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What do you do when your DC simply says "no"?(25 Posts)
I have two DSs. DS2 is 8. He's a bright child, doing well at school, confident, articulate, polite (to others).
However, he has the most enormous mood swings. He flies off the handle if told off or see any criticism of any kind in a comment. He completely loses it and storms off, slams doors, throws things, lashes out. He's actually very sensitive and if he thinks he's being criticised for anything at all he struggles to handle it and storms off shouting and being rude.
This morning he was asked five times to get his bag ready for school (something he ought to have done last night). He simply said "no". I asked him nicely, trying to keep calm and not shout, he just dug his heels in and said "no". I end up getting cross and he ends up storming off, slamming his bedroom door, being rude, shouting at his older brother who said "your behaviour is appalling" and ultimately hitting me when I tried to stop him from attacking his brother.
Two days ago he threw an enormous strop because he wasn't allow an ice cream before dinner. He was rude and stormed off into the living room, slammed the door, put on the tv and when I told him to turn it off he simply refused.
What do you actually do when faced with this. He's too big for me to physically lift out of the living room/into the car/out of the room etc. I'm at a loss.
What consequences does he face when he's disobedient or violent?
We were using things like a ban on playing on the computer (they only get to play at weekends and so this hit hard). It wasn't having any effect on changing the behaviour though and sometime DS2 will even say "what is the punishment?" and then decide whether to "accept" it so that he can carry on with the behaviour!!
I've just read how to talk so that children listen and listen so that children talk and it says punishments don't work and cause the child to feel resentment and anger (which is certainly the case with DS2) so I have been thinking of trying to change this but the danger then is that he feels like he can get away with the bad behaviour.
I don't really "get" this child (although I obviously love him very much). He's wired very differently from me and is the polar opposite of DS1. I need to understand what will get through to him.
I would say you need a more immediate consequence - the weekend can be a long way away and drags it out. I'd of switched the tv off at the wall too when he had a tantrum the other day.
I am sorry I am no more help, I hope some one more knowledge comes along soon for you
I have taught this child. You may want to see an ed psych about possible oppositional defiance disorder.
Can you pick your battles more? It might have just been simpler to not say anything and just pack his bag for him. Instead praise when he does pack his bag.
Also, when he is calm and happy is a good time to talk to him about why he gets angry, how he feels, and what he thinks you can do to help him?
Kind of ditto with the ice cream thing. Does it really matter if he watched TV?
If you can let the small negatives slide, and give genuine specific praise when he does something "good" that might help?
Hi op. I have no experience of 8 year olds so am possibly talking nonsense, but as a teacher who used to rubbish at behaviour management and is now pretty good, a couple of things jumped out at me from your post. 1 that he should have done the bag last night, and 2 that you asked Him to do his bag. I am wondering if he is pushing back because the boundaries aren't firm enough. He got away with not packing the bag last night, so he fancies his chances of getting away with it again. Was there a consequence for him disobeying the first instruction to pack last night? I think possibly he needs to find the boundaries and will keep pushing till he does.
I don't know how you asked him to pack the bag, but I found your choice of language interesting, if it is an instruction, you need to phrase it as an instruction, not a request. Eg I would never ask a child to pack their bag, I would tell them to. It's a subtle difference but an important one. Using thank you rather than please after instructions is really helpful with this. I think children sense when the person who is meant to be charge doubts their authority, and this makes them act up. I'm not sure about appropriate sanctions or responses to 8 year old misbehaviour, but I think looking at your own projection of authority could be useful. Or I could be talking rubbish which I will realise when my toddler dd hits 8!
When he says NO have you tried asking WHY NOT? You said you are wired differently and you don't ' get him'. Perhaps he doesn't ' get you ' either .
So he doesn't manage disappointment well?
How is when you play games with him? Does he always want to win?
With an ultra-competitive child I think it's good to play lots of small games with them (knots and crosses is the best) where they can experience losing and winning in short space of time. You can move onto simple card games later.
I think I can recognise your son in myself and to an extent my brothers behaviour. Ultimately I think we were both lazy, introverted children, who felt our stubbornness gave us some control. One thing which we didn't have was solid boundary and routine, which on reflection I think would have helped us. We slept when we wanted, ate what we liked that was in the house when we wanted to etc. we knew our parents were weak, and our will could beat them down.
What's difficult now is to break the cycle. Is your son a happy boy? What makes him happy? I think getting to understand him would be helpful. Also just working through the general check list, is he tired, over stimulated, eating well etc?
I have an 8 year old girl who has her moments of rudeness and shouting, etc.
At a calm moment I tell her that I don't like this behaviour, that it makes me feel sad when she does it. That I like the nice girl who is polite (which she is most of the time). This does seem to go in. Then we praise the good behaviour when we get it.
Packing bags for school - I would say 'Have you packed your bag yet?'. If the answer is 'no' then I would say 'well don't forget you need to do it, we're going in xxx minutes'.
For outright defiance I would ignore it and then take them to school without the bag packed.
It is annoying because at that age you know they are perfectly capable of doing it and an 8 year old should be able to take responsibility for doing it. To avoid that confrontation in the morning I would try to make sure the bag is packed the night before in future.
I think when they are in the middle of strop about something like ice cream you have to ignore them. They have taken themselves off and are not in the room with you. In effect this allows them to calm down (its a version of putting a toddler in time out really). Unless tv is specifically forbidden at that time then allow him to put it on. If tv is forbidden then you have to make it harder for him to put the tv on. Then you just carry on as normal. I ask my daughter to leave the room and not to come back until she can behave herself. I constantly remind her that we do not talk to her like that, therefore I will not have her talking to us in the same way (NB this only works if you are not shouting back - which is very hard no to do sometimes!).
I was going to suggest how to talk so kids will listen. Re punishment, I'd say it's much more important to open up the lines of communication than punish. I'd find it pretty hard to always get told what to do, have my life pretty controlled. And that's what kids face (for understandable reasons perhaps) so I can see why it would be frustrating. Mine's younger, but what I'd do is acknowledge the no, acknowledge the feeling, explain why I'm asking what I am. It not about backing down so much as turning it into more of a dialogue than a standoff. I wouldn't punish for not seeing eye to eye with me. That's inspired by how to talk so kids will listen. In my view punishment, belligerence etc (not saying it's what you do, but that mindset is out there) only works for so long. It's not going to work when they're bigger. I'm in it for the long game so focusing on building good lines of communication rather than always seeking ready compliance.
I think you are right in that you can't force him to do these things, and there is no point getting into a standoff over it. Re the bag, I think I would have asked him, then when he said no, left it at that, and let him choose to pack it, or deal with the consequences of not having what he needs at school. TV I would have switched off, and unplugged, and left him to it.
I would focus on natural consequences rather than punishments as such where possible, so where he refuses to do something, you accept that, but if you have to do it you can't do, what ever nice thing you were going to do for him.
He doesn't manage disappointment or any type of "criticism". It's the same whether he's being told off or even when he accidentally hurts someone or breaks something. So for example he poked me in the eye the other day, completely by accident, and I gasped and held my eye for a minute (didn't tell him off or anything). He said "it was an accident" and ran out of the room into his bedroom and slammed his door and then wouldn't come out. It's similar behaviour.
In terms of being firm I will ask him to do something but then it does get firmer (although generally still framed as a request rather than a "do it now!"). He just says "no" though.
He is a "lazy" child, yes. He won't often do anything voluntarily.
I think he's a happy child . He hasn't given me any reason to think he's generally unhappy either at home or at school. When he's calm we do talk about the behaviour but then I just get assurances that he won't repeat the behaviour. That then flies out of the window the next time there's an issue. Its the outright defiance that is difficult to handle.
I can certainly try not getting into the confrontation and going without the bag etc but this may well mean taking him to school naked a few times and we'll never get out of the house on time for anything since I can't physically lift him into the car and he takes about half an hour to calm down on his own.
I think it's different methods for different kids. My sister has three very close together and they're all very different. My niece was very open to dialogue, usually if she was presented with an explanation as to why she was asked to do something she'd (sometimes reluctantly) do it. My nephews were a different story. They needed clear consequences. My sister basically found the thing they like best and took it off them when they misbehaved! The eldest was quite money orientated (still is) so pocket money was divided into daily chunks and amounts knocked off, that way there was a daily sanction rather than saying "on Saturday you won't get your pocket money" on Monday.
The youngest liked pudding and playing out- again divided into chunks and withdrawn for bad behaviour.. Make sure chores are done before money or whatever is doled out He also went to school without his bag/pe kit on the odd occasion- it was very effective.
Always follow through. Never threaten anything you're not prepared to do. Praise really good behaviour to the rafters.
I'm quite strict but as a consequence we don't have that many battles. I echo what's been said about letting them stomp off and calm down. Then you can tell them you don't like that behaviour. Ignoring strips is quite a good tactic I think. However, stuff also needs to get done and there is no way my kids would have ice cream before dinner. You need to set boundaries on some things. So it's ok for you to ask for a bag to be packed. It's ok to say no to ice cream before dinner. You have to deliver consequences and follow through. Don't let them think you are weak and they can get round it. So yes, ban the compyter and follow through, ban other stuff and follow through. I think it's nonsense to say punishments are the wrong thing. Come on, they're kids and they loon to parents for guidance and boundaries. But like I said, i'm reasonably strict!
Oh but always praise good behaviour/ offer treats for being good. I find that motivates my kids hugely!!
Reading with interest and a sinking heart as I recognise my ds5...
'Why not?' I'll try that one, open up the communications.
Getting so frustrating though, he's a lovely, loving boy 98% of the time. But the instant mood swing catches me by surprise and often it'll be after I've dine something really nice fit him (Legoland etc) and I just think 'you ungrateful so and so' and get cross.
Im terrified he'll turn into a horror and a wrongun bit over dramatic I know!
Regarding the school bag (I have an almost 8yr old) I'd have shrugged and said
"Ok, that's fine. Just thought you might need pencil case/lunch/PEkit today, but if you think you'll be fine without then great"
And my face would have had "SO not bothered" written on it. I've found this "putting the onus on him" to have worked with DS. He's also bright (usually co-operative but boy, we've had flashes) and seems to "get" the reverse psychology. Doesn't always like it but I think deep down he appreciates it (in as much as a 7yr old can)
All children are, in their own ways, pushing boundaries and testing you (subconsciously) a fair chunk of the time. So it is tricky. And I find it's not unusual for things to be going along quite nicely and then they suddenly do or say something which is horrible. Mood swings, etc. That may partly be caused by tiredness or hunger. Sometimes my daughter is grumpy when she gets out of bed in the mornings whereas other times she is lovely.
With the outright 'no' my other reply to that is to say 'well I'll remember that next time you're asking me to do x or y. Don't see why I should bother to do things for you if you won't do this for me'.
With the telling them off when they do something, even accidentally, I was getting a similar response ("Its not my fault I didn't do it"). I had to say "It would be much nicer if you could notice that someone else is hurt rather than trying to make out that you didn't do it. It know you didn't mean to but you did hurt me. I will apologise when I do something like that to you, I would like you to do the same".
Some children are a lot more sensitive to criticism than others. I think you have to respect that and moderate how you tell them off (not easy to do in the heat of the moment!) without giving in. My friend's daughter is sensitive and she talks to her in a very gentle way but without giving in. So for school she will ask and then she will just carry on with the expectation that what she has asked for will happen. She doesn't shout, she doesn't even seem to get angry.
Do you expect him to do chores for you? We've recently introduced this as the payment for pocket money and it is quite motivating. And might help with the laziness and not doing things voluntarily!
Interesting is he starting to prep for adolescence I wonder. Some kids grow up quicker than others. What I suggest you do is try and get him to take more responsibility for his actions. eg if he won't prep his own schoolbag, tell him well you're the one who'll get in trouble with the teacher if your homework isn't in/don't have gym kit etc and remind him he's 8 and fully capable of doing things. Sounds like he's also trying to get attention for whatever reason. Is something bothering him?
Like cedar, we've started introudcing pocket money if my ds (who is NEARLY 7) cleans his room, or helps with his sisters in the morning.
I already do this with my four-year-old! If she's reluctant/refusing to do her spellings then I just say 'ah, it's a shame Miss X won't be able to give you a good mark then' and leave it at that. She cracks within a few minutes. Same for wearing flip flops in the rain etc - one trip out with cold wet feet means they learn that lesson pretty quickly!
They want to test our boundaries, but if you let them make the mistakes / see the consequences of not doing their jobs without stressing about it to much then it's a whole different ball game!
if computer time is really enjoyed is it worth considering a 30 min daily session that is earned/reduced for good or poor behaviour. I have found with my DSS now 11 that it really helps to have have things he is really in to because then he had something to lose.
DH and I are toughest with rude behaviour so answering back repeatedly or talking to us as if we are stupid loses the whole screen time session but often it's enough to threaten to lose it to reset the behaviour.
Lastly I would say pick your battles otherwise you can become the shouty mum you don't want to be. I would say ages 8-10 were very challenging. Definitely worth putting some rules in place now. Good luck
He's wired very differently from me and is the polar opposite of DS1. I need to understand what will get through to him.
This might be way off the mark and apologies if so, but I wonder if he worries you love his brother more as you have more in common with him. I notice your DS1 made a comment on your DS2's behaviour, in a quasi parental way, I wonder if it sometimes comes across to your DS2 (accurately or not) that you and DS1 are in a kind of alliance/bond that he doesn't share.
I wonder if trying to really find something special just for you and your DS2 to bond over would help?
People struggle with saying sorry when they feel really ashamed, so they argue instead.
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