I feel my boys are out of control!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
I feel my boys are out of control!
Thu, 05-24-2007 - 10:59am

I am a mom of three. I have one daughter who is almost 9, and two boys ages 6 and 4 1/2. I love them all very much. I am having so much trouble with the boys. They are becoming destructive. My husband says boys will be boys. However, I won't accept that kind of behavior. My boys don't listen to me very well. They are constantly in time out. They will go to their "Naughty Spot" and stay there. However, it is just a temporary fix and then they do the same thing all over again. They are extremely active. I can never seem to get my 6 year old to calm down. I try to offer things like doing a quiet activity like coloring or reading a book. However, he does not like to sit still and do those things. Just in the last two days both of my boys broke a picture frame and tore the curtains and curtain rod out of the wall in their bedroom because they decided to use the curtains as a tarzan swing! They seem to not have a care in the world when they break something of mine. The other thing is in the last few months they have been using bad language like name calling, and saying things like "Stupid", "Idiot", "Shut Up" and more. They are also always shouting. My husband and I are very concious about what we say around our kids. We do not curse or say anything bad. I have never had this trouble with my daughter and still don't. I have never had trouble with my soon to be 6 year old up until the last couple of months. I don't know if other kids from school are contributing to their behavior.

I have been trying to teach them what is acceptable behavior and what is not. For the most part they are good kids. I have tried so hard myself to deal with their behavior in a calm and rational manner. I am trying to have them gain some better control over their own behavior. Is that possible for their age? I am at my wits end with their over-activeness and destructive behavior. I am looking for solution that will result less time outs and more happiness for my husband, myself and my kids. Any advice would really help!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Thu, 05-24-2007 - 12:59pm

I feel like I have been plugging this book a lot lately, but you might want to check out Love & Logic Magic - Birth to Age Six, by Jim and Charles Fay, Ph.D.

I know that one of your sons is older than six, but the I feel that the techniques used can be easily modified for an older child.

The book is a light, easy read that makes you laugh - it really does make parenting fun again. The basic premise of the book is that kids learn by experiencing the consequences of their choices. There is a little sub-plot in there for parents about learning to recognize which behaviors truly do cause a problem for you and which behaviors cause a problem only for your child. I found this 'defining which problems I own vs. which problems other people own' very enlightening just for life in general - not only with respect to my kids.

I went and saw Jim Fay speak in person at one point and was tickled to see him use his philosophy on the sound guy at the seminar. I don't even think he realized he was doing it. During his talk the microphone stopped working. This was a problem because we were in a large auditorium. Jim said, "Uh oh..." and looked at the sound man. The sound man quickly brought a portable speaker out on stage and hooked up Jim's mic to it and the seminar continued. Unfortunately, a few minutes later THAT mic stopped working. Jim again looked to the sound man to fix the problem. The sound guy said, "Just continue with the lecture and I'll work on the problem." Right there, the sound guy was attempting to make HIS problem (the faulty microphones) into JIM'S problem. Jim said calmly and kindly with no hint of impatience or anger, "I'm sorry, but my voice doesn't work in a room of this size." And then he waited. He tossed the problem right back where it belonged - on to the sound man - and then waited. The sound man really scrambled and got the mics working again in just a few minutes. This is a perfect example of Love & Logic parenting. Put the problem where it belongs.

If your childen have broken their curtain rod, you wonder aloud to them what they will do to fix it. Do they need some ideas? Well, they could look in their piggy banks and see if they have enough money to buy a new curtain rod. You would be happy to help them call Linens and Things to ask about how much curtain rods cost. You will help them measure the curtain rod so that they can get the right size. No money in the piggy bank? Want some more ideas? Maybe they could do extra chores around the house to earn the money to go buy the curtain rod. Want another idea? Okay, well maybe you could sell your skate board and see if that gets you enough money to replace the curtain rod. What are your children's ideas? Do they work for you, the parent? If you can't come up with a solution that works for both of you, then you could take an afternoon to think it over and see if anyone has a brainstorm.

Do you see how this goes? It is very calm, it is kind, but it holds your children to a higher level of behavior. In life, if we break it, we must fix it. What I love about this philosophy is that it really gets the kids thinking in terms of being responsible for their own behavior. In the above example with the broken curtain rod, you could have gotten really angry (which I wouldn't blame you!) and punished the boys by grounding them for a week. But then YOU become the bad guy. What you want is for THEIR POOR CHOICE (to swing on the curtains) to be the bad guy. You want your kid sitting on his bed thinking, "Whoa, I really shouldn't have swung on that curtain rod!" You do NOT want your kid sitting on his bed thinking, "Mom is SO unfair! She totally doesn't understand that it was an ACCIDENT." Do you see how that is different?

The book also offers some very creative solutions for when the child's poor behavior doesn't offer an immediate logical consequence. For example, bickering in the car that drives you crazy. "I charge one dollar for every minute of bickering in the car. Would you like to pay me with money or chores?"

Anyhow - just an idea for you!

Take care,


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Thu, 05-24-2007 - 9:21pm

Thank you for your advice! I really appreciate. I am going to have to get that book. As for as my curtain rod goes I had to repair the hole in the wall and put the rod back together. The funny thing was I had the boys help me. Lets just say they did not love to do it. I think they would have rather been playing! I have a funny feeling that they may actually think before using curtains as a tarzan swing again! lol!