October 29, 2009,
J.C. asks from Beaufort, SC on October 27, 2009
8 Year Old Blames Me for Everything?
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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M.N. answers from Atlanta on October 28, 2009
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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K.D. answers from Atlanta on October 28, 2009
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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A.M. answers from Atlanta on October 28, 2009
The most practical and effective discipline "how to" book that I have read is Kevin Leman's Have a New Kid by Friday. His strategies work!
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S.E. answers from Atlanta on October 28, 2009
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!
A.W. answers from Atlanta on October 28, 2009
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.
R.R. answers from Atlanta on October 28, 2009
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!! :-)
R.J. answers from Myrtle Beach on October 28, 2009
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.
ONE THING I FORGOT TO MENTION REGARDING THE ROUTINES AND RULES, IS THAT I INVOLVED MY BOYS. WE ALL SAT DOWN AND THE BOYS CAME UP WITH THE RULES TOO. INVOLVING THEM MAKES THEM RECOGNIZE THINGS. I WAS AMAZED HOW MUCH THEY ACTUALLY LISTEN AND KNEW WHAT THEY ARE ACTUALLY SUPPOSE TO DO AND NOT DO. HELPS BUILD SELF- DISCIPLINE AND SELF-RESPECT. WHEN HE HAS RESPECT FOR HIMSELF, HE CAN HAVE RESPECT FOR OTHERS. CHILDREN KNOW.
THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT I DID IN MY PRESCHOOL CLASS AND ITS TRUE. YOU AND THE STUDENT OR CHILD CAN GO BACK AND REFLECT ON WHAT WAS WRITTEN.
I BELEIVE THIS WILL ALLOW THE TWO OF YOU TO EXPRESS YOURSELVES IN A POSITIVE WAY.
D.H. answers from Atlanta on October 27, 2009
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!