51 answers

10 Year Old Defiant Son

I am so desperate for any advice from other parents of 10 year old boys. My son is not at all respectful of my discipling him, he doesn't care what I threaten him with. He is afraid if I say I am going to go get dad though. I just don't know what to do to get him to understand that what I say goes. He also says he doesn't care if he fails his classes, although we have treatened punishment and offered incentives to doing well. He will do good one week and the next doesn't care. I guess I would just like to know that there are other moms out there with my problem. I am so frustrated with him now, I know he is smart he loves to read but has a hard time with other subjects. He is happy as long as things are going his way, as soon as that changes he is willful, defiant and stubborn. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Thank you so much for all the advice, I am in the process of implementing one of them to see how it works, it is as much a lesson in control for me as well since I am not so patient. We will see how it goes, thanks again
J.

Featured Answers

First off, threats DON'T work. Stop talking and act. As soon as he misbehaves take away a privilege. Then DON'T say anything else. Don't argue about it. Just do it and walk away. You end the power struggle.

5 moms found this helpful

Sylvan learning centers.
Talk to school administrators to see if they've noticed anything going on that might make some sense out of his behavior.
If there's something he'd really like to do, make him earn it and stick by it. Example: my son wanted to do karate. I got him in it, was there on the sidelines and saw what was said, how he did, etc. I used those on him at home. Disruptive in class, push-ups. Disrespectful in class, push-ups. I started implementing push-ups. It's a positive discipline issue. It's a time out, per se, but the physical part of it will benefit him. If he can't do it at home, don't take him to class.
For instance.

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My defiant son will be 9 next month and I've been dealing with this behavior since kindergarten. (He's my youngest of 3)One book I really like that I haven't seen mentioned here is "10 Days to a Less Defiant Child" by Jeffrey Bernstein.

I definitely agree with those who said you need to follow through with consequences and be consistent. Don't make threats that you can't or won't follow through with.

Good luck! My thoughts are with you in this difficult situation!

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J.,
I feel your parental pain so to speak. I have three kids, two of which are boys ages 15 and 9. Being 10 is a difficult developmental stage, there's a lot happening in that brain of theirs. I have a number of resources for you to help you get through this.

The first resource is for both you and your son. It's a website based on the theory of multiple intelligences. Your son can take a fun and easy online test that will show both of you where his talents and gifts are. This might open a little window of understanding for both of you once you see where his natural abilities lie. After he takes it, have everyone in your family take it. Here's a link to the website where you can take the test http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/...

The second and third resources are books for you to read. The first one is called, "The Wonder of Boys." The author is Michael Gurian. This phenomenal book will help you understand how to parent into the male culture. You, as a woman, are in a completely different culture and can get frustrated trying to parent and guide him from outside his own culture. The second book is called, "No: Why kids of all ages need to hear it and ways parents can say it." The author is a local U of M professor, David Walsh. This book will give you some practical ways to discipline.

The last, and best, resource I want to share with you is Tina Feigal. Tina is a local parenting coach. She is Kare 11's parenting expert and an author. Tina's website is www.NuturedHeart.com and she is the founder of the Center for the Challenging Child. I know Tina personally and highly recommend her.

Hang in there Mom, I know you can do this. Parenting is tough but you're not alone. Continue to reach out for help, build your parent community and learn from others and the experts. Best of luck to you!

T.

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J.,
Another great book is,"How to Behave So Your Children Will Too" by Sal Severe. It is really about sticking by what you say to your kids, as well as, being more aware of how you react to things. It has helped alot in our house....It also helped me to understand that explaing to your children on a regular basis that they have a choice in how they behave, however, they also will deal with the consequences of that choice, is powerful and empowering, even to a four year old.

11 moms found this helpful

I used to be a teacher before becoming a SAHM and disciplining can be a very difficult thing to do. From my experience I learned that telling children expectations often works really well and threats usually mean nothing. Kids know if you really mean what you say or if it's an empty threat. Tell him in 2-3 step directions what you expect of him. If he does everything then he reaps these rewards, however, if he fails to do it then these are his consequences and you must follow through. And, this is the most important thing, don't argue with him. You are the parent and he needs to know that. If he tries to argue then tell him it is not up for discussion and end it right there. Don't get trapped into his battle that he will start. If you do, then you have lost control and he wins again. Also, don't worry if he doesn't like you because you are setting rules and boundaries. Someone told me that around this age if your kid doesn't like you then you are doing your job. If he likes then you are not being a parent. Our job is to teach and to lead not to be a friend.

10 moms found this helpful

I'm a mother of 4 kids. One boy, three girls. My oldest is 31 and my youngest is 18.

In my years of child rearing, I found that the key to good behavior is consistency. If you make a rule, make them follow it ... all the time. No 'well, maybe just this time'. Also, as everyone else said, follow through. Don't make threats you aren't willing to live up to. Threats are, in essence, promises. 'If you do this, I'll do that.' If you don't follow through, you are breaking a promise. I have gone so far as to say, "I told you that if you did that, I'd have to punish you. I can't break a promise." Kids crave guidelines. It proves your love for them. Even though they sometimes don't like the punishment(and they would never admit they like rules) , they will love you even more, because you cared enough to enforce the rule and.... keep your promise. When he is grown, it will make you so proud to see him using the same thing with his own kids. I see my daughter raising her kids the way she was raised. She gets comments all the time, about how well behaved her children are. These growing up years are so short. Make them pleasant.. be consistant and follow through. Good Luck mom!

8 moms found this helpful

Hi J.,
I also have a 10 year old son who is sometimes disrepectful of my disciplining him. What has worked for me is taking all the emotion out of it. I don't let him see me getting upset by his rudeness and as hard as it is I try not to raise my voice and just matter-of-factly start to take away priviledges..."Ok, you will not be having screen time today." The end. There is nothing more said or discussed. If the behavior contiunes, there are more consequences. The book that I read early on was "One, Two, Three, Magic". It has helped tremendously with behavior issues with all of my children and seems to be the most effective and "nicest" way to discipline and get results (at least for our family) I think Washburn Library actually has a video of it. It might be worth checking out. We also did some counseling with a wonderful child therapist which helped alot with my son's ability to control himself and manage anger and just things that were troubling him. It was very low key and helpful. I think this age is hard, especially today. The best thing I've found is to stay out of the agrument mode and keep calm and confident and follow through. I usually give a warning or two and that's it. The discussion ends and there is a consequence. Good Luck.
J.

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I've recently read _Boys Adrift_ and _Why Gender Matters_ by Dr. Leonard Sax and they've given me a lot of insight into how to work with my son and how to make choices for his schooling, etc. He's only 5, but I think there some things stay the same regardless of age. Both would be worth checking out - I think that we (moms) tend to expect our sons brains to work the same way ours do.

Follow-through is the biggest thing that will make any discipline strategy work but it's not easy. I found myself in the same place yesterday - I was threatening and not getting the desired result, and then I realized I just needed to give up on getting cooperation and enforce the consequence. I was being just as willful and defiant as my son was by holding out for his cooperation!

7 moms found this helpful

Hi Jess,

First of all, I think your problem is the constant threats. NO MORE THREATENING. But if you do threatened to do something, DO IT. If you don't, you're sending the wrong msg to your son. He will not respect you. Do not tell him you're calling his dad. You need to make sure that he learns to respect you w/out "I'LL CALL YOUR DAD" ThREATS.

Also I don't believe in incentives. You're sending another wrong msg. What do you think is going to happen if you don't offer an incentive? The day you don't pay, THAT'S IT. He's done listening, he will not deliver. No more incentives. As doctor Phil once said to a mom facing the same problem as you "TOTALLY Stripped his room of all those goodies he has and we'll see then. As he starts to listen more you'll put back one goodie at a time. Very s lo w l y...

The thing here is that he needs to earn what he wants. Starting with listening, following the rules and respecting. He's only 10-- he needs to understand that you're the parent.
Can you imagine what would be like later if you don't straightened these issues now...

Also tried to spent more quality time with him. Once a week make it "son and mommy" day, and the following "dad and son" day (find a sitter for your daughter). Don't go a day w/out saying "I LOVE YOU" these three little words are so very imporatnt to a child. They need to hear this everyday.

Have you ever watch Suppernanny. Watch.

Good Luck,

L. ;-)

P.S. May the lord bless your family.

7 moms found this helpful

J.:
You and your husband need to sit down with him together and discuss it. Having a weekly "meeting" works out GREAT for us and our kids (12 and 10). Your hubby and you need to have a united front, set the rules and punish when rules are broken. No exceptions. No "threats" should be involved if the rules are set and consequences given when the rules are broken. Taking away privileges works wonders for our kids. My daughter (12) absolutely HATES it when we take her TV and/or computer rights away -- she tends to stay in line! :)
Also, it sounds like your son is carrying a lot of pent up anger. You may want to try talking to him about that anger or seek a counselor for him. Better to stay on top of it now so he doesn't become a very out-of-control teenager.
Good luck!

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Hi J. -

I did not read all the replies, so you might have already received the same recommendation from another mother, however I wnated to send it just in case. Their is a book called "Setting Limits With Your Strong Willed Child", and it is VERY helpful. It is especially helpful since it helps us as parents to strong willed children to learn how to interact with them to get them to listen/comply. It is not so easy becasue as you already said, it's us as the parent that also need help dealing w/our issues (temper, patiences, etc.).

I'd suggest getting the book and reading chapters 6 & 10 right away. Both are short and very to the point of helping us parents better deal w/our children!

Best of luck!

7 moms found this helpful

J.,
I can relate to your problem, although mine is with a 9 year old daughter. She loves to read and when applies herself does very well in school - she too doesn't really seem to care if her grades fall, but hates to see disappointment. Discipline is also an issue for me, but never for her Dad - I have always followed through with every threat I have ever made - I just think there is something a little more scary or intimidating in a Dad's voice. It's nice to know there are others going through the same problems. I will be reading a couple of the books listed - thanks to those who have posted titles, I have also read "The Wonder of Boys", I think this is a must have for any mother of a son!! Keep your head up mama, this too will pass!!

6 moms found this helpful

I know you have already responded, but I figured I'd still put in my two cents. Watch a little Supernanny if you havent. In problem kids she takes away everything the kid owns- EVERYTHING. Every wall decoration, their pillow (get to keep blankets, cant be TOO cruel, lol)every toy, every game, every privilege. Then they have to earn everything back. My neighbor did this method with her 8 year old girl and the effect was amazing. It was a serious lesson in everything her parents gave her everyday and it was their RIGHT as parents to take it all away again. After she had earned everything back (which took a while!) all they had to do was take one tiny thing away from her and she was reminded very clearly of what could happen again if she didnt shape up. Also, someone said never to threaten. A good point. Just act. He's old enough to remember what consequences his actions will cause without your warning.

As for the grades, someone mentioned what my parents did with me. My parents tried everything to get me to care. I was a smart kid who just had to pay attention a little bit to get A's. But I didnt see how important it was, being a stupid kid, and didnt try. So they paid me. I became an honor roll student immediately. Everyone says you cant pay for grades, and you shouldnt- unless there are equal consequences to bad grades. I got paid for grade increases, quarter to quarter. So $5 for every B to B+, that type of thing. It could add up very quickly if I worked hard. But if I didnt? It was all subtracted with the possibility of me owing them money. There was a bonus for making the B honor roll, and a much bigger bonus for making the A honor roll or getting some other achievement award. If your kid is motivated by money (and how many arent?) this works very well, take it from me. I went from being a C/D student to a consistent honor roll kid almost overnight.

5 moms found this helpful

First off, threats DON'T work. Stop talking and act. As soon as he misbehaves take away a privilege. Then DON'T say anything else. Don't argue about it. Just do it and walk away. You end the power struggle.

5 moms found this helpful

Sylvan learning centers.
Talk to school administrators to see if they've noticed anything going on that might make some sense out of his behavior.
If there's something he'd really like to do, make him earn it and stick by it. Example: my son wanted to do karate. I got him in it, was there on the sidelines and saw what was said, how he did, etc. I used those on him at home. Disruptive in class, push-ups. Disrespectful in class, push-ups. I started implementing push-ups. It's a positive discipline issue. It's a time out, per se, but the physical part of it will benefit him. If he can't do it at home, don't take him to class.
For instance.

5 moms found this helpful

I am a mother with one of those wonderful 10 year old boys. This age seems to be very hard for them. I did not have the problems that I am having this year with him before. He is the first born as well. I think that birth order plays a major role as well. I can empathize with you. I am kinda in a rut with my son also. One week good, one week bad. It all has to do with his mood. Puberty is a factor. I am going to have some testing done to rule out some of the issues he is having in school. The attitude is the hardest, I think. I get so angry with not being able to control him. I am reading a great book called, "How To Make Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours." by Dr. Lehman. There is also one packed with all kinds of ideas for creative discipline called,
"Creative Corrections" by Lisa Welchel. Both are good books. Your scenario sounds so similiar to mine. Good Luck.

A little about me:
I am married to my college sweetheart for 14 years. We have three sons of thunder- Caleb-10, Christian-6, Cole-3.

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I don't know if you have heard too much already but I am a mother of 5, 31 yrs.-9yrs and a high school teacher.
Your son's job for the next ten years is finding out who he is seperate from being "your son".
The first step of this is test out what you have taught.
This process includes lots of defiance.
My own 9yr old said to me one morning after a struggle, " you know Mom 'I hate you' is just a bad way of saying 'I love you'"
He is also dealing with his place among his peers.
What I see at school is sometimes excrutiating and I wonder how they make it.
Bottom line:
clear expectations that he has input on(so he learns to make these for himself)
Link these to, What my parents called"natural consequences"
No bargaining after the original agreements.
EX1) He gets 'D' on his math test
consequence: He stays in for extra help till the next test.
Ex2) He doesn't do a good job on his homework
consequence: No TV/Computer for the rest of the week
till his progress report from teacher says his homework
was great and complete all week.
Dog poop duty good instant consequence for back talk!
The teacher is coming out I know but it all works together!
KK
PS Remember to not take him for granted either!
I would reward with family snow boarding trip or something
that strengthens your relationsip or helps him with making good friends. Let him bring a friend.

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I am just now starting to have these problems with my 11 1/2 year old son. He never even did the "terrible twos". This morning was the worst. I was so upset with him and then came downstairs and checked my email and saw this post. How fitting! I sent him to his room ( I usually just take the computer away but this morning was really tough). He has been up there awhile. We are both calmed down now, so I am going to go upstairs with two clipboards. On each clipboard I have paper with a line down the middle. I am going to have us both list on one side the things we would like to see changed with the other person and on the others side, the things we need to change about ourselves. I am going to have him do this in his room, while I do mine in another room. Then I am going to sit down calmly ( I am never calm and that is a big part of the problem) and then go over them. When my husband gets home ( he is at soccer with our other child) I am going to talk with him and then when we discuss a united front, I want to sit down with our son and go over what absolutely is not allowed . I am having us first go to "the drawing table" just so he can feel like he can have some control. I think that is a big part of the issue. He was always very clingy, is pulling away now, which is natural, but is not sure how to handle it and also does not want to be told what to do what so ever. I want him to voice his needs but then also when the three of us sit down, I want him to understand that there are certain things that are expected in a family and certain things that are not allowed. I hope this helps somewhat!! Also I am going to the bookstore today to get some of the suggested books.

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Oh, my goodness! Threatening? Afraid of dad? And all these responses about throwing out toys? Make him know you mean business? Cracking down on him even harder? ODD/ADHD diagnoses? Drugs and psychiatrists? Good grief!

To be quite frank, he sounds like a perfectly normal boy to me. On the cusp of adolescence, and starting to want a little independence. If there were a job description for being a teenager, that would be it! You haven't said he's done anything bad except questioning what you say, and, if you read your letter, "what I say goes". Yikes!

Harsh discipline is a very short-term solution, and when it breaks the child's spirit, it can have disasterous long-term effects. It sounds like you are in a seriously adversarial position with your kid. Why are you threatening him? You should be very concerned as to why he's so afraid of his father. Once you let a situation get into a power struggle, the only way for you to win is for the child to lose, and he may do anything to keep from losing. And it boggles the mind to see that so many on this site are saying you need to be even more stringent!

One other person suggested the book "Raising Cain" - I'm in the process of reading it right now. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pick it up -there are many stories of boys that sound very similar to yours. I think it will really resonate with you.

Forced compliance really isn't doing anything to help a child reach independence, to grow into a responsible, thinking, caring, ethical and happy adult, one that can think for himself and, when necessary, question authority. Isn't that really what you want in the long run? In fact, most of the evidence shows that having a parent that is a "harsh discipliarian" tends to create angry adults with serious issues.

A parent who values compliance and obediance above all else may be surprised that the child becomes compliant to his peers when he becomes a teenager. (At some point, one's peers become more important than one's parents. You WANT him to have a independent, even feisty, spark.)

Alfie Kohn was also a real eye-opener for me. "Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community" and "Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason" I promise it isn't all about "being your kid's best friend" or "let your kid walk all over you" - but it does talk about treating children with respect.

BEWARE OF THAT "123 MAGIC" book - While it's tempting to think you can just "countdown your kid" and make them shut up, there is no such thing as a simple formula that you can apply in every situation regarding something as complex as a human relationship, and anyone trying to sell that idea is the modern equivalent of a snake-oil salesman. One woman had this to say about it on a review:
"Imagine being very angry at your friend and they in turn say to you as you express yourself.. "that's one"...you continue to express your angry..."that's two"..."that's three...take a five minute time out". I would personally find it very frustrating and thankfully it never happens like this the real world. So why inflict this on your children? By using this system for several years we cut our son off from expressing his feelings constructively. If any anything this system only escalated the power struggle and fueled acrimony in our relationship with our son. This simplistic approach to parenting degrades and demeans the child and the parent, precluding possibility of a positive adult relationship relation with your child as they grow up ..."

I hope I don't sound like I'm on my high horse. I also lose my patience, and I sometimes I say the wrong thing. I lose my temper and turn into Mean Mom. But I try to catch myself, and look in the mirror - literally - I make the same face in the mirror I was just making to my kid. And I vow to do better. And I read books that don't have negative-sounding titles. And I try to do better.

5 moms found this helpful

Take a look at Parenting with Love and Logic. This program takes the responsibility away from you and places in your child making them accountable for their own actions, so you can stop being the "mean mom". I love the DVD's and books they put out. There is also a website. Hope this helps.

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A really great book is "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk", A Faber & E Mazlish. I have a preschool in my home; this book was one of my texts from my Guidance & Discipline class (working towrd my degree in early childhood development & education. The great thing about this book is it helps you see situations from your perspective & your child's perspective. It is a parent book, not a textbook. VERY easy to read through; great REAL solutions; notes from parents at the end of each chapter sharing their situations & what worked for them. I give it to all my preschool families/clients. B.

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J., I know it has been some time since you posted this, and you have received lots of advice. May I offer a suggestion for a fantastic book that I am currently reading that is very specific to your predicament? It is called "The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child." It is an excellent resource, and I highly recommend it. Warning...it is positive reinforcement mostly, which has been great to break us out of our cycle of misbehavior= punishment, but it has increased the love, commmunication, behavior and has, frankly, been a huge challenge for us as parents. BUT, I believe overcoming challenges= growth. Good luck to you, I hope you enjoy this book and that things get better.

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Hi J.,
You have received alot of wonderful advice. I just wanted you to know that I'm going thru the same thing with my 9 yr old daughter. My oldest daughter, who is now 17, is very strong willed. We went thru this same thing with her at 9. Like others have said...don't threaten, just do. I remember having to stand toe-to-toe with my daughter and tell her she would take out the trash because I am the mom and I told her to. Now I'm going thru this again except this time, my 9 yr old is a drama queen on HORMONES! I just try to spend extra time with her (which is hard with 4 kids ages 17 to 5 months) and also stick to the rules that I've set. I don't give in even when I'm tired and don't want to fight it.

I would also suggest Dr. Dobson's book, Bringing Up Boys. It is really wonderful. Hang in there! God bless!

4 moms found this helpful

Hi!
I would seriously consider having him evaluated, just to be sure that there isn't some underlying problem. He may be able to get more help in school if they find he has some sort of issue, and you would be able to learn how to better handle his behavior problems at home, though they may diminish over time if he gets help.
I have 2 boys that have similair issues and have been diagnosed with specific problems...after getting help, they are now doing much better and so am I!
I hope this helps you somehow, and good luck either way!!
J.

4 moms found this helpful

I have a son that is almost 10 and he has been diagnosed with ADHD & ODD (opisitional Diffiant Disorder) I understand your cry for help. My son has the same issues. I have found if I talk to him as if he is an adult and give him real life examples he seems to understand more and will cooperate more. I have tried many different stratgies to no avail. We tried the reward system and that worked for a little while. Like your son he doesnt care what you take away from him or threaten him with. I also have learned to let some of the petty thngs slide, and choose my battles.
Good luck

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I agree with both peices of advice that you just got. One thing I picked up on in your message is that you "threaten" a number of different punishments. I don't know how well you have followed through with enforcing these chosen punishments, but if you are not following through with them, then he knows they are empty threats and will not respect you or them. Is his dad better at following through with what he says? The family meeting will help you not only be united, but to also come up with meaningful consequences. The rules and consequences have to be of value to him or they won't be effective- no matter how well you follow through. And keep in mind that if you haven't been consistent with him up till now, and that begins to change, he will rebel more before it gets better in order to test whether or not you mean what you say. Stay patient with him (and yourself) because in the long run, you will be doing him a favor even though he won't be happy about it right now.

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Hello,
I've been a teacher for 25 years. I have 5 children of my own, the youngest 13, the oldest 35.
I feel if you have rules, that your son can help decide what they will be, he will take ownership of them. You have to guide these rules so it doesn't get out of hand. He also needs to know that these rules are to be respected, as they go into play. All children need to see and feel guildlines. It makes them feel safe. If you have a parent that feels like a fish out of water, well guess what, the child will do the same. Your son will still test these rules to make sure they are solid. You have to do it with kindness, thats how you want him to be. remove him from the family in his room, make his room safe and let him freak out if he needs to. He can't have the upper hand. It's really not fair for your daughter to live with your son acting like this as well. If you don't get a handle on it now, guess what being a teen comes really fast, at that point good luck.
My heart goes out to you and your family. I hope your getting good advice from people that can help your family.
L.

4 moms found this helpful

Hi J.,
I understand your frustration. It is great you are taking care of this behavior right now, before teen years. There is a great program called Smart Dicipline. (I don't work for them or get anything back for telling you.) The program helps address these type of problems. What you do is find out what the child loves to do and this becomes your currency, leverage for changing his behavior. I have used the program and it works great. It helps the child grow up, take responsibility and learn quickly if I do this then I loose this. Consistency is the key, I know it can be hard when one is sweet and loving.
Take care, K. W.

4 moms found this helpful

I am going to second the recommendation for the book "Try and Make Me". I was not fortunate enough to be near the author, but I do agree that it is very helpful and will help you understand the different tpes of defiance and the underlying reasons. There is also a series of books geared toward different home styles - single parent, working parent, etc...the titles all start with Positive Discipline for the... I will tell you that no book is going to do you any good if you do not decide on a positive course of action and stick to it. Routine is very important to children. Do, however, be flexible to your childs ability to respond to your style and make sure that it does not feed into his anger or defiance. For example, with my son - counting to three never worked, but counting to five works like a charm. It was a small compromise on my part and I don't change the cause and effect - the action and consequence, just the fact that sometimes it takes him the extra two seconds to process his thoughts. As he has gotten older, I no longer have to count very often at all and although I still count to five he has usually decided before I finish counting. Having the ability to learn to process his thoughts seems to have taught him how to do it and he does it much quicker now.

Another thing I did with him was to make rules where I could snap him out of his naughty mood. If he wasn't listening I would say "First time..." and he would finish the sentence "...everytime". In order to build this routine I started out by saying "When I say first time, you say everytime." and engaging him in that behavior rather than whatever he was doing that wasn't listening.

Also when it came time to making the rules, I let him help set them (within reason) and when he was old enough I made him write them down so he couldn't say he didn't know them. For example, we had some problems with him tearing up his Grandma's yard (just boy stuff, but it was frustrating him to get in trouble) so we made a list of things he could and couldn't do in Grandma's yard and he had to tell me his rules before he could go out and play. It helped that we weren't saying go play and then getting on to him when he did wrong. In the long run he also realized that there were a lot more things he could do than there were that he could not do.

Best of luck!!

3 moms found this helpful

Great advice you have received. But if you have trouble following it, seek professional help. I was in the same boat, and I knew what I SHOULD do but my son's manipulation was too strong for me to resist. I'm a person who hates conflict, and oppositional kids love it! I couldn't cope. So I took my son to a psychologist who specializes in this area.

Look at a book called "Try and Make Me." The author of it is the local psychologist who helped me and my son.

3 moms found this helpful

Regarding the schoolwork - my uncle used a trick with his kids that I thought was exceedingly clever. He made a deal with the kids, for every "A" they got, he would pay them, but for everything less than an "A" the KIDS would have to pay HIM! It motivated those kids like crazy and I plan on using this technique with my kids!

3 moms found this helpful

I am a 52y/o mom of 8 from ages 16-31, 4 of them adopted from Russia. 5 girls 3 boys. The first thing I see is that you are threatening him. Get parenting with love and logic, the best I think out there. In my house we made up rules with consequences. The kids helped me. The consequences had to be approved by both of us, as I didn't want their consequence to affect me. When a rule was broken went to the consequence list and there you go. I could show empathy and we could talk about whether that choice worked for them or not. They can't be angry at you when they break the rules and have to suffer the consequence because they make the consequence. You can tell them, man I'm so sorry you chose to experience that, I hope tomorrow is a better day for you. It internalizes their actions and they have to think about their actions. I let my kids figure out how their going to fix things and then step aside and let them do it. Our consequence for failing is being grounded, no tv, no radio, no phone, no friends, they can read books, that's it until their next progress report which is 3 weeks. If my kids were young enough or I couldn't trust them then I'd hire a babysitter because they couldn't go with me, then they would pay for the babysitter. I also believe in giving an allowance. Some valuable lessons have been taught at my house. When they have to spend their money because of poor choices then I really sink it in and take them shopping (after grounding) When they can't buy something because they have no money left because all of us are buying things we want with our money, I say I know how hard it is when you spend your money on things you didn't plan on. Teach them lessons when they are young and can recover and learn from them. The older they are, the harder the lessons are and the harder they are to recover from. At 10 he can afford to flunk and have to retake a grade because of HIS actions or lack thereof. In High School when your grades start counting it's too late. I have great kids. Two of them have had to learn life's lessons the hard way, the first one, I didn't have a clue what I was doing and the oldest one from Russia who was 9 at the time of adoption. But even the two of them are learning. When they come to me I say man, it stinks to be you, how are you going to fix that. Good luck and most of all be consistant!!

3 moms found this helpful

My defiant son will be 9 next month and I've been dealing with this behavior since kindergarten. (He's my youngest of 3)One book I really like that I haven't seen mentioned here is "10 Days to a Less Defiant Child" by Jeffrey Bernstein.

I definitely agree with those who said you need to follow through with consequences and be consistent. Don't make threats that you can't or won't follow through with.

Good luck! My thoughts are with you in this difficult situation!

3 moms found this helpful

Hi J., Discipline is a growing trend with kids now days I agree with all the advice, I also agree on the finding out what the core of the problem. What school does he go to? What are his peers like? I am a teacher and so is my husband. It is hard to discipline in class when a lot of kids in class don’t respect adult’s peers. It needs to start at home and follow at school. My son is 17 and he is well respected at home and at school. I do like the pushups, it does work. I also think that you are the parent and no matter what, you need to be strong in your parenting. I think no threats and do it right away. Because when a parent threatens the child The child usually thinks,( she won’t end up doing it so why listen?) So keep to your guns. Good Luck A.

3 moms found this helpful

This is not something I would normally do, but a friend sent me this and I knew I had to take a minute and share with you. Not all children can be disciplined the same. So, no matter how many parenting books you have read, reward and punishments will not work for every child. It is NOT because you are a bad parent. It is because your child is different. He CAN learn respect and appropriate behavior, he will just need to do it differently than most children. A book that is extremely helpful is "The Explosive Child" by Dr. Ross Greene. I have a 9 year old I love with all my heart and this has been tremendously helpful to our family. I hope it helps! Have a great day.

3 moms found this helpful

Hello
my daughter is 6 and very similar. she was always extreme, extremely sensitive, active, defiant, testy, will-full...you name it. I tried it all, and we have changed schools a lot. She has sensory integration dysfunctioon and for a while I thought she was bi polar and maybe ODD. But I think she has some difficulties ( she has possibly dyslexia and other coordination disorders), but not as sever as calling it ODD or bipolar.
She was suspended 3 times in the fall at her then school, I was forced to take her home to home school and she didn't like that ( she has a hard time to take my instructions), and then started another school. We have been there for 2 weeks and she has gone 5 days altogether.
i have tried being very strict, forceful, consequences galore, and time outs ( and i was told to do more of it, and then i think i created a phobia in her) to mention a few, and most made her much worse. I have looked into non violent communication, as per Marshall Rosenberg and that is helpful but can sometimes seem over the top for many. It was and is sometimes too much for us, but knowing the basics of this is good.
I have read "The good child" and am now doing some of those things and it is very helpful!! you can get it on line, google for "The good child".

We are currently seeing 5 therapists, and the most helpful has been the alternative routes like homeopathy ( Dr Connie Burns in Novato, excellent and wonderful help!!!) and neurology, Dr Julie Griffith in San Rafael. They are so helpful, and we have found that Clara is very allergic to milk, wheat, spelt and eggs, and has Candida (yeast overgrowth). So now the whole family is on that type of diet ( and after a month of this we can try NAET, natural allergy elimination technique or bio-set), and lots of supplement to aid healing of the inflammation in her gut; hight levels of acidophilus etc. fish oil, vitamins ( especially magnesium as her body had not assimilated or taken up any, she basically had none of magnesium, and magnesium helps us to stay calm, sleep well, etc.) and yeast control supplements etc. It is all very helpful even if she has been somewhat emotional.

I think one of the main things is to look at your child and listen to your heart. You are the expert here; some approaches that help other kids might not work so well for you. I looked at Clara and said; there is something else here; I have to look at her biochemistry as well. I am really glad I did as she was only getting worse.

Something about timeouts and taking things away; this made my child worse... Have you also tried approaching it with positive rewards? See the little things he does right and mentione them, even if it is just a part right;
oh, well, at least it could have been worse, at least I saw you make a real effort here...
I did see you were smiling a little when...
I noticed you sat down to do some homework, even if you didn't want to and I think you are doing really well..
OK, so you failed this, but you did OK with that, so that is something to feel proud of...
I am proud of you for getting ready to go to...
I am proud of you for trying... I know you are really smart and I know you can do it, for I have seen you....
You did really well today..
You had a good week this week, I am really proud of you!
etc.
Find the good in him and tell him!

With my situation;
Incorporating a new way of eating and more supplementation, we are also continuing with homeopathic remedies, something that has always been helpful, as well as seeing play therapists and occupational therapists. There is so much out there to help you if you are up for it, keep on searching to find what your child needs for success. Good luck and know that you are not alone in this.
Blessings
A.

3 moms found this helpful

OMG! Sounds familiar! Our 11-year-old son is a delight and a challenge. He is smart in many ways and loves to read, but has a hard time with math and writing. He is sensitive and easily frustrated in so many areas of his life. He can also be willful, defiant and stubborn. In all fairness, he can also be sweet and empathetic on the flip side, if the spirit moves him. His stuffed animals still provide him his lifeline when life gets tough. Lately, life has been more of a challenge than not with lots of yelling.

I can't tell you the numbers of books I have read to try to understand him. The ones that bubble to the top of my head are "Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys" by ___, "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene, and a book on ADD such as "Driven to Distraction".

Some of the issues are a matter of us being consistent in our parenting and following through. Some has to do with the nature of our son who is sensitive and has some attentional issues. Some has to do with the nature of us as individual parents.

After too much frustration and anger over the last couple of years, we are finally going to a marriage and family counselor before our son gets into his teens. Our son has some anger issues and doesn't know how to express it. We, as a couple, don't provide a "united front" which is confusing to him and frustrating for us. And we are finally addressing some ADD issues I've noticed for over the last 3-4 years but my husband, till now, had refused to acknowledge.

Our son is navigating in a world he doesn't quite understand himself. He feels different from other kids which makes him sad. He wants close family time and gets lots of it, especially as an only child. But he also doesn't know how to ask for what he needs and so it comes out in negative ways instead--with friends and at home.

I grew up in a family that didn't yell; my husband grew up in a family that yelled frequently. Ironically, we're the opposite as parents. I'm the yeller and he isn't. Not that I only yell or that he never yells. But he knows that yelling only goes so far before it renders you ineffective as a parent. I understand that philosophically, but it totally burns me when our son yells and/or is disrespectful.

I don't have any answers for you other than to say, take heart. There are a lot of great books out there. And if those don't seem to help, or a local parenting group doesn't help, I'd highly recommend counseling if you're all open to that. And, if you're not all open to it, some persuasive nudging may be in order.

You're not alone! Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I don't know if anyone's said this yet, but get him a journal. Since you said he loves to read, it stands to reason that learning to write goes hand-in-hand. He could find a talent he didn't know he has and go on to be a great writer someday.

Get yourself a journal too. Every time he defies you, start writing in it. See if he retreats to write in his. Egg him on some, subtly, maybe just ignoring his behaviour to occupy yourself with your own writing.

Are you sharing a computer? He might be feeling ignored because you spend time here reading stuff when he wants to use it?

Next thing, get him a job. Papers, shoveling snow, doing lawn work. Something to get him interested in earning money. Get him an account book when you buy some journals, or find a software program for him to keep his accounts on.

Sounds like he needs some direction. Boys like lists and things written down, so involve him in making some. Honey-do stuff.

Spend some time explaining how and why you are making household repairs, maintenance tasks, grocery shopping, kitchen chores. If he's bored about that (let him be rude, but tell him to save the shady language for lockerrooms with the boys--NEVER around women, girls, moms, sisters, TEACHERS, aunts, granmas--you get the picture).

AND tell him to be nice to GIRLS at all times. He'll be happy he is now when it comes time to get a prom date. LOL

Kids never stop learning. Improving his mind with books will serve him well in life. Writing down his own thoughts could help him understand why he's the way he is and give him incentive to improve his behaviour. With lots of lectures from mom and DAD of course. ;)

2 moms found this helpful

maybe he just wants more attention from you- sounds a lot like my 8 year old son- the other thing a lot of us moms just threaten and we don't follow thru so that's a lot of times for me i know why he doesn't care cause we all have that soft spot for our little ones- he sounds just like my son as long as he is getting his way he is happy - i wonder too if it's the age, pre pre teen age- WE've done longer punishments and just when we think he's back on track something happens- so i guess over all kids will be kids.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J.,
I can totally agree with your frustration. Here are a few ideas that has helped me with my now 14 year old son.
Picking the battle you want to face and let the little ones slide is what i do, i get looks of why do you let them go, but once they realize what i do it makes since to them.

My son is 14 and we have had the same problems for a very long time. At least i can say my son does not skip classes, he may complain about being there but he stays when he gets there, and he does not do drugs except the ones perscribed for the adHd and ODD.

He is also very smart but can be very stubern but i have to check myself when things start to happen.

When he gets into a mood I have to think about A) what he has eaten, B) how much sleep he has had and C)who he has been talking to or doing.
Sometimes it is a matter of seperating everything out and starting with the first, A) give hime a snack, a health one, no choc. or pop. B)send him to bed early but do not get frustrated if he just plays around in his room, just no game systems, i sometimes give him a tylonal pm to help him nod off because he will fight till the cows come home. C) If it is because of friends, they do not come over for a few days.

Coffee usually works, it calms people with over activity.

My son and i have a great relationship but have flair ups on occation so we start back to A) and go again.

In other words, he may be overstimulated with all the activities in life, some times you just have to stop it all and wait for him to slow down.
Good luck to you with your son.

Alittle about me:
I am a single mom with one 14 year old son with adHd that can make me feel like i have more. I knew from the beginning he was going to be a handful because he father and two older half brothers are all ADHD with other problems.
His father and i are divorsed and i have been on my own for along time.
Just try and remember to take care of yourself at the same time and sit down and breath on most occations.

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds to me like you are allowing him to cross your line. You need to put a stop to that fast. Yelling at him is not the answer, it merely goes in 1 ear & out the other. By you telling him your going to get/tell your husband only proves to him that 1.He is not scared of your threats 2. He can get away with anything when your husband is not around. Coming up with a new way of disapline is something that you & your husband need to approuch together & you both need to stay on the same page ALWAYS! How much time to you spend with him 1 on 1? Do you do activities together? Chores together? Have you ever tried, if we get this done then we can spend more time doing this? Running a household is for all members of the family. A old saying keeps coming to my mind & that is "Negitive attention is better then no attention" Maybe he is seeking attention from you & in his mind the only way he can receive it is by acting up. Offering incentives for good behavior or good school work is not the answer either. Who is going to reward him when he is old enough to go out into the work force? We have to stop handing things to our children on a silver plater & make them learn that if you really want something bad enough you need to work for it. You will be surprise how much they will respect that item & take care of it when they had to use their own allowance to buy it for themselves. I grew up very poor & told myself that my children will never grow up that way. I would buy them all the things I wanted as a child & more. Well I learned my lesson very quickly when my children had no respect for the things they had. Wanting every time we went into a store (any store) crying, trantrums the whole bit, didn't want to understand the meaning of no. It took me several months to put an end to that & made them work for every thing they received. Once they could buy it with their own money they were more then willing to do extra chores. Attuditues, school work, sports, all was now done with care. It was amazing! They are much happier, healthier & more productive & my household is no longer stressed out!
I realize that everyone has different points of view, some will work & others will not. This worked for me. I wish you all the patience, luck & love. You will need all three & remember change will not happen over night.
J.

1 mom found this helpful

First of all, I was never lucky enough to give birth and be a Mom. We tried for so long but unfortunately I wasn't able to, but we stayed married for 25 years on love which is what we felt marriage was about and all those years we hoped and prayed for a child. So, I'm sure you will probably not read my response and if not, that's ok. By the way I lost my husband at a young age, which has devasted my life and now each day I think if we had a child, no matter how frustrating it is to bring them up, I would give my soul for that frustration. My personal objective to responding to this question, is first love and appreciate what God has given you, and second is instead of looking for help here is useless. Your child is responding exactly how you or your husband responds to circumstances. What you teach is what you eventually need to deal with in the future. So if he is defiant now, just like you were I'm sure at his age, stop and quit thinking of the defiance, ignore it completely, and turn the tables now or for ever hold your......etc. etc. As he ages, he will only respond to you. Sorry for my inexperienced lecture, but I'm still trying to figure out why someone sent this site to me anyway? ha ha Good Luck and be Thankful each day. Auntie Ar

1 mom found this helpful

Oh my goodness! I was reading your request for help regarding your defiant 10 year old son and I felt like I was reading about my 8 year old son. The story sounds identical. We started taking him to talk to a psychiatrist and he suggested a behavior chart that is to be done every night. It's based on a point system. Depending on the points earned is dependant on the "prize" at the end of the week that is pre-selected at the start of each week. You rate their behavior 1-5 depending on things he needs to work on (respect for others, talking back ect..) We have only used it for one week and have noticed him trying to behave better. There are still days of "I don't care" mentality, but it is a start and wothh trying. He is a sweet and smart boy, but turns into a completely different child when things don't go as he wishes. We have a 7 year old son as well that is nothing like his personality. Good luck! Let me know if you try anything and get positive results. Another thing....BREATH!!! I understand. I am not very patient, either. J.S.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a 9 yr old son that is having the same issues. He is an A/B student but this last 9weeks he dropped some As to Bs. He has been having behavior problems at school and home. Some days are really good and others I just don't know what to say. His teacher is concerned as well as my husband and I. His teacher suggested a book called 1,2,3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas Phelan. I haven't gotten it myself because she just told me about last week but I plan on getting it. She said it was effective with her own children as well as her school children. I have been told it is a phase so I hope that it is true and it passes soon. I have been frustrated too because we have taken almost everything (tv, computer, games systems, even sports- a game) from him and it doesn't seem to matter. One day he was in trouble at school and the teacher explained to him and asked him did he know what he did and what his consequences would be and he said plainly what would happen. So he is fully aware of his actions so at this point I am just taking it one day at a time. Each age has its own behaviors so this too shall pass, I hope....

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like you are dealing with ODD-Oppossitional Defiant Disorder and possibly ADHD-Attetion Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I strongly suggest you get your son help with a psychiatrist AND a psychologist. Both because I believe he needs counseling - a person to connect with that is not a relative - objective, and he may need meds to get him through his problems. Also, family counseling would be great too, to help you deal with the very difficult issue you are experiencing. It's not your fault, nor is it your son's fault either. Don't see counseling as a cop out or a failure on anyone's part. It's being proactive. Good luck to you and your family.

1 mom found this helpful

I too have dealt with defiance with my children. I have struggled with wanting my children to "behave and be good" according to my thinking. However, what I've been missing is in delighting in my children. Enjoying who they are and engaging in what is important to them. I am finding that when they are being hostile it is because I have wounded them in some way, OR because I have not connected with them or enjoyed them. When I have gone to them in peace, after a blowup, and been repentant for anything that I have done (yelling, losing my temper, etc.) then they are more open to looking at their part. Keep the communication lines open by always looking at your part first and then dealing with your child in a loving way, doing what is BEST for them in the long run. What are you teaching them by YOUR actions, attitudes, emotions? They really do mirror us in many ways. When our children are doing something it is very important to take a look in the mirror and see where they learned it. Then deal with yourself first as you reteach your children in the process.
P. F

1 mom found this helpful

I have a defiant son but he is 5 almost 6 and Im currently struggling also on how to handle him. Everything is a fight if it isn't what he wants. I dont really have any advice but I just thought I would let you know you are definitely not alone.

1 mom found this helpful

I also share the same problem you do. My son is 10 and my husband and I have a problem with him being defiant and lazy. I wouls love to brain storm with you on some ideas. The other problem we experience is his behavoir seems to be contagious (ha,ha) to our 5yr old daughter.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
We have had issues with our Son in the past. He is now 11 years old and been alot better!
A few of the things we did when he was acting out_
1. Took all his toys away. We literaly put them in Garbage bags in the Garage.
2. He started to write in a Journal.
3. If he did act up with us, at school with his sister etc...
He had to write an apology letter and he got Sentences (50-1000) depending on the situation and how much he fought us on it. The bigget fit he threw the more sentences he got.
It all has made a difference in how he responds to his punishments today. He knows not to make things to hard on himself :) Don't worry eventually your son will outgrow it and learn you were doing the best thing for him!
GOOD LUCK
~M.

www.journeysoflifephotography.com

1 mom found this helpful

J.,
You are probably so overwhelmed with so much advice. I read through every response.There were about 18 books recommended for you to read. I don't have time to read so many books. I read several that were suggested, but the one that helped me the most for our 11 1/2 year old son (with ADDH and ODD) was "Boundaries for Kids" by Dr.Cloud and Dr. Townsend). I think your son's defiance is normal. All children will test their parents' rules and authority and unconditional love. What I needed to learn was HOW to set boundaries (especially my own personal boundaries so that I could set behavioral boundaries for my kids), how to be consistent with enforcing the boundaries (with love and respect but at the same time with firmness without any arguing), and how to raise kids who have character who will be "responsible adults who are able to function independently of parents' authority, yet wholly submitted to God's"(Charles Stanley, "How To Keep Your Kids On Your Team"). It was a comfort to me to know that what I'm going throung with my 11 1/2 year old son and 13 year old daughter is normal, regardless of medical or psychological diagnoses. My favorite Bible verse that helps me the most is "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (James 1:19). God has been my main source of guidance and wisdom and other moms and friends. Pray for wisdom and hang in there. S. R

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
you may also read up on ODD. My grandson is a real handfull and I was reading up on this this morning.

G.

I am in similar boat. My 10 yr old has adhd and odd. Nothing helps. I am very frustrated and mentally drained as well. I really try with him but my husband's patience, as well as mine, wears thin at times. I want my child off stimulants and do not think there is a way for it to happen. We have tried four days off and some things got better while mainly....ALOT got worse(behavioral). I am stuck.

Question: What is it that your husband does and you don't that seems to have your son more obedient to him? Copying IS the most sincere form of flattery. A momof5

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