers while he thinks through his behavior and can come down and talk to DH and me calmly about it, and come to some conclusions about how he might have behaved alternatively. I know that's not an option for really young kids, but I still think an enforced "cool down" period (commonly known as a "time out" with the younger set) can have some very positive impacts.

 

Good luck!

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Ann-

 

I have totally been where you have been- so I will add my two cents, fwiw.

 

When pandas ocd hits in our house, it is overnight and like a mack truck. A child normal one day, is the next day consumed with ocd, and completely panicked. The child begins to "listen" to the ocd, and NOT to us. The child also begins to lash out at us, because their stress level is SO high. We see this, and feel so much compassion for them, that we lower the bar for behavior, do more for them, and try to make their lives easier. Then after a period of this, we wonder how our family life has gotten so out of control, with in many cases, the kids running the show.

 

We sought intense ocd therapy this summer, and ended up working a lot on this issue, mainly an issue of compliance, with the therapist. It was extremely helpful.

 

So- here are my thoughts:

 

Do not ever let them get away with hurtful (physical or emotional) behavior. Do not ever become involved in their ocd rituals. These two things, no matter how hard or how long a tantrum, should be held firm.

 

I personally think it is okay to temporarily lighten their load of stress if the ocd is really bad. I think you can have a frank discussion, and tell them they can skip their chores (or whatever it may be) for a week while they are working on the ocd, but that after that week is up, they will need to return to their responsibilities.

 

We try to use a very consistent behavior management. Basically we sat them down this summer, and said that we no longer will tolerate what has been going on. We would no longer let ocd be an excuse for bad behavior. We expected them to act age appropriately, and discussed every issue we had and what are new requirements would be. And we started all at once. What happens now (we had to use this a lot initially, now, very seldom) is that we use a timeout strategy. For any hitting or physical behavior they immediately get a time out. For most other behavior they have one warning, and then if they don't comply, they get a time out. The time out is 4 minutes in a designated spot. If they refuse a time out, that is fine, but they get nothing (no one speaks to them, no food, no tv, no computer, until they take the time out). If necessary a loss of privileges can accompany the time out, but we found it wasn't needed. Once the time out is over, the crime is "paid for" and everyone moves on.

 

I will say, this has worked FANTASTIC for me. I used it a lot for maybe two weeks, and now the house runs really smoothly (even through a most recent uptick in ocd). The kids HATE the time out, so they do try to avoid it, yet if they do take one, it calms them and diffuses the situation. It is truly not only used for bad behavior but for any compliance issue. In other works if I say: daughter, clean up your desk now, thanks. And she says no- I say, you can either clean your desk up now, or you can have a time out and then clean it up. :):):)

 

I will say, it has not worked as well for my husband. He doesn't use it as consistently. He gets angry with them very quickly and yells- instead of using the time out. And things frankly, go haywire. When I can successfully coach him to use it, everyone is happier.

 

I hope this helps a little bit...

 

 

 

Than you and my husband never sticks with it either and he usually looses it and makes the situation worse which really stinks..so at times I feel a bit alone..nor does he care or want to learn from others on this topic..he says I live daily with this why do I need to read or listen to other people problems or solutions..oh well it helps me

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I think part of the reason we let our PANDAS kids get away with more, even after they are improving is because we have seen their suffering and we just can't bring ourselves to cause any more tears, even if the punishment is fully justified. We, as parents, are also exhausted and don't have the energy for any further fighting if they talk back more. Also, when early in recovery, part of us, or maybe it is just me, doesn't want to cause any additional anxiety in fear of worsening PANDAS symptoms as we know it can. So, for that reason, he would get away with more.

 

When in an exacerbation and I knew he was not making the decision to misbehave, I did sit down with my older chld and explain why my PANDAS child was not getting in trouble. I wanted the older child to know I was treating them differently, but there was a reason behind it. I apologized and explained the best I could. I reinforced I love them and I was not showing favortism or anything like that.

 

As the PANDAS child continues to improve, it becomes easier to punish...trust me :) It is a healing time for you as well. Maybe start with softer reprimanding and explain how if that behvaior continues, the new punishement will be ______. So, they have the warning and you don't feel like you are blindsiding them.

 

 

That's exactly how I feel...Thanks for the advice

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I am struggling with figuring out how to punish my daughter for some behavior that is not acceptable. I feel like my husband and I are constantly allowing my daughter to get away with behavior that we would never let our other two non panda kids get away with. We still need to teach our daughter what is or what is not acceptable behavior at times. I'm not talking about when she is having a major episode and she is definately not all together sad, silly, argumentative, defiant etc... I'm talking when she is days into her treatment and she is acting okay most of the time ,but has her moments that are just not acceptable. My therapist says I need to be somewhat consistent and set my rules and stick to them which I agree. I just feel a bit guilty as I'm not always 100% sure she can always control this behavior...I know at times she can really try hard and hold herself together fine, but then there is other times I'm confused. How do others handle this with their kids? Any advice would be great

 

We've not figured it out either. It took me a couple of years to accept the fact that he was not in control -hmmm, same years that our doctors insisted there was nothing wrong. Until then, we tried everything. Time outs are great if your child will follow direction. I still remember night after night holding him in his room for his time outs. On the positive side, I was getting exercise too. He seems to be over the worst of it so we've not had the severe discipline problems in a while. We did make it very clear to him that if he hurt someone in the family we would take him to a hospital. That scared him, especially after we took him there once - me holding him down the whole trip there. So one bit of advice, you have to follow through when it's serious.

 

I do feel that it helped to discuss his behavior with him when he was in control. That also allowed us to gauge how he was doing. If he was remorseful, great. When he wasn't, those were scary times.

 

Knowing that he wasn't really in control we've moderated our stance somewhat and pick our battles. (Our daughter reminds us that we allow him to get away with things that we would not allow her to but then again she's 17 and life isn't fair.) As he continues to heal, discipline becomes easier as well as less often. So - I don't think that easing up on the discipline while they are sick is necessarily detrimental in the long term. If your kid is essentially a good kid and it's the PANDAS making her behave inappropriately, I think they self correct as they get better as long as you are there to keep moving the bar in the right direction.

 

All of this is of course - IMHO.

 

bill

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I am struggling with figuring out how to punish my daughter for some behavior that is not acceptable. I feel like my husband and I are constantly allowing my daughter to get away with behavior that we would never let our other two non panda kids get away with. We still need to teach our daughter what is or what is not acceptable behavior at times. I'm not talking about when she is having a major episode and she is definately not all together sad, silly, argumentative, defiant etc... I'm talking when she is days into her treatment and she is acting okay most of the time ,but has her moments that are just not acceptable. My therapist says I need to be somewhat consistent and set my rules and stick to them which I agree. I just feel a bit guilty as I'm not always 100% sure she can always control this behavior...I know at times she can really try hard and hold herself together fine, but then there is other times I'm confused. How do others handle this with their kids? Any advice would be great

 

We've not figured it out either. It took me a couple of years to accept the fact that he was not in control -hmmm, same years that our doctors insisted there was nothing wrong. Until then, we tried everything. Time outs are great if your child will follow direction. I still remember night after night holding him in his room for his time outs. On the positive side, I was getting exercise too. He seems to be over the worst of it so we've not had the severe discipline problems in a while. We did make it very clear to him that if he hurt someone in the family we would take him to a hospital. That scared him, especially after we took him there once - me holding him down the whole trip there. So one bit of advice, you have to follow through when it's serious.

 

I do feel that it helped to discuss his behavior with him when he was in control. That also allowed us to gauge how he was doing. If he was remorseful, great. When he wasn't, those were scary times.

 

Knowing that he wasn't really in control we've moderated our stance somewhat and pick our battles. (Our daughter reminds us that we allow him to get away with things that we would not allow her to but then again she's 17 and life isn't fair.) As he continues to heal, discipline becomes easier as well as less often. So - I don't think that easing up on the discipline while they are sick is necessarily detrimental in the long term. If your kid is essentially a good kid and it's the PANDAS making her behave inappropriately, I think they self correct as they get better as long as you are there to keep moving the bar in the right direction.

 

All of this is of course - IMHO.

 

Thank you..I hope this gets easier as time progresses..my daughter is only 11 . Pandas puts such a huge strain on our marriage and our family. I always feel like I am waiting for the next episode to explode and worry all the time for my daughter. I guess this is just our family dynamic at this point..I try to look at the fact that it could be worse when I'm feeling down about it all.

 

 

bill

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What a great thread! I totally agree with all the advice. It's so hard being a pandas parent - to know when to discipline, when to comfort - OCD turns parenting over on it's head.

 

The one thing I would add, is to take some time to just observe. Write down behaviors that are bothering you and why - and what you think is happening in their life when these behaviors happen. Then think creatively about how to effect those behaviors in a positive way before moving to consequences. Sometimte they need to be retaught some things that they learned at an earlier age. I tend to think of it as "brain damage" even if not permanent. Generally, when I start getting frustrated, I know I am struggling with parenting & something needs to change. But I have to think about it for a few days, or I act in anger. I think that there must be consequences for behavior, no matter the reason. We can't raise kids who act out in rage as adults. But the consequences can be careful, impactful, but minimal. They can be appropriate teaching techniques.

 

For me, I also had to be careful that my actions were appropriate to her illness, and not motivated by other adults reactions to my kiddo. So if we were screaming for an hour, but then in the end, overcame the OCD - then that was a reason for a reward, not a consequence for disrupting church. I had to be incredibly attunded to her reasoning and efforts in order to parent her well. Just because I was mortified did not mean that she deserved a consequence. I had to develop a thick skin.

 

When she is healthy, I am a "mean mama" who expects a good bit in terms of effort and responsibility. When she is ill - well I have to find new ways to parent to meet her needs.

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I

. What happens now (we had to use this a lot initially, now, very seldom) is that we use a timeout strategy. For any hitting or physical behavior they immediately get a time out. For most other behavior they have one warning, and then if they don't comply, they get a time out. The time out is 4 minutes in a designated spot. If they refuse a time out, that is fine, but they get nothing (no one speaks to them, no food, no tv, no computer, until they take the time out). If necessary a loss of privileges can accompany the time out, but we found it wasn't needed. Once the time out is over, the crime is "paid for" and everyone moves on.

 

I will say, this has worked FANTASTIC for me. I used it a lot for maybe two weeks, and now the house runs really smoothly (even through a most recent uptick in ocd). The kids HATE the time out, so they do try to avoid it, yet if they do take one, it calms them and diffuses the situation. It is truly not only used for bad behavior but for any compliance issue. In other works if I say: daughter, clean up your desk now, thanks. And she says no- I say, you can either clean your desk up now, or you can have a time out and then clean it up. :):):)

 

I will say, it has not worked as well for my husband.

 

 

dcmom -- first, i had to laugh -- so, the time-out strategy isn't so effective on your husband?! sorry, i have to take my laughs where i can get them.

 

secondly, are you &*&*& kidding me??!!! -- ds has had recent stress-induced exacerbation that he is mostly out of. we are now seeing much non-cooperation and avoidance. his MO is avoidance and there are some things that are more reasonable -- like writing issues and school that we are investigating. i don't have so much trouble with that, we have strategies to work through.

 

it is the general avoidance that is impossible to get through. the day you posted, we did a 4 minute sit-down that flipped the switch into nice cooperation about school work.

 

just now, he was avoiding eating breakfast -- which makes me nervous b/c then gets general kid needing to eat issues -- dh started 'requiring', ds ran into room with a screech -- then, 'you can either sit for 4 minutes and then eat or you can eat now." "i'll have chex please"

 

of course, this is the beginning but that's about the 3rd or 4th time to end this kind of avoidance in it's track. which is one of his most difficult behaviors b/c there's not a good way to reach him about it.

ds has issues with certainty/uncertainty -- i'm thinking this somehow has something to do with it -- the threat of lost priveleges doesn't so much work -- not immediate enough, maybe with uncertainty -- this is quick and certain. that's a whole different issue to deal with but first, we need the basic cooperation to move through the day!!

 

you really should hang out your shingle!

Edited by smartyjones
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dcmom -- granted, we have had the huge motivator of Christmas (not that we so much threaten with it, just that it exists) and we have had new diversions of activities -- but the 4 minutes has been very effective with snapping out of something or snapping into coooperation. i think it's got to do with the immediateness of it -- just as with a 2 year old.

do/did you do some form of this while you are out in the world and get lack of cooperation?

thanks.

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  • 1 year later...

HI

I would say "Sit down and talk it out with her once she calms down. Explain how the illness is the enemy, devil, evil etc...and that you want the good "her" inside to win." This does work. They will take it as a challenge to defeat the enemy/devil/evil within. Thus, you are not punishing, but explaining to her how this illness is making her act and you want to work together to defeat it. I would use rewards for times she is able to defeat it. They have suffered enough. They don't need punishment, too. Good luck.

 

 

I am struggling with figuring out how to punish my daughter for some behavior that is not acceptable. I feel like my husband and I are constantly allowing my daughter to get away with behavior that we would never let our other two non panda kids get away with. We still need to teach our daughter what is or what is not acceptable behavior at times. I'm not talking about when she is having a major episode and she is definately not all together sad, silly, argumentative, defiant etc... I'm talking when she is days into her treatment and she is acting okay most of the time ,but has her moments that are just not acceptable. My therapist says I need to be somewhat consistent and set my rules and stick to them which I agree. I just feel a bit guilty as I'm not always 100% sure she can always control this behavior...I know at times she can really try hard and hold herself together fine, but then there is other times I'm confused. How do others handle this with their kids? Any advice would be great

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We have tried all manner of punishment and tolerance with our 13 year old son. He has had PANDAS for five years and we only found the diagnosis last November. Since we thought the behavior completely voluntary and controllable we have gone so far as to take every toy and enjoyable item out of his room and lock it up. We have taken away TV and computer for months. In the throws of a PANDAS flare (when we had no idea what was going on) it did no good. He would still have rages, school avoidance, and all the other nutty behavior. Without his toys he would fold up a piece of paper into something elaborate and play with that. The punishment did no good, only increased anxiety. Until he was in a better place no amount of punishment improved his behavior. That being said we did draw the line at physical confrontations. There was to be no hitting etc. and that is where we drew the line. When he was better he would never imagine doing the bad behaviors that were previously commonplace. It was like a different child. That is what make me think you have to make concessions when a child is in a PANDAS flare. Just draw the line when it comes to safety.

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This is THE most difficult part of PANDAS, besides the raging. How do you discipline? When he's well, he's very compliant and wants to do well and be helpful. He had a very good day today. He is supposed to set the table for dinner each evening. That's one of his expectations for a weekly allowance. I might add, he hasn't had allowance for a month. He's been in an exacerbation and he's earned zero $$ because he has not done any of his expected chores. That's huge because he highly values earning and saving money (its been an ocd in the past). At dinner time tonight, he asked me what he could do to help and he filled glasses with ice and water for the very first time ever. He's just turned 9. When he's in flare or excerbation, he's not willing to do much of anything and it takes threats, warnings, follow through and then you may very well end w/ a big fat rage. I cannot cope with that. At three years in, I've had enough. I will just set the table myself.

 

We have a star chart we've done for a few years to track the chores he's done. Tonight, feeling better than he has in months, he told me he no longer wanted the star chart. He wants to do his chores for free. He's tired of keeping track. Its too much. We started it to hold him accountable. I told him he would still get his allowance if he did his chores when I asked him to do them and we would no longer keep track. I also added I did not want complaining and I would not ask him multiple times. We'll see how it goes.

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