M.T. asks from Salem, NH on September 10, 2010
Behavior Problems - Salem,NH
Hello. I need some advice as to what I should do about my 5 year old daughter. I cannot get her to listen to anything I say without an all out battle. Every day I go to work upset and frustrated. Everything is a fight with her. I tell her to get dresses so we can go, she tells me no. She refuses to do it. I tell her if she doesn’t do as she’s told then either I threaten time out or taking something away. This doesn’t seem to work. She tells me she doesn’t care. It goes to the point that I have to take something away or put her in time out. When she gets put in time out, she runs away immediately. It becomes a game to her. I even see her laughing about it. I try to not show I am frustrated and I don’t talk to her, just keep putting her back in. Finally after about an hour or so, she will finally stay. Then she’ll keep asking every 2 seconds if she can get off. She knows there’s a timer, but she still asks anyway.
If I take a toy away she will chase after me to try to get it back. She’ll yell, kick, bite etc. me if I don’t give it back. She then proceeds to try to retrieve it herself. She doesn’t care that she needs to be good to get it back, all that matters to her is getting it back. Sometimes she’ll say I’ll be good mommy I promise can I have it back. I tell her, then show me your going to be good and do what I told you to do. She then says no.
We do not give in, eventually she does what she’s supposed to, but it’s not without great difficulty. Then if you dare to ask her to listen or do something else she doesn’t want to do, it starts all over again.
She cusses at us, hits, yells, tells us she doesn’t care etc. I am at my witts end! I will mention that she’s good at school and listens there. With myself, husband, 11 year old sister and grandparents she doesn’t. Should I have her seen by a doctor or is there something else I should try to do. I don’t know if this is normal behavior for this age or not. My 11 year old was NEVER like this.
So What Happened?™
Thank You everyone for your advice. We have implemented some of your ideas and advice already and it seems to be working. I think part of her issue is that there have been a few changes in her life in a short period of time. She has been in the same daycare since she was 1.5 years old and is now in public full day kindergarten. We also moved recently to a new place. We used to live with family and I think she misses them as well as the children and teachers at daycare. She just told us told us very upset yesterday that she misses daycare and her family. This is something that was never told to us before by her. I hope to have a handle on all of this within the coming months and I have faith she will adjust to her new settings and calm down. If not, then we will definitely seek professional help. Thank You all for your help.
N.S. answers from Chicago on September 10, 2010
Sounds like she might like the attention so don't give it to her. Instead of responding to the negative behavior, ignore it.
If she won't get ready in the morning, then she goes to school in her pyjamas. I would give her 2 chances. Tell her once (cheerfully) to get ready for school. If she says "no" just ignore that and walk away. Don't respond to the word "no." The second time remind her to get ready and if she doesn't, she will go to school in her pyjamas. If she says "no" again, don't respond, just walk away.
When time to leave, grab her shoes and bag and put her in the car. Take her to school in her pyjamas and give the teacher her shoes. Explain to the teacher what's going on, she will understand for sure.
I would almost GUARANTEE she will get ready after this. Time-outs aren't working, taking stuff away isn't working, time for Natural Consequences.
This totally worked on my stepdaughter when she was six. If she didn't eat when we ate, she went hungry. If she wasn't ready to go, she went just as she was. It took about a month and she stopped running away and hiding when she was in trouble, she started eating when we ate, she got ready for school on time. The first time she had to go to school in her pyjamas she wore her coat all day long because she was so embarrassed. We never had THAT problem again!
Getting rid of the fighting was the best part. No arguing or stress on my part (or dad's part). I just believe that the world has lots of natural consequences for adults. People who don't realize this as children grow up to be adults that think the rules don't apply to them, or they wait for someone to "save them" or even worse, they make huge mistakes that are hard to recover from. I think we do our kids a favor by teaching them early that every action has a consequence--be it positive or negative.
4 moms found this helpful
T.V. answers from San Francisco on September 10, 2010
Taking things away
First child (11 year old) didn’t act like this
No, this is not normal behavior its bad behavior and since you say this is a daily routine for your five year old; it’s time to make some major changes. I suggest the following:
While she is in school, box up every toy she has in her room and put the box(es) where the child cannot get to them. When she asks about them let her know that she will have to earn back each and every toy by proving she can behave and listen to you. Let her know the days of asking her to do something more than ONCE are over!
If she doesn’t get dressed, take her to school or day care in her PJs
Cursing, yelling and violent behavior will have consequences; she will go immediately to her empty room (early bed, no dessert, no tv, stories, no nothing).
Simply saying “I’ll be good mommy” will no longer work, she will have to prove she is going to be good, by actually being good for X number of days in a ROW. I would say at least THREE days, but as her mother you need to determine this.
Do not ever compare her to her older sibling or other people’s children
Lastly, where did she learn to curse?
3 moms found this helpful
C.M. answers from Springfield on September 10, 2010
Right on NS. I've done the same thing. To school in PJs. Only had to do it once. Natural Consequences is a perfect way to put it. And yes, too many adults today never learned that lesson as a child.
1 mom found this helpful
J.H. answers from Boston on September 11, 2010
My friend Stephanie also lives in NH and she had the same problem with her son. She gave him a nutritional supplement that seemed to work very well. I can connect u with her if you'd like.
M.R. answers from Columbus on September 10, 2010
There is a simple answer to your question, and you hold it. First, take a look at your situation, and if you have really applied one known effective, typical diciplinary strategy on a consisitent basis and she is not able to apply what she has learned through typical dicipline to herself, then yes, it is time to have her evaluated. Pure and simple. I am not going to tell you if you have applied the dicipline consistently or long enough or that you did not choose the right one. You know if you have done it, and it does not matter one bit which one you try, if you did the job, really did the job with good standard stuff, and she cannot process it, then consider that she has some kind of a barrier that is keeping her from using this information. You know, and I would assume, that if you have an 11 year old with whom you applied the same techniques, and they worked well, that you should probably not be blaming yourself for what is going on now.
So often, I have been say, at a park with my youngest two daughters. My middle child was able to process typical dicipline and apply it to herself in a typical, age appropriate way, the younger one was not. People would look right past my well behaved child to castigate me for what I must not be doing right with the second one, who has the kind of barrier I am talking about. Don't beat yourself up if this is your situation, there is help.
Developmental Pediatricians are great places to start, if you think this applies to you too.
L.A. answers from Minneapolis on September 10, 2010
first I'll send you a mental hug because I know exactly how frustrating a non-cooperative child can be. It is the pitts!!! Some kids have temperaments where they can "whithstand" threats, punishments and dominance of any kind. For moms, this causes them to be bald because we pull our hair out on a regular basis. For the kids, when they are little, it puts them at risk for being tossed out a window however when they are grown, it gives them steely resolve to tackle the toughest problems.
For the day to day stuff, I try to eliminate battles as much as possible. Don't want to get dressed? Fine, take her as she is. She may decide she wants to get dressed at this point. Or she may decide she wants to get dressed once she gets there. (then have her dress in the car). Let it be her idea as much as possible. If she goes into school with her pjs on, the teachers will talk to her. Now its THEIR beef and not from mom.
Besides eliminating battles, I will also decide what is the important part and negotiate the details with her. Listen to her protest and see what accomodations you can make. Better yet, have her come up with what it takes for her to do such-and-such. Giving on the options is a small sacrifice because the main thing is still accomplished and now without the big battle.
Another thing I have learned is how to approach things from a different angle and make them appealing. For example, I will never say "time for bed" because that would get a "NO". Instead, I say "I'm going to be first to your room." and now it's game-on.
I hope that helps. There are several books that I've read to help me wrap my head around doing things differently. These books don't use punishments that you need to keep making stronger and stronger. In addition, they teach your child great skills that will be useful their whole lives. They are: "Playful Parenting" "How to talk so Kids will Listen", "Raising Your Spirited Child" and "Kids are Worth It".
Feel free to write if you need an ear to vent into. It's not easy with the strong-willed ones!!
H.L. answers from Cleveland on September 10, 2010
Sounds like a strong-willed little girl. You don't mention how many chances she gets. I would try telling her that you will tell her ONCE and then the consequence is THIS. Then immediately follow through. I would also let her know that cussing and hitting are NOT acceptable and will result in an immediate consequence. A 5 minute timeout is long enough for her, or take away one of her favorite things to do like a favorite show she watches that day. Being consistent is key, and from parent to parent. Try that for a week or two and if it is still problematic, counseling wouldn't hurt.
C.C. answers from Boston on September 13, 2010
A lot of it comes from anxiety - which manifests itself differently in different people. Also she is playing you and this is common with the youngest children of the family. They are used to extra attention and they are the 'entertainers' or jokers of the family. All you can do is not react to her attention seeking behavior. It seems to be a phase she is going through. Your 11 year old did have any sibling rivalry - it is a different situation. It can't be compared.