abooth asks:

Almost 6 year old who is in mean at home, doesn't listen, and is terrible (acting & grade wise) at school. What should we do?

My almost six year old is the baby. He has to older sisters ages 7,9. He has been being extremely mean to both of them including hitting and kicking to where the 7 year old got a black eye. This has been going on for about 8 months now and we have tried everything. Not only is he disrespectful to us and his sisters but it is the same at school. The school gives out stamps if the child was good that day. He never has a stamp and gets in trouble a minimum of 5 times a day at school. He is in kindergarten getting ready to go to first grade. We have tried time out and it doesn't work. We have tried giving him a chore to do if he is bad. Also he has to do a chore to help pay for the things he's broke when hes been upset and just wanted to break something. We have tried everything we don't like to spank him but we did try that and it didn't even work. We are at a lost right now with what to do. HELP PLEASE!!! He used to be the sweetest most gentle loving kid. He was great in kindergarten they loved him because he was so quite and good but now hes the complete opposite. Its at the point where my husband and I are fighting with each other on what to do....he thinks we should just ignore it and I believe that if that happens the my son would just do it more...hes already is disrespectful and tells me all the time NO and I don't want to. Please any advice would be great.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Hand in Hand
Apr 21, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Good for you for reaching out and searching for new ideas to help your son! He is very lucky to have you there, caring so much about helping him to be the best that he can be. It sounds like he is having a very hard time right now.

Going to school, with all its new experiences, many children, and opportunities to master powerful skills like reading and math, should be exciting and fun for children, but this can also be a very stressful for them. They are faced with lots of rules, lots of new folks to learn to get along with, lots of pressure to perform at this new task or that new challenge. It's tough work!

At home, children need kindness, affection, and some measure of one-on-one time with their parents, even if it's as little as a five-minute snuggle before going to sleep every night. Children need large amounts of physical affection and closeness. Closeness fuels their confidence and frees their minds of worries about whether or not they're OK. If they're unsure about whether they're OK, they can't concentrate on learning or on behaving well with the family members they dearly love.

So you might try setting aside ten minutes as soon as your son gets home from school, for just the two of you to reconnect and to allow him to have a safe place to 'take off' the stress of his day. Set a timer and warmly tell him you'd like to play anything he wants with him, for the next ten minutes. Happily go along with whatever he chooses, adding in as much physical affection and appreciation of him as possible. Guard the time and don't let anything interrupt you and your son for those ten minutes. That close connecting time will become precious to you both.

Your willingness to share your time, attention and caring dissolves the crusty feelings from his day that keep him from being the loving and cooperative boy you know he can be with his family. We call this process "Special Time" and there's lots more information about how it can work on our website at www.handinhandparenting.org. Once you start to see the results of this process helping with relationships at home, you might want to start doing another ten minutes of Special Time each morning, to help your son with the day ahead of him. The closer and more connected he feels to you, the better he is going to be able to handle the challenges of his day away from your loving care.

I'll also attach an article on "Supporting Sibling Friendships" that you might find helpful, and also one on "Partnering with Our Children" that many parents have found useful.

Your son is still that sweet, gentle, loving kid inside. That's the person you can help him be again.

We'll be thinking about you guys,


Julianne Idleman
Hand in Hand Program Director

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