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gaming_momma in big_kids

When is punishment too harsh?

My son who is about to be 8 in a couple of weeks, has been getting in a lot of trouble. He is about to be kicked from the bus for the remainder of the year, which will require him switching schools because I can't drive him. He just got a write up today for acting out in class. I can't get him to listen to me at home half the time. I have tried everything. Spanking, time out, screaming, talking, taking away special items, grounding from xbox and computer, extra chores, even grounding to his room. Its not like he is bored at school. He goes to a school for academically gifted children. He has been a problem child since day 1 and this is just too much. We are considering canceling his birthday. No gift from us. No cake. Family can do what they please. But I feel like giving him a cake and gift will be like rewarding him. And his behavior has been anything but deserving. We have tried rewarding him for good behavior as well. And that doesn't work. Please Help!! Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated.


At this point, some counseling. Also, are you remaining consistent in all the punishments? Like *every* time he does X, you do Y? Or is it you did Y the first time, and that didn't work, so you tried Z the next time, and then something else again the third time it happened?
we try the same punishment for awhile to see how it goes. maybe a month or two at a time. This school year I was working with his teacher using positive reinforcement. He was allowed to play xbox after school if he got good notes or stickers from his teacher. Each thing we try works for a few weeks then he doesn't care anymore.
Have you tried to investigate the cause for all his behavior? Punishment/reward systems don't work if the underlying causes don't ever get addressed.
yes. I cant think what it would be and I have talked to him but its hard to feelings out of a boy that age. His father and I have always been together. His sister behaves well. We are not abusive and neither is anyone in his life. He is very much like my brother as a child. And my mom could never figure it out. even with counseling and ritalin for ADD. Now he has been in prison off and on since 14 yrs old. I am trying to put a stop to this before its too late. I cant think what else to do besides be extreme to get my point across.
Does he care about getting kicked off the bus or out of school?
Does he care about any of the punishments?

Typically, when a kid's acting out, it's a whole family issue (both helping to cause the acting out, or needing to deal with the acting out). Are you all in family counseling?
he does care about the bus. He told me a few times he "does not not not not not want to go to Taft" which is the other school. He is worried right now about losing privilege for a field trip. He gets upset about losing time on the xbox and PC. When I grounded him to his room he was very upset that he lost out on spending time with me and watching tv with the family after dinner.
I agree with this. Some things in life you should get just because you exist, not because you earned them, and it's probably very important to him to know that he is unconditionally loved.

He might be acting out to test to see if there's a point where you won't love him, and if so it's important that he never reach that point.

He's done some serious stuff here and disrupting the family; I would go for the counseling.
You haven't mentioned what research and testing you have done with him. Often school districts have programs that can help get the testing. If the schools don't, often the states do if money/insurance is an issue.

ADHD, Aspberger's, Bi-polar, Oppositional Defiance Disorder,etc... The list is longer than we often care to think about. I even knew a boy whose major behavior issues were solved by treating a severe but hidden allergy. It might be a relief to your son and yourself to rule out or find out if there is anything else behind his behavior.
he doesn't have social issues as much as acting out against authority. In fact he is a very well liked kid in his school amongst the other children. So I really don't worry about anything like Aspberger's. And as far as ADD or ADHD goes, he is a straight A student who can watch a 3 hour movie or play games for hours without losing attention and focus. In fact he read one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books in about 3 hours, immediately after buying it.

So I have not looked into much. This ODD is something I have talked with a friend about and really it sounds like any stubborn kid.
I agree on the birthday thing. Perhaps not a huge party if it will stress everyone out and cause mom to feel resentful, but certainly a family celebration is in order.
A book that has been recommended to me is How to Talk so Kids Will Listen by Faber and Mazlish.
I'll have to take a look. I always second guess how I approach things. I just have issues making it through these help type of books.
get help for his anger issues and as soon as you can, don't cancel his birthday, it's a bit much. Emotional brain training is as just as important as the book'n'wordz.