and the day ends in oatmeal…

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  • Post last modified:June 21, 2010

Gavin did not have a good day. He had oatmeal for lunch and then threw it away so he had oatmeal for dinner. He drags it out so that he runs out of time and then throws it away. We need to figure a second tier of the punishment when he doesn’t eat it.

Anyone have any ideas? Remember rewards don’t work for him. Someone had made the suggestion to have a reward available at the end of each day if he earns it. If he doesn’t earn it the his next chance is the following day. I also have a behavioral contract on my mind but don’t know if he would even understand what he was signing.


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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Does Gavin have chores he has to do? If he does, maybe you could add an extra one when he is misbehaving or just give him some chore to do if he doesn't have them already. It doesn't have to be anything he can do all that well as long as he tries. I don't know if you would actually be able to get him to focus on getting the chore done though. If he doesn't like having to sit still, you can try having him sit in a chair for timeout. Just pick a set amount of time he has to sit there and if he gets up or complains, then the time starts over. The only other thing I can think of is taking away things like toys and TV.

I like the reward system the other person mentioned. I know a lot of people have had success with it so it might work for him. I tried that one with Cadence but unfortunately it didn't work for her. She would get really upset each time she didn't earn the reward instead of just once if she knew she lost the reward for the day. She knows that when she does well she has a few rewards she gets to choose from and will go through the day saying she wants to do this and that well so she can get whatever reward for the day without us even having to ask (most of the time). Whatever it may be, I hope you're able to find what works for Gavin soon.

Lost and Tired

Al good points. We have been adding chores lately. The point for us is to give him appropiate ways to use his hands and feet (just as an example).

Thanks for the ideas and support.



I don't know if this would be of any help, but I have a lage poster board that I call "Eryn's Choice Chart". I have 5 different situations that she needs to work on (I picked the top 5 so it would be simple and not to overwhelming). On the right side I have the choice for the given situation and the consequence for that choice and on the left I have the – choice for the given situation and the consequence for that choice. Under them are picture representations of each choice and it's consequence. Example: Eryn has been having a hard time sitting at the table to eat.. So on the right side I wrote "Choice: sitting nicely at the table….. Consequence: choose a show to watch after you eat". Then I drew a picture of her sitting nicely at the table… An equal sign… Then a picture of the tv with her fav show on. (actual photos work better, but I needed something quick, so I went with drawings). On the left I wrote "Choice: fool at the table…. Consequence: no show". With pics under it.
I have found that this takes the focus OFF the powers struggle and makes her feel more in control. She is at her choice chart ALL the time! She will just go over and "study" it, as if it holds the secret to the meaning of life 🙂 I think she likes "seeing" what is expected and what happens with each choice she makes, instead of having to remember it. I think it really takes some of the pressure off of her, eases anxiety, and makes it about HER, not me.
Problem… You have to have consequences that mean something and since every child is different I can't tell you what they should be, since I don't know Gavin.
I can't say if every choice should have the same consequence and every – one have the same consequence (fav food for pos and oatmeal for neg) or if you think he can handle different ones for each situation?
I DO think that it might be more effective if the consequences were immediate … But I'm not there and I don't know Gavin, so I am not sure that applies. But in my experience, dicipline for a choice given an hour or so After the choice is made doesn't have much effect.
I know this was a long responce, but I hope it can help ;). Hang in there!!!

Lost and Tired

You make some very good points. I also love the idea of the choice chart. We really struggle with Gavin due in part to his various other mental health issues. You are correct the consequence should be immediate. The problem for us is that he has no currency. There is nothing to take away. He will just retreat within his imaginary world.

I do want to implement the choice chart though because that may stop the problems before they arise. Thank you for sharing your story and ideas. You have helped us to keep things a bit fresher when we run out of ideas (which honestly happens a lot).