I'm having trouble finding effective ways to discipline my 7 year old son. I find logical consequences for many of the issues we encounter such as leaving endless toys out or not wanting to do homework or eat dinner and am able to apply these gently and effectively some of the time. I run into problems when he has emotional outbursts which are becoming more frequent. If he doesn't agree with something I've asked him to do or I won't let him do something that he wants he will completely LOSE it! I'm talking throw himself on the floor and scream and yell tantrum style. He also will start speaking to me in a completely disrespectful and rude way; yelling and screaming and stomping around. And then he'll be in a horrible mood once he's calmed down and treat me and my husband very poorly and will just be a total grump. He'll walk around saying "this is the worst day ever" and so on. I'm at a complete loss as to what to do. I want to be gentle and get through to him and help him control himself but part of me just feels angry (and sad) that he acts this way. Often lately I'll ask him to go spend time in his room if he's freaking out and that can work sometimes however sometimes he'll simply refuse and continue his rant. There's a new baby in the house (and yes this was happening well before the baby) so I obviously don't want him screaming his head off whenever he doesn't like something. My husband thinks that he needs more discipline and structure and that this is partly a result of me being "too easy on him". I'm lost...
Is this age appropriate behavior? Is this a phase that I need to ride out? Strategies? Resource recommendations? Anything?
my oldest was 7.5 when #2 came around and the 7 year drama hit an all time high.. What helped
1) media limits it got really easy to allow her more access to the TV or computer so I could deal with the baby and it wasn't long before we crossed from bending the boundries a bit for a special circumstance to her getting obsessed over it.. Setting firm non negiotable limits was a HUGE help in reducing tantrums
2) Big sibling feel.. DD LOVED beign a big sister but I always worried about labeling her as such. I aovid phrases like your so grown up or you going to be a great big sister helper ect thinking I wouldn't force her to grow up too fast.. MISTAKE in reality she wanted to be told she was a big sister and growing up.. I started giving her a lot more responisbility.. She started doing regular house hold chores and not just setting thr table or putting away toys she started doing laundry including sorting washing folding hanging and putting away, dishes including diswasher stacking and emptying.. Full house vaccumming and mopping (swifter) etc it wasn't like we had her cleaning all day or refused to help but she loved the responsibility. Almost 2 years latter she still does (and my house is a lot cleaner.
3) sleep like using the media too much I was also not following up with her sleep.. I send her to bed she'd willingly go and not fuss but I did little to ensure shes slept and often found her awake late eaither playing or watchign a movie on her DVD resulting in me eaither yelling and making idle threats or secretly glad cause then I could have time to deal with the baby.. WHile it was hard especially the first few months making sure i took the time to give the oldest her bedtime rountiue and ensure her proper sleep also helped a ton..
and finially ..... Turning 8 a lot was her just needing to mature more and another birthday and time...
Other than that, I would treat any tantrum the same way I'd treat a tantrum for a 2-year-old. Tantrums are literally when someone is out of control, so expecting him to keep the tantrum under control because of the baby is not really realistic. If he could control his emotions at that time, he wouldn't have a tantrum. I think the best thing is to try to get him through this and onto the other side where he doesn't need tantrums, rather than worrying about noise during individual tantrums. I'd just let him have his tantrum, and move him away from where the baby is sleeping if necessary (though it might be easier to move the baby because the baby is a lot smaller), and then let him get it out of his system, and then talk to him gently afterward. The ultimate lesson he neesd to learn is "you aren't always going to get your way, and it's OK if that happens. Tantrums have no effect on anything." So you don't give him his way, he has a tantrum, the tantrum changes nothing, and everything ends up being OK anyway. If you get really upset over the tantrums, then the tantrum has some kind of effect. I would not get emotionally involved in the tantrum at all.
Disrespect and rudeness seem common for 6 to 7 year olds. We've had a few threads on that lately. I'd ask him to rephrase himself every single time. "The way you said that is rude and makes me (angry, feel bad, whatever). I need you to ask in a nicer way." Give him suggestions if necessary. With repetition, he'll get it, but it is normal for that age and worth changing or he'll never think about how his words affect others.
Not sure if you've read about Waldorf education at all, but Steiner goes into much depth about the 7-yr-change, which usually happens around the time of the changing of the teeth.
I read all about it and thought I was so prepared, but WOW, did my oldest ds throw me for a loop when he hit that stage. 7 was very tough for us. He was quick to anger, quick to yelling, screaming, door-slamming. He would get in my face if he couldn't get what he wanted. I felt like all I did all day was try to figure out how to discipline him as gently as possible because I was losing my patience.
All of a sudden, within the last month (he is now 7yrs 11 months) he has totally calmed down and our relationship is better than ever. I mean, he talks to me instead of yells, he takes a "no" in stride (which I find I hardly ever have to say to him anymore, as we are both so much more reasonable with each other). He's respectful, apologizes to me if he accidentally bumps me or spills (and I always tell him no problem, it's fixable). It is literally like a dream after most days last year ending in tears.
Hang in there! I only wish I would have been more patient and less reactive with him last year. There were lots of "consequences" given out of desperation on my part and now I really wish I wouldn't have resorted to that. It was only a phase, not something I had to "put a stop to." By the way, these are my own thoughts in quotes :) I was very conflicted in how to handle it. Luckily, I would pass most of it on to my DH, who is very gentle. He spent a lot of time talking to ds.