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How do you handle a child like this?

My son is 8. He wants to be in control of everything. If his siblings or friends are not playing the way he thinks they should be playing, he starts crying, yelling, and throwing a temper tantrum. If he comes into the living room and sees his brother watching a show, he starts crying and going on about how he "never gets to watch anything" which is not true, I make them take turns. He throws a fit when he is asked to do chores, even though he is asked to do them every day, and he knows that there is no playing or any fun till chores are done. He whines about everything, nothing is ever "fair"... I can't even get birthday presents for the other kids without him screaming about how he "didn't get anything" even though he did on his birthday.

Now, first off, we do not excuse his behavior. He has consequences for temper tantrums. When he starts throwing a fit for chores, more chores are added. When he gets bossy and mean when playing, he is grounded from playing the rest of the day. When he throws a fit over the tv, he looses his tv time for the day ect... Same rules for all our kids.

But it is not working. He is a drama queen over everything and I spend my day taking his privileges away and he spends his day hating me because I am "mean". I don't know how to get out of this cycle with him. He seems to hate me, and while I love him, I really don't like him right now. Every day is a constant battle with him. Its not like that with his siblings, and his older brother was never this way, so I am at a loss as to what I am supposed to do. Its always been our model that you work hard, and show respect and you earn privileged, and he is rebelling against that model at full speed.

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Asked by Anonymous at 6:28 PM on Jun. 21, 2011 in General Parenting

Answers (9)
  • You probably need to take him to a specialist right away. That doesn't seem normal. Did you take any kind of drugs or alcohol when you were pregnant with him? Has there been a major change in your household? There are a lot of signs of abuse. I wouldn't ignore them as being a "drama queen". Good Luck.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:50 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • I would try having him face a wall with legs crossed for 8 ( 1 minute per age) minutes- in silence. If needed sit behind him and gently hold. If he says anything his time starts over. You are doing it right. Sometimes their emotions come out sideways. Make sure to reward yourself so you have things to look forward to. During these challenging years you need it. You will look back at these days and laugh when they are older. Keep up the great work. It will keep changing just remain consistent. Smile through it all. Sometimes it is time we need for changes, hang in there - love, laugh and rise above your strong young man.. someday his strength will be a positive thing..... :-)

    Answer by LeJane at 6:51 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • First of all, I think you should have a very long talk with him. Explain to him that everyone of the children in the house are expected to follow the same rules, and take turns and do chores, and show respect. Tell him that fit throwing and whining are not allowed at all, and will be punished every time. Also, do you ever have him do phyiscal labor? I don't know what area you live in, but with my boys, I could make them pick up sticks out of the yard, rake leaves, trim limbs off trees, that kind of thing. Believe it or not, once they understood fully that I was not going to back down in any way, the behavoir improved. It took a while, but it worked. Plus, my dad used to say that hard labor was not bad for a kid, it was good for helping them to straighten out their thoughts!

    Answer by A.Perry at 6:55 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • My mom was a middle school counselor, as well as, a parenting class teacher. It sounds like you are doing a LOT of the things necessary to help him break his "attitude", but I will offer a few suggestions,. First of all, anytime a child fusses or throws a fit, especially with him being 8, because he "understands" when he misbehaves, he is seeking attention. As soon as the behavior starts it has to be addressed immediately. Basically, getting down on his level, in a very calm voice tone, face to face with him, away from everyone else, and tell him "his behavior is NOT acceptable", and you will NOT tolerate it, while looking him square in the eyes. Also, a "time out" place/corner, or naughty spot somewhere in the house, other than his room, because he feels comfy there, is always good. For each year he is old, he spends a minute in time out, or naughty spot, until he changes his behavior! After that is privileges taken away!

    Answer by Lynda-Lou at 6:55 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • I would try ignoring it. Sounds like he is getting a lot of attention for acting that way. Even if it's negative attention. Just ignore him. Only respond when he acts positively. Maybe that could work? Good luck!

    Answer by mompam at 6:56 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • wow!how many kids do you have?i myself have 4.ranging from 19,15,14,and 11.3 boys and one poor girl(lol).why i'm asking is it sounds like a typical sibling rivalry and trying to be "king of the castle".my 11 year-old did the almost same thing about a year ago.God it was most of his 10th year!i stopped taking away things and adding more chores as you can see sometimes it don't work..i sat my son down and tried to get to the root of the problem.first he really didn't like it when i would compare him to his older siblings he said it made him feel like he was'nt good enough.i also scrubbed out everything that worked for my other kids and him and i set up a new schedule and chore list just for him.he does understand though that with his other siblings sometimes there's got to be turns and time constraints.within a month all had calmed down also have you considered getting him checked by a doc for his behavior?could help.

    Answer by elzingah36 at 7:02 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • Anon,

    How in the world does an emotional 8 yr old compute abuse? He is not physically abused, He would tell me if there was something going on (we have the don't let anyone touch you talk quite often, last time he rolled his eyes at me and said "gee mom, I get it, no one but me touches my penis, I'm not dumb you know.")

    Why do behavior problems always seem to equate abuse or phycological problems to people? I was a drama queen. I was a super hormonal pre teen, looking back, I have no idea why I acted the way I did but I wasn't abused, and I have no mental disabilities!!

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 7:03 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • Thanks for the advice ladies.


    I really do think that he looks at his siblings and feels different. I have 6 kids. 5 boys 1 girl. The others are all pretty easy going and well behaved (well my second to last is 4 and he is just like my 8 yr old temperment wise). I think he sees them getting their tv time, and getting to play and he resents that. Its hard because it just seems like its been this cycle that just keeps getting worse and worse. It started with him loosing his video game privlages. He is easily frustrated (much like me) and gets very emotional (much like me), he could not win at a video game and got so frustrated that he threw the controller accrossed the room. His dad grounded him from playing video games till further notice. Then things just went out of control...

    8 yrs old is too early for hormonal changes right? Also this all started about 2 weeks after school ended.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 7:10 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • If the behaviors started after school ended, it may be that your son simply needs more regulated structure than your other children. He may benefit from a written daily schedule or chart that shows what his chores are for each day & when he is expected to complete them. A chart that shows all of the children's chores for each day/week might help him even more, b/c he could see who is doing what & how much, plus he wouldn't feel singled out. A chart may work for the tv schedule, too. Giving him a chart may not change his behaviors right away, but as he develops a new comfort zone, he may begin to respond & settle into his new routine. Of course, it might be time to go back to school by then, but if you keep it up all year, it may help w/next year. Some kids are just lost w/o the regular daily schedule school imposes on them & he might just be one of them.

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 7:46 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

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