Need to break my 7yr old's defiant behavior/Behavior chart ideas....

Sarah - posted on 08/30/2016 ( 2 moms have responded )




I have a 7yr old son. We live with my parents, his grandparents, which has it's perks and disadvantages too. First of all, my stepdad and my son are very very close, and my son is always getting the typical "spoiling" from my stepdad and my mom. My stepdad also has lung cancer, so my mom really tries to keep the house as stress-free as possible. Because of both of those reasons, my son has gotten everything he wants, and he also gets away with everything he does that isn't ok. Some of the things my son and I have arguments about are normal things like taking a bath, brushing his teeth, turning off the video games and playing outside, and eating dinner. My son will have these huge temper tantrum fits, and if I hold firm to whatever it is I am asking to do, my stepdad throws himself into being involved, and then the two of us are fighting... to the point where if I tell him my son is MY SON, I face losing my living situation. My son does not do the things that are typically "normal" for a 2nd grader to do - clean up his plate, clean up his toys, help with the dishwasher, go to bed at a reasonable time, etc without a fight, and will argue about these things for a half hr or longer if I try to hold firm to these requests. I know that children respond best to repetitive actions, but I am finding that to be impossible because the grandparents get involved and eventually will coddle to his behavior and let him get away with his negative behavior and override what I am trying to enforce with my son. A good example is dinner time: My son does not like meat, so my mother is always making him special meals, almost every night of the week. I feel like my son should eat the meal that is prepared for all of us. He might not eat the chicken, but he will eat the potatoes and salad, and he needs to at least try new things. But my stepdad thinks he should not have to eat anything he doesn't want to. He also doesn't use his manners and if he asks for something and doesn't say please and I ask him to say "please", sometimes he is so stubborn he will throw a fit and it eventually turns into me being the person who's doing something wrong... comments are made like "well, why didn't you give him what he wanted??" or "well, just give it to him cause I don't want to hear him scream and cry"..... and that has ultimately taught him to become a master manipulator cause if he cries long enough he will get what he wants eventually.

Bottom line is I am trying to teach my son how to be respectful with his words, that it isn't ok to tell me or any adult "no", and sometimes you don't always get your way but I still love him.... I have several significant changes that need to be made that affect our daily lives, but they aren't going to be easy to change and won't happen overnight.... how can I adequately enforce these changes that need to be made without causing a problem between me and my stepdad? I have also tried to get his advice on how to change the negative behavior, and his suggestions are appropriate for a 2-3yr old i.e. losing electronics for a half hr, spending 2min in time out, etc. With school starting in a week, my thoughts were to start a behavior chart using a point system, but I am having a hard time getting it into action. For example, when he remembers to say "please" and "thank you," tries new foods, listens to standard requests like bath, brush your teeth, etc. without an argument, he gets points added. But if he doesn't do these things, points are deducted. He has wanted a fish tank for quite a while, so if he gets enough points at the end of each month, he can get a new fish for the tank. But I also need something smaller as a reward each week... any suggestions? Any thoughts on how to get my son to respect me as his mother without my stepdad getting involved? Because every time he does, it sets us back five steps and is ultimately confusing my child. Ugh. So frustrating. ANY help would be fantastic. Thank you.


View replies by

Dove - posted on 09/02/2016




If you are living w/ people that do not respect your parenting... the situation will not change. The ONLY fair thing for your child is for you to move out. It may not be easy, but you can not expect a child to change his behavior when the adults in his life and especially in his home are not supportive of it.

April - posted on 09/02/2016




Hi! It definitely sounds like you are in a tough situation. I think it sounds like you have some great ideas for curbing your son’s behavior. I want to encourage you to work as a team with your mom and step-dad though. Find a time that you and them can sit down and discuss the situation in a healthy manner (preferably without the child around). No matter how great a behavior chart and point system are…it won’t work if you all are not on the same page. Be open to their suggestions even if you do not agree 100%. I have children ranging in age from 2 years to 12 years old, and I believe your step-dad’s suggestions of time outs and losing electronics sound reasonable for a 7 year old (although maybe a longer period of time would be more appropriate haha). Your son is very blessed to have 3 adults that are active and invested in his life. Tap into that resources and form a cohesive team to empower this little guy to succeed. I will be praying for you and your family.

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