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So, ds4, third child, only boy, is turning out to be a cross between myself and my father. This equals a very strong will (which is mostly self-willed at this point, obviously), he is very active (as all little boys), very sure of himself, and he has a darn good mind—nothing escapes it. I am looking for advice, books, etc, to help me harness his will so he can be strong-willed but not self-willed. And I don’t want to start a firestorm over discipline, but what are some things that you or your dh have done for discipline? My dad said, “have as few rules as possible, but enforce them.” We aren’t rule-heavy, but he knows our house expectations. What has worked (or not) for you?

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Some book suggestions:

Ross Greene The Explosive Child (even if yours doesn’t explode)

and Ross Greene Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child https://www.amazon.com/dp/1476723761/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_f-i6DbJE5RJC6

and No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind https://www.amazon.com/dp/034554806X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_5-i6Db7BC5N25 or others by Daniel Siegel

and

Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach https://www.amazon.com/dp/0967050707/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_K2i6DbS1N4EF4

or others about Nurtured Heart approach 

 

and possibly these CDs:

Parenting Protocol: Love, Guide, Let Go https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0017SL7EW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_y6i6Db61SD3ZH

 

 

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I'd suggest reading "transforming the difficult child" by Howard Glass.  it works for kids who dont' work for normal discipline methods.  it's also known as the "nurtured heart approach."

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We're all strong-willed in this family.  The first things that come to mind are: follow your own rules, and both know *why* each rule you make exists and be able to *explain* that why to your kids (avoid stand-alone "because I said so").   (Eta: I'm using rule really generically here, to include expectations, etc., any sort of guide-to-life.)

"Follow your own rules" means that the vast majority of rules should apply to kids and adults equally, and should be followed by kids and adults equally.  If limits on screen time are good for kids, they're good for adults, too - and the adults setting the limits should follow them, too.  If limits on treats are good for kids, they're good for adults, too - and the adults setting the limits should follow them, too.  What's good for the goose is good for the gander - and what's good for the goslings is good for the goose and gander, too.  Aka no hypocrisy.  No "rules for thee, not for me".  Not that there's no differences between adults and kids, but that the point of the rules should be to help guide and teach your kids how to live as an adult - and if you aren't doing your best to live as you want your dc to live, it's rather hypocritical, and undermines your teaching.  "Do as I say, not as I do" rarely works out in the long run, and tends to fail in the short term with strong-willed kids.  If it's not worth doing yourself, it's probably not worth requiring of your kids; if it's worth requiring of your kids, it's probably worth doing yourself.

Which leads into knowing and explaining the why of your rules.  The "why" is rooted in "what it means to live a good life" - which is equally applicable to both kids and adults.  Often the specifics play out differently for those in different life circumstances - but all should be rooted in clear, applicable-to-all reasons.  And I try to allow discussions and questions as much as possible, and reserve "Just do it now, I'll explain later" for when it's needed.

~*~

Also that you can (and should) apologize for accidents.  Too many people think apologies are just for intentional wrongdoing/harms, not unintentional ones, and strong-willed people will often refuse to say things they don't mean just to make people happy (not necessarily a bad trait, if channelled toward valuing and upholding truth and honor and away from valuing self over others).  I've seen plenty of marriage and family complaints centered around people who refuse to admit that unintentional wrongdoing/harm-causing is in fact wrong/caused-harm.  (I used to be one of them.)  I tell my kids all the time, when they protest, "But it was an accident!" that *you can apologize for accidents*.  Why?  Well, if you didn't *intend* to do wrong, then of course you regret it, right?  Well, then an apology is sincere and appropriate and called-for. 

And parents should super lead by example when it comes to apologising, especially including to their kids.  No hypocrisy.  We all screw up, which means we should all apologize when we do.

Edited by forty-two
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Ds 25 was a super easy kid, who liked rules and following the rules. I could have raised 20 of him and not blinked.

DD 21 is a strong willed, independent thinker. I have always said, that if I had her first, there wouldn't have been a second child. LOL  For her, I'm with your dad. Only make rules that matter, and enforce them.  Put your energy where it matters and sit back and enjoy their incredible, dynamic lives! She would search for the exception to every rule, and make you explain/defend every reason they existed. Not in a snarky, rude, disobedient way. But rules had to make seance for her to get behind them. She wanted to understand and it was exhausting defining all those parameters. And quite honestly, when I had to explain the rules, I realized how insignificant most were. LOL And most importantly, how many of the rules we have for our kids, are to protect them from themselves. This is kind of a joke, because if they felt the consequences, they would likely self regulate most of it anyways.  Dd 21 is mature, tough and resilient. I attribute part of it due to her personality, and part of it to her ability to free think, her experience making real decisions and living real consequences. 

Two Rules I remember her and I having conversations about. There were probably hundreds, this is just two. 

Rule 1.....Can't have dessert before dinner? can't have it in the morning. Can't only have x number of pieces....why? With her, I realized that a few pieces of candy aren't going to ruin her appetite.  Her bedtime snack was healthy, so even if it did prevent a few extra bites of a meal, she would eat something later to make up for it.  I just made sure snacks were healthy and let her eat dessert when she wanted it. It never was an issue.

Rule 2....Don't run outside barefoot. Why? Slivers, cuts and ripped toenails. Which, unless she got an infection, were only consequences to her! LOL  I  made sure she  had easy on/off shoes to encourage her to wear them, but at the end of the day, unless she was on her bike, I gave up that battle! When she was about 4yo, I told her she had to pay the insurance copay if she had to go to the doctor for her hurt foot. She quickly agreed (she had money in savings) and took off running...without shoes. She never had an injury and never had to pay a copay. Lots of painful slivers...just nothing serious. 

I remember her telling about a teacher once telling her to not be a Diva. (edited for brevity, but makes sense in the story). Her response "you teachers, tell us students, to 'be ourselves' 'be individuals' and to 'stand up for yourself'....who are you to tell me to not be who I am!?!?!" 2 years later, this teacher was a major player in keeping my daughter in school when her chronic illness hit. He adored her; worked with her and made so many accommodations to keep her on track for graduation. The reason why.....She didn't roll her eyes and give him a snarky answer...she fought back with her wit.  Every.single.teacher, said what a joy she was to teach and how much they enjoyed her. The teacher who was known to be the hardest teacher in the school, wrote me a two paragraph email saying how much he admired her.  Her independent spirit didn't make her an annoying student. It made her challenge those to tried to put her in a box, because she wanted an education, and expected her teachers to live up to the same standards they expected from the students. 

Another parenting tip, I would give. If they ask to do something, always tell them you need 30 minutes to think about it.  For me, this gave me a buffer.  I could quietly think it through first. I would even think about the battle I was going to have if I told her "no".  Sometimes, these mock conversations changed my mind, before I even talked to her about it. LOL

I will say that the few rules I did have, always had wiggle room in them for her.  For instance...She thought her curfew in high school was midnight. It was actually 1230. She just didn't know because I told her it was 12. That way, when she called to ask to stay out a few minutes late, I could always say yes. LOL And she was still on time in my mind, so we both won. 

I home schooled her for 6 years. I have always said that she raised herself and I just offered bumpers and guidance. I full heartedly believe this. She says she wants to home school her own kids in the early years, so they can have the freedoms she had.  Makes a home school-mama's heart proud to hear her recall her childhood so fondly. 

Embrace the will and wit!  These are the kids who redefine the world. They don't stand idly by and watch the world from a couch. They are the diving force of independent thought and change. You just have survive long enough, to get them through the early years! 

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Play games. Lots. Every day.

Have him WORK and teach him to work.

*****

And somewhere along the line in the next year look into retained primitive reflexes, because he may have some. They don't necessarily treat before 5, but I wouldn't let that stop you. You can find the tests online or use the information from here http://www.pyramidofpotential.com/parents/  Pyramid of Potential is what a PT used with my ds. Integrating retained reflexes may calm his body down a bit. It's really hard to bust through cognitively when their body is a 4 alarm fire.

You've gotten lots of good advice here about books. My two cents is if you read a book and you're like ok but that's not cutting the mustard, then move up to the next level of books. Don't do independently what can be done better getting some outside help. 

There's a lot of good stuff going on with teaching self-awareness, being mindful. Social Thinking is thinking about not just ourselves but about others. You might find yourself wanting to bring down some of those terminologies and methodologies, to make it *obvious* to him how you feel about his actions or how his actions affect others. He may get so busy he's not noticing or caring, and that social thinking piece is something you can weave into your literature time, your Bible time, your whatever, to make him more *aware* and raise it on his radar as a consideration.

And for the people who are saying to build in time for transitions, use clear structure, clear expectations, yes.

So the games are for building relationship and the work is to empower him. Kids, all kids, but especially boys, like to be competent. They like to have skills, things they can do well. And Pudewa has a thing he says that came from Ross Greene (whom others mentioned) about kids LIKING to do what they can do WELL. So the flip side is, we teach them to do something well and then compliance is easier. So competence, skills, work are good.

My ds is pretty eyebrow raising and wicked smart. I play a lot of games with him, as does almost every therapist who works with him, and we have taught him to WORK. How to put away his laundry, pack his bag for swim class, take out the compost, use the weed whacker, anything he can do safely we've taught him to do. Work, work, work.

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Btw, I'm saying work, and I'm not saying trot them to the dw and tell them what to do. This is a lot of doing it alongside, training, support, building competence and confidence. It means buying child/smaller sized versions of tools so he can do the work. We gave my ds visual steps for the tasks. Nothing was ever too hard. It was together, mentored, till he could do it confidently. 

                                            Stuck Strategies: What to Do When Students Get STUCK                                     

This little book is small, but it has the BEST GEMS for getting things back on track. A whole page of them, and then every strategy is fleshed out with a mini chapter. If you can get it cheaply or through the library, it's a worthy read. There are ways to CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE and get the kid back on board. My favorite is "Let's do this!" You would be amazed how a little change in wording is a big mental shift. So instead of telling him what to do, you're getting some momentum with a less confrontational statement. It's not losing your whatever (authority, whatever), but you're making it easier for him to get there.

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7 hours ago, Tap said:

She thought her curfew in high school was midnight. It was actually 1230. She just didn't know because I told her it was 12. That way, when she called to ask to stay out a few minutes late, I could always say yes. LOL And she was still on time in my mind, so we both won. 

I SO love this, lol.

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In addition, give him responsibility with his competency so that he views himself as a contributing member of the household.

The only rule you need is 'treat everyone, including yourself, well'.  

The phrase you need is "how is that working out for you"....he needs the skill of self-reflection to go along with criticizing and planning.

Give him vocab and tools so he can express himself without frustration -- read, converse, listen to old time radio/tv, debate, game, do chores alongside each other.....and back that with a weekly family meeting so everyone can reflect and head off any problems from growing bigger and bigger.

Edited by HeighHo
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You may need to help this kid walk through analyzing situations. They often get so caught up in the EMOTION of a situation and in declaring their independence that they can't figure out what's going wrong. This doesn't mean that you TELL them. That won't work. You have to help them figure it out.

For instance, every week getting my oldest out the door for anything...even her own fun activities was nightmarish. She was always late, making everyone irritable and short with one another. Finally one day, I sat her down and said. "Why do you think we run late so often? The rest of the family is in the car waiting on you to get ready and this is YOUR activity. "

So she had to think about it. And I sat there and waited with her.

Finally she came up with this gem. "Usually, when I'm getting ready to go, something happens that I don't expect. Someone else will be in the bathroom or I can't find something and then, I end up being late."

My response: "So what is a strategy to avoid this situation?"

She had to really think about this. It was obvious to everyone else in the house, but she had to think it through on her own. I couldn't just give her the solution.

Her answer was "Maybe I should plan to do things so that I have 10 or 15 minutes extra in my getting ready to go time. That way if something unexpected happens I can still be ready on time." 

And we never had that problem again. 

So help your son come up with HIS OWN solutions to problems. 

And try framing hard situations as "Problems to be solved" rather than his being a pain in the neck . Yeah, sometimes they're being a pain in the neck, but approaching it with "Problem solving strategies" that the KID is onboard with and invested in is much more likely to succeed.

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Both my kids are this way.  I agree with a lot of the advice already received.  I think the creating an environment of expectations of mutual respect has been pretty key at our house.  We just expect everything to be a conversation and an explanation.  Even safety rules we explained in age appropriate ways.  My kids have no problems with rules if they understand why they exist.  

One thing I was going to say, having positive outlets for kids like this has been helpful.  4 is very young, but definitely get him out and running.  Martial arts can be a positive outlet for kids like this.  Both my kids started music lessons early and have gone a long way with it.  Really anything they find interesting that burns up some passion can work. My kids are 15 and 19 now and I would not have been able to homeschool had they not had some of these outlets over the years and I think they may have found less positive ways to burn up energy.  

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6 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

We just expect everything to be a conversation and an explanation. 

I remember this creep (who later offed himself on an inhome worker and turned out to be a pervert but oh he was a preacher and a leader in the homeschool community and a popular speaker) who would tell people NOT to tell their kids why they said to do something, that they should obey FIRST and then ASK for an explanation.

That's nice. And if it raises stress and anxiety, what was the point??? Just to be capricious and raise stress???

We can lower stress, anxiety, and oppositional behaviors and make it easier for them to get there by doing what the Bible says, what common sense says, TEACHING them. 

We teach them what's in our heads, what's in other people's heads, what the cause/effect is, how they can problem solve better and make better choices.

We use a strategy with my ds called "The Way to A". It's simple, but basically you just show the outcomes of paths. A, you can choose this, and then I will feel this way and this will happen and this is what we'll be doing two hours from now OR B you can choose this path and you'll feel and I'll feel and in an hour we'll be... 

And in all that, we didn't cede one bit of ground to make us less able to help them or keep them safe or "be in charge" or whatever. It's just teaching. And some kids need a lot more of it. I think the extra bright kids especially need a LOT of it. 

Edited by PeterPan
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I’m sure there are tons better advice than mine, but my first and best thought back to when my strong willed was 4, is to give as many opportunities for your ds to ‘choose’. Not many choices for each situation, just ability to choose. So for example, instead of my ds looking through every colored plate and cup we had after I had given him the ‘wrong’ color, I’d hold two and say ‘do you want the blue or yellow today?’and he’d happily pick. Basically anything that was a choice where I could give him control (over my two acceptable answers) was helpful.  I hope this makes sense and might be helpful!

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All of mine are pretty independent, strong willed kiddos with a bent for negotiating and competition. The things I did that worked- as few rules as possible. Allow choice in as many things as you can. Which when you think about it- is most things, not related to safety. I saved rules for things like helmets and carseats. 

Things should be family rules- not just kid rules. 

Also, say yes to as many things as you can. You need that to be a reflex for  YOU. So often, we can get in a rut of saying no all the time. This habit helps with teens.

Be willing to explain your decisions. And really listen to their objections- sometimes they are right or have good ideas- even when they are little.

Enlist their help in solving problems- "the toy room is a mess." "You forgot your suit for practice, how can we help that?" etc.

Model apologies. When you get it wrong, apologize.

Kids need to play hard- outside everyday, sports in all kinds of weather. 

I found that putting my relationship with each child first, before the rules or expectations has benefitted me all during the teen and young adult years.

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More thoughts:

  • Build explanations into things that you need him to do. "We are leaving in 5 minutes so I need you to put on your shoes and wipe your face." "The washcloths  get smelly when left in a wad in the bathtub so wring them out and hang them up." Simple commands like "Put on your shoes right away." and "Hang up the washcloth" can turn into a ridiculous power struggle that can be avoided with a little explanation. I would often get so busy that I'd forget to explain things and be irritated when my dd argued or didn't comply. 
  • If I could go back and advise my younger self, it would be "Slow down." Allow the child time to process things and comply. I would often be in a rush and my dd would push back because that how she processed life and then we'd have a power struggle. Allowing time for 1. Me to speak respectfully. 2. Her to hear me and ask questions if needed. 3. Her to comply with a few minutes of contemplation. 4. Us to deal with situations with time to process and relate in loving ways rather than irritation. 
  • Know the fine line when discussion turns into an argument and shut things down when that occurs.
  • Also, there will be some times when your kid just doesn't want to comply, no matter how many choices you give him, how much time you allow him to process, no matter how many reasons you give him, he's just going to have to do some stuff unhappily. Seat belts, toothbrushes, and shots have to happen no matter how much of a fuss your son makes, so accept that he will be unhappy at times. Just choose those times for the HAVE TO's not the optional stuff. 
  • These kids are exhausting. Accept that. Practice good self care so you don't get burned out an angry at the kid. Take breaks from the kid. Have your spouse take over regularly.
  • Be on the alert for anxiety. Some of my dd's push back was related to anxiety. Anxiety and depression can sometimes look like anger in certain personalities.
Edited by fairfarmhand
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6 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

"We are leaving in 5 minutes so I need you to put on your shoes and wipe your face." 

Some of what's going on there is you're helping them see the implicit steps. 

7 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

Be on the alert for anxiety. Some of my dd's push back was related to anxiety.

Yup. And there's a really good book for it                                             The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students                                       Minnahan's website also has a ton of great info https://jessicaminahan.com/publications/

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Maybe you can avoid labeling that may be perceived (even by yourself) as negative or challenging.  He is your boy, independent, smart, dynamic and life is going to be a blast for the next 14+ years.  I'm sure that you and your dh can navigate through this with humour and grace. 

ETA: Sorry, that probably came across too forcefully. My youngest 13 ds has been a wild ride. He's a joy and he's a challenge. This kid is destined for interesting things. My dh and I have simply trusted in our own rules and capabilities. Some prayers and lots of humour helps. 😉

Edited by wintermom
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10 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

I'd suggest reading "transforming the difficult child" by Howard Glass.  it works for kids who dont' work for normal discipline methods.  it's also known as the "nurtured heart approach."

 

👍

I wish I could go back to when my son was 5 and have started with this approach then!

Edited by Pen
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This is exactly how my now 17 year old daughter is. I loved everything that Tap, Fairfarmhand and MysteryJen said. the only thing i would add is to give yourself grace. You will get worn down at times by his challenging behavior. you will also have other people try to give you "advice" about how to raise him. And you most likely will encounter negative reactions for people who don't understand what it is like to raise a strong-willed child. Please be kind to yourself. You are doing your very best and will see the rewards someday. 

When my daughter was young, there were times i did not think one of us was going to survive:) 😉 Now, she is 17 and a home schooled 11th grader who is also a full-time student at a local college (dual enrollment). She is thriving in college! She is a dynamic kid who is poised, relates well to adults and has clear goals. As someone already said, these are the kids who make a difference in the world. Hang in there!

 

 

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11 hours ago, Pen said:

Some book suggestions:

Ross Greene The Explosive Child (even if yours doesn’t explode)

and Ross Greene Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child https://www.amazon.com/dp/1476723761/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_f-i6DbJE5RJC6

and No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind https://www.amazon.com/dp/034554806X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_5-i6Db7BC5N25 or others by Daniel Siegel

and

Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach https://www.amazon.com/dp/0967050707/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_K2i6DbS1N4EF4

or others about Nurtured Heart approach 

 

and possibly these CDs:

Parenting Protocol: Love, Guide, Let Go https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0017SL7EW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_y6i6Db61SD3ZH

 

 

I will check these out, thanks! He doesn’t explode, just....flops and growls so far, but I don’t want it to get to exploding! 

DD8 was, and still is to some extent, very dramatic as a toddler. I remember sending her to her room and her crying and yelling, “I can’t breathe, this is my last breath!” Needless to say she was breathing just fine! 🙄 She was also the one who, when I sent her to her room another time, took the screen off the window and was hollering for help! So glad we didn’t have neighbors on that side of the house at that point! She has calmed down nicely. DS is nowhere near as dramatic, just....resolute and a persistent little bugger, lol!

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1 hour ago, wintermom said:

Maybe you can avoid labeling that may be perceived (even by yourself) as negative or challenging.  He is your boy, independent, smart, dynamic and life is going to be a blast for the next 14+ years.  I'm sure that you and your dh can navigate through this with humour and grace. 

ETA: Sorry, that probably came across too forcefully. My youngest 13 ds has been a wild ride. He's a joy and he's a challenge. This kid is destined for interesting things. My dh and I have simply trusted in our own rules and capabilities. Some prayers and lots of humour helps. 😉

I hear you, and by no way am I saying he is negative. He is the greatest, sweetest little guy. Just feel like right now I am in over my head, his sisters are so different!

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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Play games. Lots. Every day.

Have him WORK and teach him to work.

Yes. Need to play more games. Just seems like all my time right now is taken up by teaching DDs10&8 and keeping DD1 from climbing everything! Plus, he spends almost all day playing outside, so we try to play catch-up together in the evenings.

2 hours ago, MysteryJen said:

I found that putting my relationship with each child first, before the rules or expectations has benefitted me all during the teen and young adult years.

Helpful to remember!

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59 minutes ago, threewishes said:

This is exactly how my now 17 year old daughter is. I loved everything that Tap, Fairfarmhand and MysteryJen said. the only thing i would add is to give yourself grace. You will get worn down at times by his challenging behavior. you will also have other people try to give you "advice" about how to raise him. And you most likely will encounter negative reactions for people who don't understand what it is like to raise a strong-willed child. Please be kind to yourself. You are doing your very best and will see the rewards someday. 

When my daughter was young, there were times i did not think one of us was going to survive:) 😉 Now, she is 17 and a home schooled 11th grader who is also a full-time student at a local college (dual enrollment). She is thriving in college! She is a dynamic kid who is poised, relates well to adults and has clear goals. As someone already said, these are the kids who make a difference in the world. Hang in there!

 

 

Thank you! My father, though I love him dearly and I know he only wants to help (and I have asked for his advice from time to time), has a lot of things to say, mostly revolving around the fact that boys need dogs and need to be in the country so they have room to run and fall and do physical things. Which I don’t disagree with, but as DH is a pastor, we live in a parsonage and have people breathing down our necks about the state of the house and the yard, his “advice” mostly just makes me feel even worse and like things are hopeless! You made me feel better🙂

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34 minutes ago, Ema said:

I hear you, and by no way am I saying he is negative. He is the greatest, sweetest little guy. Just feel like right now I am in over my head, his sisters are so different!

You have girls. I have 3 boys and 1 girl. Your boy may not even be that "strong-willed" in the range of "wills." Boys are WAY different than girls. I do not like any labelling to be honest. Every child is unique, and to try and fit them into a box is pointless. 

Just be thankful that your boy doesn't have 2 others to wrestle with, make lots of noise with, argue with, etc. It just all seems to be 10x MORE than girls. 😉

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36 minutes ago, Ema said:

as DH is a pastor, we live in a parsonage and have people breathing down our necks

The best advice I read on that was to *parent with integrity*. That means stop yourself, every single time, and make sure you're doing it because it's what the child needs, not because of how *you* feel or your embarrassment or whatever.

Does he respond well to structure? That means clear expectations. Like if your dh is around, then he has a plan, sees the plan for the week on the calendar, knows his checklist for the day, knows he's going to go work for an hour with Dad at such and such time and needs to be ready. 

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I found something called “You’re grounded sheets”, I might have learned about them here.  They really helped with my very strong willed oldest.  Once grounded he had to do various chores to earn certain points.  Once he hit those points he was ungrounded.  These helped because it left things up to him.  He could pout and be mad as long as he wanted, but to get back his privileges back he had to master his attitude and do the chores.  It took me out of the bad guy role and put the responsibility on him. This technique actually worked so well that we stopped needing them.  About a year after we started them I realized that he hadn’t had a punishment in months. And he hasn’t since.  
 

 

Here’s a link to an editable version. I had to add addendums to ours because he would look for loop holes.  
http://diy-for-teens.our-home-decor.com/living-laughing-and-learning-congrats-youre-grounded-free-editable-and-printable-chart-for-disciplining-your-children

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On 12/5/2019 at 2:13 PM, Cnew02 said:

I found something called “You’re grounded sheets”, I might have learned about them here.  They really helped with my very strong willed oldest.  Once grounded he had to do various chores to earn certain points.  Once he hit those points he was ungrounded.  These helped because it left things up to him.  He could pout and be mad as long as he wanted, but to get back his privileges back he had to master his attitude and do the chores.  It took me out of the bad guy role and put the responsibility on him. This technique actually worked so well that we stopped needing them.  About a year after we started them I realized that he hadn’t had a punishment in months. And he hasn’t since.  
 

 

Here’s a link to an editable version. I had to add addendums to ours because he would look for loop holes.  
http://diy-for-teens.our-home-decor.com/living-laughing-and-learning-congrats-youre-grounded-free-editable-and-printable-chart-for-disciplining-your-children

Thank you! I think something like this would work well. 

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On 12/5/2019 at 8:51 AM, fairfarmhand said:

More thoughts:

  • Build explanations into things that you need him to do. "We are leaving in 5 minutes so I need you to put on your shoes and wipe your face." "The washcloths  get smelly when left in a wad in the bathtub so wring them out and hang them up." Simple commands like "Put on your shoes right away." and "Hang up the washcloth" can turn into a ridiculous power struggle that can be avoided with a little explanation. I would often get so busy that I'd forget to explain things and be irritated when my dd argued or didn't comply. 
  • If I could go back and advise my younger self, it would be "Slow down." Allow the child time to process things and comply. I would often be in a rush and my dd would push back because that how she processed life and then we'd have a power struggle. Allowing time for 1. Me to speak respectfully. 2. Her to hear me and ask questions if needed. 3. Her to comply with a few minutes of contemplation. 4. Us to deal with situations with time to process and relate in loving ways rather than irritation. 
  • Know the fine line when discussion turns into an argument and shut things down when that occurs.
  • Also, there will be some times when your kid just doesn't want to comply, no matter how many choices you give him, how much time you allow him to process, no matter how many reasons you give him, he's just going to have to do some stuff unhappily. Seat belts, toothbrushes, and shots have to happen no matter how much of a fuss your son makes, so accept that he will be unhappy at times. Just choose those times for the HAVE TO's not the optional stuff. 
  • These kids are exhausting. Accept that. Practice good self care so you don't get burned out an angry at the kid. Take breaks from the kid. Have your spouse take over regularly.
  • Be on the alert for anxiety. Some of my dd's push back was related to anxiety. Anxiety and depression can sometimes look like anger in certain personalities.

Good reminders. I also have fallen into the “busy” trap of not feeling like I have the time to explain and teach. He does think about things, sometimes for a few days then he surprises you with an insight on something you had almost forgotten. 

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