Belfast Telegraph

My son’s behaviour is out of control

Northern Ireland's number one agony aunt Fiona Hurley answers your problems

Dear Fiona, My eight-year-old son is a badly behaved brat who goes crazy if say ‘No’ to him so I just let him have his own way.

I’m a single mum but he only behaves like this to me.

He acts like the perfect child to everyone else and I know my family think I’m exaggerating.

When he kicks off I try to shock him by telling him I wish he was dead but it doesn’t make any difference. What should I do?

Distraught Mother,

East Belfast

Dear Distraught Mother,

Your son’s behaviour is undoubtedly causing distress but he’s still a child who needs your support.

Saying you wish he was dead is highly unlikely to placate him and if anything, will fuel his anger, frustration and resentment while leading to serious self-esteem issues.

Children desperately need boundaries so it’s essential you create and enforce strict rules that are inflexible and constant.

When he violates those rules, there must be some punishment such as losing important privileges. But when he adheres to your rules, do reward him. He needs to connect bad behaviour with loss, and good behaviour with gain.

Enforcing your rules will take commitment so don’t give in when the going gets tough. Simply letting him dominate you for an easy life is not an option.

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