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Children & Parenting
Help with a wilful 6 year old and a non supportive father
By xxkirstyxxmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1309, member since Sun Jun 15, 2003
On Tue Feb 05, 2013 04:25 PM

I need help.

My son is 6 years old. He's outgoing and noisy and happy and very loving most of the time. His dad and I aren't together and haven't been since a young age that he would remember any different.

My son is a stubborn little boy. I'm sure lots of them are. And usually a firm word is enough to bring him back into line. But lately he's getting worse. And the trouble is, he's not treated the same at his dads house as he does at mine. I'm his primary custody, he lives with me. He goes to his dads house 2 nights through the week and once at the weekend. When he's there, he's treated like a king. He can make demands for drinks, snacks, toys, whatever and his dad jumps to get them. His dad has previously sad to me when I've brought this up, "I only see him 3 nights. I'm not gonna spend that time fighting with him". Therefore, he pretty much gets what he wants up there. Then when he's at home and starts ordering me round for drinks or whatever, he gets told off obviously. I won't let him speak to me like that. This has lead to me disciplining him pretty much constantly at home. And as soon as we make some progress, it's Wednesday night and he's due back up there.

I'm literally spending all my time with him telling him off. His dad refuses to believe he's anything but an angel and won't back me up. How am I supposed to make headway on losing this demanding attitude when he's allowed to do it 3 times a week?

I'm so upset right now. I just want to spend some time with him where we are not at loggerheads. But I can't allow him to behave like a brat. Any advice would be helpful, I'm at my wits end here.

Kirsty x

8 Replies to Help with a wilful 6 year old and a non supportive father

re: Help with a wilful 6 year old and a non supportive father (karma: 1)
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Tue Feb 05, 2013 04:40 PM
You have to draw the line here. The boy is six, he's old enough to understand. Tell him firmly "what happens here at home and what happens at Dad's house are two different things. Dad has his rules, I have mine. These are my rules for this home and you will obey them."

He's in school, right? He understands that school has certain rules. He can understand that you have certain rules, too.

It will take a little time, but every time he insists on something he gets at Dad's house tell him, "this isn't Dad's house. It's my house. These are my rules." He'll get the message. Stand strong, Mom. Don't cave.

kk~
re: Help with a wilful 6 year old and a non supportive father
By xxkirstyxxmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1309, member since Sun Jun 15, 2003
On Wed Feb 06, 2013 09:47 AM
Thank you kk. I really appreciate your words! I do need to draw the line. He had to understand that this is mammys house and we don't behave like that here. It would be so much easier if I could have some back up from his dad but hey ho. I just get so upset when I'm having to discipline him so often! I feel like I'm taking two steps forward and five back when he goes back up there. I've spoken to his dad again last night and asked him to consider he's not helping him by running around him like a prince. Yeh he'l be his best friend but he won't respect him. Fingers crossed this time it sinks in.

Kirsty x
re: Help with a wilful 6 year old and a non supportive father
By schuhplattlerPremium member Comments: 3037, member since Sat Dec 23, 2006
On Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:41 PM
I realize that this might sound silly because of my lack of data (for all I know, his father might be an industrial go-getter who has no time for anything else, or he might work at something entirely too dangerous for your son to follow, or he might be an utter bum).

But what would his father want your son to accomplish? If you can get his father to think of himself as a worthy mentor, he will stop spoiling the boy and start putting him on a good training program.
re: Help with a wilful 6 year old and a non supportive father
By pharmadancermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3459, member since Tue Mar 16, 2004
On Wed Feb 06, 2013 06:50 AM
Edited by pharmadancer (87219) on 2013-02-06 06:54:26
I understand that you are no longer with the dad, and obviously you have already tried to address this with the dad, to no avail. BUT. Do you have a relatively good relationship with the dad? Have you tried talking with him about how you can both partner to raise your son to be a great adult?

I wonder if the two of you can agree to talk with a third party (counsellor, someone who specialises in parenting issues, etc), in order to bring some stability into your son's life. Surely his father understands that kids thrive on routine and boundaries (well, perhaps he doesn't - but maybe talking with someone who isn't his ex would help)...

I wish you all the best to try and make this work. And if you can't get the dad to work with you and you have to work with what you have, then realise that your son is just pushing the boundaries to see where they are. If you are consistent enough, he will understand that mom's house has a different set of rules, and he has to live by them.

ETA: By the way, my suggestion of counselling or parenting classes would help you alone, too - even if the dad didn't come with you. Kids don't come with handbooks, and a little outside perspective can't be a bad thing.
re: Help with a wilful 6 year old and a non supportive father
By anji75 Comments: 14, member since Sun Oct 21, 2012
On Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:39 PM
Hi Kirsty

This must be so hard for you! Fortunately my husband and I are together but our daughter used to go round to her grand parents house a couple of times a week and she got so spoilt there and expected the same when she came home. My parents did not like to see her cry so were too frightened to tell her off it was a complete nightmare. We had a very helpful discussion with a child psychologist who told us that if her grand parents did not impliment some discipline she would request a joint appointment between us and my parents because not only was this making life hard for us but it was spoiling a lovely little girl and making her not very nice girl. She also gave us the helpful advise of the whole family sitting down and making a list of family rules (if she stated rules we did not agree with we talked her round to a rule we did agree to with some skilfull discussions)and displaying them in a colourful poster and sticking it up somewhere she could always see it. Then when she broke the rules pointing out which rule on the poster she broke. For discipline we used a marble jar for reward and punishment. If she helped with extra jobs/done homework/very polite then she gained marbles but if she broke one of the rules she lost marbles and once the jar was full she picked her own reward. It is very hard work staying consistant but it really worked and still works with her little brother. Also when I advised my parents of what the psychologist said and then we went on holiday together and they saw the treatment I have to put up with they soon changed there ways and now my dad is more than happy to step in and tell her off. Another good nugget of advice from the child psychologist was sometimes there can be too much talking as a parent no means no and that is the end of the matter discussion over because if they can they will real you in with discussion and before you know it things are a negotiation!! Good luck with it all nobody said being a parent is easy.
re: Help with a wilful 6 year old and a non supportive father
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:00 PM
...there can be too much talking as a parent no means no and that is the end of the matter discussion over because if they can they will real you in with discussion and before you know it things are a negotiation...


Oh, absolutely! Definitely keep it short and sweet and be consistent. All the explaining can confuse a kid.

Some Dr once told me if you cave in one out of every ten times your kid makes a demand, then that is enough for them to try and push it every time. And that gets exhausting. You have to stay consistent.

About the dad, I understand what you want from him, but you may not ever get it. Even with some sort of intervention/counseling. It's great when parents can be on the same page about parenting, but often in separated families this is just an impossibility. You say you've talked to the dad and he has refused, so you may just have to take care of this yourself. Believe me, when the boy figures out he's not going to get you to cave in (and he will, as long as you are consistent) he'll save this type of behavior for his dad. He'll get past this stage. Just keep thinking of it that way - a stage. This will pass.

kk~
re: Help with a wilful 6 year old and a non supportive father
By xxkirstyxxmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1309, member since Sun Jun 15, 2003
On Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:10 PM
Thank you guys so much. Everything you have said is great advice, and I really appreciate it.

I think you have hit the nail on the head kk. What I want from his dad is just not going to materialise, at least not at the present moment. We just aren't on the same page. I'm going to have to tackle this at home for now. I really like all the ideas presented, and I will definitely set up some sort of reward system. He is a smart little dude, he'll figure it out sharp the behaviour expected. I certainly do need to be more consistent I'll admit that!! Nobody said it was easy to be consistent with a smart mouth 6 year old who can DEFINIETLY reel me into a conversation like that!

I really appreciate the support here. We'd had a rough couple of days when I wrote this, and this has really helped me gain some perspective. Onwards and upwards at home, and hey maybe the behaviour will follow through to dads house and I'll have done him a favour too. Or pigs could fly and he'll jump on my 'discipline' bandwagon :)

Kirsty x
re: Help with a wilful 6 year old and a non supportive father (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6818, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Sat Feb 09, 2013 04:25 AM
I think you can do this. It would be nice if you could get dad on board but honestly, have you had much luck with this dream before? If not...what are your alternatives?

As hard as it is, you have to make this a positive plan to teach your son good manners,good habits,and self reliance.

When he says, "Get me a drink.", your reply should always be, "Sweetie, you're not a baby anymore. You can get your own drink now, can't you?"

If he says, "Give me the control for the tv, I can't reach it.", your reply will be, "I'm sorry...did I hear my handsome young man say, 'Please Mom.'?"

When he does remember his manners and does speak respectfully, simply taking the opportunity to say, "Sweetie, you make me so proud when you use your good manners. Thank you."

It will take a few weeks to instill good habits, but it will happen and usually it is more effective to praise than correct. It takes longer, and it requires a constant effort to control your hurt feelings and anger, but I know you can do it. We sometimes forget we have the power and ability to outsmart our children, no matter how bright.

You have my very best wishes on this journey. It is hard for all of us to mold and guide our children, but it is especially hard when there are conflicting rules and a conflict of authority. Your son needs structure and discipline. His father's view point is cheating him of the things he needs to navigate the world outside of his family. I know it is difficult for you, but you do want what is best for him. When our children ask for jelly beans for dinner, we offer them a choice of green beans or wax beans. When they stamp their feet and scream "JELLY BEANS", we give them one last chance to choose, and when they don't we give them green beans...no choice. It's hard. But no parent in their right mind would deny a child vegetables because they wanted candy instead.

Eventually, your son's dad will reap what he is sowing here. He might want to be the favorite parent now, and when dealing with a six year old, it is easy to be soft. But a nine year old who orders him around is going to be, at best, irritating. For now, follow kk's excellent advice and establish the rules of your house. Believe it or not, your son really wants this just as much as he needs it.

Lots of love to both of you. Parenting is the absolute hardest job on the planet.

xoxo

Keep On Dancing*

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