7 Year Old and Consequences

Updated on February 23, 2015
L.H. asks from Livonia, MI
16 answers

My just turned 7 year old boy has been not listening and not making good choices. He hasn't had issues at school, but at home it has been frustrating. He has been a challenging kid since birth but recently he is not listening often. I am wondering what consequences you give your 7 year old? We have him go to his room, or have him sit on his bed when he doesn't listen most often. We have also taken his favorite things away. Playstation, iPod, favorite toy, etc. We tell him to do something and he flat out will say no, or if he does something irritating or wrong to his little brother I have him go to his room and he throws a little fit like a toddler?? This is obviously not allowed in our house but I also feel our current consequences are not enough? How long do you take his favorites away and at what point do they get them back? Thanks in advance for your positive feedback :)

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Seattle on

Don't take away. Add!!
There are tons of chores around my little apartment that I can add to my children's list of things to do if they misbehave.
Scrub toilets
Sisters room
Go to grandma and grandpa's house and pull weeds, pick up dog poop, or any yard work they need done.
I HAVE taken away the ipod for a week, but I find that if I add chores they are usually pretty grumbly and mad...which is just how I want it.
Good luck. I have a son that has been tough since birth too. My mom had one too. Now he is pretty fantastic, so there is hope!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If he's good at school, he can behave appropriately. So I would work more on the underlying causes of his behavior at home. There are some kids who are really defiant or something and I feel for those parents. But I remember one of my daughters going through some growing pains around age 7. I think it worried me a bit. What seemed to work best was talking to get at the issues and being very disappointed in her vs angry. 7 is still very young as someone told me at the time. He very well may be tired or have pent up energy from sitting in school. We got a small trampoline and my girls often come home from school and just bounce. I think it gives them such a release physically and they're girls. Boys have even more energy typically. I also think it relaxes them mentally. Food is also impt. I'm an adult and get mean when I'm hungry. So I can't help with the consequences thing much as we never had to do much of it but Id work on other approaches too. He's probably a little frustrated in some way. And I agree if he throws a tantrum in his room, let him. I still do that too sometimes. :)

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

my room was always my sanctuary. getting sent to my room was just fine with me. and i think that's good. one's bedroom SHOULD be a place of privacy and peace, not punishment.
but take away my riding lessons? that would break my heart.
it doesn't sound as if you've found your son's coinage.
my boys knew better than to even dream of saying 'no' to us if we told them to do something, so i guess i'm somewhat at a loss. that degree of defiance didn't just spring out of nowhere.
from what you write, the issue is less about what more to take away from him, or even that he has tantrums (7 isn't all that old, after all) but that he's never learned to respect boundaries. so you probably have to up the ante to get his attention, but the counter-balance to that is really good ongoing discussions about expectations (not long droning lectures! actual conversations in which his input is expected and solicited), and really dire consequences for completely unacceptable behavior like saying 'no' to you when you give him a directive.
and just what those consequences are will vary from kid to kid and family to family. while i don't agree with spanking, i do think that 'hard labor' can be a very effective and sobering consequence. it doesn't always fall into the 'natural consequences' spectrum, nor do i think it *always* has to. if a child is being a little cretin, i'd have no problem putting him to work somewhere that would wear him out physically, give him time to contemplate the error of his ways, and give the family a break from his rotten behavior. around here that would be piling up stones to help create a fieldstone barrier, or clearing brush, or manually cleaning up the manure in the grazing pastures (something usually handled with a tractor and drag.) but not everyone has the 'advantages' of property to which to banish them.
what i would not do would be to make ordinary chores the punishment, ie my kids had to clean up dog poop anyway, so i wouldn't assign that BUT cleaning up horse poop in a pasture is above and beyond, so that would work.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

The listening problem can be nipped in the bud by going back to the 3 year old attention getter of, "look at me and listen to my words". Then you tell him, whatever you need to tell him. Then you say "tell me what I just said". He is then going to repeat your question, your request, yor instruction.

Never yell across the house go to the person you need to speak to. Make sure they are looking at you and listening.

Sometimes you need to retrain a child. Yes, it takes time, but it works.

He is 7, he has a LOT of energy. It is hard to sit and concentrate all day long, then come home and not be able to get rid of all of that energy because of homework, chores, errands and not enough physical activity outside.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My daughter is 7 and in first grade. I noticed a big change in behavior this year as well and I wasn't so happy about it! But, it took me a couple months to really pin point the issue…and for us it was just that she was plain exhausted. She sat in school, stayed on task (mostly) and towed the line all day and when she got home, she fell apart. Do you think this could be your son's issue?

I try to be extra patient and I've cut down on some of our after school activities and it has helped A LOT!!!! I also make sure she has a snack and gets a little down time if she needs it before asking her to do chores, homework, etc.

I try to keep discipline relevant. Like, if she is being rude to her brother then I gently say, you aren't speaking nicely. People don't want to be near you when you are rude. Please be nicer or go play by yourself somewhere. If she isn't nicer then I direct her to move someplace else or to her room to play. She usually snaps out of it eventually and I try to say little about it, but I do follow up with something like, hey how come you had to stop playing with your brother? I know you're tired (hungry, frustrated, etc.) but let's always try to be kind…blah blah blah.

I think not giving a whole bunch of chances is good too. Tell him once. Sometimes you don't even need to tell him at all if it's a thing that you discuss often. As soon as you see unsavory behavior, deal with it, no warning.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I have never given 'consequences'. My son is currently 9. When he was 7, he was perfectly able to discuss his choices and explain why he made them. Seemed to work fairly well for us. It was also still very much the case that being tired and hungry had a significant effect on his behavior. In that case, I fed him or we adjusted things so he could sleep more.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I struggle with this with one of my sons too - he's very well behaved everywhere (model student, great child to have over to friends' homes, etc.) but he's a bit of an introvert - so he sort of saves up his stress to unleash it at home with us. I do the quiet time in his room, and make sure he gets enough sleep and eats regularly. His moods (crankiness and being difficult) are much worse if he's hungry or tired. He can also do that tantrum thing (storms up to his room).

I have removed toys and privileges from him and it really doesn't do much good. He doesn't really care. What works for us was not allowing him to go to hockey. So if he's rude to us or disrespectful, he doesn't earn the right to play hockey that week.

A lot of parents do that on our team. It works very well.

So it might not be his favorite toy or device ... maybe it's playing with friends, or the other sibling(s) get to go see a movie and he stays home (my sister always did that - whatever fun thing the family did, the misbehaving child didn't get to participate - would stay home with dad), just enough to send the message that until they are agreeable and work with the family, they don't get to enjoy the same rewards.

I would try sending him to bed a bit earlier - I do that if my little guy is being particularly hard that day. It saves my nerves too :)

Good luck :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think when you send him to his room, he should be allowed to have a fit in his room, as long as he keeps the fit in his room with the door closed. You really have to choose your battles.

Can you give examples of his not listening, and saying no when asked?

I like Suz's "hard labor" idea, and I love Laurie's advice.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

We put our 7 year old "on punishment" for major in fractions or after a warning. A note home from school about bad behavior got him two weeks, the most we have done to date. Since then, a warning is usually sufficient. On punishment means no TV, no video games, and no desserts or treats. This is particularly effective because he has to tell his teacher he can't have the birthday treats in class or play Minecraft at the end of computer lab because of his punishment. We trust him to stick to the punishment when we are not with him, and he has done very well keeping his word.

We had to make the punishment pretty broad in scope. Taking away video games only, he would just watch TV instead, just take the Nintendo and he would play on the iPad, etc. I should also say, this is our "big" punishment, not something we impose if he gets angry and needs to go to his room to calm down for a bit. Now if he screams and yells and is disrespectful, he would get a warning to go calm down and then get punishment if the behavior continues. I would recommend allowing him to be a brat (as long as he isn't breaking things or hurting himself or others) behind a closed door in his room. This can help teach him a coping strategy for anger, removing himself from the situation and returning when he is back in control.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Sounds like my son at ages 5, 6, 7, 8 and even 9. He finally matured this year at age 10. I'd give him a consequence and send him to his room. He'd often have a huge fit in there and I'd ignore him. We'd talk about it later, he would apologize, and then he'd do it all over again another time he didn't get his way on something he really wanted. Consequences I often gave him involved taking away screen time which was something he really wanted. At age 9 I had him see a child psychiatrist weekly and she gave him tools and ways to work on his behavior and they went over how he cannot treat others badly when he is not getting his way. He really liked her and she would give him things to think about during the week, working on noticing how he is feeling when things are starting to escalate in his brain, and little exercises to work on. It didn't make him perfect, but doing this for the year really helped him a LOT. This year (5th grade) he is so much more mature and can handle his feelings so much better. He is now more reasonable and will sacrifice what he wants when he sees his other family members really want something else. He's very agreeable and I can't remember the last time he had a huge angry tantrum. Some kids are just more stubborn and defiant. They are born this way...and I like to think it will make him awesome at whatever goals he sets for himself in life. Our daughter was born easier, more agreeable, empathetic, and wanting to please us. We raise her the same way and we have never had the same problems/issues with her as with our son! So, hang in there...keep on parenting and trying to teach your son what is right and all your hard work is going to pay off. It just takes a while. That's my belief anyway.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

I have a seven year old son very spirited and stubborn by nature. He's a great kid now, best behavior in his class. A handful at home..but really sweet and funny and a big boundary pusher. He was throwing rocks at a lamp post with his little friend in the yard. He knew it was breakable and he knew better because I had told him not to do destructive things with friends like that. There had been several similar incidents. So I made him clean up the whole yard, bring in all the skateboards and bikes including his sisters', line them up neatly in garage, and clear out the sticks for mowing the lawn and pick up all little pieces of trash that had accumulated (big job, took a couple hours total). I was contemplating having him mow the lawn the next day, but he was pretty tired and ashamed after my stern lecture where I also yelled at his friend, so I told him he couldn't play in the yard with that friend the whole week. This was all kind of major, but he had been warned several times not to be destructive to property with that particular friend. If the lamp had gotten broken he would have had to pay for replacement from allowance and birthday money as well. The friend is older, and my son needed to learn to say no to him. Which he has. There were no more incidents and that was mid-summer.

Once I had him clean out the garage. Once he was planning to watch a movie but because he did something we didn't watch it...now that he's older, I can change up the consequences to suit the crime and warnings usually suffice. He has a good conscience and feels remorse easily when I call him on stuff. When he was younger, clear warning and spankings were very rare and very effective. I haven't spanked him in a couple of years, but the other week he was doing something bad, having a terrible attitude, and made his sister cry, AND he smarted off to me when I corrected him (??!!?), so I calmly said, "How 'bout this. How about 7 hard swats on the butt for 7 years old and you won't have anything fun to do for the whole week." His eyes got as big as saucers and he piped down immediately and went back to nice behavior. He knew the disrespect to me was NOT ALLOWED and I wasn't bluffing so the warning sufficed. He apologized to his sister too.

Mine doesn't have any video games and I honestly don't remove fun stuff that often because our fun activities are pretty enriching and penalize the whole family to cancel since I'm a single mom. And I never let him miss an activity he was committed to like Taekwondo as a consequence. He had to live up to his obligations and pay a separate penalty. I do remove TV and movie time and make him clean his room sometimes (he always has to clean his room, but it always gets messy anyway so he can clean it an extra time instead of something fun as a minor consequence). I find extra major chores that are not his normal ones are good for bigger offenses along with a bit of grounding, because he's "punished", yet he does something productive, learns how to do some hard work, exerts himself physically, and feels satisfaction after. And I can use the help! Sitting in his room is pretty luxurious really, not a punishment at all, and no outlet for the aggression like hauling heavy bags of leaves or heavy laundry up three flight is. But sometimes I send him to his room if he just needs to cool off or he's tired and fussy.

If mine was off the rails throwing tantrums and he had video games, I'd warn him in advance that his behavior is not OK and his rude behavior will get his luxuries taken away for good in addition to some hard tasks, spanking, grounding, whatever. Choose an immediate action that you'll really TAKE (because you will have to follow through) give the concise warning (not too wordy), and then follow through as necessary. Always stay calm and non-angry. Act immediately when he does. Once you take the electronics away, let him know that when you feel he's gotten his behavior in check, and he's being the respectful, good guy you know he is, you'll give them back. And don't cave! He should have to behave for at least a couple of weeks in my opinion to earn those back on a very limited basis.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

DS is 9 now, but unfortunately making bad choices isn't limited to 7 year olds.

Correcting consequences are most effective when they are the natural and/or logical consequences of the action... both good and bad.

The thing about using an arbitrary consequence like taking away the Playstation or iPod is that it's made up. It has nothing to do with the actual THING he did wrong, so the next time he's making the same choice, he's not thinking about his iPod... so the iPod was a PUNISHMENT, but not actually a CONSEQUENCE of his poor choices.

Taking things away and/or time outs WILL work... you just need to be purposeful. When he's misbehaving ask "Is there a natural consequence of this behavior, and can I live with that." (will the behavior punish itself? ie, If he's jumping on his bed, and you tell him it's not safe, are you willing to let him fall off and hurt himself to learn his lesson? If he's throwing a toy down the stairs are you willing to let the toy break and not replace it?) If not, ask "Is there an alternate LOGICAL consequence that I can create?"
Recent consequences in DS's life:
-Bad table manners ---> go eat in the kitchen
-Play 3DS after lights out ---> 3DS confiscated for 3 months (until birthday... older = more mature).
-Leave lunchbox at school ---> buy cafeteria lunch next day
-Backtalk/rude ---> we're done playing/hanging out. I'm doing my own thing.
-Don't pick up when told ---> toys left out confiscated (usually for about a month).

For your DS I guess it would depend on WHAT the not listening is about or WHAT he's doing to his little brother. If he's taunting him with a toy, he loses that toy. If he's not getting his shoes on to go to the park, he doesn't play the first ten minutes at the park (or if Dad is home, leave without him). If he's not using family toys (like Playstation) fairly, he may not use Playstation for X days.

Just try to keep the consequence connected to the action so he really gets that one caused the other... like in life.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have mine earn or 'buy back' privileges.

I use poker chips. Each privilege has a realistic, but challenging amount of chip value to be bought back.

I explain the expectations of him to earn a basic chip and how to earn an extra chip. They are only paid at the end of the day, and can be taken back or not earned. The expectations are very clear.

He banks them and when he has earned enough he buys that privilege back.

My middle son can be a challenge. This fall he crossed the line. His 'coinage' is electronics. His payout schedule looked like this:

DS. 16 coins
Kindle. 14 coins
iPod. 11 coins
Wii. 7 coins

What he wanted the most was set highest. He decided whether to save for the higher price item or cash out for something he did not want as much.

A basic coin was earned just for what he should normally be doing: chores, not starting problems with sibs, etc. Extra coins were earned by doing extra house work, effective problem solving with sibs, helping younger sib, and basically using words instead of temper to handle situations. Of course the extra coins were followed up with a positive acknowledgement.

I felt this put him in charge of his behavior. It made his stop and think.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Taking the things away that you're doing aren't making an impact because they aren't the natural consequences. That's not working and this may be why.

This is a tough one though because he's doing well at school. Give him 2 acceptable choices and don't waver.



answers from Providence on

When my children don't behave I make the punishment match with the behavior. If he isn' playing fair with his brother, tell him that if he can't play nice he can play by himself in his room. If he's not using the toys correctly(throwing down the stairs,hitting up against te wall,etc) then take the you away and tell him he can have it back when he proves he knows how to use it. When my children don't listen and pretend they can't hear me I do the same to them. If I tell them to pick up their toys and they don't listen, when they ask me to get them a snack or a toy off the high shelf I won't listen until they know they just did the same thing and its wrong. Tantrums don't work in my house. If they start whining about something I say "mommys watching tv right now please continue in you room until my shows done" or " the other kids are hungry please let me finish dinner then if you're still upset we can talk" it works every time because once you're done they've normally moved on. Kids can be tough sometimes but you have to be firm so they grow up to be great hard working adults



answers from San Francisco on

I find that with older kids like your son, taking something away isn't always effective because they know they will get it back eventually so they just move on to something else and wait it out.

To me, the best way to get their attention at this age is to take up their time. Not by sitting on a bed, but by writing sentences. So, when he flat out tells you no, he goes to his room, but while there he writes 100 sentences "I will not be disrepectful to my parents." or something like that. Makes much more of an impact because he'll hate it a LOT more than just sitting on his bed for 10 minutes.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions