I really struggle with my relationship with my son.(37 Posts)
I've namechanged for this. I've got a 6 yr old boy. Very bright, funny, big personality. We adore him.
Equally, he's says NO all the time and is totally, utterly wilful. Everything feels like a battle. We put lots of boundaries in place, we try hard to bring balance to everything and yet it's never right. And he's so rude to me sometimes. The way he talks to me - the tone - as well as what he says. He's got such a strident, abrasive manner with me.
We're trying to implement new strategies for his behaviour, which are hard to sort over Xmas.
But I worry about our relationship. I worry that he just already has contempt for me.
Hard to explain. I'm quite neurotic so perhaps it's me blowing things up. And I have no other children so hard to know, by comparison, what's the norm. Although I see lots of other kids and none seem to be as wilful as him!
Keep with the boundaries and follow through with all the consequences that you put. Pick your battles, let the small things go but don't forget to praise him. It can be hard to remember to do that when he is doing something that you he should be doing automatically eg, being polite, etc but use lots of positive praise as much as boundaries.
The problem is his grumpiness that informs his manner. So grumpy unless everyone is doing EXACTLY what he wants. He even admits as much. It's so disheartening, day in, day out.
Has he always been like this? And how have you managed his behaviour in the past? I think long term issues are never going to be quickly resolved, but it is possible if all the adults are consistent and back each other up.
Make sure you out are explaining to him what your expectations are of him, how you want to be spoken to and how it feels when he is rude. Get him to reflect on how he feels when people speak rudely or grumpily to him.
How bad is his grumpiness? Sometimes grumpiness can be tackled with playfulness and affection rather than more rules, boundaries and lecturing.
He is an only child. As far as I know he has no SN...?
His grumpiness can be pretty bad. He's definitely always been strongminded and wilful. It feels like a part of his personality. Sometimes I can shake it off, but today, for example, it just keeps coming back.
We talk to him a lot about expectations. My husband is amazing father - really fun and involved, yet firm. I am not so amazing but I try really hard. I find my buttons get pushed quicker but I've been trying to really work on that.
I feel like his behaviour has got worse, or gone on long enough that we can't excuse it, or put it down to a phase.
Sometimes he's an angel. But he's more often a difficult child.
Often if I try and kiss him or show him affection, he'll push me away. Tell me to go away. He's not cuddly like that - unless he's in exactly the right mood or it's on his terms. Everything needs to be on his terms for it to work out.
Like today, he has good friends staying - the son is a really good friend of his - and by comparison (the root of all evil, I know) child's friend is lighthearted and pleasant. While they're playing well together - although my DS is really bossy - when DS comes and interacts with me/us, he whines/grumps/sulks. He wants biscuits or chocolate, which we don't give willy-nilly, or more TV, which we don't really allow all the time, especially with mates here.
I just asked him why he's so grumpy with me and he said 'because no one is doing what I ask today.'
And that pretty much sums it up.
Do you pull him up on it when he is rude? What example does your dh set in your relationship. Modelling behaviour can be effective, so correcting his tone and language. Maybe decide ahead who is getting first choice of activity/tv etc so expectations are clear.
We always correct him if he's rude. And we have reason to believe he's pretty polite outside of the home. My DH sets a terrific example. He really does.
And we are very clear talking about expectations ahead of time. We are conscious of this.
I'm not saying we're perfect, but we are doing this stuff
OK, try to disengage when he is like this. Eventually it might dawn on him that this behaviour/attitude gets him NO attention. But you have to be consistent and when he does behave or is polite then praise immediately. If he is rude, just keep to the one liners - don't sweat the small stuff and don't engage/argue. It might take some time.
OP I don't think you are being fully honest here. You say that your 6 year old child pushes your buttons but you don't then say what your behaviour is which makes me sense that your behaviour isn't as perfect as you are expecting your son's to be. You seem to be in a cycle of continually criticising him and not accepting him for himself - he is a young child and he needs to be nurtured not constantly being talked to about expectations. Outside of home "we have reason to believe" (!!!) he shows good behaviour. Your expectations sound far too high. Try to treating you child like a person rather than a robot. He has quite reasonably told you why he is grumpy today - he is not getting what he asks for and at the same time I bet he can sense that you think his friend is better than him. His friend is in someone else's house so behaving (as you know you son does). Try being less crticical of yourself and more importantly your son and have some fun.
I don't understand what is wrong with the phrase 'We have reason to believe...'? English isn't my first language so maybe it seems formal but what I mean is that people tell us he's fine, well-behaved etc.
I think I'm being honest. I've said he's adored. I think he has a pretty wonderful life compared to many. We are very careful with him. He's nurtured. We def don't treat him like a robot. And I don't think it's fair for you to draw the conclusion from what I've written that he senses I think his friend is better than him. I have heaped praise on my son today.
And who said we talk to him 'constantly' about expectations? I said a lot. This is different.
I think I can be short-tempered. I am sure I can be too direct for some people. He probably has some of me in him. I do raise my voice when pushed, which I'm trying to work on. I said, I'm not perfect. But I try. Every day I try to improve
OP you don't have to be perfect, none of us are. You are allowed to get cross with him sometimes that's totally normal, you are human!
So basically he sounds like a child who can't cope when things don't go his way or people don't do what he says? I have met kids like that and I sympathise it must be really draining! Does he do any sports particularly team ones? That might help his social skills and resilience. I would also suggest reading up on resilience and how to help him with that.
and so is he but he is not an adult. I have struggled with one of my children in a similar way but taking time to really really think about them definitely helped - not perfectly but a lot. For example my child needs down time, and time alone - they hate going to shops, they don't like too many planned activities. They are great with others but grumpy with me and at home - usually because they haven't had enough space and time for themselves, enough sleep, getting the chance to do the things that they like etc. See the beauty and uniqueness of your child, it is there. Your husband may get on better with him because the things he likes in you are also there in your ds. A book which is out of print now but available second hand on amazon which helped me (saved me) enormously is "Becoming a better parent" by Maurice Balson. You are doing much better than you think and so is your son.
Tava63, you're quite harsh but you're also right. Thank you so much. That's very helpful. I shall print out your posts and buy the book.
My daughter (nearly 5) is exactly like this, even down to saying she's grumpy because nobody is doing what she asks!
For a while I thought she had Aspergers (and sometimes I do still wonder) but eventually I came to the same conclusion as tava63, that she is unique - congruent and honest and very much a leader. What wonderful qualities to have. It's hard when their worst is directed at us though and I fully sympathise, my dd really pushes my buttons too.
I try to "love bomb" my dd in the mornings and evenings, we have cuddles and jokes and tickling which seems to reset her mood and as a result she is (sometimes) more cooperative and flexible.
Also I correct my dd's tone by saying "you could say it like this...." then repeating what she's said in a nicer way. Tone and language are important in social relationships and I've explained this to her and told her that this is why I correct her.
Mamska - why do you think she might have Asperger? What sort of traits lead you to think this? I am very interested. Thank you.
I agree - my son is very much a leader and very honest. I am the same and as an adult it has served me well, but as a child it makes for a difficult life. I fear it will alienate other children
How does he behave at school, especially socially. What is the feedback from his teacher?
I am experiencing exactly the same with my 5 year old son at the moment. He has recently become very argumentative, his tone is quite abrasive, he shouts at me and flies off the handle easily.
Equally I think we nurture him, my husband is very engaged, fantastic father.
I wonder whether he's acting out as he can't at school during term time??
I feel ur pain op. My just turned 5yr old ds is a nightmare! I've wondered about sen but I actually think it's just the way he is (last child syndrome hasn't helped - may be the same for only child?). I'm now taking a zero tolerance approach. I think with him, I can't let anything slip. I, too, know he's great at school so his issues lay with me (which is why I don't think he's sen). When he's good, he's so adorable but when he's not getting what he wants he's a very different child!! I'm hoping that I'll get there if I persevere because I am dreading him as a teenager if nothing improves. Which is a really sad thing to say but is also my reality.
The school have never given me any indication there's a problem. I think this year he is struggling more with friendships - he and his best friend aren't as close, and his best friend is making more friends, is more convivial and easy going. But he doesn't get upset. He's very robust. I get more upset than him.
We are going to try being very upbeat and positive, ignore the bad, praise the good but have very very firm boundaries - even though these are constantly tested.
'Would you like a biscuit (as a treat)?' I might ask. He says IMMEDITAELY, 'Can I have 3?'
This is the sort of exchange that we have if I'm trying to do something nice, for example. I get that kids negotiate and try to win, but this is hard every time we want to do something nice. Him, wanting more and more. And when you say no, but you can have the one biscuit - which he's been angling for all afternoon - it's no longer enough. And he's cross with me.
I won't have any more kids. I want to get this right!
Do you explain to him why he can have only one biscuit? I show my kids articles to back up the rules we have to show that I'm working with them and not against them.
They understand why junk food and screen time is limited and agree that it's right to limit it.
They know why they need to do chores, stick to a bedtime etc.
Empowering them with knowledge and even getting them involved with making the rules has really helped my kids to see that we 're on the same team and not trying to make their lives miserable.
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