Advice about School-Aged Kids

Parent Q&A

  • Strong-willed 8yo boy, how to not spoil without battles

    (4 replies)

    I am a SAH mom & I see my strong-willed 8 yr old boy getting more rude, sarcastic and ungrateful. I try to catch him being good, but should I say, "oh I feel happy when you are pleasant & speaking kindly and not hitting me or your sister??" He gets away with not doing much at home because he doesn't volunteer to do much without groaning and saying "you are mean", & we don't want to fight with him. 

    It is frustrating. He is at home playing Lego a lot and is picky about extra curricular classes eg: he doesn't like the teacher. 

    Advice please! If I do positive reinforcement, he wants to bargain for more. Is there a community/sport/music/outdoor ed group that can be helpful? 

    Good citizen

    I think your gut is already telling you. Hitting you or your sister is a HUGE NOOOO. No Llegos, time out. If he starts yelling and screaming, longer time out. tell him ahead of time. He is 8. Not 10 months old. Discipline to behave like a decent human being needs to come from the home. No, our kids are not 'grateful' when we discipline them. But they will grow into kids that others will want to hang around with. My oldest is almost done with college now, and I have been around a lot of kids. As one of my friends said 'the nicest kids to have over at your house are the ones whose parents are tuff on them', as in requiring chores etc. and kindness.

    Seeds of Awareness has a group called Fiddleheads that may work for your family.

    My son is grown but I really regret not having given him more chores to do at home.   They become very entitled later and it's not good.   So set up a few things he needs to do every week in order to do something he likes doing, and ignore his whining and name-calling.  Good luck!

    I have a child who was similar at that age; argumentative, rude and often very negative. (He is now a very sweet and pleasant teenager!) Karate was immensely helpful. The emphasis on discipline, respect for self and others and self control really helped him. He stuck with it for many years. I think any martial art would be great for your son to try. As for getting him to help out around the house it may be that you need to communicate clearly to him what your expectations are and then follow through. Make a list of his weekly responsibilities so he knows ahead of time what is expected, then reinforce. "Your job is to take the trash out after dinner tonight". Talk to him about how everyone in the house has a role and is responsible for something. Maybe you cook the dinner, his sister sets the table, Dad washes the dishes, etc.  If his chore is done without complaining he may get to stay up 15 minutes later that night. My kid too would never just "volunteer" to help out because he saw that others were pitching in, BUT if he knew that in order to get his reward (ie. playing with Legos or whatever)  he would need to first complete his chore then it would usually get done.  If you always let him off the hook because it's easier than fighting with him you're setting yourself up for more problems setting boundaries in the future. As difficult, exhausting and uncomfortable as it may be, it's much easier to set expectations now when he's 8 then later when he's 14.

    New replies are no longer being accepted.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


See also: Advice about Teens
Activities Behavior & Temperment Health

Books & Music

Friends & Socializing

Their Stuff

Sexuality & Maturity School Family Rules