My sons behavior is terrible. He just does not listen.

Crystal - posted on 12/11/2009 ( 39 moms have responded )

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my son is 4. i have recently split from his father. he just does not listen. I repeat my self over and over. He actually laughs in my face. He thinks when i discipline him its funny. Pleeeaaaasssee Hlp!!!

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Radostina - posted on 12/16/2009

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Hey Crystal, my son is 2 years old and he do the same things but still for me is working the punishment in the another room or in the corner. But when is not being on his way he became really .........a say over and over again but he is crying or just trope with his legs so what can i say be patient as hard as is sometimes and try to explain it for him how bad is to behave like this. Good luck!!!!

Julie - posted on 12/13/2009

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Well I'm no psychologist, but your son may be acting out because of the breakup of his parents. I have not been through your situation myself, but I have a 9 year old who didn't listen to me either and would scream in my face. I took her to therapy for a while and they really helped her to express the things that were bothering her and understand that she has to listen to me and that there are consequences for her actions. The things they taught me were to stay calm and not react in an emotional way to their bad behavior. Be consistent with consequences. Say if he needs to clean his room and he refuses give him a 4 minute time-out. If he refuses to do the time-out you may have to do a safe hold where you sit behind the chair and hold him to the chair. Afterwards make sure you ask him why he got the timeout and what would have been a better way to handle the situation. If he throws a tantrum let go do something else and let him know when he's ready to speak nicely to you that you'll be happy to talk to him. He's trying really hard to get your attention and when moms are overwhelmed kids learn pretty quickly that bad behavior gets our attention faster. If he won't do the time-out at all and you don't feel comfortable with the safe hold, when he wants to do something like watch his favorite t.v. show say,"I'll be happy to let you do that as soon as you've served your time-out." and of course done whatever it was you asked him to do in the first place that led to him getting the time-out. If kids want to do something bad enough they will eventually comply. Just as important is for you to make a big deal out of everything he does that is good. Praise him up one side and down the other, giving him hugs and kisses or little rewards. Pretty soon he'll see that he likes that kind of attention better. It has really helped with my daughter. The key is not getting sucked into a verbal/physical confrontation with your child when they are pushing your buttons. You have to respond as calmly as possible. This has been really hard for me to learn, but when I do it my kids see they can't push my buttons and get a heated reaction and they settle down because it's like I've taken the air out of their balloon. Anyway a therapist can really help you work through whatever issues there are with your divorce. Family therapy is the best because they work with all of you, not just your child. Also even though you're not with his father anymore, he should be helping with his son and he should be talking to him about how he needs to listen to you and that he is expected to respect you and behave. If he can be at therapy too for the good of your son that would probably be the best. Right now your son is probably looking for reassurance that everything is going to be okay and that you both still love him and that this is not his fault. Tell him everyday that you love him and hang in there!

Gabriele - posted on 09/30/2012

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I have a 3 year old daughter her father is not in her life but i have the same problem. She does not listen to me at all. I tell her to do something and she says my legs are broken.. I tell her to stop doing something she says but i dont want to.When she wants something I say hold on she says but i dint want to hold on i want it now. She does not sleep at night. She will make up any kind of excuse to stay up late. She just don't sleep or listen to me.. please help!!!!!!!

Tanza - posted on 12/11/2009

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A great book to recommend is ' Have a New Kid by Friday' . It's by Dr. Kevin Leman and published by Revell. Myself and some friends have found it great and it's a quick read. It starts with Monday and gives you a basic concept and understanding each day.

Hope this helps turn things around for you!



FYI - you can use this on 3yr olds as well as 14yr olds. ;-)

Linda - posted on 12/11/2009

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It's very hard to give a real good answer with just hearing two sentences. I don't know any of the history or what is going on in your home, where you live, how you discipline, etc. Generally, children pick up on tensions, they listen and understand, yes, even at four, even at 2....they understand fighting, they understand yelling, and they understand stress. They know when you are yelling at him to behave but are distracted and upset about something else, or they know that you don't follow through...I'm not saying you are doing any of these things, but speaking generally. My suggestion would be to make sure your son is in an environment that is stable....rules are rules and don't change. Follow through...if you want him to ask for something politely, don't give him what he wants until he does...even if you are busy and rushed. If you want him to pick up his toys, make it a game, a challenge. Tell him your going to help and you will pick up more toys than him. Kids love a challenge....and he will pick up more than you! Make sure you are giving him special one on one time. Make sure he doesn't hear you say anything negative about his daddy....you may not like the guy, but he's still his father. Try not to fight in front of him. Give him as much of a stable, normal routine as you can. Routine is important. Well, sorry for rambling but I hope I've said something that might help! They really do grow up fast!! :))

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Janita - posted on 12/16/2009

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I have a four years onld son and have the same problem I have found putting him on a time out chair for 4 mins it works for me because he hates that chair and the fact that he has to stay there for that lenght of time is a long time in his eyes, theres no need to hit your child thats not an option, he will soon respect you as long as you have time out chair.

Lauren - posted on 12/15/2009

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you need a trump card. if he laughs in your face, stay calm and simply tell him you will be removing [favorite toy] or whatever and walk away. the worst thing you can do is let him know how much is frustrates or angers you when he does that. Remember that he is the child and you are the adult. Just handle it the way you would want him to handle such frustration when he is older, because this is how they learn. Through mimic.

If he gets upset and throws a tantrum, just calmly carry him to his room, place him in his bed, tell him he can come back out when he calms down and walk out and shut the door. It should only take a few tries for him to learn that you are the boss and deserve respect.

you should also consider if his father ever speaks disrespectfully to you. if he sees that its ok for his dad to do it, he may take it upon himself to mimic his behavior... might want to talk to dad about that in terms of curbing behavior for the sake of the child

Shaunda - posted on 12/15/2009

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People in these days with all the pesticides and enhancers used to grow foods have messed with our chemical make up. I have learned that ADHD/ADD is so common in children as well as adults. First I would have my child assessed to see if that is not an issue. I did with my now almost 17 at 14. I wished I knew this whe he was 5. If that is not the problem. Linda Carter below has a great response. Every household is different if it never really had a stern structure that is what you need to get first. And you may have to spank for your child understand there will be a new structure. If you dont more power to you.

Tracy - posted on 12/15/2009

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I have a 4 year old son also, who does the same exact thing to me. My husband doesn't back me up and gives in to him so he doesn't have to deal with the crying. He won't change. However, I don't believe spanking works either. I take things away that he likes and I have to be consistant with it, regardless of what my husband does. I also have used counting with both my kids and they don't like it and they listen. I start counting to five, when I get to five, if they haven't listened, they know there will be consequences, such as not going to the movies, not going to the playground, etc. My son always stops by the time I get to 2. Good Luck.

Christine - posted on 12/14/2009

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Hi I have 4 sons . Two of them were "limit testers". Time outs done right are miracle workers. Watch "nanny 911", they really know how to do it right.

Megan - posted on 12/14/2009

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LOL....I know they say terrible 2's...I say terrible 1 1/2 and keeps getting worse. My daughter will be 5 in feb and she is so sassy. My probalem is, is that I threaten (taking things away, ect) and I never stick with it. I always feel bad when she cries. I have been better though. she has always listened to the counting thing. She thinks she will get spanked if I get to 3. I rarely spank her I think she has only been spank a handful of time in her 5 years so I don't know why she would be so afraid. But once i get to 2 she is running to time out where she is suppose to be. Also splitting from their father is going to be hard on him and I know he may not be listening but he is lashing out also and you have to be understanding yet firm and try not letting him get away with everything. It is hard but it will get better. Is he in day care of preschool?

[deleted account]

I was in the same situation and found a great book at the library. sole parenting of boys.. something like that . It was written by 2 Australian Drs so they had the Aussie lifestyle in mind.. helped me heaps ,, Best of luck

Kendra - posted on 12/13/2009

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Oh, goodness. My son was about that age when his father and I split up, he is now 20 (his brother is 23). He was quite a handful. If I could do it over again, I would have been more consistent. I would never end a request with "ok", (as in "stop biting, ok?"), and I would have more attentive to what he was doing and saying. I would have also provided him the opportunity to recreate himself in this new envionment, with his own ideas about what it means to be a family of three. Maybe adding new traditions. Of course this is all in hindsight. It's so hard to see past what is emotionally going on at the time. It does get better, trust me. Just hang in there.

Janel - posted on 12/13/2009

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right now he is testing you to see what he can get away with. stay strong and dont back down then u will really have bigger problem. my daughter did to me . and if the father is in the picture talk to him about it and let ur son know he can't get away with it.it is not acceptable behavior.

Carol - posted on 12/13/2009

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I hear you ! I had the same problem with my youngest. What I found that worked was to actually get to his level (on knees sorry) and chat ! "you know when you don't listen to me it makes me mad and you dont like it when I yell do you?" Ask questions - they love to be important to you. It is hard sometimes, but hang in there - mine is better now - I just have to remember that he wants to be heard too. Paraphrase him ! Good luck

Linda - posted on 12/12/2009

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First of all he is emotionally upset and may need some professional help coping. The adjustment is major for him. He is very confused. Do not repeat, if you mean it do it. Follow through on your commands or he will play a game with you every time. Kids are smart, dont underestimate the control he can get over you.

Iris - posted on 12/12/2009

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Hi Crystal: Well when he does not listen , take away his favorite thing, like toys or tv or not letting him play with his friends It does work. I had to do that with my oldest boy for awhile.. He was misbehaving alot and I took away his favorite toys or tv and would not let him play outside with his friends or anything like that.. It did work after awhile..

Angela - posted on 12/12/2009

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I just bought the book by Kevin Leman titled "Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days". Take a peak at it on amazon.com It seems to be a good book on how to not let your child control you (or manipulate) but how you stay in control and teach him at the same time. I have a 4, 2 and baby and was getting tired of discipline issues, not listening, not respecting. I have only been reading this book this week, but already I think my kids are listening better.

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Quoting Kellilyn:



Quoting Brittany:

Spank him.





or you could try something ,ANYTHING else. Spanking is lazy and irrseponsible. It sounds like you've tried many things...kepp going til you find something that works for you. But don't spank him. If you received a poor review at work and they spanked you instead of not giving you a raise-you would be pressing charges against someone. Spanking teaches that if you don't get what you want from someone-just him them until they do what you want. Your job as a parent is to build up your child-not break his spirit. I have 3 children-ages 10,8,and 2. But you don't have to believe me-just ask any parenting expert,or doctor,or child developrment specialist......





. But you don't have to believe me-just ask any parenting expert,or doctor,or child developrment specialist.... Yep, and depending on who you talk to, some will be pro spanking, and some will be anti. Gotta love America, we are all free to do as we choose. What works for some doesn't work for all. That's common sense though.

Kellilyn - posted on 12/12/2009

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Quoting Brittany:

Spank him.


or you could try something ,ANYTHING else. Spanking is lazy and irrseponsible. It sounds like you've tried many things...kepp going til you find something that works for you. But don't spank him. If you received a poor review at work and they spanked you instead of not giving you a raise-you would be pressing charges against someone. Spanking teaches that if you don't get what you want from someone-just him them until they do what you want. Your job as a parent is to build up your child-not break his spirit. I have 3 children-ages 10,8,and 2. But you don't have to believe me-just ask any parenting expert,or doctor,or child developrment specialist......

Tish - posted on 12/12/2009

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Ahhh I have heard this one many times and even experianced it a bit yrs ago. Your son is needing ALOT of attention right now. You are going to have to include him in everything you do. Make your time together, quality. Dont ask him to go clean his room while you make dinner, instead go help him clean it and use that time for talking about what ever is on his mind at that moment. then have him help you cook, help you clean, keep him involved in everything you do. This will make him feel so special and important that alot of his insecurities will fade. It will also give you both lots of opportunities todiscuss whats happening with your family. He will still miss his father being at home. But if he becomes the center of your attention and is given the feeling of utter importance in your everyday life, it will give him the strength to cope much better. after you have put him to bed, take time for a hot bath or some reading. What ever you do for me time. That way by morning you will be ready to start again and not get worn out from never having time to yourself. And remember that the healthier you and your sons relationship is, the easier your life will be. hope this helps

Jean - posted on 12/12/2009

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four year olds in crisis are particularly challenging. What am I saying four year olds are particularly challenging. speaking over and over only increases their ability to ignore you. STEP one - state the behavior you wish changed or ceased, STEP two - state a reasonable expectation of a different choice he could make. STEP Three since you are now where he is take his hand and lead him in the direction of said choice. Yes the steps I mentioned must be in his direction, lol Basically, all children around this age challenge your authority but particularly those who have an upheaval in their life. If you practice the three steps above you will give him clear and concise expectations and direction and you will earn his respect for your authority at the same time. I hope it works for you as well as it worked for me. Good luck.

NORMA - posted on 12/12/2009

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My son is 13 years old and he does not listen. He is VERY and EXTREMLY negative toward everything and anything, especially his younger sister.

Kelli - posted on 12/12/2009

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spanking doesn't always work talking and actions work.

he probably just wants your full attention and hes not getting it therefore he is misbehaving.

Kelli - posted on 12/12/2009

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Hun he's only 4 and if you are not able to disapline him now you will not be able to handle him when he gets older.you have to show him who's boss, the parent.take things from him that he really likes.

Katherine - posted on 12/12/2009

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My 4yo is the same way. I'm thinking it's the age?? They are learning independence and want to do things their 'own' way. It's very frustrating.

Crystal - posted on 12/12/2009

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thanks everyone for your great suggestions.....some i have tried...like spankin...corner...etc and other i will try....i will be sure to keep you all posted...AGAIN....thanks for your suggestions

Kate - posted on 12/12/2009

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I really do know how you feel - my husband and I split up earlier this year, and I remember feeling so raw, so devestated, so alone and finding it almost impossible to discipline our two little girls, then aged 5 and 2, as I felt so guilty that we had made the decision to break up our family. This is probably still so raw for you, as it was only recent, so for now, just try not to be too hard on yourself. I know that time is a great healer, and things WILL get easier. The most important thing is CONSISTENCY - its crucial that whoever else, besides you that looks after your little boy, be it a childminder, a nursery, a grandparent, or Daddy, they MUST discipline him in the same way as you. I know its old school, but the naughty step has always worked for me and my girls, but I see it as more of a 'calming down area' - they HATE it as its soo boring and lonely sitting there, especially when they can see that their naughty behaviour has made them miss out having fun ( I always make a point in continuing to have fun with the other child who is being good). First, I will warn my child that if she talks back/is cheeky/hits/snatches/ etc again, she will have to sit on the naughty step. For my eldest who is now 6, this is nearly always enough to deter any more naughty behaviour. If my child continues to be naughty, I then straight away take her to the naughty step and tell her CALMLY BUT FIRMLY " I sat you on the naughty step because....(I tell her excactly why, so she understands what she has done wrong). " So you need to sit there to think about your behaviour." Then I walk away. If your son shouts or screams blue murder,or even throws things, just totally ignore him. This will be soo hard at first, but children HATE being ignored but LOVE a reaction from you, even if its a negative one! If he gets off the naughty step, just calmly put him back there without saying a word, don't even give him eye contact. After 5 minutes, I go back to her and ask her why I put her on the naughty step. When she has told me, I ask her to say sorry to me or her sister (whoever she was naughty towards), and then, most importantly in my eyes, we cuddle and MOVE ON. I really hope this helps you. Be strong, and remember that you are a GREAT MOM xxx

Billie - posted on 12/12/2009

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I have bought up 3 sons and I'm still alive and reasonably sane.
I firmly believe that bad behaviour is not acceptable and therefore it is up to you to get this message across.
Personally (just what I would have done) I would do one of two things or both. When he does something you really don't like, for a short time do something to him that he hates then you can explain how it is for you when he is behaving in a horrible manner.
The other thing is, the punishment, all behaviour has a consequence..choose something that is going to hit home. Take away what he loves and stand firm. He must realise that if he behaves badly the result will be something he really doesn't want to happen.
Good luck

Bridget - posted on 12/11/2009

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Has he always acted like this or did it start when you & his father split? Parents splitting up is a very tramatic event in a child's life and can cause severe emotional problems. I would choose a form of punishment that he can't stand (I make my 3.5 year old stand in the corner in a room away from the family so she cannot have any attention) & I would be very firm and consistent with the punishment. It's difficult. My 3.5 year old doesn't like to listen & she is very mouthy, plus she doesn't seem to be affected by hardly any form of punishment. I've been stern and consistent with her & she's slowly coming around. Unfortunately, she has my hubby wrappped around her finger & he rarely disciplines her so although she minds for me, I'm always having to step in and discipline her even when he should. She has no respect for his authority. That could be another problem for you. Does your ex discipline your son? I hope being consistent helps. Wish I had better advice & wish (for your sake & mine) that it would work magically overnight! I know that you have to be having a hard time splitting from your son's father and having to deal with a son who's acting up & laughing in your face.

Krystl - posted on 12/11/2009

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I haven't read any of the other responses so I'm sorry if I repeat some of the other moms. I have a 4 year old little girl and it's the age of 4! She had the same problem a few months ago, she was HORRIBLE!! Sometimes I almost felt as if I could just lock myself in a closet and scream!! LOL! But just hang in there, it does get better, also remember not to yell at them!! For as much as you may want to yell, keep your cool and talk with a calm and stern voice. That will make them pay more attention than yelling, I know, I don't understand how that works but it really does!!

I started putting my daughter in the corner and that has worked wonders!! Another big thing is repetition.....if you punish him once for something, then everytime he does it he needs the same punishment!! Keep your foot down when it comes to time outs too (if thats what you do), they say 1 minute for each year of their age. My daughter will sometimes act up while in the corner and I'll tell her to stop or she will get another 4 minutes, if she doesn't stop, then she does get another 4 minutes. Once they see that you mean business, the attitudes change drastically!!! It's very hard but keep up with it, I was in your shoes just a few months ago and I did everything I've said and my daughter behaives sooooo much better!! It's such a relief! Nip it in the butt before they become teenagers! LOL!! Good luck sweetie!!

Tracey - posted on 12/11/2009

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Whooo!! My son is 14 and I have the same problem to this day!!! I take away things he thinks he just can't do without!!! Wish you luck!!!

Miranda - posted on 12/11/2009

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I also have no problems in my home. Me and her father are together, we have a wonderful relationship, not just him and I , but we also have an 8 year old and have a great life. We spank, we use timeout, we use eye to eye level and explanation nothing works for me.

Miranda - posted on 12/11/2009

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My 4 year old daughter does the same thing. It is REALLY bad... I don't know what to do anymore either. I feel ya!

Sandy - posted on 12/11/2009

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Hi Crystal, I have a little boy as well he just turned 5 years old December 3. He laughs as well when he is being disciplined. I also have to repeat myself over and over again.. It can be very frustrating because my husband gives in to him so he doesn't have to hear him throw a fit or cry.. I have started standing my ground and setting boundries for him.. He is learning that what I say is what I mean.. I can only tell you to be consistant and praise him for the good behavior and give him no reaction to the bad... That has worked for me... I am not out of the woods but, he is learning:)

Susan - posted on 12/11/2009

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patience and a stern voice - do not yell - just a stern and straight face. Tell him his behavior is not acceptable and make consequences for his behavior - have him involved with the decison making of the punishment to fit the behavior that way you can tell him that was what you decided the punishment should be - then he will think about what he is doing and correct himslef - have your husband do the same and back you up if you can get him to do so. I know its hard been there - now my daughter is 21 with a child of her own and i hope she will use the same methods i used on her it worked for her. hope this helps.

Paula - posted on 12/11/2009

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try the corner i know i's old school but it worked with my son when he was that age and he hated it and still does to thid day and he is now 9.

Larissa - posted on 12/11/2009

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wow sounds like my 3 year old!!! I wish i could help. I just hope my son will grow out of it..Hang in there...I watch super nanny & try it at home & it doesnt help.

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