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Helping 6yo learn to take responsiblity


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#1 Lou-bags

Posted 13 January 2020 - 11:39 AM

As the title suggests, my 6 year old son is having trouble taking responsibility for his own actions.

When he messes up, hurts his little brother, gets very upset and throws something etc it's never his fault.

"you made me throw that by making me angry!"
"it's his fault because he took my truck!"

He blames others even when they weren't in the room.

He also has trouble accepting things others do are accidental. As an example, he refused to concede his brother rode into his foot with his scooter by accident. Or when I bumped into him and nearly knocked him over because I couldn't see him over the box I was carrying. Etc.

He will lie too, denying he made that mess/pinched his brother/and so on.

And his reactions to all of the above are rather explosive at times. Exacerbated by tiredness, too much youtube (I know...), maybe even diet.

But in addition to working on the aforementioned exacerbations, do you kind EB'ers have any suggestions and/or resources for teaching him to take responsibility for his actions and behaviour please? I feel like I am failing here.

Cheers!

#2 AmazonBabe

Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:04 PM

Do a course called Parent Effectiveness Training.  It's all about making your children understand and take responsibility for their own behaviour and how it impacts on other people.

I did it when my kids were 4 and 2.  Used it for about 2 years, they totally understood what was going on after about three weeks, and eventually came around.

I now use it most successfully on my ex husband.

#3 Rowenas candy cane

Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:12 PM

The course AmazonBabe mentioned sounds fantastic!

As a supplement to that, I found How to Talk so Little Kids Listen to be really helpful when it comes to having conversations with DD and helping her understand things.

That or the older version (how to talk so kids listen) may also be helpful.

View PostAmazonBabe, on 13 January 2020 - 12:04 PM, said:

I now use it most successfully on my ex husband.

Just the other day I was saying to DH that I used to use toddler techniques on rude customers when I worked in customer service. Amazing how some people never grow out of that phase!

#4 Lou-bags

Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:23 PM

Thanks PPs. I have 'how to talk so little kids will listen' and spruik it often so it's obviously time for me to do a re-read (listen- actually- as I have the audiobook version) of relevant chapters.

And I'll look up that course now too.

#5 Treasure Island

Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:31 PM

Quote

He also has trouble accepting things others do are accidental. As an example, he refused to concede his brother rode into his foot with his scooter by accident. Or when I bumped into him and nearly knocked him over because I couldn't see him over the box I was carrying. Etc.



I'm with your son on those, carelessness isn't an accident. He might learn better if you lead by example.

Edited by Treasure Island, 13 January 2020 - 12:34 PM.


#6 Lou-bags

Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:40 PM

View PostTreasure Island, on 13 January 2020 - 12:31 PM, said:

I'm with your son on those, carelessness isn't an accident. He might learn better if you lead by example.

What do you mean by this?

There is a world of difference, in my mind, between hurting someone accidentally (even where the accident occured as the result of carelessness) and deliberately hurting someone.

In the scooter incident, for example, my 6yo stepped out from behind an object and into the 3yo's path. You could argue both were being careless. The 6yo screamed at the 3yo and went to push him. I blocked that, stating that the crash was an accident. 6yo screamed at me that the 3yo did it on purpose, which he very clearly did not.

edited to insert a missing word.

Edited by Lou-bags, 13 January 2020 - 12:41 PM.


#7 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:47 PM

Ive been increasing the amount DD chat about the characters in books, how they feel and their motivations, to try and build empathy. Also discussing when I make mistakes, so that it becomes normal to acknowledge mistakes and discuss how to try to not make that mistake again.

I also read “the resilience project” recently and now DD and I chat about the good things in our day at bedtime, and I try to point them out during the day too (“it’s so nice having fun at the pool with your friends!”).

It’s a work in progress...

#8 Hollycoddle

Posted 13 January 2020 - 01:16 PM

View PostTreasure Island, on 13 January 2020 - 12:31 PM, said:

I'm with your son on those, carelessness isn't an accident. He might learn better if you lead by example.

Seriously?  Accidents happen!  If you don't allow for them you're going to end up raising a malicious vexatious litigant!

Edited by Hollycoddle, 13 January 2020 - 01:19 PM.


#9 magic_marker

Posted 13 January 2020 - 01:20 PM

We talk about choices here.

"You made me throw that because you made me angry".

He made the choice to throw it. And he is responsible for his own feelings.

#10 Riotproof

Posted 13 January 2020 - 01:32 PM

There’s a little bit of this going on in my house too, loubags.

Following. I’m not really sure how I handle it, plus dd is the older than your little ds, so it may not apply. I have been doing a lot of separating them and quiet time Iike they are toddlers. I don’t really want to call it timeout because I hate that philosophy, but I do want to teach them that they can walk away to collect themselves instead of hurting someone.

#11 Yippee-Ki-Yay

Posted 13 January 2020 - 01:44 PM

View PostTreasure Island, on 13 January 2020 - 12:31 PM, said:



I'm with your son on those, carelessness isn't an accident. He might learn better if you lead by example.

Someone's bored.

OP I think the issue is one that they either grow out of or it is part of their personality and they need help to see beyond it. My older child still is unable to separate provocation from choice of reaction. I think his autism sometimes impacts on his ability to gain an objective perspective on things that happen to upset him. Not always, but he is definitely more rigid in his thinking when someone has wronged him or he has done wrong.

I would probably minimise any fuss around negative incidents, while adding a comment to reframe things. "Brother ran over your toe? Oh no! That must hurt! I bet your brother feels bad about accidentally hurting you. Brother, come give him a hug and tell him you are sorry for the accident" that kind of thing.

#12 AllyK81

Posted 13 January 2020 - 02:00 PM

My DS is like this (almost to the point of hilarity sometimes). He blames his sister for things when she isn’t even in the room.

Problem is his father is exactly the same. It is being role modelled to him (obviously to a much lesser extent) by my husband so my husband is working on that.

We have implemented chore charts this year that also have a behaviour for each child we want to focus on as a milestone. Only 2 weeks in but it is working well for both kids. DS understands what taking responsibility means. We are teaching him to choose a better response.

#13 Lou-bags

Posted 13 January 2020 - 03:30 PM

Thank you all for your posts, you have given me lots to think about. And sorry that you find yourself similarly somewhat stumped Riotproof!



View PostYippee-Ki-Yay, on 13 January 2020 - 01:44 PM, said:

rigid in his thinking when someone has wronged him or he has done wrong.

This has just reminded me of a comment made by his daycare teacher when he was 4. I can't remember the exact words she used but it was something to do with having a strong sense of fairness, and that he could be quite rigid about there being appropriate consequences, and that he was also very indignant when given consequences for something he perceived to not be his fault.

#14 Ellie bean

Posted 13 January 2020 - 03:38 PM

View PostLou-bags, on 13 January 2020 - 12:40 PM, said:



What do you mean by this?

There is a world of difference, in my mind, between hurting someone accidentally (even where the accident occured as the result of carelessness) and deliberately hurting someone.

In the scooter incident, for example, my 6yo stepped out from behind an object and into the 3yo's path. You could argue both were being careless. The 6yo screamed at the 3yo and went to push him. I blocked that, stating that the crash was an accident. 6yo screamed at me that the 3yo did it on purpose, which he very clearly did not.

edited to insert a missing word.
In that scenario I still make the 3yo say sorry- I teach both kids we say sorry if we hurt someone even if it’s an accident
I also say we ever hit or push regardless of whether it’s an accident or not. If it’s not an accident, call mum or sad to decide what should be done- it’s not your job to punish your sibling. Etc.
But yeah while that works a lot of the time I do still have a bit of “he/she hurt me”, “it was an accident “, “it was NOT!”, then both of them screaming, at my house so I feel your pain! It’s usually when they’re tired and not listening that it blows up
One thing I would say is make the 3yo accountable too (or at least show the 6yo you are trying to), as kids really feel that injustice and don’t understand the age difference. Easy for me to say though because my 2 are very close in age

#15 Riotproof

Posted 13 January 2020 - 03:41 PM

I don’t agree with forcing apologies, but I do think in that scenario they both could apologise to the other.

#16 Ellie bean

Posted 13 January 2020 - 03:41 PM

View PostRiotproof, on 13 January 2020 - 01:32 PM, said:

There’s a little bit of this going on in my house too, loubags.

Following. I’m not really sure how I handle it, plus dd is the older than your little ds, so it may not apply. I have been doing a lot of separating them and quiet time Iike they are toddlers. I don’t really want to call it timeout because I hate that philosophy, but I do want to teach them that they can walk away to collect themselves instead of hurting someone.
Yeah we do that too.
Our other rule is you can cry and scream as much as you like but not in the lounge room, do it in your own quarters where no one has to listen to it lol
Going to your room is not a punishment but there are rules to be observed in the areas we share, is what I aim for I guess

#17 Lynken

Posted 13 January 2020 - 04:51 PM

View Postmagicmrkeronashelf, on 13 January 2020 - 01:20 PM, said:

We talk about choices here.

"You made me throw that because you made me angry".

He made the choice to throw it. And he is responsible for his own feelings.

We did similar to this with DS around 3-4yrs (now 8yrs). It's ok to feel negative feelings (hurt, mad, sad, jealous, disappointed etc) but what you do with the feelings is your choice.  If you're mad and you hit, you get a consequence for hitting not for being mad.

We had to give him words to use, like "I'm feeling X and I need .... to go to my room / a cuddle / a drink / to be alone". Those were good choices he could make in the moment of "feeling the feelings".  We had to lead him there in the beginning - "you feel sad when sister gets to X and you don't. Do you want a cuddle?"

#18 Lou-bags

Posted 13 January 2020 - 04:59 PM

View PostEllie bean, on 13 January 2020 - 03:38 PM, said:


One thing I would say is make the 3yo accountable too (or at least show the 6yo you are trying to), as kids really feel that injustice and don’t understand the age difference. Easy for me to say though because my 2 are very close in age

Oh yes I absolutely do this.

Perhaps I should have said that in my OP. I was thinking about DS1 and his behaviour here so it didn't think to. It's actually WAY easier with the 3yo- he's not the one that worries me (at the moment... *crosses fingers*).


In the scooter scenario DS1 was trying to push/hit his brother and screaming at him, and then me, before I could even get to that. And I did speak to them both afterward. My concern is that even in the afterward, when things have settled somewhat, DS1 STILL wouldn't concede that DS2 hadn't deliberately taken aim and rode into his foot on purpose. He even went so far as to then say that his friend who was visiting had told DS2 to do it. A complete fabrication, as we were right there and he said nothing of the sort.

#19 Yippee-Ki-Yay

Posted 13 January 2020 - 04:59 PM

View PostLynken, on 13 January 2020 - 04:51 PM, said:




We had to give him words to use, like "I'm feeling X and I need .... to go to my room / a cuddle / a drink / to be alone". Those were good choices he could make in the moment of "feeling the feelings".  We had to lead him there in the beginning - "you feel sad when sister gets to X and you don't. Do you want a cuddle?"

I reckon this is really valuable. As a child who was never able to identify feelings or their cause, this would have helped me learn to self regulate before I had kids of my own and perpetuated the cycle.

#20 Lou-bags

Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:03 PM

View PostLynken, on 13 January 2020 - 04:51 PM, said:

We had to give him words to use, like "I'm feeling X and I need .... to go to my room / a cuddle / a drink / to be alone". Those were good choices he could make in the moment of "feeling the feelings".  

I like this approach, thanks.

He has had, from quite young, a good vocab of 'feeling' words and can identify if he feels mad or sad or frustrated or disappointed etc. (Just the other day he told me "I'm so mad I feel like a shark getting ready to bite someone!" which made me smile despite my best efforts. Bad idea.) But I hadn't thought to coach him that bit further toward ways he can appropriately respond.

Edited by Lou-bags, 13 January 2020 - 05:03 PM.


#21 SplashingRainbows

Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:14 PM

View PostLou-bags, on 13 January 2020 - 03:30 PM, said:

Thank you all for your posts, you have given me lots to think about. And sorry that you find yourself similarly somewhat stumped Riotproof!





This has just reminded me of a comment made by his daycare teacher when he was 4. I can't remember the exact words she used but it was something to do with having a strong sense of fairness, and that he could be quite rigid about there being appropriate consequences, and that he was also very indignant when given consequences for something he perceived to not be his fault.

Oh I’ve got one like this. Thankfully the other one is pretty easy going.

Acknowledging his feelings does seem to work best in gaining buy in. He is 9 now and certainly improving.

I take heart that some of my most wonderful kind and empathetic staff also recall being similar as kids. They have a strong perfectionist streak which is an asset to our career and part of our personality.

I’m hoping loving him and modeling grace will get us somewhere.

#22 Murderino

Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:31 PM

View PostEllie bean, on 13 January 2020 - 03:41 PM, said:

Yeah we do that too.
Our other rule is you can cry and scream as much as you like but not in the lounge room, do it in your own quarters where no one has to listen to it lol
Going to your room is not a punishment but there are rules to be observed in the areas we share, is what I aim for I guess

I’m the same with my youngest who is a screecher - I say you can cry but you can’t scream when we have to hear it.

#23 StartledFlamingo

Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:32 PM

We recently did the Starving the Anger Gremlin workbook with my 7 yo. It was really good and has helped him think about anger being internal not external, shifting the blame mentality and some tools to change the reactions.

#24 GingerbreadWoman

Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:50 PM

View PostLynken, on 13 January 2020 - 04:51 PM, said:

We did similar to this with DS around 3-4yrs (now 8yrs). It's ok to feel negative feelings (hurt, mad, sad, jealous, disappointed etc) but what you do with the feelings is your choice.  If you're mad and you hit, you get a consequence for hitting not for being mad.

We had to give him words to use, like "I'm feeling X and I need .... to go to my room / a cuddle / a drink / to be alone". Those were good choices he could make in the moment of "feeling the feelings".  We had to lead him there in the beginning - "you feel sad when sister gets to X and you don't. Do you want a cuddle?"

I now have the Daniel Tiger song ‘it’s okay to feel angry, it’s not okay to hurt someone’, stuck in my head. :)
It feels a bit weird to suggest this, but could watching that (there are a couple on abc iview at the moment dealing with angry/mad feelings) give you a way to discuss it in a neutral way, without it being about him? It might help a bit with the defensive/blaming reaction?




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