School-Aged Children

Advice for 6 year old

 i really need help with my 6 year old step son. I recently had a baby in september and his mother had a baby in november. He has been being so naughty and we are not sure what to do. He is in kindergarden now and has had lunch detentions already. He's biting kids, pushing them, hitting them and also urinated on a little boy once. He does not act like this at home. He does really good with the baby and loves him dearly. We've taken all his toys away, cartoons, have made him sit in the corner everyday after school and are still having no luck with him. I'm at a lost of what to do. I've thought maybe counseling for his anger issues, but other than that I have no other ideas. Please help!!

Re: Advice for 6 year old

  • Wow, that's a lot of change in this boy's world.

    I'd get him some therapy to get to being OK with the changes. Seriously, a nonjudgemental adult who is there for just him and who offers him a safe plave to vent.

    I also don't punish for in school infractions unless they are character related. I'm all las vegas- what happens in school, stays in school. If DS's teacher's can't set him up to be successful, I am certainly not going to be their *** at home.

  • I completely agree that therapy is probably a good idea. We went through a similar situation when DS started Kindergarten. Not a new baby but job and shift changes at our house. DS got into a lot of trouble his first semester of Kindergarten and we ended up doing about 6 months of anger managment therapy and it did a world of good. It also helped DH and I learn how to work with him when he shuts down and gets upset.

    And we were able to work with our school and his teacher in how she dealt with him when he gets embarrased or shuts down. There was some terrible power struggles in his class room.

    Good luck!

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  • I agree, can't hurt to talk to someone.  You may not need to go long, but those behaviors are definitely concerning. 
    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • You've gotten very good advice so far, and I agree that you might want to seek counseling for your step son, because he's dealing with substantial change in his young life, and his behavior is certainly troubling.

    I also noticed two things in your post that I feel are important.  First, you are, understandably, pretty focused on punishment.  Of course, when kids misbehave in school, there should be consequences.  However, your SS might really benefit from some one-on-one attention and time that does not involve punishment.  This can be hard to manage with a new baby in the home.  Can his dad take him for some "buddy time?" while he's with you?  Even if it's just to run errands down to Wal-mart, or to play Mario Kart together for 30 minutes before bed -- something that's just for him, where he can be the center of attention in a positive way.

    Second, he may be acting out so severely at school because all the parents involved have made a big deal out of how much he should "love" the new babies.  You mention how good he is with the baby, but let's face it: ALL older siblings have mixed feelings about the new baby.  It can be hard for kids, if they feel like they "have" to love the baby.  Misbehaving at school might be a way of letting off the pressure he feels to always be positive about his new siblings.  And with a new baby in BOTH homes, he can never get a break from this feeling.  

    It might help him if you let him know that it's okay to sometimes feel grumpy about the baby.  You might even bring it up.  For instance, when you put the baby down for a nap, you might say, "Wow -- babies can be tough to deal with all day.  I'm glad it's the baby's naptime and we can have a break. Do you ever feel like you want a break from the baby?"

    Secondary English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 9th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 4th grade
  • image neverblushed:

    You've gotten very good advice so far, and I agree that you might want to seek counseling for your step son, because he's dealing with substantial change in his young life, and his behavior is certainly troubling.

    I also noticed two things in your post that I feel are important.  First, you are, understandably, pretty focused on punishment.  Of course, when kids misbehave in school, there should be consequences.  However, your SS might really benefit from some one-on-one attention and time that does not involve punishment.  This can be hard to manage with a new baby in the home.  Can his dad take him for some "buddy time?" while he's with you?  Even if it's just to run errands down to Wal-mart, or to play Mario Kart together for 30 minutes before bed -- something that's just for him, where he can be the center of attention in a positive way.

    Second, he may be acting out so severely at school because all the parents involved have made a big deal out of how much he should "love" the new babies.  You mention how good he is with the baby, but let's face it: ALL older siblings have mixed feelings about the new baby.  It can be hard for kids, if they feel like they "have" to love the baby.  Misbehaving at school might be a way of letting off the pressure he feels to always be positive about his new siblings.  And with a new baby in BOTH homes, he can never get a break from this feeling.  

    It might help him if you let him know that it's okay to sometimes feel grumpy about the baby.  You might even bring it up.  For instance, when you put the baby down for a nap, you might say, "Wow -- babies can be tough to deal with all day.  I'm glad it's the baby's naptime and we can have a break. Do you ever feel like you want a break from the baby?"

     I completely agree with all of this. It sounds like he is looking for attention and the only way he knows to get it is by behaving badly. I'd give him back his toys and ease up on the after school punishment. Instead, I'd try a heart to heart talk about being disappointed in his behavior and leave it at that. My DD is almost 6, and although we didn't have behavior issues to the same extent, we definitely noticed some changes when her brother was added to the family. I ask my mom to either watch DS for a couple hours so DH and I can spend some quality time with her, or sometimes my mom takes her out for a special outing to have some time away from the chaos of having a baby at home.

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  • Agree with all PP's.  He needs positive one on one time.  With all of his parental figures not just one.

    So maybe you could take him to the park just the two of you, or get a sitter once every two weeks or so and do something with him and your DH.

    This needs to happen in his other home too.  I know that the new babies need to be with mommy and daddy and they need alot of attention but a 6 year old that has two homes is already not sure where they belong.

    He needs to understand that he matters and you all want him just like you want the new babies.  He is going through alot. 

    I would say if you do decide to contact a counselor try a blended family counselor that specializes in play therapy for younger children.  They will more than likely see him weekly and meet with all four parental figures together monthly.

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  • He has experienced many changes.  Kids like stability and sometimes don't do change very well.  I bet he is acting out to get attention.  Yes he might like the baby but he might be trying to get attention by pushing his boundaries.  Try talking with him and asking him if there is a problem.  A 6 year old should be able to express what they are feeling.  Start asking questions and addressing the things he talks about.  Also give him some personal time so he feels important too.

  • With both you and his BM both having new babies, he probably feels as if everyone is trying to replace him, and he just isn't good enough. Kids don't understand. Sit him down and tell him YOU love him so much, and you think he's SO amazing that you decided that wanted another child in hopes they would be like him. Usually this clears up behavioral problems. It could also be the decrease in attention he receives. Children lash out when they want attention, even though the reaction to his actions are negative, he has your full attention. If you really want to know.....sit down and talk to him about how he feels.
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