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6 Year Old Son Throwing Tantrums

My son is 6 yrs old and very smart. When he gets in trouble he gets mad and then the cycle starts. For example, if I send him to his room, he will argue with me. He wants to know why, for how long, and can he tell me one more thing. When I tell him no he can not tell me anything and send him to his room he continues to argue. I take away a privilege for a week (such as the computer) and he continues to argue. Then he gets the computer taken away for 2 weeks, etc. Tonight he threw such a fit that he lost the computer, the wii, dessert, his webkinz AND his allowance for 4 weeks!!! It seems like once he is upset, he can not back down. He always keeps argueing. If I walk away, he follows me and throws a fit (yelling, screaming, banging on my bedroom door, etc). My husband and I feel like we are very swift and consistent with our punishments. Our number 1 rule has always been that you NEVER get what you want when you throw a tantrum. I don't believe in spanking but I have tried everything else I can think of. Any ideas?

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Thanks for all your help! We have tried time outs, etc. and they don't work too well either. I do take him to his room if he refuses to go on his own and make him stay there until he calms down. However, it is not pleasant. The "one more thing" he always wants to tell me is always begging or pleading ("but I really want to ---) I have already told him the answer is no and I am not changing that. Sarah had a good idea to let him write down his feelings while he is in his room and talk about it later. I will try that. I will try some of the other things too. Thanks a lot.

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I know you've already received a ton of advice, so you may not be interested in any more, but I have to pass on this great website that has helped me a lot! It's called Empowering Parents, and here's a link to an article on "How to Give Kids Consequences that Work" http://www.empoweringparents.com/kids-and-consequences.php. It helped me change the way I look at punishments, and it has really made a difference with my kids. Hope it helps!

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my 4 1/2 year old did this a few months ago. But instead of arguing she went straight into the tantrums..( this kicking, screaming, and so on.) Finally one day while in the middle of her fit I picked her up and carried her to her room, laid her in the bed and told her that she wasn't to get up or come out of her room until she could stop acting like that. I walked out and closed the door. after about 15- 20 min of screaming she finally realizied that i wasn't coming back in there and gave up. she hasn't throwed one since. I don't know what to tell you about the arguing...I'm just getting into that...lol. I hope this helps.

That sounds familiar. my son began with that at about the same age. He is 9 now and has begun to act a little more human in response to difficult situations. We tried lots of things but the thing that made the most impact was giving him the gift of therapy sessions witha cognitive therapist who has a real gift with children. he liked knowing that this was his own private, special time to say anything. I think half the time they talked about computer games.He learned other ways to respond to situations and conflicts. Just getting older has helped, too. One thing we learned was that in the throes of the tamtrum, he just kept it up because he didn't know how to back out of it. Being alone in his room and eating a snack seemed to help him save face. We would wait until much later to talk about it with him.

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You've had so many responses that I didn't read them, but did want to add my 'two cents' worth'. LOL

I'm 'Mom' to 4 grown kids and Mom-Mom to 3 little ones. I have a strong (powerful) personality (none of my kids nor my husband do, so that was easy for me!) It sounds as if you have a 'type A' person, here and a REWARD system might bring the desired results much more effectively than 'punishment' (I prefer to call it 'discipline', although I was/am a 'spanker' -- probably more than I should have been, but I still believe in it).

Anyway, I recomment that you try to learn as much as you can about 'temperaments' and 'love languages'. 4Marks.com has a great test to analyze yourself on temperament, then you can run it on your kids (as that's the best time to tell how/what someone innately is. As adults we've 'learned' to act/react in certain ways and can't remember how our natural tendencies were about certain things when we were children).

About the 'love languages', do a web search about it (Dr. Gary Chapman is the leading authority on it) as it can really help you understand yourself as well as other family members. Real quick, the 5 'languages' that people 'speak' and 'hear' are:
1) Quality Time
2) Acts of Service
3) Words of Affirmation
4) Physical Touch
5) Giving/Receiving Gifts

Happy mothering, and God bless!

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Hi T.,

My 6 year old son is exactly the same way. It's very frustrating. He doesn't go to school (we homeschool) so he's not "getting it" from anyone. He is just very high strung and doesn't like to feel like he's not being understood. I have learned that if I let him tell me "one" (and only one) more thing and then ask him questions (Why did you do that? Would you like your brother to do that to you? Are you allowed to do that?) instead of telling him what he did wrong, it starts to de-escalate quickly. Then, I tell him that he can tell me whatever else he needs to say after he calms down. I remind him that his behavior is not OK, but that we'll talk about it when he calms down. It's working much better for us.

Hope it helps! Good luck!

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I am curious to know how close to 6 1/2 your son is? Seems like the half ages are the worst. I also think your punishments are too severe to see any benefits. 2 weeks is way too long for a 6 year old to visualize. 2 days would be more appropriate. Some children don't respond well to "punishments" at all. It's as if they do not care! These children often do better with a reward system, like a sticker chart to earn computer time, wii time a special adventure, etc... When you control your anger you can earn a sticker. Also it sounds like your son doesn't have any coping strategies for when he is angry. Children are not born knowing how to control their feelings. They have to be taught how to! Deep breathing is an excellent coping strategy for someine his age. Writing in a journal, going outside and running! Sounds crazy but He needs a wa to vent his frustrations in a healthy and acceptable way. Good luck!

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There is a great book by Elaine Mazlish (sp?) and Adele Faber called "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen" that might help. In a nutshell, it involves a commitment from YOU to stop old patterns of communication and express yourself in a way that is clear and firm, but that also honors the thoughts/feelings/motivations of the child (or adult, for that matter; this book is an effective tool for improving communication skills no matter WHAT the relationship).

I have used it as a teacher and a parent and have had great success. Whenever people tell me, "Wow! Your class/your " daughter is so well behaved and happy all of the time . . ." I refer them to this book!

Good luck!

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I would suggest being very matter of fact with him when he gets in trouble and limit the amount you talk with him. Send him to his room for a time out or have a special time out chair or mat in some other room of the house, but when you put him in time out physically put him there yourself. Don't just say "go to your room." When you put him in his time out be very specific, "I'm putting you in time out because you hit your sister. You are in time out for 6 minutes. I will not talk to you when you are in time out. You can talk to me when you are done. End of discussion." Then no matter how much he talks to you while in his time out, DON'T respond. Start a timer with a dinger or bell so he will know when he's done. If he gets out of time out, put him back without a word. Tell him he can yell and scream all he wants, but he has to stay in his room. It may take you several hours of putting him back in his time out before he gets the 6 minutes in, but I guarantee you that after one or two times it will break the cycle when he understands he can't get a rise out of you. Then when he is done ask him to tell you why he was in time out. Explain to him why that behavior is unacceptable and ask for a sincere apology, tell him you love him, and then if he wants to talk to you about something he may. If there was some thing involved in why he got into trouble, take that away for the rest of the day. For instance, the other day my 3 year old was coloring on my kitchen floor with a marker. After her time out she had to clean it up and then she was not allowed to play with the markers for the rest of the day. I think that even at 6 taking something away from him for periods longer than a day or compounding the things that are taken away isn't going to work. Kids that age just don't have a good sense of time yet to understand 2 weeks or 4 weeks, or to remember what they did 2 weeks ago that got them into trouble. I think immediate consequences directly related to what got him into trouble are the most effective way to deal with little ones.

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At this point, your only out here will be to hire Nanny 911. I don't even think spankings will do any good at this point. Your first mistake was giving him all these privileges at such a young age. Now he will only expect more and the tantrums will continue until you get him more.

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Our son, now 8 and also very smart, falls into this pattern too. We've learned that adding on extra punishments doesn't work because he doesn't really understand that. All that we add for continued arguing is more time in his room.

What we've found that helps is to wait until later in the day when everyone is calm to talk about what happened. Then he's listening and we can talk about whether the yelling and arguing made the situation better or worse. I ask how the situation could have been handled so the time out wasn't as long, and when he's calm he can easily explain that he never got what he wanted and that throwing the fit made it worse. He still does it sometimes, but not nearly as often. When he knows he's in the wrong, he's usually quick to snap to it with the time out to get it overwith.

Just the other day, he did an hour time out (started as 10 minutes) and because of when it happened, lost his afternoon TV show. He's been calmer and very helpsful since. Good luck.

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Hi T.!

You may have already tried this or felt like you ave tried it, but this might help. Give your warning then your explanation for why he's in trouble ONE TIME ONLY, and then do NOT argue, look at, or give the satisfaction of communication of any kind until he's served his "punishment". He is smart so he knows why he's in trouble and he is trying to get attention by pulling you into a fight. Kids also thrive on getting a reactions... so don't give him a show. Then, carry him to his room of you have to. Or sit him in a time out spot. His time (6 mintues) will start when he sits there and doesn't get up or argue. It sounds simple, but it does work. You just have to believe in yourself and believe in him... and be extremely consistent. If he continues those things then he SHOULD have his toys, etc. taken away. But make sure he doesn't have any way of cheating (sneaking the game box, etc) while you're not there or filling his time with other things that are equally enjoyable. I know you are frustrated, but know that we all are there at some point and are backing you. You can stay calm and strong. If you are doing that already then I'm not sure what to say except good luck!

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Darling, Call on the Super Nanny!!! Watch her shows or get her books/videos. I am sure she has them.Get on the web!
In all honesty, I had a friend whom had a child that once angry or crossed in some way went WAY out of bounds! This Mother tried everything EVERYTHING!!! This may sound drastic, but the only thing that actually worked was to shove her daughter (clothes and all) into a cold shower. I know it sounds harsh,but it worked,and it only took a couple times and that little lady knew Moma ment business when she crossed the line of bad behavior. Honestly, I would not want to answer the door when I saw them coming!!! Once mad she would start scratching, biting, throwing things,kicking,; and it didn't have to be the one she was mad at,she took her anger out on anyone close around her(pets, siblings walls,doors). SHE WAS THAT BAD!!!!After the cold showers started:when she would begin misbehaving,all Moma had to say "would you like a Cold Shower?" "NO MOMA!" Then she was a Joy to be around!!!
Be united!You and your husband must come together on this issue. Does he do this only with you? Both? One of you worse?
One trick I taught my kids.....when they were misbehaving I would begin speaking softer and softer. They knew I meant what I said,I would hold to the punishment I set; this way I could keep myself in check. I was calm outside,but raging on the inside. Even today my girls (grown) know when Moma speaks and starts getting quieter, Look out!!!HA!I could(when they were little) just look at them across the room..they knew they better straighten up or I would come over there! They still laugh about times I have done this!
I won't get into the issue of spanking,but it never ruined me or mine...I only used spanking when all else had failed or they had done something morally wrong or put themselves into danger. Example: running into the road. Scripture says"Train up a child, in the Lord and when he is old(mature) he will not depart from it, (it/what he has been trained); "Spare the rod spoil the child" and "Children obey your parents in the Lord, that you may have long life".Obeying is not an option it is a choice. You must train him to choose wisely.
Does he earn his allowance? Does he recieve it or does he actually have to earn it himself? Grades and conduct at school? And not just keeping his room clean.My motto:Old enough to get an allowance, you deserve more responsibilities and opportunities to keep it.
Another thing that worked as my girls got older, they had to pay me to recieve their things back(lost by bad behavior)with their allowances.All unwanted items were donated or given away.Except those TV's and computers & games. Once our oldest said "Give them away I didn't buy them anyways."I said" You know she's right she didn't buy those things I did! I said,"NO!" They became my Property... TV in our room,really nice for a change!No carttons night & day!Remember everything he has and all around him is there because of YOU and Your Husband..TV's and computers are extras..they are not food and clothing(basic needs). Toys, games,telephones/cell phones..all extras!He can live without them WE DID!!!
Once, they, continually would call out my name; then I would go to them and say "Yes?" they would not answer me/ forgot why they had called me. I began making them pay me a quarter each time they didn't answere me. I got many "Mom I Love You's"..and that was NICE!!! Also, reward him for good behavior,often!!! I believe you are a good mother and really love your son.
Keep trying, You will find it. Remember, there are many children/young adults in the Bible, they are there for characture builders. Introduce them to your son, can't hurt.

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I replied a moment ago, but meant to make it public instead of private, just in case this helps anybody else. I highly recommend a book called "P.E.T. (Parent Effectiveness Training)" by Dr. Thomas Gordon. I got it right after my son was born, and have found it to be extremely helpful ever since. If I find myself getting frustrated, I refer back to the book again and refresh the ideas in my mind, and it is always a great help. The ideas expressed in this book help to take the focus off of the "power struggle" and instead to help your child learn to make good decisions for himself. You can find the book anywhere... probably at the library, or any bookstore. I got a used one for cheap on ebay. Good luck to you!

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When I taught elementary school, I used the "cool down corner" and "mad pad". The cool down corner is essentially time out with a table and chair in a remote corner- in your case- a room with no tv or toys. Then, I would put a pad there with which I would let the kids scribble out their frustration and/or anger. It worked most of the time, although I had to keep my eye on them so they didn't try to get up and run off. :) Sometimes they would write/draw some of the funniest things in the mad pad...
Anyway, maybe he just needs an immediate outlet for his anger with which he will feel relieved afterwards and be willing to listen to the "real" punishment. I hope this helps!

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Do not allow this power struggle to become a cycle. Arguing is not an option. At six years old he needs to learn some lessons in blanket obedience. I.e. "This will happen because I said so." Open conversations around bed time prove good to discuss things such as "When I tell you to do something it's because I love you, I want to help you make better choices, and I am trying to keep you safe." When he is disobedient [let's say he takes a cookie after you tell him to stay away from the cookies so he doesn't "spoil" his dinner], you send him not to his room, but to a quiet place with no distractions for six minutes. Establish a place for him to sit. You may even set a kitchen timer and when it dings, you go back and then you may openly discuss what he did wrong, why he has to sit, what he thought about, etc. When you catch his hand in the cookie jar [in this simple analogy], you say, "I told you not to eat any cookies. Go to the Quiet Corner for six minutes." When he begins to argue, you say nothing. If he gets up from the spot, without speaking you guide him back until he completes his six minutes. This may take several minutes, maybe an hour, of re-directing him back to the spot until he stays for the duration of the "quiet time." If he breaks a rule with the computer, tell him he loses his opportunity to use it for the day. I wouldn't take it away for the entire week necessarily. Tell him he must find an alternate activity (in child-friendly terms}, until he will properly demonstrate how to appropriately use the device.

I pray some or all of this helps!

God Bless,
L. :)

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try giving your son a notebook and pen. when you send him to his room and he wants to ask questions or have a conversation, tell him that he can write all of that down while he is in his room. when he is done with his time out, you can sit down together and talk about what he wrote down. it sounds to me like he may be feeling like his words, questions, or concerns are not being heard. let him know that you will listen to everything he has to say, after and only after, he takes his timeout quietly.

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T., I've been there, but with a 4 year old. It is rough! I can't say what finally broke the camel's back, but there are a ton of thoughts. My parents are fostering and most of my techniques come from them. I'd never thought that they'd work, but they do.

I made it a point to spend some quality time (like sitting in the floor and playing w/ him, on his own terms. Just to let him know that he is loved and is in a safe place. When he'd throw fits or do something he wasn't supposed to do, we'd sit him in the chair (never calling it time out) for X minitues, we'd add a minute every time he got out or argued. Never arguing back, just responded w/ the fact " you are arguing or you are choosing not to do what mommy asked, that's another minute" eventually he got the idea and stopped. We'd keep the timer close so he could see it and we were in control. Eventually, we migrated to a different technique, but the same idea. the Marble jar. Good deeds, lots of praise, add the marbles and then when at a certain mark, a REALLY big treat, like Gattitown or choosing a toy or movie that we kept on the top of the fridge (He couln't touch it until he reached his goal). For bad choices, he lost marbles, this included tantrums, fits. We got to the point we brought the jar to him and started to remove marbles, and he'd quickly stop the fits. He also knew that if the jar emptied, he'd get a spanking w/ the belt. And there were times, only 1 marble saved his behind, but that's when he CHOSE to stop too. I don't like the idea of sending him to his room. Keep him close so he sees that you are in control. Sending him to his room with either make an unpleasant trigger (my room is not a safe place, I come here when I'm mad, and will later get mad in the room) I hope this helps. Be firm. Be simple. Keep your sentences short, and constantly let him know it's HIS CHOICE to behave that way.

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I know you've already received a ton of advice, so you may not be interested in any more, but I have to pass on this great website that has helped me a lot! It's called Empowering Parents, and here's a link to an article on "How to Give Kids Consequences that Work" http://www.empoweringparents.com/kids-and-consequences.php. It helped me change the way I look at punishments, and it has really made a difference with my kids. Hope it helps!

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Hi T.,

Your son reminds me a lot of my high-spirited 5 year old daughter. Very intense and your son sounds very persistent too. Things are getting so much easier in our home and more peaceful since we have implemented a new approach. As a parent educator and coach, I was so thrown by my daughter's tantrums and really felt that I had the right tools but couldn't figure out why it wasn't effective.

Now, I actually teach this method with my clients!

There are 2 great resources: The Family Virtues Guide and Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach.

The jist is, you and your husband identify 4-5 boundaries (these are virtues like Respect, Peacefulness, Orderliness, and Obedience). Each of these boundaries has ground rules that are explained during a weekly family meeting to your son: These are examples of our boundaries...

"In our home we have 4 Boundaries; we RESPECT each other by talking calmly without yelling; we are PEACEFUL by sharing and cooperating with everyone; we are ORDERLY by putting away our things and helping take care of our home; we are OBEDIENT by listening to our parents and doing what they have requested."

Each of these boundaries and their ground rules has a consequence.

Example of a ground rule for Respect:

If you are not respectful to family members, then you will spend time in your room to calm down, come out when you're ready to sincerely apologize and you will practice being respectful. Etc. Each one would have a teachable consequence. This is the challenge for parents and so, I encourage you to think about it with your husband.

The boundaries and the rules and the consequence are posted on the wall or the fridge or where ever everyone can see it. I am amazed that establishing the boundaries and the ground rules in an "official meeting" each week has really changed things. I can say, "Isabel, I need your respect right now" and she knows what I'm saying and follows through. It isn't fool-proof but it has significantly improved things.

The weekly family meeting is very fun and positive and the kids love it. We have a special dessert, play a game together, highlight what each person has done well that week, light a candle and talk about a virtue for the week for all of us to practice and review our boundaries.

Also, throughout the day we mention the virtues in her that we see her practicing well and we make sure we emphasize them more than we put our energy and emphasis into the consequences of her misbehavior. Before, misbehavior was always really harped on and a big deal - my response would be immediate and just as intense as her misbehavior. Now, she gets a lot of attention for doing things well "Isabel, I really appreciate how courteous you were with the neighbor" "Writing a letter to your friend is very considerate." "Sharing with your brother right now is cooperative. That makes our home a peaceful place." "You're showing a lot of self-discipline by only taking one cookie. Wow! Great job!" Etc. And when she misbehaves, I'm really unemotional and robotic about the consequence. It isn't very exciting.

Where do you get these words? It's called Speaking the Language of the Virtues. It sounds weird at first, but it works beautifully.

There's more information about these approaches, but I can't write it all here. This could get you started or peak your interest to learn more about it.

If you want more support with it, let me know! Best of luck!!

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Wow - you sure have received a lot of advice, conflicting though it is. I guess we all feel compelled to chime in. My 2 cents follows.

I'd just like to say that your description reminds me of my son at that age. Now 10, he is a respectful, maturing youngster who delights adults with his intelligent conversation. That's of course not to say he's perfect by any means, and he does still argue unnecessarily when he's tired or not feeling well....but then again, so do I. So there is hope, whatever tools you use to cope.

I just offer this in case you might be like me, sometimes thinking, "If it's like this now, what might the future bring?" In my case, all of the exhausting hard work of raising a super-intelligent, "spirited", sensory-challenged little boy is paying off with a "rest period" before adolescence hits! (I'm partially kidding about the adolescence.)

I know, "To each, her own", and it's true that I lean towards no corporeal punishment, but I do try to remember that this little boy is only 6! Imho, it's his job to be learning (and making mistakes), just as it's your job to be learning about ways to parent this individual child, something you're obviously doing by asking advice here.

I wish you good luck, rest, fewer power struggles, and more enjoyment! Blessings to you and yours.

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Hi T.,

I agree with many moms here who say that the consequences you are giving last too long and are too numerous. He's too young to lose all these privileges at the same time and for so long a period. Instead of taking away all his things, you could try telling him that when he starts to misbehave that you will walk over to the refrigerator and calmly put a big X on his Day Sheet after you give him the warning "That's one". If he keeps up the misbehavior or escalates it, "That's two" and mark another X. If you have to say "That's three", then it's directly to his room with no discussion with him. Some people say a minute for every year old they are for their time out, but I would make that a minute for each year after he's stopped yelling and having a tantrum, since that is what you are having the worst problem with. If he comes out of the room before you allow it, put him right back in and start the timing over. If he just will not stay in the room after many days of trying this new method, I would seriously consider installing an outside-the-door bolt on the door of whichever room you've chosen as time out room so that he cannot come out while he's having the tantrum. I wouldn't use this lock unless you really had to. This contest of wills cycle needs to be broken, and the lock might be what you need to do to break it. When he stops coming out of his room over and over, stop using the lock unless he reverts back to leaving the room before his time is up.

I realize you feel that time out isn't working. It's too soon. He's going to test you and test you, and you just have to keep at it. Don't show fear, try not to show anger (yeah, right, huh! They can really work us up can't they!) but be firm and don't ever let him out of it. At least giving him the 1,2,3 first will give him a chance as you continue this over and over to start him thinking about the consequence of his behaviors instead of being so impulsive. What happens with "The Nanny" the ladies are talking about, is she does it over and over and then praises and hugs them after the punishment is done and after the child apologizes. Punishment done, short verbal reminder of why the child was in time out in the first place, child apologizes, hugs, no more mention of the behavior. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Consistency, consistency. She keeps doing this until things are pretty good in the home, (a week, I think?) all the while explaining to the parents why she thinks this is necessary. Then, gasp, she leaves, and the kid or kids start their awful behavior all over again. Then the parent has to be "The Nanny". Tough to do while the kid is trying to exert their former control since the Nanny lady is gone, and boy, do they. The mom and dad just have to try very hard to continue the Nanny's work.

Don't give your child any idea that you'll give in. But since you have a real talker on your hands, set aside times during the day when all is going well to really sit down and talk with him one-on-one without you being distracted by other things. That might help with the tantrums some.

One thing that I had to do with one of my sons was absolutely abandon whatever I was doing if he started having a tantrum outside of the home. If we were in a store and he started screaming because I wouldn't buy him something, I left everything in the cart and took him home. If we were going to a movie on a Saturday afternoon, and he had a fit because he didn't want to stop for lunch before getting to the movie, we went home. If he had a tantrum because he was losing a putt-putt game to his brother, we went home. This didn't last too long - he just went through this real "me stage" jag, but he learned after a few months that he would never, never get his way having a tantrum. Thankfully his brother wasn't like that. Whew!

Just decide on how you want this to work, start it when you have time to keep doing it over and over (no outside running around you have to attend to, etc.) and give it time. Just remember, the punishment really needs to fit the crime, so to speak. That's why short term time outs after he can control his tantrums helps at this age. While you are breaking him of this using the time out method, there won't be much time for computer, Wii, etc. But you weren't actually taking it away from him. He can't possibly have his privileges if he's having a tantrum in him room! (Smile!!!) You see, if you're taking stuff away for weeks now, what will you do when he's a teen? I hope that explanation helps to give some perspective to what I'm proposing.

All my best to you,

What has happened here is a power struggle, obviously. It will continue to escalate-- I suppose what I would do in your shoes is allow him to say what he needs to and then take his punishment-- try to remove some of the emotion (hard to do) and make it more "matter-of-fact"-- I wouldn't keep escalating the punishment-- just enforce what you first set down-- by that, I mean let him have a rebuttal and speak his mind briefly and then tell him to go to his room in a calm tone. When it gets out of control and things start escalating nobody wins.... he shouldn't get what he wants-- but he shouldn't continue to be punished multiple times for one incident.... Sorry I am not helpful-- my oldest is 4 and we used to do this "dance" until I decided to just de-escalate everything and focus on the initial incident and punishment and calmly discuss it and then he gets his punishment.
Good luck


Hi T.,
I strongly recommend Love and Logic. It stops power struggles, which makes everyone sad in regards to the conversation and the following consequences. What I mean by that it that do you really want to be telling him, "no..you grounded from that" for the next four weeks? Too often parents don't follow through either, which tells kids it's alright to do the behavior again..why not?. Love and Logic (books, videos, parent classes, and/ or seminars)teaches how not to take on the problem yourself, and to teach logical consequences, which is done lovingly, but effectively.

Back to the power struggles, NEVER get involved in them with your son! Once you do..you lose. What's the worst you could really do? And all he has to do is say "no" to keep it going.
Try a one liner, such as "I love you too much to argue" and walk away. Whenever he tried to argue, say the same one liner (over and over again if necessary). He'll eventually get tired of hearing it and will stop... and it will save your sanity!
Best of Luck.

I realize some methods don't work for every child, but I will share with you our same experiences with our daughter at this age and going through the same tantrum cycle.

We got advice from some Child Development teachers and also studied articles they provided for us. I learned that children that age cannot comprehend time well at all. A day is a long time to them, a week is about as far as they can comprehend, and a month can be forever. They easily forget the details surrounding their misbehavior, so if they have long punishments they don't remember their misbehavior well. All they know is that day after day they don't get some privilege because we are "mad" at them and keep telling them they were bad. This causes new anger and long=term frustration. I also learned that controlling tantrums (or controlling anything for that matter) is very connected to developmental processes, and of course each child develops at his own pace. In other words, some children aren't capable of controlling their outbursts or whatever the problem may be.

So here is what we did. During a good time we sat down with our daughter and made a chart listing the rules and the consequence (bad AND good) for each rule. We also let her know that when she kept arguing during a bad consequence we would ignore her and not answer her.

I think it helped me as much as her. For example, if it was being sent to her room, she could protest and scream all she wanted but I could just point to the rule, state the rule, and then ignore her as I took her to her room. I would tell her how long she had to stay there and after that time was up she could come out if she was ready to be peaceful and keep the rules.

I decided to try limiting lost privileges such as TV or computer to one day or 24 hours (depending on the time of day she lost the privilege). This worked better simply because it gave her a "repentance" time and then we could start fresh with positive encouragement for the new day.

She did not learn to control her tantrums for quite a long time, but we had an easier time dealing with it by listing the rules and consequences and then being consistent.

Like I said, I know this may not be the answer for you, but just thought I would share it. Good luck. All we can do is hang in there and do the best we can. I pray a lot, because the promise is that he will answer sincere prayer. And I know that the impressions and ideas I come up with are a result of prayer.

I don't have an answer to your question I just want to say THANK YOU for sharing this. We are going through the same exact thing right now. Our son who is so bright & caring is all of a sudden throwing fits! He never did this when he was younger so it is hard to deal with in a 6 year old. We are putting a lot of effort into stoping this behavior. So nice to know we are not the only ones going through this.

He's testing you to see how much he can/cant get away with.Being in grade one and talking with other class mates brings up a whole lot of 'what I do and get away with'Keep being consistant.Send him to his room.Take away the priveledges.I would also take away tv time,friends(no going out with,talking on the phone)even take away daddy,mommy time and other family member time ie grandparents.Since it doesnt seem like anything else is working right now.If there are things planned that he enjoys..outings..what ever that he is looking forward to take those away as well.Show him that there are consiquences for his action.Catch it now and before your other see what he is doing and starts to mimic him..good luck..
S. B

Hi T.,
You just described my 6 year old grandson to a tee. I read this to my daughter and she said "omg that's Zachary!"
She decided that her son will either be a lawyer or a politician...we do see how well mannered he is with his teacher and friends in school. But, the tantrums at home over the smallest thing or slight, and he whirls into a little guy that has to not only have the last word but scolds everyone for whatever they have said to him....he always has the last word. Same as you, we've all tried it all as far as taking things away from him as punishment or the naughty step or corner. When you find out some really good advice, will you please pass it on to me for our little guy? Good luck, and T....spanking really won't work. I'll tell you what I always say, "when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change"....for whatever that's worth. lol

My almost 6 year old is the same way. It seems that immediate short term punishments work best for him. If he miss behaves when I pick him up from school he is grounded for the night. He only comes down to have supper with the family. No snack that night either. That has cut down on the number of tantrums. If he really misbehaves daddy usually steps in. Only in rare cases does he get a single open handed swat on the butt (never bare). He also get rewarded for good behavior. Extra bedtime stories or something like that works wonders with him. We keep telling him that with his ability to reason and argue he is going to be a lawyer or politician. He doesn't like that so he quits arguing. I know every kid is different, but I hope this helps.

good morning, let me first say I agree with your methods for the age and your choices are great. T. the only thing I can add to this is what the GOOD BOOK (BIBLE) says about when you have tried everything else. do not spare the rod and rotten the child. GOD intends for us to be obidient to the word and HIS WILL, I know you do not want to go this way but trust a mother of 6 that has 4 down and 2 to go at 44. you will stop the back and forth and create conversations. your son like my 11 yr. old has to have the last word. they are not disrespectful but voicey. it's been 4 1/2 months since his last belting and I am okay with that.

Hi T.. I know it may hurt or inconvinence you, but try taking away outdoor activities. If necessary, drop him at a friend or babysitter while you and your daughter go out for a fun day. Do not allow him to play on school teams he may belong to. Let me know how it all works out for you and your family. If all else fails, try what my elderly aunt did, when by nephew had tamtrums in the middle of her floor. She threw a bucket of cold water on his head. He stopped! D. G ____@____.com

Sounds like you need to teach him some skills in backing off from his anger. Some people just get wound up and don't know how to quit. A friend of mine investigated anger management and got some "tools" to help him cool off before he went completely berserk (used to break things.) It worked really well. R.

Have you tried getting a timer? At the initial onset (when you first send him to his room for some reason, but prior to him throwing a tantrum), you could try the following...First, explain what he has done wrong and that he needs to go to his room for a set amount of time. Then, walk him to his room and set the timer together or do it yourself. Having concrete information (which will reinforce which specific actions lead to which specific consequences) and a set period of time which he can monitor may help the process. Good luck!

I'm pretty new at this parenting thing (my son is almost 2) so I don't know how helpful this will be, but in our house we have a "do it the first time" rule. We never give "if you do that again" or "1 --- 2----3".

it sounds like your son needs to feel that he is in control. So maybe you can talk with him about what he has done and allow him to help in the decision of fair punishment. One suggestion that was brought up in a parenting group I attend was to sit down (outside of a punishment situation) and have your child think of "house rules" with you --"no jumping on furniture, no talking back, etc" and then have HIM involved in the discussion of what an appropirate punnishment would be for each rule. When he breaks a rule, the punishment is already decided by HIM and he can't argue with it. If these rules are posted, he can see plainly and clearly what the punishment for his action will be. You can include, for example "Tantrum -- PUNISHMENT - will sit alone in room for 10 minues (or whatever time is apppropriate for him), will also not ask questions, not argue, etc...blah blah blah whatever needs to be here"

The theory is that if he is part of the discussion, that gives him a little bit of control and helps him not to feel so helpless. Of course, he shouldn't be controling the punishment dialogue and decisions, but if he helps come up with the recourse, he can't argue with it.

anywho, that sounded good to me and I'm going to try it when my little guy gets older. I hope that it helps you :)

Believe me a couple of pops NEVER hurt anyone and it shows them you are in charge. You are trying to compromise, BAD BAD idea he now believes he can compromise and if he doesn't get to compromise then it's fit time. Good luck. One more thing, don't offer if you're not going to follow through. If you offer it do it no matter how hard it may be for you. It shows them you mean what you say.

It sounds like you and your husband are doing the right thing. Sometimes with strong-willed children, it takes a while to drill in their minds that you are indeed the boss. Not just to throw your weight around but, because it is your job to love and care for them all the way into adulthood.

Do you have conversations with your child when he attempts to debate? I would suggest to stop communication once you have made clear what is expected of him and if he continues the tantrums. Quietly put him in time out or take away the privilege. If he throws a tantrum, he gets ignored. If he makes a mess then he can clean that up (by himself).

Don't forget to make a huge deal when he does a good job doing what is expected. He wants attention anyway that he can get it. Maybe he will work more so he can get more positive attention in your praise when he does the good things.

You probably already do these things so all that is left to say is to keep up the work. I know it may be hard now but, think of how it will be if you don't nip it in the bud now. He will only get bigger, stronger and more defiant, causing havoc in your household. He will appreciate your consistent hardwork when he is a productive adult.

Good luck.

You need to get the book "1,2,3 Magic".

Dear T.:

I have an 8 yr. old dd, 4 yr. old dd, and a 2 yr old son. We once had so many problems with one of our older children that we looked into seeing the children's psychologist that is in our pediatrician's office. The thing that I got the most out of those 8 sessions that we had is that we sometimes treat our children like they are "little adults." We think we have to explain things and we don't. This is what worked for us, at the psychologists suggestion:
When your child misbehaves you send them to their room. THey are not allowed to come out until they calm down. When you send them to thier room you are to make NO conversation with them period!!! If you say go to your room then that's what happens. When they finally calm down, then you start the "time out" counting of minutes according to age. Eventually they'll get the clue as to what is going on. But while they are in their you are not supposed to talk to them under any circumstance. No coming out because they have to go to the bathroom or anything like that. The hardest part as a parent is to be quiet. Also, I should explain that you are supposed to count to 3 leaving about 5 seconds in between each number, That's 1 (5 seconds), 2 (5 seconds), and 3. Three is when the go to their room. No explanation nothing. It is good to start off this process by sitting the child down at first during a peaceful time and explaining that some things are going to change and this is the process that you are now going to use. There is a book written by another child psychologist that explains this method and if I can remember it, I'll let you know. Hope this helps.


Thank Gog I did not go thru that with my son when he was six, but sweetie a lil spanking won't hurt(just don't beat him). A 6 year old has not business arguing with an adult. He does not need to know why what when and where. Just like I tell my son if he keeps asking me when he will be off punishment I make it longer and I dont take a way just one thing take away all of it at one time because he should not have one privilege taken away and still have others. I did that with my son and I thought about why take away one and not others cause he is still having fun(lol). By all means try to sit down and gently talk to your son about who the adult is and why he must be obdient to you cause i have found that when you don't scream they seem to listen more and understand you more(sometimes this works). I have to that my oldest did not fall out like most kids will normally do( but my 2 year old is another story...Sometimes all I had to do is look at my son in a certain way and he stopped what he is doing. It even got tothe point that if he did something that he knew was wrong and he would without me telling him not play on any of his games or play his keyboard. I always sit down and have a heart to heart with my older son who is now 13 years about everything as far as why i punish him and let him know that I am the adult and when I say so, you do so. I also give him a chance to let me know how he feels now that he is older but he knows that what I say goes, he still try to ask why sometimes but I give that look and he will say nevermind. I 6 and 13 a far apart and a 6year old has a different mind than a 13 year old but either way he needs to know that when you say go to your room thats what you mean cause he already knows why and next time he ask for how long add another day to it. When he is being good and you give him a treat let him know "see what you get for being a good boy" what I used to do that always worked for me is if my nephews were over I would reward them for being good when he is grounded and he sometimes would ask why did they get that and I didnt I let hime know this what happens when you have good behavior and his attitude changes, but again a lil spanking won't hurt.

Maybe he needs an acceptable way to express his anger when he is really upset. Go to a special place in the house and yell into a can, rip up magazines and throw in a basket, bang on a drum,etc. You could practice these things when he is in a good mood so he knows when and how to use the techniques. Also sounds like there is a power struggle. Finding out how not to engage in the struggle?
Good luck

After reading the other responses, you could also try "time out" in a different area. Our time outs are on a mat by the door. Close enough to hear what is going on in the house, but far enough away to not be able to enjoy it. I give one warning, and a good praise, or redirect to change the behavior, then it is time out (one minute per year). I dont say anything else, and just keep putting him back on the spot, if he strays. After the timer beeps, we talk about the behavior, and "make up".

try saying "can you please stop you know what will happen if you keep going."

I am having the exact same problem with my 5 year old. When i send him to his room he says he doesn't want to, but i take him by the hand and take him to his room and shut the door. Then he starts beating on the floor, the wall, his bed, his dresser.....anything and everything. He has broken a snow globe and his nitelite because he gets mad! I have spanked him for this, but it seems to have no affect on him whatsoever. When my husband threatens him with the belt, he starts screaming "NO DADDY I DON'T WANT A SPANKING! PLEASE NO!!" and daddy backs down. I have also taken away, physically taken, his tv, but that only affected him for 2 minutes, then he started playing with his toys. He didn't ask for his tv back until daddy came home. And daddy gave it back to him. I feel there is ineffective punishment enforcement in my house b/c my son doesn't react to my punishments and daddy doesn't go through with his threats to punish him. If my husband puts in him in his room, he sits there with him and tries to talk him down!! This is not a time-out, it's a negotiation!!
I have talked to my husband about it, but he doesn't want his son to "hate him". I tell my husband to put him in there, don't say anything except "you need a time out to think about what you did for 5 minutes" and then walk out and shut the door. I do this, but then i have to try to ignore him when he beats on the walls and furniture. I take all the breakable stuff out of his room too.
I would do the same with your son, just take him by the hand and put him in his room on his bed, then say "time out for 6 minutes" and leave the room and shut the door. Talking to him doesn't help any. If he opens the door, just motion to him to go back in and shut the door. This probably will take a few tries before he realizes he's not getting out of time-out until you say. Or designate a quiet corner in your house for him to stand in, facing the wall for 6 minutes. This works for my son when we're at gramma and grampa's; my son hates that even more. At this age, taking priveleges away doesn't really affect them, because they don't realize the significance of the consequence you are trying to instill upon him. He needs something more punishing, and spanking is the absolute last resort! Time outs can be very affective if you follow through with them.
I hope this helps you; i know it works for me, most of the time!

Spare the rod and spoil the child.Save your sanity-pull down those pants and give a couple sharp smacks-he will be so shocked he will forget the tantrums.i raised four boys, alone, believe me i've been there.

Sounds like my 10 year old daughter! LOL! I recommend reading any book by John Rosemond. He is a local from Gastonia. He is awesome and he really puts in perspective how to deal with situations like this and how to raise your children like your grandmother did. He recommends that children have NOTHING! Take everything away and then reward the good behavior with privileges. The one that worked best for us was spending whole days in your room with no radio, (we don't have TVs or computers in rooms) nothing but yourself. If you want to argue with me, that is one day in your room -- continue to argue, another day. Once my children realized how bored they are in their rooms, they didn't argue any more. My children hate the name John Rosemond and hide his books from me! LOL! Of course, when I had a chance to meet John and told him he thought it was wonderful that my kids didn't like him because he knew I was getting it. You can check out his website and see if he is speaking anywhere close to you www.rosemond.com. I highly recommend it! Good luck!

There was book recommended to me that I found useful. Parenting with Love and Logic. It sure took some pressure of me and my son.

T., I think sometimes grounding a child from one thing, and then something else, and then something else can sometiems overwhelm a child and they feel like at that point, there is nothing left to lose. You might want to try this. When your son argues, he loses a privilege for a week. At that very point, and not later or you will look weak willed, you can say this: "However, you can earn that privelege back tomorrrow by..." And then tell him what he needs to do to earn it back. It needs to be very specific, though. Not just, Be Good. It also needs to be stated in the positive. Like, I need to catch you saying kind things five times. And then, make a chart. This actually empowers children, and they feel like they have a choice. Just remember that you are a smart parent, and you can figure this out. I would also recommend watching Super Nanny. I love her, and am always getting great ideas from her.

T., I feel your pain! It's like you're talking about my son at that age. We eventually found out that he had ADHD. I'm not saying your son has it, but it wouldn't hurt to research it. Our son is really sensitive to any correction which makes it difficult to teach if you don't have the patience of a saint! It's been difficult, but he has responded well to medication. Or you can try Cod Liver Oil; we give him the softgel version. What really makes the difference is parenting technique. We still haven't mastered it, but LOVE AND LOGIC has so many wonderful techniques you can apply right away and get results fairly quickly. Being consistent as you are is the key, but you can also give him a chance to redeem himself by altering his behavior to earn back things that were restricted. ~loveandlogic.com~

T., have you had his hearing checked? This may sound strange but if his hearing is off, it will effect the way he be haves. And this is the age we found out my son was deaf in his one ear. And he is 28 now and total deaf left ear and 35% right ear.
Also, have him checked for ADD or ADHD what you are saying is so much like adhd. None of these test hurt the child and it would put your mind at ease. Then if it is none of the above, set him down and explain to him why you are taking all his things away from him and the more he throws a fit the longer he stays grounded.
Good luck!!

He needs to learn anger management tools. When he starts to argue before he starts tell him to count to 100 or 10. Take deep breaths. Call the child Advocacy center in your area and ask for material on anger management or google it.

I have a 5year old who will be 6 next month and she is exactly the same way. It is exhuasting and made me feel like a compleate failure as a mom. We used spankings as an ablsolute last resort. Then when my husband got deployed she got suspended from Kindergarden for throwing a fit in school. At that point I knew I had to do something drastic or she was in big trouble. I talked to some of the parents at our church about what to do and two of the pastor's wives suggested spankings. They told me not to react to her and when she does something wrong (especially a fit) she knows that she is getting 3 licks with the "rod". And if she argues and continues to through a fit I start adding on licks.

I was very reluctant to try this but out of desperation I did and you would NOT believe the change in her. I have been doing this consistantly for over 2months now and she is a compleatly diffrent child. She is happier and more co-operative. The first week it was not unusual for her to get 3 or 4 spankings a day. One time she got up to 12 licks. She remembers that too. Now, she will got 3 or 4 days with zero spankings and she is doing so much better in school also with her behavior. The teacher has noticed a diffrence in her and so has her father talking to her over the phone.

Some kids especailly strong willed children just need that firmness. We tried time-outs, I tried grounding her, she even lost everything in her room one day while I was simply trying to get her to go stop arguing with me and co-operate and the more I took from her the more mad and out of control she got.

Now, we dont have that problem. She knows she is getting the licks and she trys to talk me out of it but I dont budge and she trys to get me to give her less licks, but I dont change my mind once I have said your getting.. so and so now. As long as I remane calm and dont cave in it is over pretty quickly and then she cries for a min and I usually hold her and explain to her that I love her but she cant do what ever it was she did. Then she is done and things go on like it never happend, only better because she doesnt repeat for a while the behavior.

I hatted spanking her and still do but I know she is better for it as long as I am not doing it out of anger.

Please have him checked for ADHD, I had same situation with my son. one teaspoon of liquid atarax morning and evening solved 90% of this. This medicine does not have side effects of the stronger medicine and works!
Also, if this is not the case, you might try stripping his room/life of all his "toys" (computer,games, etc) putting them up, out of sight, and let him "earn" them back, i.e. no tantrum for 2 wks, etc.

There are a lot of overly sensitive people responding to this. I don't like spanking, but a pop on the butt or hand will NOT scar you for life. Children need to learn some tough love during their life that therapy does not provide. My 5 year old has done and sometimes does the same thing you described. He knows when he back talks or gets sassy he goes to the corner. If I have to count to three quickly than I do. If he's not sitting in the corner quietly he goes to take a nap, no tv no toys. End of story! This is not an overnight thing. Hard headed children take a while to teach who is the child and who is the boss. My son gets no priviledges until he shows respect. There is no light until he changes his behavior. If he wants a nice mom and a nice day he earns it. Just like his allowance. It's a rewards chart. I took poster board and I cut envelopes in half and glued them to the poster board. He earns nice (+$.25)and naughty (-$.25) sticks which are popsicle sticks from the dollar store. I printed on my computer things he can earn. Big Jobs, Respect (property(( he accidently breaks toys and expects dad to fix them all the time)), parents, sister, and teachers), bathroom (includes brushing teeth, flushing, and no spilling water at bathtime), cleaning, manners (politeness and table manners), following directions, etc. These are all pockets he can earn and loose money. He needs to know that YOU are in charge. No questions asked. My son knows this, after some rough times, and he also knows when he is a man the police are bosses too. Kids need to know privledges and consequences.

Good luck, J.

my 4 1/2 year old did this a few months ago. But instead of arguing she went straight into the tantrums..( this kicking, screaming, and so on.) Finally one day while in the middle of her fit I picked her up and carried her to her room, laid her in the bed and told her that she wasn't to get up or come out of her room until she could stop acting like that. I walked out and closed the door. after about 15- 20 min of screaming she finally realizied that i wasn't coming back in there and gave up. she hasn't throwed one since. I don't know what to tell you about the arguing...I'm just getting into that...lol. I hope this helps.

That sounds familiar. my son began with that at about the same age. He is 9 now and has begun to act a little more human in response to difficult situations. We tried lots of things but the thing that made the most impact was giving him the gift of therapy sessions witha cognitive therapist who has a real gift with children. he liked knowing that this was his own private, special time to say anything. I think half the time they talked about computer games.He learned other ways to respond to situations and conflicts. Just getting older has helped, too. One thing we learned was that in the throes of the tamtrum, he just kept it up because he didn't know how to back out of it. Being alone in his room and eating a snack seemed to help him save face. We would wait until much later to talk about it with him.

I am a SAHM also with a 6 year old. I have a therapist who helps me with my parenting skills, and have a plan she has suggested to me. When my child starts throwing a tantrum she is sent to her room , and we have a timer in there. They said to do 1 minute for each year of the childs age. The timer is set and then if she contiinues the timer is reset. We have been doing this about a week and it seems to be working. Everytime she screams or throws something she knows the timer will be starting over. After a coupla times of restarting the timer she usually calms down and waits for the ring of the timer. Hope this helps. We as SAHM need to stick together for support and information, because it is not as easy as everyone thinks. LOL God Bless

YOu could try a cool out time. I put My kids in a time out, where they cannot watch tv or play with any toys. When they get to a full thrown tantum, they are not allowed to come out until they stop crying. It sounds like your son knows how to "work" you and push your buttons. I would try to put him in a cool down spot, tell him he is not to leave until he has stopped crying and he can talk to you instead of screaming. Let him know you set the rules and you will tell him when his punishment will end and everytime he asks you automaticly add 5 minutes to his time out. Get a timer so he can see it for himself! Works great with my 5 year old and my 3 yr olds tantrums! Good luck!

T....I sympathize with you and your 6 yr old son's tantrums. When my husband and I met his son was about 5 yrs old and was the master of tantrum throwing. Every single night at bedtime he would start screaming at the top of his lungs for his dad...nothing helped...he would throw himself in the floor and scream violently. He did this one day in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel. Well, I had all I could take so I loaded him back into the car and on down the interstate we came. I stopped by Krogers and bought a bottle of white vinegar. When we got home, I took him to the kitchen and opened his mouth and gently inserted a teaspoon of vinegar. Yes, he choked and gagged and even made himself throw up. But it didn't hurt him. The next time he threw a tantrum...I warned him first...then got out the vinegar and dipped my finger in it and ran it inside of his mouth, I warned him not to throw up or I would use a spoonful next time. To my great surprise....it worked. He is 11 yrs old and to this day, all I have to do is mention vinegar and he gets a smile and says "OK". He respects me and I have no problems with him. He didn't hold it against me, but really laughs about the situation now. So...I suggest you try the same thing. It is totally harmless and could be a great help to you, your son, and your nerves. Let me know how things turn out.


Kids need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 2 weeks may be too long to take things away. Also, look at why he is acting up. Maybe he needs some extra one on one time. Also, try to focus on the positive. Give him a sticker every day that he doesn't argue. After 5 stickers, let him have that special dessert or read that extra story before bed. Spare the rod, spoil the child could refer to a measuring rod. It is important for us to have high expectations for our children. Pulling down pants and whipping a child doesn't seem like a sane thing to do. Whatever you do, if it is done with love, it will be the right decision.

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