Help Managing a Very Strong Willed 6 Year old!!!Ok Moms, I

Updated on March 19, 2014
P.C. asks from Hopewell Junction, NY
22 answers

Ok Moms, I have read many Strong Willed Child Books and yes, my daughter fits the bill 110%
I am to my wits end with her because she is super defiant and it has gotten much worse since she has gone to school!
(She is in Kindergarten now in our Public School system)
She is exceptionally smart and very bright common sense wise.
She aces everything in school.
I know strong willed kids usually grow up to be "Leaders" and hold very substantial careers, etc.
I don't want to break that spirit, but I have got to find common ground here....

I would love for you to share what your routine is...What do you use...A chore list?
Do you do the rewards thing if your child follows the list?
How do you handle your strong willed child?
What kinds of consequences are your children held accountable to when they do not do what they are told?

For me, it has become nothing but an absolute screaming match and I KNOW that it doesn't work!
But she just gets me to that point. She won't move until I start screaming.
And I am reduced to tears because THIS IS NOT WHY I BECAME A MOM!

She will not dress herself, I have to stand over her to get her to go to the bathroom,
pull her pants up, go into her room, take clothes off and I HAVE TO DRESS HER or she would NEVER get to school. I have punished her, taken away favorite items, did not let her attend her dance class, to her room immediately after school and remain there until dinner time....NO tablet. NO TV, She cries and carries on, saying she is sorry and hugs and kisses me.
And I know that she can manipulate so I know that some of that is just being sorry because I am getting on her for her behavior and NOT that she is really sorry for acting that way. She's sorry that she got caught, so t speak.

The minute I get her from school, she is nasty, answering back and not listening, She will yell in my face for the littlest thing and think she can treat me like a piece of garbage.
She has been very tough even from infancy, but of course at the younger ages, it was easier to handle her and get her to cooperate. There have always been punishments for her actions, but it just seems like all the suggestions in the world are not working with her. I have spoken to her teachers and they do not have much to offer me.
She does give them a bit of a run for their money in school also, but she is polite and does follow directions at school.
(Thank God for that!)
I REALLY need suggestions.
Speaking with other Moms, all I hear is, "Oh welcome to my world"," Yeah, that's a girl for you!", "Wait, Wait until she hits 13!!".

Well, I guess I am just no getting it, but I refuse to continue down this path.
I will not tolerate my daughter getting WORSE than she is now...I don't know if I will survive!! LOL

If there are any Moms out there that can relate even in the smallest of ways, please give me any advice that you can...
Share your routines, whatever. Please don't suggest anymore books on strong willed children.
I have read many and if I had the time to read more I would, but I just don't have anymore time to dedicate to reading when I am dealing with her, helping with homework, dinner, bath, bedtime, and taking care of the house, food shopping etc

Thanks Moms!!!

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answers from Honolulu on

Ya know, there are so many kids that, the parents say are SO SMART, etc. but they are just, terrors.
I work at a school, and see and interact with these type of kids too.
But just know that:
JUST because a kid is SO SMART or "gifted"... that is NOT a "character" trait. It is not, something that is just a given. It does not, give them a sense of entitlement. But they have that "I'm a Special Little Snow Flake" so no one can tell me anything because I am so smart, and I can do whatever I want... type attitude. And sometimes it is because that parents are "afraid" to put limits on their child, and to TEACH them, character and values and boundaries. And they don't teach their children, the REASONS, for just being or having, human decency. They just, because their child is SO smart or gifted... let them be whatever. Because they are "afraid" of limiting their child in their "smartness." So then, being SO smart... becomes a big elephant in a china shop. I have heard parents say "My son is so smart... I don't want to limit him.... tell him he can't do things... or it might make him (average)...." type thing.
But then, they have on their hands, a child that is just a terror.

Learning "character" and values and how to be decent... has nothing to do with how smart or "dumb" a child is.
And punishments alone, does not teach everything to a child... unless, they are told WHY and how come, and that they have to learn respect and empathy etc. These aspects are learned. And taught. Over time. Not just when the child is misbehaving.

I see lots of kids, who are like that, to various degrees. And the one commonality is: that a kid's being SO SMART... becomes the focus of everything. And not the development of the child. So then the child thinks, that they are better than others and they are simply not nice.

Being smart, is not a character trait. But it is treated as one, by many parents. And then the parent wonders why, their child is so self-centered and indignant or defiant and undeveloped emotionally.

Give your kid CHORES.
TEACH her how to earn... things (not money), or how to HELP the family, and to feel good about it.
TEACH her how to "work" and feel self-satisfied with that. TEACH her a sense of feeling nice about herself. Not it being about how she can MANIPULATE others, for her own gain.
Teach her how to cooperate. Just for the sake of feeling, good about that.
And don't give her things or buy her things anymore. Unless it is a necessity. TEACH her, about that.
TEACH her that she is NOT a satellite in her own orbit.
And that, her actions, AFFECTS EVERYONE else. Whether that be at home or in the classroom.

Again, I work at a school, and I see kids like this. And they are so self-centered. They do not even think, that they are negatively affecting others. Oh but sure, they are SO smart. Academically.

There is a girl in particular at the school I work at... she is SO smart and is in the Gifted class. But she is, so obnoxious. She is only in 1st grade. And she is so manipulative. And she just relishes, that. Her parents just coddle her, because SHE IS SO SMART! But she has no character. Her sense of character is underdeveloped. And likes to irk other kids, feeling she is so much smarter than them and special. She drives the Teacher, nuts. Oh, but she is SO smart and has LEADERSHIP skills! But, she is the "leader" of her group of other little girls, and they are ALL just as a group, just like her. That is not, leadership skills.
Being smart and being a Leader, takes character... and responsibility. And a good heart. Versus, I see other kids in her class, that are smart and nice, and a "leader" because, they have character and know how to be nice and then "lead" or HELP, other kids.

MAKE your daughter, everyday... write down or CHAT WITH her, about what she did good that day. 3 things. That she did for others etc. And have her chat about it. And it needs to be not for her own gain or her own self.

You even have to, dress, your daughter. She is 6. She will not do it herself. She MAKES you do it. Dress her.
That is just the tip of the iceberg.
Maybe one day, or several days, you just have to be late for school. Let her throw a fit and tantrum and refuse to get dressed and be "nasty."
She manipulates you. She can. Even if she gets punished, she doesn't care. She will still... get her way. She is manipulative, by choice.
And throws fits, by choice.
And she knows in the end, she can get her way.
And will.
And its not like she got this way all of a sudden at 6 years old.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My girl is 10 now and she is mature enough to understand that it's not normal to act out emotionally to the degree she used to - so there is hope. She still has set backs, but if she does, I start up the old "points for good behavior" system and that works pretty well. She gets check marks on the calendar for handling things well and being helpful at home. Then after a while she earns her prize. It works really well for her and really helped when she was around 7 or 8 and I was at my wits end. I also tried very hard to not be negative or combat her negative emotions with additional negativity. Meaning, I tried my best not to yell or get snippy. That is super hard, but worth it. She needed to see empathy and support when she was feeling emotional.

My daughter has a checklist and schedule for before school, after school and bedtime routine. This really helps her to be responsible for herself and I think she prefers to be in charge of her schedule on paper, compared to having us tell her what to do. Similarly, I write down her chores on paper if I need her to do anything that isn't on her regular checklist. She does just fine with that and checks off everything on the list before she is allowed to go out and play, for example. In your case I would explain one evening that she is in charge of her new list of things to do in the morning and you will be giving her a star on the chart each time she completes her list on time (before you need to leave for school). Work with her to decide on a really cool award for a week or two of good days. She can do it, but she needs to feel in control.

Kids like these don't respond to control or punishment -- that just makes it much worse. I would suggest trying a positive approach, picking your battles, rolling with it with humor more and using lots of empathy when she's having a bad day. I eventually started thinking of my daughter as if she had a disorder that made her unable to cope like regular kids. Maybe she does, maybe she doesn't, but that mind shift for me sure helped me to see her as someone to help and not someone to control. I expected my kids would do what I say and my little girl made me see that all bets are off and there is no way to really control others. ;)

Anyway, the good news is that all of this is working and she is really turning out to be an amazing girl. This is coming from someone who thought she'd eventually need to be committed. Sort of kidding, but we had some very rough days!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi P.,

I can sympathize with you and am right there with you. Only, I'm a few years ahead. My darling will be 12 in a few weeks, and she's been shall we say, challenging since infancy.

Just as you have described, my dd is extremely hard to discipline. She has never responded to authoritarian style parenting and challenges everything I do. I have had some degree of success with the Love and Logic program. Out of the many I tried, this one seemed to work the most, but it requires 100% consistency. It's a pretty simple program. It's all about natural consequences for actions. The idea is that you give the child a lot of responsibility and choices, and show them that either positive or negative things happen depending on the choices they make. The choices have to be something you can live with such as: "Would you like to do your homework right after school, or have an hour of playtime?". Either way the homework is done before an activity, or dinner etc... "Would you like to keep playing until 8:00, or get ready for bed at 7:30 so we have time to read together before bed?". Either way, she's in bed at 8:00. Many strong willed children like to feel like they're in control and this helps.

The key is to keep your emotions out of every situation, so yes, no screaming matches. You choose one-liners from a list and use them repetitively. I particularly liked "probably so" as an argument avoider. My dd would tell me that I'm the worst mother ever and I would say "probably so". She would tell me that I couldn't do anything right and I would say "probably so" and so on....after several attempts to get a rise out of me to no avail, she'd give up. It takes two to argue, so don't be the other party.

Decide what is a punishable offense, and what can be handled with a one-liner. Most of my dd's defiance is in the form of her mouth. She talks back, and screams. If I yell back, or entertain the argument, it fuels her fire....I use the one-liners for her back-talk. I save punishments or consequences for things like refusing to start her homework at the time she decided on or fighting with her brothers. Then she loses her iPod or TV for that day. When I give the consequence, I keep calm and use a one-liner like "this is sad" or "'how sad for you"' that you made a poor choice and will not have your Ipod today". If she fires back with something like "Well, this is sad that you're an idiot and a terrible mother", I just say "probably so". She's already lost the Ipod, and the mouth is just to get to me so I choose to ignore that and let her think it doesn't bother me.

It's really all about consistency and not losing control of your emotions. My dd loves nothing more than when I lose it and start yelling. She actually laughs at me. When I'm calm, and nonchalant, and using my one-liners, she knows she can't get to me and she's gets into a pattern of less back talk.

In your situation, I think it would be worth a shot. Your dd is still young so it's the perfect time to start. I don't know how well it works with teens. It's starting to lose effect with my dd at 12 because she doesn't like the choices I offer her, but really did when she was younger. Were things peaceful? Never, but manageable.

You can go on the L&L website and probably get enough info from it without having to purchase the book.

Good luck!!!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Compliments to Leigh's (once again!) spot on answer.

With most kids, discipline works best when we come to it from an emotionally-neutral place.

I want to add, when you do see her happily engaged in things she is doing for her own self, pour on the non-verbal positive attention through touch. I have used this technique with kids (my own, and former young charges/preschoolers): when they are busy at what they enjoy, a gentle squeeze on the shoulder, rubbing their back, tousling their hair, a kiss on the head--- these little quiet acknowledgments mean "I see you and you matter; I like you for you." No talking during those times. I have found that for attention-seeking kids, this is a profoundly effective action. When I am having a tough season with my own son, I am for about 20 of these a day. You can keep tabs on a piece of paper or when I was teaching, I would put a bunch of craft sticks in one apron pocket and move them to the other as the day progressed and they got loved on. JoAnne Nordling explains this 'love in action' in her parenting book "Taking Charge: Caring Discipline that Works at Home and at School". I like the approach of this book-- it strives to help parents move away from being either too permissive or too authoritarian and toward being more 'authoritative'. (If you want a visual image of authoritative, think Mr Rogers- open, guiding, accepting of a person's authentic emotions, and also calmly and firmly in charge.).

Good luck going forward.

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answers from Columbia on

Leigh has hit the nail on the head. You have a little tyrant in your home. It's time to take the control out of her hands.

Best of luck to you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Binghamton on

My second child to a T. Never fear - it does not get worse, it gets much better.
Some suggestions: set boundaries and stick to them. Nasty backtalk wins her 5 minutes in time out. If she refuses to stay there, you put her back until she does. (Our record was an epic 45 min. battle of the wills when she was 4 where I kept calmly, but firmly returning her to the time-out stoop and resetting the timer for her 4 minutes. Never had to do it again.)
She needs to put out her clothes the night before, get her school things ready, and get herself ready in the morning. Let her know those are your expectations, and that you will help her choose an outfit or with anything she needs help with if she asks. We used a timer to help her keep track of how long each step could take. If she goes to school in her PJs the first day without her teeth brushed and her hair a rat's nest and no breakfast in her belly because she was too engaged in being defiant, so be it. (You might want to give her teacher a heads up.) When she gets it right, praise her. Give her stickers for every time she gets dressed herself, etc., every little thing on the schedule. 4 stickers earns a trip to her favorite playground. Positive reinforcement is the key.
She is enjoying the confrontations with you because it is a way of getting attention and gives her a satisfying sense of how important she is. The more you microcontrol, the more she pushes back. The first few days are super hard because she will test even more: Surely mom doesn't really mean it, does she? Stick to it and most importantly: don't yell. (I used to grab a book I really enjoyed to keep myself calm as I waited for her to calm down).
I can promise you, it works and it does get better. Sometimes it felt like I would bite a hole in my tongue trying to keep from screaming. My strong-willed girl is now 14 and while we still butt heads sometimes, she is charming, cooperative and most of the time quite wonderful to be around.

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answers from New York on


Speak with the principle and classroom teacher. Advise them that getting dressed and getting out of the house timely is proving a problem for your child, and that you will be allowing her to take responsibility for it. If it results in her being late for school, you would like them to dole out appropriate consequences.

Talk to her about the fact that she is a big girl and that she is capable of getting through the bathroom, dressed and ready for school. Tell her what to expect the night before. Then wake her up with a hug (why not), hugs are nice.

Make a chart and post it on her door. It should read bathroom, dressing, breakfast, bag shoes & coat. Lay out her clothes, breakfast, and have her bag, shoes & coat by the door.

You will be waking her up 15 minutes earlier than usual and after waking her will be sat in the foyer with a cup of coffee, a magazine, and a kitchen timer. Every 10 minutes the buzzer will go off at which point, you will ask her to check her chart to tell you what she should be doing next so she isn't late for school. What you won't do is stand over her, get into a battle, or do it for her. She is welcome to complete and move onto the next thing early, in which case she might have time for tv or a story or playing. If she fails to get ready and out the door, by XX time, she will have to write a note of apology to the teacher and to the class for being disruptive, plus face any consequence the school imposes.

Step back, shut up, and watch her shine.

If this doesn't work after 2 weeks time, then, add a penalty for every minute after XX time, she will have to do 10 minutes of chores that you select on the weekend before she can do anything else.

give her a hug on pick up. (why not, hugs are nice). Then quickly, get a snack into the kid. Kids can get crabby if they are hungry and tired. I am often both at 2:30/ 3:00 in the afternoon. After a hard day of school, she might be too. Set the clock for 20 minutes. She needs to eat her snack, put her shoes, coat, hat, books away, clear the table and ready for homework in that time. If she beats the timer, any extra time is hers to do something fun with. If she fails to meet her mark, then pile on more weekend chore time.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

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answers from Chicago on

My 6 year old goes to her room if she sasses or rolls her eyes, etc. If her behavior is over the top, she loses tablet or video time.

I started this system about 8 months ago when she began sassing. She rarely does it anymore, and if she whines, I tell her she needs to go to her room and rest until she feels better.

On the flip side, I reinforce the behavior I want to see. We talk a lot about being responsible in this house, for our own clothes, toys, etc...with helping the household function. My 6 is in charge of cleaning the kitchen floor after we eat. She gave me a hard time for the first week, but now does it happily.

It's really important to give them lots of areas where they can feel empowered. My daughter does judo, and it's her thing. It has worked wonders on helping her feel empowered by something. Strong-willed kids need somewhere they can be themselves while succeeding. Has your child found this area yet?

And stop dressing her. Let her go to school in her pajamas. More natural consequences and action, less talking. And less negative attention, and more positive.

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answers from Santa Fe on

I can totally relate to your post because my son is extremely strong willed. All the normal things don't really work with him. My daughter has a more normal personality and all the things people suggest or I read about doing work well with her. So, I get where you are coming from and I know how draining and exhausting it is having a child like this. It's very tiring dealing with all these daily battles. My son is almost 10 and if things are going his way he is a lovely kid...he's super smart, engaging, sweet, and loving. When he does not want to do what he is told he gets very angry, argumentative, can't let it go for hours, and is very stubborn. For a long time this year we were having 4 hours of "battling" with him every night about homework. It was totally ridiculous. I started him seeing a child psychiatrist this year and it has really been helping. She talks to him about his feelings and she also gives him tools for handling his very strong feelings that are more appropriate than being rude, yelling, having a smart mouth, or saying mean things. It has been about 5 months now of therapy and it really does seem to be helping. I think it helps for him that she is not a family what she tells him really sinks in. The other suggestion I have is to disengage. Let it go. I started doing this and at first it was very depressing for me, because I felt like I was giving up on my son. But for my own mental health it is not be trying to get him to do things he does not want to do. I started letting his dad work on homework with him. I stopped minding if he did it...I talked to his teacher and it is now his responsibility. If he does not finish it he gets to stay in at lunch and do it with his teacher. Let your daughter wear her same clothes to bed and to school day after day. Tell her it is her responsibility and not yours. She is too old to have someone dress her. Once her friends start teasing her she will probably start changing her clothes herself. Don't feed her inner "baby" that wants to argue with her. Just disengage...don't argue...and ignore her. If you want sit her down and let her know she is now a big girl and these things (make a list) are her responsibility, not yours. These kind of kids are sooooo hard. I think it just takes a lot more time with they mature they start being better at doing things on their own because they gain motivation from their peers. My son now wants to take a bath every other day bc girls at school have teased him for smelling bad. And he is starting to like some of these girls! I don't battle him over eating. I put the food down and if he does not eat it that is his problem. He sleeps in his clothes every night and I do not care. Sometimes he wears the same clothes to school. I do not care. If he does not do what he is supposed to then he loses his screen time for the rest of the day. He knows that. Homework continues to be a bit of a problem. What helps is we have him work in 15m increments. 15 minutes of working, then a 15m break. He sits on a bouncy exercise ball when working. After and hour and a half of work time that is it for the night. He can't handle being in many causes too many battles (doesn't want to go, can't get homework done, etc) so he can only be in one activity that meets once a week. I have to keep all our routines exactly the same with him...we don't change them much, so over the years he knows what he is supposed to do. I praise him like crazy when he does what he is supposed to do. He really has gotten better as he has gotten has been a long, long road with this kid! I have reached the point of tears with him many has not been fun. Oh, I forgot to if he uses a rude voice or yells he immediately goes to his room. I stay calm and just ignore him. He can come out once he is calm again.

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answers from Seattle on

I totally agree with SweetChaoswith3's answer. (And now Lumpy's.) This is my almost 7yo to a "t." Yes, difficult from birth. Seriously strong-willed. And uses her speech as a weapon/defense mechanism. I, too, lose it sometimes.

A couple thoughts. Mine is in 1st grade this year, and it is better than last year. Kindergarten is a really challenging time. They figure some things out by first grade. So, hold on.

Mine also has sensory issues which has made getting dressed extremely challenging. But in the past month, this has improved dramatically for us. For getting dressed, let her pick her own clothes unless they are completely inappropriate. Nobody really cares if a kindergartner's pants match her shirt. And try having her get dressed before breakfast. If it takes too long to get dressed, then her breakfast is short or she doesn't brush her teeth or hair. Oh well. At least she will be dressed.

As SCw3 says, pick your battles. Figure out your biggest issues (maybe pick 3) and work on getting those under control. A reward chart seems to work best for mine. She tends to react better towards a positive goal than a negative threat.

And the "probably so" answer to many issues is perfect. I took a class on parenting strong-willed kiddos, and the teacher called it "drop-the-rope." The kiddos will try to drag you into an argument or emotional tug-of-war, but it takes two to do it. You don't have to engage.

It does get better (and then worse and then better....) Each developmental push has an up time and a down time. Really, really savor the up times to get you through the down times.

Good luck!

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answers from Williamsport on

What is the firmest discipline method you have used? And how consistent have you been with it? Have you spent any significant periods of time since toddlerhood where you took your absolute FIRMEST measure and employed it immediately after one calm warning each and every time she defied you, or have you used all different things (easy to do when behavior is always bad, sometimes screaming, sometimes spanking, sometimes ignoring, sometimes taking things away)?

Without consistency, no matter how "tough" you're being, you will get no results. Because the child will gamble for the times they get ignored, yelled at, or another easy out. And if your method isn't firm enough, then even WITH absolute consistency, you won't get results. Sometimes people put their kids in a million time outs or remove their stuff a million times before realizing it may not be an effective method if the child does not alter the behavior. Kids are VERY bright, and they always act in their own best interest. You can prevail if you have a reckoning that matters to her.

If she is not afraid to yell in your face and treat you like garbage at kindergarten age, then you have not instilled a "fear of you" (pardon the politically incorrect term) worthy of an extremely spirited child. Without knowing your specific patterns of discipline other than "you've tried everything and have always used punishments" it's hard to give specific guidance as to how to streamline and improve this.

I'm a single mom and have always had a zero tolerance policy for bad behavior in my home, and my third child was born massively challenging, but she's in check now and doing GREAT at 4 with absolute consistency...but again, without knowing exactly what you have done for this behavior it's hard to advise.

Also, are you certain there is no medical aspect? There probably is not, this sounds like typical discipline stuff, but these days you always have to rule that out before recommending toughening up...

Her formative years are mostly past at 5 and I know you don't have time to read, but I'd squeeze in Back to Basics Discipline by Janet Campbell Matson or a James Dobson book before she gets any older if she is medically normal. Or Otherwise, her nasty jump to being 8 years old, and then teen-aged will be seriously traumatic for both of you.

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answers from Minneapolis on

It's difficult. You need to find the balance between what you can fight and what isn't worth fighting about. Yup, even at this age. If you can pick just a couple of things that you insist she follows what you say and Never, Ever let her get away with it. Once those things are followed pretty consistently then pick a couple more. If she is capable of following directions at school shes just pushing your buttons. I know from experience that with my first daughter I thought I would be able to control pretty much everything - I learned differently. You are smarter than her so you can figure out ways to trick her into doing what you want her to do without her knowing it. It will serve you well to figure out now what works so that she respects you and wants you to not be mad at her. It helps a ton in the teenage years.

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answers from Washington DC on

Consistency is the key.
Set some rules and consequences.
Have her help you make a list of house rules. Hang them where everyone can see them.
Make sure one of the rules is No Yelling.
If she yells, immediately do what the consequence of that is - be it time out or whatever. Whatever she does, she get the consequence immediately.
Before you leave the house, remind her that if she misbehaves, you will be leaving the venue immediately. Then, when she tests you - do it.
She is old enough to behave, express her feelings with words, and show respect for you.
Respect yourself and her enough to follow through with your threats. If you are at a party and she acts up, she doesn't believe you'll take her out of there. Mine KNEW I would carry them out if I had to.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

When I was reading this it was like you were talking about a teenager. A child this age has way too much going on. It truly sounds like she has nothing to reward any good behavior at all.

I'd like to suggest you have a plan, only for yourself, not for her to see. You need a plan where you reward every good behavior you see her do.

If she calms herself down reward her. It could be a pat on the back and saying "You did such a good job calming down".

If she uses good manners tell her how nice it was to hear that.

If she does something on her own maybe give her a few M&M's and say "I noticed what you did and I'm proud of you". The candy is just an incentive. By not saying "I'm giving you candy because you did something" you are not associating her actions to candy but she associates a huge big deal to what she just did.

There are so many more ways to deal with a kiddo that is out of control. Trying to control them more only makes the battle worse. They will win. They have nothing to lose.

BTW, she's too young to associate all the punishments you're giving her for somewhat normal age appropriate behavior. It's pretty normal at this age to start asserting their independence. If she doesn't have a thought in her head about what "she" wants or doesn't want then she won't be able to make decisions when she's older or an adult.

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answers from Chicago on

Get the book 1,2,3 magic. you won't need anything else. It is not about strong willed children. It is about discipline. And it works but you must follow thru each and every time. and set up action / consequence and make sure she understands it. ex:

she screams at you she goes to her room
each time it happens. and she doesn't get out because she says I love you mommy.... there is a set set of rules
no screaming
no running / hitting
getting dressed is not an option she has to do it. on her own.
at 6 she should be showering alone, getting dressed alone, brushing teeth etc.

I would make a poster that has a chart that you check things off on. and if she fights it she gets a consequence each and every time. it has to be consistant. chart ex:
after school:
homework done and bookbag by the door for tomorrow
outfit laid out for tomorrow
get the prividge of playing etc....

after supper
toys put away
bath and into pj's
get to read before bed... or watch tv etc....
if she fights it she gets to go to bed earlier next day. and stick to it.

get dressed
eat breakfast
brush teeth
make bed
completely ready for school
after those things done she can have privilege of doing whatever playing, reading, watching tv etc....
any of those not done no privileges.
the key here is not to give in. and if she screams she goes to her room. period. let her scream herself horse. she will stop.

and it will get worse if you don't do something. it doesn't sound like a strong willed child. sorry sounds like a brat lol. but the fact that you know this is a great start to fixing it.

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answers from Chicago on

I could have written this post, only my daughter is 8. I encourage you to not engage in yelling matches, that is what she wants. Another thing to do is pick your battles; let her go to school in her pajamas. I have learned that I want to be fair in my punishments instead of reacting irrational, so I allow myself to cool down and not let her think she got a rise out of me. I don't know where you are spiritually but what also helped us is to bring God into our conversations about what a parents role is compared to a childs. Bringing God into our conversations after one of her episodes has helped the situation not escalate. This article has been a great tool for us, it's a short read. Best wishes, it's a long road

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I am a Mom, but not to a girl. To a strong-willed boy.

Instead of punishing her, simply BE her Mom. No screaming (there are books out there for that - but are there places where you both behave better? Like - outside the home?) No punishing (contrary to popular belief, punishment doesn't teach every child. It certainly doesn't mine - except to tell things to avoid being caught in all this 'stuff' that happens when misbehaving occurs).

Check into Attachment Parenting. It does happen outside of infancy and toddlerhood - you can start later in life, kindergarten, even early teens.

Check into her play. Does she have any time to play, be creative, with really open-ended toys? (nix the electronics. completely. turn off your wifi when you are not using it and especially when sleep, you're not using it anyway).

No time to read? read during her bath. right there or outside the door. You have to be present anyway.

Time for the house? Let the house go or find someone to trade places with you for cleaning, or better yet - find Flylady.

You can find time to read a little bit. A chapter. A paragraph. Something where you take it home and use it.

It takes 5 minutes to read a paragraph. You would be surprised how much you can take home and USE in five little minutes.

And, it sounds like being in school - your daughter has very little time outside. Children who get outside MORE, for recess, for play, for exercise and just being able to run around in circles - do BETTER in school.

So, find more time for PLAY in her life (and yours, too!) and play at food shopping - she can certainly help, but at her discretion. (if we get this done faster, we have more time on the playground!) Take her outside for walks and nature-noticing. See the babies being born out there! See the signs of Spring (just in time for her!)

She is becoming herself. She IS a little being that is butting heads with you - and it is your job to teach her that defiance is not a cute and lovely thing like it is with children her age. And...

She sounds like she really needs your attention. Do you still read stories - together now? Anne of Green Gables is a wonderful place to start (I would not read the story that was written for older children that starts at the beginning of her life - a beautiful story but too, too rough for a kindergartener!)

So, you can do it - you can learn more - just asking for advice isn't going to find a cure-all (ah, yes, I am still practicing this one! No one will jump in for me and solve the little problems or give a definitive FIX that sticks with my son).

Practice what you learn - and journal. You will need that for later in life, too. You may have to return to see who she was like when she was a kindergartener - for her children.

Good luck,



answers from Eugene on

I remember making everything a reward. Things she thought she was entitled to. A favorite snack after school, 5 books at bed time, going to the park. Things we would normally do started to have to be earned. Favorite toys would be taken away and earned back. Oh you want bubbles in that bath?

Six year old vocabulary word of the day is consequences. If she does do as you ask there will be consequences. You don't have to say what they are you can figure it out when things calm down and suit you.

13 is easy you take away their phone and they will to any thing to get it back. Mine lost hers today. Oh how sweet she is being!


answers from New York on

I have one like that too. I love her to pieces and she has MANY excellent attributes but we have issues with backtalk and the like. The best seems to be a rewards and penalties chart. It has 2 sides, with happy faces on one and smileys on the other. Each is worth 10 cents. She has a potential to earn $5.00 per week if she does all of the things she should or she could owe us $5.00 lol! For instance, she is supposed to feed the dogs 2 X a day. If she does it every day, that's $1.40. Making her bed every day is 70 cents. Getting up and getting ready for school without me standing over her, potential 50 cents. etc etc. Likewise, backtalk is a sad face and so is bullyish behavior to her sister. Failure to do a chore is not a sad face, it's just no happy face. She only gets a sad face for actual "bad" behavior, not just failing to do her good actions. This is working great!!!! I made a list of all the things she can earn happys and sads for. She is actually the one who suggested 10 smileys = one dollar and I liked her suggestion! Nothing vague or ambiguous like "naughtiness" or "good behavior". Try it!


answers from Chicago on

OMG...I read this, and I could have written it. Verbatim.
My DS is 6 and is the same way. Very smart, common sense, doesn't miss a beat...and is strong willed as hell.

We do have our routines, and they really have not changed much (bedtime and tub adjustments as he's gotten older, of course). For me, when he refuses to listen, my mantra to him is "if you don't do something I want, I don't do something you want". And then, the very next thing that he asks for...whatever it is...the answer is no. That keeps him in the moment and he feels impact of his bad behavior quickly - rather than trying to associate it with something later in the day.

We have also found that totally ignoring him completely works on occasion...until he starts doing something that I can't tolerate him doing (like throwing a golf ball at the drywall). I have had incidents where he has followed me around the house for 30 minutes waiting for me to respond. And only when he apologized, did I acknowledge him at all.

It's not a perfect fix, but it is what works best for us.

And when the crying starts, I refuse to speak to him until he comes to apologize (which we all know isn't the end of the behavior, but...).

For him...punishments, feedback (good and bad), timeouts, taking toys away, sent to his room, etc... NONE of it works on him. Not one thing. His response is always "OK, I'll do something else, then." So the only success we have had is making him feel it in the moment, like above.

Like I said, it's not perfect, and we still fight it every single day. But when I need to get through to him, warning him with the above seems to sink in.
"You don't help me, I don't help you."

I'll be following this thread closely for other suggestions!



answers from Dallas on

not sure If you added it or I just missed it the first time I read it - but now I see where you address school...

if she is largely well behaved at school and follows directions there, I'd suggest to you that it's a problem in her relationship/environment in the home with you. if it's the child's behavior, it's an issue in all aspects/environments for them, but that doesn't sound like the case here. it may be time to get some professional help, but until you get that arranged, pick a discipline method and STICK TO IT 100% of the time, even when it's exhausting and inconvenient, even if you have to leave a cart of groceries in the store or get out of the shower to discipline her. don't give her an INCH. if she so much LOOKS like she's gonna do something, handle it IMMEDIATELY and directly. be sure to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS explain what she did wrong and what she could have done better/different. praise her for ANY LITTLE THING she does right. even if it's flushing the toilet or washing her hands or tying her shoes, etc. I would not dress a 6 year old, that's flat out ridiculous. tell her she has 10 minutes to get dressed, if she's not ready, let her go to school looking like a slob in her pjs for a day or two. I'm wondering if a VERY regular routine would help her, she must enjoy rigid routine and knowing what's going to happen next, that would explain why she is behaved better at school - make a chart of her day from beginning to end, maybe it's an anxiety issue...



answers from San Diego on

I have 3 strong willed girls!! Two of them also have ADHD & the oldest is in the process of an Asperger's diagnosis, which although will NOT fix anything, would at least explain a few things for us. They are all different, but they are ALL very stubborn. And don't like to be controlled.

Ultimately, the best help I ever found has been through the Love & Logic web site. Let your daughter experience the consequences of her actions. She doesn't want to get dressed, take her to school in her PJs. She doesn't want to take a bath, let her stink. She doesn't want to do her homework, the teacher will give her a zero. Teach her to OWN her actions. This will teach her how to think, how to control herself, her mouth.

Being smart--all my girls are "gifted", honor roll students & book smart. BUT if they have no character, if they don't learn to be responsible human beings, if they don't learn to work hard, then they are worthless in my book. And I've told them so.

Yes it's hard on ME. Yes, I've been embarrassed by the clothes my child choose to wear. Yes I've been embarrassed when my "gifted", super smart child didn't get the Super Student Award, because she wouldn't do her homework. But you know what? So was she. And she learned from that & started finishing her work & turning it in on time.

And ALL electronics--TV, DVDs, video games, cell phones--screen time, those need to be EARNED. And taken away for weeks, not days or hours & ONLY given back when the nasty behavior/mean words have stopped. For weeks. We kept letting a few days of good behavior be enough to get back the electronics--but guess what--the HABIT of being nasty & defiant didn't go away, she just would manage to hide it. Which is a manipulation. Once she got her "crack" back, she would slowly creep back into nastiness.

Use the Love & Logic "phrases" to help you keep your cool, because there is a LOT of reward in making Mommy's Head Pop Off--& since you are the Adult, YOU feel guilty & back off whatever you wanted the kid to do, say or not say. And she gets to see you freaked out. She sees that as a "win".

Also check out Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages of Children. Frankly, you probably don't feel very much love for your child after she's treated you like garbage, but sometimes a kid acting out, is a kid NOT feeling loved. And what says Love to one person, isn't the same to another. Good Luck.

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