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Immediate & same day consequences/punishments for a 7yo boy?

(36 Posts)
sparkle12mar08 Tue 12-Feb-13 08:14:28

What do you use as a consequence/punishment for a 7yo who appears to have no levers?! I'm starting to feel that I have no control or influence over ds1's behaviour and I find myself getting incredibly angry with him because i feel that nothing we say or do has any effect. He's not a particularly badly behaved child and is certainly not worst of his peer group, but he is very impulsive and emotional.

The most typical situations I feel we need to discipline are the sheer rudeness and disrespect that's coming home from school at the moment - we're getting a lot of sarcastic "yeah, yeah, whatever". And the general low level disobediance - not doing as he's told straight away, the purposeful ignoring, the fighting and arguing with his brother. The main problem is he just doesn't think ahead, even over a few minutes - there's no filter between his brain and his mouth; and he doesn't read the body language and tone of vioce to see when he's gone to far and to reign himself in. And it's all day, every day. Every day I usually have to shout at least twice before we leave for school, and god knows how many times between hometime and bedtime.

There's no way he would treat his teacher or friends parents this way and I know he's only pushing at home because it's a safe place to do so, but it's incredibly frustrating. On the one side, we've had umpteen positive discussions about why people don't like bad behaviour, why it won't get him nice things, about what reading body language actually means, we've spelt it out for him.

On the other side, we don't have consoles or game things and he doesn't have television or laptop time on a weekday anyway, so removal of screen time isn't possible. I'm utterly loathe to stop him from going to the afterschool clubs he does because they're already paid for (and are not cheap) and aren't necessarily on the day the incidents happen. He doesn't get pocket money so it can't be taken away, but I suppose we could start giving it to incentivise good behaviour? I just feel that we have nothing that can be used as an appropriate punishment. He gets a couple of bedtime stories from us and ten minutes reading in bed time and that's about it. We sometimes remove various bits of those but again it's important wind down time, and doesn't seem to have any longterm effect at all. It's all forgotten the next day. I feel I do have some 'personal authority' in that I have my version of the 'voice' and the 'look', but I also feel we need an actual sanction as well.

What do you all do, and use? What effect does it have? How can I get my dream child back?!

Andro Tue 12-Feb-13 11:17:38

Does he have an MP3 player of any kind? Removal of that could be used with a set period of good behaviour needed to earn it back (and an apology).
The ultimate immediate sanction we have is removal of both MP3 player and main stereo from the dc's bedroom...threatened once but never actually implemented (the threat alone was enough because both my dc know that I will follow through if required).
Repeated low level disrespect over an extended period would see a weekend treat canceled (play date/cinema/swimming/etc) because the dc in question is clearly not behaving in a suitable manner.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 12-Feb-13 13:58:19

No, he doesn't have a music player, or a nintendo or anything like that. There's nothing physical we can take away really. Weekend activities would be fair game but for the fact that the impact on the whole family, though splitting up and taking a child each for a few weeks would mean we could do or not do activities with ds1 as necessary. I think part of the problem is my need to feel that he's understood and stopped the behaviour immediately, because I recognise just how of the moment he is. But perhaps introducing longer term consequences, eg at the weekend, might be a way of encouraging and reminding him to think ahead? We usually have a home movie afternoon on a saturday and I think he'd be genuinely upset to miss that, I'll try using that as an incentive this week and see what effect it has. I just worry that it won't help him immediately because it's too far in the future and then he'll get distressed when I follow through - and I do always follow through, so I need to think carefully about what I use/threaten!

Scootee Tue 12-Feb-13 14:15:39

I remove a toy that my ds likes for the rest of the day. He is almost 7. Seems to work for us, but mods does really love his toys.

ChristmasJubilee Tue 12-Feb-13 18:06:33

Perhaps, rather than punishing him, he could be rewarded by earning laptop or television time.

GoddessofSuburbia Tue 12-Feb-13 18:19:31

I operate a three strikes and out policy, which works. Each low level thing is taken to be one strike, and three of them means I feel justified in imposing a larger sanction, eg loss of weekend treat. That being said, I introduced physical sweetie/pocket money in a jar at around this age. I gave it out at the start of the week, rather than on the actual day of spending, if that makes sense. Each transgression incurs a charge, taken directly from their allowance (preferably in sight of them) and put back into your purse. Mine, I found, are seriously motivated by the concept of having their own money, and anything that reduced that was to be avoided at all costs. Also can be good as motivation too- random, voluntary acts of serious kindness, helpfulness etc can be rewarded by a cash bonus as seen fit.

GoddessofSuburbia Tue 12-Feb-13 18:21:08

I should add that the money given was a small amount. And that I've probably succeeded in teaching them to be ruthlessly motivated by money. Hmm. Possibly not a good strategy after all!

sparkle12mar08 Tue 12-Feb-13 18:35:52

I like a lot of these ideas. I think we'll go for a two pronged attack. A lump sum of pocket money at the start of the week, say £1 in ten pence and five pence pieces. Each good thing done earns 5p more immediately, each naughty thing looses 5p immediately. Hopefully he'll at least end the week with what he started and if he manages a whole week with no subtractions (fat chance!) maybe we'll have an extra special treat as well. I must admit, I do still want to be able to 'punish' the rudeness & disrespect in particular, but hopefully the earning/reward potential will provide a positive influence as well.

The funny thing is we're seen as quite strict parents amongst our friends, and yet I feel as if we have the least levers sometimes.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 12-Feb-13 18:38:33

Eeek - fewest levers, before the pedants burn me alive... grin

HilaryClinton Tue 12-Feb-13 19:17:25

The transgressions you describe in para 2 all seem really normal, really really normal to me. If you want to have him behave like in school then you have to be his teacher/ head which presumably as his mother isn't especially attractive to you given the degree of separation it will require.
So for persistent low level disobedience, have simple low level insistence on politeness and your family's value.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 12-Feb-13 19:53:02

He is normal and as I say not the worst of his friends by a long chalk. But it's the continuity of the behaviour that gets my goat, the fact that it's all the time. If it were just the odd day of attitude here and there it wouldn't be so bad, but the rampant, consistent disrespect I simply will not tolerate. I will not have him call me a 'silly old woman' ever. Because what do you do when simple low level insistence doesn't work anymore? He knows the rules, and he also knows why that sort of behaviour isn't nice - we go through that on practically a daily basis, but he just can't seem to internalise that and stop it coming out of his mouth!

They don't tell you about this sort of thing at NCT...

housesalehelp Tue 12-Feb-13 21:25:03

he does sound like a normal 7 yo - at least very very like mine -and I do appriciate how annoying it is -Would it not be worth - and I am in way anti punishment - but at least trying for a while - ignorning bad and praising good behaviour - sounds like he gets ALOT of attention for this kind of thing - and really in my view you do have to pick your battles -

sparkle12mar08 Tue 12-Feb-13 21:47:21

You know, I've often wondered whether the problem is actually me, or rather, my reactions to his behaviour. I feel as if we should be punishing him, as if we're failing by not doing so, as if we need to be seen to be disciplining etc. Other friends seem to tolerate much, much more than we do. I just can't abide the stuff that is, in my opinion anyway, rude. And it makes me rage inside. I'd have been knocked from here to next week as a child if I'd said and done the things he does. I don't want him to think it's okay and that he can get away with it. But am I completely skewed in what I think is not okay?

NTitled Tue 12-Feb-13 21:51:14

I could have written every one of your posts for you, Sparkle. Not helpful, I know, but do rest assured that you are not the only one who is going through this. When my DS was 8, I introduced computer time just so I could remove it as a sanction. He's 11 now, and we are not much further on. Funnily enough, I'm regarded as pretty strict by all my friends. confused

notheroldie Tue 12-Feb-13 21:57:05

I say stick to your morals and your manners, you will be teaching him good things , respect for one.
There are fewer and fewer children being taught these these days and I say stick to what you want him to be like, with manners etc and nip any bad behaviour iin the bud. Tho I understand it is soo very tough as I have a 5yr old who is just the same.
Me and DH sound so old saying 'in my day we would never have got away saying that.. etc' but modern times don't mean no manners!

ConfusedishSay Tue 12-Feb-13 22:09:45

I, like NTitled could have written this. Seems to be par for the 7 yr old boy course hmm
Perhaps he is now old enough to have access to an MP3/Nintendo/other gadget at the next available opportunity (birthday/whatever other gift-giving occasion may crop up) My DH is Mr Gadget guy and convinced me a Wii was a good idea....not entirely sure, but at least the horror on DS´s face at the mere mention of removal of Wii priveleges is enough to stop me hurling it from the nearest window grin
What I AM still enormously frustrated with, is the seeming lack of ability to LEARN his lesson. Despite the leverage working, it still has to be used daily. He STILL must be reminded, nagged, cajoled, threatened and shouted at. I have tried consequences with only 1 warning, consequences with NO warnings, etc day: SAME story.
Short of electric shock treatment, does anyone have any great advice about teaching things and making them stick??
Feeling your pain, OP

sparkle12mar08 Tue 12-Feb-13 22:13:46

Oh god Confused - that's it, that's the root of my frustration - the inability to remember and LEARN from it! That's actually what makes me rage - having to constantly remind him - it literally makes me tongue tied with rage!!! Thank god I'm not the only one, not that I'd wish it on anyone else!

Taffeta Tue 12-Feb-13 22:15:30

Also sounds like my DS, who is 9 now and is Jekyll Hyde ATM.

The one and only thing that I find really improves his behaviour is when his sister is naughty. Then, and only then, he is the saint. hmm

The rest of the time is mainly me banning screen time, sending him to his room, throwing him out of the front door in the cold until he's calmed down, and sometimes rewarding and bi time praising for those golden nugget moments when he is being delightful.

Taffeta Tue 12-Feb-13 22:17:37 terms of making things stick, they never do in the heat of the moment IMO.

When he is snuggled in bed at night and we are chatting, then is a good time. I reind him of what he said, tell him how it made me feel, what does he think of it? Etc. IMO that's the time to talk about it.

Taffeta Tue 12-Feb-13 22:18:03

I remind him. Stupid ipad.

steppemum Tue 12-Feb-13 22:36:58

I think the disrespectful speech is the one that winds me up in my house. I have started to be very tough on it. I remind them - usually I just look at them and say PARDON?? they then either rephrase it, or apologise or continue. If they continue I send them to their room. I usually say, go to your room and as soon as you can speak to me in a civil way, you can come out. Ds usually comes down a few minutes latter and 'whatever' has gone. We are now a bit ruthless (it has taken us a long time to get ruthless, but actually, we are all calmer and more low key now, because we nip it in the bud) We will send ds out in the middle of a meal, in the middle of a conversation, any time, if he is giving me rude attitude.

dd2 aged 5 has just started to shout and demand what she wants and we are now doing the same, and she immediately changes tone and asks nicely.

At nice calm times we talk about why it isn't nice to speak that way, and how everyone in the family deserves respect.

For other things we use pocket money - ds is 10 and gets £1, when we want to change behaviour (eg he wasn't cleaning his teeth, went into bathroom and pretended) he looses 10p each time. It usually takes a couple of weeks and then the message has got through. Also, removal of computer time and tv time. Extra jobs around the house (I have a list on the fridge door, and anyone who hits/hurts has to do a job) 5 minutes early to bed, loss of bedtime story (bit of a last resort that one, and usually only if they have been a pain about bedtime)

I agree about immediate consequence, it has less effect if distant. Also, when ds is angry he doesn't care about any consequences, so we don't put them in. We send him to room to calm down, then when calm talk about incident and how it could have been different, and then get him to suggest a suitable consequence, one that links to the crime if possible.

DewDr0p Tue 12-Feb-13 22:43:57

I could have written your post. I have 2 of them - 8 and 6.

I also immediately thought about turning it round and making it about earning a treat. We once had a family "kind and helpful behaviour" chart which worked a treat - anyone (inc me!) could earn a star on the chart and when it was full we all had a treat together. They were so busy falling over themselves to be kind and helpful that they forgot to be naughty grin

Should really take my own advice, sigh.

The only other thing I can add is I wonder if it's this time of year - lots of my friends are complaining about the same thing - weather has been awful and dcs not outside much. We're trying to get more exercise in in the hope that will also help.

DewDr0p Tue 12-Feb-13 22:44:31

Oh pennies in a jar also works well here. When the jar is full they get to spend them grin

steppemum Tue 12-Feb-13 22:56:09

oh yes dewdrop, we have pennies in a jar too

3birthdaybunnies Tue 12-Feb-13 23:13:57

Watching with interest as we also don't have much leverage with dd1, they do earn phone time (playing games on smart phone for homework etc), but then it is hard if they have already earnt that time it seems unreasonable to withdraw it, it is as if I marked 20 essays and was paid for it, but then didn't mark 4 and had to pay back some of the money I had already been promised when I was good (iyswim).

We do sometimes discuss what someone else has said and how rude/disrespectful they were and how unpleasant/hurtful it is, and that helps a bit, has a similar impact to when a sibling plays up and they become the perfect one. I probably do need to praise them more too, I do it when they have achieved something or worked hard, but it seems harder to remember when they have achieved 'not being naughty'.

We are lucky that dd1 is generally good and knows not to be too lippy as there is zero tollerance for it, however she will not admit she is in the wrong, and sometimes, especially when tierd she will blow her top, then the door slamming starts.

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