5 Year Old Girl with a Serious Attitude!!

Updated on December 16, 2008
B.T. asks from Dalton, PA
14 answers

So since my 5 year old started kindergarten, she has developed a serious attitude! She is always testing the limits and acts up very frequently- when we ask her if she realizes that what she's doing is bad/not nice/inconsiderate, etc., she says "yes". She's very smart and very mature for her age. But she's getting really mouthy and sassy and can be just plain mean when she wants to be. Is this normal for a 5 year old to be testing the limits like this? My biggest fear is that her younger siblings are watching her behavior and will start mimicking it.

I should probably add that she is GREAT in school. Through preschool and even this beginning of kindergarten, her teachers have always praised her. In fact, I've even been told that they "wish every child were more like her". The problem seems to be at home... maybe because she's comfortable with us?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My stepson started to get "mouthy" when he started school too. I think it has to do with them trying to become more independent. He is almost 8 now, and still has his moments, but has improved. Time outs helped A LOT!!! One minute for each year of age. If he was being disrespectful he would sit in time out for 5 minutes. At my house this was in the kitchen, because the kitchen is b oring and has no toys. He would sit at kitchen table and I would set timer on microwave. When it beeped I would ask him why he had time out and he would tell me and we would talk about why it was wrong and then he would go play again. Just set limits and enforce them and she will grow out of it...kind of.

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answers from Harrisburg on

All i can say is,"it has already been said"....go suzie!!!!!
Also...love the book....."How to discipline without yelling or spanking"....wonderful Book.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

Wow, I've been dealing with this too, so maybe it's an age thing, but it occured to me while reading your post, maybe she needs some time after being good in school all day, all week. I don't know if quiet time to unwind would be best or active time to get energy out. I'm going to try it myself and see what happens.



answers from Pittsburgh on

As a former teacher, I may have some small insight. A lot of times the kids that are the best at school are the same ones that had trouble at home with behavior. It's almost always the worst with K and 1st graders. They are trying so hard to behave and "be good" at school that once they get home they are tired, relaxed, and just can't hold any of that energy and ick inside anymore. Think about how you feel after a lousy day and then your husband comes home and makes a mess or ask you a silly question - don't you want to bite his head off?

I agree with the posts that suggest a calming down period. If you can find a way to let them be hyper and crazy without killing you (especially during the winter) it might help. Other than that, just keep reminding about the behavior you expect at home and try to hang in there. I like the 1-2-3-Magic suggestion as well. That way even if they cross the line they are in their room, i.e. out of your space, for a while!


answers from Philadelphia on

First of all check out the situation. If this is new think what has been going on.
Have there been changes in your family, in your daughters life?
*Stay calm and do not take it personally
*Make it clear that her behavior will not be tolerated. In your family everyone is respectful of each other and if your daughter can not behave respectfully she has to play on her own. She is not banished to a chair to just sit. She can play, but just not with the family until she can speak kindly
*Dont give her what she wants when she is speaking in a rude way.
*Walk away and tell her why you are walking away. That you will not be treated the way she is treating you
*Look at the way the you and your spouse communicate. Are you speaking to each other and others in a respectful way? You are your childs model of how they should behave



answers from Williamsport on

Hey B.!
Hang in there. As for your daughter - give her time to unwind from the days' work from school, such as; doing jumping jacks or running around the house (outside). My favorite is doing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes". Speed it up, that usually gets the wiggles out.
As for her attitude, I have started reading 1-2-3 Magic. Pretty much the plan goes as follows, when she acts up the first time, you say "That's one!" Next time, "That's two!" and if she does it again, "That's three - go to your room!" In her room, she can do whatever she wants minus any electronics for a span of 1 minute per year old. Then call her back to where you are after, and ask is she is ready to act appropriatly.
It has worked for me, 5 kids...



answers from Scranton on

Welcom to socialization! What is happening with your little darling is she is learning every bad habit and bad attitude from all of her new friends at school. So now you get the distinguished honor of breaking her of all these things. Keep your boundaries and rules set. Don't let what parents have established in thier houses rule what happens in yours
She will appreciate later


answers from Allentown on

Hi B.,

It is never appropriate for a child to be disrespectful
to anyone.

What kind of consequences is your child receiving for
her disrespectful behavior?

By the way, trying to reason with a child, teen, or adult is going to be a disaster.

Trying using feeling statements:

When you................(describe the behavior)

I felt......................(describe the feeling that was generated.)

In the future...............(describe what behaviors you expect and what the consequence will be)

Always keep your word. Don't give a consequence that you can't enforce.

Good luck. D.



answers from Scranton on

WOW! It sounds exactly like my daughter, she is now 13, but started the attitude when she went to kindergarten. She was always mature for her age, very smart, teachers praise her. We are still having a hard time with her now. She is very mouthy and doesn't think she should listen to us. All I can say is try to be very firm about what the rules are around the house and when she steps out of line make sure she is punished for it. I sometimes think my daughter is the way she is because of me. I didn't have a lot growing up, so I try to give my kids what I didn't have, maybe to much. Good luck!



answers from Allentown on

It always seems like the kids are angels at school - but not at home. I have figured out that it is more important how my son's behavior is at school, and with respecting authority and otehrs besides those of us he feels most comfortable around (us). At home we just try as much as we can to keep him in line...



answers from York on

Hi B.!
I could have literally written the same exact post you did! My five year old daughter's behavior has gotten horrible! She doesn't listen at all, she's mean to her little brother (he's almost 3), she's rude, she's selfish, etc. I KNOW she knows she's being "bad". It just seems like she doesn't care and it's so frustrating! She's really smart and can be so sweet and giving. I really don't have any advice, just support! I'm in the same exact boat you are! Let's hope our daughters get over this "phase" soon!



answers from Allentown on

I've got the same EXACT worries/problem here, mine is 7 and has been like this since kindergarten and it IS rubbing off on my 3 yr old. I've tried telling her that I am calling the principal and she will go there if she's bad and that really almost worked to a point. I'm starting to tell her she will get soap in her mouth and although I'm not sure I could go thru with it she is AFRAID of getting it. Good luck to you.



answers from Allentown on

It is normal for her to test her limits and act this way. She is learning and seeing a lot from all those other children. It is up to you to start pulling the reins in a bit when she gets home. You need to show her that this behavior is NOT ok and there will be consequences. You need to start now because she is going to continue to see negative things in school over the next 12 years. Unfortunately we don't have any control on the way the other parents discipline their children (or lack of discipline).
Do what you normally do, timeouts, etc. My daughter is 9 now and she will lose privledges, get sent to her room, and if the talking back/attitude is REAL bad then she gets a small dab of Tabasco sauce on her toungue. I'll tell you what, it works real quick.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My 4 year old just recently started displaying the same behavior, mostly with just myself and my husband. But today he was disrespectful at the doctor's office. I admit it was a lengthy appt, but he often has long appts and I guess he has had enough. I had toys and snacks to keep him occupied but he was not interested. We've been using timeouts, reviewing proper rules of behavior, setting up expectations for behavior and modeling behavior. We've used behavior charts for various issues in the past and they have worked well for us. I think I will start using it for this disrespectful behavior. I think a good place for you to start would be to set up clear rules and consequences, use praise for cooperating, and be consistent. Hopefully that will work for her and also set an example for the younger girls.

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