|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Pushing Your Buttons

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My eight-year-old son's teacher says he is polite and cooperative in school. But, at home we often end up battling over every little thing. He tends to ignore what I ask him to do or says he'll do it "in a minute." Then he'll lie about having done something, like washing his hands or brushing his teeth, when he didn't really do it. He and I end up arguing about everything. How can I get him to cooperate with me at home?

A: It's great that your son is a model student at school. It sounds, though, like he has learned to "push your buttons" at home.

Visit your public library or a local bookstore for a book on positive discipline. Sit down with your son when you are both calm and explain your expectations for his behavior. Let him help you determine rules, rewards, and consequences to help him improve his behavior at home. Pick one or two behaviors on which to work at first; as those improve, move on to others.

Keep in mind that rewards do not have to cost money. Reading an extra bedtime story or taking a walk around the block just with you can be terrific rewards for an eight-year-old. Determine a bigger reward (having friends over to play on the weekend or going camping) that your son can earn for having no problems for three days in a week.

The key to any system like this is consistency over a long period of time. You will need to plan to stick with the reward-and-consequence system for weeks; don't stop using it when you begin to see improvement.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

7 Home Remedies to Soothe Cold & Flu Symptoms
The AAP does not recommend giving over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to children under 4, so treating children's cold and flu symptoms naturally can be the best course of action. Read about some home remedies that might help.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

11 Awesome Thanksgiving Games & Activities for Families
Looking for fun Thanksgiving Day activities for the whole family? Check out 11 kid-friendly indoor and outdoor activities that will bring your family together in the spirit of the holiday.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!