June 04, 2010,
K.H. asks from Farmington, MN on June 02, 2010
Unruly Almost 7 Year Old
My daughter will be 7 the first week of August. She has been showing some appalling behavior and I am not sure what to do. I stay home with my kids as well as 6 daycare kids. My husbands job is very demanding and he is gone 6 days a week and about 3 days a week he works so late that he doesn't get to spend anytime with the kids. My daughter yells at me and her little brother all the time and whines and says "but MOM!!!!" all the time. I try to put her in time-outs for behavior and not listening to me, I practically have to yell at her to get her to do anything. She tells me NO! So I will physically put her in time out and then she just gets right back up. I have tried the whole super nanny tactic of putting her back in but I just don't have the time to do that all of time so I end up giving up. I am a Little at my wits end and i end up yelling which is totally not how I want to parent. With summer coming up I am really worried! I feel horrible about yelling but am just not sure what to do. I thought by 7 she would be past tantrums to get her way. I know that some of the problem is that I have been pretty lenient on discipline which is my fault, but how do I start now?? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks !!!
J.O. answers from Pittsburgh on June 02, 2010
It sounds like you really have a lot on your shoulders without everyday hands on support. That's enough to make anyone's head spin. Kids feel our stress and they know when we are not present with them. Any chance of stepping back from watching the daycare kids for a while, giving yourself a chance to breathe and the gift of being able to spend focused time with your daughter instead of being responsible for other children...even just for a couple of months? She is clearly looking for your time..and perhaps boundries. I know when I am overwhelmed, the boundries fly out the door and 'connection' time with my kids goes down the tubes...and their behavior definitely changes. But...the good news is...when I focus back on my priorities with the kids...it's incredible how peaceful and happy things become! We as moms really do set the energy...and if we are not giving back to ourselves(putting the O2 mask on first...!), the rest of the house feels it. I have a 7 year old as well and at times, when I focus too much on my business, I see changes in her...she just wants my time even though she is mature and can do much for herself...as I have 2 older kids, I've learned to savor these times...when our kids really do want to be with us as soon enough...it's no longer the case! (and that's a whole different post!)
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J.S. answers from Chicago on June 02, 2010
Here's an article that deals with consistency:
It's a free website and they have a free newsletter that you can sign up for. Read through some of the articles and come up with a plan. Then sit down with your daughter and let her know that if she does X then Y will happen. No more warnings - this discussion is her warning.
Only you can decide what is appropriate discipline. Maybe it's no TV or computer for a day. Maybe she needs to go to her room until she come out and talk to you respectfully.
Be firm and most of all be consistent! Good luck. You can do this.
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T.G. answers from St. Louis on June 02, 2010
I'm exhausted just reading your post! It's amazing that we function as Super Woman sometimes!
Sounds like she is acting out for attention.
The day your husband is home you and your daughter need to go out for a soda. Bring a pen and paper. Talk to her about how her behavior has been and ask her why she thinks she is acting that way. Tell her you miss spending mother daughter time together, but that you still love her more than ever. Have her help you make a list of things that she would like to do with you. Write them down. Ask her what you can do at home to help her behave better. Write them down. You need to show her that you care and you want to help her get back on track. Then mark the calendar with a star. One day a month is mother daughter time. She will have something to look forward to.
Now you also have to go over what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Disrespect can not be tolerate. Explain to her what you expect and what the consequenses will be if she does not follow the rules. Put it in writing.
She needs to know where the boundaries are and that there are clear consequenses when she steps over them.
It is not too late to fix things, in fact if you dont' fix them now life is going to get a whole lot worse as she hits the teen years.
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C.R. answers from Philadelphia on June 02, 2010
Wow sounds like you have your hands full taking care of your daughter and the other kids as well. I can only imagine it's very hard for you to do that with not too much support. I agree with the statement above, she is probably trying to get more of your attention. I'm sure you have a lot to juggle but if you need help with juggling your job and daughter I know someone wonderful you can talk to. Her name is Brandi Davis and she's a family coach. She has done wonderful things for my family so I reccomend her to everyone. Check out her website at www.childandfamilycoaching.com. I know it might fseem weird to ask for outside help but sometimes that outside view really helps. Good luck with everything.
1 mom found this helpful
A.W. answers from Kalamazoo on June 02, 2010
Take things away from her. I learned with my kids that past age 5 or so, timeouts just didn't work anymore. I sat my kids down and super nice and sweet asked them what their favorite toys were or their favorite things to do etc - and made a mentle list!!!! The next time they did something totally out of line, I calmly walked in and took away something. I then explained to them that everything that they have is a privledge and if they can not control their behavior, then they will lose privledges. My biggest problem with my two (boy almost 8 and girl almost 6) is the fighting and arguing. If they fight over a toy -I take it. If they argue over what to watch on TV - the TV goes off for good. If they are just sitting and arguing over nothing (which unfortunatly does happen) then they are separated and sent to their rooms. If I tell my kids to go put their laundry away and the whine, then I say "pick up your toys and make your beds too". I'll just keep piling it on until they comply. At first this approach is hard because they don't get it, but once they understand the concept, all I have to say is "warning" and they do it. Pick your toys up or I will and I'll put them in a bag and give them away!!!
P.W. answers from San Francisco on June 02, 2010
Any summer camps you can put her in? You have a lot on your plate and it would be nice to have her busy all day.
I know it's probably draining on you, but saying "no," whining and saying "but mom" are not the worst things I've ever heard, and do not necessarily mean she's going to be an out of control teen, so don't go crazy on the discipline front.
K.S. answers from Minneapolis on June 04, 2010
Take a really close look at how much positive attention you are able to give her versus how much negative attention. My guess is that they have gotten out of balance which happens in our family too when we are too busy. Recently my son started acting out just like your daughter. After a week of yelling and punishing, my son broke down crying and said, "I just don't feel like anyone likes me and that everyone just yells at me."
So we set rules...
1) lots more hugs when it seems like he starts seeking negative attention (I have written about "love flooding" before)...this ends up nipping the negative behavior in the bud
2) He will work on hearing and following directions the first time
3) I will not start yelling directions just because he ignored me the 1st or 2nd time I asked. Instead I say, "I really feel like yelling now because you haven't listened to my requests, our agreement is that I won't yell but that you have to follow directions earlier.
It has made a big difference for us in the past 2 weeks. It allows me to limit when there needs to be a time out or a privilege taken away. We both feel more positive.
But remember that the key to any method you use is consistency, clear expectations, absolute follow through (no deciding you don't have time to follow through or she will figure out you don't mean what you say). Good luck and hugs to you.
C.G. answers from Dallas on June 02, 2010
I had a very similar question about my 8 year old, I got tons of great advice I also used time outs without any results, I stopped using time outs they don't seem to work in older kids; take privileges away for my daughter was her Harry Potter book, I've used a lot of the tips I got. here's the link if you'd like to read(hope the link works if not you can check my questions):