Author Laurie Leventhal Belfer Isbn 978 1843108917 File size 1 9 MB Year 2015 Pages 81 Language English File format PDF Category Personality I m the mother of an 8 year old Aspie and this book is EXACTLY what I was looking for Why do I have to is a totally awesome book for kids who have compliance issues around rules and are always asking for an explanation of why they have to adhere Start off by reading the Preface for Children which starts out This book is for you if you get frustrat
Author : Laurie Leventhal-Belfer
ISBN : 978 1843108917
Year : 2015
File Size : 1.9 MB
Category : Personality
Why do I have to?
by the same author
Asperger Syndrome in Young Children
A Developmental Approach for Parents and Professionals
Laurie Leventhal-Belfer and Cassandra Coe
ISBN 978 1 84310 748 4
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Why do I have to?
A Book for Children Who Find Themselves Frustrated
by Everyday Rules
Illustrated by Luisa Montaini-Klovdahl
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
London and Philadelphia
First published in 2008
by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
116 Pentonville Road
London N1 9JB, UK
400 Market Street, Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Copyright © Laurie Leventhal-Belfer 2008
Illustrator copyright © Luisa Montaini-Klovdahl 2008
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form
(including photocopying or storing it in any medium by electronic means and whether or not
transiently or incidentally to some other use of this publication) without the written
permission of the copyright owner except in accordance with the provisions of the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms of a licence issued by the
Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, Saffron House, 6–10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS.
Applications for the copyright owner’s written permission to reproduce any part of this
publication should be addressed to the publisher.
Warning: The doing of an unauthorised act in relation to a copyright work may result in
both a civil claim for damages and criminal prosecution.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Why do I have to? : a book for children who find themselves frustrated by everyday rules /
ISBN 978-1-84310-891-7 (pb : alk. paper) 1. Obedience--Juvenile literature. 2.
Frustration--Juvenile literature. 3. School children--Conduct of life--Juvenile literature. I.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 978 1 84310 891 7
ISBN pdf eBook 978 1 84642 826 5
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
Athenaeum Press, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
In memory of my father, Harry Leventhal
A man who had the gift of transforming everyday events into
This book could not have been developed if it were not for the
endless examples provided by the parents who participated in
the “Friends Program” concerning the roadblocks that arose
between them and their children. These barriers could make
daily events, such as getting dressed or going to school, challenging at times, at other times rewarding, and at other times
overwhelming. We owe to these families our deepest appreciation for all that they have taught us about their children.
Through our long-term relationships with these families we
have learned how easily we can be trapped into a never-ending
discussion about a child’s current interest or reasons why they
feel what is being asked of them is not fair. We also want to
thank our colleagues who took the time to read over our text
and offer helpful advice: Monika Perez, Mary Jo Huetteman,
Marci Schwartz, Angela Huerta, Teri Wiss, Rebecca Fineman,
Mirella Minnich, and Luisa’s boys: Kris, Lars, and Nils. Lastly, I
want to thank Howard for his patience, love, critical eye, and
for never asking me, “Why do I have to read…?”
PREFACE FOR CHILDREN . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
PREFACE FOR ADULTS
1 Rules that may be Frustrating at
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to go to school on time? . . . . . .
Why do I have to wear shoes and a jacket when I go
outside? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to sit at the table to eat when I am not
hungry? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to rest when I am not tired?
. . . .
Why do I have to go to the bathroom when I don’t
need to? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to share toys if I am still using them?
Why do I have to turn off the computer or the TV
before my game or show is over? . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to stop talking about things that I
like? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2 Rules that may be Frustrating
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to play with my friend all of the
time? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to say “thank you” for a present that I
do not like? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to go to a friend’s house when I
would rather stay home? . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to let other kids play a game the
“wrong” way? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to apologize to other kids for hurting
them if they hurt me first? . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to listen to other kids talking about
things that I think are boring? . . . . . . . . . . .
3 Rules that may be Frustrating
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to listen to the teacher talking about
something that I already know? . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to do things that get my hands dirty?
Why do I have to say “Hello” with words? . . . . .
Why do I have to answer only the last question the
teacher asked? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to tell my friends that I am no longer
playing the game when they can see for themselves?
Why do I have to ask my teacher if it is OK to leave
the room? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to sit at my desk at school when I am
doing my work? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to be quiet when I am working? . .
Why do I have to explain to an adult why I got into a
fight? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why do I have to do homework after I have been
working in school all day? . . . . . . . . . . . . .
APPENDIX 1: WHAT FRUSTRATES ME AND WHAT
MIGHT HELP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
APPENDIX 2: MY GOAL CHART . . . . . . . . . . .
Preface for Children
This book is for you if you get frustrated with adults who
expect you to follow certain rules or to do things that you think
you should not have to do. Sometimes these rules can make you
feel confused and upset. It is hoped that this book will help you
understand why such rules exist and how you might be able to
make things work better. You may also want to know that other
children and some adults find some of these rules to be very
annoying as well. What the adults have learned is that if they
are going to be able to do the things they want to do they have
to follow many different rules at home, at work, and with their
Preface for Adults
This book is for parents and professionals working with
children who have difficulty coping with the hassles of
everyday life. These children may at times look and act like
little adults. They may have no difficulty spending hours alone
in their room building a city out of blocks, playing a video
game, or telling a grandparent about their favorite baseball
team. Yet when their plans are interrupted, they can transform
into toddlers having a prize-winning tantrum. At these
moments, these children may appear rigid, demanding, quirky,
inattentive, self-absorbed, oppositional, or vulnerable, which
are behaviors that naturally can make adults question a child’s
capacity to cope with the demands being placed on him or her.
These same children may be very creative in coming up with an
endless barrage of questions about the expectations that adults
have of them, and very detailed reasons for why these rules are
not fair. Often these children are not as interested in the answers
as much as they are in winning more time to do a desired
activity or support for their position.
As you will see, all of our stories follow a similar pattern.
First, they acknowledge how the child is feeling and empathize
— WHY DO I HAVE TO? —
with him or her, rather than dismiss the child’s frustrations or
go directly to how he or she should behave. Then the stories
provide an explanation for why such a rule exists. Each story
ends with a positive statement affirming the benefit of a more
adaptive coping style. Each story is supported with concrete
suggestions of more adaptive ways of coping with a specific
rule along with an invitation for the child to come up with his
or her own suggestions.
One of the biggest challenges in working with these
children is getting the strategies that may work in one setting to
generalize into different settings and situations. This book is
designed to provide a springboard for developing empathic
stories attuned to children’s individual strengths and needs.
What is important for you to remember is that children will not
be able to automatically read a story, discuss it, and then incorporate it into their daily lives. Rather, it will take a great deal of
work and practice before a child is able to integrate spontaneously a new coping strategy without external support.
For these reasons, we suggest that you select a specific story
that addresses a challenging time for you and your child. Next,
we suggest that you read that story with your child for several
days, identifying specific coping strategies that might work for
him or her. If your child is the very rigid type, who tends to
fight change, then we suggest that from the start your plan
should include more than one solution and that you practice
taking different approaches at different times. For example, on
some days your child may look at a book at naptime and other
days he or she may listen to music or draw. Lastly, it is suggested
— PREFACE FOR ADULTS —
that you implement the story, keeping track of the times that
your child experiences success as well as those times when
roadblocks get in the way. It may be very helpful to keep a
weekly chart of the child’s progress on a daily basis. It is very
easy to forget the times when your strategies are working after a
very difficult afternoon!
A behavioral chart is provided at the end of the book
(Appendix 2) to help keep track of your child’s progress. At the
top of the chart, the parent or child writes down the specific
positive behavior that the child is trying to achieve, for example,
“being the boss of my body – no hitting, kicking, or hurting
other people, myself or other objects.” The child receives a
positive mark for each time that they are able to maintain their
goal. At the end of the day, the parent and child review the chart
and the parent delivers a small reward the child has earned. For
some children a chart is not necessary because a treat in the car
ride to school or fewer accidents on the playground is motivation enough. For others, just seeing the number of stars they
accumulate is a sufficient incentive, and for still others a concrete
reward may be required, such as a chocolate chip for each
checkmark or ten minutes on the computer if the child earns a
certain number of checks. The chart also provides helpful information about the days and times when your child experiences
both success and difficulty, which is information that may be
used to fine-tune the child’s story, strategies, and rewards. If the
issue you are working on arises primarily at school, then it will
be important to work in collaboration with your child’s teacher
in the design and application of a chart that represents the
— WHY DO I HAVE TO? —
different components of the child’s school day. The child can
then bring the chart home after school for the same type of
reward system. Lastly, remember that this process is hard for
both you and your child. For these reasons, it is recommended
that you work on only one issue at a time and make certain you
celebrate the successes that both you and your child work hard
Rules that may be
— WHY DO I HAVE TO? —
I hate it when everyone tells me that I have to hurry up or I
will be late for school!
Why do I have to go to school on time?
It can be very frustrating when adults tell you to “turn off the
TV” in the middle of a show, or “stop spacing out” and get ready
for school. You may not feel that you are “spacing out” when
you are looking at an interesting book, watching a video, or
building something special with your Lego. What your parents
are saying is that you need to get ready to go to school so that
you will be there on time.
Every school has a set time when the children need to arrive
so that they have enough time to be with their friends and learn
all of the things that their teacher has to teach them. If you are
late for school you may not have time to play with a friend, do a
favorite activity, or talk with your teacher. Your mom and dad
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