Any advice or ideas for 7 year old son? — Scope | Disability forum
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Any advice or ideas for 7 year old son?

deva87 Member Posts: 4 Listener
my name is Melissa, I'm 30 from Lancashire. I am a single parent to a gorgeous 7 year old boy who knows exactly how to get what he wants!

My son was only 3.5 when I had a car accident which has drastically changed my life. The full extent of the damage and a full diagnosis still evades the NHS. All we know is I went from being completely pain free (despite having hypermobility syndrome) and fit and healthy to having uncontrollable neuropathic pain and severe back pain. This has resulted in me also losing the ability to walk unaided. 

As as a result, I've had to change the way I parent and to be honest - my son seems to take full advantage of it. If he wants something and I say no - he will threaten or actually hit my legs knowing too well that the pain will either buckle my leg or cause me to scream out. He also knows I can't make him go to bed or come off his consoles/YouTube because he's a lot stronger than I am. He's the height of a 12 year old and very strong so I don't know what else to do.

he will behave for everyone else but me and it's meaning that he's not actually going to bed until 10/11pm some nights and I know it's not good for him. I find it hard to get him up for school in the mornings.

if anybody can offer me some advice or ideas on how to tame him I will be majorly greatful.

thanks all in advice 
love to you all
melissa xx


  • Liam_Alumni
    Liam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,101 Pioneering
    Hi @deva87,

    Welcome to Scope's online community! It's great to have you on board.

    I've moved this discussion to our Ask a Behaviour Advisor category, where @will22 may be able to advise.

    I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, please do get in touch.
  • will22
    will22 Member Posts: 31
    Hi @deva87,

    That's  a tricky one for me to answer as it's not an area I usually cover. Let me do some research and come back to you with some hopefully helpful info. 

  • deva87
    deva87 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thanks :) I'm grateful for any feedback you can provide x
  • steve51
    steve51 Member Posts: 7,153 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @deva87.
    It's great to have you on board.
    I'm very sorry to hear your current problems.
    Please please have a look around our site & if you require any further help please let me know.

  • Liam_Alumni
    Liam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,101 Pioneering
    Thanks @will22! Can you offer any help, @ParentingAdvisor?
  • deva87
    deva87 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi I still haven't had any replies to this - maybe the little monkey is just too complicated! 
  • steve51
    steve51 Member Posts: 7,153 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @deva87

    I'm very very sorry that you still haven't had any replies as yet.

    No no your son isn't too complicated.

    Please please let me know if I can help you ???

    I will see what I can do if that is ok.??? 

    I can't promise anything but I will give it my best for you !!!!

  • deva87
    deva87 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    I'm just very stressed out and isolated. I have no friends nearby who can offer help and my family is always busy so I never get a break and my son has nobody to play with. 
  • wildlife
    wildlife Member Posts: 1,293 Pioneering
    @deva87 I am no expert but I can identify with what you're going through as I brought up a boy who was uncontrollable and I was always ill and stressed. I never knew what to do. This is not meant as a criticism but there are a few clues in what you say that Supernanny would pick up on straight away. Just saying "no" is bound to cause a negative reaction in him. Try and turn everything round to the positive from the negative. Tell him when he can have whatever it is he's asking for followed by a reason he can understand why he can't have it right now should help. If he lashes out remove yourself quietly from the situation till you feel calm enough to deal with it in a different way. I found something on www.ahaparenting under what to do when your child hits you that should help. If your son becomes angry without hitting out try to stay calm and look at the reason why he's angry. It is all done by talking things through and identifying with the child's feelings which doesn't involve physical strength. It's not always possible to ignore bad behaviour but try if you can and go overboard with praise when he is just playing or helps you in any way. Any little thing. If he gets up 5 mins early one morning for school notice it and tell him how good that is. This isn't just about discipline it's about your relationship which shouldn't be about who is the strongest. If you're in conflict compromise is a good way out. Meet him half way. I used to do this a lot. It's not easy with your disabilities and being on your own and this is as much about improving your lives as how to control your son. Hope the others on here can help as well.
  • steve51
    steve51 Member Posts: 7,153 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @deva87. I'm so very sorry for you !!! Yes I had too bring up two children following my Stroke/BI in 1998 !!! Everything is 150%+ harder for us !!!! It's called "Hidden Disability" Please please let us help you ??? That's we are all here for "Support Each Other"
  • will22
    will22 Member Posts: 31

    This is a very difficult situation to be in and there's no magic answer here that will completely change your situation. 

    I'm assuming your son does not have any form of learning difficulty or similar needs. However he is a 7 year old boy who is still developmentally immature. His ability to put his needs second and not have what he wants is not fully developed. In normal circumstances parents manage this through rules and boundaries which can be physically enforced until the child grows, matures and accepts things like delayed gratification, but your in the position of not being able to do this due to your difficulties. As such he's learnt that he can physically gets what he wants and doesn't have to follow the rules at all. 

    So in a sense your sons response to his situation is quite normal- he will get away with what he can and the longer term consequences of his actions will not be apparent to him.

    What is worrying is aggression towards you. This is what makes me wonder if there is more going on here than just 'i want my own way'. I wonder if it would be worth engaging with local services through your GP, or even his school to explore with your son why he gets so angry. From his point of view he's a young boy with a mother who has experienced a traumatic event and now has restricted movement. Are his worries about you, his thoughts and feelings about the crash and the future playing a part in this? This is something I recommend you explore, possibly by accessing CAMHS through the gp. I'm not suggesting that your son has mental health issues or suchlike, but I can't imagine that what you've been through as a family isn't having some sort of impact here.

    Regarding parenting generally, understand that my experience is in dealing with adults who have significant functional impairments. Aggression as the result of not being able to communicate for example. This means that intervention is based on an understanding of a particular need. In this case the situation is more dynamic involving the relationship between you both, how you engage with each other etc. There is a limit to how much advice I can give in this format.

    I would echo the comments of some of the others here. Look at how arguments and incidents start and see what you can do to defuse them. Look for examples of times you can build positive interactions and reward him for helping following rules etc. Don't get sucked into a power battle where you are trying to enforce rules on someone who clearly has the power to ignore them. 

    You say at the end of your post that you'd like advice as to how to 'tame him'. To be blunt I don't think you're going to in that battle. Rather you have to work to find a way to help this young boy who is growing up in an environment where your physical restrictions mean that the 'normal' parenting situation is very different. Help him learn that his behavior has an impact, help him deal with the emotions he has and find a way to express his love for you. 

    Unfortunately this isn't a magic answer but is a longer and more difficult path of trying to rebuild a relationship with your son. But i would start by trying to break down how you'be both ended up where you are starting with the accident and it's impact. Again you say that you are isolated and have little support. You need to flag up your needs so that any support you can get can be accessed. 

    There are a number of charities that deal specifically with people in difficult parenting situations, try as a starting point. 

    I hope that's of some help.


  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2017
    @ParentingAdvisor says:

    Dear @deva87

    There definitely are things you can do to improve the situation with your son. I see that a couple of months ago you received some excellent advice from ‘wildlife’ and from ‘will22’.  I’m wondering which of the things they recommended you’ve been putting into practice?
    I have some additional things to suggest. I´m sending you the same initial response that I give to all parents who want their children to behave better.    
    The first strategy that I always teach parents is Descriptive Praise.  This is all about noticing and mentioning all the tiny OK things that your child does throughout the day.  This helps children want to cooperate more and more. Of course Descriptive Parise is not a magic wand that can eliminate all problems, but it is very effective at motivating children to want to do their best and be their best.  Below you will find some more information about how to use Descriptive Praise to help improve your son’s behaviour and mood.
    After you´ve been using the Descriptive Praise for a couple of weeks, can you then please get back to us and let us know how you´re getting on and what improvements you´ve seen? Then I can tell you about the next strategy.  

    Descriptive Praise, The Most Powerful Motivator


    How many times have you found yourself repeating, reminding, nagging, pleading, bargaining, arguing, threatening and finally shouting – just to get your son to follow a simple instruction? Lack of cooperation is one of the most stressful things that parents are dealing with on a daily basis.

    Having to repeat and remind may seem like it’s just a fact of life when you’re living with boys. You may not even believe that it’s possible to get first-time cooperation most of the time. The good news is that it’s not difficult to achieve once you know how.

    You deserve first-time cooperation from your son, and you can get it - most of the time. When your son is in the habit of doing what you ask the first time you ask, he will respect you more, and he will be nicer to be with. Everything will go more smoothly. Your son will feel better about himself when he’s mostly getting smiles and hugs for doing the right thing. That will be much more motivating for him than hearing your annoyed tone of voice or seeing the annoyed expression on your face when he’s not doing the right thing.

    Starting with this article, I will be sharing with you some foolproof strategies for helping boys to cooperate most of the time.

    The quickest, easiest and most effective way to start guiding your son into more sensible habits is a strategy called Descriptive Praise. This is always the first strategy I teach parents because it is such a powerful motivator. 

    With Descriptive Praise you leave out the usual superlatives: Well done!  Good boy!  Wonderful!  You’re so clever!   Instead, mention exactly what your child did that was OK:  

               ‘You’re being gentle with the baby.’

               ‘You’re chewing with your mouth closed.’

               ‘You did what I told you to do as soon as I asked.’

    The more Descriptive Praises you say, the more your son will want to please you, so the more cooperative and sensible he will become. Before too long you will be able to count on ninety percent good behaviour – on most days. That has been the experience of every parent who has committed to Descriptively Praising small steps in the right direction at least ten times a day. That is because Descriptive Praise feels so good and because it helps your son to see himself as cooperative, sensible, helpful, kind, etc.  Family life will become much calmer, easier and happier.


    Q: I like the idea of Descriptive Praise, but there really isn't much I can praise. My son could whinge for England! What can I find to praise?

    A: Most misbehaviour is minor, although at times there is so much of it that it feels major. When your son is whingeing, resist the temptation to talk to him. If you reply to a whingeing child he will just assume ‘It’s OK to whinge because Mummy and Daddy are still going to talk to me.’ Wait until there is a pause in the whingeing before you reply. It may feel as if he is never going to stop whingeing, but he will pause sooner if you say nothing. Once he has stopped, wait about five seconds and then say ‘You’re not whingeing now’.


    Of course the first few times you Descriptively Praise him for stopping whingeing, he might look at you as if you are nuts. This is not at all the reaction he was expecting. He was expecting to get your attention by whingeing.

    His response to your Descriptive Praise might be to say nothing, or he might start talking in a friendly, polite voice. But it is also possible that he might start whingeing all over again, or complaining or arguing. Once again, muster up the self-control to wait until there is a pause in the annoying behaviour, then Descriptively Praise him again for stopping. The more often you are willing to Descriptively Praise when your son stops the annoying behaviour, or even just pauses momentarily, the sooner he will see that the new way to get your attention is to do things right.


    Q: Is it OK to use superlatives along with the Descriptive Praise, like ‘That’s terrific that you tidied away your toys’ or ‘I’m so happy you started your homework straightaway’?

    A: On the rare occasions when your son does something new or big that really does make your heart sing, by all means show how happy and excited you are. But, truthfully, how often do our children do something amazing? Tidying up is not something terrific; it’s what we expect him to do. The same is true of staying seated at the dinner table until he’s been excused, putting his clothes in the laundry basket, using his ‘indoor voice’, etc.

    Let’s show that we’re pleased by our Descriptive Praises and our smiles rather than by gushing. When we’re slathering on the superlatives, we’re hoping to influence our children to behave better. But those over-the-top exclamations are counter-productive because children have heard them so often. Consider the disconnect if we get annoyed when they don’t tidy away their toys, but we act as if it’s a miracle when they do! That is bound to be confusing, at the very least.

      Also, you would probably bore yourself and irritate your son if you were to say, ‘I’m happy’ each time he does something that’s good. And it doesn’t really help him to hear that you’re happy; what is important is that he hears about what he has done right or what he has not done wrong. That’s the power of Descriptive Praise. So we need to train ourselves to change our old habits.


    Q. I understand about Descriptive Praise for the OK behaviour. But are you saying I should just ignore the bad behaviour?

    A. No! Many parenting books and articles advise parents to ignore misbehaviour and to reward good behaviour with positive attention. But ignoring misbehaviour is difficult to do consistently, unless you're a saint, because a child whose misbehaviour is being ignored is likely to escalate the misbehaviour to try and get your attention. If by ignoring you mean trying to pretend he is not being annoying, he will probably re-double his efforts in order to get the usual reaction.

    What is much more effective than ignoring is to look at your child but say nothing. Wait in silence until there is a pause in the annoying behaviour, and then Descriptively Praise the absence of the negative. 

    Senior online community officer


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