I love this forum as there as so many experienced people willing to share advice. Our gifted son is 5 and started at school at the beginning of this year. We found that his behaviour started to get cocky in those early weeks, and that the playground vernacular was alive and well - "whatever, Mum!", "you wanna piece of me?" and my personal favourite "Poo Bum Idiot", to name a few. We have spent years drilling into him concepts such as respect and consideration, not to mention the importance of basic manners. He tests this a lot and we try to keep on top of it without being "over the top". Our problem is that he doesn't seem to want to stop this silliness and it is becoming worse. On most days now, the response to any request to do something eg, put on his uniform, pack his school bag etc, is cockiness, a provocative smirk and a smart alec response, all of which are infuriating. I am mentally exhausted by the time he leaves for school. I feel that I have little "currency" with him as any punishment, be it time-out, no TV, threats of going to school in his pj's, is just met with this sort of cheekiness. He does this to both my husband and me. He gets lots of praise when his behaviour is good and we're always careful to balance the praise between both children. My instincts tell me it's not an attention-seeking thing but maybe control(?). It's as though he thinks he's Ben 10 or something - to that end, he doesn't get to watch that sort of stuff as it makes him aggressive and silly...picking fights with his sister, bashing up the furniture, high-pitched squealing, silly language...But it's not just after this sort of stimulation. It's becoming a habit. I resist putting the TV on even though that is almost the only time I get some peace from this (and by the way, he's not like this at school). Any respite from the TV is over as soon as I ask him to turn it off. He is perfectly capable of playing quietly on his own but seems to prefer winding the rest of us up. He is consumed by who is the "boss" of whom and was flabbergasted at the age of 3 when told that he was not the boss of the family. Has anyone experienced similar issues and had success in dealing with it? Thanks so much. I'm feeling a little desperate.
I think I understand how you feel. Miss 4 is also extremely cheeky and seems to delight in winding everyone up or getting on your nerves. It feels like she actually takes pleasure in achieving a more severe punishment as some sort of badge of honour - the best at being naughty.
We have had to be very firm with her. Interestingly she behaves well when Master 6 is misbehaving. It is as if they decide together each morning who is going to play heat-seeker each day.
I did find that my son worked much better with rewards and goals for before school activities. We used a list for him to work through and if he did it all without fuss there was a small reward. Now that I type this, I think I'm going to reintroduce it for Miss 4's benefit. He ticked off the list himself which helped. He could read then but it could work with pictures I guess.
Teeth and sunscreen done.
Reading folder and spelling book in.
Hat and shoes on.
Oh and it also had to be done nicely without whinging or cajoling needed.
Everything just referred to 'the list' which he'd helped create and agreed to.
e.g. child playing with toys - 'how's the list going?' as the reminder to get on task rather than 'do this, do that' orders style.
Thanks so much for your suggestion. Yes, I have two of them who seem to interchange heat-seeking duties!
I have adopted the list and he is slowly buying into it to get stars which will then get him a reward. He already has a list for the stuff that needs to go into his school bag, so he's familiar with the concept. This morning was the first real test as I reinforced that he had to do the stuff on his new list (4 easy items) without cajoling or whinging. He fluffed around and tried to provoke a reaction in me by being cheeky but I just kept saying "how's the list going?". He ended up going to school half-dressed, without his teeth/face cleaned and without his bag packed. (Hubbie had the rest of what he needed but he didn't know that). I hope this might be the turning point....Thanks for your suggestions!
I actually enjoy and encourage cheekiness in youngsters .... but I encourage them to extend themselves a bit beyond "Poo Bum Idiot". Why, because I firmly believe that pretty much anything can be used productively if one has the opportunity to really "master the art" - and suppression is not control - it is what one does when one lacks it.
I would have picked up the nearest whinnie the pooh toy - turned it upside down and said " Now THATS a pooh bum .... so who is calling who an idiot?"
(By the way, my grandson taught me that when he was about 18 months old ... Pooh Bum and another I dont recall now).
We LOVE word play around here ..... and often theres a fair amount of cheek that goes with it - step too far over the mark and GAME OVER - thats the end of it for time being.
Hi Tiz Me
Thanks for your suggestions. I really like that idea and I do approach it in that way sometimes. I am going to try to keep my sense of humour amongst it all - sometimes it's hard when you're just trying to get things done around the place but you're right - life's too important to be taken too seriously. Thanks for bringing me back some perspective.
I have a very cheeky youngster as well and I made a point to observing his behaviour and triggers.
It turns out he is a problem solver at heart and if he has no problem to solve, he will make one ..... You can imagine what that can lead to...
Also, re bossiness, it is worth to mention that age is a factor. Young Mr. thinks he is entitled to the same priviledges as adults. he is quite competitive too counting age differences down to days. I use this to point out that I am a couple of decades older than him.
We once measured our head circumference to show that my brain must be a bit bigger, thus I am a little more qualified to make certain decisions ...
Elen, I love the head circumference measuring. Will pop that one away for when we need it! It has taken from 2yrs of age to 6yrs for our son to finally realise that while he gets lots of choices he doesn't have equal rights as the adults, and that there are actually some things we override on.
But he always demands a logical reason if he is in any doubt of a decision, as if it seems unfair or unreasonable in someway and he is not getting a say he will fight it. 99.9% he is compliant and lovely but the other.1% is a firely fierce battler that won't back down from something he firmly believes in.
I have a similar boy, compliant mostly but makes up for it the rest of the time.
He used to always point out how unfair life was, but is not doing that so much anymore. He is 7.5 now. We role modelled dealing with unfair things ourselves and explained that if you look closely, every aspect of our lives can be view as unfair. It is how we choose to see it that makes the difference.
I believe that our job is not to shelter children from unpleasant feelings and situations but give them tools to deal with that to help them move on.
I do let my boys win some battles too so they get a feeling of success and gives them confindence.
I also like the head circumference idea - I think my son will accept that. Interestingly, I have noticed his behaviour is always crazier leading up to a full moon. I started to notice this about 2 years ago but didn't realise we were a few days short of a full moon when I wrote the original email. He's been much calmer since then. I will be prepared for the Nov onslaught!!