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Choosing battles with a 9 year old

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am looking for alternative methods of dealing with DS' attitude. Recently, he has been very contradictory. I am beginning to think that he'd argue about the color of the sky!

Yesterday was a perfect example. We were due for a family dinner out to celebrate my brother's birthday. DS did homework when he came home from school, so he was allowed to stay out playing until almost 5:00. When he got home he was so sweaty that his hair was soaked and his clothes were sticking to him. The conversation we had went something like this:

Me: Daniel, I'd like to you run up and take a shower before we go out to dinner. Then you can come down and play video games before we leave.
DS: I don't need one.
Me: You are very sweaty, and you'll feel more comfortable after you take a shower and put clean clothes on.
DS: (sweat dripping down his face) I am NOT sweaty.
Me: I can see sweat dripping down your face. Please go upstairs and take a shower.
DS: But I don't want one. I won't take one.
Me: Daniel, I don't want to have to say it again. I asked you to go take a shower. Please go up and do it.
DS: But...
Me: (raising my voice) Go take a shower and change.

He stomped up the stairs, and took a shower. Then, rather than come down to play video games, he sulked in his room. I ignored it - it is, after all, his prerogative to be unhappy. ( I should note that up until recently I would have let him draw me into an argument about why he shouldn't be sulking over something so silly, etc.)

I decided that it was better for me to let him work through his emotions himself, and that I would only comment on his behaviour if he was rude in any way. But, it's soooooo hard!

Anyone have any advice, input, etc? I'm trying to make a radical behavior change in myself, and only pick the worthwhile battles, so any advice on calming myself down would be appreciated also!


post #2 of 6
I have no advice just commiseration. Only my DD is 8, but same thing, same attitude, ughhhh......I feel bad because she isn't that enjoyable. So I feel ya Mama. Must be the age huh?
post #3 of 6

choosing *not* to battle...

It sounds like a rough situation.

That said, I think when to bathe should be determined by the person bathing. It sounds like this scenario created both an unhappy kid and an unhappy parent. What would have been the outcome if, when the boy said he didn't want to take a shower, the subject was dropped?

I imagine the sweat would have dried before dinner. He might have been a bit smelly, in which case, he might've appreciated some information about deodorant and cologne. Perhaps he would've been happier washing his face and torso with a washcloth before putting on a clean shirt. If he was truly uncomfortable, then he would've had reason to place more faith in parental advice, or maybe to agree that a shower would be a good thing next time it was suggested to him.

As someone who enjoys getting sweaty, I've had a lot of experience with showering right away and skipping showers, and I've found that I usually enjoy showering right away. But I figured that out for myself. I wonder if I would have figured that out if I'd been forced to take showers when I didn't want to? It seems likely to me that, at the very least, it would have taken me longer to separate my wants from my reactions to being forced to do something that struck me as illogical at the time.

I'd rather try to help my kids get what they what they want than do battle with them...

Just my $0.02.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
That's a good point, Nawny. I didn't even THINK about dropping the subject and letting him figure out whether he wanted to take one or not. *sigh*

I need to make more of a conscious effort to trust his decisions, I think. Especially when I've taught him what's important.

post #5 of 6
Glad I could help!

I think it is really difficult to sort out our role as parents. We begin with total responsibility, and I think it is a real challenge to commit to respecting our children's individuality and autonomy.

Good luck with your sweaty little sweetie!
post #6 of 6
No words of wisdom, just sympathy and support, I'm going through the same thing with my 9yo son!! He's the same way. I do choose my battles, the issue we're having now is the "talking back" and not listening. Ugh. Luckily this will pass! Good luck!
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