My 7 year-old boy is experiencing peer pressure at a young age. Recently he started taking things without asking permission to impress his classmates on the kind of stuff he has at his disposal. I am at a loss as to how I will discipline him next. I'm old-school, so spanking & whipping has always worked for me as a kid but not for him. He is practically immune to my s&w at this point. Don't get me wrong, I love my boy but obviously I need a better tactic if I'm not going to lose him to his peers. I wasn't this difficult as a kid and am not sure where to go from here. Any help is much appreciated.
Is he allowed to play video games or have his toys? I would take everything away and tell him he can sit on his bed and that is about it. I would take everything away and tell him that until he can be trusted, he can't have them back... I have also known a parent who had trouble with their child and stealing and they removed their bedroom door. They told him that he couldn't have it back until he showed he could be trusted to be behind a closed door.
My kids don't always respond to spanking any more. So I have learned that taking away their freedom and toys and games have worked the best. I hope it gets better!!
This is the perfect time to take some parenting classes - obviously you have skills as a parent, but you have a child who is "outside" of those skills. A parenting class should give you positive ways of interacting and disciplining your child.
A variety of places offer parenting classes, the school district, Health and Welfare, various church organizations (and many do not require you to be a member of that church), pediatricians, and so many others.
State Certified Early Childhood Special Education Teacher
New Mom as of March 2009!
I've tried those and based on the reactions I'm getting from him has forced me to ponder if the punishment (both in form and the resulting emotion from him) is befitting the crime committed. He may be pulling my leg and I frankly have not given it much thought since he is just a 7-year old. He is a real challenge and I thought I was a problem-child during my days. Thanks for the advice though.
Thanks for the suggestions but the lack of it thereof in my community invalidates them. I can, of course, relocate to places that provides it, however, I do not have the resources to relocate. Sorry for not providing background info, however, while I do need help I do not wish to impose. Just curious though! Does this website have such services? Thanks for your contributions though.
Try searching for On-line courses. The parenting course I like is Parenting with Love and Logic, but I'm not sure if they would address the stealing directly, but it might give you some ideas on how to figure out why he does it, and then address that. Here is a link to their free resources, articles, pod casts, etc. http://www.loveandlogic.com/articles.html
Also, check the local library for parenting materials, there are often a variety of books, CD's and videos avaliable to check out.
I have found that overall positive strategies, that recognize the child's achievements, work better than punishments. By rewarding (and a reward can be praise or extra attention - not necessarily a "treat") the behaviors and actions you want to see, it often helps to eliminate the behaviors you don't want.
Have you talked to him about why he takes the stuff? Maybe the kids were teasing him, maybe there is a bully who intimidates him, maybe he feels like he doesn't have friends and this is the way to make some, etc. All of these are the types of issues that need to be addressed before your son would be willing to stop taking other's belongings to school. In other words, try to figure out the root of the problem and get it solved, to help solve the symptom of stealing.
Good luck, I was raised as a spanked child too, and have since learned many, many non-spanking strategies to use - it takes a while to get comfortable to using them - but after a while it becomes second nature to pull out one of the strategies and use it effectively.
Last edited by Newmom!; 10-21-2011 at 04:20 PM.
State Certified Early Childhood Special Education Teacher
New Mom as of March 2009!
Been out for a while handling personal & family emergencies but couldn't wait to get back and see what's new here.
Newmom: Thanks for the advice and the links. I will see what's on the links you had provided. I did try to figure out what's causing him to start stealing and I penned it on peer pressure. I've heard comments from the grandparents that he is at the first "defining" age. It's the point in a child's life where he is trying to fit in with his peers and all his actions, behaviors, and whatever are geared towards that. I was trying to recall whether it was my defining age as well and I frankly couldn't remember that far back. I only remembered having lots of good times though. After hearing that comment, I'm asking myself (LOUDLY in a way) "STEALING to fit in with the peers! NO WAY!" I'm not saying I was the perfect kid at that age, but he is obviously "FITTING IN" with the wrong (in my opinion) peer, it's the right per for him but the good slots have been filled and he is left with the bad ones, or so on and on but the point is clear. "It clearly is not a good choice." As a parent, I want the best slot for him. But in any case, he is my first born so it's still a learning process for me.
I have taken sissabox advice, in a manner of speaking, and have added my flair. By custom based on the society I live in, whenever the brother (that's me) fails in his kids upbringing, the sister steps in and guides the kids through until they're back on track. My choices were 1) do it based on custom (let my sisters deal with him), 2) keep doing it the best I can, pray a lot, and hope things turn out OK, and 3) let him feel the consequences of his action by letting him go momentarily and step in when he has learned his lesson. I had other choices but I picked the 3 because they were the choices I can work with.
I know I'm not doing my 101%, but I have to start somewhere. I chose to hand him over to my older sister. He was strongly against the idea of living away from his parents but I left him no choice. It was a tough decision as a father, a husband, and a brother and I got all kinds of "swearing and throwing things around" feedback from my wife and some other indications from my sister but I just had to bite the bullet on that decision and ride the storm out. As of today, I'm convinced I made the right choice. I've seen improvements in his behavior towards the Mom and me, his siblings, and his cousins. He has learnt a little in terms of letting others go first, asking for permission to do something that he clearly wants to do but also knows will affect others, and some other small improvements.
He still sees us almost every school days, but I've made it clear to him that he is in her Aunt's hand from that time until she let him go. I trust my Sister to do the right thing in setting him straight but it still pains me to see his forlorn expression at times. Nothing ever really fazes him before (he is normally in a sunshine mood). When he is upset or sad about something it doesn't last long and he springs back into his sunshine mood easily that if you weren't there an hour ago to see how upset he was you wouldn't believe he was that upset. He holds no grudges that long.
I know he missed both his Mom and me and I may be wrong in letting my Sister take things on 100% until she is willing to let him back to me and my Wife and I may sound cruel but I want him to feel a little emptiness and lost before he comes back to us. I'm being crudely frank (no other way to lay it out) but that does not make me a bad father. Boys have to feel pain, be lost at some point, feel what it's like to be alone, plus a few other negatives to make them strong and prepare them for whatever lies ahead in their life. If I'm going to have my way, I will refuse to die until I'm 200% sure that my kids (boys & girls) can stand on their own and hold their own in this world.
I'm spinning a yarn here and I have to get back to my family. I appreciate all the advices (maybe a little overrated) but I surely appreciate the attention you have graced me with.