Question:

I am once again in need of advice from those of you that have been at this longer than I.  I am having a problem with my 7-year-old son.  He is completing his chores and his schoolwork, but I am troubled by his attitude.  I feel like I have to push him through his day.  Everything that I ask him to do is met with an "Aww man,"  or something of that sort.  He is not happy about any chores or schoolwork that is requested of him. I need any advice I can get on this.  I am all out of ideas.  I don't want to raise a lazy child with a bad attitude.

Answer:

Though unintentional, we often get what we allow to exist. It doesn't mean grumbling won't exist, but like other problems, it needs to be met with an immediate consequence. Being forced to do chores is exactly what is being grumbled against. Doing those chores isn't a consequence to the grumbling -- something additional needs to be added. The ladies below have some excellent ideas.

Comment from a Sister in Christ:

We’ve been through that, too.  (Actually, we go back there from time to time)

We used a boot camp approach for awhile.  Every, “aww man” resulted in an immediate, “Drop and give me ten push-ups.”  Once they stood back up, I’d repeat the command for a proper “Yes ma’am” response.  Sometimes I’d also tell them that since they clearly needed practice in giving the respectful response, we’d have to rehearse.  I’d send my son to sit back down and call him.  He’d hop up with a "yes ma’am" and start toward whatever task was set before him.  Then I’d stop him, have him sit back down, and repeat the process 5 or 10 times.

The immediate consequences tended to stick better than a drawn-out consequence.  If I took away video games or cartoons or whatever, he wouldn’t feel the loss until much later after the offense.

Comment from a Sister in Christ:

I have a rule with my kids that they are not allowed to complain.  Saying "aw, man" is complaining.  If my children complain, they get an extra job or a spanking.  We don't usually have much complaining.  I think this helps the kids get an early start at being less complaining as adults.  Not to say that I never complain myself, but it is something we are all trying to keep at bay.  You are right in explaining why we need to do these jobs, but eventually, it needs to be automatic that he not complain. Immediate correction every time is necessary in my opinion.

Comment from a Sister in Christ:

Along this line of thinking, we do not allow our kids or others with us to say, “We’re bored.”  This is a state you put yourself into.  I am not responsible for entertaining you.  Those words spoken by a child in my earshot perks my ears and any child who hears it and sees that I’ve heard it will immediately try to rectify the situation by convincing said child he didn’t really mean to say that statement and will do all in their power to ‘cover up’ such a statement but, to no avail.  I believe those words to mean " I need a job to do." (Roughly translated.)  So that’s what I provide;  happily!  I don’t normally hear those words.

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