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Caring for the High Maintenance Child
By Kate Andersen.

Children who are easily bored. June, 2017.
Dear Kate:
I worked full-time until my son was four years old. Upon staying home, I had a an opportunity to research the behavioral problems.....
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 B-DI News
A Newsletter About Caring for the High Maintenance Child

by Kate Andersen, M.Ed.
Issue Theme: Children who are easily bored.
Volume 19, Issue 10, June, 2017.

Letter to Kate
by Kate Andersen, M.Ed.

Dear Kate,

I worked full-time until my son (our first child) was four years old. Upon staying home, I had a greater opportunity to research the behavioral problems we were having with him (being near the verge of a nervous breakdown at the time) and also to watch other children his age.

I looked over a few books on temperament, but fully read Stanley Turecki's book, The Difficult Child. (I hope to soon read the book, The Spirited Child.) After reading Turecki's book, I felt that I could now handle my son's temperament traits. I had long talks with my husband about dealing with his temperament traits and adjusting our expectations. My son has never had any academic problems, but his behavioral problems have been pointed out to me by his Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers. I have worked hard to deal with his high activity (he acts up when he is bored), adaptability (making calendars and explaining plans), extreme intensity (having him take deep breaths), and irregularity (make dinners in ten minutes), etc.

After all my hard work in dealing with this child, two years later I still have listening and other behavioral problems with this child. Please advise on the situations below:

One situation is that my son tells adults what they "should" and "shouldn't do". The other day when I was walking around with the baby (our second child) and holding the baby in one arm and using my free arm to do something else, my son said that I shouldn't hold the baby while I do other things. This comment came from a six-year old! I told him that if he says things like that to me or another adult that I will punish him. My husband did not agree that I should punish him for saying things like that. How can I handle this? Is this negative mood from temperament? He always seems to comment negatively on everything and appears so ungrateful at times that it hurts people. I can't have him telling his first grade teachers this September what they should and shouldn't do!

He still doesn't listen the first time an adult tells him to do something - unless he likes what they ask him to do. (He is the most persistent person I know!) In the last six months, he is less defiant and has a better respect for adults. He even rolls his eyes in a defiant way and looks away as if to "tune you out". He does something you tell him not to do right after you told him not to do it. I feel that he'd like the world to have his set of rules (wouldn't we all!). He has to be told almost every night at the dinner table to sit up properly (only one example). He was punished four days (no computer) for dangerously tipping a chair after repeated warnings. Only once in a "blue moon" do we catch him doing this! I have tried listening pennies and listening stickers for bakery cookies, but it only works for a short time. Listening is such an important component in school that I am very concerned. (I had told his kindergarten teacher to get his eye contact, but she still had further listening problems with him) Do you have any further ideas.

I don't know how to deal with an extremely persistent child with listening/authority problems. Do you have any advice?

Whatever advice you can give me would be most appreciated. Also, when does one see a pediatric behavioral doctor? I feel that if he has further problems in the Fall then I should go to one.

Hope to hear from you soon. I enjoy reading your newsletter. Thanks,

(name withheld)

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