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My youngest wont behave


Name: Kate J
Question: I’ve got 4 kiddos, 4,6,9 & 11. My two in the middle are really fairly well behaved and sweet. The 4 yr old is hot & cold in behavior but my 11 yr old son is stubborn and very defiant. He won’t help unless I’ve gotten to the point of yelling at him (after asking nicely four or five times, more sometimes) and I don’t spank Him but really want to! I explain to him the importance of his role in the family and how his helping really matters and how he is the leader and the other kids are ‘watching’ his actions but he is only concerned with himself and what he gets or gets to do. I am so stressed out with this one kid that it affects all the other ones and my mood when Daddy comes home. I want to give up! Advice from anyone that can really help would be most appreciated.

Hi Kate, Your 11 year old clearly wants your attention and he is getting it. It may be in a negative way, but that is the role he has carved out to get attention. First of all, he needs serious consequences. Try a chart of consequences. For example, if he talks back, he loses his computer or video game privileges for 2 days. He also needs a chore chart. For example, he is expected to make his bed, empty the trash (or whatever you feel is appropriate). If he doesn’t, there are consequences. Praise him for good behavior and spend time alone with him doing things that he likes. Show him that you not only love him, but like him. Let him get used to attention in a positive way. Good luck and keep in touch! Best, Jen

One Response to “My youngest wont behave”

  1. Barb says:

    Hi Kate,
    I agree with Jen on your son wanting attention and negative attention is better than no attention. My daughter India does this a lot and what I found that has worked best is to just ignore it, don’t engage. I feel it is a privilege to hang out with me and their father and if she is not going to behave I am not going to acknowledge her. We just pretend she is not there. I will go play a game or do something fun with my other daughter who is well behaved. Why should the well behaved child who is being respectful get punished because she has a nightmare sibling. By not engaging she comes around quick—usually with an apology. barb

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