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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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How do I handle my 11 year old son who constantly argues and

Resolved Question:

How do I handle my 11 year old son who constantly argues and talks disrespectfully XXXXX XXXXX and his dad?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 7 years ago.
How long has this been going on?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

This has been going on for awhile. Mostly this year I would say.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It is very frustrating and makes me sad too.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 7 years ago.
OK thanks for the info. Since this has only been going on for one year, it means that this is his way of expressing his anger about something or a depressed mood. (If it had been most of his life, it would be a personality thing....much harder to resolve).

What is your sense about it? anger or depresses mood?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I guess a year isnt accurate, maybe two years. I dont think depressed mood but more like anger, I guess. He just is fresh alot, and very argumentative and both my husband and myself are very frustrated. I dont know if it is an age thing or not. My husband thinks it is just him. I say black, he says white and so on...... Everything seems to be a struggle with him.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 7 years ago.
The first thing is to check and make sure that everything is going OK at academic struggles or social problems. If either of these things is suspected, address them head on by getting him support for these (help at school or social skill/friendship groups). I am assuming there are no significant family changes as you did not mention any.

What to do. otherwise? You might try a behavior management strategy. Be sure that he knows what you mean by "don't argue" and "talk respectfully". Tell him you are going to help him to learn these behaviors. Make a deal that if he does these 2 things for a whole day he will get a dollar (or whatever amount you think is ok). When he has enough money he can buy a special prize which has been predetermined and he can work towards. I know this sounds like a bribe but rather think of it as a way to train himself to stop his negative impulse and speak appropriately.

If these approaches still do not work, you might want to seek the help of a child therapist.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I can try that but honestly i dont think it will work. Lately, no matter what I try to do, he just tunes me out, covers his ears, argues etc. He does very well in school, no problems there at all. Could this be just a pre teen thing?
Expert:  Bonnie replied 7 years ago.
It seems extreme for a pre-teen thing, which brings me back to the therapy idea. He will undoubtedly resist but the child therapists know how to work around this.

The way to handle this is to reflect his feeling but explain your rules and boundaries:

"I know you are angry but the clothes must be put away before you can watch TV or play games" say this in your calmest pass-the-butter voice.
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