Thursday, September 8, 2011

Phone call about 4 year old's defiance

I received a phone call about a new appointment for a four year old who was not listening to his mother.  I suggested she think about the situations when her child is defiant, and write down some examples to bring to the first session.  There is a chart on page 3 of my book which outlines the information I like parents to record.  It is important to note 1) with whom the child is defiant and 2) what the parent and the child were each doing in the hour preceding the problem.  Then think about when the defiant behavior began: 3) write down what child said or did, and what the adult said or did in response.  The interaction may go back and forth a few times, and I'd like parents to capture as much detail as possible (write down a few lines or more).  If parents record this information over several days, we can see if a theme emerges.  This information will start us on a path toward figuring out the cause of the child's problem.  Once we we figure out the cause, then we will know which strategy to use.