April 19, 2010,
C.G. asks from Milwaukee, WI on April 18, 2010
6 Year Old Son's Out of Control Behavior
Hi my oldest son is 6 next week and we have been having a lot of behavior issues. He has been defiant, disobedient and then when he gets in trouble he starts talking negatively about himself says he is dumb and no one likes him and things like that. Positive reinforcement has always worked very well with him in the past and we plan to start that up again. Just wondering if any mom's have any other suggestions specifically for the negative talk he is doing about himself.
J.E. answers from Cedar Rapids on April 19, 2010
My 6-yo acts the exact same way! I have had to ramp up my response to his behavior problems - I am stricter with punishments and there are not as many gradations of punishment. I have found that when he knows there is an immediate consequence to an action then he behaves more appropriately. Also, with the negative talk I just remind him that I know he is smart & fun & cute no matter what he says about himself. And I tell him to stop it. I don't make it a big deal or anything because I think it is partially an attention seeking tool on his part. I also make sure to compliment him at other times on his reading skills or his helping with his younger brother so he knows when I say that he needs to stop with the negative talk because he knows how I feel - he does really know how I feel! Hope this helps a bit!
K.C. answers from Davenport on April 19, 2010
When he starts to get defiant, spell out the consequences for him and let him know that it's his choice if he wants those consequences or if he wants to find another way to do things. Then show him how he could do things differently. You will need to teach him how to better communicate his needs to you. In doing this, you will have to start by giving him specific examples of words he can use to express himself until he gets the idea and can do it on his own. Ask him why he doesn't want to do things and make him think about it and tell you. (he may not be able to do this at first so you will have to help him learn how to figure it out).
When he talks negatively about himself, ask him if someone has been saying this to him? If not, then explain to him that we all make mistakes, and that it's ok to make mistakes because that's how we learn. He also needs to know up front what his consequences are for things and make it clear to him that the choice is his but make sure he has two options, not just the punishment option. Help him see that there are other ways to do things and to make himself known without getting angry or making a bad choice. It might also help to explain to him that we all have to do things that we don't like or want to do, even adults, it's just how life is and talk to him about ways to handle it better. If he responds to positive reinforcements, then this should work with him too. It may just be that he doesn't know how to express himself then gets mad at himself for making another bad decision again and you can help him by making him stop and think about it and showing him the options when it starts to happen, before it gets out of control and he gets into trouble. That way he will also see that you are firm in how you deal with things...when you say that this will happen and it does, then he will know that he can trust you too. Not that he doesn't, but there are different levels of trust and he will eventually figure out that if he does this, then that will happen every time....both for the consequences and for the good choices. Good luck to ya hun!
J.R. answers from Davenport on April 19, 2010
check out the Love and Logic series of books and CDs - talks alot about how to use moments of misbehaviour as learning experiences, how to empathize before giving consequences so the child is open to learn form them, rather than angry at us and blaming us for his trouble, and learns that HIS decisions are causeing the consequence. Uses logical/related consequences for misbehaviours, too. Kid learn how to make their own decisions, think before acting, and they gain a sense of self-confidence in the process.
J.O. answers from Lincoln on April 19, 2010
My six year old daughter does the same thing and i just keep reminding her that we love her very much, that she is very smart, nice, kind, fun, beautiful; but that she is old enough to start being able to control her anger, ect.....that we all feel like we want to lose control and sometimes do but that we have to learn how to control ourselves...for her i still use timeout for her to think about her behavior and i also have told her when she feels like she is going to get mad or say/do something bad to go to her room and scream if she has to. I aslo asked her what she needed from me to help her and she told me when i can tell she is getting out of control to give her a hug and tell her i love her --which i thought was great! so i do all of these things and they have really helped. I also tell her we ALL make mistakes but its how we learn from the mistake that counts...... i know how scary it can feel to have your child talk negatively about themselves....i hope this helps!!
C.R. answers from Kansas City on April 18, 2010
My daughter has done the same thing and I just reassure her that she is not the things she is saying. My daughter is extremely sensitive and her feelings get hurt very easily. We just constantly tell her we love her, especially when disciplining her. We will say something like, "I love you, but I do not love the way you are acting right now." or something along those lines.
Best of luck to you!
S.W. answers from Minneapolis on April 19, 2010
I'm not sure what activities your son already takes part in, but I would suggest considering getting him into a Martial Arts class like Karate. I have spent 8 years in Karate and I started my daughter when she was 5. It allows her to get her agression out in a controlled environment. It also gives her many opportunities to succeed and to get positive feedback. The physical and mental challenge is just wonderful for kids of all physical abilities. I've also taught a kids' class for 2 years and it was amazing to see the benefits to all. It's not about competition like team sports are, it's about individual improvement while learning discipline and working with others.