Mothering Forums

Mothering Forums (
-   Gentle Discipline (
-   -   Need a refresher: Ideas for 7 year old's consequences or.....??? (

at-home 05-17-2014 06:07 PM

Things have been going fairly smoothly the past year until this past month or so.   Increasingly, my daughters (twins age 7.5) do not pay attention to what I say and often do things they aren't supposed to do.  Why?  When I ask them why they did such-and-such, even though I said they were not supposed to, their answer is "because I wanted to."  I have explained over and over again that you can't do things just because you want to if they've been instructed not to.  (For example, leaving our property  and going into neighbor's yards or the street, or taking markers into the livingroom, or throwing mud at the house.)  I don't seem to have consequences that are effective.  Nothing seems to be that important to them! 

Any suggestions?

Thank you.

IdentityCrisisMama 05-17-2014 06:54 PM

Have you tried identifying exactly what it is that they want to do/enjoy about these activities and trying to work up a compromise with them?  

at-home 05-17-2014 08:53 PM

I suppose I could try that.  But the things they do are so varied.....and I have tried both tightening the reins and loosening the reins, so to speak - and neither one seems to make any difference. 

One_Girl 05-17-2014 11:30 PM

I suggest focusing on the biggest issues first and going from there. Going into the street is a big issue and I would take it to mean they aren't ready to go outside when you can't be with them to supervise. Taking markers into the living room isn't a big deal and I would put that on hold. Leaving stuff out is very annoying but I have found the easiest way to deal with that is to send my dd to clean up after she becomes engaged in an activity, the inconvenience is enough to motivate her to do it right the first time.

IdentityCrisisMama 05-18-2014 04:47 AM

I think kids at this age really appreciate if you level with them about what it is you're concerned with. What is it about going to the neighbors that is not allowed?  What can be arranged so that can be allowed?  The street?  What about the markers?  Is the concern getting ink on furniture?  Why do they prefer to work in there?  I the light better?  Throwing mud is fun!  How can some mud play be accommodated?  


I think looking at it as tightening or loosening may be problematic because it ignores the idea that you can all have what you want. Maybe they can help you come up with creative solutions?  I feel like at age 7, seeing their parent try to stretch to meet their needs/desires in creative ways may go a long way to helping them understand that their wants are respected. 


Now consequences... 


Well, cleaning the mud off the house is a good obvious one, IMO.  If they are truly having a problem staying on the property (and I understand this concern because we live right in the city on a busy road), I think maybe I would tell them they can't be outside unless I was there with them, which will have logical limitations based on when I have time to be outside. That said, we have decided to draw our play boundaries pretty broad to accommodate our kids desire to wander. They can go between several homes and are always allowed with neighbors. If they go inside anywhere they have to come tell me. When my DC was a bit younger (7), she had to come tell me that she was going to ask to play with the neighbor two houses down and then come back and tell me if she was invited in. We have a 100% no-go down the hill towards the road. This is important to me and it gets reiterated whenever we have friends over and I tell them the boundaries. One time some neighbor kids did go down to the road (and crossed it).  I freaked out accordingly. ;-)  This is where reserving your freak-out for really important stuff comes in handy. 


One more thing -- I have found that talking in the car (if you drive) is the best for this age. See if you can catch them in a conversational mood and have a frank chat about your concerns. Engage them in problem solving. 

elenaalisa 05-18-2014 05:13 AM

I think it is a crisis of 7 years. And the end of the school year. Maybe kids just tired

IdentityCrisisMama 05-18-2014 05:22 AM

Oh, one more thing.  In PET (Parent Effectiveness Training) they talk about breaking problems up into individual things to deal with. The idea is that confronting someone with the request to change a pattern of behavior can feel really daunting. But, asking them to make a change on one very specific and immediate problem is much easier to discuss and think about changing. So, while as parents it is understandable that we get frustrated by a pattern of things, it is better for our kids if we just talk about the next thing that comes up and treat it like an isolated issue. PET suggests that this is effective for adults as well as children and, IME, they are absolutely right. Imagine the difference when we approach our spouse/family member with "You always..." and the debate and defensiveness that comes out of that. As opposed to, "You forgot to get toilet paper and I am too busy today to go out again. Can you please try to remember that next time?"  

NiteNicole 05-18-2014 07:33 AM

I would have a talk about being responsible for their actions and how you'd like to allow them some freedom, but they don't seem ready so now they can't go out side unless an adult is available, the markers are going to be out of reach so they have to ask for them and return them when done, and they have to clean up the mud.

tadamsmar 05-20-2014 09:22 AM

What consequences are you using?


To be more effective, focus on consequences for wanted behavior.  Each kid can get a sticker for each day of "markers staying where they belong", and then they get to do something special after a whole week of stickers.   You might want to make it easier at first,  like an immediate reward for a shorter interval at first.


Also give the social reinforcement often for "markers staying where they belong" in the form of positive feedback.  When you give them positive feedback, get close, touch, show emotion. Don't caboose criticism onto the positive feedback, no "but..", making it purely positive.


It comes down to lots of reinforced practice at first.  You should fade out the reinforcement after a while, use the sticker system to instill some other wanted behavior, fade the constant feedback for good market management, but never completely stop.


You might even try just social reinforcement and not use the stickers at first.  Tangible rewards are more for getting a wanted behavior going if it is not already occurring.


Focus on the behavior your want and give it a name like "markers where they belong" or find your own words to describe the behavior that you want.   Stop focusing on the unwanted behavior in most cases (when it is likely to be harmless in the short run).


Also, in general, catch them being good.  Give them positive feedback when they are cooperative in any way,  even for the smallest act of cooperation, don't take cooperation for granted.

Young_stepmom89 06-02-2014 09:17 AM

I am having the same problems with my 7 year old and it all revolves around not listening or not doing what she's told. And you are right, talking to them in the car works great. I have really good conversations with her in that moment. Is it a phase they are going through? A tough age? She has been a bit tough to handle as stubborn because she always wants to do what she wants to do. She was getting better and now within that last year as well it seems to have been getting worse. I also try reasoning and talking and all she does is sit there and shrug her shoulders and say "I don't know" and I don't get very far.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:28 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Resources saved on this page: MySQL 3.45%
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.