son dilemma


Puritan Board Freshman
As a parent of three I have, like you, had to take things away. In those times what I have repeatedly struggled with is knowing if the consequence should be temporary or permanent. Temporary because of the happiness they got from said thing. Permanent because they need to realize that consequences can have long term impacts on their life *1. Four weeks of good behavior may seem like an eternity for your son. And as parents we are called to shepherd their entire childhood not just the next four weeks. At the same time, we must remember that our kids are ultimately in God's hands, not ours. I don't know how much that helps just part of my journey.

My thought: if/when you do decide to rebuy the Xbox, involve him in setting rules for its issue. Bring your concerns and their foundations (Biblical or otherwise) but don't immediately give rules to solve them. Help him to come up with those rules. The incentive is that he doesn't get the Xbox till both of you have agreed on rules.

A second though: if you are able, dedicate the time to playing games on the Xbox with him. Use his desire for this thing to draw you together instead of apart. Just as we invite those we love to join us in what we enjoy, we seek to join those we love in what they enjoy even when it is not our natural inclination and even when it is inconvenient. Just because we love them. God joined us in our humanity and now invites us to worship Him despite our inclination and convince. And He is parenting with eternity in mind.

*1. Such as 40 years in the desert (Deut 1:26-46)


Puritan Board Freshman
Just an update: very surprising turn of events today in which he came home from school, seemingly, a very different boy. Was remorseful and apologised to myself and his mother and made no mention of it again. I am hopeful and prayerful and will endeavour to spend some time with him. I also have taken on board some advice from another brother to seek out a church youth group where he may indeed perhaps make some new friends within the family of faith.
Thank you for your support and input friends. This is a valued community.
Dear Cameron, very thankful to read this.

I had hesitated to chip in last night because I feel I need parenting advice more than I can give it, but your description of your situation did resonate with me, and just wanted to throw in some quick thoughts.

I did find that with one of mine, it took school to see a different side of him - not the difficult, exasperating child we got at home, but an individual with good character traits that I perhaps hadn't fully appreciated or nurtured.

I can't pretend it's easy, but things that I've found helpful were -

* If you have ended up removing a "treat" because of bad behaviour, you can't let him have it back until there is tangible evidence of improved behaviour, but that highly prized thing will work well as a reward when that evidence is forthcoming

* Actively notice the good things (good attitudes, good behaviours), even if they are tiny, and praise him for them.

* Watch to see what leads to flashpoints and bad behaviour and try and forestall these, or at least talk through better ways of responding when things do make him annoyed. Equally, spot what are his motivators and try and make it as easy as possible for him to do the right thing.

* Let personal attacks/insults wash over you, don't take them personally. It isn't acceptable behaviour on his part, but as I'm the grown-up here, I should be able to rise above it

* Get as much buy-in as possible for religious activities - even though they are non-negotiable, not every aspect has to be handed down authoritatively and stuck to rigidly. So, can they choose what book of the bible to read next, can they take turns to start the singings or say the prayer, can we shorten a problematic bit or spend more time on something they engage with better, etc. (The church youth group idea sounds great along these lines too.)

Hopefully, it's just a phase - this is a difficult age (? transition to secondary?). Perhaps there is always the possibility that there are more deep-seated issues and perhaps for some people it would need input/support from professionals to deal with especially challenging behaviours. However, really just wanted to say you're not alone!


Puritan Board Sophomore
When you say “get out his frustrations” what do you mean by that? Allow him to scream into a pillow? Punch a bag? This was suggested to us by another parent, but that seems like a controlled loss of self control. Curious how you allow your child to get out his frustrations because I think my son responds the same way.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
We generally let him vent, he would blurt things out, bangs things, etc. Then when he is calm sometimes that is fairly quick other times its the next day we discuss what happened and better ways to handle the situation. This has shown more fruit than spanking. Spanking only pre-longed things and was a battle of the wills. Over the years he has grown in self control and the episodes have become fewer and further in between. I think the key is picking the hills to die on and which to suck in our pride as parents.