That said, one of the best parenting tools you can use is to "prescribe the fit". For example, if MissArguePants is going to get really mad when you tell her it's time to take her bath (because this is what she does every night....even though you prepped her in the afternoon....even though you've counted down....even though she knows it's coming) I will prescribe the nasty behavior that she usually gives me when I tell her it's bath time.
"MissArguePants...I'm going to tell you something. It's going to make you mad. Please be sure to stomp your feet really loud as you go up the stairs. Yell at me a little. Make sure everyone in the house knows how mad you are about it. OK?
MissArguePants, it's time to take your bath.
Now, stomp really loud and argue about it. OK?"
This changes something in her behavior.
She is hard-wired to do the opposite of what I tell her. Therefore, if I go ahead and give her permission to throw a fit, it confuses her in a big way. Most of the time she will be upset, but she won't actually throw the fit. Because, it's no fun to get mad if she's been given permission to do it.
We're getting pretty good with this parenting technique. In fact, if I don't see the fit coming, I'll be sure to give them permission as soon as one starts. Quite often it will diffuse extreme behavior rather quickly. I'm not saying it makes everything all lollipops and rainbows. But the fits aren't as explosive. We've been doing this for about the last four weeks with pretty good success.
But you've got to keep your kids straight.
Cherub 2 likes to throw ginormous fits himself. However, he is neuro-typical and does NOT have ODD. His fits are often diffused by scooping him up and holding him tight. In fact, we've had to restrain him in the past. He is always warned before we restrain him. But he has been known to throw a fit just so we WILL restrain him. It's like he wants the physical touch so bad but doesn't know how to ask for it in the heat of the moment.
The other night Mr. Amazing and I each took two of the kids to help them get ready for bed. He chose the boys and I was going to help the girls. TT was NOT pleased about having to come inside. He did NOT want to stop playing football with the big kids. But...it was bedtime. As he was coming in the house he made it obvious how ticked off he was.
Mr. Amazing helped him up to his bedroom and started to oversee the process of putting on PJs and brushing the teeth. As TT got more and more dysregulated, Mr. Amazing reached into his parenting bag of tricks and "prescribed the fit".
Oh boy oh boy!
Cherub 2's eyes lit up and he said, "OK". He then immediately trashed out his room. Pulled all the blankets off the bed. Threw all the pillows and stuffed animals across the room. Dumped out a huge box of hot wheels. Emptied some baskets that were on his shelves. It was a mess!!!
Mr. Amazing realized his mistake almost immediately. But, rather renege on what TT had been given permission to do, Mr. Amazing let him go for just a minute. (Yes, he trashed his room that bad in under 60 seconds.) Then Mr. Amazing told TT that it was time to calm down.
Thankfully both Mr. Amazing and I were able to laugh about this. We switched places and I helped TT straighten up the bedroom (he did end up calming down quite quickly). Mr. Amazing went out with the girls and sat with them while they read stories to Cherub 3.
So, as wonderful as our new parenting techniques might be, here's some advice: be sure to double check what kid goes with what technique or things might get messy! :)