parent’s perspective / experience needed, child hurting themselves to “punish”

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  • parent’s perspective / experience needed, child hurting themselves to “punish”
  • cranberry

    I have no experience of raising kids/ being a parent.

    Was out with my friend and his 7 year old son yesterday. It was Bunkerdag in Holland and we were going to look around sites from the Atlantic Wall.

    First game – being first to spot a bunker, I happened to see one first. Lad lied and said that he had seen the bunker first but hadn’t said anything, he frequently lies about things and gets into a huff if called on it.

    Playing I Spy in the car and the lad was coming up with random stuff that wasn’t visible. How to play the rules was explained, and over and over he did the same thing, to the point we said we weren’t playing with him, as he was cheating and it wasn’t fair if no one but him could win. We relented after a few minutes, where upon he did exactly the thing that had been explained was wrong.  We both refused to play and he declared that he was going to hurt himself to punish his dad for not playing/ not letting him cheat.

    This happens as we drive into the gravel car park of our destination, he gets out of the car and starts throwing himself down on the ground, in a wrestling-style, landing on his side. This is done 4 or 5 times, I simply walked away and said nothing.

    He can seem happy at times, but his mum suffers from depression and has tried to keep him back/dependent on her. At the age of 7 he can’t really use a knife and fork, for example ( “he’s only 7 you can’t expect him to do that” ) Her behaviour that I’ve experienced matches the symptoms of opposition defiance disorder. The actually trying to hurt himself I haven’t experienced before and it shook me.

    Am I overreacting, is this not abnormal, WWSTWD ?

    Premier Icon bedmaker

    <i>Kids do weird stuff.  He’ll most likely grow out of it.</i>

    Or become a cannibal serial killer.

    Premier Icon senor j

    Kids make up stuff and do crazy things to get attention. He’ll grow out of it. I did. Kind of.

    My son swears blind that he met Sergio Ramos(infamous Spanish footballer) at the bus stop round the corner & told him off for hurting Mohamed Salah(famous Egyptian footballer).

    & next time , let him see the bunker first .


    Sometimes you just have to let them win – for a **** quiet life. 🙂

    I’d say most of the other stuff is attention seeking -in general what I’ve found is when good attention isn’t forthcoming then any type of attention will do. As for his Mum, who knows – sounds complicated. And as Larkin said,

    ”They **** you up, your mum and dad.

    They may not mean to, but they do.

    They fill you with the faults they had.

    And add some extra, just for you.”

    He’ll be fine…hopefully


    Maybe he had seen the bunker first, but being only 7 wasn’t really sure and didn’t want to be wrong?

    I was like this, always worried about being wrong so never spoke up, then mocked for saying “that’s what I was thinking

    The rest of his behaviour I can’t justify, sounds like a spoilt brat that needs sorting out 😂


    Kids aren’t normal, none of them are. Yeah I know social media is full of perfect kids who never act like pricks or slash your dinning room chairs to punish you for telling them off, asking a friend to scrape their arm so they can claim they’re self-harming, tell other parents they’re leaving for stage school at the end of the year, swing on their sisters bedroom door, break it and claim it spontaneously exploded or steal money from their sister to waste on sweets and crap…

    Experts would no doubt disagree with me, but all of the above is ‘normal’ for kids right up to the point of giving the gravel the ‘peoples elbow’. Some people would find that shocking and it is, but to me that’s just a kid upping the stakes to win. They’re predisposed to push boundaries, my Son (and my friend’s kids) do this from time to time, if you make a big fuss of them, then they feel they’ve gotten away with being naughty. It’s best to keep calm, explain they’ve hurt themselves and how silly that is and don’t lift any punishment you set for the orginal naugtiness.


    I am certain he didn’t see a bunker first, he knows what they look like and there was an unspecified prize for seeing the first one.

    And an open bag of Haribo in the front of the car.

    So it was basically like telling a smackhead that they’d get a free fix if they spotted the first bunker.

    Not carrying through with a punishment is a big issue – his mum does nothing but make excuses for him / say “Aww Tom,  doe normaal” ( just behave normally ). There is zero discipline and sod all role model coming from that side. My mate tries to point him in the correct direction in behaving with a bit of decency/etc, but gets frustrated and almost never carries through on any punishment. When that does happen, the mother undermines him and gives the lad treats.

    And next time, I’ll try not to be the first to notice any large concrete structures.

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride

    The mother is to blame, parents that don’t follow through with their threats leads to a child that doesn’t understand consequences & can’t integrate into society, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, but only if everyone is playing the same game.


    Can’t use a knife and fork at 7?

    Wow 🙁


    Probably got adh or some other modern made up disease thats used as an excuse for bad parenting.

    Am I overreacting

    Yes, and then going on the internet to moan about seems like the adult version of throwing yourself on the floor and having a tantrum!!


    Not really AA, I think the OP was looking for advice rather than being slated.

    I hear the “he’s only 3 years old” in relation to my grandson, when the reality he that he should be doing xyz at that age.

    The thing is you have to have expectations for you kids, otherwise you never push them to try new things.

    But nayway, its a phase and i’m sure he’ll grow out of it. The mother not reinforcing things is important, otherwise any threats carry no weight. (I’m assuming from what you’ve written that you and your wife are not together?)

    Having a barney over the ‘rules’ of I Spy seems a bit excessive. Well, unless you’re seven.

    He sounds a bit childish to me, which I suppose is what you’d expect from a child. And as for knife and fork usage, my lad is 15 and still has to be reminded…


    Many American adults do not seem able to use a knife and fork unfortunately.

    Premier Icon kimbers

    the cutlery thing is bad at 7, packed lunches? or the school would have picked up on that

    cheating at ispy is totally normal, just cheat back!

    hurting himself is a bit weird, but, kids do crazy stuff

    Premier Icon Esme

    What you can’t know, obviously, is what effect is your presence having on this young child?

    At 7, he may be jealous that you are “stealing” his dad’s attention, and is therefore expressing his frustration with “anti-social” behaviour.

    Nevertheless, these differing parenting styles from his mum and dad must be very confusing for the kid.


    you are over reacting, he’s 7 most of what you described is normal- apart from you wanting to beat a 7 yr old at i-spy lol


    Yes, and then going on the internet to moan about seems like the adult version of throwing yourself on the floor and having a tantrum!!

    To be clear, my concern was with self-harming /  throwing himself on the floor -It is something I haven’t experienced/witnessed from a kid that age, and the confirmation of the reason – to punish his dad. I wasn’t sure if it was something serious enough that I should have a quiet word with his dad at some point.

    Without going into too much history, my mate has turned out a very decent guy considering that he had less than stellar parenting.

    The mother’s dad was a abusive drug dealer. He was the better parent, her mother was sectioned after attempting to drown her daughter in the sink.

    So I am aware that neither parent has fantastic role models to work with as a basis for their parenting.

    What you can’t know, obviously, is what effect is your presence having on this young child?

    This could be a factor, and is something I’m aware of. The dad works very long hours – often leaving the house at 4:30 and sometimes not getting back till late / working away. We generally meet up for lunch on a Saturday after the lad has spent the morning playing sports / swimming.

    apart from you wanting to beat a 7 yr old at i-spy lol

    We were encouraging him to play to keep him occupied during the hour long drive, and things were going well – he is good at observation and knowing the names of things in 2 languages, so you had to think of things in both languages when he was making you guess. He was winning plenty without cheating 😉 . His dad got frustrated with him when he started repeatedly cheating and was the one who called an end to the game.

    I’m detecting a vibe of “yeah, that sort of thing can happen” from, I’,m guessing, the parents who’ve replied, which is great, it has put my mind at rest.

    Thanks all.

    Apart from AA, who is, like, soooooooooo unfair!!!

    *throws self on floor*

    See what you made me do ?

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