My 6 yo is mean!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2009
My 6 yo is mean!
Fri, 01-30-2009 - 4:26pm

I am becoming very concerned about my son's attitude. He just turned 6 and has started kindergarten. For the most part he is a very bright, happy, funny little boy. He is quite a physical comedian! However, he has recently gotten worse with the whining, arguing, and talking back. He also tells me that he "looks for the handsome kids" on the playground to be his friends! I was horrified the first time I heard him say that, having been picked on as a kid myself. I have been trying to work with him and explain that you shouldn't choose your friends based on looks, that a person can look nice on the outside and be mean inside, and vice versa. I've also tried explaining that everyone has feelings and none of it seems to get through to him. He still continues to say the same thing. This summer we were at the playground with a friend of his and another boy wanted to play with them. He had more in common with my son, than the friend did, but my son and his friend were mean to him and wouldn't allow him to play, kept running away from him, and even spit on him. I was mortified. I apologized to the child's mother, made my son apologize to the boy, and then put him in time out. Eventually they all ended up playing together but my heart broke watching my son treat another kid this way.

I've been having some mild problems with him being whinny, mouthy, and combat it, he gets a warning and then gets set to his room. When he emerges, he's like a different kid, happy to do whatever I ask.

He's been acting like this at school with his teacher, and also with my ex. My ex and I have been separated for over 2 years. My son spends EOW with me and 2 nights a week with each of us, so the visitation is close to 50/50. In my home my BF (of 2 years) and I are pretty consistent on our expectations and our rules. We expect respect and we give it to him as well. My BF and my son have a "friendship" relationship and I handle the majority of the discipline issues, though my BF will repeat or enforce a well-known rule from time to time.

My ex has always been the softer parent, assuming I suppose that if the rules or punishment are too firm that our son will want to live with me full time or love me more. My ex also is very outspoken and judgmental against people and often comments on how people look or act in a very negative way (i.e., "I don't like her, she looks retarded"). It doesn't take a genius to see where my son is picking this up! We've talked and my ex understands this as well and is supposedly working changing this. My ex has become involved with a woman who has an 8 yo daughter with a genetic disorder that causes her to act younger than she is, so I guess now it's very obvious to my ex that our son treating people who are different with contempt is a problem.

I am so tired and fed up. My son is a sweet boy and I want so much to help him grow into a kind man. How do I help him do so when my ex is such a bad influence. And even more, how do I get my son to understand that he needs to respect my, my ex, his teacher and the other people in his life. This morning he spazzed out on his aunt on the way to the bus stop because he forgot something for school, he ran away from her, crossed the road alone, and ran back to her house. We are so lucky he didn't get hit by a car or something. We take away his video game privileges, TV time. He has been in TKD for 3 years to learn discipline and respect but obviously it isn't working.

I don't think he has ADD or anything. His teacher says he is doing great academically, it's just his attitude. Sorry to be running on like this, I am just out of patience and ideas on how to help him. I just want him to be a good person.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2008
Tue, 02-03-2009 - 12:14am

I could've written alot of that post.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2008
Tue, 02-03-2009 - 11:51am

You have hit the nail on the head with part of the issue. If your son is seeing his father behave in a certain manner than he will begin to emulate it. Parents are their children's greatest influences and unfortunately sometimes their negative behavior speaks louder than the positive.
As for the park situation that is an injustices that needs to be taken seriously. If his behavior is truly a problem than when he spit at the playground he could have been taken home and told that he was being removed from the environment because he was not being safe with peoples bodies or feelings. Not that he was men but that his actions were not acceptable. As soon as he realizes that he has more to loose with this behavior than gain, it will fade away.
Make sure that the negative behaviors are not being responded to. Whining, yelling and so on... In a firm voice tell your son that you will speak to him when he uses his calm voice. Thats it. No discussion. Remember that parents are people too. If you would not let your friend, spouse or others speak to you in a rude, negative manner, your children should not either. But remember, that works both ways. Parents cannot yell, demean or get an attitude with their children (not that you do this, just a general statement) and think that their children will not do the same to them. Your reactions are how they see emotion conveyed.
The last thing is this. I know that this is a safe place to vent but be careful about labeling you children. They will live up to the label that you give them. If your son feels that you think that he is mean, oh boy will he ever be. A wonderful book to read is How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen.

Children are constantly trying on new personas and testing the limits. They want to see whats out there and what feels right. It is our job to mentor them onto the right track.

Keep up the good work.

Brandi Davis
Child And Family Coaching
(p) 215-805-7494
(f ) 707-885-7494
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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2009
Tue, 02-03-2009 - 1:14pm

Thank you both for your advice and encouragement. I already ignore the whining and arguing and just send him to his room. When he is done whining in his room he will come out and we will talk about why the behavior is unacceptable and how to better communicate frustrations. I don't even try to dicuss it when he is whining because that just creates more whining.

I have never told him he was mean, or labeled him as mean except in the title of this thread and that was just because it was the shortest way I could think of to describe my post. He is a actually an awesome, funny, little boy. He just happens to currenly have an attitube problem!

I will keep on with the timeouts. They seemed to help alot this weekend. We only had a couple of incidents this weekend and they were minor, but dealt with effectively. Unfortunately he behaves better for me than for my ex and some of his other authority figures becasue they are just too soft on him and let him get away with too much disrespectful behavior. Luckily his teacher and I are on the same page.