My child doesn't listen unless I yell! I'm ready to send him to boarding school. HELP
First of all, you need to take a deep breath and step back and take a good hard look at your self. You sound like a very stressed person. You work from home and also do all the house work and you sound rather unhappy. This is your problem, not your sons problem. Secondly your son is just 8 years old. He is only a child, but are expecting him to act and behave like an adult. Having two teen boys myself I can tell you that things are only going to get worse as he gets older! You seem to me to be a very controlling person who has very high expectations and want things done just so. So what if your son does not wash himself properly? What harm does it do? Never ever ask him to go back and wash himself again. That is causing such damage to his self esteem,It's great that he washes himself at all. My point to you is not to sweat the small stuff. Like is too short to get so upset about such minor things.
Your threat about sending your son to boarding school made my heart break. What you are essentially telling your son is that your love for him is conditional. If he does not do what you want him to do then you are going to send him away, that's the message you are giving him, can you even imagine how that must make him feel ?
According to what you say, you spend enormous amounts of time and energy teaching about the importance of being responsible. You encourage it, you explain why it's important, and you remind your child again and again why he should do the things he's supposed to do. You complain, nag and lecture, but to no avail. Why does this not work? Well......
Instead of learning responsibility, your child is learning how to function in reaction to you.
Why is this such a hard lesson to teach—and why does learning to be responsible seem so hard for kids? It's not because your child is hard-headed or a spoiled brat, or because you haven't been trying to teach him about it. Here's the hard pill to swallow: if your child is continually irresponsible, it could mean that you aren't taking responsibility for your own behavior.
You're probably saying, "That's absurd. I certainly do take responsibility for my own behavior." And I believe you. If I had to take a guess, you've probably been extremely vigilant about trying to convince your child that he should be more responsible. It might even define your relationship together—and you are ready to tear your hair out over it. No doubt you've put in an enormous amount of effort to make certain he behaves well. But here's the clincher: This intense focus on what your child should do gets in the way of his ability to be emotionally separate from you. You think you're being helpful, but your actions actually aid his irresponsibility. That's because he's functioning in reaction to you instead of being responsible for himself.
So what does this have to do with you not accepting responsibility for your own behavior? When you move your focus off of your child and onto yourself by taking responsibility for how you will act, your child will likely learn to be accountable for his actions.
Here's an example. Let's say your son keeps loosing his lunch box at school.When he tells you, you start lecturing him about how he should be more responsible.You continue to criticize him for his forgetful attitude. But then you go and buy him another lunch box.Trust me, this will not teach him anything about being more careful in the future.The key is that you're taking responsibility for what you will and won't do here and letting him deal with the natural consequences. No lectures, no preaching, no criticizing, no personalizing. Respect his ability to make choices, even if you don't agree with them.Just explain to him that he will now have to take his lunch in a used ice cream tub! As you will not spend anymore money on buying a new lunch box.Even though he may feel uncomfortable taking an ice cream tub to school,that's a consequence of his forgetfulness.
Children need to see themselves as response-able -- powerful and able to respond to what needs to be done. They need this for their self esteem, for their lives to have meaning, and also so they'll learn to handle themselves responsibly in the world.
The bottom line is that kids will be responsible to the degree that we support them to be. Here, are some everyday strategies guaranteed to increase your kids' "response-ability" quotient.
Teach that we always clean up our own messes.
Say your child keeps spilling his milk.Begin by helping your child, until he learns it. He'll learn it faster if you can be cheerful and kind about it and remember not to worry about spilled milk. Encourage him to help by handing him a sponge as you pick one up yourself, even when it's easier to do it yourself. (And it's almost always easier to do it yourself.) As long as you aren't judgmental about it--so he isn't defensive--he'll want to help clean up and make things better.
So when your child spills his milk, say "That's ok. We can clean it up," as you hand him a paper towel and pick one up yourself. When he leaves his shoes scattered in your path, hand them to him and ask him to put them away, saying kindly "We always clean up our own stuff."
You will have to do this, in one form or another, until they are teenagers and leave your home to go to uni!But if your kids learn early that "Everyone is responsible for their own messes," they will not only be easier for you to live with, they will be better citizens of the world.
Kids need an opportunity to contribute to the common good.
All children contribute to the rest of us in some way, regularly. Find that way and comment on it, even if it is just noticing when he is kind to his younger sibling or that the rest of the family enjoys how he's always singing. Whatever behaviors you acknowledge will grow.
As your children get older, their contributions should increase appropriately, both within and outside the household. Kids need to grow into two kinds of responsibilities: their own self care, and contributing to the family welfare. Research indicates that kids who help around the house are also more likely to offer help in other situations than kids who simply participate in their own self care.
Of course, you can't expect them to develop a helpful attitude overnight. It helps to steadily increase responsibility in age ways, starting from laying the table, helping you cook and bake, sweeping the garden, washing the car feeding their pet etc.
Remember that no child in his right mind wants to do "chores."
Unless you want your child to think of contributing to the family as drudgery, don't "make" him do chores without you when he's little. Your goal isn't getting this job done, it's shaping a child who will take pleasure in contributing and taking responsibility. Make the job fun. Give as much structure, support, and hands-on help as you need to, including sitting with him and helping for the first thirty times he does the task, if necessary. Know that it will be much harder than doing it yourself. Remind yourself that there's joy in these tasks, and communicate that, along with the satisfaction of a job well done. Eventually, he will be doing these tasks by himself. That day will come much faster if he enjoys them.
Rather than simply giving orders, try asking your child to do the thinking.
For instance, to your dallying child in the morning, instead of barking "Brush your teeth! Is your bag packed? Don't forget your lunch!," you could ask "What do you need to do to get ready for school?" The goal is to keep him focused on his list, morning after morning, until he internalize it and begins managing his own morning tasks.this may take years...yes years to accomplish.
Provide routines and structure.
These are crucial in children's lives for many reasons, not the least of which is that it gives them repeated opportunities to manage themselves through a series of not especially inviting tasks. First, they master the bedtime routine and cleaning up toys and getting ready in the morning. Then they develop successful study habits and grooming habits. Finally, they learn basic life skills through repetition of household routines like doing laundry or making simple meals.
Never label your child as "Irresponsible"
Never label your child as "Irresponsible," because the way we see our kids is always a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, teach him the skills he needs to be responsible. If he always loses things, for instance, teach him to stop anytime he leaves somewhere -- his friend's house, school, cricket practice -- and count off everything he needs to take home.Teach your son to make a written schedule. get him a while board so he can write down what he needs to accomplish everyday.
Create a No-Blame Household.
We all, automatically, want to blame someone when things go wrong. As if fixing blame prevents a recurrence of the problem, or absolves us of responsibility. In reality, blaming makes everyone defensive, more inclined to watch their back -- and to attack -- than to make amends. It's the number 1 reason kids lie to their parents. Worse yet, when we blame them, kids find all kinds of reasons it wasn't really their fault -- at least in their own minds -- so they're less likely to take responsibility and the problem is more likely to repeat.
Blame is the opposite of unconditional love. So why do we do it? To help us feel less out of control, and because we can't bear the suspicion that we also had some role, however small, in creating the situation. Next time you find yourself automatically beginning to blame your son, stop. Instead, accept any responsibility you can – it's good practice to overstate your responsibility – without beating yourself up. Then, just accept the situation. You can always come up with better solutions from a state of acceptance than blame.
Let consequences work for you.
Put the lecture on "pause." When you're worried about your child's irresponsibility and you're about to lecture and preach, stop for a moment and breathe. The moment between your child's action and your response is your most important parenting moment. It is in this space that you can choose to respond from a knee-jerk reaction or from a more thoughtful place. The knee-jerk response often calms you down momentarily, but it's the start to becoming a nag. When you pause and think about the bigger picture, you can make a better choice.Although it doesn't feel as good—you're not scratching that reactionary itch—you know that it can lead to a more responsible parent- child relationship. Without the pause, it's easy to let your emotions lead you astray, and for you to make absurd threats like you are sending him to boarding school.
One last point to ponder. All children crave attention, they would rather get negative attention from their parents rather than no attention at all. Do you give your son enough one to one quality time? Does he get enough attention from you and his father?Could it be that he does not wash himself adequately, or forgets things simply because that way he will get your attention, even if it means you yelling at him? Please try and get out if the habit of yelling and being angry with your son, do your best to be kind and loving at all times.
All children are different and wonderfully unique. You, my dear,need to change YOUR negative attitude towards your son and accept him for who he is and love him unconditionally. Focus on the positive qualities that he posses. He obviously will not be the responsible son you want him to be. Accept that and move on. If you continue to yell and threaten and belittle him then you are risking damaging your relationship with him for a long time. It may even cause irreversible damage.
Being a good parent is the most difficult job in the world, but it is also the most rewarding. The long term goal is to ensure that your son knows that he is loved unconditionally by you, everything else is secondary. I wish you all the best.