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To punish or not to punish for bad behavior?

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Great thread -- and nice to see some ol' familiar faces weigh in on this! :)


This was by far one of the hardest aspects of the last four years (during PANS episodes!)


As an aside, I sat tonight with a "new" counselor for my youngest who is at the tail-end of a 6 month anorexic PANS flair. (Thankfully appears to be resolving, 12 weeks post IVIG and much counseling.)


As my d spoke so eloquently, and so defiantly(!), I could only watch and smile (yes, smile) as I wondered HOW in the world could someone, on the outside of "all of this", someone who was just hearing a 90 minute snapshot, HOW could anyone fully understand what we were going through, have gone through, and how could this person ever understand how I could smile as my d spoke.


My husband and I know she was around visiting family members over Christmas, who were sick! We know she then started flaring -- with ODD attitude and rigidity of just about everything :)


...and so I smile.

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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.





I do not tolerate "bad behavior"...if it s OCD driven or 'disease driven' then accommodations are made. My son looked for the green salt shaker for 10 min the other day before eating...the "other" salt shaker would not do. He is not going to starve, not my problem, don't care if his food gets cold. This was OCD behavior, quirky-yes, not the end of the world, won't matter tomorrow... thus, no discipline necessary. He was having some urine frequency OCD the other day (during homework) and kept jumping up for urge but not really going anything (I don't think?). I just put up with his hopping up and down but we got thru homework OK. Think this has some avoidance tendency to it. However, if I ask him empty dishwasher or empty trash and get static because he is on the computer and engrossed in game etc. then I, like, dcmom take away "things" and "electronic/electricity" until it is done (no time limit- just remove the item from his grasp.- not tv, no computer etc. It works....he jumps up and does what he is supposed to so not to have his game/show etc turned off.


Sorry for screwing upreplies- I haven't figured out how to do the reply thing to have it show up like everyone else's???? :wacko:

Edited by 911RN
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This topic has perhaps caused me more mental anguish than any other. Aside from a long stint of vocal tics, and a handful of short OCD blips (trichotillomania, selective mutism, excessive handwashing, extreme phobias, etc), the majority of DS9's symptoms are day-to-day difficult behaviour. And by difficult, I mean alphabet soup of pysch labels difficult. I mean getting suspended and sent home from school over and over again, difficult. I mean suicidal, homicidal, literally tear-the-walls-down difficult. I have put my blood, sweat, and tears (yes, literally blood) into disciplining this child. And when doctor after doctor tells you there is nothing wrong with your child that some good parenting can't fix, well that's when this question really, really stings.


After riding this rollercoaster 6+ years, here is my current perspective. I have always maintained discipline. I always will. I believe it gives a framework that DS NEEDS in order to feel safe, or as safe as he can possibly feel while fighting this illness. If, every time he has an exacerbation the rules are thrown out, then his illness is taking control of his brain, his life, his parents, his family, everything. Of course there are times when I feel like I would be just as successful disciplining DS as beating my head against a brick wall. DS does not appear to be learning anything, and the effort is overwhelming and painful. But I also have 2 other children watching and learning from our interactions. And while DS may not be able to behave in an acceptable manner during exacerbations, the groundwork is still being laid for when he feels well. Of course the discipline HAS to be in a solid foundation of love and acceptance - no, I do not accept that behaviour, but I love you no matter what you are going through, no matter what you do, and I am here to help you.


The biggest lesson I am learning over the last few years is to adjust MY perspective and MY expectations. In the same way that I wouldn't discipline a 2 year old child for doing something really immature but age appropriate, I have been learning not to discipline DS for actions that are driven by his illness and are in some way an appropriate response to what he is going through. For example, if he has a screaming, yelling fit due to extreme frustration, I don't discipline him for that. I help him work through it if he is able to accept help, and if not I just make sure he knows he is loved and wait it out with him. But if during that fit he lashes out at a person (verbally or physically), or damages property, then he will be disciplined for that action. I often have to wait hours, a day, or even longer, before we can go back and discuss what he did, and what the consequences will be. In the heat of the moment, any discipline is just fuel on the fire. If you asked me years ago if I would consider it acceptable for a 9 year old child to scream and yell and tantrum like a 3 year old, I would have said NO WAY! And I have to confess my first thought would have been that the child was a spoiled brat who got that way because the parents didn't discipline when the child was 3. But after living through this nightmare, my perspective has changed so much.


So my answer to the question to punish or not to punish for bad behaviour - is to think through and categorize what is labelled as "bad behaviour". The things that are absolutely unacceptable must be punished. The things that don't really matter, just let them go! My child and I have way too much to deal with already to worry about what other people think is acceptable. And for all that grey area in between - I guess we're both still learning.

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Ladies & Gents,


I was just sitting outside nearly in tears when I decided to do something pro-active and research so more ideas on how to discipline our DS4. He is in the midst of a similar exacerbation and I have been contemplating medicating him all day today. This is the first time I have EVER entertained this idea. These ideas are so helpful. I will say that the avoidance and hitting are two huge ones in our house right now. Every time I think I just cant do this for one more day....you all seem to help. Not coincidence. Thank you every day for being here...all of you that take your time to share freely. Thank you!

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but WAIT -- how do you tell if it its a PANDAS behavior or not? We have behaviors that we cannot distinguish anymore from character traits, like being selfish, thinking in a quasi logic, lying, and so on.

So, What do you do, punish or not, when you cannot tell what is going on?

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I didn't read all of the threads but basically we have not disciplined DD over the past 12 months. Prior to me finding out about Lyme/PANS at my wits end with her I was contemplating boarding school, I was so at my wits end on how to handle her. She is much much better now and I do feel so guilty that I had thought about sending her away not knowing. Can't imagine what would have happened. That said, today she was being extremely fresh and nasty to me and her sister, after coming back from swimming (chlorine seems to set her off) and asking if she could wait for me rather than have to wait for me to look for a spot at the library - I pulled over, told her to get the "f" out of the car (really bad, I know. She didn't of course (not sure what I would have done if she did), cried, and has been wonderful since for the rest of the day. Go figure.

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This thread is so helpful; thank you!


Can others chime in about whether or not you think your child ever learns anything from the situation you are dealing with? I saw one person say that they don't think their child learns from one to the next. That is also how I feel. DD is extremely smart but she never learns. I am losing my mind.


One other area I have a question about is disciplining in social situations. Whether the situation be at your house, a friend's house or at school?

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