Managing Misbehavior on Vacation


After a long string of troubling incidents involving our 7yr old (soon to be 8) son, we decided to try John's "kicking out of the garden" strategy.

We are going on vacation (gone 9 days) next Friday, and I'm not sure how we should handle the time we will be staying with family (his cousins that he rarely gets to see/hardly knows, but will want to play with). I am assuming he should resume the program when he returns to our home (?), but I don't want to ruin any progress we've made so far. I also want to make sure I'm not expecting too much of him (with his target behaviors), because I have a feeling he's going to be in his room for a long time (which is ok as long as there is hope he will come out a freer person on the other end).

Within the last month, he's:

1. snuck and hid a pocketknife from us for two weeks with his older brother (but was caught showing his friends at school)... we received an email saying he was caught with a "weapon".

2. direct disobedience during quiet/test time (math, especially) and not trying hard enough in school

3. stealing things and refusing to confess, return and apologize for his actions (was warned that if he did not do this on his own, his consequence would be "severe"... this led us to start the "kick out of his garden"... when he came home from school the next day, he reportedly "forgot" to return his stolen goods.

4. lying about anything that he thinks will work out better for him

(a bit of history)
He was adopted last October (about 1 year ago), and had been fostered by us 2 years prior. His bio mom is in prison for armed robbery. He's been diagnosed with ADHD, (has all the typical symptoms, including impulsivity), but we are not medicating him. He's in a private school (1st grade), but we held him back last year because he struggled, and we felt it would be best for him (decided to take him off all meds at that point and let him try without them). He previously had been on a very low dose of a blood pressure med (help with cognition).

His target behaviors (required for 14 consecutive days) are:

Direct Disobedience
Disrespectful Outbursts to Authority

We started him on 11/7/19 (9 days ago), and his chart has been reset 4 times so far (Disobeying/bad behavior at gym nursery, Lying (caught disobeying and then lied about it), Stealing someone's jacket at school (then lied about it);lied when asked if he had something in his mouth.

The only thing he has in his room to do is drink water and work on academics. (I ordered supplemental work books to help him catch up on math and reading skills.)

We are seeing an increase in smileys on every chart but the first that have been removed (and he cries when it is removed).

We just want to make sure we are doing this right. (Reading in the book, he mentions dealing with "cluster" behaviors, and that is what we are trying to do.)

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