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Discipline and OCD

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I need some advice on how to handle this situation with DS13. This morning, while trying to get him up for school, I told him if I had to come back in I would take is phone and Ipad, which I did when I came back in. He must not have heard me, because after he had gotten up and ready, he realized they were gone and started raging. I told him if we made it out the door in time, he would get them back. He continued to rage at me, saying that I couldn't do that etc. So that made me say that he wouldn't be getting them back when we left. More raging and cussing me out. I'm not sure if I told him he would now be losing them and video games for a week, but something like it, as that is the standard. When we were ready to leave I realize he had taken my phone and hidden it. He said I'd get it back when he gets his back. At that point I let it go realizing I'd just escalate things if I kept on him, and figured I'd search his room when I got home. I did rummage through it, but can't find it. Now, his room is an absolute pigsty. I was disgusted pulling things out from under his dresser, and of course I started tossing garbage too. I stopped after a little bit because honestly I'm afraid of what will happen we he gets home and realize I have been in his room and touched his stuff (one of his OCD issues).


So, as mom of a normal kid, I'd go through his room throw away all his junk, and search till I found my phone. But as a mom of an OCD kid, I'm afraid he will become violent and go over the edge. The normal mommy in me says 'whatever I'm over it.' and I feel I have every right to search his room.

Any advice for me?

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I know it's different with teens and every situation is different. I have done things I thought i would never do with my raging daughter. However, I do believe I would draw the line with him taking your things. I would tell him that once he returns what is yours then you can talk about him getting his things back. There can be no discussion about anything untill your things are back in your possession. My daughter has some really big rages also. We have been to USF 3 times to work on her rages. I used to think she couldn't control her violence, but I have since learned that she is able to stop the violence with incentive. I would not allow him to manipulate you. JMHO. I understand this is a hard situation. Best of luck.



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I would get my phone. That's a line crossed.

I know what you are writing about.

I know the absolute dread when you start disciplining,

or make an ultimatum,

and there is another part of me that knows the child is 'too far gone',

and they couldn't be rational at the time no matter what I say.

Fortunately (I guess) our time periods for this are very short now.

Sometimes, I just choose to be quiet- and when asked why I'm not responding,

I simply say: I cannot when you're speaking to me like this,

and then I stay quiet or it escalates further. I just won't participate. Literally I stop speaking and looking.

This can pull her out.

Or, changing the subject rapidly sometimes will still work.

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I too, think your DS crossed a line when he took your phone; his phone was taken from him as a consequence for misbehavior, and it was part of a verbal contract (as I understand your post) with him that he knew about in advance. He's not your parent, and he does not get to set discipline and consequences for you; and even if he did, you didn't blow the terms of any contract, verbal or otherwise. ;)


I know, disciplining a kid with OCD is more complex sometimes, not just because the kid might rage more over things that "normal" kids would shrug their shoulders at, but also because, especially at 13, they may be harboring some compulsions or obsessions that they, for the most part, keep to themselves until you unwittingly "step" on them in a situation such as this.


At 13 and 14, not only was my DS experiencing stronger OCD behaviors than he is now, but he was also going through that pretty typical "alienation" phase of a teenager . . . not liking me much, arguing over everything, taking every reminder, consequence, rule as an act of oppression, etc. Have you seen Dr. Ross Greene's book "The Explosive Child"? Even for teenagers . . . maybe even especially for teenagers . . . the techniques in this book really work. And we found them very helpful for distinguishing between teenage rebellion and OCD rage in our DS. Basically, it calls for a collaborative process where you sit down with your kid and discuss why you're in conflict, and what you need out of a solution, and what the kid needs out of a solution. And then you collectively agree on a compromise that you can all live with, and each of you is held to that agreement. We found it really helped.


Good luck!

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When I find myself wanting to rationalize inappropriate behavior with my Pandas ds, I remind myself that just about every person on the planet is carrying around their own form of a cross. Yes, some worse then others, but if I did not instill in my child that they still need to be held accountable for their actions, in fact can take control of some of their actions....I would not be doing my job as a parent. Need to add that I make this same mistake enough of the time. -_-

Edited by qannie47
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One thing I liked about the book 'The Explosive Child'

was it asked the parent to break down the few things you will NOT

accept no matter what- what few things are you willing to 'die on the cross' for? Has to be only a few big ticket items.

When my dd was much younger and things were darker,

it was going to school. If that meant you had to wear your same OCD shirt every day, okay, but you are going to school,

I will not bend on that one. It sounds harsh, but I'm glad I did that early, as she now has this instilled.

Hitting or hurting another, no way, no how.

That's about it, the rest I can't always control, and the book has further suggestions.

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SSS: I love this doctor....he has some wonderful videos. On my cabinet, a quote from him, "If a child could do well, he would". Now I know that sounds contradictive of discipline, but I believe it is about knowing what your child is capable of/or learning and knowing what he/she is not capable of at the present time in their life... holding them accountable or showing divine mercy....


Discerning the difference can feel like winning the lotto....

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we have the same problems. but I think what you are describing is not only an issue your child has but an issue that parent has too -- we share the same.

the problem, I think, is that you are trying to discipline during a flare. don't. try to calm situation down. when it is calm, you can punish and talk about how he is supposed to behave.

also, warn in advance -- when you do something to his room, don't wait for him to discover it on his own, but prepare him. when you are going to take things away, say what you are going to do, etc.

set the rules, even write them down. we have rules written all over the house.

I have a question for you: I agree this behavior could be OCD but I am not sure about the reasoning. how do you explain that rage is OCD? Our thinking is about fixations. Child gets fixated on something and cannot see anything else. get his mind off of it, and he is a changed man -- is that your logic, too?

Edited by pr40
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