My son just turned 7 yrs old. He is a wonderfull sweet little boy but he acts like a baby all the time. He will actually cry with tears and everything over the simplest little things. For example; if he is playing with a friend and they want to play different games he will come running up to me and cry. Or if at home after we eat dinner he will ask for desert. He knows that you do not get desert every single night, especially if he didn't eat all of his food. He will eat about 2 bites then say he is full but still wants desert. When I tell him no he will whine and argue about it and then start with the crying. I can understand a child acting like this if the parent caves in and gives them what they want so they will stop. I don't do that. I stand my ground. When he is crying for something not worth crying over I will tell him that I don't want to hear it and he can go to his room and shut the door if he wants to cry. I have talked to him and told him that it is ok to cry when something is really upsetting but that he needs to stop crying over the little things, that he is a big boy now and he needs to start acting like it. When he gets into trouble or when I tell him he needs to do something he doesn't want to do then he trys to give me a hug instead and I keep telling him that I will hug him when it is done, or after time out. I don't know what else to do about this. He is in first grade and most of the time when I pick him up at daycare he is playing by himself because the other kids his age don't want to play with him because of how he acts. In fact he gets along better with my friends 3 yr old then kids his own age. Please give me some advice with how to deal with this.
It sounds as if you are doing all the right things, but unfortunately some children will put up with negative consequences rather than change their behavior, at least in the short run.
Just be sure to continue to pay very little attention to the whining and crying, so that you aren't inadvertently reinforcing these behaviors by giving them attention (such as spending time talking with him about needing to stop crying, or when it's okay or not
One additional tactic that sometimes works is to calmly tell him you have talked to "the doctor" about his crying and learned that it is fine for him to cry as much as he needs to. So, henceforth, when he feels the need to cry, he may go to his room and cry as loud and as long as he needs to. However, the doctor also explained that this is exhausting (or tiring, depending on the level of his vocabulary) for a child, so the doctor said he will need to take a nap, or at least lie in bed very quietly for half an hour, as soon as he is done, to recover properly. (You can adjust this according to what you feel would be most appropriate in your son's case.)
By referring to the outside authority, this becomes not a punishment you are enforcing but rather a prescription from "the doctor." Be sure to bve very matter-of-fact about the behavior, and it should gradually be extinquished--or if not, at least he won't be right in front of you doing it, and whlie he is "napping," you will have some peace and quiet.
Meanwhile, keep in mind that children mature at very different rates (due to individual differences, position in the family, etc.), and he will no doubt catch up to his agemates in time.
p.s. If he starts to cry away from home, such as in the situation you mentioned of his friends wanting to play a different game, if at all possible and not a greater inconvenience for you, nonchalantly tell him "Oh, I see we we need to go home right now, so you can cry all you need to in your room, and then rest afterwards like the doctor said."
If he doesn't want to leave, just calmly remind him that the doctor informed you that it was very important that he gets to cry all he needs to and then immediately rest up from it.
That is a creative idea, unfortunantly my son would not fall for it. I also do not like lying to him. When we are out with friends and such and he starts to act this way I do tell him that if he continues then we will have to go home because only big boys get to do these things and not boys who act like they are babys. Sometimes it works and some times I have had to follow through with the threat just to show that I mean bussiness. If you have any other suggestions I am all ears.
You know your own son, but this technique has worked with hundreds of children his age, and takes away potential "negotiating," manipulating, and arguing with the parent's "rule", because the "prescription" was made by the outside authority, not the parent.
I did not consider it lying because you have reached out in this forum and have received this advice from a professional. However, if you would be more comfortable, you could (truthfully) say "Mental Health Professional."
My main concerns about your approach are that: 2.You are still negatively labeling a normal behavior--"boys who act like babies don't get to do these things"--and although it is negative attention, is still attention, that he can get from you any time he wants by pushing that button, and 2. If you succeed in making him ashamed of crying, you may be raising one more man who is afraid to show his feelings--and may act out instead, to "prove he's a man." (And some day he may not be able to cry out of joy over the birth of his own child, or out of grief when dealing with the death of a loved one...)
I do thank you for your advice. I will give it a try. I am to the point that I will do anything. I would hate for him to grow up and not be able to express his feelings. That is not my intent. I just want to teach him the appropriate time and place. Again I thank you for your help.
There's an excellent book titled "the highly sensitive child" by Elaine N. Aron. It can be purchased on-line, in bookstores or borrowed from your public library system (if you are lucky, your school board might even have a copy). If you google the title of the book, you should be able to find additional information. Hope this helps ....
I am dealing with the same exact issue! I've tried everything to be positive towards him and rewarding him for good behavior with no results. All he does is cry! If he doesn't get to go first in a game ..there he goes crying histeractly! I need help!
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