Parent leadership trumps child leadership


Dear Rosemond and team,

Recently (a few weeks ago), my son graduated from his 30 stickers (1 a day) for aggression and tantrums and got his things and privileges back. BUT the tantrums (it's more like crying - hard to tell when he's crying because he didn't get his way or if its because he's been punished). A few weeks ago, he deliberately came and 'smacked' my arm softly when I'd pushed him along to join his father and he wasn't happy. It was more like a tap, and he watched my face. I was pretty unhappy with the gesture but it was more like a tap, I let it go. Now This week, he hit someone at kindergarten in the face with a bat because he did not want the boy joining his game with his friends. Dad had spanked him over it. Then we'd got him to write an apology note for the boy and his mother, and apologise to the boy - AND invite the boy to play with him at kinder. We are wondering if we should restart the 30 days of no aggression and tantrums and withhold privileges again. In the past, we find the moment he's off the hook - he restarts the unwanted behaviours! What do you do here?

We are also trying to jump off the argument bandwagon too, as suggested. I feel mean not answering any questions and shutting him down immediately but he is such a pro at roping us in and getting an answer out of us that it takes a couple of to and fro's before I realise what's happening and my son then is usually in a frenzied state of justifying himself or insisting that he needs an answer, "But you said this, but you said that yesterday" about a certain decision, or that. Only then I disengage. Do I answer this sort of question at all? A little bit? Not at all? I'd say though sometimes there really is a good reason - ie he really needs to pee or whatever. Then he deliberately (I think) wets himself to show that he couldn't wait. He is almost always finds a pretty good reason. I'll give him that - the boy is very, very smart at getting what he wants. We need to stop being outsmarted. So I then refuse to answer anything from when I realise its going to and fro, and then it opens way to loud crying and stomping - AND defiance. So I send him to his room for the rest of the day. Is it fine to have him do nothing in there? There are many books - nothing much else apart from clothes and bed. He's been in his room so much, and being kicked out of the garden with no toys - he's starting to be used to lying on the floor and doing absolutely nothing! My husband does not like it that even when he's not in his room, he seems used to just lazing around. It's like it created a new kind of problem. Any suggestions here?

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