7 year old ds behavior creates chaos...how to handle - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 09-07-2011, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i have 4 boys (7, 4.5, 2.5, 7mnths). Over the summer I became increasingly annoyed with my children to the point where I am over my limit. I am not proud of how I speak to them as of late, especially the eldest. I have read and read and watched and observed others and tried to gain control over my reactions. I may have a but of late onset (or late to be acknowledged) PPD as well, which I am treating with supplements, exercise, etc.

Well, yesterday was the first day of 2nd grade for my biggest and I ha a revelation. I frequent a local yarn shop and lately I would not DREAM of bringing all of my children there. The last time I did they ran chasing each other through this nice store and by the time it was said and done I wanted to wring their necks. Now, I am aware that this is normal boy behavior. However, I prepared them before hand with what I expected of them, ie no running in store. I corrected the behavior in store (grab the arm as child ran by, look in the eye, say "no more running", bla bla bla ). They persist with the wild behavior. So they go with me no more and there is varying degrees of this behavior else where so going places became dreadful to me. I could no longer visit friends homes due to their rambunctious behavior.
Then yesterday I ventured to the yarn store with other 3 boys sans big brother. The clouds parted, the sun shone through the clouds and lo and behold I had an realization. Big brother is the instigator! The other 3 (well 2, baby is hangin' in the sling) were darlings. I was calm and collected and able to guide them happily. There was no running or yelling. I then reflected on other stressful situations and it's clear that he gets his brothers going and I can't bring them back after that. I wondered why when he came home from school the stress level rose and the atmosphere chained in the house.

So my question is...
How do I discipline my oldest son and help him keep control over his actions. Its like he just can't help himself. The others follow and they can't help themselves either of course. But at 7, I feel he should be able to follow instructions and not behave like a wild animal when he has been given specific instructions.

Sorry if this is garbled!!

Amy


Mama to DS1 (4/04) DS2 (HBAC 11/06) DS3 (HBAC 12/08) DS4 (HBAC 1/11). Wife to one handsome hard working DH.
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#2 of 8 Old 09-08-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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I hear you!  One of my children also lacks impulse control.  It has gotten much better with time, though she is the one I struggle most with in that regard.  I think they are just wired differently . . .not to say it can't be helped (by us, with guidance), but they also struggle with it more.  In other words, my other children don't have to fight the same urges that she does, I think.

 

Random things that I've noticed:

  • She has far more energy than my other children. 
  • She has more of a need for protein than my others.
  • Taking her out alone (one-on-one) with one of us makes a difference-- she is very cooperative without her siblings around.  (Even though she is the one who instigates with them, being away from them helps her, too.)
  • Giving her jobs/responsibilities helps.  For example, she is the only one I've had a problem with re: our cats.  She isn't aggressive, but she does not respect boundaries.  (Rubs their stomachs even though they don't like it, even when re-directed again and again.)  Yesterday her friend was over, and my DD was bothering the cat (picking him up).  I took her in private and told her that the cat is hers (her sister has her own cat-- cat "picked" her and this DD wants her own, too), and that he looks to her as his protector.  She spent the rest of the time, even with her friend there (sometimes she sort of shows off with friends) making sure the cat was really happy, asking me and him questions about what he likes/doesn't like.
  •  

  So, for example, while the yarn store sounds like a hard trip for most kids, maybe you could give him jobs . . .tell him what kind of yarn you're looking for, bring books for him to read to his siblings, etc.  You'd have to keep the trips really brief at first (so he succeeds) but I think it becomes a habit in a good way.  Again, I think some kids just struggle more . . .like the whole marshmallow experiment, but hopefully there are ways we can help them.  NOT easy!

 

 


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#3 of 8 Old 09-09-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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"I see you can't behave in the store so you must hold my hand (push the cart)." The book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen may help.

 

I was a single mom of 3 boys. We homeschooled and I took them everywhere with me. The youngest had ADHD, bipolar disorder, and other issues. We were involved in scouting, sports, and went to many public events. We all have chronic medical problems and had to go to doctors and hospitals a lot. They were pretty much always well behaved. The only time I had a sitter was when I went to my grad school classes. They were never punished. No time outs. No groundings. The turned out to be polite, well behaved young men.

 

Punishment doesn't work. What I did was build a repertoire of parenting skills. You can't punish your son into having control over himself. You need to learn how to help him have control over himself. If he can't do that you need to learn how to get him under control. That is what I did by having him hold my hand in the store (above).

 

How can you help him have control over himself? You can try to figure out what is causing his behavior. You can have him evaluated. He can learn meditation. Sports may help him. Swimming may be a good sport, he would swim long distances every day in practice. Tennis is another good choice. I would stay away from any of the fighting sports. The sports you can do your whole life are good choices. My kids did tennis, golf, kickball, baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, diving, and gymnastics.

 

As he learns you are going to make him be under control he will start getting himself under control. Years ago there was this little boy that was about 9 that lived in our apartment complex. He would scream and cry to get his way. Everyone liked our apartment and he wanted to play at our apartment. I looked him in the eye and told him he could not scream or cry in our apartment. He looked at me like I was from another planet. When he screamed I sent him home. This happened a couple more times and then we had no more problems. He started being better at home too. He loved coming to our apartment and doing stuff with us. We took him out to eat at Ponderosa and took him to the lake. He behaved very well.

 

I hope this is helpful.


: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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#4 of 8 Old 09-10-2011, 03:41 PM
 
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I want to hear more about your tools.  I agree that punishment does not work, because I try it and see that it does not.  I notice you use consequences (for example, the friend screamed so you sent him home), and some people consider ANY consequences punishment (I do not).

 

One of my big problems is the kids screaming at each other.  Not the oldest-- the middle two.  This can happen anywhere, anytime.  Of course, I cannot send them home . . .:)  nor can I always send them away if we are out.  I have tried breathing techniques, inc. an acronym (STAR-- stop, take a deep breath, and relax) but that makes them even angrier.  I have practiced them when they are NOT angry (well, tried to) and they resist.

 

So . . . books recommendations or more tips welcome.  I agree that it's about having a child learn to control him/herself, just not sure how to get there!

Quote:

 

 

Punishment doesn't work. What I did was build a repertoire of parenting skills. You can't punish your son into having control over himself. You need to learn how to help him have control over himself. If he can't do that you need to learn how to get him under control. That is what I did by having him hold my hand in the store (above).

 

How can you help him have control over himself? You can try to figure out what is causing his behavior. You can have him evaluated. He can learn meditation. Sports may help him. Swimming may be a good sport, he would swim long distances every day in practice. Tennis is another good choice. I would stay away from any of the fighting sports. The sports you can do your whole life are good choices. My kids did tennis, golf, kickball, baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, diving, and gymnastics.

 

As he learns you are going to make him be under control he will start getting himself under control. Years ago there was this little boy that was about 9 that lived in our apartment complex. He would scream and cry to get his way. Everyone liked our apartment and he wanted to play at our apartment. I looked him in the eye and told him he could not scream or cry in our apartment. He looked at me like I was from another planet. When he screamed I sent him home. This happened a couple more times and then we had no more problems. He started being better at home too. He loved coming to our apartment and doing stuff with us. We took him out to eat at Ponderosa and took him to the lake. He behaved very well.

 

I hope this is helpful.



 


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#5 of 8 Old 09-11-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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I think I HEART you, Mizelenious.   DS2 is exactly like you describe (and very different from the other 3 DC).

 

Phoebe, the other thing that struck me is that they outnumber you (& me, & us). They do this behaviour because they know we can't get on top of them properly when they outnumber us so badly.

 

One thing (muddling thru here) that I find helps is that the more we do of something, the better it gets. So I wonder in Phoebe's situation if taking your DS to shops more often rather than less would actually help.  You'd have to only take the eldest + one other at first, just give him practice at not being a maniac.

 

I notice that the more sports and games that DS does, the less competitive he does.  The more drawing/writing he has to do, the less he tantrums about having to write things.  It goes against my instincts because I just don't want the hassle and risks, but it works out the opposite of what I expect.


~ Yank Transplant to Britain and Zookeeper of 4 DC age 15 and under. ~
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#6 of 8 Old 09-12-2011, 07:05 AM
 
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yeah, I have this problem and I fixed it by making them apologize to the other patrons. You want to act unfairly around others? It's a lack of respect for everyone involved. I had DD1 apologize to a store owner for running through her store and knocking things over. Now, they keep their hands close and their feet to a minimal speed. It's not realizing that they are affecting others with their behavior. If I were to do what they have done, I would hope I would get kicked out of a store. I've actually been kicked out of Target... but they had bouncy balls!!!!
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#7 of 8 Old 09-19-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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LOTS of good ideas!  I am defiinitely a believer in making children apologize to others: it is a consequence in itself (it is humbling) and it is a reminder that we're not the only people in the room and that we need to respect the rights of others as well. 

 

Amy, I also would suggest that it's possible that your 7yo isn't so much the instigator as much as it is a dynamic thing.  That is, I have 6 children - 3 older from my first marriage and 3 younger from my second marriage.  In any group of 3 if you take one away it changes the dynamic.  It isn't necessarily true that the one you're taking away is the cause of the behavior you see when the group is together, just that the dynamic changes.  And, if it is the 7yo imagine the power he feels.  He can disregard you and cause the two other ones to disregard you - how powerful!  So, perhaps helping him to use his influence for good rather than bad...  "Wow, Johhny, it is so cool how Billy & Steven look up to you.  Did you notice how when you told them to listen to Mama they did?  Did you see how they did just as you did in not touching that yarn?  What a fabulous big brother you are!"

 

 I also think practicing and role playing at home are hugely helpful.  AND...I don't wait until I'm done in the store to issue consequences.  If I have to put my things away and walk out of a store to train my children, I will.  And, trust me, if mama has to walk out of her special store because you didn't behave as you should, you will regret that.  (Perhaps YOU won't get what you want at your special store.  Perhaps you won't come to town on future trips.  Whatever the case is, I make sure the children know that that was a bad choice and that it will affect them personally.)

 

Good luck - how awesome it will be to get this under control and you can all enjoy your trips to the store more!


Mrs. S - Crunchy child of The King, Wife to my best friend, and Mama to my many blessings.

 
 
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#8 of 8 Old 09-20-2011, 09:13 PM
 
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Hey, mamas . . .just wanted to update from us and say I've finally gotten around to reading the classic parenting book, "How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen/Listen So Your Kids Will Talk" and it is really helping.  I don't find that it's something I could easily use while out (maybe someday, but I'm not there yet) and there is sort of chaos, but I think it's a great way to prevent the chaos from happening in the first place.

 

My 9 y.o. likes to read what I read, so she read part of it, too.  I was shocked when I heard one of her sisters crying about an injustice (by another sister), and the 9 y.o. followed the steps of the book exactly with her sister.  It helps when everyone learns these skills!


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