7 yr old can't handle no - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 07-04-2013, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I almost feel like we need a psychologist to help. What will happen when my son gets to the age of autonomy- will he be an anarchist??

Despite giving him choices as much as possible and negotiating as often as we can he refuses to hear the word "no" or be stopped from his plans. We often have to send him to his room to cool down because of the yelling and carrying on.

We have three other kids. My son is behind in his emotional intelligence. I don't know what to do. It's been this way his whole life. Lately he is saying I don't listen to him. Of course we try to listen better. Validate. He just erupts when he is thwarted.

If you have any ideas I would appreciate it.
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#2 of 13 Old 07-04-2013, 06:52 PM
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Sorry, I have one like this who thinks rules are "stupid" and "not for him". It's been a long haul. I had to drag him out of more school events, b-day parties and special family outings than I care to contemplate. He would just get more and more angry and devolve into name calling and throwing things, kicking the wall, etc, etc. We tried therapy, we tried special diets, we tried ADD meds. And yes, its very hard on his sibling. I just make sure his unruliness doesn't let him get his way! No means no. He is just now becoming manageable at 17. And only because we won't allow him to get a driver's license if he doesn't shape up on a few things.

I hear they grow up and leave home someday.redface.gif
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#3 of 13 Old 07-04-2013, 06:56 PM
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Sometimes NO is just the answer.  All the negotiating and choices just give the impression that the no is, well, negotiable and that there are choices.  I would stop giving in to the impulse to negotiate or trying to bring him around to agreeing to the no.  No is no.  Sometimes that's now it is.  Say no one time, explain why in as few words as possible, and after that just keep saying, "No.  I already explained it" and eventually walk away.  It takes two to argue.  If he has to go to his room to cool down, fine.  Learning to calm yourself is a valuable tool.

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#4 of 13 Old 07-04-2013, 07:52 PM
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I found I could say yes much more than I realized when my son was younger...

Yes, you can have ice cream, right after dinner.

Yes, we can go to the playground, when I'm finished washing this load of laundry.

Yes, we can get that, next time I go to the grocery store.

Finding ways to say yes and then adding whatever necessary qualifiers minimized the oppositional behavior much of the time. And hearing yes more made ds handle my saying no better because he didn't feel like it was an automatic no without valid reasons.

I actually read that the best approach to a child with Oppositional Defiance Disorder is to not say no. It worked well with my ds when he was at his worst around age 4 and 5.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#5 of 13 Old 07-04-2013, 08:18 PM
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I say yes as much as possible within reason...But when I say no I don't relent or negotiate...she asks again I give her a warning of downtime....she does it she goes directly to her room...


I don't show any kind of emotion when this is happening because it just fuels the fire...when I first started doing this seemed like I would send her all the time..it  is becoming more sporadic now that she knows I mean what I say and I say what I mean...

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#6 of 13 Old 07-05-2013, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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This is all so helpful. I have been in the habit of saying no first and then negotiating. I need to change my thinking around and think first if it is a no or not. No wonder kids get confused. Then when they whine and complain I tell them " I can't talk to you or help you out if you speak to me that way" not realizing my son is too immature to handle that. For that matter they would probably all appreciate more solid input from me.
I will also warn them once about acting out if I say no and then send them for downtime.
Punishment is never what I wanted to do but I need a handle on this awful behaviour and I just end up threatening anyway. Maybe the problem is mostly my lax boundaries and that is hopeful because I can change that.
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#7 of 13 Old 07-05-2013, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I have tried the " yes, you can watch cartoons after..." But my son sees right through that, " I hate adults" " your not the boss!" I sure get tired of hearing that.

Hope we can turn things around with better boundaries and firmer "no's".
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#8 of 13 Old 07-05-2013, 11:19 PM
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If you're other kids are fine then I don't think it's anything you're doing. I don't have any suggestions other than have you looked into food sensitivities? My dd is an angel so long as she's getting her way - we found out she can't have gluten and the improvement is unbelievable. I think there are a lot of foods that cause probs
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#9 of 13 Old 07-06-2013, 12:07 AM
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Its important for everyone to accept being told no. I know adults that still haven't accepted it and i doubt they ever will.

Dont give into his whining and yelling. That is what he hopes for so he does it until you give in and start negotiating. I know its rough, i have a hard time with it, too, and my child is only 2. Learn to pick your battles--when its really important to say no, say it and stick to it. When its not as important then negotiate. I think that, most of the time, if parents are consistent with their "nos" and follow through with the consequences of not respecting the no then the kids wont feel so out of control. When we give them sloppy boundaries and mixed messages this can make them feel agitated and confused, causing outbursts. Clear messages and boundaries go a long way. Its also important for you to feel comfortable with saying no. If you're not then they often see right through it and use it to their advantage.
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#10 of 13 Old 07-06-2013, 05:45 AM
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Mixed messages are never good. If you are going to say No, then you should mean it. What I did, was choose what hills were worth dying on and where No meant NO! No ifs, ands, or buts. Some things were a yes, without question. The rest? Were negotiable, based on what else was going on, my schedule, etc. 

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#11 of 13 Old 07-06-2013, 10:07 AM
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I'm with mtiger - I didn't say no very much. I'm still very mellow about a lot of things and my kids have tons of freedom, but no means no. Keeping to the few things that matter gave it power.

I'm also not into "choices" unless they are real choices. I feel like there is a parenting trend to tell kids they have a choice when they really don't , it's just a head game that adults play to try to make the child feel they control that they don't actually have. Smart kids see through that. So I was straight forward about what was a choice and what wasn't .

If you are in the habit of saying "no" and then thinking about it and changing yout mind, you could switch to "I need to think for a minute".

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#12 of 13 Old 07-06-2013, 10:48 AM
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I also have a 7 year old who has a hard time handling it when things aren't going his way.  I found The Explosive Child to be a helpful book, even though my kid isn't as dramatically explosive as most of the kids described in the book.  Basically the idea is that some kids just don't have the emotional skills to handle being frustrated.  Punishment and rewards won't help improve their behavior much, because they don't have good control over their behavior.  In the heat of the moment, they simply don't have the ability to think about consequences and adjust their reaction accordingly.  The author recommends drastically reducing the number of non-negotiables at first, to improve your relationship with your kid and the general atmosphere in the house.  Most things you would have said "no" to become things you're willing to be flexible about.  By being flexible yourself, you're modelling what you want your kid to do.  He learns that there's often room for flexibility and negotiation, so he doesn't need to flip out as soon as it looks like he's not getting what he wants.  He can work with you on coming up with a compromise instead.

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#13 of 13 Old 07-06-2013, 11:04 AM
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I get told them all I say is no.  But um... it's not true at all.  last time I said no was when I was asked if the girls could walk 3 blocks away at 9:30 at night to play with their friends. 

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