Attitude Boy

Let me start out with: I love my son. I really do. He’s a smart, talented little guy.

OK. Moving on.

I’m not sure when it started, exactly. I know it’s been awhile… Since before Christmas break. Jackson has turned into

Attitude Boy


It was Young Authors’ Night at school. I asked Jackson to change into a button down shirt for the occasion. He said no. I told him he would be wearing a button down shirt, although he could choose which one. He said no. I told him he would be wearing a button down shirt, and if he didn’t go up and choose it, I would choose one for him, and he would wear it. He said no.

Sensing a pattern here, are we?

It took losing his iPod and all screen time for him to grudgingly go upstairs and put on a button down shirt.

When he came back down, he said, “Is this good enough for you?”

Yes. My son is obnoxious.

He babbles incessantly. He loves to hear the sound of his own voice. He’ll ask me random questions, and not even wait for the answer to one before he asks another. I wouldn’t mind if he were conversing with me, but he’s not. He’s not paying any attention at all.

He disagrees with everything that comes out of our mouths. He asked what “continuity” was. Max explained it, very well and age-appropriately, and then Jackson said, “That’s not continuity.”

He will choose to do something that is clearly a bad idea – like breaking plastic silverware. Why would you do that? What did the silverware ever do to him? So, I’ll say, “Jackson, stop that.” And he continues to do it. And he gets counted to 3 and he goes to his room or loses his iPod.

He threw a tantrum last week over cleaning up his Legos. He loves Legos. He’s very good at building with them. He has thousands of them. And he never cleans them up. It’s always an ordeal. He’s lost them before, and we’ll give him back a few bins at a time, and he cleans them up for awhile, but ultimately, “It’s too hard!” His tantrum last week was so insane, I told him that he lost his Legos for the rest of the summer. Max is mad at me for that. He doesn’t think the entire summer is a good idea. So, we told Jackson that he could earn his Legos back by behaving properly for 5 days. And he behaved fairly well for 3 days. On the 4th day, he went back to being

Attitude Boy

He delights in teasing his sister, which I expected to some extent. However, there doesn’t seem to be any deterring him. He’ll take away what she has, even if it is rightfully hers. He’ll try to give her things she can’t have, then pull them away. He’ll mess up her hair. He’ll do stuff just to make her shriek indignantly.

This is the kid who has always done poorly without structure. I mean, people love to talk about how you can’t schedule babies… blah blah blah. But Jackson was the baby who had to have a schedule. He had to be put down for a nap at 1:00. Not 12:45. Not 1:15. 1:00. Or he would scream for at least 1 hour, usually 2.

So when we have long breaks like these, we try to come up with some structure for our days. And yes, even during summer break, he has to do some school work. He needs to practice his handwriting, he needs to read, and he needs to do one more activity, such as writing a book report, practicing Rosetta Stone, or doing a worksheet. Getting him to write has been torture for everyone involved. Today, he tried to convince us that he was left-handed and that he couldn’t hold a pencil the “right” way.

The problem is, I cannot schedule every minute of his day. I can say that he’s allowed to wake up whenever he’s ready. He can eat breakfast between x and y, then do school work, then have lunch… but I can’t apparently tell him that when he gets time to play, that playing cannot be walking all over  his sister’s toys. Seriously. Cassie strews her toys everywhere. We’re working on getting her to pick up. But sometimes, you just have to step over the toys. However, Jackson goes out of his way to step on them. And that’s what he decided to do for the half hour between swimming lesson and lunch. He has plenty of other toys of his own! He has crafts. He has books. He has stuffed animals. He could even have asked to watch TV, and I probably would have allowed it if it were educational-ish. But walking on his sister’s toys was more fun. So he lost his iPod. Again.

It really is like he’s two kids. He’s Jackson, and then he’s Obnoxious Jack. It is driving me crazy. It is driving Max to become incredibly angry. Jackson was put to bed right after dinner for his behavior today, which included whining for stuff at Costco, which he hasn’t done… ever. And even when I put him to bed, I was planning on reading to him until he asked to stop. We could have finished Freaky Friday. But he jumped around the bed, flung the stuffed animals out of bed, tried to grab the book from me, played with my hair, picked his nose and played with the snot, found an old glowy bracelet and played with it, and tried to pull the cat’s tail. So I read one chapter and left. That was 7:40. It’s 9:48 as I write this, and he’s come downstairs 3 times for 3 different mysterious ailments. I’m not sure if he’s asleep yet or not.

I understand that kids are going to be obnoxious sometimes. And, having watched some of the boys at his school at the aforementioned Young Authors’ Night, I see where the influence comes from.* But he shouldn’t be obnoxious all. the. time.



* If you are my Facebook friend and you are reading this blog (Karyn, Lori, Pam, Rebecca), don’t worry, it’s not your kid I’m talking about. Really. Ask me personally, and I’ll tell you who they are. 🙂


8 thoughts on “Attitude Boy

  1. His behavior sounds really annoying. I have a cousin who went through something similar with her boys. The boys grew out of it, but it was tough for a while. She had a few things that made it easier. If you want, I can tell you some of her solutions…but if you just need to vent, I understand that as well!!!

    • I would very much appreciate advice. We’ve had a system of discipline that worked for about 2 years, but it doesn’t seem to work all that well now. *sigh* Email me 🙂

  2. I think some of it is being 7, and consistency is the only way out :/ we’ve had a lot of really similar battles and I’ve talked to other moms who have said the same. Not that that makes your job any easier, but maybe misery lives company? Hopefully he’ll go back to regular Jackson soon :(. (I have some guesses about who you were referring to. We’ll have to chat 😉)

    • I know some of it is “the age.” I was talking to my sister yesterday, and apparently my nephew Orion is doing some of the same things Jackson is. It is nice to know I’m not the only one dealing with all this, but at the same time, it’s no fun for anyone.

  3. Robyn, how long as this been going on? It sounds to me like there is a cause behind it as it does sound a little more than the average. Have you guys been brainstorming causes and have you shared it with the pediatrician?

    • I’m fairly certain that what’s going on is, “Why does Cassie get all the attention?” He’s tired of playing second fiddle to his sister, but there’s really nothing we can do about that. Even when he does get 1-1 attention, as soon as that stops, he’ll go right back to misbehaving.
      Cassie stopped putting Legos in her mouth, so she was allowed to play with Legos, which made Jackson really happy. Then, she started taking his stuff apart – usually stuff he hadn’t played with in days – which made him so angry he decided no babys [sic] were aloud [sic] in the office. We’ve tried to play Legos with him and the baby and giving Cassie her own stuff to break up, but he still doesn’t like that she can play with his toys. I’m like, dude, you have to share. *sigh*

      • Old poem but still true today (genders reversed from your kids):
        The First Tooth
        By: Charles and Mary Lamb

        Through the house what busy joy,
        Just because the infant boy
        Has a tiny tooth to show!
        I have got a double row,
        All as white and all as small;
        Yet no one cares for mine at all.
        He can say but half a word,
        Yet that single sound’s preferred
        To all the words that I can say
        In the longest summer day.
        He cannot walk, yet if he put
        With mimic motion out his foot,
        As if he thought he were advancing,
        It’s prized more than my best dancing.

  4. Pingback: Break | The Chittister Family

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