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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quiet Defiance

For a long time now I did not have a name for what I some
times see in my son. From the time he was small he was
very quiet. He would sit in his car seat and play intently
by himself. I took it as him being settled with himself and
he was a boy which was different than my other two
previous children. At that time that may just have been what it
was contentment. But as he became older his behavior didn't
change much he continued to be less vocal than most
children sitting with his drawing paper much of the afternoon.
As he has settled into the preteen age I have noticed a
pattern of quiet defiance. I'll ask him to pick up something
and will see him visually picking it up but then find it laying
on the stairs instead of putting it away. I'll ask him to do an
assignment but later find it laying in a mess on his bedroom
floor or I'll ask him to clean his room and come to find him
half cleaning it and continuing on his day as if he had cleaned
it already. It can be tiring as a parent to watch. Now I am
not talking about the occasional forgetfulness. I am talking
about a constant apparent lack of forgetfulness. I have
come to realize that this is his way of "handling the situation",
which turns out isn't exactly passive or being lazy as one
might think. He is staking his control over .... well.... Me.

It has taken me sometime to realize this. I had given up
somewhat on keeping up with his eccentrics which is what
I told myself it was. He did hit genius levels on some testing
which I often told myself and used as an excuse....
and was allowing the behavior . Lots of ands and excuses in that
sentence. I was left scratching my head and wondering why
he wasn't motivated. I even got a book at the library about
unmotivated boys . I never did finish reading it because it
had no concrete end result. I decided it was time to
demand a change from him . As I
push the boundries and
help him recognize what he is doing in my own quiet way.
I am seeing results. I thought I'd share with you today
Incase you find yourself in the same situation with your
middle School boy.

Here is how Quite Defiance as I call it works:

I asked Superboy a few days ago to put away his laundry.
A day later I found a tash bag and wanted to know what
was in it . It turned out it was his laundry. I asked
him again to put the laundry away by the end of that day.
That day the laundry was still in the bag and I added more.
Now he has laundry in a bag and in his bed. Did he that
day complete the task. Not at all. Now normally I would
get upset/possibly yell at him but that only means that he Won.
Instead I will go up and walk him through step by step
to make sure it gets done. It is taking a lot of work
to make sure things are accomplished but I am seeing
him doing work on his own at times too.

Take for example yesterday. He decided to go grocery
shopping with me. He helped with the baby. He unloaded
the shopping cart. Helped load the goceries to the car and
then to the house. Way way more than he normally would do.

His Quiet defiance is covering up his anger in
something. Now I don't think that Superboy is in an extreme
state of anger but I think it could lead to that If I don't stop
it now. If not caught now it could really lead to problems
later in his life and isn't that what I am here to do. Keep
watch over my children. Basically he has trouble
communicating his feeling about the things I am asking him
to do, which them creates resentment and the I'm going
to ignore this instead of dealing with my feelings.

Here is what has worked for us:

If I see him dragging his feet then I need to sit
down and talk to him. Questioning and allowing him
to talk it out helps. Most of the time he talks himself
into what I am asking.

When we talk about what is going on it often comes
up that the task seems to challenging for him. So I

break it up into pieces so he doesn't have all the work at
once. Or for Assignments fold the page in half and work
on the top half and then come back to do the bottom half.
I Ask questions to get him over the first challenge then
he often becomes secure and tackles the rest of the

Helping him be organized or teaching him to be organized
is a something we are continuing to work on. Organizing
myself is something I am really good at but when I think
back to my teen years I certainly was not in the least
organized. I learned by trial and error. I now teach my son
organizational skills to help him along. It is giving him
confidence and security in what he is doing. Right down
to the steps to getting that laundry away.

If he still does not complete a task I am asking then
I need to stand firm and watch over him until it is complete.
There have to be consequences and rewards too. With this
sort of passiveness it can be tiring to make sure it gets
done each and everytime. I just want to assume he did it
and then later I realize he didn't. Then he won again because
I didn't follow through. It is so important to keep on your toes
and keep a vigil. Biggest Biggest thing is to talk talk talk.
Don't allow communication to break down. You will really
really need it in the teen years.

Warm blessings,


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