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<p>My previously mostly sweet boy has changed.  I don't know if it's starting school or age-related or what.</p>
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<p>Everything now is "I don't care" and "Whatever"</p>
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<p>As in being instructed to go to a specific shower last night and responding with "I don't care what one I go to" and going to the other one.</p>
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<p>Also, last night at a class party at ChuckECheese, I wanted to DIE of embarrassment from being the *only* mom whose child would not leave.  I loaded the almost-4 and 2 year old in the car...THEY were totally willing and happy...while he hid in the stupid tunnel and two of his classmates' moms went in and talked him out!</p>
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<p>This is AFTER my 38 1/2 week pg self gave in and didn't make him be the first one to leave the gathering...I did allow him to stay till the others were all leaving.  (an extra probably 30 mins)'</p>
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<p>Maybe it was just too big a day?  It was a school day, and they had their thanksgiving program, and I took him out to lunch after that besides this CEC deal.</p>
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<p>BUT this goes on most of the time, the "I don't care" and "Whatever".....is this age or start of school or what gives?!</p>
 

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<p>I know the "whatever" comment is something I hear alot in my house whether from my 7 yr. old girl, or my 13 yr. old boy.  Honestly I think that is honestly age expected behavior.  The tunnel incident, was he laughing?  If so, very age expected, for some reason mine all started trying out joking at that age and ultimately failed at most their practical jokes which were funny to them but noone else.  If he was throwing a tantrum, then I would think it was more a too full day than an age thing.</p>
 

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<p>I disagree that the "whatever" attitude is age-expected...it's probably age-expected IF a kid's in public school and/or watches a lot of mainstream "kid programming" on the screen. (What I mean is, it's a mannerism, and they pick it up if they're exposed to it) My guy is 7 and travels in a sort of unschooling/eclectic crowd and none of the kids from any of his classes have that "whatever" attitude--to the contrary they are highly engaged and interested.</p>
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<p>This could open up a whole new can of worms about school environments and attitudes. So I will not elaborate, as much as I'd love to.</p>
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<p>But if it were my son and he was away at school every day learning and experiencing things I cannot possibly be aware of, I'd be watching him and listening to him very carefully. He's an individual....what does HE think about what he's going through at school? Do the adults around him put a lot of pressure on him to have certain feelings? (i.e. "you're supposed to care what shower you go to" "you're supposed to want to leave Chuck E Cheeses when you are having fun" "You're supposed to like school" as possible examples).   </p>
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<p>What are HIS feelings, regardless of what actions are then required. For example, at the Chuck E Cheese incident, it's natural to feel embarrassed when our kid "doesn't obey" or "misbehaves"....boy, have I been there! But it's counterproductive to think of it in terms of "my child is doing something wrong AND it reflects badly on me" Instead, try and tune out the imagined scorn of the other moms and go to your son and meet him where he's at. "You are having such a fun time here! I bet you wish you could stay here all day AND even sleep over! (moving into the ridiculous, to lighten up the moment and get a chuckle)  I notice that two other moms had to go talk him out of the tunnel. I would suggest not trying to get him out of the tunnel directly ("get out of the tunnel; you have to come home") but instead, as I just mentioned, TALK to him about his feelings, thus lowering his wall of resistance. If he felt heard and that it was not a battle, maybe he would have been more willing to come along.</p>
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<p>This whole subject fascinates me. I wasn't always like this. I used to be in the "obey me!" camp and when he didn't I was in terrible dismay. I hadn't been thinking of it from his perspective till I started to read the books by Haim Ginott ("Between Parent and Child" and others).</p>
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<p>Anyway you get my drift. I think that going to the structured world of school can put a big burden on a kid...it's a big adjustment. Does he know that you are listening and that he is accepted? This will help him through the years to come, as pressures get greater. Also, the very busy day that you described surely was also a factor. And, correct me if I am wrong, he probably was getting junky food at Chuck E Cheese.....what a kid eats also affects how he feels. If he was full of sugar and food additives, then the activity of the event itself....of course he's going to be all wound up and out of balance.</p>
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<p>I agree that it is probably a matter of exposure as far as certain sayings or words.  I think there's another way to look at it, though.  Kids try on different things - clothes, attitudes, interests, etc.  Being out in the world means being exposed to things.  It doesn't mean that it has to make you into someone you're not.  I would talk with him about particular words if they are bothersome to you but I would approach it from a curious place.  With my 7yo ds, I often just ask him to elaborate on things going on in his life.  I feel that in general he's in a great school with great kids and families.  Of course, there are things he's exposed to there that he wouldn't otherwise be.  But I've moved into a place of being curious and exploring with him rather than feeling afraid or concerned as much.  Afterall, they're just words and it's really how he's feeling that is the most important thing.  He's trying different language to express himself.  I often find these little sayings they pick up to not really help them express themselves so I will sometimes talk about that with my ds.  For example if he said "whatever" to taking a shower, I'd maybe ask him to elaborate since that didn't really tell me much about his perspective.  Is he tired?  Just doesn't want to shower?  Was he thinking about doing something else at that particular time?  Just feeling tired and wants to veg?  It's hard not to get caught up in the language but what I've noticed is that it passes and changes more quickly than we think it might at times.</p>
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<p>Hang in there.  Sounds like you had a rough day.  And you're pregnant?!?!  With three little kiddos in tow?  That's a lot on your plate.  So give yourself a break.  It might help all of you to have less scheduled days for a bit.  I find that sometimes really curbs bad behavior...they're just too tired and spent.</p>
 

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<p>It sounds to me like he is just trying to have some power and control over his life.</p>
<p>It's hard to be the oldest kid.</p>
<p>He's checking things out and seeing how things go when he does what he wants instead of what you want.</p>
<p>It's something some kids just do. My DD was always a compliant kid, till she turned 6 and had a revelation that she was her own person.</p>
<p>IMO, I think the first kid is a bit naive and has some regular behaviors a little later than the next kids.</p>
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<p>He definitely gets the "whatever" from school and unfortunately will pick up on a lot more popular obnoxious behavior.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<p>Could be he is just experimenting with what is going to happen when he says/does this at home.  He's never really balked at much *ever* before, with very few exceptions he's been easygoing until recently.</p>
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<p>It is a big change to go to school all day.  But he *is* in a really great school with involved parents, good families, all that kind of stuff.  He enjoys it and has never had any problems with behavior at school.  He has a great teacher.</p>
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<p>He was totally laughing in the tunnel.  I think it occured to him that there wasn't a darn thing I could really do about it.  And I admit that I am totally guilty of having lost any sense of humor to ANY of this stuff lately.  It's the pregnancy.  It's my daughter who is 9 million times more independent minded, stubborn...I'm quite honestly surprised SHE was not in the tunnel...that's way more her 'typical' thing to do than his.  (She's another post entirely.  I love her, but WOW is she different and more challenging than her brother EVER was!)  And I totally have gone into modes where I think it's from a lack of strict enough parenting.</p>
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<p>Probably not food--I fed them before we went and I did not get them sodas or anything.  They don't care.  They like to play.</p>
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<p>The other big thing is that he's in this kind of "I want that" phase and I'm really sick of it....on a balking at "materialism" level, and on a "Dad is about to get laid off and there's seriously no money" level.  So I get really grouchy with him, so in those cases he probably really does not feel heard at all...but then *I* am sick of "I want that!"  to the point that I have blocked kid channels with commercials.  And I just get sick of complaints like "We should go out of town for Thanksgiving!" over and over ad nauseam despite the fact that I've told him we can't---I'm expecting his brother literally *any minute now*   It's because the kids in his class have talked about where they are going.</p>
<p>*sigh* he's learning other people have what appear to be more interesting lives than ours...</p>
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<p>sssssssssssss</p>
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<p>3</p>
 

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<p>It could have just been a big day, but it also could have been anxiety about the impending new baby.  That's a huge thing and he could have some emotions or desire for control due to it.  Does he often have trouble with transitions?</p>
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<p>"Whatever" was probably picked up at school, but "I don't care" is a pretty common phrase.  Though he apparently did care which shower he went to because if he didn't care he'd just go to the one you wanted him to go to.  I might have asked why he went to the other shower if he didn't care.  Also, at some point he's going to question why he's being told to do things a specific way.  I'd clearly communicate to him why one shower is preferable over the other.  That sounds like rebellion - "Why does she care?" instead of "I don't care."  As for "whatever", I have told my dd that "whatever" sounds rude to me and will sound rude to other people, and given her suggestions of other things she can say.  "I don't like being told 'whatever' but you can say 'I'd rather not talk about this right now, thank you' or something else polite."  Or asked her, "What are you trying to say when you say 'whatever'?"  And after she explains, "Can you think of a nicer and clearer way to say that?"  They don't just know how to speak politely.  It's something we talk about her very often, and really every time my dd says something rudely, but I do approach it as "She hasn't learned how to speak politely yet" instead of "she's rude."</p>
 
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