Dealing with a stubborn 11 year old - FamilyEducation
Dealing with a stubborn 11 year old
07/29/2008 at 16:01 PM

My 11 year old son called me today at work very upset with his sitter.  We have had issues all summer that we have surmised based on conversations with him and with the sitter basically stem from him not getting to do things when he wants to do them.  In essence, he does not want to listen to her even though we have told him that she is acting on our behalf.  She watched our two children last summer and everything went well.  Our other child has no issue with the sitter.  He was upset with the sitter today because she wouldn't let him sleep in longer and tried to make him do some summer homework assignments by a certain time so they could all go to a local water park this afternoon.  He perceived her as being unfair and uncaring.  One thing the sitter and I agreed would help after talking today would be to set up a schedule for each day so everyone would know the expectations for what needed to be accomplished each day, both fun and otherwise, and by when.  My husband is very upset with our son that he is not listening our sitter and, therefore, not listening to us.  He thinks the consequences need to be severe, like taking stuff away like some fun events coming up that our son has been looking forward to, but I don't think this is the best approach, but I am unsure what is.  Any suggestions?

oh i'm really not looking foward to these days. my little girl is only two but sometimes i think she is older especially when she does certain things. in dealing with him i think that your husband is right in taking stuff away from him. sometimes the punishment does seem harsh, but he is going to have to learn that each and every action does have a reaction and sometimes when we don't act like we are suppose to we have to suffer with the bad. in showing him that this isn't acceptable will lead him to understand that he needs to one do what he is told and two to listen to the person that his parents have put in control. making a schedule for them is great but how long until he doesn't think that is fair. good luck!!!

If you were to re-read what you said and step outside this issue, you might see this differently. You told your son he was to listen to the sitter as she represents you and you husband. What she is asking is not hurting him,or asking him to do something wrong. First I would: Stand with what you orginally said to your son "obey the sitter".I would like to praise her, as she is not allowing your son to just waste his day (or Summer)sleeping in or just being lazy. She is trying to help your son see he needs to be responsible. That by doing this homework, ect., he can 'work first then play'. I'm sure she doesn't feel good about what's going on either.(Also if you disagree with her ideas, tell her in private and not in hearing of your son). But your son is rather saying "I want things MY WAY or I'm gonna go over your head and tell my mom". Is that obedience? Notice also he called You at work, not your husband. He knew who to ask. Hoping he could get what he wanted and over ride this authority you gave the sitter. Your son clearly showed he hasn't respected her by calling you. Second: I would go along your husband. By doing what your husband says you are teaching your son respect. I too would take some fun things away for this disrespect to your sitter (which really is to you and husband). I wouldn't remove everything fun, but something so your son can see there are consequences. By not showing this it would be like telling the sitter and your son that he only has to listen when He likes her plan/ideas, but NOT when he wants he own way. Third: If I were the sitter I might not be to happy with you as you didn't back me up with the athority you said you'd given me. Children will always try to test their limits to see how far you will give in. You're showing your son that by not sticking to what you orginally said, by not backing your sitter, and by not agreeing with your husband. That there are NO consequences to disobencence, and gee I don't need to respect authority either. Not to mention respecting my parents. I hope this gives you some food for thought.Your son should respect her as he would you and or husband remember who gave this authority to whom. You also show respect for your sitter.

I worked as a nanny for several yrs, and I can tell you that if both you and your husband and the sitter are not all on the same pg, your son is always going to try and manipulate someone. You and your husband need to sit down w/ your sitter and set up some rules that you all agree to follow. Then you need to go over these rules w/ your children. Once they understand these rules, you can set up a reward system for good behavior, and set consequences for bad behavior. Also discuss discipline, whether it be time-out or taking a privilege away. Make sure you discuss everything w/ your children so they fully understand the rules. Your the bosses, however, listen to your children. If there's anything they feel is unfair, let them tell you that. If what they're saying is not unreasonable, you can try something different. Everyone must agree to the rules before you enforce them. Once you build this respect with your children, and they respect you, things will begin to fall into place more easily. You MUST be consistent, and don't go outside the rules. Believe me, you're children will know if you do. Cover all bases as best as you can. Yes, there will be extraordinary circumstances that may fall outside of the rules, but for the most part things shld run a lot more smoothly. Don't feel bad about taking privileges away. That's tough love, and that's how kids learn. Be tough, but be fair. You and your kids will be much happier b/c of it. Good luck!

I think a schedule is a very good idea BUT only if your two children are involved with making it. Of course you would have final say but it is very important to have "buy in" for any schedule to work. Also I recommend that you involve him in coming up with a list of "consequences" if he doesn't come through with the following the plan that he agrees to. Part of helping your son learn how to make good choices is to help him learn how to choose. When he was learning to walk or first ride a bike I'll bet he fell sometimes. It's that way with learning to manage your choices and also managing your time. He is simply exerting his need to become increasingly self-sufficient and that is a desirable thing---not necessarily a sign of insubordination or stubborness. Jim