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My 6-year-old son is misbehaving a lot. He doesn't care about punishments. He even would say so I don't care if I don't get this or that. Even if I whoop him, which I try not to at all, it does not faze him.

When I sit down and talk to him and ask him "Why?", he laughs and say he doesn't know and that he tried not to do it. That he can't help it. Recently I asked him if it makes him sad that he makes me sad, he said no. One time I cried because I'm so stressed with the situation and he laughed. He's only six! He shows no sign of regret or anything of the sort for his behavior.

I don't know what else to do! I have tried everything except doctors. I'm scared he is going to be something really bad when he gets older. I have 4 kids and he's the only one that acts like this. I spend lots of time with them all, especially him. What am I doing wrong?

  • Does he react any differently from punishments/talks from you vs. from his father? – user3143 Sep 4 '14 at 18:49
  • Thank you for writing this down. It is very supportive and encouraging. I am not sure whether I deserve it. I wish, that I could turn the clock back and start again. – user14351 Apr 2 '15 at 0:05
  • It sounds like he's reaching out for you and he feels that misbehaving will get ur attention. My advice is to listen to him. Pay attention to times that he acts out what happened who's around him all of that – user26023 Jan 6 '17 at 2:22
  • Sounds like me as a child. My mother finally gave up because (a) her arm got tired, and (b) after my timeout was over I'd already be enjoying myself reading my Bible and refuse to come out. – pojo-guy Jul 4 '17 at 22:32
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First of all, don't panic! Children are notoriously fickle and given to bad moods and they develop empathy at different rates, so this is most likely a phase he's going through.

I obviously don't know what will work for you but I went through a similar problem (with a slightly younger child) and I know what worked for me. Nothing I did could reach my son, who was consistently disobedient and distant. He was immune to any form of discipline and grew angry and confused when he didn't get his own way. Everything became a battle of wills and even though I won those battles, I felt like I was losing my son.

In retrospect, the answer seems obvious but it's hard to have perspective when everything is going wrong. Thinking it through, I realised that I was treating my young son as if he were a tiny adult. I was over-estimating his maturity and ability to respond to reason, so what did that leave?

Simply, I treated him like the little child he was and smothered him in affection. I let him set the tone of our talks and played his games. I stopped trying to get him to be "good" and instead tried to understand what he was doing and (most importantly) why he was doing it.

Over the course of a week or so, trust was re-established between us and things became easier. He's always going to be stubborn and strong willed but now our relationship is based on love, which sounds twee but I can think of no better way to describe it.

I hope this works for you. Try to maintain your perspective, don't panic and don't lose heart.

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