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Cher, Teacher
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 90
Experience:  Extensive Experience working with Children/Teens; M.A. Teacher/Tutor 40+ yrs.; Parent of 2
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Sorry this is kind of long, but I really need help. This is

Customer Question

Sorry this is kind of long, but I really need help. This is my last stop before I speak to a child psychologist (myself, not with my son) to try to learn/get tools to control him. Here is the background: Until he was almost 2yrs old, he was the picture perfect child - always happy, never ever a problem. In the interest of complete disclosure, I was and still am a VERY hands on, slightly over protective mom that gave him CONSTANT attention.

Around the time I was due with my second child, he started acting out to get attention. I'm talking trying to rip down our window blinds every time I nursed the baby. He now has 2 siblings. I am a nervous mom, and constantly "shoosh" him when the baby is sleeping, and as an older sibling he has gone through a lot 2 times now with the usual "don't hurt the baby, don't wake the baby" type of stuff. We have also been trying to move for several years which has been stressful for all of us, and he is unfortunately in a very strict catholic school where there is lots of yelling because the public school here sucks. He is a very serious kid, is very hard on himself (and everyone else), and very compassionate/emotional (cries if he sees a sick kid on t.v.).

Here is the problem: He has been disrupting our family for the past 5 yrs. He goes through one bad phase after another; growling when he is frustrated, constantly clapping his hands, whistling, stamping his feet, making random noises - he is just nerve-wrackingly loud almost ALL of the time that he is home, and needs constant attention, mostly the negative kind. He talks back, can't follow instruction**** his father, has to be told everything a million times, can't remember or refuses to do what he is supposed to do every day when he comes home from school (take off shoes and wash hands)even though I have told him the same thing every day for two years. (This combined with headaches led doctor to order MRI of brain - it was negative). He talks mean to his siblings; he can't handle any kind of criticism or instruction or failure or imperfection without getting very upset.

BUT THE FLIP SIDE is that he is a straight A student, unbelievably calm and respectful at school, reads at a much higher level than kids older than him, etc. He has had no disciplinary problems whatsoever (although still struggles with following directions, although getting better at that at school this year), and also behaves in a normal fashion at other people's houses. He also has moments, even a week at a time, when he is incredibly sweet and giving and helpful at home to me and his siblings, especially when we are out of the house, but the slightest thing sets him off.

Because he can and does control himself for at least 7 hours a day at school, I do not think he has OCDD or ADHA. What I do know is that he has been upsetting and disrupting everyone in our family for years, he gets a lot of our attention to the detriment of his siblings, and there is no end in sight. We have tried everything - extra love and leniency, extra discipline and zero tolerance policy, time outs, taking away almost everything he has, keeping him home from a party (once), and, I am ashamed to say, spanking and face slaps (99% of the time not hard enough to make him cry) and soap in the mouth. I can't believe I have turned into this kind of mom who yells at and hits her kid (we pretty much stopped the hitting because it didn't work and made us feel worse than him) and can't believe that one kid is disrupting the entire family. I am at the end of my rope. Can anybody please give me any tools to handle this and turn him into the sweet loving kid that I know he can be? I miss my sweet baby so much.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
How old is your son now? Does he act in such a "bad" manner with all members of your immediate family? What does he like to do for fun? How does he behave with his friends? Does he accept responsibility for his actions?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
He will be 7 at the end of January. Yes, at different times he is bad to me, his father (hits father but not me), talks really mean to his brother, and gives 20 month old sister attitude (but at times is unbelievably loving and protective of siblings, especially outside of the house). He loves to play sports, read, watch t.v., video games, checkers, play outside. He behaves good with friends, although had tendency until recently to antagonize infant/toddler girls. He accepts too much responsibility most of the time - blames himself for everything under the sun.