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single mom with a child who seems to need me all the time

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HI i have a child who is 7 years old and he seems to need me in everything he does. He struggles in school when things get tough he starts to say i cant do it or just wont do things.  The teacher is a great help and i love her. She has struggled with my son all year. Her qoutes are he is alot to handle in 8 hours your days must be long with him. Im a older mom and i get called grandma at times. Im used to it by now. I work a full time job and im single. So i seem to be with him all the time and not enough hours in the day.  Somedays he calls my name so much i  cant believe it.  He has no children to play with and he acts out in school sometime with tantrums mosty when things get tough.  I took him to a theripst they just started to see us but the theripst is so busy i cant get back in for atleast a month. My son gets mad easliy today he took everything out of his desk at school just because he couldnt find something and it distracts the other children. He gets time out at home and things taken away. There are seveal issues here.  I have spoiled him too soon with games and electronics so now i have limited them. I do all things for him, and sometimes i just dont know how to stop it.  I have to remind him to do something several times sometimes 4 times. So i wanted to know if any of you have these type of issues? What would you do to aid in this situation?  If you advise is to let him do things on his own how do i incorperate this if he is making several comments and begs for help or just wanders away from things.  Thanks 

by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 7:52 PM
Replies (11-17):
by New sister on Dec. 8, 2012 at 3:40 AM

I am a much older mom with two young children and a new baby. My 4 year old son likes to say he cant do things and he wont always do what I request. Im trying to not give as much attention to his crying for help constantly. Eventually he'll grow out of this phase.

by Gold sister on Dec. 8, 2012 at 6:23 AM
1 mom liked this

......" I do all things for him and sometimes just don't know how to stop it."

 You have recognized this a big part of your situation. But DON'T feel guilty about it. That will just get in the way of any progress. You are a single mom, a busy mom, and so, naturally, you focus on just getting immediate results. Which leads to falling into a pattern of just doing everything , or doing things for him, because it's more efficient for you. Then he falls into a pattern of getting the results he wants--instant gratification-- of not having to do anything, immediately too. Or when he doesn't get what he wants immediately, he gets frustrated. If he has never been taught to do things for himself, or never been used to doing things for himself--even occupying his own time, he has no way of relieving his own frustration. You relieve yours by just doing what needs doing to keep the peace. This doesn't help him any in the long run though.

 Getting used to a pattern of instant gratification, for BOTH of you, is what is contributing to this situation.

 You , with just getting things done or with the least amount of acrimony, and him with getting what he wants the quickest way possible, which is getting you to do it by whining , stalling, making self deprecating remarks about himself.. Which is natural for kids if they haven't had to use, or been taught to use, their own tools of self sufficiency.

 Being the whole world of another person is exhausting and a lot of pressure, even if you love them. That's why you have take the time to show them that they can be, and are, responsible for the happiness in their world, not just you.  I notice you said,  "....he seems to need me in everything he does".  NO. He does not need you in everything he does--he wants you in everything he does because it's easier than doing it himself. You need to consciously remember this and separate 'wants' from 'real needs'

  . Perhaps you say "needs me" because you are the only person in his world, and/or are feeling some guilt over his having only one parent. This is another way guilt skews our perspective when raising children. What he needs is someone to show him how to be independent; a tough job, yes, but one that kids from even two-parent families, or no-parent families need to learn also.

 7 years is not too old to learn this. This is a watershed year, where kids are learning/ realizing more about the world outside their home, forming their own ideas about the world aside from their parents ideas, and starting to form their own identities outside of just being their parents' children. Oddly enough, it can actually make them regress a bit, and cling to you --or things/ patterns/behaviors of their earlier years--because of the safety those years provided in terms of not having to make decisions on their own. This regression is normal. Growing up is a dubious proposition when you've never done it before. But, it's also where you have to be your strongest. If you indulge too much in patterns of instant gratification, these patterns will become permanent traits and stunt your child's ability to adapt to the world around them.

 My guess about the desk emptying is that, although it was distracting the class, it was a way to get attention from peers. Yes, it was distracting, and he probably got reprimanded, but, that was a small price for him to pay for the attention. Just as a child does over-the-top stuff at home to get attention, they do this in school too. And they'll take calculated risks for the easiest way to get it--it's worth the instant gratification.

  You also mention another important thing: His lack of relationships with other people. Being the only person in a child's world is not healthy for you or him. They don't learn the skills or, more importantly, the personal satisfaction, of getting--or giving-- attention to/from others in an appropriate way. Thus, the desk scenes. Even though there is a certain pride of accomplishment in raising a child by yourself, it is imperative that you enlist the help of other adults and maybe patient children to help him learn social skills. 

 A Ymca group, a church group, a weekly mentor, a neighbor that needs help with things, people with hobbies he can learn from--anything to get him spending time with other people and people of all ages. He is old enough to have relationships outside of the one you and he have. And he needs to learn to develop, like and appreciate his autonomy. This will help him immensely in finding satisfaction and contentment in other things, big and small, besides merely practicing getting what he wants through you.

 Children whining and complaining about doing things is to be expected; after all, we didn't want to do half the stuff we had to do either, did we? But , letting this grumbling and defiance drown out our common sense and give in to them, because giving in produces immediate, smoother, more efficient results for us, robs our children of the knowledge, true self esteem, and personal satisfaction that comes from doing things themselves. 

 Remember, just as it is important to be thinking of what our children need, it is equally, and perhaps more, important to be mindful of what they don't need. And to be tough about the difference.

  When my girls were born, I had little guidance on how to raise them or what being a strong parent would entail. My own upbringing wasn't a great checklist in some ways. Luckily for me, I came across a great column in the paper , written by a person named John Rosemond. The columns, by some happy circumstance, seemed to perfectly address whatever growth stage my kids were going through at the moment. He writes briefly and succinctly, with common sense instead of a lot of psychobabble. With the help of these few columns, read at timely instances, I have managed to raise two strong, adaptable, intelligent, independent, responsible, and socially capable children. I enjoy the security of knowing, were I to die today, they would have the skills to make their way in the world. This is the result we need to focus on, and will carry you through when you think something is 'too tough' for your child to do. Children have an uncanny way of doing what we expect of them. If we have high expectations with regard to behavior, and are consistent about it, they will eventually find the courage to rise to meet it.

 I suggest you look up these columns on-line, and find ones that address your child's age and issues. You will have the benefit of being able to relate to the author on another level, too. Besides being an only child like your son, His mother was a single, full time working Mom, and a wonderful example of what a strong, independent, unapologetic, guilt free, great parent looks like. He often brings up situations with her parenting style in his columns. You can do it!

by Manning Fan on Dec. 8, 2012 at 9:57 PM


Quoting dana63:

 Hi! I am 49 with a 6 year old and trust me I am the oldest mom in her 1st grade class so I can relate. I know mine gets bored and some days I forget that I am a older mom and she is the only child at home. So she gets bored and when she gets bored she acts out. She is good at school so I dont worry about that..

My suggestion is to have him tested to make sure he dont have ADD/ADHD and if not then maybe set the rules at school and home. Let him know his behavior is not acceotable any more and as you stated you taken things away then allow him to earn it back. I have good behavior stickers and when she is good she gets one. We also have one day during the weekend where she and I do movie day and she gets to pick 3 movies to watch while I do homework. I hope this helps.. Hugs and welcome!!

 I agree with this. Seek testing through your school district first, the district should pay for it. I also have a 7 & 6 year old boys, single mom age almost 44. PM me anytime.

by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 11:55 PM

Quoting divamom467:

Thanks a lot girls let me tell you of his days. He is struggling with things in school . I pick him up after school is let out. I talk with the teacher. The teacher puts him on a chart for good behavior if he recieves 3 to 4 stars it is a good day and he can have something at home like electronics. The last 2 days have been hard, he is whiining at school and sometimes wont try. The teacher told me she thinks it is hard for him, but she wants the whinning to stop. He is strugglinf with writing. I took him home yesterday and we worked all the night on writing and showing him how to make up a story, it was good and very cute. Today when he went to school he had to be placed outside the classroom to be able to write a story. when he is placed away from the children he does better. The teacher is trying and me too but when the going gets tough he stops. I watched him try to write and it is like he goes blank. So in this im going to do more writting excercises at home and make him feel confident in his writting skills. He was smiles at his story he wrote.  He is good in math but struggles with doing  hard things. He just refuses to do things and it is like you cant make him do it. He will start drawing in class this is his favoerit thing to do when he is stressed, or bored. so for 2 days now we have not watched tv  sticking to the plans of school if he does good he gets treats but bad not earned smily faces is concequences for no tv and no electronics. He does get whinny at times when this happens or he will repeat questions to me over and over again in bordem. When he was in 1st grade things was so bad you couldnt place him with a group of chldren he aways was placed by himself. This year he did some progresss he is placed with other children but the other children see him in moods at times that make for consequencse that other children dont behave like, in this it ends up at times that he is singled out. What do you girls think of this?

Legally, you have the right to ask the school to test him. Even if you pay for private testing, the school will still want to do their own testing before they modify things. He may need a content mastery option. Most schools have a room called content mastery where kids can be sent for quiet work or one on one teaching. In my state, teachers are prevented from putting kids in the hall because they lose instructional time.

by Sister on Mar. 7, 2013 at 7:47 PM

I could have written this post word for word except my child is a girl. I will be 42 in June and my dd wil be 7 in June also. She has been extremely needy and clingy since birth and I thought maybe it was because she is an only child and has no one to play with but she had a lot of behavior problems in preschool and when i had her tested it came back that she has ADHD combined type so she is distracted easlily and hyper all the time. It is hard raising a child who is ADHD but even more so when you have to do it alone I wish I could tell you some great advice but I struggle all the time and Im looking forward to seeing some of the responses good luck to you I really hope you (we) get some advice that will work

by Bronze sister on Mar. 7, 2013 at 8:20 PM

Cant the school refer him for testing if he is struggling in that environment?

SOmetimes you need to push to make this happen. Can you talk to a seniour teacher. Or a welfare worker at the school.

I would be teaching him to cook. Eg bake a cake or slice. Even out of a box. Tell him he is a wonderful cook. It may give him some confidence. You could even get him to read the instructions out to you.

by Bronze sister on Mar. 7, 2013 at 8:29 PM

I am also an older mom. I love it but at the same time I have to admit my baby boy who is twelve by the way is over indulged. I am wondering if he is adhd as well. He did not talk till he was four so I thought he was autistic at first. The child is spoiled to his very core. I am trying to reverse it but I am helpless at it. I can so relate to you. All of his teachers complain, he does not have behavior problems but he is lazy beyond belief. Please if you guys have any ideas. All I can say to my fellow sister is stay strong. It is so easy to diagnose boys with adhd. Sometimes I think it is get to much attention disorder.

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