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How do I handle defiance/attitude issues?

My son is in Kindergarden and since starting school in the fall has become very defiant regarding things that aren't negotiable. Homework is the most common issue - he does his math and science homework fine, but when he has to practice his letters, he says it is boring and absolutely refuses. No matter what I try he gets mean and acts out and it will get worse and last right up until bedtime. When he does his letters at school, they are perfectly done, so I can see how he gets bored, but the homework still needs to get done and turned in. Any suggestions?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 1:59 PM on Jan. 9, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (9)
  • Time out, grounding and consistency work best with mine. You have to tell him this is his job being a student just like you have a job of being a mom and dad works outside the home etc. He has to do his work. If he doesnt he will be punished.

    Answer by gemgem at 2:01 PM on Jan. 9, 2009

  • Praise your son on his strengths, it's wonderful he enjoys math and science!  Encourage him to practice his letters,  remind him that once he completes this task he does a good job.  When you son gets home from school, offer him a snack give him some time to unwind.  Have him start his homework maybe letters first since this is what he is not cray of doing.  Give him a break maybe an hour to play then have him finish his homework. Remind him if he wants to watch TV etc.. homework must get done first. Try not to have him do homework too late, he will be tired and feel overwhelmed.  Good Luck!!


    Answer by mommiedear at 2:06 PM on Jan. 9, 2009

  • I've had that issue with my own children and now my grandchildren. I let them make the decision to do their work or not. It is up to them if they have bad conceqences of good ones. We tell them that they have their power but we also have ours. We work out the concequences and then stick to them. If they miss out on a family outing , faviorate snack, t.v., computor time, playing with friends,etc. that is their choice. Remind them if their work is not done and they get bad grades then a will miss out on a lot more. I tell them I love them too much to fight with them and then I just walk away and keep firm.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:08 PM on Jan. 9, 2009

  • i understand totatly! what works for me is homework is the first thing done when he gets home. and on fridays after school if he has had a good week doing all his homework he gets mcdonalds and a movie rental! it works more than not!

    Answer by mamakris607 at 6:37 PM on Jan. 9, 2009

  • First-off, as a former teacher and wife of a career teacher, I rebel at Kindergarteners HAVING homework !! Ugh !! TOTALLY uncalled for, NO benefit to it! ... anyway, if your child MUST do this dumb homework: make sure you are doing it WITH him; that homework time is a time for getting MORE affectionate together-time. Avoid ordering him to do his homework - INVITE him to come join you as you are settling down to open up his folder and take a look at it. This is not about getting the work done - you are establishing his whole attitude toward school work. Do YOUR body language and attitude show interest and fun? Or is this a chore with unpleasant words and punishments associated with it? If YOU keep the homework at arm's length, then obviously you consider it beneath you and not worth your time. And that makes it a demeaning chore to him ... how could he possibly feel the excitement you want him to feel about school work?

    Answer by waldorfmom at 1:32 PM on Jan. 10, 2009

  • And, as to handling letters themselves, you can ease the crushing tediousness of practice by very lightly writing out the letters and keeping him company while he writes more boldly over them. This gives you the opportunity to model the best way to hold the pencil, and the proper direction to be writing each letter (schools don't seem to teach this anymore but it's HUGELY important - incorrect ways of writing create subtle, constant obstacles in writing later) How we hold our pen and the way we form our letters will be lifelong gestures which influence the way we can think, so it does make a difference whether he holds it correctly (thumb & index finger hold the pencil and the 3rd finger creates a triangle around the pencil, with the 4th finger & pinky relaxed alongside) Check out different handwritings so that you're modelling good stuff. My experience is that it's best to form letters with strokes from top to ...(cont'd)

    Answer by waldorfmom at 2:09 PM on Jan. 10, 2009

  • bottom, left to right. Keep it consistent ; o-c-a-d-g-q all start out the same; l-k-h-b-n-m-r-p all start with the downward stroke. Otherwise the brain must constantly decide the formation of each letter. In school now many kids don't pick this up and they form their letters with their best guess. ... If your son does write a few letters or numbers in an awkward fashion, then you can have fun re-learning these with him. YOU model the letter - preferably 4 inches or more on large paper and in color. Then he goes over it a number of times (you could be creating a poster and ask him to get the letters/numerals darker for you) Be clever - if he always starts his k at the bottom, then do only the first stroke to start and add the rest after he has darkened it. ... For the rest of his life his handwriting will be helpful or in his way, so it's worth mothering him with this - in a way that he doesn't notice, of course.

    Answer by waldorfmom at 2:18 PM on Jan. 10, 2009

  • We, as adults, would not work for free, so why do we expect our children to do so? I would sit down with him and ask him to write out a list of 3 things he would like in exchange for writing his letters. I would tell him to think long and hard. I would also make it clear that his father and I have veto power. It might be an extra story at bedtime, staying up an extra 30 minutes, or special time with mom or dad one-on-one. Once you and he and your spouse agree to this, I would have him write out what we agreed to and we all would sign it. I would then paste it up on the refrigerator, just so he knows we're serious. When he arrives home, I would have him do his homework first. Each day that he complies with practicing his writing, I would put a check on the calendar and tell him how proud I am of him. You might even surprise him with some tokens of appreciation along the way, perhaps a gold star on the calendar.

    Answer by cylicious at 6:55 PM on Jan. 10, 2009

  • Kudos to the teacher- she really got detailed- but I agree- the parent must help the child with their homework! They can't just order them to do it. We helped my daughter who was struggling up through 7th grade- then she took off on her own and is a straight A student. It's been wonderful!
    But we spent many hours working with her in the beginning. If they don't understand it- they won't like it and they won't do it.

    Answer by vmariehogan at 7:53 PM on Jan. 10, 2009

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