My 6yo and negativity and contrary attitude, where does it come from? A phase? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 09-26-2011, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometime over the past couple of months, our 6yo son has developed "an attitude"  and I don't know where it came from or how to improve it. 

 

Examples include - anything and everything that is not his idea or on his agenda is "Stupid" A typical scenrio would be me needing to stop at the grocery store on the way home but DS wants to go right home, this results in the "stupid store, stupid mommy, stupid car" rantings.

 

This weekend his Nana (my mom) came to town to watch his soccer game.  He said "I didn't want you to come" and later, after he scored a goal, Nana said she was proud of him, he responded along the lines of "I am never going to score another goal because I don't like you saying that."   It was like he intentionally wanted to hurt her feelings.

 

In other areas of our lives, it is like everytime I say "white" he says "black" just to agrue against me.  I don't need him to agree with me but holy cow, he seems to intentially chose negative or contrary response just to be difficult.

 

Is this a phase?

 

We are all baffled by this because we are a postive family.  He didn't learn to rant and rave about "being stupid" from us, that is for sure. 

 

I am really bothered by his attitude towards his Nana, who adores him.  DH and I both like my mother so it isn't like DS is picking up some sort of bad attitude towards her from us.  At times, he is outright disrespectful to her.

 

His little friends are nice kids and I don't think he is getting it from them.  And this all started long before school so I can't blame it on starting kindergarten.

 

I don't know how to respond to his attitude.  When he gets on the stupid rants, I calmly say "we dont' use that word when talking about our family members and people we love".  DH, on the other hand, starts lecturing him and I can see DS totally tuning him out.  Neither reaction seems to be working.

 

Thoughts?  Suggestions?


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#2 of 10 Old 09-26-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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I think as they get older and want more autonomy, they do go thorugh periods on and off where they're more contrary, but that doesn't excuse him talking to his grandmother like that. I would use it as an opportunity to teach him manners, and just like I'd do for a 3-year-old, I'd remind him every single time he says something rude, "That isn't a nice thing to say" and give him an alternative. Are there any areas in his life where he can be given a bit more autonomy as well? Getting his own clothes out if he doesn't, packing his own lunch, really anything where he has more responsibility. That might get him out of the cycle.
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#3 of 10 Old 09-26-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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Ouch.  I feel for you.  DD has been pretty sunny for the last weeks, but at the end of the summer she was SOUR.  Eventually, I told that it's just not acceptable.  A negative attitude ruins things for other people and can be just as mean as hitting someone.  It's not ok to stamp out someone else's  joy.  I think she got it.  I told her that she can choose happiness or being angry--but that she needs to realize NO ONE is making her feel angry.  She is choosing that.  She didn't like it at the time but I think it helped.

 

Also, whenever her behavior takes a nosedive I always start offering her more and more food.  She is tiny, and I think when she gets hungry and "crashes" she goes to a negative place.  A well timed granola bar or pack of nuts seems to do amazing things to her personality.

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#4 of 10 Old 09-26-2011, 03:48 PM
 
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Ooo yes.  I believe this is called "being 6".  ;)

 

Dd just turned 7 and things are looking up, but I'll tell you 6 was a pretty tough age.

 

I don't hesitate to let dd know if her way of talking (disrespectful) or word/phrase she used (rude)  is unacceptable.  She knows from my serious expression and voice that I really mean it.  I ask her to re-phrase.

 

In off-moments I coach her on how to respond to other people in various social situations that will be coming up (ie. graciously accepting a gift, saying "hi" back to someone when they've said "hi", making guests feel welcome in our home, etc).  I also let her know how rude words and actions affect people.  We try to imagine if someone else did/said  *whatever* to us and how that would make us feel.


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#5 of 10 Old 09-26-2011, 06:31 PM
 
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Yeah, we had to do some heavy duty coaching with dd who's now 7. Even now, she can get the polite words out, but when she's upset, the tone is still there.

 

Have you read: How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen and Listen So Your Children Will Talk? It's a great book and might help you respond to some of these.

 

In the two scenarios that you gave, in the first, I would empathize with him, "I know you wanted to go straight home. You sound frustrated that we have to stop." Note that you're both validating his feelings and giving him more appropriate words to express his frustration/anger. I view this stage not only as wanting autonomy, but as a stage where they need to learn the vocabulary. They have these big emotions, and to express those emotions, they use the 'meanest' words they can think of. It sounds like 'stupid' is the worst he can think of (which isn't bad for a 6 year old. I knew some choice words by then. At 5, I wrote my sister a note saying "Sh*t you, K." hide.gif)  So, expanding his emotion word vocabulary will help this in the long run. (And his future partner, should he have one, will thank you!)

 

In the second one, could he have been embarrassed by Nana coming? In that scenario, I would have said fairly sternly, "That was rude. You need to be polite to Nana. "Thanks, Nana" is OK to say. It's not OK to be rude to her, even if you're a little embarrassed." (note how that's giving him another word for feelings, while at the same time setting a clear limit.)

 

My kids are fairly used to rephrasing things now when I say "that was rude, try again." When they were little (4-5), I would model the polite words for them, and it was OK for them not to repeat them. By 6, I was expecting them to rephrase, and I'd help if I needed to. Now that they're 7 and 10, I don't model for them any more. I do tell them to take a deep breath before they rephrase, so they can work on the tone.

 

Dd is 7 and things have improved, but she's an intense, emotionally excitable child (in addition to being sensitive) and we've got a couple of years, I think, before she'll have enough self control to avoid these outbursts.


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#6 of 10 Old 09-26-2011, 06:32 PM
 
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I also have a mouthy 6-yr-old.  I really thought it was her personality until I read the Ames and Ilge "Your Six Year Old"  (seriously, those books have saved my parenting so many times).  Turns out getting "fresh" is a part of the age, and is a part of finding their independence, as pp have suggested.  I like the idea of having her rephrase it - I'll have to use that.

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#7 of 10 Old 09-26-2011, 08:51 PM
 
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yes this is a phase. 

 

you know i wouldnt take his nana thing at face value. meaning only reading the words he used. i would try to get to the bottom of why he was saying what he was. he may not be able to articulate at the present moment. but maybe she forgot a promise she made him and now he's upset that she has forgotten. or something. why is he upset with her. and thus lashing out at her. 

and dont worry. they do get past this phase. and then as their awareness about the world grows more they are so sad at the things they have done. even today 3 years later dd regrets some of the ways she acted at 6.

 

 


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#8 of 10 Old 09-26-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

you know i wouldnt take his nana thing at face value. meaning only reading the words he used. i would try to get to the bottom of why he was saying what he was. he may not be able to articulate at the present moment. but maybe she forgot a promise she made him and now he's upset that she has forgotten. or something. why is he upset with her. and thus lashing out at her. 


When I was reading this part of the OP's post, my first thought was, "Aww, poor kid, he's uncomfortable with his performance being watched" (at least when he feels someone is making a sufficiently big deal of it). Of course, that's not an excuse to be rude...

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#9 of 10 Old 09-27-2011, 05:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post


When I was reading this part of the OP's post, my first thought was, "Aww, poor kid, he's uncomfortable with his performance being watched" (at least when he feels someone is making a sufficiently big deal of it). Of course, that's not an excuse to be rude...


That very well could be, I never considered that before but I know he can be rather self-concious about certain things. 

 

Re-phrasing begins today. 

 

I appreciate all the info.  I am going to check out the book suggestions.  I am also relieved to hear that it is a phase.
 

 


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#10 of 10 Old 10-06-2011, 08:54 AM
 
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Oh my gosh I just posted a completely new thread about my 6yo son behaving rudely and disrespectfully! So I guess I need to read all the replies to yours and get some advice there!

 

But I just want to add that my mild-mannered, well-behaved, polite kid just turned overnight too. Seriously, our friends used to say he was 5 going on 40 because he seemed mature, level-headed, etc. He's never been a tantrum kid, he's not nearly as physical as his brothers so he wasn't bounding off the walls like they were. So this new snarky backtalk I get on a regular basis (and a general rejection of anything we want to do or want him to do) is confusing! At first I thought it might be a friend influence (since it was so sudden), but all his friends seem nice and polite! So it's comforting to hear that other people are experiencing this at 6 years old, too. Maybe it is just truly a phase and chugging along, correcting his behavior, reminding him that it is rude/disrespectful to talk to people that way will eventually work.


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