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thansen85
thansen85 asks:
Q:

7 year old behavior challenges

I have a 7 year old son he is number 6 of 7 children.  He has always been a hard child, hits walls screams, very defiant at home. There are not problems at school or church they all say he is very well behaved.
He seems to get worse and wores at home. If I were to put him in time out every time he did something wrong he would always be in time out. He constantly says, but head, stupid, jerk, your not the boss of me, hits siblings, screams and yells.
In the morning I have a hard time in getting him to get ready for school in time. He ans his brother rides bikes and he gives him a hard time all the way to school. When we leave the house he makes a seen and is very embarrassing.  I have a hard time leaving him while my husband and I go out  because of how he acts while I am gone.
I have taking him to counseling and I fill like things are worse when she has told him that his mom and dad is in charge now he walks around saying you are not the boss of me.

Any ideas to try?
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jul 7, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

It has been said that children are placed on this earth to get their parent’s attention.  They will get it one way or another. They will get attention by displaying “good” behaviors or if necessary because of other demands on their parent’s attention, they will get it by displaying “bad” behaviors.  Sometimes parents, who are very busy, have a tendency to focus more on correcting the “bad” behaviors.  

Shift your focus; try to “catch him being good”.  Look for opportunities to praise him for his behaviors.  Describe what he has done that you are pleased with.  Let him know how it will benefit him to continue the behavior and reward him.  This reward can be a pat on the back, a hug or a high-five.

Using time-out as a consequence is effective at times.  It may be more effective for you to have a menu of consequences to choose from.  Find out what is reinforcing for him.  What are the day to day activities he likes to do, what are the special outings he likes to go on?  Who does he like to spend time with, what belongings does he cherish and want more of?  What snack foods does he enjoy that you could use to reinforce his good behavior?  Once you have prepared this menu, you can use these things to reinforce good behaviors. When he calls people names, starts trouble or makes negative and disrespectful comments, he can loose the privilege of accessing these things.  

The other negative consequence we encourage parents to use is to add a work chore.  When using a work chore as a negative consequence make sure it is something that he can do, that you are willing to monitor and that he normally is not required to do.  Any effective consequence should be meaningful to the child, used immediately, about the right size for the behavior that was done, and contingent on the behavior.  It might be helpful to include him in choosing which consequence he earned as a result of a behavior.  Allowing him to have input will also help him take responsibility for his own behaviors.  “Be his own boss”, so to speak.

Every child needs to feel that he is a valuable part of the family.  This can be accomplished by defining the role he plays in your family.  Give him certain responsibilities that he does each day to help your home run better.  Make sure these are things you have taught him, have actually shown him how to do them and he can show you that he understands and is capable of doing them. Reinforce him for taking care of these responsibilities.  Use a negative consequence when he does not.

Each of your 7 children is unique and different in their personalities, their needs and what is reinforcing to them.  Take the time to find out the needs of your 7 year old.  Treating all of your children alike is not necessarily fair.  Sameness is not fairness.  Being fair means that each individual has their specific needs met in the best way possible for them.

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (7)

Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
<p>Sounds like from just what you wrote you may have what is called a strong willed child on the extreme end. But a lot of what you are saying deals with respect issues. Some children need strong boundaries of what kinds of behaviors are acceptable and what is not. I would first recommend you devise a plan. Talking back will result in (this consequence). But you must be consistent and you MUST follow through. Otherwise, you may be in for a long road of destructive behavior. Good luck ;)</p>
> 60 days ago

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RJhinnu
RJhinnu writes:
Hi thansen85, I am sorry to hear about the problems your son is causing you. I can recommend some articles for you to look at which provides tips to deal with aggressive and challenging behavior. There is also an article on dealing with temper tantrums that you might be interested in because it provides advice and tips on how to deal if your son is throwing temper tantrums in the morning before school or whenever you leave the house.Also you mentioned that your son is the sixth child out of seven. So his behavior might be due to him trying to obtain more attention to you, but even if that is the reason it is still does not make his behavior excusable.  I hope this helps! Good luck!

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nannyof3
nannyof3 writes:
It would seem the main thing that he needs to understand is that you ARE indeed the boss of him. State firmly that you are his mom and moms are the boss of their children. Tell him that just because he heard some other kid saying this phrase does not mean he is allowed to. If you can establish that you are the boss because you are the mom, the rest should be much easier. Discipline is a cause and effect thing, a learning experience. What happens to him should fit what he has done. If he doesn't want a boss that takes care of him, he can go sit in the garage or out on the porch for a while, somewhere "out of the caring zone" and he can experience not having a boss that takes care of him. But this is in a safe controlled way so that he isn't really out of your care but made to feel the effects of "not having a boss"
Likewise each of his negative actions needs a reaction appropriate to teaching him how his actions affect himself negatively. just as each positive action needs a positive reaction.

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thansen85
thansen85 writes:
Thanks for all your suggestions.
> 60 days ago

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momgonecrazy
momgonecrazy writes:
I have the exact 7 year old girl.  Beyond strong willed.  I am struggling myself. The only thing that seems to work is if i take something meaningful away from her. which is a play date or her favorite thing "ice-cream" . I truelly feel what you are going through and I "get it".  I feel my daughter wants more attention from us, we do everything together as a family. I agree maybe making him be his "own boss" some where might work.  

thanks, momgonecrazy
> 60 days ago

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Calimom
Calimom writes:
I am having the same issues with my 7yr old. His behavior is perfect outside the home, at school etc. but in the house it's all very different. He is our only child. My husband and I both work and we try to do everything together as family. Sometimes we have no issues for a week or two and other times it seems like nothing can go right. We have trouble with him getting ready for school, eating his food so we can leave on time for school or turning the TV off when he has homework to get done or take a bath. He is very strong willed and sometimes his tentrums are just too much to handle. He screams, hits, calling names like stupid, jerk. I am just not sure what to do and if counseling is the right thing?
> 60 days ago

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kat_eden
kat_eden , Parent writes:
I'm sorry you're having a rough time.  I agree with the BoysTown expert who suggested trying to "catch" him being good.  We tried this approach with my 6 year old who was displaying some tricky behavior.  Just tiny complements like "I love the way you got dressed so quickly this morning" or "I really appreciate how respectful you were at dinner tonight - I have so much fun spending time with you when you behave that way" really mean a lot to them.

I also learned that you have to be VERY clear about the language and tone of voice you expect your kids to use when speaking to you and to other adults.  I recently realized that my son honestly didn't know what I meant when I corrected him for using a fresh tone of voice with me.  I think they hear disrespectful language a lot at school and even on TV and they think it's "normal" and ok. I had to start saying to my son "The way you said that was disrespectful, try again please".  Sometimes I'd even have to model his original tone of voice and then say it the way I expected him to say it (without the attitude).  It took a while but finally he got it!

I'm sure it's difficult since he has quite a few siblings, but it sounds like your son could probably benefit from a little 1X1 time with your right now.  Maybe just reinforce how much you love him and how important he is to you and to your family.  You could explicitly tell him that he doesn't have to misbehave for you to know he's there!

good luck!  Kat
> 60 days ago

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