My 5 year old thinks he's the boss...

Mary - posted on 05/25/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My 5 year old has always been "the little dictator". When he plays with his friends, he is always the leader. He makes up the rules, assigns the roles and ALWAYS has to win. Recently this trend has reached over into his dealings with adults. At recess when his teacher told him it was time to come in, he refused and had to be carried to the office kicking and screaming. Dinner battles are waged on a nearly nightly basis as he insists that he WILL NOT eat whatever food he has decided he doesn't like on that particular night (even if he ate it without a problem the night before). Bed-time almost every night ends with him screaming from his bedroom "I WON'T go to sleep. You can't make me!" until he falls asleep from screaming.



Generally, I don't believe in spankings. I gave him one once when he ran out in front of a moving car, but that was 3 years ago and I've tried to reserve spankings for major life and death lessons. I've tried removing privledges ("No bed-time story if you don't finish your dinner...") and offering incentives ("You can have kool-aide instead of water for your mid-night drink if you goes to bed without fighting"). I've tried rationalizing with him ("Treat people like you want to be treated. You don't like it when I yell at you so why would you think it's okay to yell at me?") and I've tried ignoring him. So far ignoring has been the most effective tactic, but even then it can take 2 hours for him to finish his tantrum.



Is this normal for kids his age to be this defiant? I feel like it's something I really need to nip in the bud before it becomes a major issue but I don't know how. My mom said I went through it at his age and a spanking cured it, but I really don't want to go to that point. Does anyone have any ideas?

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Sarah - posted on 05/25/2009

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PLEASE, PLEASE check out Love and Logic Parenting. I had to take those classes when I was training to be a foster parent and Treatment Home Provider and with 4 kids now, I don't know where I would be today without it. You can check out the L&L community right here in the Circle of Moms, but it is pretty slow. I check there every once in awhile though and can answer any questions about it. You can also google Love and Logic Parenting and on their website sign up for their weekly email. It offers great tips and ideas. They also have great books and videos.

Another possibility is you son may be sensitive to artificial food coloring and preservatives. I noticed you mentioned kool-aide and the reason I say this is, my kids act like they have never been taught anything if I let them drink kool-aide, fountain lemonade, or anything with ingredients I cannot pronounce. I am talking about tantrums, arguing, listening skills out the window, the whole nine yards. It may be worth a try, along with the Love and Logic skills, you may find you have a different kid. He may also be blessed with a strong leadership personality! I have one who is and boy does she test my patience. But that type of personality will get a person far in life if handle right from the start. (I keep telling myself this, is helps with the tough days) It is natural for kids to be defiant, how you handle it will determine what level of defiance your son will go to. He is just looking for his limit. Good luck!

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