8 Year Old Blames Me for Everything?

Updated on October 29, 2009
J.C. asks from Beaufort, SC
16 answers

I have an 8 year old son, who in the past few months has become quite moody and displays a bad attitude quite often. He'll grumble about chores or "forget" them all together, and has begun to lie about every little thing. I do my best to communicate with him and ask him why he does what he does. I'm starting to wonder if maybe that's not the best approach? Sometimes he does seem at a loss for an answer, but usually, when I do get one, it's him blaming me. The other day he lied because "he doesn't get to play video games enough", and when asked about another lie another day, he responded that he was upset that I made him go grocery shopping with me. This morning, he had wacky sock day at school. He had the most terrible attitude when the socks he wanted to wear were not clean. Why were they not clean? He had thrown them in a cardboard box we let him play with in his room. And whose fault was that? Apparently mine, lol. I've been trying to talk to him, but we really seem to get nowhere other than both of us getting frustrated. And I've tried to find appropriate punishments for the lying, but honestly, they don't seem to phase him. I think I sort of messed it up for myself when I threatened to take him out of football, his favorite thing in the world, and then caved in because I could not take that from him. Yet threatening it seemed to be the only thing that brought upon a response. I feel we're growing apart since we are two peas in a pod and it seems we are both holding a grudge. I don't want to do anything nice for him anymore to show him I mean business, but that seems to upset him with me more. I'm not getting the response I was hoping for. Any advice ladies? I am at the end of my rope!

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answers from Atlanta on

I tend to be a firm disciplinarian, but when my daughter (3 yr old) and I keep butting heads, I usually find it is because she needs some positive attention and one-on-one time with me. A few days ago, I was so frustrated with her, I was ready to give her away to anyone who offered to take her. For three days, all she had done was scream and tantrum, from the time she got up until she fell asleep. Then, that afternoon, we did an art project together, one-on-one. After that, she was a changed child. She was an angel the rest of the night, and all day, the following day. Perhaps, you and your son need to spend some quality time together and reconnect. When kids feel closer to you, they want to do better for you.

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answers from Atlanta on

Fortunately @ 8 years old you still have a good opportunity to influence your child regarding their character formation. A good book to read is called, "The Ten Conversations You Must Have With Your Child" by Schmoley Boteach. I agree with most of what the author says except for the last chapter (if you read the book you will understand why).
It is important that the child understands that it is his character he is forming with each decision he is making. It is also important to follow through with your consequences you are stating.
If football is important to him, why not take away some of the play time rather than all of it? If video games are important, set up a certain amount of time that he will be restricted from playing them as a consequence and stick to it.
Kids know how to push our buttons. They are smart and they are supposed to be. They also generally thrive well with rules and guidelines. If you are married, make sure that your spouse is involved with your discipline tactics, consequences and helps to reinforce them with you.
Self discpline is also a rule of thumb that many adults could use. It is hard to discipline children but it is really the loving thing to do. If we do not set limits when they are young, how are they supposed to learn to do it for themselves? We need a world where our children grow to know that limits are good for virtues that will help serve others as well as themselves in the long run.
Don't forget to pray for your son to be a good man. Keep your eyes, mind and heart on the long term goals you have for him and the person you hope for him to be.

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answers from Atlanta on

The first thing you need to realize is that first and foremost you are the parent, the authority figure to your son and that it's your house and your rules. It's a fine line between being a parent and being a "friend/two peas in a pod." If you allow him to make you feel guilty or give in, he is getting exactly what he wants, most importantly, the shift in power. Talking things out with him is not going to be effective, your actions speak louder. Ignore his silly lies and irrational excuses, let them go in one ear and out the other. Stay true to your role as a mother and everything else will fall in line.



answers from Atlanta on

Wow!! You're describing my son exactly!! What is it about 8 year old boys?? His attitude is horrible! He is constantly making noises so I have to raise my voice to even get his attention so I can talk to him. He tunes me out and doesn't listen. We have a rule that there is to be no tv after 7:00 pm and I found it on at 7:20 and reminded him of the rule and turned it off. I went to the restroom and when I came back in, he had turned it back on!! He now has no tv for 2 days because he turned it back on after I turned it off. We can tell him 5 times to take his shower and then when dad is frustrated and swats his rear (not even a spanking) to get in there, he wails that "dad spanked me for no apparant reason"!! I was just having a talk with him this morning about being responsible by cleaning up a little puddle of milk that he had spilled on the table. His response was "I'm eating"!! I explained to him that as we get older we need to be more responsible-- it's part of growing up. That means we clean up our messes and put away our clothes when we take them off and if we make a mistake... we admit it.

It is very frustrating. I agree with the post about spending more time with him. Doing something one on one-- not only is it quality time but its an opportunity to talk about values and responsibility and being truthful when your're not angry. That's what we're going to start more of here. It will hopefully be a start. I'm also not going to give multiple warnings before I take action. Take something away after one warning-- I'm hoping after he loses things he enjoys a few times that he will catch on. Monday, I didn't take him to Cub Scouts. I told him twice that he had to have his homework finished so would have time to eat dinner and I would drop him off (daddy was out of town). He only did half of his homework and then he ran outside in the backyard to play with a friend when I was on the phone. He didn't get his homework done and I stuck to my threat and wouldn't take him. We ate dinner instead. He was very upset. I hope next time I tell him that if he doesn't have his homework done that I won't take him-- he'll remember and know I mean it.

I sure hope this phase passes soon! We know it's a phase-- we've been through others before this. I'm going to start today having discussions with my son before something happens. He does not listen after the fact well and we both get frustrated like you mentioned. An 8 year old is mature enough to put all dirty laundry in the hamper so we can have what they need clean.

Thank you for posting your situation! It helps me realize that I'm not the only one going through this and I am thinking about it when I'm calm.

By the way-- we have tried a counselor for about a year 2 years ago and it didn't help in our particular stuation. I completely agree with introducing therapists when you are banging your head on the wall. Ours wanted to label him as hyperactive and I refuse to label a child this early on and I do not believe he needs medicine so we stopped going. He can focus and do his work at school, he just gets written up occasionally for behavior issues. He is an energetic boy and he is in school for a long day. I know that when he gets home that he needs to get outside and play or he will get into alot of trouble in the house that night.

Good luck with your son and know you're not alone! R.



answers from Atlanta on

Prayer will fix it!!!!!!!



answers from Macon on

ahh, now I know where it went! You have my sincere sympathies! Been there!!!! For me it went on for 2+ years before I finally had enough. The arguing in my house between child and I was horrible and then between my husband an dI almost sent us to divorce court! Although my first thought was to rid the child from the house!!! I admit this because it might help!
We moved alot~my husband was adtive duty. Tho, each move was MY fault! I didn't sign up for the military, Hubby did and son blamed me! Laundry,dinner not being to his liking, chores, money, not being able to partake in an event, breathing, rain, potholes in the road, etc were ALL my fault!
Then, horror of horrors, we moved again! Now my civilian husband took a job that moved us to another state. Again, my fault!! This time I was done. I called the new pediatrician and said either do something or I won't be held responsible. He set us up with a therapist! Best thing we ever did. he was a child therapist and after 1 year of visits, I got my son back. And that son is now 18 and I have a different set of problems. haha Nothing like 8-10 yrs old tho!
RUN to your Ped's and BEG if you have to for the name of a great child phsycologist in your area. I think mine was actually named a child social worker-whatever, he did good by us. I thought that some of what he did was silly, but after he explained why he was doing what he doing, I gave in and let him do. He did talk to me/us now and then and gave us updates. Never told us what the base issue was but we already sort of knew that.
Good luck!!!



answers from Savannah on

I have a 16 year old son,9 and 11 tear old daughter,so I know how u feel,I went thru the same thing with my son,we always bump head's,but he was going thru with the fact that his father was not in the picture,did not know that at the time,so once u understand why he act the way he act,things will change.(Is his father in his life?)Sometimes boyz communicate better with males,I start leting my son go around my father and my older cousin( who is a country boy? lol)well my son start opening more with me,by talking 2 them,we dont have the best relationship now,but he know's i dont play with him.U r the mother,don't give up on ur son.4 u say seems u spoil him some,he want his ways.If his father is in his life maybe he's not paying attention to him like ur son would like 4 him 2.he is 8 years old he probably do not understand the things he is going thru.Somtimes I find out asking y,is not good,U will never get a great answer from asking y,My little girl is 9 and she is starting 2 lie,I'm not raising her that way,dont know y she feel she have to lie 2 me,I use 2 ask her y r u lieing 2 me,her respond was she's not,but I knew she was,so i Stop asking y,and just approach her as I know u r lieing 2 me so letas 2 get 2 the bottom of wuts going on.For some reason I get a answer from her,we tlk about it,insted of ? it,wen God do somthing 4 us do we ? him y.



answers from Atlanta on

Well, I think boys as well as girls start to go through some small body changes at that age. I have 9 yr old lets remember puberity doesn't start right when a boy grows armpit hair or when his voices changes. Just the same as I've noticed girls get a bit the same way just a few yrs before their onset as well.

With that said consider this football would not be good to take him out of it's exercise and it's got disipline involved in it as well. If grades were becoming a problem then I'd consider it. My sister has 4 boys she would never use football as something she'd take away because of what it gives a child, it's more then just tossing the ball.

Possible to sit down and just talk, yes he may be a bit of a pain but lets remember who's mom. Sometimes boys actually liked to be talked to and share their feelings. They are always having to hide them lets go over how when they get hurt they are not s'pose to cry. They are different yes but society also treats a boy different then a girl.

How about telling him hey look we have some differences can we talk about it and you allow him to talk not just mom doing the talking. I too am a mother, of 3 boys and I have to remember they need to state their feelings.

Let him know that you'd rather he didn't lie to you and that you don't feel you should be the blame for everything. Part of playing football is to see where you have made an error learn from it and move on. You ahve to trust your team mates well let him know you'd like to trust him as well, let him know you are willing to work on things that upset him as well you want him to work on what upsets you. You'd like to be a team player to resolve this matter. Then when you do leave it behind you don't beat a dead horse and bring it up all the time.

Chores are no different then playing football he's expected to make certain plays, right? then at home he's got some plays there as well. See what's wrong is there a chance you can change up his chores see what the real deal is and before you get made at whatever it is he says remember he's sharing his feelings.

If you can't find middle ground now before he becomes a teen and share some mutual respect for each other it will only become harder. You don't have to like your child you do have to love them. Not doing anything nice well, that's not working for you so it's time to move on to more mature ways to settle this...don't get mad either honestly look at that statement you're not doing nice things to get his attention.....wrong idea.

I'm goin to save you lots of money for a counselor you need to talk, talk, talk...no yelling, no taking him out of football to show him who's boss....sit down and start now building a better relationship with him. I'm saying this because my sister made many errors before she learned to talk with her children, she now talks with the 3 younger ones she had 6. Live and learn he heed advise from those with experience.



answers from Myrtle Beach on

Hi, Jen I have an 8 year old. He and his brother is in Karate. This is something they both love to do. However, at times, my 8 year old would do small stuff at school or around the house. I literally, have a routine typed up and placed in their room that they follow. When my son was 7, he wanted to follow his friends and got in trouble in class. This was also a day, the boys had Karate. Instead of taking him out, I was able to talk to the Instructor, whom at the time was going to reward my son with a new strip on his belt. Instead, the Instructor and I both agreed until, his behavior changed, he would have to earn that stripe through positive behavior.

When my boys does do something, they know what the consequences are from losing toys, video games, outdoor time and tv. When I see that their behavior has changed, they gradual earn their privileges back one at a time. I PRAISE THEM WHEN I DO SEE THE POSITIVE BEHAVIOR. I AM ONE WHO WILL GIVE A HUG OR HIGH FIVE AND THEY LOVE THIS. One important thing to do, is always follow through with what you set in place. Children often loose trust in us, even when we do not follow through, with the consequences we set.

I can't say that I experienced the situation as with your son, but instead of taking something away he loves, try talking to the coach and see if you all can come up with some alternatives. It is never too late to set down with him and set some guidelines, even if you have to involve the Coach from Football.




answers from Atlanta on

I'm probably repeating a lot, but don't give up and don't give in. You are the parent and he is the child -- he's looking to you to see what you will or won't do and will or won't put up with, and at one point, he will take this information into his world. Don't teach him he can lie and disrespect you and other adults. Don't teach him that "little lies" are OK, that he will not have consequences for his actions. Don't teach him he can rule you by upsetting your emotions.

Good actions lead to good consequences -- have you been "catching him being good"? Little things add up quickly -- rewards such as extra 10 min TV/game time for good grades or chores on time or extra Mom-time. Do you still "play" together or joke/cutup?

Bad actions lead to bad consequences -- reduce his TV/game time, toss out his favorite socks once, pull him 10 min early from football and walk him to the car in front of all his friends, make it a small but obvious consequence to make it "stick."

I also have a very hard time with consequences (it's not punishment it's a life-lesson), and my son's only 2, so I feel you! GOOD LUCK!



answers from Atlanta on

Okay. I'm sure you've already heard this a million times, but you must be consistent - that means that when you threaten something you must follow through. I know its hard but once threatened, you must take that most prized football practice away!

My daughter had a hard time getting up in the morning for school and nothing we did pleased her either, but giving her ultimatims did not help. I, instead, gave her authority over what she did - if she missed the bus, it was her fault, if she did not get up in time for me to take her to school, it was not my fault but hers. Tell him he is in charge of making sure his socks are in the laundry, he is in charge of making sure he does his homework or there will be "appropriate" consequences - he doesn't get to go w/friends to the mall, etc. If he lies about anything there will be demerits levied and he will never leave the house if he continues, except for family outings (and thus he might actually like to go w/you to the grocery store). Make him in charge of picking up groceries when you go so he learns where things are and he's in charge! My daughter learned very quickly that if it was her fault, she didn't get to join Poms/cheerleading, do things w/friends, etc. My son wanted desperatly to join the football team, but the condition was that he had to maintain his grades and if he brought home one "C", it was the end of football. He cried some nights because he didn't want to do his homework, but he knew the conditions and held it up to "A's and B's" because he knew I'd pull it right out from under him if he didn't. Parenting isn't easy, but they respect you more when you hold up your end of the bargain. BTW - both are grown now with children of their own and great people, who know what it took to get them raised, especially now that they have their own.


answers from Atlanta on

I love love love Love and Logic! It's a wonderful way to parent. Less words, more action. There are so many books to get, even getting the CDs...such as Helicopters, Drill Sergeants, and Consultants is pure comedy! I'm up really late and need to get to bed, but wanted to chime in and tell you this. Good luck!



answers from Atlanta on

Okay, get a grip, separate from being his child and do what you have to do to get him on track. If you don't do it now, you will really regret it later on. It always hurts when you have to discipline a child, however, remember it is for his benefit. When you take away what they love the most and stick to it, he will start to understand you mean business, but you need to be consistent. Let him blame you for whatever he believes he can't take the responsiblity for and you do not have to explain anything to him - you are the parent - he should do what you ask. The ball is completely in your court and you need to know that tough love has never hurt any of our children. There will be another phase after this one, it never stops as they grow...Gotta love them!! :-)



answers from Atlanta on

Its time to get tough. Everything other than food, a bed, a roof over his head and basic clothes for school/church must be earned. Take away everything he finds fun and only when he has earned them back, one at a time, does he get anything. Make a chart and be very clear on how he earns what. If he completes chore on the list for the day perhaps he can watch TV for 1 hour. Each requirement from yhou has a reward. When he has met the requirements for an entire week,perhaps he would earn something special that he likes. Maybe an hour playing games. His not lying would be on this list. It will take some of your time but the results will beworth it and there will not be the daily fighting. He can scream and pitch a fit but it will get no results but would erase any good he had done that day. V.


answers from Atlanta on

Yes! I have an 8-yr-old too! Don't take any of it personally! YOU are the parent. YOU are right. He's supposed to be acting this way. He is a child! Keep up the good fight and stick to your guns. It's all part of parenting!

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