From: Jacksonville, NC
Number of Kids: 2
Kids Ages: 9 1/2 and 15 mo.
Problem: My nine year old son has started to have mood swings and moderate behavior problems such as talking back and rolling his eyes when I ask him to do something. I know it sounds very mundane and normal, but it's scary since he used to be a very sweet loving child. I could handle it if it was someone else's kid but he's mine! He's a sensitive kid who cries at Hallmark commercials! But sometimes he makes me so mad I want to run away from home! What I need is a good consistent way of handling him.
Solution submitted by Mom42 from South Bend, IN: I have the same problem with my son who turned 9 in September. We have the book "Parenting With Love and Logic : Teaching Children Responsibility" by Jim Fay, Foster W. MD Cline. They have been a Godsend to me. They enforce logic and natural consequences. I rely heavily on the fact that if you tell him what will happen if he does "this" and then enforce it. It really works. I let him know what behavior is acceptable and then follow through with whatever consequences I have chosen. Try it consistently for a week and you will see a change. But the key word is "consistent" by you. Remember your the parent, and sometimes we have to pick our arguments with the kids. I usually pick the ones that will make my child more responsible.
Another solution submitted by Mabear of Phoenix, AZ:I also have a 9 1/2 year old boy (firstborn), and I must say most sincerely that this has been QUITE a year. His 4th grade teacher had told us all at the beginning of the school year that she chose to teach this grade because it's in this year that the biggest inward change occurs. She said, "This year they have all come in as young lads but they will go out like young lions." I must agree.
My son has shown remarkable changes in inside growth, but it has also included my falling a few notches in his estimation. I've been scrambling. I'm trying to grow with him, and I think the thing I hit upon that has been most helpful was giving him new responsibility. I explained that I felt he was "old enough" now to care for an animal he has always loved but never was allowed to be around. When the eye rolling and such begins when something small is requested of him, it puts it all into perspective when I remind him of his newest responsibilities and why he has them.
I still don't feel ready to loosen those apron strings, but 9 year old boys sure give them a consistent pull. Now I'm learning what Erma Bombeck meant when she wrote about our children as kites. My son is off the ground now and even though people told us we'd have to let out more string, it's a doggone difficult thing to do. I saw your youngest is not yet two so you have BOTH in "rapid growth stage," only one is outside and the other inside. Wow!
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