Posted by: Worried mom | 2009/07/09

Sons behaviour worries me.....

My son is 5 yr old....Overall he is a nice child who is liked by his friends....He is attending grade 0 and is well behaved in school. He tends to be a bit more to the introverted side and is a hard worker with above averege IQ. What worries me is that he suggested the other day in a shop that we must steel the clothing item he wanted (we have more than enough money to pay for it!)...I spoke to him about this and he said that he didn' t really mean it...But today in the shop he wanted gum and I said it is fine, then he wanted to steel it by putting it in his pocket and said he will just take it....again I had a talk about the results of steeling....He also has this new saying that if I confront him with something he gives me attitude and just say" it doesn' t matter" . Today I asked him to please be quiet because his little brother is sleeping...he went and hit the ball and said he doesn' t care if his brother wakes up. Usually we dicipline him by taking away important things or privilidges...time out doesn' t work, hiding also doesn' t work...Sometimes talking does. He has this terrible temper tantrums and will start screaming and crying that seems to me is unrellevant, like if he can' t get a computer game right or when he doesn' t get his way. Sometimes, when I ask him nicely not to do something, like not drinking orange juice, he is intollerant of it, he will spitefully do it, bring me the glass and says that he drank it! I know he is strong willed but I' m really worried that this behavior is going to became a conduct dysorder. He was adopted at birth and I know genetics isn' t a problem....Not that I think this info is rellavant? Thanx

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Our expert says:
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Hidings don't work, except to teach a kid that it's OK to hurt people when you want something from them. A balanced system with points towards rewards for good and considerate behaviour, and losing points and privioleges for bad behaviour usually works wel, if sensible and consistent. Time out works well with immediate behaviours, like a tantrum ; it doesn't apply efficiently to errors of omission --- you can't Time him Out for NOT doing something he should have ; that's where demerits from the rewards table work better. YOu cant sit time out for suggestions that we steal something.
Its curious and interesting that he was telling YOU directly that he suggested stealing things --- as though to see your reaction. SImilarly, to defiantly drinking the OJ and coming to show you the glass and announce that he has disobeyed you and drank it. This sounds more like oppositional and challenging behaviours, maybe intended to draw your attention to him. Is he perhaps receiving less of your attention when he is good ? Paying selectively more nice attention to the good things he does ( and the bad things he doesn't do ) can be surprisingly powerful.
Adoption wo't be relevant unless knowing he is adopted has somehow influenced how YOU behave towards him
The more he finds it rewarding to be good, and the more he finds it discouraging, boring, whatever is unwelcome, to be bad or provocative, the more his behaviour is likely to change in the desired direction

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