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2 Bumps

a 9 year old with no conscience?

i have the hardest time trying to get him to do what i ask him to, like cleaning his room. so i ground him, no tv or computer and he doesnt seem to care. he walks around like its no big deal. laughing and talking to me like everything is just fine. hes doing well in school. im divorced and my ex has supervised visitation. we also see a counselor regularly which i think is part of the problem. my son knows what to say "im troubled by the divorce..." "i havent had a childhood". ill be so upset and he doesnt care that i am. i also just had surgery and all he was concerned about was if i was going to be able to cook him breakfast. he never says hes sorry for anything. im remarried and my husband has been nothing but wonderful. he doesnt yell and shows my son lots of attention. my 6 year old daughter is completely opposite. im so frustrated and dont know what to do to get through to him. my house is upside down :(


Asked by Anonymous at 10:13 PM on Nov. 1, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • Obviously punishing him isn't going to help you. Punishing him is just pushing him away further. He wants your attention, of course he's going to make you earn the right to give him that attention, but that's what he wants.

    Punishment always seems like the answer when kids misbehave, but I've found if I can find some common ground with my kids it goes a lot further in getting them to do what I want them to do. Does he like comic books? Movies? Karate? Video games? Become an expert in whatever it is he loves the most, don't try to be cool, just try to know the inside story.
    My daughter freaked when I knew how to get the pearl in Club Penguin, I didn't tell her I researched online and followed every cheat there was, then spent 4 hours online practicing - it gave us something in common and that's a place to start.

    Answer by at 10:40 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • Find something that you can take away from him, and take that thing away!!!......If it's something that he likes, or wants to do, Then he will be upset or affected by it.....Otherwise, seek a doctors advice. Cause i have not ever come across a child that did not have at least ONE or TWO things that would upset them, if taken from them.......Outside?...Friends? Favorite toy?...etc...etc

    Good luck!

    Answer by gogogirl79 at 10:23 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • Sounds like he knows how to manipulate you. It's not anything more then him being a bully really. He's trying to play the "Whoa is me card", but in reality he could care less just as long as he gets what he wants. I think it's time to start laying down the law and letting him know he's the child.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 12:08 AM on Nov. 2, 2010

  • It does sound like he is a manipulator. He knows how to get what he wants. The only way I see it is to see if you can do the same with your son. Also, has anything ever happened to him that he's never heard someone not apologize for being wrong. As a parent, I've learned that everything I do isn't always the right thing to do. I've also learned that it's okay to apologize to your child when you've done something wrong. Tell him that you aren't perfect may make him see that you are capable of making mistakes as well. I tell my kids that from time to time.

    Answer by amessageofhope at 1:35 AM on Nov. 2, 2010

  • If he never shows ANY concern for others I would talk to a therapist. Also, he could just be misreading social ques, a problem my son has. Asperger's Syndrome. I would scold him and he would have this satisfied smile on his face, which only made me angry. I have learned over time to talk in a calm voice get to my point and make him repeat me. We still aren't to the point that he expresses concern over the well being of others, but then that could just be a macho guy thing.

    Answer by mrssullivan at 5:54 AM on Nov. 2, 2010

  • My stepdaughter lives half with her mom and half with my husband and I sometimes tries to use the "I miss my mom/dad" card when she's done something she knows is wrong. We accept her feelings, but don't allow that to be an excuse for bad behavior. Children are manipulative and take advantage of their environment. It's in their nature and our job as parents is to gradually condition them out of that and socialize them by teaching them consideration, kindness, etc. Talk to your son honestly about how his behavior makes you feel and that you feel he is being manipulative. We have talked to my daughter about this (she's six) and it has made a difference. Just stay calm and on message and be patient with him.
    And I agree with above that sharing a special activity can be a great way to bond with a child - mario maybe?
    Good luck.

    Answer by Allaye at 1:31 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • I found with my children that they don't always understand how I feel, how sometimes their lack of caring is hurtful because I give and do so much for them. I don't necessarily think its an act based on not having a conscience, but more learned behavior and the fact that are children do have tendencies to be selfish. If my son at 9 was worried me cooking breakfast if I was have surgery , I wouldn't take it personally, I simply tell him yes or no and why, if he become defiant I'd tell him how it makes me feel and that I don't appreciate it. Children have to be taught how be selfless and how to treat others. It sounds like your son is very good at manipulating and I wonder if its because it works for him. Punishing isn't working and it almost sounds like he's angry with you for some reason. I'd start with a very sincere heart to heart conversation, letting him know how much love him and how much his actions hurt you...

    Answer by blessedwboysx3 at 1:35 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • I'd also ask him why he does the things he does. I would also tell him that if I had done something that has upset him that I'm sorry but need to understand what is that I've done to be able to work through it with him. If its irrational like "you never let me do anything" then you have to cite times that you have and explain the times that you didn't.
    My son was furious with me when I left my family last year, when I came I had to rebuild the relationship from the ground up, he was mean, and spiteful and said a lot of hurtful things. He was 15. I sat him down and laid it out for him it worked things are so much better. Granted the conversation with a 9 yr old is much different than a 15 yr old. It's still good to talk to him, and during that conversation lay down the consequences for the behavior, continue to be consistent. Another thought if you haven't, go to a counseling session together. GL

    Answer by blessedwboysx3 at 1:39 PM on Nov. 3, 2010