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Why is my son not obeying whatever we say?

Q: I am a mother of 2 children. The elder one is an 8 years old boy and the younger is a 4 year-old girl. The problem is with my son; I think he's of a very soft nature. If we shout slightly, he starts crying. Sometimes he is perfect in class work, but at times he leaves it incomplete. After giving the exam he says, that he wrote it very well and he will get an A+. But when we meet his teacher, she says that he does silly mistakes in the paper. He does not sit in the class properly and is always talking to other children. He is just not able to concentrate. I don't force him for anything and encourage him in all aspects. While watching TV, his mouth opens automatically. He competes with his younger sister and acts like a small child and wants us to appreciate him. My daughter is quite different. She says directly what she wants. She does her homework after coming from school immediately. But I have to force my son to sit and study. He wanted to joined karate, so we made him do it. He's not good with personal hygiene as well. He does not take a bath with soap sometimes and lies to me about it. He does not brush his teeth properly. He feels that he cannot speak English and doesn't do so in front of us. He's always jumping on the sofa. While telling something, he prolongs to find words that fit the conversation, which I guess before he says it, but at times I can't understand what he wants to tell. He doesn't say the names of the items. He doesn't allow me to wash his body. Yesterday my husband wanted to see his back, but he didn't allow anyone to touch him. I shouted at him and pulled his shirt, but he started crying. Later he told us that he was feeling ashamed. Please advise.

A:I think that there is a tendency on your part to compare the two children and to find that your son is not doing well enough. That may be the root of the problem. He may feel that for you his sister is the one to do everything right. First of all, stop comparing them. Let each one be treated as an individual. Since he does very well at times, there is nothing to doubt about his ability. Clearly, he is not doing his best all the time. The fact that he acts like a baby at times indicates that he feels the younger one gets all the attention. If you are not able to handle this on your own, find a friendly teacher, counsellor or Psychologist who will give you some suggestions. Assure your son that you love him and spend time reading with him or playing a board game. Children should not be treated as homework machines! Find out who his friends are and invite them over if they live nearby. As you have noticed he wants your appreciation. Do your best.

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