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Your advise is greatly needed in helping my husband and me with our 8- year-old son. I have such a hard time getting him to respond to my requests. It seems like everything I ask of him is a reason for him to argue with me. Any suggestions?
Your son is perhaps a little bit ahead of himself developmentally but it sounds as if he may be trying to establish himself as a "big boy" now. He's right on the fringes of being in that pre-adolescent category, he's not a "little kid" (in his view) but he's not about to be a teenager any time soon either. His argumentativeness is both a conscious and unconscious way of separating himself away from you, i.e. being an independent "older kid".

As much as this is annoying behavior, I wouldn't take it personally. Certainly you should not suspend the common courtesy rules of your family just because he doesn't want to "take orders" from you. I would find ways to compliment him more frequently (even though you may be hard pressed to find behavior that warrants praise) and offer to do something he likes to do , one-on -one so he can feel special. On occasion, after one of his argumentative comebacks, ask him in a calm manner, " Is there something bothering you that's making you so angry because you are a kind boy and saying things like you just did is not like you. Take every chance you can get to positively frame who he is,e.g. "You've got a great sense of humor., You're a really good friend to Bobby." Your consistency, in terms of your maintaining a positive, non-judgmental attitude towards him will be his anchor now and as he goes through adolescence.

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