How do you help a child that hates anything new?

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How do you help a child that hates anything new?

SD has always struggled with change. A new album is shouted through at least a dozen times before he tolerates listening to it but then it isn’t long before he identifies a favourite song that makes him smile and laugh.

Reading is similar. Where before I could introduce a new book in an afternoon read, now I can experience a full on tantrum with screams and tears until a favoured book is offered. The same with films, before he could enjoy various titles but nowadays if it isn’t in his Top 5 then is isn’t cutting the grade and tends to be shouted over.

His repertoire is shrinking and with time his capacity for patience is deteriorating.
For example, we went for a walk to the beach last weekend. SD was in his all terrain wheelchair and the fifteen minute walk down was very pleasant. He reached his arm out to hold our hand’s, vocalised his approval and happily enjoyed the walk without music. However, like a light switch, as soon as his wheelchair hit the sand he started screaming top volume for music. He was relentless and the tears flowed yet nothing had changed. We walked at the same pace, continued to talk and engage but it appeared as though he had decided that when on the beach he had to have music. Within a few short minutes and many sympathetic stares our parenting skills wained and once we got him to stop shouting and ask nicely, we gave him his much desired music. Smiles resumed and peace reigned.

SD 1: Mummy and Daddy O

Discipline and rewards are a real issue. SD can’t see or appreciate stickers, he can’t eat, so treats aren’t an option, and music and TV tend to be the things I’m trying to limit. Also I do question his ability to attribute rewards to behaviour. We do give him time out and remove him from situations he is disrupting but this doesn’t seem to produce any improvement in learned behaviour.

So is there anyone out there who can help? Do I accept or fight unwanted behaviour? Any advice from parenting your own children that I could adapt or principles I might find helpful? Please leave your comments and help if you can.


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By | 2017-06-15T10:07:52+00:00 March 29th, 2014|Categories: discipline, parenting|1 Comment

About the Author:

Qualified Nurse, Writer, Trainer, Public Speaker and unqualified parent of three. My days consist of Lego, laundry and loving three boys, one of whom has complex and life-limiting disabilities.

One Comment

  1. Su June 12, 2014 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    This is a difficult one as you are more than aware! The behaviour management techniques I have learned both as a parent & in a professional capacity would say to not accept unwanted behaviour yet not to fight it either. – great help eh?! I suspect i am not telling you anything you havent already heard before but the trick is supposedly to ignore unwanted behaviour & distract the child where you can. Focus on the positives eg telling child what they can do as opposed to what they can’t. Lots of specific praise for appropriate/wanted behaviour as soon as you notice it eg Good waiting, good listening etc Time out should be used as a last resort – after ignoring, distraction & warnings. Any consequences are to be followed through, not empty threats & should happen as soon as possible after unwanted behaviour is displayed. Having said all that each child is unique & not everything works for every child.usualky its trial & error & depends on child’s level of understanding. The key is consistency & that both parents & other carers all do the same thing in response to any unwanted behaviour. You & your husband need to be in agreement. It takes time to unlearn learned behaviours so lots of patience too. Once you decide on a response stick with it in spite of all the protests/tantrums. Sorry if all that waffle was same old, same old. Hope you find something that works for your family xx

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