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I just want my 5 year old to do what I say

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
My son is 5.5 and for pretty much his whole life he has been defiant and basically never listens to me or his father. I feel like I've tried everything, and I'm just tired and sad. He's a bright, caring, nice boy, but he refuses to listen to us, and seems to enjoy defying us. Everything is a power struggle with him.

He is in Kindergarten and behaves perfectly well in school. How can I get that kind of compliance at home? I'm open to any form of discipline that doesn't involve violence or shaming. I know that consensual living, unconditional parenting, and the like will not work for us. I think we will all be happier, my son included, if he can just learn to do what we say. Any ideas?
post #2 of 3

Does it feel more like disrespect?  Or defiance?  

 

Are your requests disrespectful to him?  If you want him to put his plate in the sink, are you asking in a respectful way?  Or using a sing-songy voice?  Or in a demanding tone?  "I need you to put your plate in the sink please... thank you".  Then, expect that he will.  If he doesn't, leave it there, and serve his next meal off of that same plate.  If he wants a clean plate, he'll need to put his dirty plate in the sink and get himself a clean plate.  (maybe leave one on the counter for him)   

 

I only ask the kids once.  (if I know they heard me...it's unfair to make a request when the child is busy, and expect them to have comprehended it)  Anyway.. I ask once.  "Lets get in the car".  If they don't get in the car, we don't go.  I sit back down, turn on the TV, and we don't go.  (you have to manipulate this... you can't pull this on a school day, pick something reasonably fun, but unimportant)  Or if Dad is home, You go, and leave him home.  "Well, Mommy needed you to get in the car, but you didn't... sorry, maybe next time".

 

One of the reasons he behaves well at school is that they are firm, yet patient.  They say what they want done, and expect it to be done.  If it's not done, it's the student's problem, not the teacher's problem.  If you can find a way to make him responsible for his own behavior like they do in school, you might see a change.

 

But, don't use baby talk, don't end ANY request with "O.K?"  If it sounds weak or optional, then it is optional.  

 

Don't make requests or say "no" when it's not that important.  If you are constantly asking for something of him, he will stop listening.  My husband does this to me.... I can be busy with four things, and he will say "Can you look online for that number I need?"  Then, he will stand there and wait.  So, I need to stop everything to go do the thing that JUST popped into his head.  It's beyond irritating.  

 

Other people here do not like this book, but I love the one I have.  "Love and Logic".  You can't read it and take ALL of it seriously.  It's like any form of discipline, you take only what works for you and leave the rest.  It's best to read several different books and form your own mix of the books you like.

post #3 of 3

Oh well, you won't like my advice then. We just stopped telling ds what to do. Telling him to do things didn't work. There was no way to make him do what we said. He was a pretty reasonable, kid, however. And once we got out of power struggle mode, he'd do as we suggested if it seemed like a good idea to him. If not, he was bright and learned from his choices.

 

A really important technique with noncompliant kids is to talk in a positive way. Instead of saying "Don't run in the store," say, "Remember to walk." It takes a while to reformulate how to talk this way but it really helps. If you're trying to get ds to do something before something else, you can remind him, "We'll have more time to read before bed if you brush your teeth soon," or whatever. 

 

 

The only other thing that worked was reverse psychology. Telling him not to do what we wanted him to do. He usually realized the trick but still found it hard to resist doing what he was told not to do.

 

There really isn't any way to make a child have a compliant temperament. Punishing them or revoking privileges just feeds their sense of injustice and enrages them. It does nothing but feed the power struggle cycle.

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