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My 6 year old won't listen...
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My 6 year old won't listen...

My six year old son seems to think he doesn't have to listen to either me or his "Dad". For a while, I thought he might have a behavioral disorder, but now I wonder if it's just outright defiance. He doesn't have too many problems in school (mainly getting up from his seat), but trying to get him to do ANYTHING we ask him to do is pretty much impossible. He will do anything to get out of it and frankly doesn't care what the consequences are. We have tried everything from grounding to taking away privileges to spanking. You name it, we've tried it, and NOTHING works. He doesn't care what you do or say. If he doesn't want to do it, he's not going to. He is stubborn, but not hateful. He won't stand there and tell us he's NOT going to do it. He just finds ways to get out of it. He will actually make us punish him so he can get out of it. When we ask him why, all we hear is "because I don't like to work." We don't ask him to do much (just pick up his toys and bring his dirty clothes to the washing machine when I'm doing laundry). We personally don't think that's too much to ask of him. Are we expecting too much of him, or could this be a real problem? We are at our wits end.....please help!! Thank you, T Wilson
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Dear Ms. Wilson,

No, you are not expecting too much; yes, this is a problem. Probably the most frequent childhood behavior problem is failure to do what parents say. There is actually a pretty straightforward and simple method to employ with children when they are noncompliant. It involves clear and simple directions, repeated no more than once, accompanied by time out if the child does not comply. Because we write so often about this, I won't repeat the details here, but instead encourage you to use the SEARCH function in this Forum and check out other Questions and Answers on the topics of Behavior, Discipline, Time Out. Also, please read Lynn Clark's S.O.S.: Help for Parents. It is a practical down-to-earth godsend of a book for parents who are trying to be more effective when they deal with their children's noncompliant behavior.
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Try reading "The Defiant Child" by Dr. Douglas Riley.  This is an excellent book to teach you the parenting skills to deal with this behavior.

The trick is not to overrespond and overreact to the "bad" behavior and defiance but give specific positive praise for good behavior.  You have to "teach" respect, obeying, and compliance.
Try to realize that he cannot control his behavior and cannot control his actions.  After having said that, you can influence his behavior with correct parenting skills and postive reinforcement.

My son is 6, and when he was about 4 1/2 he started these same behaviors -defiance, tantrums, refusing to obey, arguing. We tried everything too and nothing worked.   We added essential fatty acids to his diet and after only two weeks his behavior improved 180 degrees.  It can take up to twelve weeks to see an improvement and lots of times the improvement is gradual.  There was a study done at Purdue University that showed that essential fatty acids improve behavior.  Try reading "The LCP Solution" by Jacqueline Stordy and Malcolm Nicholl.  This entire book is about essential fatty acids and its benefits, plus discuses why it works and gives scientific studies on essenital fatty acids.

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