Hi & Update
Have been away from the board for some time due to work committments / problems.
I just wanted to thank you all for your response to my post which I sent back in January. To bring you up to date...
Things have improved immensely and I have had several meetings with the child psycologist at my son's school. She doens't see that he has any behavioural problem, but that he is simply highly spirited and strong willed. She also mentioned that he is very intelligent / gifted which affects the way he responds to certain things.
Turns out that his behaviour was mostly down to my not understanding his needs and not reacting to his negative behaviour in a more constructive way. With her guidance I have started applying more "positive parenting" tactics, such as; instead of punishment, focusing more on positive behaviour and rewards for good behaviour. I've learnt that it's so easy to make demands on children but so important the way in which I ask DS to do something. This can be as simple as saying "would you please make your bed" instead of "go and make your bed now". Once you get into the 'negative" circle, I think its difficult to realise that you are missing out the praise as well. Children naturally want to please their parents and most of the time resist because they need something they are not getting emotionally. Understanding, acknowleging that they have been heard, but getting the message across that its ok to resist but parents are still the boss! I am currently reading a very good book titled "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and Children are from Heaven". It really is helping me to undersand the needs of my child more. Less actual punishment more natural consequences and encouragement with rewards, such as "If you brush your teeth now, we will have time to have 2 stories tonight, instead of 1." I used to avoid this type of thing, mainly because I was under the impression that I was bribing my child. But in actual fact, you are just stating the truth, i.e. if the child does something properly and quickly, there will be more time to do more enjoyable things. This really has worked a treat with DS. The other thing I am learning is that children need to resist and should be allowed to resist, feel angry and sad but that you can still be the boss. Instead of reacting negatively to DS for getting angry and resisting I say "I understand you are feeling angry now because you want a cookie, but I don't want you to have one until after lunch." He realises he is being heard and understood but without my giving in to him. Right away his resistance comes down a peg, because much of the time, he just wants his resistance to be heard. This tactic takes a whole lot of practice and patience and I am just at the beginning, but I have seen a huge difference in his behaviour since I've made a new beginning! I have also ordered some other books such as "Rasing your Spirited Child" and hope that these will also shed some new light and help me help my son more.
I want my son to also learn that making mistakes is ok and a natural part of growing up, which is hard because my parents always punished me for my mistakes. I am trying only to use natural consequences for serious stuff and stick to 4 non-compromisable rules in the house (i.e. safety, respect to others etc.)
I am still making mistakes with the way in which I handle some situations, but I feel I am better equipped to go over them and try to deal with them more positively the next time.
Sorry for the long post, but wanted to share my breakthrough with you all. This may also be of some help to others, who are facing the same problems with behavior.
I would be interested to receive any input / feedback on this strategy especially from any of you who have read "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Children are from Heaven" and how it has helped you.
Thanks, have a good day all,