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Help! Impossible Child


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I don't know if you need all the details about this particular child to give me advice or not, so I'll just start with my problem where it stands right now.

 

My oldest child (8 year old boy), for the past 3-4 week, has been getting progressively worse at doing what he's told. Anything; from brush your teeth, to do your math, clean your room, leave your sister alone. You would think he was deaf.

 

Yesterday he got a box of toys taken away for not cleaning up his room when told, he was given adequate time. He was an impossible bear all day because of it.

 

Today he spent 30 minutes staring at his math worksheet not doing it while I reminded him every 5 minutes "do your math". Then he spent an hour doing it, with every problem wrong. I erased all his answers and made him start over. When he finally did the worksheet he finished it in 10 minutes and got 19 or 20 correct.

 

He's already lost computer privileges.

 

We don't watch tv, so I can't take that away.

 

If I tell him to stand in the corner I have to physically escort him there.

 

Going to his room is no form of punishment, he has too much fun in there.

 

I've been yelling at him because he doesn't listen, I'm basically repeating the same commands over and over getting louder (and more frustrated) every time.

 

I have 2 other kids. I have to homeschool 2 of the 3, cook and clean, and take care of a 2 year old. I'm pregnant and have a constantly upset stomach. My husband is never around. It's not that he chooses not to be, it's his job. He's been working 12 hour shifts, 5-6 days a week for the past 6 months. On top of that, he got stuck on 3rd shift. Due to the length of his work days, we don't see him. When he's home he's sleeping.

 

I don't know what to do with this child anymore. I'm frustrated beyond belief with him. He's making me tired.

 

We've had listening problems in the past with him, and I always managed to find a way to fix them. This is not fixing. I am at my wits end. I don't like being tired and angry. I don't like yelling at him. I just don't know what to do anymore.

 

This is my high maintenance kid. He's the bed wetter, the picky eater, the late reader, the stubborn one.

 

I would really appreciate any advice anyone could give me on this situation.

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Is it 8? Is that the problem? My ds is driving me crazy! Non-compliance, over-developed sense of justice, argumentative, confrontational with siblings over rule infractions that are either perceived (read: his rules, not ours) or not his to enforce...holy moly, that kid makes me tired.

 

No real help here, but lots of commiseration.

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A few ideas for you to consider.

 

You could try to back off and quit hassling him so much. I know that you're simply trying to help him to do the stuff that's good for him to do, but to him it may seem like constant nagging. It sounds as though you are locked in a battle of wills. The only way to win is to make your child lose. Better to avoid the battle. This doesn't mean that you give up trying to enforce any guidelines. Instead you don't sweat the small stuff, and with the more important stuff that you don't want to let go of even temporarily, you can try to have more natural consequences. Eg instead of a you didn't do x, so I will do z to you sort of approach, you could try telling all the children here's what I'm expecting you to get done, let me know if you need help, then everyone who's finished by whenever can [insert activity the kids like here]. (Obviously your 2yo won't do a page of math, so you'd adjust to suit each person.)That way if one child chooses to sit and procrastinate instead of doing his math, he won't be able to join in with the game, movie or whatever you're planning next. The consequence happens without you having to do something to him.

 

I'd also suggest trying a few more strategies to figure out what his problem is. Contrary to popular opinion, kids don't do things just to annoy their parents, and kids don't like being punished, even gently. So there must be some reason behind his behavior, or some perceived payoff. Does he feel as though you give him less attention than the others? Does he think your expectations are too much higher for him? Is he suffering from being labelled? Even though you probably don't mention him being the difficult one in his hearing, he can sense that you find him more difficult. He could be acting up to the negative label that you have put onto him. Could he be feeling under pressure because he is the eldest and there is a new sibling on the way? And extra insecure because he's not getting much parenting from his father at the moment? Depending on how self aware he is, you might even be able to start a discussion with him at a time when he's not being uncooperative.

 

The other thing (which I should probably have written first) is please try to get yourself some more irl support. You shouldn't be dealing with three young kids and all the household management on your own, during a difficult pregnancy! Do you have some relatives or friends who could take some of the load off, either by watching the children sometimes or by giving you a hand with housework? Please don't be shy about asking for whatever would help you. There are probably people in your homeschool co-op / church / neighborhood / whatever who would be only too happy to help you out if you let them know what you need.

Edited by Hotdrink
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I just want to tell you that I wanted to kill my son when he was 8. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that he is my ONLY son. He still teases me and says, "Oh, if you only had a spare..."

 

I did back off, and focused on our relationship instead of every detail of school that needed to be done. I made him accountable to his dad for doing a minimum amount of school each day, and for always being respectful to me. If he did those 2 things, I left him alone.

 

He outgrew it, and has become a delightful teenager. I think it is just a difficult age for some boys.

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Seriously, how about giving him a significant reward for cooperating? Figure out what he likes, and let him earn it as a privilege. It's worth a try.

 

I've tried that.

"Fionn, if you hurry up and get all your work done you can go play on your computer."

"I don't want to play on my computer." He does want to, but not enough to get the schoolwork, chores, etc. done.

 

I have started having my girls write sentences when they get like this. They don't like writting, so having to do extra writting on top of other school work is a real drag.

 

I can't get him to do ANYTHING lately. I don't think writing sentences will help. He will just be sitting at the table all day.

 

You could try to back off and quit hassling him so much.

 

I would love to. Unfortunately, if it was up to him he would never do schoolwork, wash another dish, clean his room or brush his teeth.

 

 

Does he feel as though you give him less attention than the others? Does he think your expectations are too much higher for him? Is he suffering from being labelled? Even though you probably don't mention him being the difficult one in his hearing, he can sense that you find him more difficult. He could be acting up to the negative label that you have put onto him. Could he be feeling under pressure because he is the eldest and there is a new sibling on the way? And extra insecure because he's not getting much parenting from his father at the moment? Depending on how self aware he is, you might even be able to start a discussion with him at a time when he's not being uncooperative.

 

Well, right now he's sucking up nearly all my attention, negative attention, but attention nonetheless. I feel bad for the other 2 kids because I feeling like I am neglecting them while I have to put so much effort into this one child.

 

He shouldn't think my expectations are higher for him. I do expect the same things from his sister that I expect from him. They are 16 months apart and I've had the same expectations for the two of them more of their lives than not.

 

Yes, I'm sure he knows that I find him more difficult than the other children. But I also do praise him more than the others when he does something good, mostly because I feel bad about how often he gets negative attention, and also to encourage him to do more "good" things.

 

The kids don't even know about the baby yet.

 

I do think part of the problem could be a lack of attention from Dad. We are ALL feeling that. I really don't see him anymore than the kids do. The 2 year old might be getting a little more time with Dad than the rest of us.

 

My son and I have tried talking about the situation. Every night, as bedtime approaches, he's a sweet little boy. He tells me he's sorry he was rotten today. He tells me what a great Mommy I am (even though I'm feeling like the worst Mommy in the world). He says he doesn't know why he was "so bad" all day. And promises to try harder to be good tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and it's back to his failure to listen.

 

Do you have some relatives or friends who could take some of the load off, either by watching the children sometimes or by giving you a hand with housework? Please don't be shy about asking for whatever would help you. There are probably people in your homeschool co-op / church / neighborhood / whatever who would be only too happy to help you out if you let them know what you need.

 

Unfortunately, I can't get much help. My Mom works full time. And as pathetic as it is to admit, I don't really have any friends. We lived out of state for 7 years and just moved back 3 years ago. My old friends all work full time and are Grandma's or have teenage kids. Our Co-Op is newly formed and I hardly know those women. We don't go to church and I don't really know my neighbors. ( I sound so much more pathetic in type than I seem in real life...wow.)

 

I can handle the housework, I actually like it and cooking. It's just hard to manage when I have to stand over a child that should be doing his school work. I could be wrong, but I really feel at 8 years old one should be capable of doing a couple of independent worksheets without me having to stand over him.

 

I sound like I'm rejecting all the advice I've been given. I'm not really. I've just tried most of it already. We've really hit an all time low here in the past few weeks. I don't want to yell. I don't want to fight. I don't want to be angry.

 

I do appreciate all the advice. I guess I'm hoping someone here will have the miracle cure. And to those that can only commiserate, well, thank-you, it does help to know I'm not the only one.

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Well, I am/was a spanker, but I think eight is just about too old. The window for spanking is very small imo.

 

I'd think I'd just tell him to do it and let him take all the time he wanted, but nothing else happens until whatever it is gets done. No food especially. No meals. Let him sit at a table all day. It won't hurt you.

 

My boys think with their stomachs. Even at 15.

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I sound like I'm rejecting all the advice I've been given. I'm not really. I've just tried most of it already. We've really hit an all time low here in the past few weeks. I don't want to yell. I don't want to fight. I don't want to be angry.

 

I do appreciate all the advice. I guess I'm hoping someone here will have the miracle cure. And to those that can only commiserate, well, thank-you, it does help to know I'm not the only one.

 

:grouphug: Sounds like you're doing it tough at the moment.

 

Please feel free to reject advice, no offense taken ;) I was just throwing out ideas, without knowing whether any of it might apply to you or not.

 

BUT, even if your ds did NOTHING for a week while you give yourself a break from pushing him, would that really matter in the grand scheme of things??

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Do you feel certain he is just being rebellious? Or could there be an underlying issue? Each would need to be addressed differently, I think.

(My ds doesn't behave the way he does to be rebellious, he's just...flighty in a very trying way. But all. the. time. Punishments are absolutely fruitless. Which leads me to believe there is an underlying issue.)

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I'd think I'd just tell him to do it and let him take all the time he wanted, but nothing else happens until whatever it is gets done. No food especially. No meals. Let him sit at a table all day. It won't hurt you.

 

 

OMG, it's so funny that you say that. We had a discussion in another homeschooling group one day, where a few of us said that we had "delayed" meals for children that didn't have their work finished.

 

We had about 10 other mom's come back and tell us we were child abusers for withholding food from our children.

 

Now that I think back, the day I tried that approach, it was very effective. It may have something to do with the fact that the rest of us had cupcakes for dessert after lunch that day though.

 

Maybe I should try that again on Monday.

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We had about 10 other mom's come back and tell us we were child abusers for withholding food from our children.

Hm, I wouldn't use that approach personally, but I don't think that it exactly qualifies as abuse! You are not "withholding food", you are simply asking your child to have the food at an appropriate time. In this case, that time is after his work is done. I don't serve food to my children in the middle of the night on similar grounds: if they wake up feeling hungry I offer some warm or cold milk so they don't have an empty stomach, but I expect them to avail themselves of food during the day and early evening.

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Do you feel certain he is just being rebellious? Or could there be an underlying issue? Each would need to be addressed differently, I think.

(My ds doesn't behave the way he does to be rebellious, he's just...flighty in a very trying way. But all. the. time. Which leads me to believe there is an underlying issue.)

 

Actually, I don't think it's rebellion at all. He just seems to want to play all day. He doesn't feel obligated to help clean up a mess, even if it's his own. Sometimes I'm not even sure he SEES the mess.

 

He thinks that if he doesn't want to do something, he shouldn't have to. Dad and I have both explained that we both have to do things that we don't always want to (go to work, make dinner), but it's our job and we have to do it.

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BUT, even if your ds did NOTHING for a week while you give yourself a break from pushing him, would that really matter in the grand scheme of things??

 

Wouldn't that be sending the message that he wins? That I gave up.

 

I still feel bad because we took nearly 5 weeks off when I first found out I was pregnant. First because I was freaked out that I was pregnant and then because I was so sick to my stomach and tired.

 

I understand my other two kids. This kid is one that definitely should have come with a manual!

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I have started having my girls write sentences when they get like this. They don't like writting, so having to do extra writting on top of other school work is a real drag.

 

 

I do this with my oldest too, she's almost 8. I just recently started this and so far she's had to write 3 different papers and she hasn't repeated doing these three things so far. I basically write what she did on top of the paper and have her copy it front and back. She hates it, but it seems to work for us.

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I have a kid like that- he is 13 now and still a challenge.

Does your son really feel you love him unconditionally, no matter how badly he behaves? Are you using withdrawal of love to control him? For my very sensitive son, getting into a negative feedback loop with him really upsets him- even if I feel righteously that he deserves my criticism or punishments. I have to step back, be the adult and stop the cycle, and start fresh, calm and open to him, try and see things from his perspective and stay patient.

I would say your son isnt meaning, consciously, to behave in such a challenging way, so to punish him isnt really going to work because its not something he is trying to do, so he probably can't easily stop it either. Something in his life, combined with his unique way of seeing the world, is causing the behaviour to play out the way it is. Could well be that Dad is not so available and you are distracted without your pregnancy and not 100% present with him.

All I know is that with my grumpy, beligerant,obnoxious (and sometimes totally gorgeous) son, when he walks into the kitchen first thing in the morning, I try and start fresh and love him as if he was my newborn baby, as if all the trials and arguments we have had lately havent happened. I just think that's what all kids need- a 2nd chance every single day, every moment if possible. I see my job as not stooping to his level and reacting to everything he does- trying to see from a higher perspective. Easier said than done, of course.

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Wouldn't that be sending the message that he wins? That I gave up.

See, I don't view parenting as being about winning and losing. Do you really want your dc to lose? Do you want him to behave better just because he is so frightened of you? You're on his side, you're not his enemy. Anyway, he can't be 'winning' if you don't allow a battle to happen in the first place.

 

Eg, imagine if I say to you "You must worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster! You have no proof that he doesn't exist!" Then imagine that you have better things to do than dispute the existence of the FSM (actually,you don't need to imagine that one), so you decide not to bother with answering my post. Is that sending me a message that I have won? Of course not! If there is any message, it would probably be that you are more mature than me and can better judge what you need to be spending your energy on right now.

 

Well, you have your own parenting philosophy and I'm not going to try and change it or make any judgments about it. :) Just wanted to explain where I'm coming from, again, feel free to ignore.

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I have started having my girls write sentences when they get like this. They don't like writting, so having to do extra writting on top of other school work is a real drag.

 

I wouldnt use this for my reluctant writer because I dont want him to turn off writing even more. I want to encourage hi to enjoy it, so I never use writing as punishment.

I have however had him at times write a gratitude journal for his daily handwriting practice each day. He has had to write 3 things he is grateful for in his life, in full sentences. He grew to enjoy it and wrote some beautiful things that really touched me. There are jewels in the heart of the most difficult child :)

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I have however had him at times write a gratitude journal for his daily handwriting practice each day. He has had to write 3 things he is grateful for in his life, in full sentences. He grew to enjoy it and wrote some beautiful things that really touched me. There are jewels in the heart of the most difficult child :)

Thanks, Peela. What a fantastic idea! I'm filing this away in my mind for when my ds's writing is up to doing 3 full sentences of his own composing.

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Is it 8? Is that the problem? My ds is driving me crazy! Non-compliance, over-developed sense of justice, argumentative, confrontational with siblings over rule infractions that are either perceived (read: his rules, not ours) or not his to enforce...holy moly, that kid makes me tired.

 

No real help here, but lots of commiseration.

 

I've found with my oldest 2 that somewhere around 8.5 they really start testing. My oldest pulled out of it by 9.5, so I'm hoping the same holds true for my 2nd born. It can be exasperating!

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See, I don't view parenting as being about winning and losing. Do you really want your dc to lose? Do you want him to behave better just because he is so frightened of you? You're on his side, you're not his enemy. Anyway, he can't be 'winning' if you don't allow a battle to happen in the first place.

 

Well, you have your own parenting philosophy and I'm not going to try and change it or make any judgments about it. :) Just wanted to explain where I'm coming from, again, feel free to ignore.

 

Well that's not quite how I meant it. I just figured if I gave in and said "Fine, you don't have to do schoolwork, clean your room, help with dinner" which is what he wants, that he has achieved his goal. He doesn't have to help. He doesn't have to work. I don't want to win, and I don't want him to lose. I just want to regain the control of the home that I should have, as the parent.

 

My parenting philosophy was shot years ago, I don't think I have one anymore. I'm to the point now where I will do what actually works, as opposed to how I once thought it should be.

 

I am not going to ignore someone who is really trying to help me. Thank you for all the advice.

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I have a kid like that- he is 13 now and still a challenge.

Does your son really feel you love him unconditionally, no matter how badly he behaves? Are you using withdrawal of love to control him? For my very sensitive son, getting into a negative feedback loop with him really upsets him- even if I feel righteously that he deserves my criticism or punishments. I have to step back, be the adult and stop the cycle, and start fresh, calm and open to him, try and see things from his perspective and stay patient.

I would say your son isnt meaning, consciously, to behave in such a challenging way, so to punish him isnt really going to work because its not something he is trying to do, so he probably can't easily stop it either. Something in his life, combined with his unique way of seeing the world, is causing the behaviour to play out the way it is. Could well be that Dad is not so available and you are distracted without your pregnancy and not 100% present with him.

All I know is that with my grumpy, beligerant,obnoxious (and sometimes totally gorgeous) son, when he walks into the kitchen first thing in the morning, I try and start fresh and love him as if he was my newborn baby, as if all the trials and arguments we have had lately havent happened. I just think that's what all kids need- a 2nd chance every single day, every moment if possible. I see my job as not stooping to his level and reacting to everything he does- trying to see from a higher perspective. Easier said than done, of course.

 

Thank you Peela, there's actually useful information in here that does apply to our situation. While I'm not withholding love as punishment, this made me remember that he is the kind of child that when he's having a rough day, what he really needs is extra snuggling. And I know that from past experience and because in a number of ways, he's like me.

 

I learned how to get his temper under control last year by thinking about what I need when my own temper flares up. I think this is a very similar situation.

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I wouldnt use this for my reluctant writer because I dont want him to turn off writing even more. I want to encourage hi to enjoy it, so I never use writing as punishment.

I have however had him at times write a gratitude journal for his daily handwriting practice each day. He has had to write 3 things he is grateful for in his life, in full sentences. He grew to enjoy it and wrote some beautiful things that really touched me. There are jewels in the heart of the most difficult child :)

 

This applies to us too. Thank you.

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Thank you Peela, there's actually useful information in here that does apply to our situation. While I'm not withholding love as punishment, this made me remember that he is the kind of child that when he's having a rough day, what he really needs is extra snuggling. And I know that from past experience and because in a number of ways, he's like me.

 

The child I have that is like this is now going on 15. I still have to remind myself that offering the symbols and symptoms of my love for him does not equal permissiveness. He does *worse* with punishment, and then I escalate the punishment and it continues to nosedive.

 

However, when I make a consciousness effort to connect with, love him, change the tone and tenor of the relationship, he does better (and it becomes easier to be affectionate towards him).

 

The truth is that while you can love them all equally, you can't love them all the same. ;)

 

Instead of seeking discipline/punishment advice at this point, I'd work on the relationship and I'm guessing the rest will come.

 

PS: I'd back off praise as well. I don't praise for expected work.

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Just some ideas...

 

What's his love language? Is his tank being filled every day? When my boy starts acting poorly - I try to stop and connect. Yes - I deal out appropriate consequences (oh yeah!) but I also make sure he gets the snuggling he needs.

 

Is he eating well? Getting exercise? Having appropriate boy outlets?

 

I would clearly communicate your expectations - clearly and what's the consequence. I tell my kids "school starts at 8:30, lunch opens 2 hours later and closes 3:20 minutes later. Math, language arts, reading and bible must be done before lunch or you'll need to work through until it's done". Nothing emotional. No biggie. Then we work together to get it done. I am learning not to just say "do your math" but to sit with him and teach him. I am a teacher. I am home to teach and to train - and I have to do that without compromise.

 

Take a deep breath. The challenging ones can reap the greatest reward later.

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I have a kid like that- he is 13 now and still a challenge.

Does your son really feel you love him unconditionally, no matter how badly he behaves? Are you using withdrawal of love to control him? For my very sensitive son, getting into a negative feedback loop with him really upsets him- even if I feel righteously that he deserves my criticism or punishments. I have to step back, be the adult and stop the cycle, and start fresh, calm and open to him, try and see things from his perspective and stay patient.

I would say your son isnt meaning, consciously, to behave in such a challenging way, so to punish him isnt really going to work because its not something he is trying to do, so he probably can't easily stop it either. Something in his life, combined with his unique way of seeing the world, is causing the behaviour to play out the way it is. Could well be that Dad is not so available and you are distracted without your pregnancy and not 100% present with him.

All I know is that with my grumpy, beligerant,obnoxious (and sometimes totally gorgeous) son, when he walks into the kitchen first thing in the morning, I try and start fresh and love him as if he was my newborn baby, as if all the trials and arguments we have had lately havent happened. I just think that's what all kids need- a 2nd chance every single day, every moment if possible. I see my job as not stooping to his level and reacting to everything he does- trying to see from a higher perspective. Easier said than done, of course.

 

Peela, this is such a wonderful and wise post! I absolutely love what you said about starting fresh each day and loving your child like he was a newborn. I really do believe it's so important to keep holding our children close even when we sometimes feel we are at our wits' end with their behavior.

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My parenting philosophy was shot years ago, I don't think I have one anymore. I'm to the point now where I will do what actually works, as opposed to how I once thought it should be.

Ha, I can identify with this bigtime. I myself was Mrs Perfect Mother until I actually had my children and discovered the difference between theory and reality.:lol:

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Could you try doing everything together? We do Classical Conversations, and with that.... for a bit... you could do it and feel like you're pretty "successful". Skip counting, history sentences, science terms...etc... Then history cds (ours are mostly Jim Weiss) SOTW cds..... while they draw and such... Park days... (getting out....) And, instead of creative writing.... copy work...

Short... think 15 minutes... run for 15 minutes....

I like our Classical Conversations motions for everything... including our timeline that we memorize...

 

And, if you're not opposed to church.. that might be a nice spot for your family.

 

Carrie:-)

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The child I have that is like this is now going on 15. I still have to remind myself that offering the symbols and symptoms of my love for him does not equal permissiveness. He does *worse* with punishment, and then I escalate the punishment and it continues to nosedive.

 

However, when I make a consciousness effort to connect with, love him, change the tone and tenor of the relationship, he does better (and it becomes easier to be affectionate towards him).

 

The truth is that while you can love them all equally, you can't love them all the same. ;)

 

Instead of seeking discipline/punishment advice at this point, I'd work on the relationship and I'm guessing the rest will come.

 

PS: I'd back off praise as well. I don't praise for expected work.

 

http://goybparenting.com/?page_id=7 Here is Joanne's site. It really worked when DD was at her worst.

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My son is 5 years old and he has always been my stubborn, hard to handle child. We butt heads so often and it always seems like a losing battle. Eventually I started looking into programs that would be more positive and less of my negative attitude when he would not listen. With my son he flat out does not want to do anything I say b/c he wants to be in control of everything.

I purchased the Voucher System for home and homeschool. It is a reward based system and they earn points to get certain treats based on their performance during non school hours and also during school. It also makes him more accountable for his behavior. It is actually a really easy system and IMO I probably could have figured it out without buying it but it does work if your child responds to positive reinforcement. Basically, when he does great things he gets points from 50 to 200 pts. If he does badly then he gets deductions (from 50-200, or your chosen system based on the severity) and we add up the points at the end of the week. I let him know ahead of time what the rewards are (it comes with vouchers that they get). The paper I use has two different sections so he can visually see how many points he earned and how many were deducted side by side. The school one is a little harder to figure out so I mainly go with this all day. So far, it has worked like a charm and he actually goes above and beyond b/c he knows that the most points are to be earned when he does those great unexpected things like pitching in and helping or doing something that he normally would have never in a million years done.

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My oldest child (8 year old boy), for the past 3-4 week, has been getting progressively worse at doing what he's told. Anything; from brush your teeth, to do your math, clean your room, leave your sister alone. You would think he was deaf.

 

Yesterday he got a box of toys taken away for not cleaning up his room when told, he was given adequate time. He was an impossible bear all day because of it.

 

Today he spent 30 minutes staring at his math worksheet not doing it while I reminded him every 5 minutes "do your math". Then he spent an hour doing it, with every problem wrong. I erased all his answers and made him start over. When he finally did the worksheet he finished it in 10 minutes and got 19 or 20 correct.

....

 

I've been yelling at him because he doesn't listen, I'm basically repeating the same commands over and over getting louder (and more frustrated) every time.

 

I have 2 other kids. I have to homeschool 2 of the 3, cook and clean, and take care of a 2 year old. I'm pregnant and have a constantly upset stomach. My husband is never around. It's not that he chooses not to be, it's his job. He's been working 12 hour shifts, 5-6 days a week for the past 6 months. On top of that, he got stuck on 3rd shift. Due to the length of his work days, we don't see him. When he's home he's sleeping. .

 

When one of my boys was around that age and went into periods of repeated non-compliance or obnoxious behavior, what he was letting me know is that he was needing a lot of positive attention for me. Laying off the non-essentials commands and instructions, spending one-on-one time with him, doing some nice things for him like helping him clean his room instead of ordering him to do it, looking the other way for minor offensives that really didn't matter, etc--that's what he needed instead of the yelling and exasperation that I would naturally want to dish up when he was being difficult.

 

I know it's counter-intuitive but that's what that particular child needed to get over his hurdles. Usually about a week later he was back to normal and not only was it less exasperating but it takes far less energy than the negative attention did.

Edited by Pippen
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Have you taken any time off from school work this Fall? How about taking a week off and go have some fun. Nature walks, museum, park, indoor play place, free passes from the library to somewhere. Fun cooking day. Go out to eat for lunch day. Something that can be fun for him. And, fun for all of you. It's sounds like you all could use a break from routine. Give him some hugs or a back rub. Does he have a primary love language (gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, or acts of service). I know your frustration. I have a very difficult 7 year old, who has been difficult since he was about 2! Good luck!

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I've no idea why math seems to be an issue but she is still small and when we do it together in Mommy's chair, sometimes I even do the writing for her, all is well. When she gets like that it usually means she needs one on one cuddle time. 8 and 9 are still very young for independent work even if they are capable. As far as keeping the room clean, I have come to realize that they really still need good direction on that too. Daily, we have taught the kids to spend 10 minutes each day straightening ONE part of the room and rotate around it during the week so that it never gets into the catastrophic mess they simply can not deal with. I don't send mine to their room, they have to sit in the upstairs hallway, no fun there at all.

It is hard, especially with kids who are highly verbal to remember sometimes that they are still small and still need more help than we think.

Good luck, you sure have your hands full. :grouphug::grouphug:

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Could it all just be coming down to an issue of power? You might try to hand over a little more sense of power to him. Something like "You choose whether you want to do the addition or the subtraction problems". Also, in our house giving a 'finishing time' to work really helps too. So instead of saying "Start your math now.", try saying "Your math needs to be finished by 11:30. You can start it now or later and you can take as long as you want, as long as it's done by then..." and then stop nagging. If that doesn't work, you might try having a fun activity follow the less-fun activity so that the longer he takes, the shorter time he has with the fun activity.

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Peela and Joanne have given wonderful advice. I just thought I would add that my son at that age used to act up when my husband was working and lot and not home much. I found that all he needed was some daddy time where he spent some time alone with dad to reconnect. Just some special one on one can make all the difference. Also, if you took 5 weeks off sometimes its a difficult transition at this age to get back into routine..especially if things are out of sync with dad busy...so keeping up with the routine I think is good. But it sounds to me like he is needing something since he is so sweet in the evenings and really desires to be better. Give him lots of love.:grouphug:

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I don't know if this applies to your son, but it might be a technique you could try. Some kids, when faced with a job, like "clean your room", do not know where to start. They look at the mess and can not figure out how to make it look right again. So, you break it down and it does not seem so insurmountable: pick up all your Legos and put them into their container. That's it. One small job done. Then move on to one other little chunk. Same with schoolwork. He is capable, but when faced with the whole page or two of math, he might think it will never end. Do the first five. That's it. Do something else and come back to it. I ask my son, "How do you eat an elephant?" "One bite at a time." Another poster mentioned giving choices, which is nice. Let him pick from two different jobs and that way he seems more in control.

 

No work=no food=real life. Works here for my older sons.

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Is it 8? Is that the problem? My ds is driving me crazy! Non-compliance, over-developed sense of justice, argumentative, confrontational with siblings over rule infractions that are either perceived (read: his rules, not ours) or not his to enforce...holy moly, that kid makes me tired.

 

No real help here, but lots of commiseration.

 

:iagree::iagree: Oh.My.Goodness. You just described my 8yo ds. The little sea lawyer is driving me bsc.

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I don't know if you need all the details about this particular child to give me advice or not, so I'll just start with my problem where it stands right now.

 

My oldest child (8 year old boy), for the past 3-4 week, has been getting progressively worse at doing what he's told. Anything; from brush your teeth, to do your math, clean your room, leave your sister alone. You would think he was deaf.

 

Yesterday he got a box of toys taken away for not cleaning up his room when told, he was given adequate time. He was an impossible bear all day because of it.

 

Today he spent 30 minutes staring at his math worksheet not doing it while I reminded him every 5 minutes "do your math". Then he spent an hour doing it, with every problem wrong. I erased all his answers and made him start over. When he finally did the worksheet he finished it in 10 minutes and got 19 or 20 correct.

 

He's already lost computer privileges.

 

We don't watch tv, so I can't take that away.

 

If I tell him to stand in the corner I have to physically escort him there.

 

Going to his room is no form of punishment, he has too much fun in there.

 

I've been yelling at him because he doesn't listen, I'm basically repeating the same commands over and over getting louder (and more frustrated) every time.

 

I have 2 other kids. I have to homeschool 2 of the 3, cook and clean, and take care of a 2 year old. I'm pregnant and have a constantly upset stomach. My husband is never around. It's not that he chooses not to be, it's his job. He's been working 12 hour shifts, 5-6 days a week for the past 6 months. On top of that, he got stuck on 3rd shift. Due to the length of his work days, we don't see him. When he's home he's sleeping.

 

I don't know what to do with this child anymore. I'm frustrated beyond belief with him. He's making me tired.

 

We've had listening problems in the past with him, and I always managed to find a way to fix them. This is not fixing. I am at my wits end. I don't like being tired and angry. I don't like yelling at him. I just don't know what to do anymore.

 

This is my high maintenance kid. He's the bed wetter, the picky eater, the late reader, the stubborn one.

 

I would really appreciate any advice anyone could give me on this situation.

 

If you are generally a good parent and your kids are generally well-behaved kids, but there is one in a bunch who doesn't respond in the same way (and has *always* been difficult), there is a good chance there is something organic going on. You have some other red flags you mentioned. I would suggest counseling. A third party trained to recognize things you cannon can make all the difference. It isn't really fair to punish him for things he may not be able to control.

 

I had one like this. As a young one she was always angry. The glass was always half empty with her. It's funny because as she grew older she would look back at pictures and say, "I remember that day...I was mad because I wanted to be sitting in the engine rather than the caboose." or "I remember that day...I was mad because it wasn't my birthday." Many of her childhood memories entail being mad or getting in trouble. But she also said she stayed confused a lot of the time. She WANTED to behave so badly, but was simply incapable of following through with my expectations or her expectations of herself. I never thought I'd put a child of mine on behavioral medication, but at age 9 she started on Ritalin. Let me tell you, I want to cry when I think about how I should have looked into it earlier. Suddenly, all the good parenting and all the support and all the consistency and training kicked in like magic. A child's behavior is a delicate balance between brain wiring/chemistry and the child's environment. Think of a see-saw. If one is seriously off, then the other is incapable of completely making up the imbalance. Just as a normally wired child will not thrive with poor parenting, a well-parented child cannot thrive if there is something organic preventing it.

 

Barb

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This is my high maintenance kid. He's the bed wetter, the picky eater, the late reader, the stubborn one.

 

I would really appreciate any advice anyone could give me on this situation.

 

It sounds as if he is going through a stage when he desperately needs more of you. You are very busy and not able to give your all because you feel dreadful. His father is away from home a lot. Your son is feeling sidelined: by misbehaving, he can force you to pay attention to him.

 

I would go back to the beginning, confess to him that you are really tired and perhaps haven't dealt with the situation well, give him back his privileges and enfold him in hugs. When you want him to do something, first hug him, then get him to do what you want. If he misbehaves, hug him, talk to him about what you expect of him, then insist that he obeys.

 

I recommend Hold On To Your Kids for its ideas about how to remake connections with children.

 

Best wishes

 

Laura

Edited by Laura Corin
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I haven't read all the responses, and I don't have an 8 year old yet, so take my reply with a grain of salt.

 

My kids always act up more when I have morning sickness or the first month of breastfeeding because I don't have time/energy to do the fun things with them. And I don't handle misbehavior very well. I don't want to interrupt a feeding to deal with disobedience and when I'm sick I just don't want to move.

 

This summer I found out I was pregnant two weeks before we found out we were going to be transferred. I spent the summer sick, sick, sick. Any time I felt well, I worked on the house to get ready for the move. My husband spent two months reroofing the house. He worked until 5 and then roofed until 9. My kids didn't have proper attention from either parent. And, boy, did it show. Then we had 1 1/2 months when Dh was working at the new plant during the week. We pretty much just saw him on weekends.

 

I understand to some extent what you're going through. The only thing that helped in any real way was getting our lives back. If you CAN make some more time for fun things together (reading, activities, etc.) and your husband CAN spend some 1 on 1 time with him each day, it might help. But when I was in this situation this summer, we were trapped by circumstances that didn't allow for much interaction with the kids - so I'm not trying to say you should do something you really CAN'T.:grouphug:

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