Los Trés Papas: The Stubborn Seven-Year-Old

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This month, one of our readers asks:  “We are having a lot of behavior issues with our child, both at home and at school. He is very stubborn and his listening skills are very weak; he prefers to “stubborn” his way through everything. We have been working with the school, but it has been very exasperating trying to reach him and get him to focus and do what he needs to do. We are adamantly against medication. What can we do as parents to help him improve his behavior so he can succeed at home and in school?”

Ed Phillips thought for just a moment, and said, “OK, I don’t mean to sound flip. . . “  He paused again, chuckled, and said, “No candy at night! Seriously, try limiting his sugar. I really think it makes a difference.”

So aside from no sugar, what else can parents do with a stubborn child?  “Well,” said Ed, “Time out is a very effective tool. . . but it has to be used correctly.  Don’t just stick him in a corner and forget about him. That’s counterproductive.”

How long is an appropriate time out for a seven year old?  “15 minutes, tops,” Ed thinks.  “You go beyond 15 minutes, and then they just start getting fidgety again, and you lose the value of the time out.”

Readers, let us know what you think!  For the parents who asked, did you try this, and did it work?  For other parents, what has your experience been with limiting sugar and/or time outs?  Drop us a line at .

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