MY 7 Year Old Son Driving Me Crazy!!

Updated on July 29, 2010
S.E. asks from Aurora, IL
11 answers

My son has always seemed kind of immature for his age. He is fine with playing with other children half his age. He sometimes destroys his toys by breaking them. But what really pisses me off is that he doesn't think twice about hurting other people (i.e. hitting them or pushing them) and it seems like if you don't watch him like a hawk, he puts toys (still!!) down the sink or spreads toothpaste all over the bathroom counter or pees around the toilet lid. We put him in time out for these misbehaviors and talk to him, but it never seems to be enough. He also is still in pull-ups at night, as he continues to wet the bed. Does anybody have any ideas? I am at my wit's end!

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answers from Chicago on

I think you should take him to counseling. It sounds like he has some issues that no amount of "punishment" will solve. Continuing to wet the bed at night at this age usually means there is something emotional going on that needs attention.

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answers from Washington DC on

Sign that boy up for Karate. They will teach him discipline - especially about hitting and pushing and stuff.
You need to find his currency. If time out doesn't work, start taking TV or video games away for a day or two.
It seems to me that this child is screaming for attention - good or bad he wants attention.
As for peeing around the toilet - make him clean it up EVERY SINGLE TIME!!
You might consider a child psychiatrist to help you and him figure out what he needs.

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answers from Fresno on

Don't worry about the bed wetting. It's actually very common, and probably he is not able to control it.

But with regard to the other things... does you have any idea WHY he is doing those things? (Does it seem like he is enjoying doing these things? Or does he seem surprised when you're mad?) Not so long ago, my 7 year old daughter - who is normally the most responsible, mature child you can imagine - carved her name, in letters a foot tall, all over her dad's antique dresser. Afterward, she seemed to have absolutely no explanation as to why she'd done it. I bring this up because even kids with great self control sometimes "lose it" at this age and do some really weird stuff! So if your son is not normally mature, it stands to reason that he'd be lacking in self-control more often than not. (Not that it makes it any less frustrating for you! LOL)

I guess as a matter of practicality, the only way to really approach this is to teach cause and effect. He breaks his toys, pretty soon he has no toys left. He hits people, he has to go inside and sit in his room and play alone. (With no toys, because he's broken them?!) Put the toothpaste in your bathroom under lock and key if you have to. Maybe he gets to clean the bathroom every week so he can wipe up the pee off the toilet lid and scrub the toothpaste off the counter. Yes, he'll require a lot of supervision cleaning the bathroom, but... eventually he may learn cause and effect, and how it's really much easier to clean the counter when it doesn't have dried toothpaste on it. Besides, it's good for kids to have chores. You know what they say about idle hands! ; )

Maybe for him, time-outs aren't working because they have no real link to the "crime" - in other words, sitting in a chair alone is perhaps not a logical punishment for peeing all over the bathroom, but it's a pretty easy link to follow when the punishment is you giving him a rag and a bucket and making him clean the bathroom.

I don't know, just a thought. Seven can be a very frustrating age in so many ways. I'm right there with you most days!

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answers from Las Vegas on

I would suggest asking your pediatrician to give you a referral to have your son evaluated by a developmental pediatrician. It sounds to me that your son may benefit from some behavioral therapy to help him with his social and self-help skills. Behavior therapy, if done well, helps teach children certain skills that they just have a hard time picking up naturally, and it is done in such a fun, reinforcing way that, for the child, is just a big playdate. By getting your son evaluated by a developmental pediatrician, it will give you a diagnosis of what is going on (if indeed there is something going on) which will give you access for services through your school district possibly and maybe your local regional center or possibly some other organization like Easter Seals. If it turns out that your son is just being a boy and doing what boys do best -- being rough and messy -- then at least you will know that's the case and will know that you will need to go to the library to check out whatever parenting boys books you can get your hands on.

Wishing you the best of luck.

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answers from Chicago on

You need to get him professional help. I have a mental health degree and was also a pre-school teacher. He is angry, but why? Please listen to me and take him first to a good Dr. and explain all this to him, then he should refer you to a professional.

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answers from Chicago on

I agree with Laurie D and Mom F. A developmental pediatrician to make sure there isn't anything wrong physically and a psychologist to make sure there isn't anything wrong emotionally. Very important. Good luck!

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answers from Sacramento on

I would get with his pediatrician and voice your concerns, this behavior is unusual for his age. See what the Dr says and suggests and be sure there is nothing physically/mentally wrong that may be causing this behavior. Curious about what are the consequences when your boy does things like you described in your post? If you have not had a consistent and age appropriate punishment since he was 3-4 this might possibly be the reason for his behavior. Do you sit down with him when he does things like this and tal to him about why he does it? What is his response? Does he have a father living in the same home to act as a good role model? Have there been any big changes in the home over the last few yrs that may have started these actions with him. As a suggestion,In the future when your boy does the toothpaste or peeing thing guess who I would have cleaning it up if it he were my child? Him! I would set some behavior rules with him asap and let him know upfront the consequences of poor behavior is he cleans up and then there is a loss of privileges too. I would look at his favorite things to do for recreation and not allow them for a minimum of 24 hrs., this includes, TV, computer time, DS games if he has one, playstation / Wii and even playdates. Try this removal of privileges for about a month and I know you will see improvement. Don't yell or raise your voice a lot with him when these things occur, just remain calm and let him know what he has lost. Then give him the paper towels and cleaner to clean up his bathroom mess or wherever the mess is that he has created. One last suggestion too, be sure you are giving lots of praise when he is behaving well and tell him how proud you are of him. Lots of daily hugs too are needed so he knows you still love him, just not his bad behavior at times. Hang in there Mom, you can conquer this behavior. Good luck.

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answers from Chicago on

A lot will suggest to see a pyschologist. Here is a different twist. Kids don't know how to completely express themselves. I worked with a child who would have tantrums and bang her head. ( what we discovered is that her inappropriate behavior was a result of a painful headache which was caused from food sensitivities) In many cases, they act out for the attention and don't know why it is that they need the attention. They are feeling uncomfortable, or frustrated, or on pins and needles all the time for some unexplained reason. It could very well be a nutritional deficiency that has gone undetected. Something to consider!



answers from Philadelphia on

I would give him some chores cleaning the bathroom. I bet he would in no time pee in the right area of the bathroom.
Find something that he is good at and praise him.
My kids are not destructive but my oldest son has one friend that is a really nice kid. He plays wonderful with my two younger kids but he is a bit rough with toys. I think sometimes it doesnt know his own strength.



answers from Chicago on

By going to Tuesday's Child with my daughter, I learned that children take their cues from adults, so how you react to your son's behavior is very important. Unfortunately, I don't think TC is available to parents of kids older than six. However, there are many resources you can consult. I recommend Love & Logic and Smart Love. You can find out information on both organizations by Googling the names. They are grounded in child psychology, and encourage positive discipline rather than punishment. On L&L's website, you can sign up for free e-mails containing parenting tips. L&L also has materials like DVDs and books for sale. SL sometimes gives presentations or hosts gatherings in the Chicago area. These two organizations are great starting points to understanding the behaviors your son is exhibiting, and will provide suggestions on how best to respond.



answers from Chicago on

This may sound a little off the wall, but kids that still wet their beds may have food allergies...certain foods can cause irritation to the bladder causing them to wet their beds at night beyond potty training days. Citrus, acid foods, chocolate are culprits even for women who suffer from urinary incontinence, same holds true for kids. Also, perhaps he does have some food allergies causing him to feel so angry all of the time, or there are some mineral deficiencies...magnesium is a big one in kids. If you decide to get food allergies, get IgA and IgE tests, not the skin tests, blood tests will be more accurate. Also, discuss this type of behavior and bed wetting in her book, Is This My Child? It is worth a shot!

Good Luck,
Maternal, Infant and Family Health Educator

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