When your child does not care about consequences

United States
March 2, 2007 11:54am CST
What do you do when your child does not care about consequences? My son has been diagnosed with Conduct Disorder at age 6. We are going through counseling and he has recently started medication, which I have tried to avoid. The medicine does seem to help. He is also very bright, and is currently undergoing tests to see if he is gifted. My problem is that when he misbehaves, he doesn't care about consequences and he challenges me when I try to enforce them. I'm trying to combat this problem now, before he gets older and it escalates. I know I need to be consistent with the types of punishment, but I can't figure out how to be consistent when the consequences don't affect him at all--no matter what they are.
3 people like this
8 responses
@brokentia (10397)
• United States
4 Mar 07
I have never heard of Conduct Disorder. I am going to have to look that up! Two of my sons has ADHD...but I can't help but wonder if one of them would have this disorder. Currently, my 9 year old son is grounded until I am not sure when! He has an issue with playing with lighters...even though I hide them away. He will go through all my stuff just to find them! He has a problem with taking my stuff and his siblings belongings with out asking and looses them! I have explained that this is called stealing and is wrong...among talking to him in-depth about it. You know, how would you feel if someone took your stuff? Well, currently, my tweezers are missing. LOL And he is the one that took them. Or how about cutting a hole in the box spring of a brand new bed! Or taking a pencil and twisting it constantly against the walls in his bedroom until there are many small driven holes all over the place! Does he stop even though he knows he is wrong? Nope! So, he is grounded to his room!!!! And I am not sure when I will let him out because this is not the first...second...or third time. *sigh* If you find something that works...please let me know. :)
2 people like this
@birthlady (5613)
• United States
3 Mar 07
Have you looked into Parent Effectiveness Training? PET teaches you how to be consistant over a long term, and little steps you can take, one day at a time. Maybe your counselor can recommend a type of support group where you can destress with other parents. I would recommend learning everything you can about conduct disorder. Perhaps your son is bored with his classwork because he is intellectually advanced, but is not emotionally caught up to his smarts! What 6 year old would be? Give him LOTS of HUGS. As a parent of 2 sons and 1 daughter (all now grown) -- I can tell you that its the little reinforcements and loving attention that helps kids get out of the cycle of negative-attention-getting-strategies! Best of luck!
• United States
2 Mar 07
There are many techniques and books you can buy with working methods, but here are my ideas: Talk to him almost like an adult, explaining that it hurts your feelings and makes you feel sad when he doesn't listen to you. Explain to him why you ask him not to do certain things, and even make up an "example" if you have to, like "I'm seriouse. I saw it happen to..." I'd say sit him down and talk to him like a friend, and explain to him in a way he can understand why he should listen to you. Not because your the mother, but because your his friend and you were 6 years old once, and you don't want him getting hurt or sick or making you sad. Hope that helps.
2 people like this
@crazynurse (7511)
• United States
4 Mar 07
Sometimes if can't change behavior by punishing bad behavior, you can change it by rewarding good behavior. Have you attempted giving rewards for 'x' number of hours of good behavior (smll rewards like tokens ...i.e, poker chips). These can be exchanged down the line for various rewards. Or I have seen where a particular negative behavior is targeted rather than overall behaivor. In other words, if you go half a day without kicking....you get 3 tokens. Another method is to give a certain amount of tokens each morning. The tokens are taken back for violation of certain behaviors. AT the end of the day , remaining tokens are banked...again towards a bigger prize down the road. For instance, if by Saturday the child has 'banked' 20 tokens, they get a trip to McDonalds or whatever means something to your child. Good luck...hang in there...and for goodness sake don't let the child see you waiver!
1 person likes this
@villageanne (8579)
• United States
2 Mar 07
Wow, that is a hard thing to have happen. It is hard to be a parent. My oldest daughter has 2 children. The oldest minds really well but the youngest just dont care. She started sending him to his room when he gets like that. Now all she has to do is give him 'the look" and he goes to his room. He is not allowed to come out till he is calmed down. He has to stay on his bed the entire time he is in there with the door open. It is working for her. Each child is different so you have to figure out what works best for each individual child. My oldest daughter was easy to correct because all I had to do was make her feel quilty about what she did and it worked. My youngest never felt quilty so I had to disipline her in different ways and it seemed that I had to change my tactics often with her. Good luck with your child
1 person likes this
• Singapore
2 Mar 07
I think you need to talk to him nicely, and try to make him understand. Be careful about being overly strict - you can be firm, but don't "push your luck". Children are rebellious by nature and you don't want to turn them from you. Patience is all that I can advise.
@resasour (378)
• United States
6 Mar 07
I feel for you. Conduct disorder is a form of a mental illness. I assume that in counseling, your son is getting behavior therapy along with his other therapy. I would ask his counselor about resources that are available for parents with children with this disorder. I know that you have to basically re-teach your son how to deal with and cope with his distress without him "showing out" But I admit, that I could not likely give you any tips that would be effective, as his issues stem from something a little deeper than most. I wish I had more to offer. I know it has to be really frustrating to deal with a child that doesn't care, and doesn't think about his actions first. Though most children don't, but conduct disorder is usually a part of a form of mental illness, and behavior therapy is part of the treatment. Ask if there are support groups for parents with children of this disorder. I am sure you could get alot of valuable and time saving information from a support group. And I would ask his counselor for help as well. I am glad that you are able to catch it early on, as this will help you and him both. Children that are not treated for this disorder can become quite nasty as they get older. As they generally feel little or no remorse for the things they do to others. If he is gifted, then challenge him intellectually. It helps him to stay focused on things other than breaking the rules of the household. If he reads at a higher level, then get him books that are at his reading level, games too. Things that will stimulate and occupy his mind. Also, get him involved in "hands on projects" like building things, or painting and such. This will keep his mind occupied and his hands busy. I think that will help his overall behavior. I hope you are able to get the information you need. You might want to go to the library and check out the book "Your Child" by Harper Collins. it has some insight and information on children with this and other disorders. Good luck to you.
@byfaithonly (10717)
• United States
4 Mar 07
My heart goes out to you, I have the same problem only mine is now 15! It's so frustrating at times I want to resign from being a mother. Mine is diagnosed mild ADHD (attention deficit hyper active) as well as ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). We’ve been for counseling, have medication (which he refuses to take as although I see a difference when he does – he insists it doesn’t do anything) and it doesn’t matter what I say he is going to do the opposite. Our latest battle is school – every day is a battle to get him to go and most times he wins as he’s too big for me to pick up and put in the car now. I’m afraid at this time I have no answers for you except that I pray a lot and realize that some day he will be an adult and responsible for his own actions (hopefully he will get the message then).