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The Line of Child Discipline by a BPD Parent

Parenting with BPDWe have struggled with discipline with the boys for years.

Luke is part 3-year-old, part red head, and part middle child complex even long before he was a middle child.  He is a challenge.  But he a joy as well.  When he’s being good, the inner cuddle bug is amazing.  We just need a way to bring that out more.

Thomas is a good kid with a big attitude.  Really, he’s just in the midst of gearing up for puberty and becoming a teenager.  When he is embracing his inner little boy, he is a joy!  The main problem is that he has started bullying his brother.  He uses both words and violence.  And having been bullied when I was young, I won’t tolerate it in my house between siblings.  No way!  Luke needs to feel safe in his home, if nowhere else!  All my kids do!

The problem is, none of our discipline seemed to work.  And I spent hours researching it online.  We used everything from the basics like time-out and loss of privileges to the controversial like spanking.  I will be honest, I really didn’t like the spanking.  I also didn’t like how much we were yelling at the boys.  But the trick of whispering to force them to be quiet so they could hear, wasn’t working either.

My biggest fear is my BPD rages and what they will cause or lead to in disciplining my kids.  I have never crossed the line into abuse, but I fear someday I might.  Abuse can cause BPD and so can a family history.  If the boys had both, would they stand a chance?

I swore my daughter would never be at risk for it other than family history.  I swore we would find the solution before she reached that point.

So I did more research, but I couldn’t find anything different, so I knew I needed to be creative.

So I asked myself: What would be the natural result of kids who were better behaved?  Well, there would be more rewards.  We’d be more apt to take them places if we didn’t have to worry about behavior.  We’d have stronger desire to do things with them, the extra fun things, if we didn’t spend all day fighting with them.

And from that, the point system was born.

We knew going into it that the 3yo would need some guidance. While the 8yo was fully capable of understanding the system, the 3yo would need warnings and encouragement of what he could earn and that if he was good he could keep his points and earn even more!

Two days in and I’d say the 3yo is doing better with the system than the 8yo. For the most part, the small warning that such and such can lose him a point is enough to keep him on the right track. He only lost 1 point yesterday (and earned another for being a huge help on cleaning their room) and today he did so well he earned his bonus point for not losing any! He has already cashed in 5 for some extra quality time with me. We played Candyland and cuddled. It was pretty awesome.

Thomas isn’t doing bad, he’s just not doing as good as Luke. He did earn enough points to cash in 5 for some quality time with daddy that they used for an uninterrupted game of Magic.

All in all, they are learning that better behavior has us less angry with them, and more excited to spend time with them alone and together.  It also increases our willingness to go the extra mile to do fun things for them.

Once we get some fast rewards out of the way, I’m going to encourage some higher goals and teamwork. Maybe they can team up to earn a family movie night or trip to the library faster.

2 Comments

  1. Comment by Lisa:

    Pregnant, hormonal, 16 year old daughter. Both of us have BPD. Add in our move, new school, new everything… Need I say more? I have a new grey streak in my bangs that people think I had frosted in though! Do people still frost their hair? Things are starting to calm down actually and I'm back to the internet pretty much daily.

    I think your point system is fantastic. From my experience, it's more about validation than anything else. We are working on both of us validating each other. She's got to learn how to parent with her DBT skills because until the past few years, I wasn't a great example.

    Go Mom!

  2. Comment by Walkingborder (Karen):

    Yeah, BPD and 16 sucks. BPD and pregnant sucks. I can't imagine BPD, pregnant and 16 at once. If you both make it through this in one piece… well then you can survive anything. If you need to chat or just scream my door is open. kmarrs at walkingtheborderline dot com

    The point system is fantastic when it works. When it doesn't work it still works better than anything else. It's early in the process yet. Way early. But I think we may be on our way to getting somewhere.

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