39 answers

6 1/2 Year Old Cries for Everything!

How do I get him out of this??? I get so frustrated with him because he does this for everything! when he was little his my husband and I would give in to his crying and give him what he wanted...but now its annoying! When I ask him to do something for me, he cries. When I tell him its time to do homework, he cries. Time to eat, he cries. When he asks for something, he cries!
He does this at school too!
Any suggestions!?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Once again, I want to thank everybody on the beautiful advice that was given to me! I realized that he wasn't really crying, but whining. I now use an as-a-matter-of-fact voice whenever he whines and let him know that it needs to change before I give him anything. He will then compose himself and ask in his "big boy" voice and always has to say "please". He's been doing ALOT better. I am forever grateful to you all!

Featured Answers

Tough love! Don't give him anything if he cries. Tell him he can go cry in his room and come out when he is ready to ask in a normal voice.

1 mom found this helpful

What I think you should do is don't give in to his crying because he know nows that it works. if this was my child I would give her a good SPANKEN!!! that is what I will do. I think you had made a big mistake by giving him what he wants when he cries.

1 mom found this helpful

I know it's hard but you can't give into him. It will be very hard on you at first but when he realizes that the crying doesn't give him his way anymore he will stop and before long he won't even start to cry anymore. Also having a time out chair or spot works wonders kids will do just about anything not to have to sit in time out, just remember that it's 1 min. per year of age and before they get up go down to his level and have them tell you why he is sitting there and that he's sorry.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hi C.,
I just have 2 toddlers but have worked with 6 yr olds for sometime. Maybe try giving your 6 1/2 yr old choices so he feels like he's in control. Build his self esteem by saying he's a Big Boy and you are proud when he makes good decisions. If he needs to do his homework maybe ask "Do you want to start your homework now or in 10 minutes?" Let him make the decision although in the end you get the outcome you wanted. If he chooses to start in 10 minutes and then balks, stick to your guns and calmly reiterate that it was his choice. Explain how important follow through is. Give examples on how when you say you are going to take him to the park you follow through. Be consistant. Hope this helps and good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I agree that it will take some time and definitely your commitment to deprogram this - which sounds like it's probably just a bad habit.

However, I do not agree with the advice to let him go hungry. I think that that will cause other problems and send entirely the wrong message to him and to the younger children. I think you shouldn't struggle over food.

I wonder if he is crying because of the transitions -- he's enjoying playing and suddenly hears that it's time to shift gears to go eat or do homework, or whatever. A LOT of childrne need 5 minute warnings, as in "In 5 minutes I'll call you to the dinner table. This is your chance to finish your game." And then a 1-minute warning, too, usually. This allows the child to shift gears and be ready to do the next thing. This might help with some of the melt-downs.

Beyond that? I don't know your son, but he is 6, so if he's a typical six year old, he's able to reason about things pretty well. I think you should talk to him about it in a calm moment, when you're not angry, when he hasn't done it recently, etc.

You might say something like, "You know, I have been thinking about something that happens in our family a lot. It's a problem and I need your help to solve it." (stop, see if he says anything, listen). "I've noticed that when things don't go your way, one of the first things you do is break down and cry." (stop, see if he says anything, listen). "That's a problem because as people get older, when they cry, the peopel around them don't want to help them out. It only makes people frustrated and even angry." (stop, listen) "Sometimes kids cry in order to get what they want - like if a mom says "go brush your teeth" and a child doesn't want to he cries until she stops asking him to brush his teeth. But that's not okay. That's a temper tantrum. And after all, everyone has to brush their teeth." (stop, listen.) "I know that crying used to work for you too in our family - you used to cry and get what you wanted, but I need to let you know that we're going to change that. You're getting to be older and also I'm just tired of it. Crying hurts my ears and when I hear it I feel cranky." (stop, listen) "I'm going to help you break the habit of temper tantrums."

Putting yourself in the position of helping him break a habit means that you're on the same side/on the same team. And you can then give him friendly reminders... "Oops! Watch it, you're starting to cry! Remember we're going to break that habit?" and you can teach him alternatives, "Wait wait, hold on - instead of crying, you can tell me with words what you're thinking? I bet those tears have words... Oh! You don't want to brush your teeth? Well, TELL me that! I don't really undrstand what the WAAAAHHH means, but I can help if you use words to tell me." (He'll still have to brush his teeth, but it's better to have him tell you verbally - then maybe you can agree to let him do one thing first and then brush his teeth. Teh goal is to move to the realm of WORDS.) He may also need you to teach him some ways to get calm if he does start to cry and gets worked up. Deep breaths together. A special calming word or song or short prayer might do the trick. Something like that.

If you like this approach, then once you've very reasonably laid down the groundwork (maybe in one effective conversation, maybe in two or more smaller conversations - depending on how focused/receptive he is), you can remind him of this conversation, and you can repeat the mantra, "Temper tantrums (or Tears - wahtever word you want to use) don't work." And then make sure that temper tantrums DON'T get results for him any more.

I think it's important to keep a calm, even, loving tone and to be very consistent that when he has a temper tantrum he doesn't get what he wanted.

This works better for things that he wants that you control (he wants dessert and you have the ability to give it to him or not to), and it works LESS well for things that you want him to do that ultimately he has to do himself or at least cooperate about (get dressed).

With my own 6-year old son, I find that in situations where he is being uncooperative and is on the verge of losing it, there is usually a reasonable reason, even if as a grownup I would be able to get over it and move on. Often it's because he feels rushed or surprised at something I expect him to do immediately or quickly.

I find myself resorting more to threats of losing a privilege ("Careful - it looks like you're about to have a fit, and you know that temper tantrums don't work. I need you to find the spirit of cooperation and help me out here/do X." If he doesn't rally, then I find myself saying, "If you don't do X, then there's going to be a negative consequence." I try to pick consequences that are logical and seem fair, or natural (like, if he doesn't get his clothes on in time, we wont' have time to stop and get a croissant on our way to school). I try to be very clear about what's on the line and what he has to do to save it. I'm not actually crazy about this, but it is working for him. I still get the best results when I give him plenty of notice about what's coming up, and plenty of time to play his way from one thing to the next.

My sister (very wise, mother of 3 boys ages 8, 6 and 3) has a saying that she repeats about a zillion times a day: "Okay boys, Laugh, Have Fun, but Get the Job Done."

One upside is that your 3 year old is likely to benefit from this because she can learn right from the start that temper tantrums don't work. The one year old is little now, but when she gets there, the same mantra will be familiar to everyone.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi C., I don't know that I have any real advice but I can say that I am dealing with the very same thing from my 7yr old dtr. I counted today...she threw "8" crying fits between 8am and 4pm. The longest lasting 45 mins. straight. She wanted her computer time back--but she lost that privilege last night for a separate incident. I held my ground and did not budge. My hubby has been at work for the past 48 hours and I have been solo w/ 3 sick kids. Been to Kaiser twice in 2 days so needless to say I am frazzled beyond belief and exhausted. I actually went in my bedroom, locked the door and cried for 10 minutes into my pillow this afternoon. I felt like a failure as a mom. Right when I thought that I had figured this mom thing all out---a 7 year old proves me wrong! LOL I do feel better tonight however. Dad still at work due home in the morning. Sent my 2 older kids to grandmas for the night. Little one and I will be in bed by 8pm. Every night after a day like today, before I fall asleep, I say very quietly to myself, "Tomorrow will be better, I promise." :)

Much love and support to you.
-Sher

2 moms found this helpful

Possibly try play acting skits where he pretends he has a teacher and the teacher wants him to do something. Tell him ahead of time than when he tells the teacher he doesn't want to he gets a treat (or sticker to redeem for an acivity he likes) , if he does what the teacher asks he gets two treats or stickers. Turn it into a game.
After he learns this well and it has sunk in then suggest to him that you are going to start playing this game in real life and then give him the sticker or treat accordingly. If may be difficult but when he cries for no good reason it may work to give him a short time out to rethink things. Try to ignore his crying . If it dosn't gain him attention he'll tire of it. Tell him how you want him to respond, either, "yes I will listen and obey" type of response or an "I don't want to" without crying. Give him the choice.
With these combined strategies you will probably find a change in his behavior.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,

It sounds like he just has a bad habit since you two let it go on for awhile but I can certainly understand you wanting to break that habit now!

I would choose an upcoming event, like if he is having a birthday soon or some other event signifying him being a "big boy" (make one up if you have to!) and sit down with him and explain that because he's a big boy now, he won't have to cry for his wants and needs like the little guys do. Give him examples of a few recent times he's cried for something and then ask if he knows what a big boy would do instead. Once you've had this discussion, tell him to make an agreement with you that he will now behave like a big boy. Tell him that from now on, you will not really be able to understand him when he cries for his wishes. Completely ignore him when he cries after that (unless he's hurt of course!)You may need to remind him a few times by calmly saying to your husband, "I think I hear Johnny but I don't understand him. Now that he's a big boy he's going to use words to ask us for something. Let's see what he has to say..." Persevere until he gets it. You may also make a chart for the short term and every time he does stop crying, put a little sticker on it. Tell him that when he gets 10 stickers, you will take him for an ice cream (or whatever). When he gets 25 stickers, you will buy him a new toy (or whatever).

That's my suggestion, anyway. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Sweetie
Congrats on your 3 wonderful children
I have had the same problem and what my husband and I did is we ignored him and we we told him that when he stops crying we'll talk and pay attention to him and yes it took about 2 weeks but it worked let him cry and don't make a big deal out of it and since you are a youth minister I suggest opening up to the 10 commandments and have him read children obey your parents and talk to him about it yes he is old enough I wish you all the luck
God Bless you and your family
Danielle S mother of 4

1 mom found this helpful

How about praising him when he's doing one of the things that you mentioned without crying. In other words, when he asks for something without crying, you can say something like, "wow I'm so proud of you for not crying when I told you it was time to eat." "Great job for not crying when you had to do your homework. You're such a big boy." Basically start looking for and pointing out those rare times that he's not crying. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

The reality is that he cries because it works. He's learned to use it to get what he wants and he needs to learn to use another strategy. My advice would be to identify a few circumstances that you and your husband can agree that you're not going to cave in to it and then be prepared to ride it out ( the easiest things are when he wants something from you so you have some tangible object/activity that he will be able to have access to if he proceeds properly). He will probably cry louder, might head towards a full blown hysterical tantrum but you can't give into that or you'll just teach him to raise the stakes quicker. Be calm and matter of fact about it, but don't give too much attention, keep yourself busy with other things and then when you find that he's calmed himself down you can get him back on task. You might even do things like pretending that you can only hear him when he is talking in a regular voice. Most of all you have to be prepared for things to get worse before they get better and hang on. It'll be worth it.

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