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Can't discipline 7yo without him making the situation worse

(27 Posts)
Mrswinkler Sat 02-Jan-16 07:38:54

Ok, so this morning after a lovely cuddle he asked could he use the iPad. (Yes, because I'd like a chill out in bed myself...). It needed charging so I said I'd get the lead, it was downstairs, whilst I make a brew and did he want a hot chocolate, which he did. All well.

Upstairs I find he's on my phone, I asked him to plug the iPad in. He refuses and continues on my phone. I repeat it and he says no so I take the phone off him and ask him to get plug it in and he can have it back. Cue him kicking off, and throwing the lead when he realises there's no plug on the end (it's on the bed next to him where I put it). After a massive strop where he plugs it in. I said because of the strop he's not having the phone he can wait until the iPad is charged.

He swears at me (recently started this). So I say no iPad. He then just kids off again more swearing, snatching book off me, throwing pillows. I tell him he's not doing himself any favours, he continues.

I stay calm and ask him why he gets so angry, tell him he could have had the phone, iPad he just chose to misbehave and that was the consequence. He just continues 'but I didn't want a hot chocolate, I'm going to pour it down the sink', more names...

He quietened down then after a while asked if he could have the iPad when it was charged. I said no but if he calmed down and was good for the rest of the morning he could have it later. Well, that's just not good enough is it. More bad behaviour, looking round the room seeing what he can do to upset me. Kicking me...

Throughout all this I've stayed calm and stuck to my guns. But the penny just doesn't seem to drop with him. He continues to do bad stuff and I ignore him unless it's dangerous or damaging.

What am I doing wrong? I know it's well out of order and I need to nip it in the bud. He hates being told off this happens a lot, he's just constantly fighting me when I do rather than accepting he was wrong.

I left to go to another room, he follows me. I tell him to go and watch TV and calm down. That's not good enough. 'I'll turn the volume up loud'.....

Anyway I explained to him I was being fair, he huffed off to watch TVs and hasn't put it on loud. I'll go down in a bit and carry on the day as normal.

I try not to blow up and get mad but stick it out and then speak to him about his behaviour when he's calm. He won't get the iPad today now, he's blown that.

What else can I do, he really can't control his anger and emotions or am I expecting too much?

Mrswinkler Sat 02-Jan-16 07:39:49

Sorry that was quite long I just wanted to clearly explain a typical scenario.....

Emochild Sat 02-Jan-16 07:45:56

That sounds difficult to deal with but I think you are right that it's an anger issue

You say you've tried to talk to him about how angry he is this morning -he's probably too much into the red mist to even think about it

How would he react if you tried to discuss it this afternoon when everything is calm?

Is this bevhaviour typical or just reserved for when he's at home?

Mrswinkler Sat 02-Jan-16 07:53:11

Reserved for home, usually reserved for me although he dad gets it too. Not the swearing though.

If I say to him would he speak to his teacher like this he realises what he's doing and if I suggest I talk to her about his behaviour at home he's mortified.

He's generally been quite wilful. I split up with his dad last April and this started a few months before we did, I'm aware of the link. But he sees loads of his dad, he sees us getting on well together, we are still 'a family' in that respect just not living together.

How can I get him to deal with anger?

There is an imbalance between the way me and his dad treat him, he's much more heavy handed, I'm a bit too laid back. We are working on this although it still causes problems.

If it's a case of him working through the changes in our family I want to help him just don't know how.

Emochild Sat 02-Jan-16 07:58:58

It's definitely worth talking to school, not necessarily his teacher, but the pastoral team (learning mentors)
This is absolutely the sort of thing they can support with

I'd speak to school on Monday but for now just remain consistent

He may be acting out with you because he feels safe to do so, so please don't start thinking its because you are too soft

This morning he behaved badly and you punished him with a consequence -that doesn't sound too soft to me

Dinobab Sat 02-Jan-16 08:02:44

Maybe he's testing you to see how far he can push it, or he could be questioning relationships and wondering about his relationship with you that you'll always love him because he thought you'd always love his dad and wants to make sure.
I think discipline boundaries and lots of reassurance that you love him even if he's naughty night be worth a try?

Mrswinkler Sat 02-Jan-16 08:06:44

Thanks. I will when he's in next week.

I haven't read up on how kids deal with parents splitting up, maybe I should to get an insight into maybe what's going on.

DefiniteMaybe Sat 02-Jan-16 08:09:43

He sounds very like my 7 year old. Nothing's ever good enough and he'll strop and kick off about anything and everything. I've got no advice, but it sounds like you dealt with that better than I do.

senua Sat 02-Jan-16 08:10:55

If you believe in the seven ages of man, then this is typical. They spend the first seven years as an infant, where they cling to their mother. He is now looking for more independence and is subconsciously kicking away the infant/mother relationship. Help him to transition.
And then do it all again in another seven years when he transitions into a teenager!grin

SueGeneris Sat 02-Jan-16 08:18:33

Watching with interest. My DD (5.9) is just like this in that kind of scenario. It's like she just wants to do everything that's wrong and bad - red mist. Consequences like taking her away from a situation (eg where she has hit her brother ) cause her to go wild. Screaming, stamping, calling me stupid etc. She always ends up in more trouble for the reaction to being told off for something than for whatever the original thing was!

We have had a lot of chats about what to do when you feel angry and talked through options (go to your room for some quiet time, tell your teddies about why you're angry - but basically that while it's ok to feel angry you can't inflict it on other people). I'm hoping to help her find a way to handle her reactions and temper but feel a bit clueless! I do have The Explosive Child on my kindle so I should probably read that again.

Also have the same dynamic as you with DH where he is heavier handed so she does not kick off for him in quite the same way (though I wonder if this will last when she's a teenager). I don't think this helps as I think she lets loose with me.

SueGeneris Sat 02-Jan-16 08:26:06

I drew a mind map for DD of what things she could do if she was feeling angry, including the things she does do that aren't bad and we have talked through that. I'm hoping gradually she might internalise some of this stuff.

I also explain to my DC that it is my job to teach them how to behave and imposing consequences like eg removing an ipad is part of my job as if you behave like that as a grown up other people won't want to share their things with you, help you out etc. Also being in a temper means you can't use expensive devices because I won't take the risk of them being thrown around.

Purplehonesty Sat 02-Jan-16 08:34:16

I have a six year old who gets really upset/angry in the same kind of situations as yours.
However he tends to sigh or growl and flounce dramatically to his room, slamming doors behind him. That's as far as it got to before I decided I wasn't putting up with it.
We use a marble reward jar - I know that seems a bit young for him but it really worked. He gets a marble for good behaviour, being kind and helpful and loses marbles for bag behaviour, strops etc.
When he gets to 10/20 marbles he gets a treat, he chooses it advance.
We saw a difference in two days. It also helps if he isn't too tired.
This might be too young for your ds but certainly worked for ours.
Good luck!

Mrswinkler Sat 02-Jan-16 08:58:40

Sue I like that idea. His dad says things like that to him sometimes. I think I need to join in more.

I've also come across the marble jar and Explosive Child but not done/read yet.

I can see some new year's resolutions forming.....

Mrswinkler Sat 02-Jan-16 09:00:13

He's just told me I'm not allowed to use my phone or read my book if he can't have iPad. I told him that I hadn't sworn at him this morning so I could!

DeckTheWallsWithLotsOfMolly Sat 02-Jan-16 09:01:35

I was going to ask if he had recently gone through a big change - sounds like a classic reaction. After doing the "Circle of Security" course, we try and do loads of validating/naming feelings BEFORE imposing discipline and amazingly it works a treat. So something like "You are feeling really frustrated right now. You didn't want to give me my phone. You're so angry and upset." The idea is that he has a need and he is miscuing you by acting defiant/aggressive - but when you meet the needs, the undesirable behavior will go away.

PassiveAgressiveQueen Sat 02-Jan-16 09:23:33

I was really angry after my parents split, i hated everyone, everyone was so stupid.
Just trying to be reassuring anger is not abnormal, but get help for him.

Mrswinkler Sat 02-Jan-16 09:49:35

The naming feelings thing is in the How to Talk book. I did do it for a while but he took to going 'yeah, yeah, yeah'. It would be funny if it didn't wind me up so much!

Still even if he's reacting like that it must be going in, just need to go back to doing it.

Hard work this mum stuff!

megletthesecond Sat 02-Jan-16 09:58:45

Mine are like this. It's hard (working totally lp). The rewards didn't work for them though and how to talk was what I did anyway. I'm trying to give them more responsibility and see how that goes. They're angels at school <<sigh>> ..

Mrswinkler Sat 02-Jan-16 10:04:56

This is what I love about MN. Knowing people are in the same boat makes it so much easier!

peggyundercrackers Sat 02-Jan-16 10:15:07

Sorry but if my 7yr old was swearing at me he would soon find himself on the wrong side of me. I definitely wouldn't put up with a 7yr old swearing at me nor shouting at me. They wouldn't be getting anything later and would know what the inside of their room looked like for a long time.

You need to toughen up with him and get much harder. There would definitely be no negotiating with a 7yr old child - I'm the adult in the relationship and they will do what they are told.

Kleinzeit Sat 02-Jan-16 10:19:18

Alternative perspective wink Less is more. He gets angry because in your well-intentioned adult attempts to help him out you frustrate him and you are in his face a lot. You are working complex long-term plans for the morning but he sees things simply and immediately: first he wants the iPad and you say he can’t have it right then so he gets on the phone instead while you go downstairs and start faffing around with cocoa. Then you tell him to plug the iPad in though by then he has lost interest in it and you take the phone away when he tries to carry on doing what he’s doing. How annoying is that?

Could you not leave him to get on with things more himself? Let him run the iPad out of charge and then when it stops working he can go get the charger himself.

ChipInTheSugar Sat 02-Jan-16 10:25:22

Another here with a similar child (7.2) although I think there are early attachment issues muddying the behavioural waters in our case.

I can only add talking through the situation at a time when he is more receptive, naming the emotions (maybe with cards) to identify how he was feeling, and asking for HIS suggestions on how he could have handled it better.

It's so tiring though - I've raised three children and now BAM! This one reacts so differently and it's exhausting second guessing how he will respond to anything.

I have the school nurse involved and also a counselling service run by the school will hopefully start this year.

weaselwords Sat 02-Jan-16 11:10:45

Your description of your row sounds almost identical to the "heated discussions" I have with my 14 yr old. Do kids have a hormone change at 7yrs old? Mine is particularly stroppy when sleep deprived.

You are parenting fine. They are just boundary pushing horrors sometimes.

Mrswinkler Sat 02-Jan-16 12:29:17

Weasel apparently they do have a testosterone rush around this age, forgot about that.....

IguanaTail Sat 02-Jan-16 12:43:54

Perhaps you need to get down to his level, tell him off and send him to sit in (the spare room or a boring room) until you're ready to collect him. You can remain calm and in control and tell him off perfectly well.

He's just told me I'm not allowed to use my phone or read my book if he can't have iPad. I told him that I hadn't sworn at him this morning so I could!

He thinks he's your equal - the reason that he can't use your phone or the iPad is because he has been rude and you are punishing him. You're in charge and you make the rules and he follows them. That's how it works. He knows that full well from school so he does know that from home. List down some rules and consequences. Stick to them. Schools don't operate by negotiating every move with 30 7-year-olds. They have systems and procedures and rules. Kids crave that. You can tell his teacher if you want but your authority rests with you. Kids crave power but it makes them unhappy.

Sit with your husband and work out rules for him, like:

No bad language
Do as I'm told

With that he gets a warning if he does it once and you ask for an apology. And second time you take him straight away to a boring room. He won't like it because he thinks he's in charge but the more work you put in now the easier it will be in a few years' time.

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