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Why is my son getting stubborn day by day?

Q: My son is 7 years old and is very stubborn. He is not very naughty nor he wants us to buy everything from the shops. But he doesn't listen to whatever we say, especially his father. He does this purposely. His father is very strict with him; therefore he has started disliking him. He is very fine at school and with friends and neighbours. It's only at home that he acts so different and screams for small things like brushing his teeth and taking a bath. We have tried everything like scolding, beating, giving time out, not talking to him, stop the TV, advising, talking nicely and so many ways. But they are of no use and he is becoming worse. Nowadays he seems unhappy at home and losing interest in everything. My husband wanted to be very strict with him to make him better, on the other hand I want my son to understand and listen and obey us lovingly and not be frightened and hiding things from us. He has started telling lies when he makes mistakes. Due to this we both end up fighting all the time. According to the elders in the family, he behaves this way because he is the only child. If he gets a sibling he will behave in a very mature way. But we are not sure about this. We are very confused. Please advise.

A:Quite often, the tension between the two parents becomes the problem for the child. Between you, there is no agreement on how to bring up the child. And your son has sensed that his father expects too much from him and is strict. Scolding and beating should be banned. Why do you treat a 7 year old so harshly? Whatever I say to you in this letter may not be conveyed to your husband, I fear. He needs to cool off and to lower his expectation that the son will be perfect. Your son sounds upset, almost disturbed. If possible, consult a family therapist, by going together for some advice. Having another child will not solve the problem. We have to treat the child who is already there with warmth and affection and deal lightly with his problem behaviour. As you can see, the child's lack of interest reflects his unhappiness and that is where you will have to start.

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