16 answers

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.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

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

More Answers

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...

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.
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.
Good Luck,

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,

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.

Good luck.
D. V.

1 mom found this helpful

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

1 mom found this helpful

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!

1 mom found this helpful

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.
good luck

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.

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.

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

In addition to some of the other responses, the most important thing to know is that your son is at an age where he is beginning to experiment with personality traits. Continue disciplining & don't give up. He must know that you & your husband are in charge, & you are just trying to make sure that he makes the right decisions, & learns to respect his elders, & others.
If you give in to him, eventually, he will be the one in charge & running your house, & having you bow to his every wish & whim.


Start giving him choices - both of which are acceptable to you.

IE: would you rather take out the trash first or do your homework first?

The hallway rug needs to be vacuumed, would you like to do that before or after you do the dishes?

Those are general ideas; you can put what you need in there!
Good luck!

You too, huh? I see we're not the only ones. I don't think it's because they're only children.

7 seems to be the age of the attitude. The question is how do we wipe out the attitude without causing damage.

I've done everything you have too & 0 seems to be working.

Of course, my ex-husband is suddenly helpful & more than happy to take my son away from me. "In his best interests", naturally.

I'm not putting my son on prescribed drugs & our school doesn't have a psychologist, so I'm up for advice too.

I am sooo there...I have 2,5, 7,8, and 9 yr old boys...and the battle with the older 2 was really getting to me...first sit down and decide what you and hubby are willing to do...then think of rewards..for example I put up charts for each kid with the things they are each responsible for ...from brushing teeth and getting dressed to feeding the dog/clearing the table and homework...then I placed a point value next to each one...once each thing is done I add record the points (and if they didn't do it they get a big zero...or if it's done half way...half point...), at the end of the week I add up all the points and each child gets to "cash in"their points...one point ='s one cent or one minute of computer time(I put a max of 20 mins/day on that) so if they earned 300 points they can have 3 bucks, or 2 bucks and 100 minutes...whatever they choose...This has worked wonders for me as they are running to their charts and they're telling me Mom I packed my lunch...not me screaming pack your lunches!!! Even if you don't like this idea, i feel it's all about positive reinforcement and accountability...your son should realize that soccer isn't his right it's a privilege and if homework isn't done he doesn't go...and so on...GOOD LUCK!!!!!

As the mom of a teen I can tell you this will only get worse if you don't nip this in the bud NOW.He knows which buttons to push,walk out of the room when he's pushing them.Stop spoiling him and remember the difference between yes,maybe,&NO.Pick your battles, some things are negotiable (even with a 7yr old )but not everything.Do not allow him to play you and your huband against each other or be dragged into a screaming match;someone should keep their cool and you are the adult.

I'd like to recommend a wonderful book called How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk.
You may also want to talk to his teacher about homework. Are there consequences in school for not completing homework? It could be a good lesson to learn now, rather than later.
Most importantly, it is never ok for your child to argue with you or his father. Disagree, state an opinion, ok, argue, no. Your son needs to have the safety and security of consistant expectations. Make sure to teach him what those expectations are, what they look like and feel like everywhere you go.
Oh, and don't forget to give yourself a "time out" every once in awhile.

Being the adult, you need to stop yelling. It doesn't do any good at all to yell. Let your son use words to tell you what is going on with him. Listen to him calmly and be open to what he is saying to you. My older son actually got me to change my mind about this or that, just by sharing with me what he was thinking; why he was upset and what he thought would be a positive resolution to the problem. Once I saw things how he saw them, it gave me a new perspective on the situation and we were able to come up with a compromise together. I even remember saying to my husband one day; "You know what? This child is absolutely right! I didn't even see it that way, but now I do. The kid is right." And he really was! And my husband agreed with me on it. Sometimes we may think that a kid is trying to 'pull one over on us' or try to 'get away with something', but sometimes that's actually not what they are trying to do. They have an idea in their head, that maybe we hadn't even thought of, so it's always good to wait, listen and in a calm manner, see what they have to say. We really can learn from our children. I've learned a lot from my sons over the years and they are very mature teens now. Once when my two sons were about 7 & 9, we were visiting one of my sisters for a family gig when she totally flipped out on her 10 yr. old son. She actually made all of us jump when she screamed his name, then yelled at her son asking him why he had not done what she had told him to do earlier. There was a complete dead silence in the house, but after the initial shock, everyone went back to visiting, chatting, etc. When we got in the car to leave later on, my nine year old said in such an overly grateful voice; "Thanks, Mom!!!" When I responded; "For what?" He answered: "For not yellin' at us the way Aunt C. yells at HER kids!!!" That did make my husband & me smile, the fact that he thanked me and so sincerely grateful, but every now & then I still wonder why my sister chose to do that to her son.... to yell at him so harshly, (& way too loudly!) and to do it in front of so many people! She embarrassed him, as well as herself. That's not a loving way to parent. The very best of luck in what you and your husband decide to do. God bless you.

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