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I hit my son

(19 Posts)
muddledmamma Fri 19-Oct-12 12:13:29

Hi, hope I'm putting this in the right place. Just looking for some advice/perspective really. My 8yr old's attitude is depressing me. He's always been exceptionally strong-minded - an adult in a child's body is what everyone says about him. He struts about like the world owes him. Doesn't matter what you say or how many times you say it, things don't sink in with him. So standard stuff like interrupting, shouting (no matter where he is, in the house/park/playgroup), anything to draw attention to himself, no matter how many times he's told. He's so ungracious - if he gets a gift if he doesn't like it he ignores everything we've tried to teach him about manners, he's unhelpful, untidy, you ask hm to do anything and it's 'i'm doing this/in a minute' and then it's not done properly anyway. He thinks he knows better than I do about everything and finding he's wrong doesn't change his attitude. He doesn't apply himself to anything even though he's bright. I've worried so much about him since his younger sibling was born (5 yr gap) and we've done our best. We give him so much time, we talk to him about stuff, he has lots of extra curricular stuff and he's just not pleasant to be around. He's obnoxious & inconsiderate.

Last night I smacked his bum. He was asking me for something while I was busy with his sibling and I said no and he went and got it anyway and shoved it in my face. That's the second time this year I've smacked him and I've never done that before. It's got to the point where I'm thinking smacking is the only thing he'll respond to. I notice an improvement in his behaviour afterwards which shows me that he KNOWS what's required. Any other punishments just don't work. In fact, he offers them up. 'I'm sorry I did that, mum. Take away my wii time for a week'. I mean WTF?

We give him a lot of opportunities, classes, all that, he has 3 different things in a week which I don't think is too much, and I'm reluctant to cut them out just because I love that he's engaged with these things while he's there. But maybe I should go old school and just keep him closer to me. But the reason we signed him up to that stuff in the first place was in the hope of finding a channel for his personality. I don't know and I'm sorry for the rant. Do you think this is just par for the course? I'm worried that by the time he's a teenager our window for influencing him will have closed. Would appreciate your thoughts.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 19-Oct-12 12:22:22

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, it's so difficult. Every child needs to be parented differently, which makes things even harder. I think you need to tackle this behaviour by sorting out one issue at a time, which one is the most irritating? I'm not saying ignore the rest, just focus on this one.

AlmostAHipster Fri 19-Oct-12 12:22:34

To be honest, he sounds thoroughly spoilt. You know smacking isn't the greatest way to parent even if it does improve his behaviour short term so you need to change tack and be very firm with your expectations of his behaviour.

If he had shoved something in my face when I'd told him not to have it, I would have removed it from him, scolded him and sent him to his room for 10 minutes. If he didn't apologise, sincerely, then he'd be staying up there. All evening, if necessary.

I've got feisty girls and have spent every waking moment since they were tiny guiding them as to what is and what is not acceptable behaviour. Treats such as extra-curricular activities had to be earned with good behaviour - if they played up or were rude, they didn't go.

I know it's terribly hard but you have to choose your battles - mine is manners (their bedrooms are mostly health hazards!).

muddledmamma Fri 19-Oct-12 12:32:17

Thanks for your responses. Yes, I agree he's spoiled and this is the main thing, I think. Thing is, he's not materialistic. Only thing that bothers him his taking away books and I'm not prepared to do that. Maybe if we took away the other stuff that he's not bothered about (or doesn't realise he's bothered about) then he'd be forced to look at things differently. Or maybe we've gone down the wrong path altogether with his hobbies and he'd be much happier not doing them. Never thought that before, will give it thought.

Also, a lot of his personality traits are things that would be great if he were an adult. They just seem odd coming from a child. Honestly, it's easy to forget he's just a child. He was never cuddly, affectionate, always wanted to be independent. But now his sibling is here who IS very affectionate and cuddly and I can see how this could be difficult for him. He knows we love him, I'm very clear on that. OMG Parenting's a minefield! smile

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 19-Oct-12 12:35:36

I have a son who thinks he's an adult, children like this are very tricky to manage. He is cuddly and affectionate though. Have you tried the very useful 'you should be very ashamed of the way that you behave, I know I am.' This works wonders. wink

muddledmamma Fri 19-Oct-12 12:59:08

Hi LadyMary, I will try that, thank you smile

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 19-Oct-12 13:01:55

You didn't answer my question. What is the most annoying? Tackle the behaviour one problem at a time. If he's a mini grown up, you could also try 'that's really immature. I had thought better of you.' Chances are he'll stop.

muddledmamma Fri 19-Oct-12 13:13:52

Sorry, thought I had in my previous post. Its the spoiled aspect that's most annoying. I'm going to talk it over with OH this evening and suspect we'll curtail his activities, make him earn them.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 19-Oct-12 13:16:07

I'd make him do more jobs around the house. For each job he completes, he gets a star. He needs X amount of stars to do Y. If he's disrespectful one/two star/s is/are removed.

muddledmamma Fri 19-Oct-12 13:48:15

Good idea, we've done that before and let it slip. I think I'll make up a rota of chores he has to do and put it on the wall. Maybe a little unfair to expect him to keep on top of stuff without a daily visual reminder.Actually, it's just occurring to me now that he's on holiday and doesn't have the usual routine of homework. The problems are there anyway, I understand that, but I'm wondering if they're been magnified by the change of routine. Anyway, this has been really useful and so glad no one came down on me like a ton of bricks for the smacking. I hate that I did that. Looking forward to tackling this now. Thanks everyone. xxx

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 19-Oct-12 13:51:38

Don't let things slip, especially if they work. A rota is a great idea, they get so wrapped up doing their own things that they forget. I really do understand how you feel, it's hard. Stay calm, be persistent and take no shit!

GimmeIrnBru Fri 19-Oct-12 18:58:23

DS1 was meant to be going to Blackpool for the day with DH but his special treat did not go ahead because he was naughty for a few days beforehand. He was in tears, very upset. But you had to take this road sometimes with them. Let them know who's the parent. I sometimes think my 5yo is spoilt but we try our best to make sure he appreciates what he's given.

Don't beat yourself up, parenting is so hard at times, OP! I've had many hard times already and I'm not even at your stage yet! Give yourself a pat on the back please, at least you care enough to ask for advice. Shows your heart is in the right place smile

muddledmamma Fri 19-Oct-12 23:41:49

GimmeIrnBru, really appreciate your generous comment, thank you. xxx

Hayley1324 Sat 20-Oct-12 00:36:16

Sit him down and ask him about it, my 5yo is the same and drives me insane, but now i've noticed if i sit and have a good chat with him about it then he seems to calm right down. it's awful as an adult when you have things on your mind so for a child it must be hell. I told my son that i would only treat him like a big boy if he acted like one so i started to give him more independence in return for him remembering to tidy his room etc. worth a try, i work in a nursery and its amazing how many parents come in asking for advice and say about bottom smacking, it seems effective at first but its only a short term fix really because you cant do it everytime he does something wrong otherwise he'll start to dislike you. Hope this helps xx

bbface Sat 20-Oct-12 07:16:39

I have given this some thought. Must be seriously stressful for you.

So either this is a case that you and your boy are clashing at this phase of his life, but as he grows older he will develop, mature and basically become nicer. Consequently, your relationship will improve.

However, what I really think is that this may be a case that your boy is not particularly nice. Pls pls do not think I am being nasty, I promise I am not. There are people on this planet who are not particularly nice, they are not sensitive to people, they do not mind winding people up, they unsettle people, they are loners. We all know someone like it, and they were no doubt like it as a child.
The reason I post is that if the above scenario is indeed the case, then the role of parents is more important than ever. He could go one way or the other. One way is that he grow into an unpleasant man, colleague, husband, father. The other is that he learns what is acceptable, decent behaviour. It might not come naturally to him as it does to others, but he grasps how to get on in life and not be the irritating, unpleasant man that is ignored, bullied or worse, feared. So you need to keep at it. Even though it is tough, keep showing him the right way, and all the love you have. It will be tough and may seem fruitless, but keep in your mind that you are doing something really important with your boy.

poppyboo Sat 20-Oct-12 12:55:21

Read 'Hold on to your Kids' & 'Simplicity Parenting' ~ both could really help you.

stargirl1701 Sat 20-Oct-12 13:10:31

Have you read 'Raising Boys' by Steve Biddulph? It may have some appropriate ideas to help you manage his behaviour. Also, 'How to Talk so Kids Will Listen' is a good read.

I taught a wee boy who was always in trouble in the playground because he would intervene in altercations. His motivation was to stand up for anyone he perceived as being bullied. His Mum was really concerned but she came to realise that this was a positive trait when considering his future as an adult. He has a noble spirit. I never 'punished' him - just talked about letting others (i.e. adults) take responsibility and always keeping yourself safe. Parenting is about raising adults...

muddledmamma Sun 21-Oct-12 21:49:23

Thanks everyone. Some of what you said really chimes. I've ordered a couple of those books to have a look at.

bbface, he's not what you describe. Yes, he's being a shit atm but I think it's our fault as parents. stargirl1701, the little boy you describe is exactly like mine. He's very noble and has a strong sense of justice, he's just still too young/naive to understand the social niceties.

We had another ding dong yesterday where I asked him to go get dressed, washed, come down and help. He was away for ages and when I called him he was still in his pjs. He'd sat down to read a book. Scatty doesn't begin to cover it! So he's lost ALL his privileges. No after school stuff, no friends in, not allowed out with friends. He's got to earn it back. I got him sorting laundry yesterday - what a revelation. Not only did it allow me to get on with other stuff but we were able to have a laugh while he was doing it. And littlest one joined in too, wanting to be helpful. I've obviously not been a very good delegator, trying to do everything myself - I can see how damaging this is now. Excellent excuse to delegate some more! smile

And of course, him being grounded, no activities etc, means I get to keep him close to me. Attachment parenting age 8 and three quarters!

LadyInTheWater Mon 22-Oct-12 00:18:28

Hello muddledmamma

According to your info, we know that your 8 year old son is being described in these ways:

"he's being a shit"
"an adult in a child's body"
"he struts about like the world owes him"
"things don't sink in"
"draws attention to himself"
"He's so ungracious"
"he ignores everything"
"he's unhelpful"
"he's untidy"
"he thinks he's know better"
"he's obnoxious and inconsiderate"
"he's spoiled"
"personality ...... traits that would be great if he were an adult"
"scatty doesn't begin to cover it"

And you say:

"He knows we love him, I'm sure of that!" Does he?

I think it comes across clearly from your postings that that you are not sure that you are doing the right thing - it's really good that you are prepared to reflect on your own influence.

This is tough! You seem to have tried every conceivable sanction and punishment. He may feel that he is quite a problem for you. At a deep level he is desperate to be loved by you, not least of all because that is a survival instinct. But he has opened a part of you that is prepared to see him in all the ways that you have described above. He knows that you regard him in this awful multitude of negative ways, but he'd rather be all those things than risk losing your attention. He feels connected to you in the very turmoil you have described. It has become the conduit, and children will find any route to get your attention, particularly when they feel insecure.

For five years he thought he was special, and then...WHAM ....along came junior. His observations of the tender attention the new arrival was receiving may have compounded a feeling that he was losing you in some way.

I don't know what other circumstances are like, but there seems to be an underlying feeling for him that he feels safer by seeing you becoming anxious.

I'm going to take a guess now, and I apologise if this is wrong. I believe that you think about yourself in many of the ways that you have described him. I also think you chastise yourslef with negative thoughts about YOU. One part of you is projecting the 'good' part of you on to the younger child, but the 'not so good' part of you seems to be falling on to your 8 year old.

You are trapped in a dance, and as the adult, you are a significant part of the problem. You have listed numerous punishments you have tried. This is so sad. I'm sure you care, and I strongly support the people here who have suggested finding ways to positively acknowledge your son. The books suggested are good, and I would make a real effort to distribute gentle, positive, acknowledgements into your child's day. If it feels like you are losing your temper, then address that - that is about you, not him. Our words are pretty useless if we are unable to show a good example. Within a sense of being real, give facial expression of love to your son. Avoid flashes of anger and in particular avoid look at him 'as if' he's any of the horrid phrases listed above".
Place far less emphasis on punishment and let’s really reward the good - no matter how small. He is unique, he is unbelievanle and beautiful. Celebrate his life and find words to communicate your love for him. His world is full of possibilities. Shine the torch, show him the way, and show him the respect that you wish him to value.

Feel proud of the things you do with him that do work out well - all is not lost, though it's time to do a re-appraisal. The word "shit" came from your mouth, and it comes from your thoughts. You may need advice on how you stop thinking about yourself as 'shit', before you are able to ditch this expression (and others) about him. You describe yourself as ‘muddled’ which is also how you describe him.

You are right in saying that if things continue like this, there will be problems ahead. He will become conditioned to a lifetime of thinking about himself in negative ways. You CAN change that.

Good luck muddledmamma. Your progress will be a gift for the future happiness for you all the family. Don’t expect a quick turnaround - it took a long time to get here, so it will take time for the good work to establish. Be patient. Believe in him and believe in yourself.

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