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    badgerfan's Avatar
    badgerfan Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Feb 25, 2009, 05:42 PM
    Defiant 8yr old boy battles mother
    My fiancÚ has two boys 12 & 8 yrs of age. Both are realatively great kids with plenty of activities outside of school and for the most part good students. However, in the past year the eight year old feels it is necessary to defy his mother by being disresepectful and non participant in family matters or general chores during the week i.e. folding clothes, emptying the dishwasher and cleaning his room. It has become so harsh as of late that despite our agreement to have the children in couciling and one five hour emergency room psych. Incident ( because he wanted to hurt himself ) that now the 8yr old now feels it is necessary to act out constantly, challenge defy even the punishments he is handed out through his behavior like no computer, no TV etc. During the weekends when they both have visitation with their father seems to escalate the issue or start it all over again. Humm, perhaps that might be the source ( you think )? Anyway, it takes a complete week to get both of them especially the eight year old back into what I refer to as a normal state. My question: how to deal with this continued rollercoaster behavior especially in the eight year old - who incidentally now says he wants to live with his father because his mother hands out harsh punishments ( ah no computer for a week ). Not like he is going to be cleaning outhouses or something.
    Illusion's Avatar
    Illusion Posts: 195, Reputation: 33
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    #2

    Feb 25, 2009, 10:48 PM

    No doubt this is a difficult situation to be in - however, I am not sure that this all about discipline and this child's need to assert his behavior. The reason I say this is because of the visit to the psych ward for trying to hurt himself - this is a concern and tells me that there is a lot going on emotionally that is not being addressed.

    Somehow he has learned that he is not loved and accepted - and hence the attempt to hurt himself. I would caution on how to "punish" this child - he is already showing that he is overwhelmed by his feelings and that he needs guidance and support - not punishment for his actions. Your soon to be step-son may need to be heard and a compromise may need to be reached with him. Some children do not handle "being told" very well because of their strong personalities and opinionated natures. He may be clashing with his Mother for this reason - and if his Mother tries to control him by verbal threats and/or putdowns then yes, I can see him reacting in anger and hurt and refusing to comply with her. I can also see this as another reason to want to hurt himself -somewhere the communication has broken down.

    I would say that family therapy is a good idea; also make sure that your step-child has a complete medical exam with a Pediatrician. If he is in therapy make sure that the Therapist has experience in working with children. Another idea that comes to mind is you might want to ask if a psychological evaluation should be done - sometimes it can identify where the issue is and what might help.

    Most of all, I would hope that you offer your friendship and support to this little boy. He is getting a lot of negative attention - but is really looking to be accepted and to know that you and his Father are there for him and love him.

    In what I do, I have spent hours talking with children who are eager for attention, eager to tell someone how they feel, what they think, eager to know that they are all right and that things will work out. Re-assurance and explaining things goes a long way to calming hurt feelings and soothing anger over. Sometimes it just takes a lot of patience - explaining, reassuring, guiding, and over again. But the closeness you build with the child is rewarding and well worth the time.

    I wish you and your family find the answers you seek. Take care.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,304, Reputation: 7692
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    #3

    Feb 25, 2009, 10:54 PM

    Constant and firm, and also remember the father is putting two weeks worth of time into one weekend, if that is all he is getting, Can the father get more invoved in child's after school events, more involed even though the phone about punishments and things happening
    badgerfan's Avatar
    badgerfan Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #4

    Feb 25, 2009, 11:49 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Illusion View Post
    No doubt this is a difficult situation to be in - however, I am not sure that this all about discipline and this child's need to assert his behavior. The reason I say this is because of the visit to the psych ward for trying to hurt himself - this is a concern and tells me that there is alot going on emotionally that is not being addressed.

    Somehow he has learned that he is not loved and accepted - and hence the attempt to hurt himself. I would caution on how to "punish" this child - he is already showing that he is overwhelmed by his feelings and that he needs guidance and support - not punishment for his actions. Your soon to be step-son may need to be heard and a compromise may need to be reached with him. Some children do not handle "being told" very well because of their strong personalities and opinionated natures. He may be clashing with his Mother for this reason - and if his Mother tries to control him by verbal threats and/or putdowns then yes, I can see him reacting in anger and hurt and refusing to comply with her. I can also see this as another reason to want to hurt himself -somewhere the communication has broken down.

    I would say that family therapy is a good idea; also make sure that your step-child has a complete medical exam with a Pediatrician. If he is in therapy make sure that the Therapist has experience in working with children. Another idea that comes to mind is you might want to ask if a psychological evaluation should be done - sometimes it can identify where the issue is and what might help.

    Most of all, I would hope that you offer your friendship and support to this little boy. He is getting alot of negative attention - but is really looking to be accepted and to know that you and his Father are there for him and love him.

    In what I do, I have spent hours talking with children who are eager for attention, eager to tell someone how they feel, what they think, eager to know that they are all right and that things will work out. Re-assurance and explaining things goes a long way to calming hurt feelings and soothing anger over. Sometimes it just takes alot of patience - explaining, reassuring, guiding, and over again. But the closeness you build with the child is rewarding and well worth the time.

    I wish you and your family find the answers you seek. Take care.

    Thank you for your opinion. Unfortunately, I personally feel that this child is getting a overdose of "loving - negativity" from his own father. Hence, the behavioral mode change when they come home after spending a weekend at their fathers. Please note, that they do spend a lot of time with their father each week with three additional "time spent" opportunities they take part in with him. I firmly believe that the father is giving too much negative direction hence the mood swings, behavioral responses that I am seeing. The conversations that the mother and father have are just way out of line and the finger pointing that continues. I would also add the fact that the father doesn't respect the mother what so ever either in deeds or punishments handed out because of behavior. It's about being lazy and direct defiance of authority.
    dontknownuthin's Avatar
    dontknownuthin Posts: 2,910, Reputation: 751
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    #5

    Mar 1, 2009, 11:16 PM

    Keep your household non-confrontational, peaceful, predictable (above all) and make expectations consistent, achievable and firm. You should not supervise the children's chores and responsibilities nor discipline at this point... their parent needs to do that at least for now.

    The child may feel that if you weren't there, Daddy would be with Mommy and everything would be wonderful. Unrealistic, but that's what you are to him - the guy in the way. And you are not his Dad, so he doesn't want to do what you ask and will go to the end of the earth to make that point.

    Mom has to be no-nonsense, no exceptions. It's important to step up the love at the same time she steps up the discipline. That is, make sure she takes time alone with each child, and listens to them and so on. This can be very easy to do with some simple routines. I always tuck my son in and take a few minutes to linger - it's amazing what he'll tell me when he's in bed - it's a safe place to be. I wake him up very pleasantly, too. When he was little I would sit on his bed and give him a hug to wake him up. This sometimes would trigger some questions about whatever was on his mind the night before in bed. And after school (or after she gets home) she can go over his school stuff with him, one on one - what he brought home, what he needs to do for homework. Hugs, kisses, and statements like, "I really love being your Mom" and, "you know Honey, even though Daddy aren't together like married people, we both love you and will always work together to help you with stuff." For a long time after my divorce, I used to tell my son positive things about his Dad even though I was not happy with the man at the time. Like I'd say, "you should show that picture to Daddy - he once told me that he always wanted a red sports car, and I think he'd really like the one you drew!". Or I'd say, "Oh, you should call Daddy right now and tell him that...it's awesome and he'll want to know." In other words, I gave my son permission to keep loving his father, and to let me know that he loved his father.

    As for the discipline, it's best if the kids have the same rules in both houses, but even if that can't be worked out, it can be the same in your house all the time. What works in our house is that my son has a list in his room of what he's supposed to do each day... make bed, self-care stuff like brushing teeth and baths, setting the table... basic kid stuff. If he does what's on the list each day without reminders, he gets a gold dollar coin for the day (could be a quarter... doesn't have to be a whole dollar) as a reward for being independent and cooperative. If he has to be reminded or nagged, he still has to do it (or gets a negative consequence if he refuses, like no television or video games) but does not earn his money.

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