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Old 06-29-2014, 10:13 AM   #1
Mr. Nanny
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Default Conflicting Views on Child Discipline/Rewards

My girlfriend's son has been in and out of bad behavior all weekend, and although his mom and I have gotten angry with him, he ultimately has gotten his every request granted. I don't feel he's punished enough for all his bad behavior and is too quickly rewarded for very brief, good behavior. It's getting very frustrating.

Friday night he wanted to go bicycling. They have small kittens that he plays too rough with and ignores us when told to be gentle. His mom ordered him to give her a kitten that he was beating on, but he ignored. She pulled it away but within moments he was back to playing with the kitten. I questioned this, but she did nothing.

He then accidentally flipped the feces-laden kitty litter box all over the basement stairs. His mom blew a gasket at him, cleaned it all up herself, and took some anger out on me. He said he was sorry and insisted that we go biking. As a way to give her a peaceful evening and modestly punish her son, I asked if she wanted to drop him off with his brother, who was staying the weekend at his dad's. But shortly after, we went biking and then out to eat. I also bought him some candy at the end of the night when he was well behaved.

Saturday he wanted to go biking again. Early on he was good and we had a nice ride, but eventually he whined and was disrespectful as we were choosing where to eat. Ultimately he got his way. Later he continued whining in the grocery store about wanting a treat and when told to behave better, just amplified the whining. After helping load groceries in the car for some brief seconds, he got a treat. I said I didn't feel this was enough redemption to deserve a treat after all that whining.

Sunday morning he violently grabbed a kitten by the neck, shoving its face into the floor. I'm rarely aggressive with the boy, but I had enough. I pulled his hands off the kitten and shouted that he stop being violent with them. I also told his mom that I was frustrated that no one actually punishes him or prevents him from hurting the cats, only tells him indefinitely which he ignores. In response, he stormed off and started kicking and punching furniture.

He then was caught walking on the kitchen counter. His mom shouted at him, cleaned it, then tried to have him repeat why what he did was unsanitary. Shortly after, they started getting ready to go biking, to which he grabbed me and said "Come on! Hurry up!" By this point, I didn't want to go. I let his mom know that I wasn't satisfied with his lack of punishment. She said he was sorry and helped her. They then went biking without me.

Last edited by Mr. Nanny; 06-29-2014 at 10:19 AM..
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Conflicting Views on Child Discipline/Rewards

How old is he? I don't see it anywhere there. And does he live primarily with his mum? It's hard but it sounds like you just need more structured discipline. Rules and consequences or rewards. E.g if you hurt the kitten again you will not be getting a lolly when we do the shopping or you will not be going riding later. Then you need to follow through with it. If he then behaves himself when doing shopping you need to find a different reward because he has already lost the opportunity to earn a Lolly but maybe he will get to choose the next place you eat out or something like that.

You have to tweak it for your own situation but that's the general idea hope that helped
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: Conflicting Views on Child Discipline/Rewards

First off, it is very important that the parents agree on a set of rules, consequences, and rewards. If you are in a committed relationship, then you should have equal say in the discipline imposed as you would also be responsible for implementing the discipline. If your girlfriend resists giving you disciplinary responsibilities over her child, then you need to rethink your relationship with her.

Secondly, the rules, consequences, and rewards need to be predefined, written out, and posted so that there are no misunderstandings.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Conflicting Views on Child Discipline/Rewards

Discipline is tough. You have to be consistent. Does the boy's mom and dad communicate well about things like discipline?
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: Conflicting Views on Child Discipline/Rewards

My kids all went through a stage of ignoring me. It's convenient to just say "Stop," or threaten some punishment, but the first time you fail to enforce it, kids just start taking their chances. So you will have to start physically intervening for each infraction. If you say "Stop," then make sure you are on your feet approaching the child that very moment, or else you might as well not bother saying it.

If both of you are in the store together, then one of you should leave with the child the moment he starts acting poorly. Walk him straight to the car (no debating, no threatening, no detours) and wait with him until the other parent is done shopping. And don't bother with treats for good behavior. Kids aren't dogs. They don't need to do tricks (good behavior) for treats. Just acknowledge their good behavior and they will learn to be satisfied with approval instead of treats.

I think the key is to deal with each issue as it happens, then move on. Don't keep a tally of bad behavior. And definitely make him clean up any messes he makes (even if you have to go back over them again when he isn't looking).
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Conflicting Views on Child Discipline/Rewards

Thank you, everyone, for the feedback. I will definitely read it over again to better retain everything said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecotime47 View Post
Discipline is tough. You have to be consistent. Does the boy's mom and dad communicate well about things like discipline?
The dad only sees his son, who's seven, once or twice a year and is virtually nonexistent in the boy's life--huge, messy story behind all that. After I'd been around the boy for about 7 months, he started asking his mom "Who's my dad?" and then "...But who's gonna be my real dad?" and said he'd like me to be his second dad.

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Originally Posted by akmom View Post
If you say "Stop," then make sure you are on your feet approaching the child that very moment, or else you might as well not bother saying it.
I very much agree. My girlfriend is usually not very hands-on or stern. She doesn't physically back up her words. You can tell him to stop 3 times and he knows you won't do anything, so why stop?

Quote:
Originally Posted by akmom View Post
And don't bother with treats for good behavior. Kids aren't dogs. They don't need to do tricks (good behavior) for treats. Just acknowledge their good behavior and they will learn to be satisfied with approval instead of treats.
Again, I very much agree. A child doesn't deserve candy for a 20-second good deed after 20 minutes of whining. When I was a kid, I had basic responsibilities and didn't expect a reward for everything. And I certainly would not have gotten away with the crap this boy does. One time he wiped snot on his mom's shirt and she just got slightly upset verbally. I had to remind her that our parents would have easily slapped us and left us crying for such behavior, and that he absolutely needs to be disciplined for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akmom View Post
I think the key is to deal with each issue as it happens, then move on. Don't keep a tally of bad behavior. And definitely make him clean up any messes he makes (even if you have to go back over them again when he isn't looking).
His mom could benefit from these words of advice.
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: Conflicting Views on Child Discipline/Rewards

Even though you're technically right, but when you approach with negativity (punishments, stricter discipline, etc.) you'll not be heard
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:28 AM   #8
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Default Survey for parents with children ages 2-7

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