thansen85 asks:

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



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.

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