Disrespectful Behavior - Bella Vista,AR

Updated on May 20, 2012
C.T. asks from Bella Vista, AR
11 answers

Ok, I have 5 year old daughter who just started kindergarten. She is very disrespectful-I don't think that is her intention-we've gone over it with her time and time again. Eye rolling, looking away when you are talking to her, angry faces, loud harumphs-and only 10 days in she has gone to time out at school for it. I don't know how to make her understand how important this is-to her whole life! I have given examples of how to respond respectfully, but I'm not sure she has the impulse control to do that. She is also very strong willed and stubborn and seems to have a more difficult time with change than some children. I need any advice you may have for teaching her to respect others-especially "grown ups."

So you know, we do time-outs and spankings and take away privleges when she displays these behaviors depending on the severity of the action she may get all 3. Also if she stays on green (green, yellow, red is their behavior chart at school) all day she gets 30 minutes of computer time when she gets home.

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answers from San Diego on

Hi C., She is using body language to communicate, teach her how to express with proper words, strong willed is fine, but not when it comes to obeying or not obeying. My daughter went through the hands on her hips, and crossing her arms when she was upset of mad, daddy nipped that in the bud right away. J.

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answers from Columbus on


Does the dicipline you provide have any effect on this behavior whatsoever? It sounds like you have made your expectation clear, and that you apply consistent dicipline and don't ever let this slide, is that right?

More questions to ask yourself: How difficult are transitions? What does she do when things don't go as she expects? Is she trying to control her situation (read, make the world predictable) by using this disrespectful attitude? Does she have any other ridgid tendencies or rules that she imposes on herself or others? When she plays with peers, does she direct them to "say this" "do that" "pretend this" or follow a scipt like a movie or tv program? Does she find more in common with younger children and adults than she does with kids her own age? Is she very bright and a little ahead academically and does she know text book kinds of facts about her faviorite subject? Does she have a vocabulary with large words that are a little ahead of her age? Is she a little clumsey, have an odd gate (nothing major, just a little different from her peers) or have fine motor frustrations?

If any of this hits home with you, you might consider an evaluation with a Developmental Pediatrician. When typical dicipline applied consistently fails, there may be a barrier that is causing that to happen, especially if some of the other things I mentioned sound familiar to you. The other items do not necessarily need to be a problem in and of themselves, and she may do very well in school academically, but the behavior will continue to be a problem for her if she has an issue, and all the typical dicipline in the world will not help her if she cannot apply it to herself without the appropriate therapy.

The thing that stands out to me is that you seem to know that she does not intend to be disrespectful, but cannot seem to change it. It is entirely possible that she has no idea how she appears to adults, nor can she really tell that she just did something disrepectful when it happnes or know ahead of time that her action will fit the category that she can probably already repeat to you verbatum about what it is that she does repeatedly that is disrepectful. She can tell you what you have said to her, she knows that you say that she does that, she knows that you said it is wrong, she knows that if she does it she will get in trouble, she wants to do the right thing, and yet, she does not know it is happening when she does it until it is over and can't stop it before it is too late. That says to me that she needs some help.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

First off, I think you're putting way to much emphasis and energy into this. By stressing how important this is to you and "to her whole life", you are explaining to her how to push your buttons for a good show. The more you react negatively, the stronger her impulse to do it, just to watch you freak. We all know that ignoring tantrums is the best way to stop them. The same philosophy applies here. You don't ignore these things, but stop giving them attention and just punish. Secondly, time outs work (or any other punishment), but only if it's immediate and consistent. You're doing 3 different things to punish her, so she never is sure what will happen. She needs to know absolutely that every time she does A, she will get B. No emotion, no yelling, no threats, just B. So, pick your punishment, stick to it, and forget the drama-- this isn't a threat to her social life forever, it's just a kid who is testing the boundaries, so show her where they are and stick to it. Good luck.


answers from Medford on

At this point it may be time for something extreme! Take away all of her toys. I mean all of them! Each day that she comes home with a good report, she can go in and pick out a toy to get back. Each day she gets a bad report, a toy goes back. If you stick with it for a week, I bet you will see s huge improvement. If talking about it isn't working, you have got to take action or its only going to get worse!
Also, have a talk with her about where she got that from. My 5 year old daughter is also very strong willed and stuborn. She comes up with some very disrespectful things sometimes. When I hear something new, we talk about where she heard it (usually from her cousin) and we talk about why that isn't ok to say or do and that I don't make the rules for other kids, but it's not appropriate. She is pretty good now about understanding and eliminating the negative attitude by talking it through so that it makes sense to her.
It is a constent struggle, I am very strick with my kids on respectfulness and behavior towards adults (i am not a spinster mom or anything, but manners are soooo important). I think everyday about how hard it is and I totally get why other moms give up...but in the end it will be worth it.



answers from New York on

Parenting without punishment raises great kids. When we attend to the needs driving children's behavior and set limits with empathy, we're not only guiding immediate behavior, but also nurturing long-term emotional intelligence. So we're raising children who are more able to manage their own emotions, and therefore their behavior. There's no denying that punishment gets immediate compliance. When humans are threatened with force, they usually comply, right? And even a timeout is a threat of force, because if the child won’t go into timeout, you do have to use force to get them there. Which is one of the problems with punishment -- we have to keep escalating our use of force. Of course, we'd all like our children to just straighten up and do what they’re told. But even adults have a hard time with that. These are kids; their brains are still developing. (In fact, the way we respond to their behavior actually shapes their brain development -- do we help them learn to calm or to escalate crises?) It's a big job for kids of all ages to learn to manage the emotions driving their behavior.

Your goal, of course, is to prevent that from happening. The best way to do that is to establish a bond between your daughter and his teacher. Kids only behave for teachers once they care about that relationship, and care what the teacher thinks of them.

Unfortunately, this teacher has so far shown no awareness of this. She seems to be all about control. Kids who challenge them because they feel pressured to establish control of their class early on trigger many teachers. You can't blame her for wanting to keep order in her classroom, but it would be a shame if her methods include marginalizing any kids she feels are disruptive.

In the PT conference, you're more likely to reach some points of agreement with the teacher if you first establish a bond with her. The best way to do that is to acknowledge the situation from her perspective: True, she doesn't always listen. You've noticed that too, lol, and you appreciate that she can be disruptive. And he's still working on his impulse control, so you've talked a lot with her about ways to control himself if she gets mad at another child, and why throwing toys is off limits.

Then, tell her that you want to be her partner in teaching her to behave at school, and you need her partnership to keep DS liking school. Say you're worried that he's already showing signs of not liking school.

Ask her how you can be of help to her in teaching her appropriate classroom behavior. After you listen to her perspective, you might make some suggestions yourself. For instance, since feeling constantly criticized will backfire, maybe she could focus on the biggest issues -- like not throwing toys and being quiet when asked -- and not worry so much about whether she rushes through his worksheet. Tell her you know that she wanted the class to work together on the paper, and that she will develop the ability to do that, but she was trying to impress her by being able to complete the work. Explain that if she feels connected to her, she will behave for her, and that a little positive attention from her will go a long way.

If the teacher seems at a loss for positive ways to encourage his cooperation, here are a couple of suggestions:

1.Give her a special responsibility. For instance, let her come a couple minutes early into the classroom to sharpen her pencils or do some other specific job for her. This will help her feel important, so she won't need to challenge her, and it will help his self-esteem in the face of any criticism from her. Most important, she will feel their relationship is special (even if she doesn't make any special effort), so that she will be more likely to behave for her.

2. When she behaves well, have her send home a special badge or certificate acknowledging his effort. (It can be the same badge over and over.) Your job is to make a big deal when she comes home with the badge.

3. Teach her self-management skills to increase his impulse control. You definitely don't want her to be getting in trouble at school all the time. she needs your help to learn to use calming strategies like counting to ten, breathing deep, etc.

4. Sign a contract with her about his behavior. This has been proven to be an effective tool with preschoolers and kindergardeners, if the teacher and parent both participate.

5.Eating lunch in isolation seems non-negotiable; that will definitely make her feel like a bad kid, and will keep her from bonding with the other kids the way she needs to. It is standard practice to designate a certain table as milk-free or peanut-free. The allergic students enjoy sitting with their friends who have "safe" lunches. To make this process easier, one teacher suggests hanging a magnetic board with aline drawn down the middle. One side for peanut lunches, the other for non-peanut lunches. Every child has a magnet with his or her name onit. As the kids arrive in the morning, they move their magnet to the appropriate side. When only one child has lunch with peanuts in it, the class is divided in half anyway, so no one feels isolated. (If there are more tables, the teacher just draws horizontal lines so the names are evenly divided.)

I want to add that you need to help your daughter develop a positive relationship with his teacher. That means resisting your own impulse to make any negative comments about her. This can be a tough balancing act, because you also need to give your daughter a chance to blow off steam by listening and empathizing with him: "Uh huh. Tell me more. You are pretty mad at your teacher right now. You feel like she was unfair." After you listen, of course, have a brainstorming session about how she could make sure things go differently tomorrow. Make sure to let her come up with some of the ideas, instead of lecturing him.



answers from Fayetteville on

It sounds like you are on the right track with consisten behavior, rewarding good behavior, etc. And as a teacher, I can say "thank you" for wanting to get a handle on this. I would say keep on modeling respect for others (being very careful what you say and do with others even if you don't agree with them). I would also recommend watching what is on TV. I have found that several of the preteen shows that kids like to watch display these very behaviors. And of course, keep addressing negative behaviors. I often have my kids do a "do over" when they act sassy or disrespectful. They have to repeat their words in a respectful way until it sounds right. Good luck!



answers from Las Vegas on

We are still a week from starting school here but what I did last year was reward my children for their good behavior at school and at home, after I picked them up from school on Friday. The reward was usually either a popcicle from the ice cream truck, a chocolate dipped ice cream cone from Dairy Queen or maybe a happy meal from McDonald's. This usually worked for us. And then we promised our kids that if they behaved themselves at school and kept their grades up, then mom and dad would take them to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch at the half-year mark and at the end of the school year. For us, the weekly reward system and twice a year reward lunch work.

Hope this helps.


answers from Cleveland on

I was actually going to say the same thing as Dan did.

Those behaviors she had to have learned from someone.
I really do NOT mean to sound bitchy but look into who it is, it might be something she caught from you, family, friends, etc.

Also if Time-outs aren't doin it, it seems like you need to go to a lil more of a harsh punishment for it to sink in.

Good luck!


answers from Williamsport on

Good work being firm on this now, but it may have gotten a little out of hand before you got super serious. Also, every child has a consequence they hate the MOST, and will gamble for the less effective ones if you only use it sometimes. I would use the worst thing immediately EVERY time she begins the first eye roll and follow it up with the lost privilege etc. Never let the attitude slide whatsoever. She will get tired of bringing herself consequences and learn how serious it is.

She definitely has the impulse control, unless there is a medical problem. It takes the same control to decide TO make the "harumph" etc. My daughter was just 3 and 1/2-ish when we started disciplining the very first ""Hmphs" and eye rolls she learned in daycare. They were so small and cute, I didnt' want to address them, but we decided to prevent any escalation and came down hard on the smallest things every time. She had no difficulty stopping even at only 3 1/2 and the older she gets, the more only an explanation will do. Your daughter's habit is just more ingrained.

Be sure dad really steps up on this as well. United front on the attitude.

I would also make sure you spend extra time with her doing nice things separately and aside from discipline times. Sometimes girls need to reconnect and re-befriend their moms to feel important and get things off their chests. Do some activities that give her some new things to learn etc so she feels mature-it's a rough age. Good work providing the computer incentive.

It will all click if you don't give up! Good work, good luck.



answers from Indianapolis on

Yes, while I agree these are learned behaviors, at 5 years-old there are SO many sources she could be learning them from. If they're things you do at home subconsciously, make a conscious effort to stop them and set a good example. If they're things she's picking-up from school and friends, point out to her they're not acceptable, and set a consequence for them.

I grew up in a house where it wasn't tolerated, and we've taken the same approach with our kids.

Our son is 4, and last night, as I was sitting down with him, I told him how proud I was of how good he was yesterday. We didn't have to correct him once, he had a huge smile on his face for the positive affirmation, and I asked how it made him feel. He said, "Good".

Perhaps, in addition to correcting the bad behavior, focus more energy on praising the good behavior and helping her understand that it feels so much better to receive praise than criticism.

I think you're on the right track by addressing it now and making steps to prevent it from creating more problems down the road.

A phrase our kids hear often is, "Well, that's OK for Evan to do at his house, but I'm your Mom, and our rule is that you don't ________ " (fill in the blank).



answers from Syracuse on

Eye rolling, looking away when you are talking to her, angry faces, and loud harumphs are all learned behaviors. Who did she learn them from? Whoever showed her these things sould be made aware that she is getting in trouble for doing tohose things now.

It also might be time to start taking toys and privledges away for bad behavior.

Good Luck!

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