January 27, 2011,
D.M. asks from Wynantskill, NY on March 27, 2009
Much Needed Advice on How to Deal with 7 Year Old Attitude
I am in desperate need for so advice on how to handle a 7 year old attitute. My son as been doing nothing but argruing with me and his Dad for weeks now. It could just be over telling him to finish his homework to it's time to get ready for bed. I am to the point where I feel like I am a screaming loonatic. That is the only way he listens. My son is a only child and I can say he is very spoiled. I have tried for years to have a child and I finally have a beautiful son. I am just to the point where I just don't know what else to do. He has had things taken away, many times out to being grounded. Nothing seems to work. I am just looking to see if anyone else is dealing with 7 year old attitude problems. Please give me some advice in what to do. I am just so tired of the yelling in my house.
L.P. answers from Glens Falls on March 28, 2009
I am having these problems with my 7 year old as well
She is very spoiled too, and seems to be doing this arguing as well
Now I say to her...
Well honey you must be upset to talk like this or another one that works is
let them know how you are having a a bad day
H.G. answers from New York on March 28, 2009
There was a similar question a couple of weeks back that you might want to check out. Lots of good advice! Here's what I wrote then, which I think may still apply to your house. It was for a 7 year old girl, but would definitely work for a boy too! Just switch the rewards to be boy-appropriate... :)
My baby is only 14 months, but I taught 1st and 2nd grade before I became a SAHM. And 7 year olds can ARGUE! It's enough to make you crazy!
Have a sit down talk, and explain the rules very clearly. (When you're not mad!) Pick a solid consequence for arguing, and then follow through every single time. Also, work together to come up with a solution for when she CAN tell you her differing opinions. If she understands that a different opinion is acceptable, but arguing is not, then you'll see a much happier and more mellow child emerge. Maybe she could write you a note?
I also used to ask my students, "Is this a 1, 2, or 3?" 1 meant not a big deal, 2 meant medium deal, and 3 meant HUGE deal. They only got one "3" a day, and only two "2's" a day. And "1's" were easy, we just laughed and moved on.
So maybe you could stop what you're doing and immediately listen to her when she picks "3." She can write you a note for her "2's" which you will respond to as soon as possible. And the "3's," she has to learn to let go of. And maybe you'll talk about them later, over dinner or something.
If this (or whatever you use) works, be sure to praise her a ton! And maybe even give a reward at the end of the week. Some are adamantly opposed to rewards, but I think they really work. Kids love to feel successful, and need to be praised and rewarded for making good choices! The best reward is time with you- maybe a lunch out together, or a pedicure, or something super fun like that?
Good luck! If it's any consolation, all those arguers I dealt with were always the smart ones...
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P.C. answers from New York on March 28, 2009
I feel for you, I really do. And I know I too will be going through this difficult time when my daughter gets to that age.
Just make sure there is nothing else going on with him perhaps at school. Anyone bullying him? Anyone making fun of him etc. Once you identify if there is a problem other than just "the age of arguing", it may make it a little easier to discipline etc.
Kids often do not know why they feel a certain way or why they react a certain way. They just cannot explain their feelings at that age as we can when we are adults. If there is something going on outside of your home, he may be reacting in this way for the attention.
People gave great advice here.
Just stick to your rules once you decide which is the better solution that works for both you and your husband.
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D.V. answers from New York on March 28, 2009
I see you have gotten some advice and I honestly didn't read too many of them. I wanted to tell you about a workshop my husband and I just finished listening to. It is call The Workshop... Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP). www.STEPpublishers.com. The principals that the course talks about that applies to your situation is about attention. Your son is fighting and arguing with you because it forces you to stop everything and deal directly with him. The workshop suggests you let him be in charge of him and let him suffer the natural consequences when he doesn't do what he needs to do. If he doesn't do his homework, let him suffer the consequences at school with the teacher. It will only take one to three instances of not doing his homework that will get him to see the problems. Also don't engage with him in the argument. That has been working to get your attention and that is why he continues to do it. Try not to get emotional. The goal is the fight for him. The natural consequence of the not fighting is he doesn't get your attetion. It might get worse before it gets better. If you need to instill a consequence make it small and naturally related to the action. If he doesn't brush his teeth in a timely fashion, he needs to start the bedtime routine earlier to accomedate the extra time the next night. Or you can reduce the time from his reading or snuggle time if you do that at night. He needs to own the problem and suffer these small consequences now so that when he is older, he can self regulate and you won't have to constantly correct his behavior. I recommend you attending a STEP parenting class or listen to the CD's. It gives prospective on their behavior and gives you tools to correct. The goal of the workshop is to preserve the parent child relationship and to treat with respect both for the child and the parent. I highy recommend it. The instructor on the CD's says you won't agree with everything and I don't, however the few little changes we have made have proved spot on. The behavior has changed almost instantly. There are many other things they cover this is just a small portion that I thought could help you. Let me know if you have any questions.
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F.H. answers from New York on March 28, 2009
Get help now. Have the school psychiatrist see him. 7 is when the attitude started with my son. That is when my 2nd child was born. The last three years have been trying on us as a family. We are now having help from the school. Lots goes on in school that can play a big part in his attitude. It has nothing to do with you or your husband. He loves you guys and just might not know how to deal with his frustrations or anger. Nip it in the bud now. You will be thankful you did for yourself and your son. As I explained to my son, little people have little problems and big people have big problems so if you take care of it now, when you get big, your problems will still be small and manangable. Good luck, Franny
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E.S. answers from New York on March 28, 2009
Regarding your screaming and yelling: Why not try whispering? Your son will have to be quiet to hear what you are saying. When my three kids were little, this worked. Sometimes, I directly whispered into their ears, like secret messages. To them, they actually thought it was a fun game!...and without me even asking, they would start to whisper in reponse!
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A.T. answers from Syracuse on March 28, 2009
I don't have any advice for you because I am in the same exact situation with my 8 year old daughter since she was 7. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and I feel for you. Isn't it stressful to have these constant battles?
But I have to say with my experience is that it's mostly my fault because I always did evrything for her and now that I expect her to be independent and do things for herself she feels like she's being picked on or that I'm being so mean.
N.D. answers from New York on March 28, 2009
It takes 2 to argue, so stop! Dear son, go to bed. Dear son do your homework, period. If he refuses, warn him and then put him in time out like a baby and ignore him. Explain to him you are no longer going to argue with him, that you are the parents and he is not. If he disagrees with you he can tell you politely and respectfully. Then tell him if he argues he will go in time out like a baby, since he is behaving like a baby. BE CONSISTENT!! Don't let him start and when he makes you angry, punish. Stop him the minute he raises his voice. When people get angry its hard to reason with them so you have to stop him before he gets to that point. One of my sons would ask for something and I would say no and he would start to beg. For a long time I didnt stop him and his begging would escalate until he got very angry and out of control. Finally I realized he was working himself up and I warned him of a consequence when he begged the second time. Kids need to be allowed to express their feelings. Perhaps he wants to see a special show or postpone homework for an hour and has a valid reason. He can debate respectfully.
A.G. answers from New York on March 28, 2009
My 8yo daughter is very mouthy and talks back and argues about everything. I have found that if I counteract her by talking quietly and removing myself and her from the situation she will calm down and do as she is told. The one night she was fighting with me about everything. I was angry but didn't show it and sent her to her room. She fussed and fummed for a while but I did not respond. She finally calmed down, came and appologized and then did as she was told. It has been getting slightly better everytime I keep my cool. When I am that screaming lunatic it only gets worse. She hates to be sent to her room (she is getting her own room soon so I may have to alter my tacticts) and hates more to be ignored. That may not work for your son but making him sit some place really boring until he is willing to talk nice and do as he needs may work. Also don't let him see your anger (Easier said than done. I know from lots of experience) When my daughter gets me "crazy" thats when she wins and gets worse. When she sees she isn't getting to me and I'm not backing down she will come around. I always say she is 8 going on 18! Anyway good luck! A.