My guy's 10 year-old son, who normally just visits for the summer, has recently moved in with us. Boyfriend is fighting for custody of him and things are looking great, but the child's behavior? Not so much.
Some background: Son came from an awful environment. His mother was neglectful, left him with her folks for weeks at a time, and didn't call him all summer (until she found out he was staying). Even now, she calls maybe once a week, but then makes promises she can't keep, like saying she'll e-mail him and never does. She constantly makes promises to him, like saying she was moving here, then nothing came of it. She's a very manipulative, argumentative person, and Son has picked up some of the latter traits.
He's been living with us for only 4 months, so I know it's new, but there has to be something we can do. Son likes to argue about *everything*. Whether it's the spelling of a word, the capital of a state or doing his homework, it has to be an argument. We've tried everything - arguing back (duh, bad idea!), calmly approaching (honey, this doesn't need to be a big deal. we don't have to argue about this.), choices (you can either continue on this path and go to your room, or we can turn it around and have a good time together), just sending him to his room, logic and reason... Some things work a little, but he seems to enjoy bickering.
To sum up, Son just seems like a very angry kid. It's sad, because there will be a stretch of days where he's *wonderful!* He can be so sweet, kind and caring...but at the drop of a hat, he's rude, argumentative and *extremely* disrespectful. That's the worst part - the complete rudeness and disrespect - and there's no way to get him to see how rude he's being. He just argues more.
What do we do? We've tried so many ways and it's getting to be too much to handle. We want him here to have a better life, not to keep re-living the same arguments and awful environment he came from. Please help! Thank you!
Try not to expect a quick change. It really has not been very long since he came with you and ingrained patterns don't change overnight. Read Lynn Clark's book SOS Help for Parents and follow his guidelines about managing behavior.
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