Stubborn 9 year old acting out at home and in public - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 09-02-2011, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a single parent and lately my son has been acting out.

 

Everything is a constant power battle - from doing chores to homework to going out in public.

For example, he refused to do his homework recently. He's a bright kid, and I know he can do it, but it always devolves into a long-winded argument and a large waste of time before he does.

It doesn't stop there though. Yesterday we were in a car park and he decided to run ahead, knowing that it was dangerous and also knowing that it would scare and upset me.

 

As far as discipline is concerned, I don't spank -- I ground him from using possessions like his gameboy. I never deprive him of things such as books though, so oftentimes it turns into a waiting game to see who will back down first and this results in him reading for long periods of time but ultimately not doing what is required of him.

 

Has anyone encountered this sort of behaviour before? He is patient, something unbecoming of many kids his age, so the power battles and waiting games need to stop. The biggest problem is that he is prepared to wait it out.

 

Regarding safety in public, what should I do? He pulls away when I try to hold his hand. I am actually considering purchasing one of the boy's clippasafe harness/rein sets to keep in my handbag as a bluff, but I don't know how to go about doing that in such a way that he takes the threat seriously. Any ideas?

 

As for chores, what do you see as acceptable for a 9 year old child? I have him make his bed, feed the fish and the cat, set the table, etc. Am I being too demanding of him in this regard?

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#2 of 16 Old 09-03-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LadyLisa View Post

I'm a single parent and lately my son has been acting out.

welcome to life with a 9 year old

 

For example, he refused to do his homework recently.

sooooooo normal. our teacher actually told us parents to not force our children to do hw. if they refused let them. she would take care of that. 

 

It doesn't stop there though. Yesterday we were in a car park and he decided to run ahead, knowing that it was dangerous and also knowing that it would scare and upset me.

is it really that dangerous for a 9 year old. unless he is v. v. immature.have you gone over safety behaviour with him and given him the freedom to do that.  

 

Has anyone encountered this sort of behaviour before?

biglaugh.gifsorry but this is life with a 9 year old.

 

Regarding safety in public, what should I do? He pulls away when I try to hold his hand. I am actually considering purchasing one of the boy's clippasafe harness/rein sets to keep in my handbag as a bluff, but I don't know how to go about doing that in such a way that he takes the threat seriously. Any ideas?

 

 

jaw.gif yikes2.gifscared.gif oh dear mama. i am horrified that you even thought of keeping that harness thingy in your bag. unless your child has any kind of special needs i dont see any reason for that. 

 
aaaaah mama you are at that place in parenting where you need to pretty much unlearn everything you have done before and give ur son more space. 
 
my dd wont even let me kiss her in public let alone allow me to hold her hand in public. 
 
i think perhaps Louis Aimes Bates' Your Nine Year OLd might be a helpful book for you to know what kind of expectations to have out of 9 year olds. they are asserting their independence. 
 
the chores is all normal. however the KEY, the biggest key for a 9 year old in my perspective is giving them more independence and more responsibility. dd and i have become a team. she knows what chores she has to do. i dont tell her when. somedays she deosnt want to do it and i tell her so sorry, but that is life. 
 
i have a feeling what could be happening is he is asking for more freedom (they are super independent at this stage) and you are unable to let go. 
 
the issue is letting go. i can so understand it is so hard to let go. you have to first look at yourself and see if you yourself are playing the power play. does he always have to listen to you? do you listen to him?

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#3 of 16 Old 09-03-2011, 11:53 AM
 
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I agree this is normal behaviour... my 9 year old boy can be very stubborn. Luckily, so can I lol.gif

 

For the street crossing/parking lot... I assume you've taught him about looking both ways and being aware of his surroundings? To stay within touching distance of the car while waiting for you to get in or out? It might be time to trust that he has learned that lesson. I haven't held DS's hand in those situations for at least a few years. In a parking lot, we walk in a group, and DD still prefers to hold my hand but at 7 she's old enough to handle it. When she decides not to hold my hand I say "Okay, but I need you to stay close and look around carefully"

 

One good way to keep him from running ahead is to give him something heavy to carry. If he's like my DS he won't fight you on that because it makes him feel strong (I had a wrist injury a few years ago and he can open jars that I can't now, which makes him very happy) I let him & DD go ahead on a side street to school one morning and they were about to cross when I saw his arm go out to stop his sister from crossing. The mom from the car had seen them and stopped, but she approached me at the school and commented on how impressed she was with him. He actually commanded that I stop one day when I started to walk, and the person I thought was stopping for us/I'd looked away from was apparently just slowing down while she applied her lipstick or something. Sometimes kids are a lot more competent than we give them credit for.

 

I think your chores for him are appropriate. He might even like more responsibility... DS loads and starts the dishwasher and there is some novelty in operating an appliance. Incidentally, he earned that chore by 'running away' (to a bush in the yard, lol) He had to clear up after dinner for a month, and the reason I gave him was that if he's thinking of moving out on his own he's going to need some life skills. A  dishwasher is about as good a job as you can get with a third grade education. He asked if I was going to pay him! I told him if he did well during his consequence, then I might hire him, so he did... $5/wk. DD insisted on a job, too so I offered to let her sweep the kitchen floor and wash it with the mop once a week.

 

With homework my approach has been "I don't get to do fun stuff until I'm finished my work, that's how life is. I don't care if you do your work or not, but don't expect to have any fun until you do." He's usually okay with getting it over with in order to get on to better things... does your DS have a board or card game he particularly likes? Maybe playing with him right after he's done his homework will reinforce the fun stuff after work thing? Or since it sounds like he's an avid reader, would you be able to do a sticker chart and buy him a book every so often for his efforts? (not necessarily new, DS hasn't seemed to care if books are second hand, they're new to him)

 

I'm rambling, but maybe there's some ideas here for ways for you to decide to give him some power outside of a conflict. 


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#4 of 16 Old 09-04-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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Re. homework: I would a) make sure he gets a good protein-rich snack after school and before homework, b) make homework a v. predictable part of the routine (it always happens at the same time every day, always right after snack etc), and c) let him deal with the fall-out (at school, from his teacher) if he doesn't do it.  Something I've told me dd is that she can choose not to do her homework, but it's up to her to explain why to her teacher.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#5 of 16 Old 09-04-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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I am the father of a 10 year old son who can be disrespectful especially to his mom. He can be a sweet boy but when he gets frustrated he uses 4 letter words and shows the finger.

We have him in therapy. The therapist suggested time out but if the time out does not work he should get a spanking. I was very reluctant to do that.

We have witnessed a surprisingly good result after his first ever spanking.

In short he usually gets timeout for 10 minutes. This time he was especially nasty so I told him to sit down on his time out be quiet and if he gets up he will get a spanking.

After 2 Minutes the door bell rings. A friend is at the door. He jumps up and runs to the door. I told him to get back to the timeout place. My Wife tells the friend that Alex can not play right now and he should go back to the kitchen for his timeout. Alex calls him Mom b... and shows the fingers.

I get him by the hand and we go to the kitchen and I told him in a calm but firm voice that his behavior is not acceptable, he has 10 minutes time out and then I will give him a spanking.

After the time out I tell him that he will get a spanking now. We go to a private place. He still acts like a tough guy. 

I sit on a chair and hold his hand. I say OK pull down your pants.

That is the moment he figures it out that it is not empty talk. He starts to cry and wants to get away. I pull him over my lap and pull down his pants. I also pull down his underwear just enough to expose his buttock. (This is important because you don’t have to hit very hard and the noise of the slapping tells him that he really gets a spanking)

Then I tell him that I will give him a spanking for swearing at him mother and showing the finger.

He is 10 years old so I will give him ten slaps. He is already crying so I just give him 10 slaps on the buttock with the open hand so it makes a lot of noise without really hurting much without saying anything. When I am finish I pull up the pants and hold him and I told him that I love him. He is squirming in my arms and I hold him and just tell him that we love him. After he calmed down he asks to be alone. I leave him alone.

After about 15 minutes he come to me and asks for a hug. I did not expect that.

I must say that the last 4 days he is more respectful more calm and very affectionate toward me his mother and even his sister.

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#6 of 16 Old 09-04-2011, 12:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russi View Post

I am the father of a 10 year old son who can be disrespectful especially to his mom. He can be a sweet boy but when he gets frustrated he uses 4 letter words and shows the finger.

We have him in therapy. The therapist suggested time out but if the time out does not work he should get a spanking. I was very reluctant to do that.

We have witnessed a surprisingly good result after his first ever spanking.

In short he usually gets timeout for 10 minutes. This time he was especially nasty so I told him to sit down on his time out be quiet and if he gets up he will get a spanking.

After 2 Minutes the door bell rings. A friend is at the door. He jumps up and runs to the door. I told him to get back to the timeout place. My Wife tells the friend that Alex can not play right now and he should go back to the kitchen for his timeout. Alex calls him Mom b... and shows the fingers.

I get him by the hand and we go to the kitchen and I told him in a calm but firm voice that his behavior is not acceptable, he has 10 minutes time out and then I will give him a spanking.

After the time out I tell him that he will get a spanking now. We go to a private place. He still acts like a tough guy. 

I sit on a chair and hold his hand. I say OK pull down your pants.

That is the moment he figures it out that it is not empty talk. He starts to cry and wants to get away. I pull him over my lap and pull down his pants. I also pull down his underwear just enough to expose his buttock. (This is important because you don’t have to hit very hard and the noise of the slapping tells him that he really gets a spanking)

Then I tell him that I will give him a spanking for swearing at him mother and showing the finger.

He is 10 years old so I will give him ten slaps. He is already crying so I just give him 10 slaps on the buttock with the open hand so it makes a lot of noise without really hurting much without saying anything. When I am finish I pull up the pants and hold him and I told him that I love him. He is squirming in my arms and I hold him and just tell him that we love him. After he calmed down he asks to be alone. I leave him alone.

After about 15 minutes he come to me and asks for a hug. I did not expect that.

I must say that the last 4 days he is more respectful more calm and very affectionate toward me his mother and even his sister.

 


A therapist suggested you act violently towards your child? That would have been the time to find a new therapist, not to take the advice.

 

There are 3 children I knew very, very well. They've lived with their father off and on. He's always been in the habit of beating and demeaning them. No, we aren't talking spankings here. We're talking beating a child with fists, cables, sticks, whatever is handy to the point of bruises, welts, and bleeding, often for something as little as not cleaning fast enough. After they'd been beaten, they were normally more respectful, calm, and affectionate towards him for awhile. They were terrified of him, terrified of being brutalized again, and willing to do whatever it took to keep it from happening again. Also, they loved their abuser and were desperate for his approval. I remember one day he got angry and went looking for someone to take it out on. He found the oldest boy first and attacked him. He slammed him into walls, choked him, threw him to the ground, punched him in the head. When the boy broke free and tried using the phone to call for help, he beat him with the phone. The younger kids were forced to watch this. When the older boy managed to escape and run away, the younger two were trapped with this man for days while CPS tried to get an order to remove them. During this time, they were respectful, quiet, affectionate, and made several calls to their brother to talk him into coming home. Not because they knew their father loved them and wanted the best for them, but because they were scared little children. Sure these children "behaved" better after a beating, but does this mean what was done to them was right? 

 

Spanking may not be quite on the same level as what those children endured, but you're acting violently towards a child, nonetheless, and you have still brought fear into the relationship. Personally, I'd rather my children act appropriately because they've learned it's the right thing to do, not because they're afraid.

 

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#7 of 16 Old 09-05-2011, 04:58 AM
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Hello Russi and welcome to Mothering. 

 

I suspect you have not taken time to get to know the philosophies and principles of attachment parenting or our rules and guidelines. We do not allow support of physical violence against children. 

 

 

 

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#8 of 16 Old 09-05-2011, 04:35 PM
 
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I am very sorry if I promoted violence against children. Please delete my respond if you can so others will not be influenced by my remarks. 

I agree that children are a gift and should be respected. 

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#9 of 16 Old 09-06-2011, 05:20 AM
 
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... while spanking isn't the worst thing in the world... actually it pretty much is.  I still can't believe anyone would tell someone to do it. 

 

Aside from that, defiance is pretty normal.  If you can at all remember what it was like at 9... you felt you knew it all.  I still remember being so aggravated by my mother and her push to still be into every little detail of my growing mind and life.  If she tried to hold my hand, holy heck... what do you think lady I can't cross a street?  It's so hard for us to remember those feelings.  I'm glad I was a diary keeper.  I read things in that time frame and see DD1 doing the same things or saying the things I felt.  Very interesting.  Now how do I do the correct things by her? 

 

Possibly just by knowing that she is just a little me and she's coming into her own.  It's pretty hard for them at this age.  I know they say the teenage years are hard but I think they're getting some clarity about life right now and their feelings are overwhelming to them.  Even at 9 he's trying to figure out who he is, where he fits and how you still fit into his life.

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#10 of 16 Old 09-06-2011, 06:46 AM
 
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My daughter is turning 9 this month and we just had the worst summer ever. She has always been very tough but I was actually having little fantasies of boarding school. :)

 

I think they really really need independence. In my case, dd wants it but is not taking any responsibility for herself. She doesn't get the logic I'm trying to explain that when she controls herself/takes responsibility she will get independence. She just wants the freedom NOW, and i'm ruining her life.

 

Maybe you can try to offer him freedoms in certain safe ways and meanwhile try to show him the correlation between him obeying and being responsible, and getting more freedom. it's not working for me, but you might have success :)

 

i am relieved to not be alone!! someone said to me yesterday, "oh, that's the best age, isn't it?" and i thought, uh oh, i must be a total failure..............!!!

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#11 of 16 Old 09-06-2011, 06:48 AM
 
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also, re: chores,

I don't think you are asking too much. I find this topic confusing because many of our peers are not asking their kids to do much in the way of chores, so I wonder too, esp when dd is having a hysterical fit that we are so mean. But yes, she is supposed to make her bed, put away clothes, set table, and now spend 10-15 minutes helping clean up kitchen after dinner. i don't think it's too much. in fact i think i should have had her doing more a couple years ago!

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#12 of 16 Old 09-07-2011, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have no intention of actually harnessing him -- like I said, I planned to do so as a bluff. redface.gif Were you saying it was silly to harness a child that age, or silly to bluff about harnessing a child that age?

The problem with letting him run ahead is that I'm not entirely certain that he pays the level of attention to things like traffic that he should. Maybe he is indeed making excellent use of his peripheral vision and hearing to become aware of traffic... but I just don't know.

 

With regards to spanking, I deplore it.

 

I will work to make homework an integral part of the afternoon.

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#13 of 16 Old 09-07-2011, 07:12 AM
 
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Regardless of someone's views on spanking, 9 is a little bit old for it.  And a 9 ear old should be able to cross a parking lot on his own.  I used to ride my bike to the store on my own at 9 years old!  Maybe what he needs is trust, respect, and responsibility.  You might also consider putting him in karate or some sport or activity with strong male role models that demand a lot from kids in terms of respect.  And I would back off on the homework.  Let him decide to do it or not and then HE has to face the consequences at school.  You can have consequences for failed grades or bad behavior, but make them non-negotiable.  Don't discuss them. Discussion over expectations that you have made clear makes you weak, and he will not respect you.  


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#14 of 16 Old 09-07-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyLisa View Post

I have no intention of actually harnessing him -- like I said, I planned to do so as a bluff. redface.gif Were you saying it was silly to harness a child that age, or silly to bluff about harnessing a child that age?

The problem with letting him run ahead is that I'm not entirely certain that he pays the level of attention to things like traffic that he should. Maybe he is indeed making excellent use of his peripheral vision and hearing to become aware of traffic... but I just don't know.

 

With regards to spanking, I deplore it.

 

I will work to make homework an integral part of the afternoon.


You don't need to let him run ahead, running in a parking lot isn't a good idea. What would happen if you told him he doesn't need to hold your hand, but he does need to walk with you? I've explained to DS that it's just like when you're driving... you need to move purposefully and in a way that other drivers can easily guess what you're doing. Even if you know you can scoot behind a car before it backs out, it's rude to the driver because you can startle them if they didn't see you coming... a nine year old can understand that.


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#15 of 16 Old 09-08-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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My oldest child wasn't this way when he was 9, but I have a 9 year old daughter now and she is very much this way. Add on her dramatic ways, stubbornness and just overall whiney teenage girl attitude and some days can be very rough. lol. Gotta love her! Not looking forward to when she is a teenager but at least I'm already experiencing some of it now with her as a tween. =)


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#16 of 16 Old 09-18-2011, 08:49 PM
 
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Well, just came on here in tears about my 8 year old. These stories are making me feel a bit better. We are discussing seeking a family counselor because I just feel like I don't know how to parent him. One thing that seems different for us is that he does not want independence. He is nervous about so many things-- freaked out about a birthday party today-- but at the same time he is being needy, is being so mean to his family, too. We have a very easy 16 year old, so this is so hard for me to process. And he, too, is perfectly content waiting things out.

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