Solutions For Parents

Middle Childhood » Discipline and Guidance

Eight Year Old Disrespectful

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Dear Dr. Turben:

I have five kids, 8, 5, 3, 2 and 3 months.  I am having problems with my eight year old being disrespectful and disobedient.  Her younger brothers (5 and 3) are seeing this behavior and are following in her steps. I really don’t want to hit them, I tried numerous things like the sticker system, it was working for a while and stopped so I got four index cards with each of their names on one and told them if they filled the card they would get $3.00 for them to use on whatever they want. This  has worked the most, also the whole nose to the wall thing as well doesn't seem to work. What else can I do?


Dear Sondra:

When eight year olds want to be bossy and disrespectful, irritable and copycats, and they are girls, Moms and Dads need to give them more not less responsibilities and no bribes! The copycat brothers will first be boys and have fun seeing   “what happens”. That’s why stickers, bribes, punishments don’t work. The three month old and 2 year-old are getting attention and it is so easy to “get you” when the older ones want to. Try to understand and tell the older three, you need to have a meeting; make a BIG DEAL OF THE MEETING. Tell them its like a family part because you have noticed changes in their attitude – Be serious, but not mean; no name calling. Sit on the floor and give each a piece of paper and a crayon and give each one a compliment. Tell them they can each draw a heart or house because they got one compliment. Ask them to give each other compliments. Then tell them they need to watch out for other behaviors that need fixing and they will lose TV time or video time or play date time or whatever you decide if they do not help and cooperate around the house.

This way they are being rewarded for being good and have consequences if not so good. Always remind them when they are not helpful and cooperative.  That even thought they lose something that it doesn’t mean they can’t do better the next day. Give then respect and hope and a way to save face. They’ll be fine and aren’t they lucky to have a mom who cares!

Thanks for writing. Dr. Susan

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