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At a loss with my 5 and 7 year olds-- discipline related

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey all! Thanks in advance for taking the time to read! So I fully believe in gentle discipline. We have a really lax household for the most part. My older one rarely pushed limits (a little different now-- more on that later), but my 5 yr old is quite the handful. But I've always felt like he'll even out with time, he won't be a little mischievous sprite forever, etc. The issue is that the kids don't listen to me or DH at all. It's like we're jokes to them almost. Again, I think this is normal, especially with strong-willed personalities, and I am reluctant to change our style and become more authoritarian. But some things that have happened recently, and the general dynamic of my family has been bothering me, so here I am asking for advice from similarly minded mamas.

The most recent example was DS2 (the 5 yr old) trying to cross a very busy street twice without looking and without my permission earlier today. We were on our way back from the park and I was lagging behind a little with the baby. I caught up to him in time and yanked him out of the street just as a car was approaching. I reminded him to wait til I gave the all clear and that there are cars, and he starts arguing with me "but I'm allowed to walk" and then starts walking into the street again and I once again have to pull his arm. Then once we start to cross (and are doing so quickly as again, busy street) he stops to pick at some gravel. I say "we have to get out of the street, cars are coming" and he refuses to budge, and once again I have to drag him to safety. I realize this is normal little kid stuff, but it's getting really tiring? How do I get him to listen to me the first time? Or not even the first time hahaha just ANY TIME. 

He also provokes his older brother a lot. Again, normal. But if he's doing something that could result in bodily harm (and I'm not talking about normal boy wrestling because I've gotten used to that) I have to physically remove him. He won't listen to me. At the park, also today, he was chasing around his brother with a stick and wouldn't put it down/wouldn't stop til I ran up to him and wrestled the stick away from him. Getting him to put his shoes on is a chore, go to the bathroom before we leave, pick up his toys, not act like a maniac in public (crawling on the floor in stores, running into people, pulling stuff off the shelves, etc), everything is HARD. He acts like a complete angel in school and also with other people (not "safe" people though, like close friends and family he'll act like "himself") so I don't think there's a diagnosis thing going on. 

I also think my older son might be acting more because of him, too. It might be his age, but he's definitely in full out "you're not the boss of me" mode. He does a lot of the same things as his younger brother and it's starting to bug me.

Soooo I feel like we've tried a lot-- more outside time, more structured time, less structured time, more chores to make him feel a sense of responsibility, no chores, sticker charts for good behavior, etc etc etc. I guess I'm wondering if anyone has btdt and found away to keep their child safe and also the parents not feeling insane while still being gentle. Or are we just screwed? :wink 

post #2 of 11
Sounds like you're doing a good job, hopefully this phase will pass soon. I don't like to make a lot of rules/demands, but I do want the kids to know that if I said it, I mean it- so the most important thing to me is consistency. I try not to ask them to do anything that I'm not willing to follow through on. Like what you did with the street, or the stick: you said it, and them when he didn't respond, you made it happen. I think following through consistently after you've asked (only once or twice) will eventually teach them that you mean what you say.

I raised my two girls that way, and it was a very gentle household. Now I'm in little boy territory, staring over again. I hope we're as successful smile.gif
Good luck!
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks! I think I needed to hear that "I'm doing a good job" because I certainly don't feel that way haha. DH and I always look inward when issues with our kids come up. And more often than not I feel "oh I'm such a terrible mom!" but I know I'm mostly good and keeping it together! DS2 was a little wild at school open house last night and I ended up taking him out of the room a few times to talk which seemed to do the trick. I agree that consistency is super important.

post #4 of 11
Sounds like you're doing the right stuff...it's probably just some kind of phase--plus maybe it's a personality thing. Consistency is really important and will help no matter what else is going on. Also, pay attention to patterns of behavior and see if you notice anything recurrent--e.g. Time of day, setting, certain foods, transitions, routines. Then you can be more proactive if you find you're dealing with a certain issue over and over.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you! We're trying to do bedtime earlier now as I think some of it might be tiredness. But it's easier said than done. 

post #6 of 11
At least the days are getting shorter! I find that helps with bedtime struggles. wink1.gif
post #7 of 11

I came across a parenting book called "Parenting: A House United" that I've loved for nuts and bolts parenting advice and that you may want to check out. (Caveat: Written by a Mormom mom, so references to God but nothing major if that's not your family's perspective)

Basically it gives you a framework to help you teach your child the connection between choices and consequences and help them see how their choices limit or empower themselves. In many ways it is VERY respectful while still being fairly strict (but again, in a non-punitive way).


I was going to give an example, but it's long and probably better to check out their website at http://parentingselfgovernment.com/. I'm not trying to "plug" them for any reason other than I find it's been very effective with my 5yo and getting him to listen and respond appropriately.

post #8 of 11
I think kids respond best when you choose what is important to you, be consistent & follow through. It truly does not matter, for example, if you make them do chores or not. But if you introduce it & then back down but complain.... Not good for the family.

Does not matter about bedtime as long as people are all getting the sleep they need. Mt kids attend school & 9 PM is late for them to be
post #9 of 11
Other families I know can't imagine starting the day at 530 AM like I do with kids up starting at 6.
They sleep in, we go early.

None of it matters as long as you choose what its important TO YOUR FAMILY &, struck with those rules. Kids NEED to know where the boundaries are.

Example: Last year, I didn't enforce any consequence for my son not completing an assigned reading log. He just didn't get the prize. He is capable, just not motivated.

This year, the first log came home & I sat down & talked with him about it. He did the math to figure out how many minutes to read each day. I promised to only remind but that if it was not getting done, I would have to enforce some no TV time til back on track.
And I did.

Today, he came home from school with a certificate & a free pizza coupon...the pride & joy from him made it worth it!

This month, I have a kid who mostly gets his homework done without argument, AND for the first time EVER, he is setting goals with that reading log!
post #10 of 11
Consistency worked. There were nights work got done just at or even after bedtime. Tempting to reward the fact that it is done, but the goal I had chosen was getting work done in a timely manner. Enforcing that bedtime ensured better cooperation. wink1.gif Took a couple times, but he knew I was serious,& note that is making life easier.
post #11 of 11
With my strong willed kid, it helps to set the boundary and consequence in advance. For instance, we go to the park, we have rules of conduct that we discuss in advance, if the rules aren't followed, we leave.
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