5 answers

Is My 5 Year Old Daughter Destined to Be a Trouble-maker?

Having another daughter who has been through 5, I find myself wondering what am I doing wrong? My youngest just turned 5 and is exhibiting traits of being very individualistic, more interested in what her friends are doing and not being very interested in schoolwork. She is definitely our "social butterfly", has always been that way from very young. She just started Kindergarten and has gotten stars but has also gotten corrections like "not paying attention, not following directions, disrupting other students work". When we talked about the latter behavior she said she just likes to talk with her friends. We addressed that. So she has gotten more stars than not, but this is the thing....she seems very non-chalant about a lot of things. It's like she has a very carefree attitude about things and doesn't take much very seriously. I have had friends who have commented "she's the one you're going to have to watch". I mean, she doesn't do anything horrible. She's cute, she knows she's cute and kinda banks on that, I think. She's very funny, loves to laugh, loves to play (loves to play with the family), is kind to animals and anyone who is sick, really very wonderful little girl. It's just the feeling I have that maybe, no matter what we do, as she gets older she is going to be up to more mischief some of which won't be so good. I know it's not great of me to worry about the future so much, but I can't help but think about this. I mean, NOW would be the time to curb this, but how? We talk to her about making good choices, etc. She seems to understand but seems to be still easily swayed. Any comments/experiences? Thanks!

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More Answers

Your daughter may be like I was. I used to get in trouble in school for talking and disrupting others from the first day I started. The teachers tried all kinds of punishments. When in second grade I got a really super cool teacher that understood me and I never got in trouble. She noticed that my reason for talking and acting the way I was was not a bad thing at all. It was a good thing actually. She had me doing third grade math instead of second grade math. She had me in fifth grade english books. She took time to figure out why I was acting out in class. It had nothing to do with being bad or not being taught to mind. It was totally because I was advanced and bored with my school work. When in third grade my teacher failed to realize this and I again got into trouble for talking, etc... But then in fourth grade my teacher again gave me advanced work and extra work to keep me out of trouble. Your daughter may just be bored with what they are doing in class. Work with her and find out why she is doing what she is doing instead of just punishing her for the behavior.You just might be surprised and find out that she just needs a little more work than the average child. Good Luck!

Hi K.,
I am a mother of two boys, 15 & 18. My youngest was/is the same way. One thing I've learned is that those traits while not always great in a school environment will help them to be successful in life. I've tried different school options with my son to help him succeed. We went from regular public school, to magnet schools, to charter and now he is taking mostly online classes combined with one or two at our local highschool. A great charter school locally is Tampa Charter, but I think it's from 3rd grade up. I don't think it should be about changing your daughter, but changing the environment to one that helps her be successful. School has always been more of a social event for my son, but in the right environment with the right teachers he has excelled. At home he is wonderful, he's always keeps his room immaculate, is a hard worker, etc... hard to explain that to teachers that wanted to call him lazy and a troublemaker. In regular school he was always in trouble for exactly the same things as your daughter, but he was really just being social. Regular schools just don't allow that anymore with barely having recess and lunch times.


I want to share with you one book, not long, packed full of great and easy reading, that sheds light on people's personalities in general, no matter the age. Its called The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. In essence, it gives you insights into the 4 different learning styles of humans. Just from what you wrote, it sounds like your daughter's dominant way of 'being' is abstract random (I'm guessing, mind you, but just a hunch). Reading the book with a particular person in mind, you can pick out the dominant way they see and process the world. It opens up a whole new perspective in understanding where that person is coming from. Its amazing...I love it because it helps you interact with everyone you know. It really works. The friend of mine who introduced me to this book now has an understanding of her daughter and what drives her. Her daughter is quite the opposite of herself, and this book has not only lessened her stress, but has helped her get to know her daughter. I know that sounds strange. But if you understand the why and how a person acts the way they do, you can appreciate it and work with those positive and negative aspects of it. I really encourage you to get this book, its even FUN to read! I find myself, as does my friend, reading it over and over.....

I read the book Personality Plus a few years ago and it has helped me tremendously to understand not only my children, but other people and how to relate to them.
Even though she is a social butterfly, you can learn to roll with that and find what will motivate her based on how she already is. Off the top of my head, I would try to reward her school efforts with more social time at home, or a meeting with her new school friends at a park.
In the mean time, try picking up a copy of that book. You will love figuring out the different personalities and how they all tick in your home.:) Good luck.

She sounds just like me when I was little, exactly. I wasn't much of a trouble maker, but a little. I did make some unfortunate choices, but nothing permamently bad, but I could have done better. I have a great life now, but it was a bit of a bumpy road for me. I was the cute, funny girl in class and I did okay in school up until middle school, except I never got good conduct marks. I would get A's and an N in conduct. I talk ALOT.

I would say support her carefree nature and give her lots of things to keep her busy. Keep the communication open with her and always let her know she is a great kid, and that you love her no matter what. I really didn't feel that way and my parents seldom told me I was good at things. So, I thought I wasn't good at things that were important, so I started getting into trouble and ignoring school, mostly skipping. I was also having some underlying learning problems, and it was easier to act silly and like I didn't care than it was to ask for help and seem "uncool" or not smart enough. I realized later on that I need some tutoring. But, I had always done well on tests, so I must not be applying myself. I needed some help and had some attention and organizing isssues. I graduated with a low gpa and by the time I figured out what I wanted to do, I had to take the hard road to college and I struggled. Not always a bad thing though.

She sounds like a wonderful child with lots of special gifts. Keep talking to her (and listening)when she talks (okay, not all of the time, you would probably go crazy). Don't let the negative things that her teachers and others say outweigh the good and make her feel like she isn't good at things that matter. Keep a close eye on her and find out what she's really up to when she's a teenager. Let her know you love her and that she can tell you anything. Help her channel her gifts into things she's good at and always be there for her. And be just as proud when she wins "Funniest Girl" as if she had one "Most Likely to Succeed". And if she wants to wear a pink sock with a yellow one with purple sneakers, let her. It's important!

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