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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son is almost 6, and lately I can't stand how much he's complaining about seemingly everything! For a while it was school every morning (which he loves while there and never complains about afterward). Any activity I have him signed up for he totally enjoys while there, but the day of the thing (right now it's gymnastics once a week, before swimming once a week--NOT an overscheduled child!), he feels sick/ weak/ tired/ doesn't want to go...
I have 2 impulses, neither is ideal. One is to give in and say "fine, you hate school and all your activities, let's quit everything and see how you like that. " But he might just like it, or else he'd just complain that I wasn't doing projects with him all the time and either way I couldn't stand being cooped up all day with him and my 2 year old-- I just can't be the perfect, entertaining mother all day everyday, I need to get out a bit myself!!!
The other impulse is just to get really mean and make him do everything without even listening to his many complaints.
How do I listen for/ respond to whatever the underlying message is (if there is one, other than "I feel sort of grouchy so I'll take it out on mom") without totally caving in to all his complaints? I feel like I've lost it with him too many times for such a little kid (he's very verbal and bright, so sometimes I treat him more like he's 8 than 5)--please help me through this; it's making me dread trying to get us to do anything.
Thanks in advance!
 

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Subbing to see what suggetions you get. I could have written this exact post about my ds 1 who just turned 5. We also have ds2 who is 2 and I do need a few minutes every now and then. I totally understand what you're saying.
 

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I'd recommend the book - Your Six Year Old Loving & Defiant -

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Six-Year-...e=UTF8&s=books

Here's the description:

Book Description
The six-year-old is a complex child, entirely different from the five-year-old. Though many of the changes are for the good -- Six is growing more mature, more independent, more daring and adventurous -- this is not necessarily an easy time for the little girl or boy. Relationships with mothers are troubled -- most of the time Six adores mother, but whenever things go wrong, it's her fault. It used to be, at Five, that she was the center of the child's universe; now, the child is the center of his own universe.

All 3 of my friends with 6 year olds have told me it's the most difficult age.

Best wishes,

bj
 

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My DS is and was a little like yours. He is also very verbal and it is very challenging for me to remember that he's not older than he is. My DS would respond to ?? about how was his day/activity/etc. with it was okay, alright, (with sad face) or say it was horrible based on one little incident. Drove/drives me 'bout crazy. So, I ask him to tell me what went RIGHT about his day/activity, tell me something good, then I tend to give a little speech about appreciation/gratitude and how if you focus on everything that went wrong - unhappiness is the road you're treading, but if you put more energy into what you did like, then you will feel alot better. I know that it must be sinking in for him b/c at age 9 and prior to...he is quick to remind me to be thankful or say well at least x went right whenever I am complaining about stuff when things are not going perfectly. I know this isn't answering your original question but it's just my experience. I also find that my DS loves attention and has a tendency to throw pity parties for himself.
 

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My dd is doing this a lot right now too. I'm trying to simply see it as another stage and give her some skills. Often the tiny incidents she complains about are moments that she isn't sure how to handle. If she is sluggish before school we go through what she is expecting from the day and how she can handle a given moment.

The after complaints we role model through too. If she is hurt by something someone said (yesterday a friend told her her house drawing was crooked and she obsessed...) we act it out until she has an answer that makes her feel better.

I also remind her that everything is new still and she is learning (reminds me too) I go easy on her and some days we just don't do the activity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the feedback! Sometimes it's good just to know your kid isn't the only one who's totally negative about so many things! And the idea about coaching positive talk is great, as is the book suggestion!
I'm looking forward to more ideas!
 

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I really like 'How to Talk so Your Kids will Listen (and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk)' kind of ideas for these situations. Very often, they just want it to be acknowledged that it's hard or that they're heard, nad I have found the ideas in that book to be very helpful.

So, "I don't want to go to school" can be met with "It's hard to get out of the house when it's cold and dark, isn't it?" or "It sounds like you're enjoying being at home right now." And then sometimes just getting silly -- "OK, let's NOT go to gymanastics. Let's take the car, drive to the zoo and see if they'll let us bring home a giraffe! That would SURELY be more interesting than GYMNASTICS!" I don't know if it helps him, but it sure helps ME feel better.


The other thing that I just realized with our 5 1/2 year old is that because he's so much "older" and verbal, I have been forgetting to give him enough transition time. Transitions are still tough for him. So, I've gone back to some of the techniques I've used when he was 3 or 4: setting the timer for transitions, given 5-3-1 minute warnings. It has helped tremendously because he can mentally prepare himself to shift.
 

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Mine is also needing more sleep these days. When the complaining starts, I usually tell him just that I'm sorry (fill in the blank here) and maybe it would help if he'd get more sleep so we better go to bed early tonight. We've been having more talks on how we need good attitudes and if it's a weekend, I might send him back to bed and tell him to join us when he's had enough rest and can enjoy being with us. Some times we just read Alexander and the No Good, Horrible Day for a laugh and see if his day was worse than Alexanders.
 
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