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Parenting K-6 Kids/behavior issues with my 7 yr old son

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Question
My 7 year old son gets yelled at every morning by me and my husband.
It has become a sad state of "start of the day" in our household! The reason is always the same: "not listening" or "not eating his breakfast" or "acting silly with his little sister".
He is a super smart kid that is typically very social and successful at school. He is at the top of his class in reading and writing, and just received a medal in math.
It saddens me that he has to start his day with the same crazy routine every day!
And it is not like he does not get warning! he does! I personally tell him that if he does not listen, or does not eat his breakfast AGAIN, he is going to be yelled at!
But it's almost like the warnings do not register in his brain, until he actually gets yelled at!
I know he hates it! He freezes and starts repeating :"Ok" "I got it"!
I am a working mom with a very busy career. I often see my kids an hour a day at the most. I feel extremely guilty for all my son's behavioral issues. I feel that my absence in his life has created all the developmental discrepancies.
Please Help!
I don't want to yell at him anymore. I feel helpless. I get extremely frustrated for repeating the same thing over and over again. It is the same routine every day, day after day. I was hoping that he will grow out of being "a bad listener" by age 7! He keeps blaming his little sister for getting him in trouble?! We keep telling him that his sister is only 5! That he is old enough to make the proper decision and take responsibility towards his behavior.
At school his teacher reports that she sometimes finds him in an "outer zone"! Where he remains for a few minutes, response less.
We talk to him all the time about listening, not being silly, not letting others get him in trouble, etc.
It is not working!
Please help!

Answer
Dear Nikoo,

Thank you for writing.based upon the information you have provided me in your letter.It appears that your 7 year old is a typical 7 year old. 7 year olds are not great listeners. they are silly and they do tease their younger siblings.

Obviously, yelling is not working,since you have done it so often and it has not changed your son's behavior. Nikoo, I agree with you when you said,  you feel that you may be the cause son's behavior issues." I agree your absence in his life may be creating problems for him, How ever yelling at him does not help with the situation. (Just curious, who cares for your children when you are not home?)

Nikoo,if you don't want to yell,don't yell:) Your son is not much older than his 5 year old sister. He is not old enough to be responsible for his behavior in the context that you are indicating he should be. (Remind him that he is her big brother,one of her first teachers, and she is watching him as teaches her how to behave.( That will make him feel grown up)

Now, Nikoo please let me give you a few suggestions that may be helpful.

*Take some time and sit with your son and tell him that we are going to do things differently in the mornings. Then softly (Perhaps with your arm around him,hugging him)"He needs to know you love him" if you are only around him one hour a day,he may feel the only way he can get your attention is by acting out.

*Ask your son to describe what he sees happening in the morning. Then find out how he would like to see his mornings to look like. (Why do you think he is not eating his breakfast?)

*Allow him to be silly, that is what 7 year old boys do. Laugh with him the redirect him if you need too.(No yelling mom):)

*Complement when he is a good listener.

*Remind him in a "soft voice" that no one can get him in trouble, that it is the way he responds that gets him in trouble.

*Lastly-try to catch him doing something good,then praise him for it.
Don't worry about school, he appears to be doing well.

Nekoo,just please remember "He is a great kid and a super smart one" (You said it:)

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to write again if you need to.

Blessings, Dr. Swaby  

Parenting K-6 Kids

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Dr. Mabel J. Swaby

Expertise

I can answer questions about Pre-K 5th grade. How to listen and talk to your child.Discipline that makes sense and much, how to understand your childs behavior and more. I am able to answer questions about teens,as well I have worked sucessfully with teens in foster care and a teen center, I have a great understanding of teens behavior.

Experience

I am retired teacher.(2005)and administrator. I am a Court Appointed Special Advocate(CASA) with the Juvenile Court for the past 6 years. Working with children and teens in foster care. I am a S.T.E.P.( Systematic Training For Effective Parenting) Parent Educator, and I am preparing to conduct workshops in my community.

Education/Credentials
Masters in Early Childhood Education/Certification in instructional Leadership Court Appointed Special Advocate(CASA) (Volunteer) S.T.E.P Parent Educator/Leader-(Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) Parent-Aide Oasis Counseling Center

Awards and Honors
Teacher of the Year Judical Commendation Award from the Juvenile Court

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