New here! HELP Strong willed child

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2007
New here! HELP Strong willed child
4
Wed, 05-09-2007 - 1:05pm

Hi! I have a strong-willed 7 year old who challenges me daily. Every morning we but heads on getting dressed. One morning he can't wear a pair of shorts because they are too itchy and the next day those same pair of shorts fit him fine. I can understand that he wants some control over his life so I try not to force anything on him and give him choices... Lord knows you can't MAKE this child do anything he doesn't want to do. He's been that way since birth. I have been told by my parents that he is just like me... wonderful.

This morning he had a huge blow out... he wanted to wear the same shorts he had been wearing all week. They were dirty and stinky but no other pair of shorts would do... every other choice I gave him was too tight, too loose, or too itchy (even shorts he had worn before). When I told him that he could not where dirty clothes to school, he went into an all out temper tantrum throwing his clothes and toys all over his bedroom like a 3 year old! He then went into a time out until he made an acceptable choice to wear to school... he was 20 minutes late to school, by the way.

I want to correct this behavior as it seems it's happening 3-4 times a week. I know I can't change his "stubborness" but throwing a temper tantrum is unacceptable at this age right? I have a 10 year old who never acted this way. Am I doing some thing wrong? Sorry this post was a little long... I just don't know what else I should do.

Thanks!
Diana

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-1999
Thu, 05-10-2007 - 9:48am
I highly reccomend "Raising Your Spirited Child." My son is my stubborn and intense child but we're been working on it for many years and we seem to have turned things around. I might add, my oldest is the most compliant creature on earth. I thought I was super mom when it was just her lol.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2007
Thu, 05-10-2007 - 10:45am

My oldest is also the most compliant creature on earth! Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll go get it today. Part of me is in denial that a different strategy may be in order for this child... :)

Thanks!

Diana

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-1999
Thu, 05-10-2007 - 12:04pm

It is hard to step back and admit what you are doing isn't working. I had a really hard time with it. What I needed to do with DS sort of went against my nature. I'm a strict parent with very high expectations in the behavior catergory. DS and I locked horns on a daily basis and *I* was not going to be the one that backed down lol. As it turns out though, backing down was exactly what I needed to do. If I pulled back, DS pulled back and suddenly we could have a rational conversation about the problem instead of a screaming match. I had to learn to say "I see this is important to you, what can we do together to make this work for both of us." In your case, you may need to give him the option of wearing the same shorts everyday BUT you can require they be clean as a sign of respect to his teachers and classmates. This means he needs to learn how to do his own laundry and wash those shorts regularly. Stay totally calm and ultra positive, show him that you see him as a big boy capable of taking this on.

The irony is, the traits these kids have are marvelous in adults... passionate, determined, individualistic, out-of-the-box thinkers.... they just are very difficult in children. If it makes you feel better, DS has totally turned around. We don't battle anymore. We learned he has some very real sensory issues which occupational therapy helped with tremendously. His kindie and 1st grade teachers have both said he's the most responsible and behaved boy in class. He's still himself. He still will battle to the death if challenged (even when he's flat out WRONG.) However, we've learned to say "OK, if you want to believe that, you can." After a calm down and some self-reflection he'll come back willing to concede that his statement or belief may have been wrong.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 05-12-2007 - 9:28am

Welcome to the board!!!!

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