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6 Year Old Son Has Bad Attitude

My 6 year old son just started 1st grade last week. Now I know that it takes time to adjust from being home all summer to getting up early and being in school all day. But he seems to cry over EVERYTHING and it's a battle to have him do his homework, bathing, anything! My husband and I are at our wits end about this. We try to talk to him, but his response is always, "I know" and he's staring to talk back to us. We've done time outs, taken away TV, everything. I know yelling doesn't solve anything, but it's getting to the point where raising my voice is the only way to get him to listen.
If anyone has any advice on this matter, please let me know. I don't know what else to do!

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Hi A., I have a question for you. When you son was in Kindergarten was he in the morning or afternoon session? If he was in the afternoon session and now he is going to school earlier that could be a problem. What time does he go to bed? My kids have always stayed up late. They don't sleep much but when they need it, I know. Their behavior really reflects it. Also, did you change schools? Are there different kids that are new to him? My 2nd grader just changed schools and decided that he would act up daily and be the class clown. I sat down and talked to him and found out that he wanted to be bad so that he can get expelled and go back to his old school. Hmmmm, not happening!! Some of the strangest things go through their heads. Just talk to him and see what's up.

Hi A.!
He is under tremendous stress. Try to feel sorry for him. And instead of yelling, establish the eye contact and whisper.
Good luck.

It seems to me that all kids go through a grouchy phase around that age. My son is just getting over it at 8 years old. The crying for me was the hardest because it got to the point where I no longer felt bad for him, because he cried for everything. I have many girlfriends who have also said they went through the same thing. What worked for us (his older brother and I) was to let him know that we couldn't understand him when he cried and that he needed to get over being upset before we could help him. Mostly we would let him get over the anger or sadness before we even tried to help him deal with whatever was upsetting him. Good Luck!

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In addition to what Maria said... um, you said you have tried talking to him.. .and that his response is always "I know" and then he talks back. So... my thinking is that your son is being talked "at"... NOT talked "with."

Perhaps, talk WITH him.... see what his thoughts are, his feelings, his stresses, his frustrations. Then listen with an open ear, and do NOT judge him or correct him. Let him free talk, openly and with comfort and safety. THIS is what children need. Children NEED to feel validated... that they know they are being "heard" and listened to... and knowing that they can TRUST their Parent in telling them anything, good or bad.

THIS will provide a foundation for later, in his teens, when you will want him to communicate with you, and share his life with you.

Children need to know that they can go to their parents for anything. Encourage communication.... instead of that they "cannot" communicate with you.

Your son is obviously stressed and/or frustrated about lot of things. Provide him with a means and the tools to convey that to you... encourage him... listen to him.... let him know it's okay to be grumpy... but to talk about it. Heck, even adults get grumpy and angry... and all WE want is for the other person for "help" us, right? Not, chastize us or ridicule us or punish us.

For us and our 5 yr. old... she is sassy too... but mostly when she feels we are not there for her or not TRULY listening to her in our busy days. Then, when we actually sit WITH her and let her chat away... she then feels more connected to us, safer, secure, and "happy." We always let her know that she can come to us for ANYTHING under the sun.... and we will respect her thoughts... and talk about it together. That we are a family and a team. We don't go around punishing her for any little feeling she has that "we" don't like...rather... we try to see what is bothering her, and try to problem solve that, together. Kids need this. Kids are so often just talked "at" and scolded or punished or disregarded.... that constitutes most of their day. Not fun for them.

When/if my girl turns "sassy".... I will sometimes just stop, and ask her "why are you being so sassy... is there a reason you are so unhappy now?" And then I LET HER explain.... and I don't yell or scold her for it. THEN it becomes much clearer and then we can BOTH trouble shoot the issue. Sometimes she is just tired from a long day and fussy, sometimes she says she just needs to wind-down and not be rushed... sometimes she is just feeling grumpy (which is fine... as parents we get grumpy too, and it's not just OUR "privilege" to feel that way), and sometimes it's just she is hungry or sometimes there is no reason at all. But we handle it Together.

Also, he is transitioning to another grade level and school expectations and responsibilities... THIS is stressful for a child. We cannot expect them to just move on without any concern. As a child, I myself was often "nervous" about entering each new grade level... kids have their own kind of stresses too. Remember that. Kids are not exempt from stress or problems. What is real to them, may be nothing to us. But they need attention regardless, and comforting. This helps our girl at least. As a child... they really love to just talk about their "new" class, their classmates, the teacher, their thoughts, how they feel etc. It's all so new and exciting or stressful for them... as a child, that is what I remember it feeling like. And for our girl, she always likes to chat afterschool, just rambling about her day and what she went through big or small. It's important for a child to do this. It helps them to deflate, to organize their feelings, to bounce ideas off of a parent, to "see" what life is all about... to learn that their feelings are normal AND that it is important. My late Dad did that with me... and it REALLY matters to a child... it forms their experiences and their attitude and provides a "center" for them, and helps confidence in POSITIVE ways.

Since you have a boy... I would REALLY work on nurturing his ability to communicate, to express himself, to be in touch with his feelings... to feel "okay" in doing that. It's so very important... and in the years ahead as he grows up. You do NOT want a pent up, frustrated child who is unable to communicate with you, or a child who feels un-safe in doing so. When a child feels "judged" they will retreat and stop talking... and stop leaning on you for help. They need to feel it's okay to tell their parents anything. That someone is there for them through good or bad.

Also talk with his teacher... see what is going on there.. .or with the other kids, socially etc.

All the best,

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Last year my hubby made "to do" charts for kids ages 6 (a boy like you) and 9 (girl). It has helped our son so much. Excpectatons for the morning (brush teeth, make bed, eat breakfast, pack backpack, etc) and afternoon (finish homework, walk dog, clean up room, etc.) are on it. No extras in the morning if items aren't done and loss of playtime in the PM until things are done. We stayed calm and matter-of-fact about it. We stopped screaming and just checked the chart.

After a week they got the hang of it and were excited to show everything done. About a month ago we took them down since they have done so well. Now on occasions they ask for me to make up lists on the whiteboard. I think it helps them realize their accomplishments when items are marked off. Sometimes they try to race each other.

I found that yelling at my son just flared the situation, it was better for me to step back and talk to him calmy. He is big enough to start taking some of the responsiblity. If you make a chart, have hime come up with items to put on it.

An alarm clock also helped my son get going in the morning. You can set it in the PM too for when things need to be completed.

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Hi, A.. Have you tried talking to his teacher? It is a good (not always fool-proof) way to find out if there are any underlying issues with other students or even the teacher. If there are issues, or you are uncomfortable with the teacher, or don't get good responses, or don't like something that's going on, be sure to say something. Offer suggestions and insights on your son's personality and see if that makes a difference.
The other suggestions you've gotten are great too - rewarding him, the sticker chart.
I would suggest that instead of getting frustrated and yelling at him, you do encourage him and talk to him to address his anxieties. You don't want him to dread school and homework because both of you are frustrated or because he thinks you are angry at him. 1st grade was a huge transition from kindergarten and it's taken him a month to adjust and even though he didn't have any issues with the teachers, I have met with them and now get a copy of their weekly lesson plans so I know exactly what he's doing and what's expected for homework. It was very frustrating for him to try to convey what he needed to be doing or what he was learning, and this has made a big difference.
Good luck and keep hanging in there!

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I can totally relate! I have gone through the same issues with my middle son at several times (he's now 11). I have over a decade of child care experience and this was a challenge for even me! I found time and time again, that when his behavior starts to follow that trend, he is in need of attention. For a multitude of reasons: too sleepy, too hungry, insecure, nervous... For him he needs plenty of reinforcement. If he's not able to get the attention he needs in a positive form, he will lash out and get it another way (negatively). Over several occasions I have come to realize that some children jut need more affirmations then others (he is the "typical" middle child, my other 2 never really go through this). Give him goals, set up charts, or a quarter jar, or sticker charts, ANYTHING that will give him a positive outlook. Be extra sensitive that he in insecure about something (sometimes it is easy to identify, others you'll never really figure out), and needs his parents support! He will "snap out of it" when he is comfortable again. But keep up the positive reinforcement! Don't' fall into the trap of only using it when problems occur, let him know he is ALWAYS worthy of the attention, not just when he's misbehaving.

And when it seams like the only way to get through to him is yelling, try to remember my all time favorite quotes, it has brought me back from the edge on NUMEROUS occasions!!!

"Trying to control a child by yelling, is as utterly futile as trying to control a car by honking the horn"

Good luck!! I hope this helps.


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Hi A.;
My daughter is going to be 7 in November and is in 1st grade. The shift to full days and the expectations of classrooms can be exhausting for them, mentally and physically.
I don't know if you've already thought about these things, but, here's some ideas that we utilize.
Lunches and snacks are organic and whole foods whenever possible - we don't allow high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or synthetic preservatives in her food. Those types of chemicals cause poor emotional balance and don't give good energy.
No juice or milk - we only send PiMag water in a reusable bottle with her.
After school we stay and play on campus with other families - she and her friends run for most of an hour or so - I think it helps release any pent up energy and clears the mind. There are even studies now that show how essential to learning active play can be.
Another helpful tool - massage. A foot soak and massage after school can be very good for someone who's had a demanding day at school and who isn't coping well with afterschool times.
I hope this is helpful. Contact me with any questions.
Best regards,
S. H.

It must be an age thing. My son just turned 6 and started 1st grade and is acting the same way. I think it is that they are tired. I know I notice a huge difference if I have him rest when he gets home. A short nap. If I have him sit next to me and read him a book or him to me, its relaxing. The T.V. and video games make it worse, he gets mad at the games he's playing. Good luck to both of us.

Hi A.,

Have you tried having your son take a nap in the afternoon when he gets back from school? He might just need more sleep.

Good luck!

School is very demanding these days and they expect a lot from the kids. It sounds like he is overwhelmed and probably needs to get to bed earlier due to this. I wouldn't get mad at him but try to turn it into a positive by: Talking and preparing him for school everyday. LIke a pep talk. Include the conversation to be about new friends and help him make some if he's having trouble. You can help at the school sometimes in the class or on the playground at lunch time.He would look forward to this(You can bring your younger child to the playground with you).Pack a special treat once a week in his lunch. Tell him what a good job he is doing and accept his feeling that it is hard,boring scarey,etc. Acknowledge it briefly then turn it to a positive. Ask him his favorite thing they do in his class.Ask him everyday.(He has to pick one) Explain to him that the both of you are only going to focus on positive things and you're going to help him with this. Make a star board that he can earn stars for not crying when doing his homework or a star for every day he has some good to say about school that day etc. Also he might be a kid who always needs help from you with his homework. Go over it with him and help him begin. He might need that for each question on his homework. That's ok just help him figure out what to do, don't do it for him.(Do dishes or chores in the kitchen while he does his work so your nearby)Also don't make him start on his homework right after school. Give him a break, some fun time first then homework starts at a certain time every day. THis might sound obvious but make sure he eats a good breakfast(protein of some sort)and a good snack and lunch. You'd be surprised how many parents send their kids to school with no lunch.Meet his teacher and let her/him know your child is having a hard time and see what they recommend. See if the teacher needs help of any sort so you and he feel more connected to the teacher/class.Maybe he can help the teacher with something in class in he likes being a helper. Unfortunatley the kids feel pressure if they aren't the top academics in the class.No cause of anything the teacher says or does.It's just there.1st grade they are learning lots of new stuff from scratch. It's a lot to take in their little heads.
My son always needed me to go over his homework with him each day. He's more of a hands on learner and needed that verbal back and forth banter to understand fully what he was suppose to do.He still doesn't love school but is much more independent (6th gr) but still sometimes needs me to go over his homework with him then he tackles it( I stay nearby in the kitchen doing my stuff in case he needs my help to stay on track)It works.Lots of times he's finished before I'm even home from an errand.
Empower him, how capable he his how smart(doesn't have to mean book smart)Sometimes I think school is harder for boys in the sense of maturity,learning styles,english isn't often their fav subject etc. Often they don't know how to turn their neg feeling into pos ones. You can help Don't get discouraged.Good luck D. G

Hi. I'm so sorry you all are going through this stuff. It is so hard on you when you don't know how to help your kid and they are obviously unhappy!!!!

Every kid is different. That is true. What works with one is disaster for another. I do not know what will "work" for your kid specifically. I do know that this is an ongoing conversation and that this stage and these incidents are part of his overall pattern.

That is why I recommend Dr. William Sears' book, "The Fussy Baby Book," published by Little, Brown and Company. It says it is for birth to age five but there are some great all around tips for dealing with these passionate, strong short people. It will give you many options and a compassionate approach that will serve you through his whole life, I believe. All the books by Dr. Sears are awesome!!

Good luck and hang in there. Luckily you sound like you have the support of your husband. Remember to be nice to yourself and each other through this!!!! It helps!!!

Thanks for loving and caring so much. You are a good mom.



My son is only two, but I have friends with older kids and my close friend had issues of this nature with her daughter when she started school.

a couple of questions:

- You have a younger child, is she in school? How does this behavior effect her attitude?
- Do you work or Stay at home?
- Do you have any kind of family time, where you sit and eat dinner or read books or play games? We're already implementing that so, my son learns he can talk to anyone in our family.
- Do you have any one on one time with you son?
- Does this behavior present itself at school?

My friend's little girl was as it turns out reacting to feeling left out cause there was a new baby. She had this big thing going on, and she felt like everyone was focused on her new baby sister and not her starting kindergarten.

Once they sat down and talked, they agreed to have one-one-one girl's time just for her and Mommy. Once or twice a week they do girlie stuff, like go shopping or tea parties.

I would work out a game plan with your hubby and get your son in a place where he can open up to you...I agree, with the last post, kids need to be talked to not at.

Good luck.

Dear A.

My 6 year old has phases of going through the same thing and it always seems to come down to two things. Diet and sleep.

Making sure they get enough sleep when they have all the extra stimulation and stress of school is vital. Earlier betimes during the week makes a huge difference.

The other thing which I think is even more vital and often overlooked is blood sugar levels. I found my daughter would cry every day after school. Until I realised sticking a healthy snack in her mouth the moment she got out stopped it. When blood sugar levels are low you don't even know you are hungry any more. You just stop being able to cope. I know I am the same! Also start to watch how much sugar he is eating because I have found that my daughter who has a really sweet tooth just physically can not "hear" me when she is in the midst of a sugar rush. Her ability to listen just goes and it is not her fault, her body is frantically coping with the excess sugar running around her system. There is sugar hidden in so many foods that the cumulative affect can be astounding. I now send Sasha to school with a bag of mixed nuts, goldfish, raisins seeds etc so when she needs something it is always there.

I know it is hideously difficult when you feel your child is acting up but know there is usually a good reason for it. Be strict about your time outs and rules but balance that with understanding that it is quite a scary and difficult time trying to deal with the new stresses of school especially if his blood sugar levels are all over the place.

Best of luck and hang in there!

Hi A.!
He is under tremendous stress. Try to feel sorry for him. And instead of yelling, establish the eye contact and whisper.
Good luck.

Hi A., I have a question for you. When you son was in Kindergarten was he in the morning or afternoon session? If he was in the afternoon session and now he is going to school earlier that could be a problem. What time does he go to bed? My kids have always stayed up late. They don't sleep much but when they need it, I know. Their behavior really reflects it. Also, did you change schools? Are there different kids that are new to him? My 2nd grader just changed schools and decided that he would act up daily and be the class clown. I sat down and talked to him and found out that he wanted to be bad so that he can get expelled and go back to his old school. Hmmmm, not happening!! Some of the strangest things go through their heads. Just talk to him and see what's up.

Hi A.:
I couldn't have said it better than S H She offered an excellent response,and great advice.I will add one thing, however. If you begin believing that yelling is the only thing that will get your childs attention,it will only be a matter of time,before you have him believing the same thing. (That yelling,is the answer to get him) what he wants as well. Children are quick to learn,and even as babies are able to tune out certain noises that hamper their sleep,or hurt their ears.Children learn to tune out the yelling or things that they find bothersome or anoying.This is why so many children,don't hear their parents.They have learned to tune them out..You may as well be yelling at the wall. Try whispering something to a child,and they will listen intently,for fear they will miss something.I wish you and your darlin son the best. J.

Dear A.,
My daughter (7) had everything taken away, and time outs everyday, all I felt like doing was yelling, and she still did not do what whe was supposed to. Finally, I went and talked to the school counselor.
She recommended that I was focusing on the negative and that a whole day was too long for a 6 yr. old to be good. She had me make a chart that I checked off each 30 min. So, for each 30 min. she was home, we checked off for good behavior, she earned a 15 min break. After the second week, it went to 1 hour (with a 30 minute break) and then by the fourth week, 1 1/2 hours(with a 45 minute break). She started to earn TV time and her homework was still done on time (with a clean room).
Hope this helps.

I have a 6 year old daughter and when she gets an attitude, I know she needs a nap. You should probably set a strict bedtime and wake time, if you haven't already. My daughter still takes naps at least 2 times a week. It sounds like he's not getting enough sleep.

My daughter is going through the same thing. Her teacher just told us (to our relief) that she is a model student. Yet when she gets home from school she is anything BUT a model anything! I truly think that they work so hard at school and they come home and they just want to be left alone to chill. I think it is a phase that will pass when they get back into the routines. Good luck (I know I need it, too!).

Hi A.,

We've gone through the same things with our oldest son. He argued about everything and when we started to take things away he said we weren't being fair. It was so frustrating and I agree yelling was the only time he listened but he hates being yelled at. Some things that helped were to make sure he has some down time after school. Let him relax before he starts his homework but we had to make sure he started it at a reasonable hour before he got too tired because then things only excellated. We tried to do his homework with him to give him some one on one time. Now he just started third grad and he is so much better. Maybe it was just a phase but I can tell you it did get better and we have almost no arguments about school homework or getting ready for school.

Hope this helps!
Mom of two boys 2 and 8

He sounds tired to me. I don't know how much sleep he gets, but maybe he needs to go to bed earlier or have quiet time when he gets home? This is exactly how my pre-schooler behaves when she isn't getting enough rest.

My Son has had an attitude problem evrey year (he is now in forth grade). Here are some things we do:
1-No TV on school (or computer or video games) nights/days
Is the TV really that had to turn off. Play music, read a book, build Legos.
2- Sleep
Your son needs loads of sleep 7;30 is not to early for a 1st grader to go to bed. On the weekends try oinly to extend his bedtime a little Like 8:30 or 9, kids need a schedule.
make sure your son eats alot all day, especially breakfast- even is this means eating banans in the car.
3- Afterschool play
We usually hang on the yard for 1/2 hour or so to play with friends and burn off energy- I alwys bring water and a fast snack like granola bar.
4- snack time at home
Sit at the table together, have some fruit or a salad and talk about your day, and his, and your daughters.
5- Homework
After the snack leave him at the table for homework time. Offer help and guidence while going about chores or making dinner.
Boys are known for not wanting to be clean. Maybe do every other day, or see if he would like to switch to a big boy morning shower. My Son loved this it is quicker and woke him up in the morning.
Finally find a stuctured discipline plan. We had a list of good acts and bad acts each had a minute price tag for video game play. Every day started with zero, then he got + or - depending on his behavior. On Friday he could do the math and play that many minutes.
Good Luck! I wish I could say it gets better, but you just have to take a deep breath and remember he is only 6.

Hi A..
Kind of sounds like what my son was going through last year when he attended 1st grade.
He attended Kinder at a different school, and everything was new to him.
He would come home and everything was "boring", and he had no energy to do homework, etc.
In the beginning, I now realize, we were not told to send a snack with our kids until perhaps the 2nd week of school (I guess they just assumed we knew, which is ridicolous. I just sent him lunch the first weeks), so once I knew to do that, things got better.
They are tense, and use up a lot of their energy just trying to learn all the new things about school.
Try to get him up so that he has time to "wake up" before going to school. That might mean to have time to play or watch a TV show before school. Even if it's just 10 minutes.
Send a snack (as well as lunch ofcourse), and when you pick him up - hand another snack to him (banana, apple whatever he might like) and SEND him to the bathroom as soon as you can.
You would not believe how many kids hold it the whole day - and that alone can be a big mood changer!
Also, I wouldn't start homework right away - he just got home from school..let him have a chance to wind down.
If possible arrange playdates with other students in his class, they get to know each other faster, and look forward to seeing eachother in school again the next day.
It is a huge change for the kids at this age - try to be mellow about it, and make everything a positive thing. (Even if you are grinding your teeth and just want to yell)

Good Luck!

Hi A.,
I am a school administrator and the one thing I know for sure is children respond best to routine, structure, proper nutrition and positive reinforcements. Start a reward chart for his character - I call it a "Character Chart". Everytime he listens to you (first time) - he gets a sticker. Everytime he takes the time to sit and do his homework, he gets a sticker. Yes, you'll have lots of stickers but it is a visual clue that he is on task and he is making the effort which should be rewarded. At the end of the week have a reward system - example: 10 stickers = a matchbox car 20 stickers = a coloring book etc. He will tell you what he would love to receive by his hard work.
Also, six year olds are perfectionists. Sometimes kids fo not want to try because they don't think it will be perfect. Help him solve this issue by knowing that in our mistakes we learn more!!
You are a great mom because you offered the concern. Keep it up!!!


My daughter (who is now 6) has gone through phases like this in the beginning of most school years, tho thankfully not this one. Also my 9-year-old gets whiny and sassy about every little thing when he's tired. In both cases, TIRED is the key word. It can take a 6-year-old much longer than a week to adjust to a new routine, and 1st grade is certainly new even if he's been in preschool and kindergarten for years. There are new rules, schedules and people to get used to. So in addition to needing plenty of regular sleep, kids in transition also need a lot of down time. It's just like an adult starting a new job -- you probably don't feel you're really in the groove with the new job for at least three or four weeks into it, right? Make sure your son is getting to bed on time -- in fact, it might help to move his bedtime 20 or 30 minutes earlier until he's over this phase. Give him plenty of nutritious food and plenty of down time at home (as long as homework and any other major reponsbilities are also taken care of.) He may need unstructured time to just goof off for 30 minutes after arriving home from school before you ask him to tackle homework or chores. Also try giving him a lot of extra affection through the day -- hugs, kisses, compliments. Might make him feel comforted a bit. ... I am not the most patient mom in the world and when my kids don't do what they're expected to do I tend to yell and punish. Sometimes I have to take a deep breath and choose the loving/forgiving road for a few days. Then we're all less stressed out and they bounce back to being more cooperative when they feel better rested, more cuddled and less stressed in their new routine. (Of course, if his resistance continues more than a few weeks there could be something else going on here. But for now he might just be a bit overwhelmed at the beginning of the school year.) Good luck.

I highly recommend you read the book "Your Six-Year-Old" by Ames and Ilg. (The subtitle is "Loving and Defiant", which describes my own six-year-old perfectly!) You've gotten some great advice below, to which I would only add two things. First, some of this stuff is developmental; that doesn't mean you should give it a pass, but it can help you keep your cool knowing that it isn't just your son. Second, try to decide which things are non-negotiable and where he can have wiggle room. For example, in my house the actual time of bedtime is non-negotiable, but my son can wear whatever crazy pajamas he wants to (even long pajamas in summer!). Being willing to let some non-essential things go will cut down on the battles. Good luck!

I wouldn't worry about his attitude too much. He is still really little and every child handles change differently. 1st grade is a big deal and can be intimidating to a little guy. Instead of trying to correct this behavior, I would try to find out more about school, and how he is feeling. Ask him specific questions and show him how interested YOU are in his school.
As for his schedule, it is tough to restart a routine at the beginning of the year. SO do what your teachers do. Write out a daily routine for him on a poster or wherever he can see it. For example, my first grader comes home and has a snack and can relax for 30 minutes until I ask him to start his homework. At 3:30 he starts his homework. From 4-5 he can play (or on Karate days, he takes his class at that time). At 5:30 we have dinner. At 6:30 he takes a shower, brushes his teeth and gets dressed. At 7:00 we read stories and hang out as a family (we play a game if we have time) at 7:30- 8:00 he is in bed- lights out.
It is really specific, but he likes to know what his schedule is. Once it becomes a routine, I will loosen up a bit and let the same schedule occur without a poster or such specific time slots.
I think kids accept their school responsibilities better when they are scheduled in. I wouldn't resort to punishment for not wanting to do homework. I would tell him that 3:30 is homework time and he only has 30 minutes of it. Tell him to do his best and finish as much as he can in that time period. If he refuses, tell him that he will be going to school tomorrow without his homework then, and "what do you think your teacher will say about that?" How will you feel when you are the only one without your homework? Offer to help him if it is hard, and make it a fun time- not a high pressure time. Do not insist that he gets everything right. Part of homework is to just simply try their best. Teachers can learn a lot about your child if you let him do it himself, too. So in a nutshell...loving support, less worry and get involved so he doesn't feel the weight is completely on his shoulders..
hope that helps

Hi A.,

I am going through the same exact thing with my 7 year old who has just started 2nd grade. I noticed his attitude has gotten a little better know that school started. I think I finally pinpointed what the trigger was for him. I think it was TV and the shows he watched (some of them display disrespect, bad attitudes, etc.). That's all he wanted to do was watch TV all summer and now any spare time before or after school he wants to also watch TV, but of course he is watching less now. I notice when he watches less TV his attitude improves. We just disconnected cable yesterday. So now the only thing he can watch is DVDs (better control over what he watches). I really think the media is to blame here - just my opinion.

My six year old son went through the same thing last year in the beginning of first grade. The first few weeks of school can be very stressful on a child. Talk to him about his day everyday, which will help relieve some of the stress & concerns he might be feeling.

What we did was to set limits, and we always followed through with consequences for poor behavior. When it came to homework, I finally stopped pushing him & told him that if he chose not to do his homework that he would have to explain why he didn't do it to his teacher. That brought that to an end quickly! Also explain that if he doesn't do his homework at home he'll have to do it during recess at school. Most kids don't want to be in the classroom during recess! I'm sure you sit with him & help him. But if not, do sit with him as this is important for many reasons.

As far as bathes go, I always have somthing after bathtime to look forward to. Like me reading a book, playing a game, having dessert, etc. I say "come on, lets hurry so we can have blank or do blank." Another important thing is to make sure he's getting at least 10 hours of sleep every night. When my kids get less, they are very cranky & more resistant to every day things. And make sure he eats well balanced meals too!

I understand your frustration, but try and keep your cool as this usually works best. Although, there are times when a parent needs to raise their voice to be heard!

That's all I can think of. I hope this helps you out!

Your son is having a hard adjustment about something.... Try a technique called "reflective listening". I learned about this technique from Stephen Covey - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The technique is to basically summarize the emotion and the tone of what your son says. He says "I HATE doing homework!!" you say "You are upset about doing your homework" - no judgment, no directive, just reflect back what he says to you. It takes lots of practice. You can try reading Stephen Covey's book to get more information on this. Basically what it does is affirm the feelings of the person who is sad about something. Once you start doing this, your son will probably make another comment like "My teacher is mean and she makes me work too hard" or "Teacher says my homework is messy" so you say "that makes you angry". Don't ask him any questions, just reflect back to him what he is saying and how he feels. You may just get to the bottom of it as you acknowledge his feelings and he can open up more without the anger, hurt, etc. Good luck

It seems to me that all kids go through a grouchy phase around that age. My son is just getting over it at 8 years old. The crying for me was the hardest because it got to the point where I no longer felt bad for him, because he cried for everything. I have many girlfriends who have also said they went through the same thing. What worked for us (his older brother and I) was to let him know that we couldn't understand him when he cried and that he needed to get over being upset before we could help him. Mostly we would let him get over the anger or sadness before we even tried to help him deal with whatever was upsetting him. Good Luck!

Have you spoken to his teacher? Maybe something is happening at school that he's afraid to talk about. Maybe he's just nervous or scared of 1st grade...new friends, routine, teacher...more challenging homework. Start with these things and see where you can get. Good luck.

have you thought about homeschooling!??! I don't know if you work or not... but I pulled my son (he's now 6) out and his attitude readjusted in a few months.

Just my opinion!


WOW I am alwasy so impressed with the calibre of responses people get on this site. If there were more parents who actually followed this type of advice I would be out of a practice! LOL!

One thing that comes up for me is, an perhaps it's because it is my passion, what are his eating habits like? If his food is not balanaced, nor will his attitude be. How much processed food is he eating daily? Cereal? Bread? any sort of food that is packaged is processed...yes even cheese.

Growing children are so subject to their environment, and truly we don't know the effects until it gets out of hand.

If you would like to chat more about nutrition and your family, let me know.


Dear A.,
I like what some of the other mom's said already -
If you need some free sample charts go to:
good luck!

I went through this when my son was in 2nd grade. He didn't want to do anything at school or at home that he was supposed to do. It got so bad that he could do nothing but sit on the floor criss cross apple sauce and read.
Then someone suggested giving him back everything, TV, games, music but also give him something to work for... like a special treat. Time alone with Mom, or a game he had his eye on.
So we set a goal, all schoolwork/homework done, and no bad attitiude he got a "dollar" (pretend money) for every good thing and paid a "dollar" for every bad. Soon he saved enough "money" to get his treat.
With my girl the sticker chart works, behaviour was number one, then on down the line of expected behaviors. A dime (real money) for every sticker.

This worked for me.

I think it's probably just a matter of adjusting to his new experience of being a 1st grader. Every change, even good change, is stressful. My fourth grader burst into tears today after school because I made a funny face at her. She had a good cry and felt better. Her friend's mother told me her daughter did the same thing yesterday. My son, who just started kindergarten, has become super-independent and all of a sudden seems to think his way is the best and only way. (I've had to yell more than once to get his attention this week.) It's probably back-to-school jitters. I'd give him a little space, time and hugs and I bet he'll be back to his old self in no time.

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