Hoping This Is Just a Phase!

Updated on November 07, 2014
K.K. asks from Carlsbad, CA
13 answers


I am in desperate need of advice about my 9-year-old son. I think his tween years are starting a bit early and Id like to nip the attitude in the bud sooner than later. I'm pretty sure his behavior is typical of a boy his age but lately I have felt like I don't have a clue if I'm handling it right (he's my oldest.) Basically, he completely ignores us when we tell him to do something, hoping we'll forget and just move on, which creates lots of nagging. I hate to nag! He has started being sneaky every chance he can get. Instead of just asking for something he'll try to do it behind our backs (even though if he would just ask we may say yes.) School mornings are the worst! No matter how prepared I am I always end up micromanaging him to get out of the house. "Brush your teeth, put on your socks, put on your shoes..." More nagging! Its tough because it hasn't always been like this. He's a bright boy that has become pretty lazy. Oye! Right now we take technology away if he misbehaves. I'm looking for ways to not only discipline him, but am curious what else works for you all.

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

So What Happened?

Thank you for the replies! This is exactly what I needed to hear. Time for him to suffer his own consequences!

Featured Answers



answers from Oklahoma City on

Find some love and logic classes and you can learn about positive ways to get him to do stuff. Taking things away only makes him resent the activity and not want to do it at all. Rewarding him for doing things in any way makes him want to repeat the action and get more rewards.

I also suggest that he is already starting to change. Girls this age are already starting to grow breasts and hips and some have started their periods. Boys aren't immune to physical change.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Boston on

Don't nag. He's getting too many chances so he doesn't have to comply the first time.

Make sure he knows what is supposed to happen. If he doesn't want to get ready for school, fine. What's the worst that could happen? You'd have to drive him, right? So tell him that he can get ready when he wants to, and let you know when he's ready. Remind him that school policy (not yours) is that late arrivals have to check in at the office, so when he goes in, he can sit down with Mrs. X the principal and just explain why he doesn't think he needs to be in school on time. That worked like a charm with my son.

If he doesn't brush his teeth once, okay. But there's no dessert in the lunch box. No socks and shoes? Okay, he gets on the bus with his slippers on. Or if he's too big to physically put on the bus, then he goes in by car and explains to Mrs. X why socks and shoes are a big problem. He won't wear a coat? Oh well, then he sits inside in the office during recess. And it was HIS CHOICE to not wear a coat or mittens, his choice to be miserable. Actions have consequences.

There's a book that was popular some 15 years ago with parents of teens and tweens, something like "I hate you. Can you drive me to the mall?" The point is, kids are defiant for about 15 minutes until they want something. In which case you CALMLY say, "Sorry, I can't do that, I'm busy cleaning up the dishes you left." You have to take the frustration and anger out of your voice - your attitude has to be that he is old enough to know what to do, and old enough to know what will happen if he doesn't do it. I'd take the batteries out of the remote rather than take away technology - then hide all the other batteries. When he wants to use the TV, he can't, and you can't do the batteries because you have to clean up the dishes and make the lunches and put the boots away. Convince him slowly that many hands make light work, and that he will get far more privileges if he cooperates than if he doesn't. You can't police him all the time, but if he's doing things behind your back, you have to prevent that by taking away the tools (remotes, passwords) or the rewards (hiding snacks or treats, or "forgetting to buy" stuff because you were so busy putting boots away. The main thing is to go on with family life and stop letting him dictate everyone else's behavior. Take away the control and make it more inconvenient for him to be a pain in the butt. Right now he's getting tons of attention. Take that away.

Bottom line - kids who sneak and lie are not trustworthy, and untrustworthy kids don't get as many opportunities. Just say, "When you're older and more mature, you can do that. When you are older, I can let you do things unsupervised. You're just not there yet. When you are ready to be trusted, you will let me know."

16 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It wasn't a phase in our house.

Don't take things away for bad behavior.
He constantly earns privileges for good behavior.
It's a subtle difference.
Privileges are not rights.
If he hasn't earned his screen time (recreational computer use, tv, video games, phone, etc), then he gets no time until he DOES earn it.

For some things you might try natural consequences.
If he doesn't come when you call him for supper, the meal goes on without him and he can eat something at breakfast.
Try telling him he's in charge of getting himself ready in the morning.
He has to be out the door at (what ever time).
If he's still in his pajamas when that time comes - you take him in his pajamas.
I can pretty much guarantee he won't be doing that twice.

Refuse to nag.
You get his attention and say things once.
What ever happens to him after that is up to him and whether he gets himself in gear or not.
You can try setting an earlier bed time too.
He can stay up later if he proves he can get through the mornings smoothly.
He's got to earn it.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Put his shoes, socks, and anything else he hasn't done, in the car and let him exit the house barefoot. I'm pretty sure he won't enter school without shoes.

Less talking, more immediate consequences. And really choose your battles.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I like what B said. Treat privileges like privileges, not rights. Have him earn his tech time after the morning has gone relatively smoothly and he's done his homework and chores.

Make a list he can refer to. Stop reminding him about things. Let him suffer the natural consequences for those.

Just this morning I told my son that if he kept ignoring my request for him to turn off his lights, he'd be doing an extra chore in the afternoon. I'd assign chores for misbehaving/sneaking.

Make a list of "ask first" things. You may need to tape a note on the item. We have some 'ask first' items in our house and I know kids have fuzzy memories at times, so the note makes them think.

Yep, 9 is hard. Loads of questions on this forum over the years about 9 years old. Be firm, consistent, say yes when you can and no when you need to. THis too shall pass.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm developing a scrum board for my kids- it a management style popular with the tech crowd. So I'm making a board, and I'm no longer going to nag. I'm making cards for all of their responsibilities. And they can go look at the board.

We do natural consequences in this house. I'm a big fan of positive discipline. Check out Laura markham of ah ha parenting. She might have some suggestions.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Lots of advice below. I just wanted to give you a tool that works.

Instead of taking away his electronics when he misbehaves, use it as a reward tool. You can't watch TV unless you're completely ready to leave. No video games during the week, and you have to earn video games on the weekend by completing your chores on Saturday morning. Adults do their work before they can play...kids should too. Works great.

I also found that the kids having games all week long turned them into little jerkfaces. Limiting that time really does help with their attitudes.

An exceptional book you might pick up is "Parenting With Love and Logic." It will help you tremendously.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I went through problems with my daughter when she was young and her father and I were divorcing. My counselor suggested to continue with consequences but to "catch" her being good 4 times for each bad and praise or compliment her. It made a huge difference.

Also I was a huge talk show fan listening to all kinds of shows. Dr Laura (bear with me) talked a lot about creative discipline. Like a son refused to take his jacket so mom waited until he went in then took it in and told him she was worried he'd get cold and maybe even asked for a hug. Son never forgot his jacket again. There were more. I shared some of the stories with my mom while my daughter was nearby and we laughed at how creative they were. Later I overheard my daughter telling her friends about and how she wasn't going to me a chance to do anything like that. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would sit down and consider what is really important and what isn't. Sometimes natural consequences are better teachers.

I would take him aside and brainstorm all the things that need to get done when he leaves for school. Then go through that list and pare it down to something manageable. Then make it nice and post it where he should see it (in the hallway, in the bathroom, on his door). Every day he needs to look at his list. Anything not done he does without. His breath stinks? Too bad, should have thought about that before he left. Doesn't have socks? Guess he'll have cold or wet feet. Etc.

If he does get it all done? Praise him. Publicly. Tell his dad. Give him pride in doing something well. I try to catch my DD being good so she knows I don't just see her being bad.

I would also have a "no screens before you're ready" rule. It may motivate him to see that Little Brother is happily watching TV or playing with the iPad because he's done and ready to go.

Something I have also done with my DD is if she sneaks something, she loses it. And I get down to her level, tell her what needs doing (and have her repeat it if it's really important) and tell her that this is her warning. She either does it or x does/doesn't happen. (Like if she doesn't get her shoes on in time, she doesn't get to watch TV or if she won't get ready, I won't take her to the library because what I need to do comes before what she wants to do.) If she fusses about what the consequences were, I remind her that it was her choice to play sock puppets instead of putting socks on her feet and the window of opportunity closed.

One thing that worked really well with my SD when she complained about her bedtime was to tell her that until she could wake herself and get ready, she didn't earn that new time. We let her try out 30 minute increments and she stayed at 9PM for a long time because she kept making *US* late getting her out the door. But anytime she whined about it we just reminded her what she could do to prove she was ready for the next step.

Some of this came from How To Talk So Kids Will Listen.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

When my older daughter was 12, she gave us a real hard time. My father in law said she needed a sport. We told her to pick one, she ignored us for a bit and then we told her we would pick it for her, but she was going to participate in something outside the house. She chose dance and that is where she put her energy. Soon enough, it was a good discipline in her life.

Our youngest is very active. She is 9 and is in numerous sports. They suggest a her level, she should be carrying her own bag and getting herself dressed. We still tie her skates along with many of the other parents, as they are difficult to tie tight. But it teaches her to get moving because the games are on a schedule, it teaches her to work toward a goal, it teaches her to participate and sometimes requires to get others going, even when they don't want to.

My suggestion, if he is not already in a sport or activity, let him start thinking about getting involved in something.

I'll tell you what, I much rather my 9 year old growling at those other hockey players than ME!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Good question. I am going through the same thing with my nine year old right now.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I give my 9 year old choices. For example, I told him he could either take a shower in the morning or after school, but if he waits until after school then he won't get screen time in the evening. His choice. This is after he put off taking a shower for 2 days by the way. No nagging necessary, he took a shower right away, after he realized what was on the line.

For my daughter, who takes a while in the mornings and is on her own schedule, we used a check list for a long time. I posted it downstairs and upstairs, so she was responsible for seeing what was left to do. We also talked about what time he needs to have each part done in order to be out of the house on time. Then we told her we'd be leaving at 8am and we'd put her clothes and backpack in the car if she wasn't ready. Worked like a charm and she never had to get in the car in her PJ's.


answers from Boston on

Age 9 is so very young to start this behavior. Get it under control now before he out weighs you.

Ground him on the weekends. Take away all electronics/technology.

He ignores you at age 9 yet you pay for the very life he lives. Lord. Put on your big girl and big boy pants and knock the s--- out of him.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions