Behavior in Public - FamilyEducation
Behavior in Public
06/26/2009 at 08:04 AM

Hi all! Was hoping to maybe get some suggestions from you guys. Right now I am perplexed as to what to do to help my boys. Let me first say that my boys are being raised in a stable structured environment and we do have expectations and consequences for behaviors that are unacceptable.

Yesterday my boys were truly awful. It was a busy day where we had to do different errands and their behavior just was out of control. (and yes several of those errands had to be done then)They bickered and fought and called each other many different names. In one grocery store which I had just run in to pick up maybe 4 items my youngest son bit my oldest and then he responded my smacking my youngest son. This was all in front of my brother's boses wife who is a really nice person. Sad thing is that my oldest son loves to play with her daughter when we see them at picnics at my brother's house. Her children are such sweet well behaved children. So I seperated my boys even more and took the candy the girl had given them at the register.

Then their behavior at the YMCA I was told about. They were in child care for about an hour as I try to work out 3-4 times a week.

Then as I was in a store picking up an anniversary gift for my husband I ran into a coworker and my boys started to act up again. I only spoke with her probably 3-4 min. I had my youngest's hand because of him running off and also because of him going after my oldest son. He started yelling really loud and one man just turned around and stared at me. So anyways I got the two gift items for my husband and got out of the store as quickly as I could.

Before I ask my questions let me give you a little background info. about my kids. My oldest is being evaluated for Autism (very high functioning) and is on meds for ADD (med is at right level) and my youngest we are pretty sure is following his path especially with the ADD. We do not have him on meds at this point. We are told that with Autism kids don't read social cues, such as when we are upset, etc. When behavior is starting to get out of line I do tell my kids that I am upset with their behavior and I try to tell them what I expect out of them. Since I know that my oldest, especially, has trouble reading my expressions I tell them how I feel, etc.

Anyways, my questions are how do you make your children realize when they need to stop their behaviors and straighten up? How do you make them realize that you are very upset with their behavior and they have crossed the line with unacceptable behaviors? How do you get your kids to behave in public? I am so tired of being embarrassed because of their behavior.

I am hoping some of you guys have some ideas, especially if you have kids with similar diagnosis/disabilities. Thanks in advance for ideas.


ok first i have children and step children who have ADD,ADHD .they do have moments but it is no excuse to acting up be firm about what you expect .i use the reward system and it works great when you keep firm and dont give in .i always talk to them explain what i feel like is expected when we go out i let them know what they will get or do for the award and then i tell them what they will loose when they act up ..while out i sometimes have to remind them but i try to catch them early at the first sign you can tell from the body language .,make sure to make eye contact and keep it when talking with them and if they look away stop and tell them "my eyes are here and i need yours to be looking at mine" neel down also or sit down never tower over them and once a punishment is done it is done dont bring it up again and if you want to tell dad do it alone makes them feel like you are just tattle on them .let them know you love them but are not happy with their actions

I read something in our local paper from a mom who has autistic children. Her perspective is that it is a handicap, like spina bifida. If your child is sitting in a wheelchair, people have different expectations than they do if the child is standing beside you. The problem is, there is no obvious visible sign that this child is autistic. It sometimes does look like you are just a family that is dysfunctional, instead of like a very high functioning family with a handicapped child who is behaving fairly well. In a perfect world, everybody would just be doing their best, and everybody else would understand that. All kids have good days and bad days. For my kids low blood sugar, dehydration, and fatigue always make them act out. I have walked away from full grocery carts (I ask a clerk to put it away, they are gracious) and had canned beans and pickles for dinner. I have paid late fees on utility bills. I have given friends handwritten rain checks for gifts. There is nothing more important than helping my kids learn how to behave. Before I realized this, my kids would act out when they knew I had something real important to take care of. Now, they behave. My kids don't have the challenges that yours do. I don't know if this will help, but it is worth a try.

Yeah... Bad behavior, I remember that! If you hate bringing them out with you when they act like that, then don't. Babysitter maybe? Sounds like you need some help! Can you get some?

Sometimes a child just wants to stay home and play with their stuff. I noticed this when my son was younger about 5 years old. I came to realize that if he was having a "bad" day, then we stayed home. If I had appointments or something that I couldn't miss, then I had my standby daycare person there to help. I believe in society today, too much rat racing is going on. Which stresses everybody out ---- add ADD or Autism to that and all heck is destined to break loose. I am sooo glad my life is a slower pace. Carol

acitez, I didn't really think about it in the way that you described the article you read.... but that is very true. It certainly is a disability for my boys and very difficult for my husband and me, and something at an eye's view that other people wouldn't know. Did you have problems when you walked away and left a store with your kids acting up at another time in a store when they didn't want to be there, because they knew you'd leave? I just read in a book to try to stop wherever you are and tell the kids you are not going another step with them until their behavior is under control. I'm going to try that and see how that works. This is like the example I've read about several times where you pull your car over to a stop and don't go further until behavior is under control. I guess the Autism on top of the ADD is a double whammy, so to speak. I've worked with alot of ADD kids at school and they can be difficult, but the Autism truly makes things triply hard. I agree that my kids need to behave and my husband and I are trying so very hard to instill this in them. There are times when they are pretty good and then times that they are horrid... which is down right exhausting for us. I'm hoping that things will get easier as they get older and my husband and I get more experience dealing with them. I know the teen years are tough for almost all parents though. Thanks for your suggestions. Only

Whatever, Thanks for your thoughts. We have done different kinds of rewards systems and they usually fail and we are consistent. I do agree that I need to catch them early, which I think I do most of the time. The Autism on top of the ADD makes it alot harder. I've dealt with ADD kids as a teacher, but very very few Austistic kids and maybe only one or two that had the comorbidity of ADD and Autism. Thanks for your suggestions.

Carol, I do agree that we are always busy and it is best to slow down. Unfortunately some days have got to be that way for me. Unfortunately I don't have alot of help, just my mom and she already helps me when I have dr. appts. ir sub and such. I don't want to wear her out because she also runs my 96 yr old grandma to appts. and such. I'm going to try to space out my trips to town the best I can. Thanks for making me think about that. Also I know that some days are better being at home, so I need to watch for those days. Sometimes that seems like a punishment to me though, but I guess that is how it is. Thanks for your thoughts. Only

mysoul.... Don't have alot of help, just some sometimes with my mom. She has my 96 yr old grandma though to run to appts. and such, so she is busy. Wish I had more help! :) Only

Hi Only, I didn't get to read all the responses above, but I understand what you're going through. My boys are exactly the same in public, even my little guy who has no issues. My oldest is suspected to have mild ADD symptoms, so that probably contributes to his behavior problems. I usually try to go shopping w/out the kids if I can avoid it. If I have to go out, I try to make the shopping trip as short as possible. I also explain to them the rules and make sure they understand them. I tell them if they're good, they can pick out a treat or a small prize. However, if they're not good, I clearly state their punishment. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes one gets a prize and the other gets nothing. I honestly think some kids just don't listen no matter what you do. I had an incident once when my oldest son wanted to get out of the cart. His brother, of course, wanted to follow him. Once they were free, they took off. I tried to get them to help me by making it a game. Who can find the tomatoes first?, etc. When we got to the fish dept, I told my kids to look for the clams. My oldest son found them fairly quickly and said, How about this one? Before I cld act, he had poked a whole in the plastic wrapper of a pkg of clams. Then he started running around the store w/ it. Can you imagine? It was at that moment when we left the store. Once we got back to the car, I told the kids I was not happy w/ their behavior, and that they were punished for the rest of the day. This was one incident of many, so you're not dealing w/ this alone. Hopefully in time things will get better. Hang in there!

I have to disagree. The only way they are going to learn how to behave is to expose them to the enviroment and practice. It may be difficult but they can not learn how to behave in public at home. I can not say I know what it is like, however, we take our children a lot of places for that reason. They are use to going everywhere. To the grocery store, department store, walmart, etc. and sure sometimes they act up. But usually they don't. We have a point system where they can earn points for numerous things through out the day and I threaten to take points away and they straighten up. But I am also a spanker ( I know I am the abuser be light on me) but I believe children need to not always be rewarded and need to do things just because I said so. So my advice would be to be more strict even with their conditions. Don't expect any less or they will conform and do less. Always pay attention and you will know if you are too hard for the situation or not and if they are understanding what it is you are trying to communicate. Take them everywhere. Demand respect. Practice makes perfect. People only look that way if they think you are not handling your child right (like there is a special manual for each child)do not look like you do not have control over the situation. Regardless of there condition do not look weak or confused when trying to correct behavior. Children sense it and so do on lookers. Be strong and handle the situations as they come with strength and authority. I know easier said then done. But I once became a prisoner with my three children who are all under 5. I did not what to go out to eat or shop especially alone. I thought I needed my husband. I had gotted more frustrated and began to get bored because I would wait till he got home from work to do anything. Then I woke up and decided this parent - child relationship is what I mold it to be. And now we go everywhere mostly by myself. And we have a good time. Although I don't like it when they act up I am happy that I have enough control to correct the behavior and I don't care what others think.

Dria, Thanks for your thoughts. Do your children have autism? I agree with not letting your children see you as weak or out of control when correcting them for poor behavior. Yes, I don't want to be trapped in my home and I refuse to be. Children with autism/NLD don't read social cues and learn best by verbally being walked through situations. I guess I need to verbally talk to them more about what I expect before I go in to a store and while I am in the stores as well. Part of my problem is that my boys feed off of each other and they can be quite defiant. I don't agree with people only looking at you that way because they don't think you are not handling your child right. That may be it some of the time, but not all the time. Some of the time I think they are looking at the child's behavior and not yours. My children are more advanced intellectually and verbally, but socially they fall short, which causes a big discrepancy. Thank you for your suggestions. Only

It sounds like you are a really good parent. I think you are exceptional because unlike some you are fully aware of their conditions and how it affects them and care. I am certain you will find all the answers you need as you continue to love and nurture them. Often times as parents we learn our lessons through experience. I know it is difficult at times but no pain no gain right? You have a lot to gain by being the good parent you are. I wish you nothing but the best.