Mikey had a desperate need to feel like he was in control of his life. So much had been out of his control. He would be with a family one day and suddenly he would abruptly be moved. Things were given to him only to be lost when yet another move was made. He had no power to control these circumstances. His reaction to this was a determination to run his own life.
The experience we had in child rearing did not equip us to handle this type of determination. I was used to telling my children to do something and if they didn't there was a consequence. After a few times of this, they would soon comply to what they were told to do. This did not work with Mikey. If I told him to do something, there was an instant battle. His posture was one of defiance. The consequences never seemed to phase him no matter how severe.
We prayed and racked our brains. I read lots of information and finally it dawned on me. We needed to help Mikey see that he was in control. The next time Mikey was asked to do something, he told me as usual I couldn't tell him what to do. I told him, "You are in control here. You are in control of whether you go to bed at 7:30 or 8:00. If you choose to obey, then you'll go to bed at 8:00. If you choose to disobey, then you'll go to bed at 7:30. You decide which you want to do." I was amazed. Mikey's posture immediately relaxed. He thought for a minute and then proceeded to obey me.
This wasn't the end to all battles, but it eliminated a large number of them. It helped Mikey to see that he did have choices in life. It taught him that he did have control of a lot of circumstances. Most of all it began to train his "cause and effect" thinking. He began to connect actions to consequences or results.
Finding a way to teach obedience was the first major hurdle we jumped, but we still had many more ahead of us.