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July 19, 2011

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gleek

i know you hate it, but what worked for us was regular time-outs. we started at the therapist (yes, C sees a therapist once every week because, like max, she was incapable of listening and she has VERY strong fears.) time-outs are 1 minute for every year old she is. so now the time-outs are 4 minutes long. when she doesn't listen or clearly disobeys, i say "Camille, time-out." i then take her to the time-out spot (i designate one at home and one when we are someplace else ahead of time.)

i put down my iphone with the timer on so she can see it. she has to STAY PUT during time-out. if she gets up, the timer is reset. there have been days when time-outs take a WHOLE HOUR because she can't sit still or is crying too loudly. when time-out is over, i ask her, "Why did mommy put you in time-out?" and she has to give me the correct answer. if she said "because i kicked over the ipad" i would say "no, i told you not to kick the table and you did it anyway. that's what made me mad and gave you the time-out. you didn't listen to mommy's instructions. now WHY were you in time-out?" and i keep asking the same question until i get the right answer.

this took months unfortunately and we still give at least two time-outs per week, but it's getting better. you have to be CONSISTENT TO A T about time-outs. show him how it's done by using one of his stuffed animals! make the stuffed animal "not listen" and then put it in time-out. this worked at the therapist's office! :)

before we started being consistent i would randomly do time-out when i was extremely mad and it never worked. only after i made the routine and we stuck with it did it start to work. the best part about it is that when you're BOILING MAD (as i tend to get) it's not a violent thing and it allows for both of you to cool your heads :)

write me if you want more advice. my therapist has taught us so much!

Gillian Rolfe

there are certain times when your children are growing up that you and they will be in conflict. It's all about being their own person and the struggle for independence. He is little, yes, but still that urge is there. That's why he says it's stronger than he is. I so wish that I had a magic formula for you. But I haven't. Like they say, some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you. You will get your lovely son back time and again as he attains another bit of control over the bear. It's hard I know. But do what most parents do--keep on keeping on. It's stuff you and him HAVE to go through in his journey to adulthood. A strange formula for growing up. You're doing FINE Aimee. Just remember that.

Busymomma

My son was a child that had a hard time sitting still (hence may broken items and spilled drinks and food, etc.) Also walking and into things at 9 months of age. It wasn't that he was naughty, he just couldn't seem to stop himself. Time outs or whatever did NOT work with him, he'd play with his shoe laces, take away his shoes, he'd play with his toes. It took a lot of patience and understanding, a lot of guidance and redirecting for him. Being quite firm with the Nos, and the Not acceptables, but a lot of alternative actions for him to try instead. Thankfully he was my first so I could devote the time to him, and his day care provider was quite firm and consistent on the boundaries. The biggest moment for me was learning to love him just as he was and to be accepting and patient while setting the boundaries, and stop being so hard on myself and him.
He's 17 now and into typical teen age naughtiness. Ugh. lol

Kate

a lot of the parents I know use "consequence" or "réflection" rather than "punishment". I just always try to relate the consequence to the infraction (for lack of a better word), though it can be really hard sometimes. we've had some tough patches with c. I find that if i go hardcore for a bit and tighten the reins, then things get better and then I can ease up too. I'm sorry. i don't really have any good advice. sometimes I just say "when you don't listen, then we can't... or it's dangerous or...." Actually, I finally made a sticker chart not that long ago. I only have 3 things on it. Right now, it's get herself dressed, do something to help and go to sleep by herself. I have never been a fan of sticker charts, but it seems to motivate her. She draws pictures each week of the three things. We agree on what they are. And there is no prize besides stickers. I think one time I vaguely said when there were "a lot" of stickers then I'd take her out for a special treat. But I try not to bribe with prizes too much. anyway, my sympathies. xoxo

Subon

This is definitely a challenging question. There is no simple answer. However, it seems that Max falls into the table tipping because it is not on his mind. As he sits and eats or plays or watches a video, his mind wanders away from thinking about what he has been told not to do. One might even imagine that subconsciously he is just pushing on the table, like one might tap one's foot when the music is playing.

It is easier to concentrate on doing something than to concentrate on not doing something. So, one approach might be to give him a job to do at the teahouse. If he must actively concentrate on washing dishes, or running a little hand sweeper over crumbs on the floor, then he won't have the opportunity for his mind to wander. Am I kidding? Well, maybe, but I imagine him on a stool scraping dirty dishes and rinsing them off as they come back from the tables. Now, he's doing something!

When a child is instructed to sit quietly, or entertain themselves, or watch a show, then they must try to just be good with no certain objective to achieve. I recall my grandmother's phrase, "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop." There may be some truth in that. If Max can do chores, then he can earn a coin, so then he can learn the positive lesson of a job well-done. I'm an old farm boy, and I think doing chores is normal.

Amy

Oh girl, neither of my boys listen worth a crap so I understand where you are coming from. Sounds like you do a much better job than I do already. Recently, I have had to start laying down the law in my house. Instead of quiet time in the room, try a "time out" corner or chair (even at the tea house if possible). It will suck to use your time to put him in time out, but after a few times, he will start to get it. Whenever he does something he shouldn't, you have to stop tell him not to do it or he WILL get time out, and if he does it again, put him in time out and tell him why. Max, you are going to time out for kicking the table when you were told not to. Time out time for him would be about 4-5 minutes (usually one minute for each year old your child is). When time out is over, repeat behavior (ie: do you understand you can't kick the table?), give him hug and on his way. You must repeat this process every time he does something he isn't supposed to do. I got this off of super nanny. It has helped around my house. Kids are still going to push you and try to get away with things, but if you show them there are consequences to their actions consistently, they will get it. Hope that helps!

Another idea at the tea house might be to give him some sort of job or something he can do there or something he can help with. I grew up helping in my grandma's restaurant so I can relate to that. That might help him to feel useful or make him excited to go and do his "job" instead of being dreaded time that he has to endure while waiting for you.

Aimee @ PutYourFlareOn

I like the idea of giving him a task. He has to come with me again tomorrow to the tea house so I will try this and see how it works out. :) I'll report back...

Kingarooski

I taught for over 10 years and thought that stickers were rubbish and that I was buying their good behaviour. It didn't work very well with my students but sticker charts worked brilliantly with my son. He had terrible, terrible twos and threes and we used stickers at the end of the day to assess his behaviour. If he was polite and listened, we gave him a sticker. Once he had collected 10 stickers we use to take him swimming or do something special or buy him a little car. I know it seems like bribing, but it worked. His behaviour slowly improved and he is much better generally now.

I think Max is going through one of those stages and only your patience and acting consistently can help. We still use time outs from time to time, but always with a warning (if you do this again, you will sit on the "naughty step" for 4 minutes...the usual 1 minute for each year). It works for us.

But if you're at work and you're busy with other customers I do think he's misbehaving to get your attention. But the problem is the fact that he doesn't know he's doing this. He's acting out but at him age, he doesn't realise why he's doing it. He just knows that if he does this, you'll pay attention to him (negative attention is better than no attention).

I think you handled the matter brilliantly (though I'm no expert). I think it's ok for children to see that you're angry because anger is a human emotion and they should know that you can and do get angry at times. But it's what you do with that anger that's important. You took time and explained to Max why you're angry, you made him think about his behaviour and the reason for your anger, and then you went in and spent time with him and let him know that you still love him.

But parenting is so difficult. I wish there was a fullproof instruction manual!

jen

I agree that giving a task may help. Maybe he can fold napkins? Maybe he can fold papers? Maybe you can give him playdough? I like the idea of helping you clean up. Also, I have to say that I respect that all the tables are tippy but surely they have an Ikea in Paris and you can buy him a nice little $20 Max-and-Alixe only table (maybe also for other children) that he can use? I know that is very American, to compromise for the kids, but that would solve that problem, though I'm certain you will have another. You want to pick you battles and not make going to the teahouse all about "no". Find the three things that are absolutely not negotiable and see if you can adjust for the rest of it. Finally, I highly recommend "How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so kids will talk". This is a great book for kids around the age of 4 and older! It may help involve him in the situation and he can help create a solution! Good luck. Other people have your exact situation, you are not alone. And I agree, a babysitter wouldn't really help!

A

Agree with Kingarooski--this is completely a matter of trying to get attention. Kids need boundaries. When you say you're going to do something (take a toy away, give him a timeout), then do it. Ignore his pouting or being sad. He'll get over it. After all, you're showing your love for him by disciplining—if you don't punish him for wrongdoing now, he'll turn into a monster who gets away with whatever he wants.

He might make a few scenes in public, but after he realizes you refuse to give in to what he says, he'll respect you for it and will begin listening better.

Katie

After reading your story, I think the issue you have is consistency. Once you set a boundary you absolutely have to stick to it. It doesn't matter how annoyed you are, how much of a raucous he is causing, or how embarrassed you are. Giving into your child simply tells him 1. your rules don't have meaning and 2. he can have whatever he wants, if he just whines about it enough. This will just set you up for even more problems in the future.

If you say "do not tip the table" and he does it once, give him a warning and tell him, if you do it again, you will have to stand. Then, if he does it again, you make him stand or go to time out or whatever other consequence you see as appropriate and then, YOU FOLLOW THROUGH. Like the other commenters said, this will take some time. He will resist you. But once you show him that you are serious, he will listen.

I also have a comment about giving him attention for pouting while in time out. Who cares if he is pouting? Who cares if he is mad at you? He needs to understand that there are consequences for his actions and that things don't always go his way.

There is a difference between being a parent and being a friend. Yes, your child's emotions are important, but your job isn't to make sure your child is always happy. Your job as a parent is to ensure his safety and his ability to be a productive member of society (be it in the family, school, public etc.).

I think you did a good job of giving him a punishment and then explaining why you were mad, and ending the punishment with a hug. You just need to be firm and consistent. Set a limit, 3 strikes, you are in time out. Not 10, not 12, not whenever I get a break from customers, 3. And then follow through.

Boundaries and consequences empower your child to make the right decision and will empower you to raise an awesome person and have a happy family.

Eileen

Would it be possible for Max to sit somewhere else? Sometimes removing the temptation or avoiding the situation works well! You are a wonderful Mom and you will figure out the best solution for you and Max. Hugs!!

Aimee - PutYourFlareOn

In response to Katie, I agree that I am inconsistent. It's due mostly to fatigue and inattention to previous dealings to of Max not listening but Julien and I agree that recently the situations with Max not listening have increased and sometimes it's just plain insulting how he goes against us that we need to set into motion some sort of "reflection time" ie. Time out for him.

In response to Jen, I wish I could have a designated child table. That would be ideal but the tea house is very small and we have no room for one. I wish.

In response to Eileen, unfortunately all the tables are like the one that Max tipped. They are three legged. Such a design flaw that we didn't see until Max was able to tip the table which was nearly a year after we bought them. Too late to change and they were expensive. Ah well...

I see this as a good challenge and I don't want to feel at my wits end. After reading the responses here I feel better and will have another go with Max tomorrow to see how we can both do things differently. I'll keep you posted...

Caroline

I can very much relate. My 4-year old son is the same way. This type of behavior comes and goes. Sometimes he is adorable and compliant, to the point that it almost worries me, and then it seems like he becomes a vicious devil overnight. Usually, fatigue plays a role, like 2 weeks before school vacation start, it is bad. It is like he knows he will be punished but he can't help it. My husband said he was the same way until he was like 6 or 7. He just couldn't help it.

It is extremely frustrating but the way we deal with it is we put the "smack-down" and don't let anything slide when the behavior gets that bad. He gets a time-out every time he does something he is not supposed to, even if it seems we are caught in a loop, so it is over and over again for the same thing sometimes. We do however also plan carefully activities, outdoor time and anything we know will help him have positive feedback about himself (this is the hardest to find) that will keep him away from les "betises". It is draining and did I mention frustrating? Now, that we know, we just accept it is going to be unpleasant for a week or so, and don't get mad. Then, his behavior changes and things become better, to the point where it is acceptable child behavior. Then, it will be super compliance for a few days and back to devil behavior. We have always been extremely consistent, but it seems like sometimes he needs to push the boundaries and see if they are still there. One of these horrible week-ends, I met one of my middle school teacher at the market. She always marveled at how cute he is and I mentioned something about how appearances can be misleading. Her answer made me feel better: "a healthy child is a child who opposes. It is not one who complies". I know she is right, but in the times like you are having, it feels draining. However, I always remember that when things get dicey.

Also, when he is that bad at home, we found out after the fact that his behavior is bad at school and the teacher told me his work was suffering from it (doesn't focus or concentrate). Apparently, he would provoke constantly his friends who would then be mean to him. The teacher said that his behavior had done a 180, which was exactly coinciding with our "smack-down". So, we know that it is helpful to him. I should also mention that at one occasion (the worst we have had), there were stuff going on at school that made him feel a insecure (maternelle aged children strangling each other) and I addressed that with the director of the school (talked and hand-delivered a letter with my child) and the teacher in front of my child so he could see that things were been done.

Caroline

Also, our health insurance in the US was very much into 1-2-3 magic for children. They had workshops and such, and one of my friends had gotten the DVD and we watched it at a mom's group I was part of. The DVD was great and it has worked very well for us. The best part is that you can keep your anger/frustration in check because all you have to say is 1, 2 and 3, not reacting with sentences to the purposefully defiant behavior. For stuff that is super defiant, it is all you need, the kids don't need an explanation, they know they are doing something bad (other situations, you obviously use words).

Anne

Parenting is so hard! It always seems that just as we parents get things running smoothly, the kids hit a new stage and we're confronted with completely different challenges.

I agree with the comments about consistency, and ignoring all the pouty stuff. Also, remember that age 4 is an especially difficult age (so are 2 and 6). Five will be better!

Mary Anne

For all 3 of my kids, these issues have had to be dealt with differently. I will admit it, Jack was a dream...he really only start the not listening crap recently, and well, he is always unplugged when that stuff happens...kills him. He hates being unplugged(no plug in entertainment of any kind!) Sarah has always been a send to her room kids...she hates not being in the middle of it all, so this is the worst for her...Katy, well, still working on that one.
I do agree with your dad, I think if you give Max a job, a purpose, it will make him feel like the tea shop is partly his responsibility and he will want to make you proud by helping the family.
The chart thing, give it a try, it can't hurt...except 4 weeks is toooooo long. Daily there must be a small reward(an extra story? some kind of time with mom/dad reward...not a actual prize.) The preschool mind is forward thinking, and always looking to what's next...so asking him to keep track for a month, waiting for a prize is doomed to fail. Go ahead and keep track for that long, just so you can show him the progress, but make the rewards small, intangible and frequent. :) Good luck...

and...btw...we ALL have those kind of mom moments where we learn from mistakes we make! We all have moments when we wish we had done it better...our kids survive(and if we didn't...what the heck would our kids tell their therapists someday ;)!)
<3 Mary Anne

Margaret

I agree with what others have said, especially about giving him a job to do. Not only will it keep him busy, but it will give you (and even your customers!) ample opportunities to tell him how helpful he is - some of the best positive feedback! I even use jobs at home to redirect the kids when they are starting to get wild with each other. At this age, they are always willing to help.

In his defense, it is entirely possible that the urge to tip the tables IS stronger than him. At our house, we had one door which the paint was just beginning to peel off. (It just happens to be the door next to the "time out" corner.) Just one tiny edge of the paint is absolutely irresistible and practically begs the four year old to do it. Patrick has never been destructive... but this door was his downfall. He couldn't stop picking at it. My grandmother's advice with young children is that you should say no as little as possible... sometimes, it is better to simply remove the temptation. If it's at all possible, you could switch out just one table, or even see about making or having a base made for one table to stabilize it.

As for overall discipline, I highly recommend Love and Logic. It has been great for us, it takes the frustration out of discipline, and it offers some good techniques for situations where "natural consequences" are difficult to figure out. The version I've read is Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood, Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years, by Jim Fay and Charles Fay.

Oh, and I also agree with Caroline. Max obviously knows the rules at the teahouse about staying out of the kitchen and keeping your feet off of the tables. There is NO need to remind him seven or eight times! He is obviously seeing how far he can push you. Don't let this be about how far he can push you and how much attention he can get out of pushing you - it is about him listening. Set the limit once and follow through. You set the limit when you told him what you expected of him before you went to the teahouse. So follow through with your chosen consequence the first time his feet touch the table or cross the line into the kitchen, matter-of-factly and with empathy for him, that he made a poor choice and will have consequences.

Good luck. :)

sam

Aimee, I can feel your frustration. Like others have said, sometimes there are rocky periods. I'm stealing this from a parenting book (Ames + Ilg) I read a while ago but it might be helpful--their idea is that kids go through these times of equilibrium/disequilibrium, and I've definitely found that in T. Certain things will be issues for months on end and then suddenly they're not. The tea house is going to be such a great place for Max and Alixe to grow up. I'm sure everyday won't be memory-making, but he'll get in the groove.

About the incident you described, here are a few things that jumped out at me. For one, it's really impressive that Max can articulate his feelings/reactions so well. In a sense I'd say that he is "listening." He seems like the kind of kid who can be really focused, maybe that's to the exclusion of all else? It seems more like he doesn't realize he's doing it or just has extra energy to burn. T loves using a dustpan/broom, so the job suggestion could be a great focused energy release. I could even imagine you watching him run half a block or so (or do some jumping right outside) once or twice while he's there.

The opposite side of that coin...I know Max has always been a great napper, and since you mentioned the whole sleep thing, could he be overtired? What if you opened up a stroller in the back corner and let him catch some zzz's for an hour? I know it's summer, but the maternelle experience is so draining, maybe his rhythms are still adjusting--extra energy at some moments, ready to crash at others?

Anyway, just a few thoughts. I'm not a big time out person either, though I appreciate that some reflection/separation (for your own cooling off in particular) can have its place. That said, it'll be hard to pull that off at the tea house and maybe on some level he knows that?

Good luck. I'm in it with you.

The Bold Soul

Two things popped into my mind as I read this post (putting my old Life Coach hat on again). One is the word "listen". You are using that word but the reality is, he IS "listening" in that he HEARS your words but is doing what he wants to do anyway. Does that sound right? I think parents use the word listen when they really mean "obey" - they want the child to do what they're told, and that's different from listening. A lot of us don't like the word obey so they substitute listen. So one thing to reflect on is how you are explaining to Max what you need him to do and why. He's still too young to always understand the whys but I think you need to explain anyway.

The other thing I see very clearly is that this is a big control game going on, a totally normal one between a very willful little boy and his parents (because I know Julien is just as frustrated as you are). Max is CHOOSING to do exactly what he wants even when he knows you (or his teachers) don't want it. He is testing his limits. All totally normal but nonetheless super frustrating for you, of course! And there are times when you just need him to cooperate, I know -- especially at the tea house.

So, possible actions you could try (I'm just throwing these out there): at the tea house, might there be a way to install a small table that isn't as tippable? And that could be Max's Table when he's there? I know the space and maybe that's not an option but I was thinking of one of those fold-down half-circle types with no legs for him to push on. (I suspect that in part his pushing on the table legs is not deliberate, just a normal 4-year old fidgeting because NO kid can really sit still for long. Or a low child-size table he can play/color/eat on when he's there?

Was he misbehaving before he had Alixe around? This could also be partly an attention-getting strategy because he knows now he has to share you with his sister. I know he adores her but that doesn't mean he isn't jealous, having been the first-born and all (I didn't have time to read the other comments so maybe someone else covered this.)

I like the time-out idea but taking a page from a SuperNanny episode I saw once, the time-out has to be done in a place where there is absolutely NOTHING fun or interesting for him to do. He has to know it's not a place he's going to want to go. In the episode, the Nanny did the timeout on the bottom step of the staircase to the house's 2nd floor, and every time the kid tried to get him, she led him gently back and just said he had to stay there until the time out was over (it was like 10 or 15 minutes because he was a rather young child; an hour is probably too long for a 4-year-old). It sucks to have to keep doing this and reinforcing it, but I'll tell you that on that episode, that kid got the message after a few time-outs on that step, and he got easier to manage for his parents afterward when they'd say "You're not listening, do you want to go on the time-out step?" he seemed to really re-think his actions!

Georges always reminds me, when I get frustrated with his little guy and tired of saying the same thing over and over, that with kids you HAVE to keep repeating yourself a lot. A LOT. So maybe another thing to look at is your expectations as well. Are you expecting that Max will listen, hear, understand and comply immediately, each time you give him instructions? Because maybe at age 4 that's not realistic for him. Believe me, I understand that as busy adults/parents we are juggling an awful lot, and sometimes we just need the kids to do what they're told and not give us a hard time, because we're trying to take care of everything and everyone (and you've got a business on top of everything else). It seems to me the kids sort of push back at us sometimes, the harder we try and control what they're doing. Some kids will just push back more than others, it means they're more naturally independent -- which will actually be a GOOD thing as they get older.

One of my former mentors once told me that to discover someone's greatest gifts, you sometimes have to look back in childhood at the things that person did that were perhaps the most frustrating for others around them. I suspect this is one of those things: Max is very independent, doesn't like to be told what to do, wants to make up his own mind about things and have his own choices. Which for his parents and teachers is going to ruffle some feathers, and of course he must learn to comply with rules that are for his safety and for the good of the group he's in. But if you think about it, Max being independent is a GIFT that will serve him well when he's older -- as long as he learns to MANAGE and BALANCE his independent streak to that it works FOR him and not AGAINST him. Maybe THAT is your challenge with him, as parents... to teach him how to find that balance and to learn how to manage the fact that he IS independent but living in a world with others who will sometimes require him to get in line and follow the rules.

Big hugs. I know you are wonderful parents and just very frustrated and I don't blame you for feeling that way in the least. You've got two beautiful kids but both seem pretty headstrong, and that will be challenging. Parenting is the toughest job on earth. :)

The Bold Soul

PS I liked Caroline's comment, "a healthy child is a child who opposes. It is not one who complies". I've always sort of felt that way, too... I find children who push their limits to be much more interesting PEOPLE than the ones who are totally passive and do every little thing their told. Sort of fits in with what I said about this being a GIFT of sorts... just that right now, it doesn't feel like a gift. ;)

Lots of good ideas in the other comments... I like the one about giving him some responsibility when he's at the tea house and certainly at home too. But make it like he's a "grand" now and can join in and help out like mommy and daddy! It is a family business, after all! ;)

Kat

Wow so much good advice here! Boys are antsy - Men are antsy! I'm not making excuses that they can't sit still and listen but I really do think they are wired differently than girls. I LOVE the chores idea - showing trust in him to help out with big tasks for mummy!! He will be so proud. Jake now wants to help me do EVERYTHING! It is adorable. He is all into talking, conversing and helping out. He doesn't even use the iphone anymore....hardly. I think you are doing a fabulous job too and don't me too tough on yourself - I have been so angry at Jake at times and then I feel SO bad. Max knows you love him unconditionally and when I am not angry I always tell Jake that even if I am angry I still love him. I remember my mum telling me that and I never forgot it. Hugs!!!

Caroline

Another thought is that when kids want to test boundaries, they have a knack for testing them when you are at your weakest, just to make sure stuff still holds and you might not just give in, you know just this one time. The tea house looks to me like a perfect match because you need him to behave and there is a possibility you could be more lenient... One memory I have is of my sister's birthday party last year with maybe 15 of her childless friends. He literally spent the entire afternoon in time-outs, time-out after time-out. We were trying really hard to engage him and get him out of the "rut" but nothing was working (sticker books, doing a task with him like helping with the cooking/coffee which he usually loves, going outside to play, playing games, coloring, cartoons, taking a nap). We got really creative all 15 of us together. He tested all afternoon: spitting olive pits on the floors, sticking stickers on furniture, spitting, coloring the couch, throwing food and stuff on the floor, you get the idea, which he obviously knows he shouldn't be doing and never does at home. He was like a devil on steroids gone wild. I guess he just needed to see that even at a function with people around, the same rules were holding as at home and we wouldn't back down. BTW, that was the last time we had a problem at a party type event.

Like I had read in "setting limits for your strong-willed child", some children just need to test limits over and over again and in all circumstances. This is the model I got. Now that I know it, it is easier to not get mad and not take it personally: it is just my job as a parent to make sure he knows the limit is there, day after day after day. When I am tired, it is harder, but I know that he needs the consistency. Otherwise, it will be worse tomorrow.

Miss M.

So many good things have been said, so I will try to keep it short. I think all the readers had great advice. The comment from the Bold Soul really reminded my of my friend, who’s son also started showing more and more ‘problems’ with listening, being really loud etc.

My friend and her husband knew they had to change stuff. And instead of focussing a lot on listening, they looked more at the boy in total. Their son is pretty sensitive, smart, restless, wise, a bit shy at times etc. They started by looking at all the stimuli that he gets during a regular day. They cut down on some of them. They also set some clear rules and really stuck to them. This meant for them that they had to be stricter than they wanted to be at first, but things got a lot better soon. Then the little guy went to school which was pretty hard for him. They had him tested and the psychologist confirmed he is smart, but also sensitive and he didn’t feel bounderies clearly. His physical bounderies, but also rules from his parents, teachers, peers etc.

They decided to focus not so much on listening/obeying, but more on how to get him more comfortable in his body. How to teach him to communicate his sensitivity. Of course on a level that suits a 4/5 year old.

What I want to say is, that the Bold Soul really says something important. What is annoying now can be his talent in life. That’s what my friend did: focus on his strong points instead of getting him to follow rules/people. (Of course there were hard days and of course he also sometimes just had to listen.)

Everybody had to get used to this new approach, but they all blossomed! Take care and keep us informed! I don't know you, but I am sure you will work things out.

Véronique

I don't really have any advice, but I wanted to tell you that I remember going to my mom's work when I was a kid. It was excruciating! (She was an English teacher in France). It seems silly to me now that I couldn't play/entertain myself for an hour, but I absolutely hated it. For me, it was a combination of being bored and not having her attention/being excluded. There was only one time when I liked it: she let me draw on the black board and I wrote a poem and drew a flower. Her students were giggling and it took her a while to figure out why :)
Your readers have come up with fantastic ideas, and I'm sure that Max will soon have fun at the tea house!

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