Parenting Help?


8 Years
May 5, 2011
I am in need of advice. How do you teach a child kindness? I have a 4 your old son, who we adore. He is our second child and he is very loving, smart, active, and imaginative. He is very charming and a sight to see! He tells me that I am beautiful and that we wants to marry me & his sister
He is very protective, like any lil mama's boy and we all love him very much. That being said~
My concern is that he has a very mean streak in him at times. If someone tries to talk to him or play with him, and he is not in the mood he is overly rude & tells them to "leave me alone" or "Stop!"or just gets downright nasty to them. He is unkind to his older sister, telling her that he doesnt like her or that she is stinky and to get away... We punish for bad behavior, but how do you punish emotions? Part of me (the pshyco mom) says that he has a right to let people know that he does not want to be bothered, but I cannot tolerate a nasty child. He doesnt seem concerned with how he makes people feel. I totally understand that he is only 4 but it breaks my heart to think that people may think him a brat because he is so harsh sometimes. I have started telling him that he is gentleman and I am now explaining what a gentleman does & doesnt do and it seems to be working but I am still in need of some suggestions...

I normallly do not reach out to strangers like this, but I need some outside opinions... Thank you!!
I would just speak to him at his level. I would give him timeouts. And that would be sitting on a chair or a step or someplace where there is nothing to play with.

You have to talk plain and simple: "Son, it's not nice to yell at your sister. If you don't want to play, be polite and tell her maybe later." Let him know that he has to sit for ten minutes.

Then, when the time is up, you go and say "Son, you had to sit in the naughty spot because you were mean to your sister." Take him and make him say sorry. If he's not ready, you may have to sit him down again for another 10 minutes.

Be really, super consistant. Kids also like visual rewards. You could have two clear jars. One with a happy face, and one with a sad face. If he does something really nice or helpful, put a token into the happy face jar. If he's mean, put one in the sad face jar. At the end of the week, if the happy face jar has more tokens, he will get a special reward from you..;..

Just some ideas.....(I do love watching Supernanny.) LOL

Good luck and it's good that you're worrying about teach him manners. He sounds like a good boy, and sometimes these things I mention just help him realize his bad behavior....i
I praise my kids when I catch them doing and saying nice things. If he is saying something in a negative way I would make him repeat it in a positive way. If he ignores you then give him a time out. The word discipline comes from the word teach. It's a parent's job to teach a child acceptable behavior. Yes, he has the right to let people know he doesn't want to be bothered. He doesn't have the right to be nasty and mean to them. You need to teach him by demonstrating to him. He tells his sister, "Go away, you stink, I don't want to play with you." You tell him, I think you can say that in a nice way. Why don't you try, "I'd like to play by myself right now. I hope you understand." Then have him say that to his sister. Help her to respond kindly with "Okay, I understand. You can let me know when you're ready to play." It's a lot of work, but with consistency he'll get it.

In our home we call the behavior your son is demonstrating "shark" behavior. Instead of telling the offending child you're being mean, nasty, a brat, all we say is "You're being a shark and you need to stop now." Another term we use is "unexpected behavior". Instead of saying a kid has bad behavior or is NOT acting normal or NOT acting their age, it's pointed out to them that it's unexpected behavior. We didn't make these up. We have sought outside help for our son recently diagnosed PDD NOS.

We have a reward system that my husband put a lot of time into setting up. I'd be happy to email it to you if you'd like to use it give you ideas for setting up your own system.

Hope I've been able to help.
Everyone has great advice!

One thing i might try is(along with all the other things mentioned above), when he gets nasty.. sit him down and just talk to him...(no anger/scolding, just a calm talk)
Try to ask him to remember how it feels to get HIS feelings hurt... and WHAT things hurt his feelings??
And then maybe explain that he is hurting others feelings by being unkind to them.. (give CLEAR examples of things that he says/does)
And then say that you KNOW that he doesnt want to hurt anyones feelings... etc...
YOu can also give him "tools" to use when he is feeling "grumpy" and not wanting to be bothered... like he can go to him room and play by himself for a little while until he feels in a better mood... etc...
You girls are awesome!! I needed ideas and these are great! Knock Kneed~ I would love to see your reward system. He really is a wonderful kid, I just get freaked out when I see that side of him. Bless him, I take full responsibility for spoiling him rotten, but I really need to do some damage control! Thank you so much, I will keep yall posted! Here is why I have told him if he wasnt so stinking cute we would have already tied him up by his toes....

Thank you! I am so proud of both of my babies!!
He has a dimple you could park a car in and he also just learned how to wink ....I am in sooooo much trouble!!
OH yeah, gonna be a heart breaker... LOL
Is that your daughter also?? Shes a cutie pie too!
When my I was starting to see this same behavior in my daughter the first thing I did was decided what I would put up with, even before talking to her about it. That gave me a very clear idea of how I wanted to proceed and where I would tolerate what, ect. I think, a lot of times, when people go to stop a behavior they do not even realize that they don't have a plan. I know from experience with children and dogs that knee jerk reactions rarely work to effectively teach. Instead those reactions teach the kid or dog that I am reactive, and not in control. Does that make sense?

So what I did first with my DD is talk to her on her level, kneel on the floor and give physical contact. I always have her hold my hands lightly while we "discuss" behavior, this is her cue to know she must give me eye contact and her face must remain neutral (no dirty looks or we stop and start over until she listens neutrally). Then I ask her if she knows what she did wrong. She usually comes up with the answer right away because we've been doing this method for a long time, but at first it took her a while to get it. After she answers correctly I ask her why she did it. I validate her feelings (If appropriate) and then tell her a better way of behaving, making sure she knows that this is what I *expect* her to do differently. Only then do I give her a consequence (that is what we call it in our home).

After that, I watch like a hawk for opportunities to reinforce our communication. This means I am really on top of her behavior and making sure she does not repeat the offence. I have to remind her to stop and remember our talk sometimes, but rarely do I have to give her the same talk more than maybe twice. She knows that after the second time speaking with her that she will get a much faster consequence and it will be one that matters a lot to her, such as taking away her stuffed animal that she carries around, or taking away a snack, or whatever that will get her attention. DD will be 4 next month and we've been doing this since she was about 20 months old.
Yes ma'am, that's my baby girl! She is an awesome little creature!! Thank you, we think she's pretty cute & she amazes me daily

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