Hello. I'm new here. This is my 2nd day posting on these boards, so I'm still trying to figure what goes where. I hope this is the right place for this question:
My sister agreed to let me come up with a " Behavior/consequences chart " for her son. She is having a hard time diciplining him, always has. I notice she doesn't give him consequences for really bad behavior, and then the next time he takes the bad behavior to the next level. She and I have talked a lot about this, & I have told her if he doesn't learn now, by the time he is 13 she will have absolutely no control over him. in fact HE has more control over her and how their days go , the mood set for the day etc. She has said she hasn't reprimanded him in the past because she feels guilty, and she doesnt want him to hate her. she is a single mom. I understand why she is struggling with these things. She has a tough role. Sometimes she lets me step in and apply consequences, and he obeys me immediately. However, with her he challenges her. He knows she will give in, and reconsider the punishments.
HE is a very good boy. He is 9. He is respectful, sweet, and polite around and with almost everyone else. He knows what is right and wrong. Usually quiet & shy, but once he is with a friend he'll loosen up and fun personality will come out. When he is with his mom he yells, screams, uses bad bad words, hits, kicks, locks her out of the house, takes her things, tries to damage their property, etc. He gets very defiant. I have gone over there to witness his behavior upon my sister's request without him knowing. Because he acts totally different around me, and she wants me to see how he really is so I can help her.
Honestly, I am not sure where to start. I suggested a behavior/ consequences chart for BOTH of them. one that both of them would have to stick to so it would work. she agreed. A "chart" so that it was something he could look at and see for himself what behavior equaled which consequence, and he would know there is no way arguing out of it. the consequence stands firm. but I want to make sure We are doing this right. I want to do what's best for both of them and make sure we help my nephew in the absolute best firm but loving way. I also want to make sure we are applying the right consequences. She seems to be so easy in this area, and she thinks I am too strict, but she asks me to reprimand him.
Am I doing this right? Are there any advice, suggestions, tips out there ? We need help in a big big way. Obviously there is a lot more going on than just the consequences part, but we need to get that part down first before we tackle the other deeper issues.... the father not in the picture, nephews anger and sadness of this, etc.
Hey There MsMia-
I know this is a tough situation, but sweety, I have to say it is your sister's place/job/responsibility to discipline her own son. I know it's tough being a single parent because I have been there, but her asking you to make a behaviour/consequence chart isn't right. Now, I'm not judging in any way, this is just my opinion.
As his mother, she must be the one who punishes him. (unless you are the only adult around when he misbehaves) I understand she doesn't want him to hate her, but she needs to realize that he won't hate her. It is more important for him to respect her as his mother than to have him "like" her as a friend. It's ok for parents to be friends with their children, but first and foremost, they MUST be a parent.
I don't know what the answer to this problem is, but she needs to step up to the plate and discipline her son. He obviously obeys you- this means he respects your authority. I'm afraid that you making this chart will only further his attitude towards his mom not being worthy of the respect she deserves as his mother.
Please, help your sister through this, but also stress to her that SHE needs to be the authority, and not you. You are right- if she doesn't find a way to get some control, then very shortly it will be too late. Kids have to learn respect at an early age, and the longer you allow them to "run" the household, the harder it is to gain your household back.
I wish both of you the very best with this. Take care!
Hello Ozzybug. Thank you for your thoughtful reply, and obviously experienced opinion.I can see how my making the chart for them would not be as helpful as her taking on the responsibility. She and I talk a lot about her struggles and challenges in parenting. My husband & I don't have children, but know a little enough that she needs help, and she asks us for help, and our opinions on matters regarding her son. She uses us as the disciplinarians, we are happy to help, at the same time try not to enable this, and encourage her to take a stronger stand, and follow through with her warnings of consequences. We have a mutual agreement that since she is a single parent that we all try to raise him together as best as we can. We do not live in the same house, though she lives only a few houses down, and we are all very close.
She would be open to reading books on this topic, are there any good ones out there I can tell her about? she also said she would be open to videos, cd's etc. I am the one researching all this because she doesn't have computer access, and doesnt have hardly any free time, she works 1 full time job, and 1 part time job. We just want to be able to help her and our nephew as best and appropriately as we can, we know it is so tough for her, and we love them with all of our hearts and want to see them both healthy and content. We are all worried about his defiant behavior increasing as he gets older, and she/we all agree she needs some extra tools to get a handle on this.
This is tough!!! Your poor sister! At least she has you to help her. I think the chart is a very good idea...my suggestion is to watch Super Nanny or Nanny 911....whatever that show is.
How does he behave in school? If the behavior is only with the mother then, as you said, there are some deeper issues. But why does she feel so guilty? She cant carry guilt forever that there isnt a father in the picture. Instead she should be proud of herself for working so hard to fill both parental positions. Her selfesteem should be soaring and her son should see that...instead he reads her insecurities and guilt...giving him the one up.
dicipline is a part of love....its called Tough Love.
He is super polite in school, with us (my husband & I) , and all my friends even compliment on how extremely well mannered he is. He only behaves like that with her. She's not a bad mom. She's a great mom. I mean, she has done a good job to teach him how to properly behave around others, etc.
Her guilt is from the father never having been in the picture. At least only until he was about 1 yr old, and then he abandoned them I agree, she should be so proud of all that she is doing , especially against all these odds. It makes me sad that she doesnt feel good about herself. She will sometimes speak of her insecurities in front of him, or he'll be in hearing distance, and I STOP her. children absorb everything and take everything to heart, and use it either against others or against themselves. I don't have to have kids to know that. I remember being a kid and remembering what I heard my parents said and how dramatically it effected me. I remind my sister of this hoping she'll not be so forthright in front of him.
Thanks for the TV show suggestion. I have heard of it but never watched it. I will for sure make a point to do so and hopefully we can all learn and gain something. thanks for your response
Last edited by MsMia; 07-02-2007 at 10:56 AM.
Reason: removed the quote. too long.
Hey There MsMia-
I know this is a tough situation, but sweety, I have to say it is your sister's place/job/responsibility to discipline her own son. I know it's tough being a single parent because I have been there, but her asking you to make a behaviour/consequence chart isn't right.
EXCELLENT RESPONSE! Very wise.
If you truly want to help your sister, I think it would be best to encourage her to get some counseling. She could tell her pediatrician what is going on and ask for a referral. Trust me, she's not alone. Her pediatrician would not be surprised by the question.
There are alot of good books out there. Unfortunately, I can't think of any one in particular. "Positive Discipline" was good as I remember. "SOS! Help for Parents" was excellent but was primarily geared toward younger kids (although I think it would still be helpful).
Take her to the bookstore and let her have a look around at the parenting books. There are tons of them.
Its my opinion that this is about control. Your sister has allowed him to keep pushing until he has control of the home. Read any parenting book and one of their first points is going to be set firm boundaries. Every child is going to test the limits to see what they can get away with and when the authoritive figure says stop the child then use this mark in the future as their boundary. The problem your sister is going to have is to consequence behavior that she had previously let slide. If I were her I would sit the child down and give the boy two options. Option A is for him to start treating his mother like he treats the other adults in his life. Option B continue the behavior he is displaying and suffer the consequences. The child knows things are going to change in the home and is either going to act worse(initially) or start to improve. No matter the choice he makes the mother HAS to stick to her guns and consequence every negative behavior, I know he is going to test but once he sees that she will not back down he will improve. She needs to be really firm and consistent to send the right message if she lets things slide even a couple of times he will not take her seriously.
Major Depressive Disorder With Psychotic Features
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder