My son got a failing grade on his exam. So as punishment, I told that for this two days, he cannot play games in the computer. When he heard that, he got so angry. This is the first time that I saw him like that. When I tried talking to him after he calmed down, he wouldn't tell me what's wrong. How can I get my son to talk to me about what's bothering him?
I believe that the situation describe shows two different areas that need to be addressed.
1. Failing grade on your 8 year old son's exam. Your son is only 8 and my guess is that your son may need you to sit with him each day so you can go over his homework and make sure he understands what he needs to do. After he is done, tell him to bring his work to you so you can check it.
This will do two things. It will let him know that you want to help him (you're willing to go over the schoolwork with him) and it will also give him confidence in knowing that if you review the work, you can catch problems before he turns it in.
If you know he understands the material, then you can be confident that he should have no problem at all on quizzes and tests. However, if you are not involved at all in overseeing his homework you could be setting him up for failure.
2. In addressing his angry response to being taken off of computer games... my guess is that he has become addicted to his computer games and he has not been trained to know that computer games come second to everything else. Computer time is a privilege, not a right. But because you've let him play a lot and probably just about anytime he wants, to, he now things he has a right to it. If you take it away, he will naturally have a strong negative response.
However, if you teach him that computer time is special, and also that when he's on the computer, that he needs to stop immediately when called, and respond with a positive attitude, you will see that his view of computer time will change to an understanding that it is a privilege - a special time, and not something he can do anytime he wants, or even throughout the day.
The way to change this is by taking it away completely for a week. You will need to be prepared to have other things ready for him to do, as you break his addiction. Have books for him to read, plan to take walks to the park, have play dough for him to create with, have craft time each day where you sit down with your 4 year old and your 8 year old together, and you create a craft together.
Training children takes time and dedication, and often when children are left to watch TV and/or play computer games a lot it's because mum is busy with other things and she uses those things to entertain the children.
There are times when I take the children completely off of TV and computer. Sometimes it's for a day or two, sometimes it's for a week. But I always notice that when I do this, they find other things to do. They play more board games together, or they read more on their own. Sometimes they'll get creative on their own with paper and scissors.
An other thing we do is most of what the children watch on TV is educational, and I'm not talking about cartoons. I'm talking about programs like Reading Rainbow and Mister Rogers where they take field trips and show real life experiences.
When a child "has" to be entertained, you know it's time to make a change. They should always know how to entertain themselves without computer or TV and if you say "no computer" they should accept it and realize that they will receive that special time again when they have earned it.
At 8 years of age your son may not be able to articulate exactly "why" he is feeling angry other than you took something away that he wanted so I wouldn't expect him to talk about it. Take a position of authority, letting him know lovingly that you are there to help him, and then give him some extra time to display this.
Let me know if this is helpful or if you think I'm totally off base, and I'll give other suggestions.
Your insight is very helpful. Thanks so much
Did you try making some changes with our son? How did he respond? Do you feel like you're on the right track or not?
We are slowly making progress. The chore chart was very helpful. Thanks so much.