First, my 7 year old boy will not listen to me. I try to be very nice but I end up nagging at him then eventually getting very mad. For example, bedtime. I do not want him having the TV on but he insists, and I just do not want to argue with him. For some reason I end up giving into him. I end up feel in frustrated and usually get mad at him. This happens in many situations. How can you deal with this?
As you probably suspect, your son will change in proportion to the changes you make. Why are you 'giving in'? When you do that, you unwittingly teach your son to ignore your directions and do as he pleases. In a sense, you are giving him permission to defy you. Do you see what I mean?
Give him directions no more than twice. If you have to issue the direction a second time, do so in this fashion: (Name), unless you (direction), you are going to time out. If he follows the direction, offer verbal praise. If he does not follow the direction, have him go to time out (adult-size chair) for ten minutes. Use a self-standing cooking timer to track the time, and start it only when your son is seated and quiet. At the conclusion of the time out, be sure he does whatever it was you instructed at the outset.
You have surrendered your authority to your son, and now it's time to re-claim your authority. Unless you do so, you're setting the stage for chronic defiance and disobedience.
If you want to learn more about practical behavior management, take a look at Lynn Clark's SOS: Help for Parents (published by Parents Press in Kentucky).
The one thing I have learned from having kids is to only say it if you mean it. Don't tell them if they don't do it the TV is going out the window, because you know you'd never do that. Set realistic expectations, and stick to them. If bedtime is at 8:30, then it is ALWAYS at 8:30. It isn't at 9:00 because you don't want to argue...that tells the child that if they use whatever works to manipulate you, then they can always get their way. It teaches them that you have no authority, and that the limits you set are not real. You have to mean what you say. You also have to say what you mean...don't hint at what you want done...Gee, you sure have a lot of dirty clothes on the floor...say what you mean - Wow, this looks really messy with all your dirty clothes on the floor and I don't like it. I want you to stop what you are doing for a minute and pick them up and put them(wherever you keep dirty clothes) If your child seems to think that it will take forever to do this, give him a 5 minute timer...tell him to work at what you asked him to do, and really work at it, not just throw a couple things toward the hamper, and after 5 minutes he can be done. Even if he isn't finished. And you havre to let him be done. Tell yourself that it isn't perfect, but it is better.
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