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Help! Am I being too hard on 6yo dss?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
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post #2 of 15
Yes. I think you're being too hard on him. When you send him to his room you are telling him that his behavior makes him less of a person- a powerful statement to a 6 year old. Head over to the gentle discipline forum for some good ideas.

to you. and to him, I feel very sad for him.

-Angela
post #3 of 15
I'm in the exact same boat with my 12 year old stepson. We have been working with him closely for the past 3 years with no success. Mom undermines our every effort. Now we are in a custody battle once again.

I'm still looking for the answers.

I do know that we cannot be their friends and let them break rules just because we want to have fun with them and don't want them to have a bad time just before they go to the other house. But then we are the bad parents.

I guarentee you, if you don't nick it in the bud now, you'll have a teenager doing the same things. I wish I met my stepson when he was that young. I've only been in his life 3 years.

He continues to resist the structured invironment because it's much easier for a 12 year old to live in an invironment with fun, video games, no HW, and lost of friends & parties every weekend.

Good luck with you!! If I figure out a solution I'll let you know.
post #4 of 15
I think you are being too hard on him. My youngest step-daughter will be 6 next month. To say the least, Rachel is a very challenging child. She is incredibly strong-willed and bossy and has literally zero discipline at her mother's house (we are non-custodial).

Rachel isn't a bad kid, she just hasn't had consistent expectations. Your DSS trying to hide the C- and then lying about it is perfectly age appropriate. It's not good, but that's why you have to teach him. This kid has been through hell and back it sounds like. Rather than focusing now on the man you want him to be, focus on the boy he IS. He needs more than anything to feel loved - that no matter what he does, you and your DH are going to love him. Make sure he feels loved and safe and secure before you worry about his integrity or responsibility.
post #5 of 15
OK so you have custody. that is good. You can't expect to fit 6 years of teaching discipline and building trust into 7 months.

I would recommend just trying to connect. perhaps a few more months of bonding and consistancy will help him settle down. it certainly won't make things worse.

If it were me in your shoes I would keep him within arms reach when he was home. let him help you in everything. This will help on two levels. You will abel to bond with him, catch him doing good, make him feel important, give you an oppritunity to patiently teach him. Positive reinforcement and positive attitude. Secondly it will enable you to correct unwanted behaviors immediantly. The minute they take hold in his head. You will have a lot less need to correct and behavior won't have the oppritunity to get out of hand.

As for behavior grade I wouldn't punish for a bad grade. Just use it as foder for conversation while he is helping you tidy the house and make supper. "ahhh, a c-. Why did you get that grade? How could you have handled it better? how do you think it made so and so feel? " let him take ownership of his behavior and try not to be too personally invested in the grade. ask him how he can improve, help him set goals etc. Sinec he has had such a hard 6 years I would go easy on him for lying. Let him know he doesn't have to be scared of the truth. that an off day is a chance to learn better not to be punished. he has a lot of healing to do. I would definitely cut him some slack while he is adjusting to a new home and life he has never known.

I am generally opposed to sending kids to thier room. I tend to bring mine closer when they are misbehaving. even if it means they are literally hip to hip. I can usually find something to keep them busy though . It has been my experiance that most kids respond very positivly to that sort of attention.
post #6 of 15
:

I have to admit I cringed when I read the letter grade on the hand thing. Personally, I would feel quite degraded having that on me. But, thats just me.

Good Luck! Its a tough situation all around.
post #7 of 15
ya know I really didn't think much about the grade on the hand thing because I we always got daily citizenship/behavior reports sent home weekly. BUt on the hand like that is degrading. I must have blocked out the reality of that when i read it. It makes me want to cry. Like wearing a scarlet letter. he is just a little kid. I have an almost 6 year old and she would be a wreck if someone was writing a judgment about her on her hand. And she would wipe it off, A+ or C-, just out of spite (but she is fiesty like that). I can see her hitting anyone who tried it actually. She doesn't take well to invasions of personal space. She wouldn't understand it, she wouldn't get the connection that letter had to her behavior, what the letter meant etc . . . If you really need a daily report a recommend a notbook that the teacher can write words in. That will not take much longer and will be much more specific.

Another thing i thought of is for now if you know the answer don't lead him to a lie. Instead be mater of fact. "I see you wiped off your letter. How did your grade make you feel? Would you rather have a better grade? what can you do to get a better grade?"

I know he feels really big to however old your baby is. But he isn't. Six is still very little. And he has haad what sounds liek a very undersupervised life and perhaps didn't recieve in teaching, discipline, modeling etc of good and proper behavior. Keep that in mind. give him some time to learn before you judge his preformance. He is just a baby still.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
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post #9 of 15
Quote:
I'm in the exact same boat with my 12 year old stepson. We have been working with him closely for the past 3 years with no success.
Wow. 12 years old is twice as old as 6. Huge difference. A 6-year-old really is still a baby, and I have to agree with the pps who said the hand/grade thing seemed demeaning and hurtful. Emcare, I was so glad to see your most recent post. That shows so much more empathy and concern. It's good that you were open to new ideas and to the assertion that you were being too harsh. I think you're right--you do have a small, hurting little person who, more than anything, needs your love and support...and your ear.
post #10 of 15


Do head over to the gentle discipline forum. You'll find tons of good information and supportive moms.

-Angela
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Do head over to the gentle discipline forum. You'll find tons of good information and supportive moms.

Thanks, will do.
post #12 of 15
I just wanted to say that "Playful Parenting" works with stepkids, too! I remember when my dss was just 6, and I really do miss it. I miss the playful little kid I used to haul around on my hip. He was easier to bond with then than now as a big 10 year old! Take advantage of this time. You sound like your heart is in the right place.
post #13 of 15
If you want him to be someone with integrity and self-control, then you need to either remove him from that school or start radicalising it. For me, a pretty big thing is that my boys feel good about how they handled a situation: or else they know what they could do different next time. Does your dss get to grade his own behaviour ever? Does he get to say if he thinks a grade is unfair? Does he even know why he got the C yesterday? How he acted in school isn't a matter for a teacher's arbitrary opinion, it's a matter for HIS opinion because in the long run, he's the one who has to live with himself.
What works for my boys: keeping them close, banning TV altogether and hauling out new stuff to do- artwork, computer stuff, mounds and mounds of lego. At the minute, Alex is loving draughts (chequers)- and one of the cool things about it is that it teaches a child that their actions have consequences. Maybe something for you or your husband to try at home as an analogy, as well as a way of spending time together?
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Brilliant. What wonderful women on this board.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shenjall
:

I have to admit I cringed when I read the letter grade on the hand thing. Personally, I would feel quite degraded having that on me. But, thats just me.

Good Luck! Its a tough situation all around.

I really agree with this. Is there another way you can receive information from the school?
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