Mothering Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Apologies in advance for the novel.

I'm a mother of an 8 year old boy (only child) who's in 3rd grade. I feel like ever since he started first grade things have been REALLY tough in regards to his arguing and it only seems to be getting worse.
I was raised with the "Because I said so" and "I'm your parent, you respect me and do as your told" type of parenting and so was my husband. I realize now this is not the best way to do things but it is really hard to break the cycle in which you were raised.
It seems like everything my son is asked to do that he doesn't want to do, he HAS to argue with me and my husband about it. Many times we are busy and simply don't have time to have a heart to heart with him about why he needs to do what he's told (clean his room, be quiet, can't have X item, etc..) and no matter how many times he's told to stop arguing, no matter how many times I've taken away toys, electronics... He STILL argues. It's almost as if he does not care if he's punished. Many times we end up screaming at each other and it ends with him angry-crying and me feeling pissed off and sad that I wasn't able to handle it better.
Now, I know yelling NEVER works, I know this. That is something both my husband and I have to work on.. I grew up with a mom who always yelled at me and my husband is just plain loud in general (grew up in a loud/yelling Italian home), but man, it is HARD to keep your cool when your child will not listen. I've also read that taking things away/grounding doesn't work.. and I can see that because he still doesn't listen. But I feel like if I do nothing, he'll think he can just do whatever he wants without being responsible for his actions.

Let me just give some examples of things we argue about:

Me: Please turn off your device and do some reading.
Son: But MOM! You always interrupt me right when I'm in the middle of something!
Me: I gave you a five minute warning already
Son: But mom, why can't I just..
Me: Turn off your device and start your reading now..
Son: MOM, why won't you let me finish..
Me: Ok, what you were going to say?..
Son: I was GOING to say that you always interrupt me when I'm on my device and I just want to finish this..
Me: You already said that!
and it just escalates from there..

Another example with dad:

Dad: Son, come outside and help me pick up the shrubs out back
Son: WHAT?!! But I don't WANT to!!
Dad: I didn't ask if you wanted to, I'm telling you!
Son: But DAD!! ..
Again.. Escalates. Now I realize my husband has a much more dictator type of approach.. I've tried to talk to him about it but he's pretty set in his ways. He's a very loving and goofy father though.. They have hugs and tickle time everyday and they laugh a lot. But when my husband decides to ask my son for something, he expects him to do as he's told.

Another thing my son does, is BLAME. Nothing is ever his fault. If he falls, it's my fault for not telling him something was in front of him. If something brakes.. it's my fault for buying him a bad toy. If he gets in trouble at school.. it's always the teacher or the other kid.. And then THAT turns into a major argument.
Then just today we were walking home from school, and he tripped and fell on his face. I asked him if he was ok and he just laid there (not crying) and would not get up. I tried to help him and he pushed me away. Then I said "Ok, we can just stay here then" and he FREAKED out saying I should help him up after I JUST offered him help. Then once he got up I showed him he had no cuts and he was fine. He then lashed out at me and saying "I'm not fine!" "Please hold my backpack!" (carrying his own backpack is something I am very adamant about him doing). I told him he didn't fall on his back and that he's fine.. Well he just lost it..
I ended up carrying it for him because he was making such a scene. But now I am full of resentment and frustration. And of course I feel terrible for feeling this way.

I am just at a loss. I feel like if I don't discipline him in some way or make him do chores with his father he'll end up a spoiled brat. I mean.. he's already acting like one.
I saw this happen with my much younger sister who's now 19. My mom never disciplined her, never made her do ANY chores and I love her to death but now she is one of the most entitled, rude people I know. I do not want this for my son. I just don't know what else to do. I really want to be the best mom I can be to him. I want him to grow up respectful and have good memories of me. Not memories of constant arguing.
Thanks for reading!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,284 Posts
Why'd you carry his backpack for him? Because he was "making a scene". So, he knew if he carried on enough he'd get his way because you didn't want to be embarrassed. You need to get over this, JMO.

It's pretty hard to embarrass me. So, I would've just sat on the sidewalk next to him and said, "I'm here if you need me. We'll get through this together." You don't need to yell and scream. You just stand by and when he's done you can carry on with your day.

Honestly, this won't be easy. Most people do this when the child is 2 & 3. At that age they learn that pitching a fit won't change the end result, but mom and dad will always be there with a hug. At 8, you're going to have some serious temper tantrums to work through, but better now than when he's 18.

You're going to have to be prepared to contain your own emotions. His loss of control isn't about you. Let him express his emotions. Walk away if you must and then come back and work through it. You can do this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
I feel like you are still, despite your desire to do things differently, a little hung up on the idea that discipline equals control. You don't want to yell, you don't want to be a dictator, you would like to avoid conflict, but part of you is still looking at successful parenting as "being able to get your child to do what you ask."

I would encourage you to instead to look at discipline as teaching. When he falls on his face and freaks out at you, what he needs to learn is how to handle big feelings (of fear, shock, pain, and humiliation) without melting down, how to instead talk himself down enough to assess the reality of the situation and do what is necessary to recover, fix any mistakes and move on. So there is no point in focusing on whose fault it is, or whether he has to carry his backpack. Instead I would focus on talking him through the feelings. "Oh no, that must have been scary! Do you want a hug? Here, sit with me a minute and take a few deep breaths. .... Okay, can you ask your body if there are any parts of you that hurt? Then we can check those parts. Hands? Okay ... well, they might get bruises, but at least they're not scraped. That's good. More deep breaths. You decide when you're ready to stand up. Shall I check your backpack and make sure it's okay?"

When his help is wanted for outside chores and he refuses, the issue isn't that the shrubs need tending. The real lesson he needs to learn is about how to handle transitions. So help him learn that. Plan ahead for the things he is going to be asked to help with. Talk about what would be a good time-line. "I know it can be hard to stop what you're doing and go outside for chores. How about planning that work for right after lunch? because then you're not in the middle of a video game, and you won't be hungry. Do you think that will work?" And then remind him as he comes for lunch... "So, remember, after lunch it's time for you and dad to go do some work on the shrubs." And cue him as the time approaches: "Oh, I put your jacket by the back door with your rubber boots and I found those green gloves you like; they're there too." With these reminders and cues, he's learning that planning and mindset are important tools that help make sure responsibilities are dealt with.

In other words, if there's a situation that you can see is likely to cause conflict and upset, take him through it in baby-steps, teaching him the habits of mind and behaviour that will help him. Eight-year-olds are highly verbal, intelligent creatures who can string together a lot of logic, but their Emotional Coping Toolboxes are pretty empty. They need a lot of guidance on gathering and choosing tools for coping with life.

Good luck helping your ds fill his toolbox. It will be a long, gradual process, but it is such a valuable thing to focus on.

Miranda
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
Oh, I also wanted to mention, about the five-minute warning to get off his device...

Five-minute warnings are great, but unless kids are taught tools for using those warnings, they are just a threat that "in five minutes I'm going to make you stop."

Instead, a five-minute warning should mean: "During the next five minutes, if you finish a level or lose a life, that is your chance to stop playing without feeling interrupted. Find a time to stop, on your own, before I come back. If you're not able to do that, you will feel interrupted, and that's not great for either of us. So please try."

If he's not able to do that, he may need baby steps. Maybe he needs you to sit with him, and watch for when loses a life or finishes a level, and catch him before he starts another. If it turns out five minutes is often not long enough for that, ask him whether ten-minute warnings would be better. Start from there, work gradually. Help him learn.

Miranda
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
738 Posts
I'm going to admit, I was baffled by the backpack thing/laying on the sidewalk. Has he seen anyone else behaving this way? I would definitely, at that age, just wordlessly have waited for him to get up, if there was somewhere to have a seat I might sit down and wait. When he got up, I would have asked him if he was Ok in a neutral voice, or said (I think Moominmama said the same thing) 'Wow what a fall, it's too bad you tripped" This is the sort of thing I've only seen toddlers do. Is his bag heavy? I would avoid telling him he's fine.

This is all provided, of course, that it was very obvious he was OK.

http://www.todaysparent.com/toddler/toddlers-stop-fake-crying/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all so much for your replies! You all had really great advice and I will definitely be applying these words of wisdom with my parenting. I really need to work on not joining in on his chaos and instead be the one who helps calm him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
Coming from another perspective here...the examples given were just of you and your husband wanting your son to stop what he's doing to do what YOU want him to be doing. I know how I feel when I'm in the middle of something and my kid wants me to stop to do what she wants me to do. I think as adults we might think kids aren't as invested in the things they occupy themselves with as we are, maybe because they're playing an imaginary game instead of doing 'productive work'? I'm not sure. I have been catching myself lately, for example, thinking my dd should be getting her reading in, instead of walking around aimlessly in the rain outside. But to her it isn't walking aimlessly..she's got a whole world going on she's discovering and engaging in. She reminds me, "But you always tell me to go outside, now I am!" and I step back and realize, she's right. What she's doing is completely fine. I don't need to dictate her time right now.

I was raised the same way you were and I'm trying to remember how I felt as a kid. Because it wasn't a good feeling to be so controlled "because they said so". Sometimes there are things that must be done RIGHT NOW, and maybe I'm off base here, but I just wanted to throw out that what activities he chooses to do, and his time, are as perfectly respectable as what you choose to do with your time, and telling him to stop and do something else might feel really unfair to him. So I guess that is to say I agree with Miranda about working on the transitions, but maybe to question your own motive in the first place?

I have an 8yo girl. It's an interesting time all around, parenting gets more challenging by the day it seems!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
Sometimes there are things that must be done RIGHT NOW, and maybe I'm off base here, but I just wanted to throw out that what activities he chooses to do, and his time, are as perfectly respectable as what you choose to do with your time, and telling him to stop and do something else might feel really unfair to him.
Yeah, this.

I know how annoyed I would feel if I was in the middle of playing my violin or writing to a friend only to be told that I had to stop this moment and do some yard work or read a book.

And then, to imagine that I had the limited emotional resilience of an 8-year-old on top of that...

I'd flip out.

Some people may have compliant children who are willing to be controlled like that, but yikes, I don't think they're common, nor do I honestly think that's the ideal. I like kids who attach importance to the things they do, who need to understand the reasons for things on their own terms. Those are kids who as they grow up will stand firm for what they believe, who will have their own original ideas and who will make a difference in the world.

Miranda
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
I didn't read past the part about the problems starting with your son's going to school. There is your problem. Get him out of school or the problems will grow worse.

I could go on a rant about schools, but I will just say that I was one of 13 kids that were all home-schooled and my siblings are the happiest most well adjusted people I have ever known.

My friends that were home schooled are all much better off too.

Any institution that can take up eight hours of a child's day, five days a week, send them home with an hour of homework, with less then nothing to show for it {just look at our national averages nowadays they are deplorable}, is just robbing our children of their childhood. Of course your son is miserable! Do yourself and him a favor and get him out of there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,284 Posts
Homeschooling is a great option for some people, but it isn't the best option for everyone. Only the op knows that.

I like the ideas listed above. Maybe you should have a meeting with the 3 of you and ask him about helping out around the house. Have it at a good time and explain how we all all work around the house to maintain our property and ask how he thinks he can help on the upkeep of the property. It'd be great if he took the notes, but you could too. See what he says. Everyone thinks an idea is better when it's their idea.
 
  • Like
Reactions: beedub

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I don't see my reply so I'm typing it again.

I too have an 8 year old boy.
I've recently found a helpful article. Hope you find it helpful -
positive parenting connection website
article is what-to-do-when-your-discipline-strategy-stops-working

Like you and your husband, I was yelled at to comply as well. I'm breaking the cycle and am always open to new ideas.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top