6 Year Old Attitude

Updated on March 10, 2008
S.L. asks from Surprise, NE
23 answers

Is it just me, or do girls get mouthy at 6? Just out of the blue my daughter has started talking back, doesn't want to help around the house and uses the "I HATE YOU" to her brothers and sometimes me. She has never said it to Dad, but he can be a softy at time.

Do you have any suggestions?


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answers from Duluth on

My husband and I also have a Sassy Six year old girl. We do what they do on the Nanny. We only had to do it for a month and she was a changed girl. We would have two money jars, one for us and one for her. When she made a snotty comment or had a crying fit she would have to give us money. When she got enough money she got to buy a toy that she picked out and if she wanted something and didn't have enough money we would tell her how she needed to save more money. We rewarded her with money in her jar when she was helpful and said please and thank you. IT REALLY WORKED FOR US!!! Good luck!

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answers from Iowa City on

Thank you for posting this. My 6 year old is the same way. For days now, she has said she hates me and wishes I was dead anytime she doesn't get her way. She puts her nose up in the air and stomps around. I was in shock at first but it is only getting worse despite losing privledges and toys every time. It doesn't seem to bother her. :(

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answers from Bismarck on

Hi! I wanted to let you know about some books put out by the Gesell Institute of Human Development, by Louise Bates Ames, Ph.D. and Frances L. Ilg, M.D. The books are called simply "Your Five-Year-Old" or "Your Six-Year-Old," etc. You should be able to find them at any good-sized book store. Anyway, these books describe how children's development looks from year to year, kind of going through stages of equilibrium to disequilibrium. The even number years are the ones of disequilibrium (2, 4, 6, etc.) and they are tougher years developmentally, and therefore behaviorally as well. What you describe is typical 6-yr-old (especially girls!) behavior...kind of know-it-all and sassy. The fact that it is typical doesn't mean that the behavior should be tolerated, but if you can understand the stages they're going through, it is easier to deal with. This book would help you understand your daughter's development and would give some strategies for dealing with some of the difficult behaviors that come with that age. I think the key is setting firm, consistent limits and letting the child know ahead of time what the consequences will be (e.g. If you say "I hate you" to your brother you will lose your TV time today, because we don't say unkind words.) Hope that is helpful!
I have a daughter who just turned 14, a 7-yr-old son, and a 4-yr-old daughter, and before becoming a SAHM was a pediatric occupational therapist.

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answers from Sioux Falls on

I have a seven year old son and he has been saying "I hate you" and been really defiant for the last year. So it is not only girls. My sister is also seven and she has been this way for a year now too.
In our family we combat it by setting boundaries and sticking to them. When we say something we mean it and if our rules are not followed our son loses something... tv or video games or his favorite toy. We start with him losing one item for a day and each time he is mean or doesn't listen one more thing goes. And when he says he hates us we respond with "I understand you don't like what is happening, we are giving you choices it is up to you what happens but no matter what we love you." It is our sons choice how much trouble he gets in, he can lose one thing or he can lose everything it is up to him. We take things one at a time but with love and ultimately the decision's his. And once in a while he can earn things back, for instance vacuuming the house will earn one toy back (not tv or video games though, he loves them too much and that would make it not a punishment). And that only happens if he has calmed down and apologized, after we have a nice long talk on his behavior.
Consistency and lots of love, is what is working for us.
That's my thoughts


ps. One of the rules in our house is to treat others with respect so that means not saying mean things, so things can be taken away for doing that as well

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answers from Minneapolis on

No, it isn't you, my daughter is also 6 and has taken to mimicing me and the nasty little sing song voice. I am sure it is just their way of trying to gain some control of their own independence. Not a good way but normal.



answers from Minneapolis on

Oh boy sounds like you have my daughter..lol. As for how we deal with her attitude, thats pretty easy and she behaves about 90 perecent of the time when it happens.

If she talks back with the I hate words: Loss of her fav toy for 1 day, no tv or other tv related for 2 days

Talks back saying shut up: Loss of fav toy, no Computer or TV access for games or cartoons for 3 days

Hitting: Grounded from friends coming over for 1 week- 5 days

Fighting with sister that brings in the time 6 min outs, and removal of several of her fav toys for at most a weeks time

When shes the good girl I know she can be she gets to pick out 1 new coloring book, 80 piece puzzle or reading book from the Dollar Store. We see alot more good days lately

Ive noticed since shes started school shes started the mouthing off alot more, And I have asked other parents in her class if their children are doing the same, oh yea its normal. But no less frusterating, being consistant has made alot of improvement but she still has her bad days like we all do. Keep doing what your doing for disapline and you will se change, but Also when they are good praise them for it and make sure they understand they are making you happy when they are good.Also on days shes good she gets a sticker to wear and a gold star on the calender. In her room to remind her.

Good luck and best wishes



answers from Waterloo on

How do I put this? GET USED TO IT! My daughter is eight and it just gets worse. I try to curb it by reminding her that although her friends may talk like that it is not acceptable in my house, and then I send her to her room to think about the way she (should have said it). Again though that ugly monster rears its ugly head, so I guess my advice is try to remind her of her manners but don't expect it to go away soon. SORRY




answers from Davenport on

My 5 year old, nearly 6, girl has a major mouth as late. We've started a marble jar with her. When she does the things she should, she gets a marble in the jar. After it is full, she gets to pick something out that she want to do or pick out a new Barbie. Its working so far. She really wants to fill the jar.

We also stop what we are doing and discuss why she is angry and what would have been a better way to handle it. Not saying it always helps, but she does seem to be handling things better and not flying off the handle. She is stopping and thinking first.



answers from Green Bay on

Its not just girls.. my son caught the sass bug too at 6 and we just can't kick it... he'll be 7 this summer.
One day at a time... one day at a time...



answers from Omaha on

I have a 7 year old and he has lots of attitude too. He started talking back to me and my husband. He is really mouthy at home but thankfully doesn't have problems talking back in school. If you get any advise, please let me know!



answers from Des Moines on

You might want to check out her friends and, has she just started school? It's amazing what changes our children go through once they hit the playground.

It may be that she has seen someone else do this and get away with it. Then the child tries it at home to see if it works. If the child finds out quickly that it doesn't, the behavior is often abandoned.

Since she doesn't do this to her dad, she knows the difference and that means she can control it. Dad may want to take her aside and explain that she shouldn't treat mommy that way. It's not nice.

You may want to get down to her eye level, look her in the eyes, and calmly say, "You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but your expression needs a little work. Please go to your room and think about how you expressed yourself. This was not acceptable."

If she has seen anyone else talk to you that way, this may be her interpretation of that communication dynamic. You need to help her learn how to express herself appropriately and let anyone else who treats you this way know that you won't tolerate it.



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi S.

I don't think that it is just the girls. Ever since my 7yr old turned 6 he has been mouthy and not wanting to help. Maybe it's just the age?



answers from Minneapolis on

I have a second grader also with attitude problems. Not only that, but multiple friends with the same problem. We keep a close eye on what she is watching on tv since there is a lot of attitude there. It seems like most of the girls at school act like this, so it is hard. We have made it known at home that acting like that is not acceptable. My friends with older children tell me that it passes, but to not let them get away with the behavior. I don't really have great advice, but wanted you to know there are many of us with the same problem!



answers from Minneapolis on

Yes, this is normal. What I did (and am still working through) with my now 7-y-o is to remind her of the good side of things, of why she must do x, y, or z, and the benefits of doing so. I then encourage mine to think of the good parts of doing whatever, then reward her with a break where she can do something SHE wants to do.

When she says "I hate you," I always say "Well, I still love you." Of course back when that word showed up in her vocabulary, she and I had a talk about the fact that hate means you wish that person would "go away forever" and that people have died because of hate. That last bit might not be good for all children, but it helped mine, along with "I know you're angry right now, but I think you'll feel better about me later."



answers from Minneapolis on

(my computer got wacky so I hope I'm not responding twice). You're definately not alone! Quality time with all your kids is important-quality, not quantity. Make the most of the time you have to make them feel special and important. A little goes a long way. Your daughter's attitude really is rather normal. She is testing you. Set the limits and remind her that she is secure. When calm, talk about how hurtful her words are and ask her how she would feel if someone said that to her. Don't say it back to her because she will believe it no matter how much you don't mean it. But if you can get her to understand how much it hurts, she may be less likely to repeat it. Maybe relate it to a time that someone hurt her feelings saying something else. Anything that gets the feeling to be real. She likely will feel horrible for making someone feel like that and will want to avoid doing it again. These are opportunities to help her understand and use empathy.



answers from Duluth on

You are not alone in the mouthy kid department, they all start to test out their independence and seeing if they can get what they want though being mean. My advice is to nip it in the bud right now. No way should that be allowed. If kids are allowed to behave that way at home they will continue that behavior elsewhere. Would you let them speak so hurtfully to others? At a time when there is no problem tell your child that that type of behavior WILL NOT be tolerated and if they choose to do it again tell them what will happen, like being sent to a different room, sitting in time out (which really has an effect on kids who think they are too old for it, just ask my 14 year old). If they choose to behave like that again, send them away to whatever the consequences were, at that age they are choosing behaviors...you have to be consistent.



answers from Minneapolis on

My 6year old daughter told my best friend she's a "F-ing Btch"

She got soap in the mouth for that one.

My daughter has a horrible mouth on her, but to be honest I know exactly where it comes from-ME! I have the worst cuss mouth and attitude sometimes myself and have realized I'm the prime problem and example. I've been trying to set a better example in my house. I've decided to go back to church and have my daughter in Sunday school again too. That and the kids at school and on the school bus she picks up all sorts of junk. Then they're at the age of testing what they can say and not say so you have to nip it right away.

My daughter said things like :

"Mom, your stupid"
"Your the meanest mom in the world"
"You don't love me"

I look at her and tell her I have the worst daughter in the whole world how could she say that about me after I've done this and that for her. Then she'll get teary eyed and say I'm sorry mommy your not really.



answers from Minneapolis on

Is it attitude or anger S.? A six year old girl with two brothers and a mom who works three jobs is probably mad about the limited mommy time she gets. I am guessing her three year old brother requires more attention than anyone else and that her 8 year old brother takes his anger out on her for convenience.

You may want to slow down a little and realize that your full time job is actually being a mom. Are you devoting 40 hours a week to it? At a minimum, cut back on your firefighting and EMT work and spend more time with your daughter - she wants to hold hands, cuddle and talk. This is all girls really want. When they don't get it, they get mad.



answers from Bismarck on

Hey S.--it's not you, or her siblings, or your job, so don't beat yourself up with a guilt trip. I stay home and my daughter receives most, if not all of my attention, and we still deal with the same type of behaviors. Our daughter is 3--so when I read your post, I thought, "at 6? you've got a late bloomer!" :) A few months back, our 3yr old would respond to reprimands with a screaming, "DON'T KILL ME!" And of course, hubby and I were completely beside ourselves. It was so bazaar, neither one of us knew how to respond to that--except perhaps figure which movie it was she heard it from and disown it--honestly, I think it was the Lion King. It passed.
You could try, when your 6yr old has calmed, or at a time that is completely outside of the tantrums, just having a conversation about love/hate and using hurtful words. And then, when she becomes angry, try and reinforce the conversation. Have everyone involved make sure their response includes something like, "but I still love you." And just keep reinforcing positive words/behavior at every chance--and until then just don't take her out in public (Just Kidding!)



answers from Minneapolis on

sadly I don't have any good advice for what to do. I just wanted to stand in your corner with you. My 5 yr old girl is very sassy and bossy lately. If I tell her that I want her to turn off the game she is playing and get ready for bed she starts in with the "but I'm just doing *whatever*" or "what if I want to do *fill in blank*"
What if I want you to get ready for bed, honey? I guess that means nothing.
she hasn't used the 'hate you' card, yet. but I'm waiting as I'm sure that day will come soon enough.
It must be a girl thing, I remember my sisters saying that.



answers from Omaha on

YES...........it does get worse, my daughter is 11 and EVERYTHING (she believe's) should revolve around her and her life.

She controls her brothers, dad and Grandma which doesn't help that they give in all the time.

But YES, to your question.

I buy her books to read about changes that her body will/are going through and books on being a good person/not treating other people worse than you would treat yourself.




answers from Cedar Rapids on

Wow, mine started that around 4!!! I think it is a stage they go through. I get the snotty remarks- and when asked to wipe off the kitchen table, I get " I do EVERYTHING around here!" I think that they take all the frustrations that they have from school and home, and like us get overwhelmed. It is easier for us, as adults,to be in a bad mood and snap at our loved ones because no one usually stands up and says "hey, don't talk to me that way". They just put it off as a bad mood. Kids get frustrated, too and I think that is how they deal with it (unconsciously). Usually, when I bring it to her attention that she said something in a way that wasn't very nice, she apologizes. I started her in tae kwon do a year ago, and it seems to help. Some of her aggressions are taken out with the excersizing and they do there, and they also learn a lot about respect. Hope this helps...hang in there!



answers from Rapid City on

She is feeling the big girl now, going to school, getting more independent. The process of growing up. Stop the "I hate you" by teaching her that it is unacceptable but the feelings isn't hate, it is anger and that is a feeling we all have the right to have. When my son started with the I hate you's I would say "I know you don't hate me, you are angry with me and that is ok, but you still don't get what you want" or whatever he was angry about. Soon it was "I hate you.. but not really, I am just mad at you" then soon it was "I am mad". It shows their feelings are accepted and gives them the right label for the feeling they are having. She also is confortable enough with your love that she feels she can take out her anger on you and that you will still love her. It doesn't make it acceptable by any means, but that is why you are the ones who is hearing it. She doesn't want to lose her "daddy's little girl" standing so she doesn't say it to him.

Give your daughter small chores, it will help make her feel grown up and just keep reminding her to show respect, while you also show her respect.

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