I Have Had It with My 5 Year Old!!

Updated on June 11, 2012
R.D. asks from Richmond, VA
31 answers

If you guys read my post regarding my defiant 5 year old, then you know all about the tip of the iceberg.

The straw that broke the camels back: she just intentionally stepped on a brand new picture frame. (why was it on the floor? it was in the corner, blocked off by the couches, in a 'safe spot' -or so I thought- so it wouldn't get knocked over or broken before I could hang it. NO ONE has ANY business even being in that corner. It was under an end table for crying out loud).


I cry as I type this, and PLEASE don't take it the wrong way, I LOVE my child, BUT I DO NOT LIKE HER.

I feel like *I* have failed somehow. I don't understand this at all. I can not even begin to wrap this child around my brain to try to figure this out. She has everything she could ever need... not 'want', she is not spoiled', but she is a very fortunate yet ungrateful child. I can not for the life of me understand!!

I am at a complete loss... I just completely went mommy dearest on her because I can not stop myself anymore!! I hate the way things are with her!! I'm really having a moment here... I don't know if I'm venting or if I'm asking something... a little hope would be nice, if you have any to offer.

Please no judgements here, I really don't need it right now. I just need... hope.
Thanks ladies :/

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So What Happened?

I appreciate everything everyone has said so far, keep it coming! MIGHT I ADD, the day before her first day of school (first day of school being today)... the child CUT HER OWN HAIR. She got a hairbrush tangled, and instead of asking for help, she cut an 8 inch long 4 inch wide handful of hair off her head. MY MY MY!! The shocker is, she tried to hide it. [shakes head]....

More Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

B - R - E - A - T - H - E.

Have you had a weekend away with DH in the last few years?
Have you had a few days away with your own mom
or aunt or old school friend(s)?

I haven't read your previous post.
However, if she's defiant, you may need to consider interacting
with her in ways different from what you've been doing in the past.
Have you read any of the books on normal child development stages?

Regarding "fortunate" and "need" and "want" . . . .
though you may, with splendid reasons, consider her to be fortunate,
she probably doesn't see it that way.
She has no standard of comparison.

Also she doesn't have the kind of cognitive skills (yet)
to have reasoned thought processes.
That will come in another year or two.

I could go on but I think I'll stop here.



OK. I went back and read (some of) your previous posts.
Including the one of just a couple of weeks ago
in which you described NIGHT TERRORS and SLEEP WALKING.

Also, somewhere in there you mentioned that you use "tough love".

So . . . first of all, your expectations of this child are quite likely --
in my opinion definitely!! -- totally inappropriate.

When she says "I don't know" she means it.
She doesn't know.

She has neither the vocabulary nor the cognitive processing skills
to investigate and consider and articulate what's going on inside her
when she does these things.

So, when you ask her, even gently, WHY she has done
whatever she has done, she is completely UNABLE
to answer your questions.

And, of course, when you ask her in an impatient or threatening way,
she's not only incapable of answering, but now FEAR and ANXIETY
are added on top of her confusion.

That's pretty hard to work with, even if she's trying very hard.
I'm guessing she's too stressed/frustrated to try at all.

There is stuff going on here that is separate from,
and in addition to, the behavior that you describe as defiant.

BTW, just in passing, your description of your 6-year-old
saying "I'm sorry, mommy. I won't do it again" or words to that effect,
indicate that she has learned, well, how to give you
what you're asking for. Whether or not she is sincere in that moment.
She has simply learned how to go along to get along.

You said you don't want judgment, just some hope.
Yes. There is hope.

In order to "fix" what's going on between your daughter(s) and you,
you'll need some help from outside,
whether a support group or a therapist or taking a class in parenting.

Also, you probably need to have your 5-year-old evaluated
regarding the night terrors and sleep walking.

The defiance problems will (I'm sure) turn out to be
part of a larger situation that can be alleviated
with counseling and psychological therapy.

If your child is fortunate enough to get some appropriate therapy
but she continues to come home to the same expectations,
this will make the therapy not as successful as it would be otherwise.


2nd addition.
Re-read Anne B's post.
Read it again.
Read it slowly.
Read it out loud.
Copy it in 14-point bodoni and post over your bathroom mirror.
Also, get the book recommended by Julie.
Read it.
Memorize it.
There ya go.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Hi, R.,

You're understandably confused and enraged by what looks like incomprehensible behavior in your daughter. You are using an approach to parenting that "should" work, and yet it apparently is not. I hope that after you have a chance to settle a bit, you'll try to be open to trying something new, and tested.

You may not have been able to hear this alternative in answers to your post a week or so back. Your daughter may be as desperate for a change in your relationship as you are. I've reread your earlier request and your profile, and see that you identify yourself as a "tough love" mom. That could mean a lot of things, but what it often means is that a parent is unbending about quick obedience to the parent's requirements. As admirable as this appears on the surface, it may also mean that the child's emotional needs go unrecognized.

I'm not scolding you, R., I'm simply hoping that you will seriously try to consider life from your daughter's point of view, because this may be the only place from which positive change can happen right now. From what you say, she sounds spirited or determined by nature, which means she's going to experience some/many/all parental demands as directly opposing her own emotional needs, and quite possibly, interpret strict parenting as a challenge. And as uncomfortable as the results are for both you and her, this is not her "fault."

Behavioral science tells us that ALL behavior (by all people, even infants) is an attempt to get some need met, and needs are legitimate, not optional. Mild-mannered or timid kids often have to defer their needs for years, because they don't have the emotional force or spirit to push for what they need (thus giving "tough love" parenting an "appearance" of effectiveness). But for many more spirited kids, the more urgent their need is, or the longer it has gone unmet, the more "desperate" the behavior becomes. Since children don't have much experience or power when it comes to choosing the means to express their needs, they are likely to engage in behaviors that are distressing or perplexing to their parents.

This might sound like a lot of "blah, blah, blah" if you're not familiar with these ideas. But your daughter sounds like one of many children who take a challenge to heart. Of course, I'm not there to see or hear the tone of your interactions, and can only work with what you have written. But your dilemma sounds like a fairly common one, and there is hope.

It's possible your child has some behavioral/neurological/psychological issues that need professional intervention, but it would sure be worth trying an approach that will allow you to see her in an entirely different light first, because I've used these techniques with angry, at-risk high school kids, and have watched a number of young families turn around really scary behavior in one or more of their children once they try a more empathetic approach. And some really terrific resources are available for every parent to investigate. My all-time favorites are How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber and Mazlish. The techniques and ideas are mutually respectful (they meet the parents' legitimate needs, too), and they work brillliantly.

Also check out the book Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, and the concept of Emotion Coaching, another term you can google for lots of useful information. (Here's one good link to get you started: http://www.education.com/reference/article/important-pare... .)

I'm sure your motives and intentions are the best, R.. I wish you and your little girl a happy future.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I truly don't believe, children are just born this way, or become this way. Honestly, I'm not judging or blaming you...but maybe, something needs to change. My sister has a 4 year old, that was just becoming a terror. She was at her wits end and having mini to full meltdowns daily. She asked my advice, but I was hesitant to give it to her, because I didn't want to hurt her. I caved and told her what I thought, because she truly wanted advice. Her and her daughter had almost zero positive interaction. Her days consisted of telling her daughter what she was doing wrong, punishing her, asking her why she does things, and just a really negative atmosphere. I told her to get a tape recorder and record a couple of entire days and listen how her and her daughter interacted. She was devastated, to her the tapes. She nagged, nitpicked, snapped, and almost never had anything good to say to her. She couldn't believe, that her relationship was like that. She completely changed how she ran her house. She began to interact positively with her daughter. Don't get me wrong, she still disciplined her. She didn't let her get away with inappropriate behavior. But, instead of "what are you doing," "why did you do that," look at this mess," she was more peaceful in her language. She would have her daughter clean the mess up and spend time in time out. She would encourage her, by saying..."If we both have a really good day tomorrow, I've got really fun things planned." When they had a better day, she would take her to Chick-fil-A, get ice cream, and rent a movie. They began having Friday night movie nights. Popcorn, candy, and a good movie. She began rewarding her with praise, for little things. If her daughter went a period of time (it could have even been just 5 minutes.) without being defiant, she would tell her, "You're being a really good girl today, thank you for behaving for mommy." Or, something to that effect. FIND reasons to praise her. Find ways to play with her. Take her to the park and praise her for her behavior, when you leave. Take her places, let her explore. Talk about what she did, learned, thank her for being good. Give her a little piece of candy, or some stickers...just for being mommy's girl and behaving so well. Make your home peaceful and nurturing. She WILL change. Sure, it may not be overnight. If you LOOK for ways to praise her, you will find them. She will appreciate you more, and want to behave you. She will like YOU, too. It doesn't sound like she like you very much right now, either. I don't say that to attack you, but a child with fondness and respect, just doesn't behave like this. Give her reasons to be fond of you, it will change your relationship.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My oldest was the one who drove me the most crazy, and made me go "mommy dearest" a few times. All I can say in hindsight, now that he's 21, is that I should have lightened up on him and severely reduced my expectations.

I'm not judging you, I've been there. BUT, if you examine the ratio of your interactions with her, how would you rate the percentage of positive to negative? Negative being as little as, "don't do that," or "I told you no," or imposing some form of discipline. I'm going to bet that the negative interaction outweighs the positive, by at LEAST 60/40%, probably more.

Try to get your positive to negative ratio to 90/10%. Or at least 80/20. That means for every 10 sentences you say to her, 8 of them have to be positive in some way. Positive means: A laugh, a praise, a story, a question about her day, etc.

If you can get the ratio to 80/20, I bet you will see a huge improvement in her behavior.

Listen to how you talk to her for a day, and I bet you will find that the majority of your sentences include the words "no" or "don't."

Once again -- no judgment - I've been there. But hindsight has taught me a LOT!

And if you doubt the importance of this, imagine if your spouse spent the majority of time engaging in some negative interaction with you, and the effect if would have on your behavior.

Michelle B., above, you are awesome!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

awww........hugs to you and yours........as they say, "I feel your pain". If I'm really honest, I probably can't count the number of times I've heard myself ask (not outloud!), "How am I supposed to parent this child of mine who is so different than me, so "challenging"?? I'm so exhausted from it all.....can't I just get a break here?" lol. It does get easier as they get older (and then harder, and easier, and harder......), and there is hope. It sounds as if your feeling of overwhelm has been coming on for awhile, but it also sounds "normal" to me, given that you have 3 young children at home.

Any way to take a break, get a change of scene, have some time for yourself? If you can do that, chances are you can look back on this incident with a sense of humor and wonder, "Silly me - thinking that there is any "safe" place to put a fragile object with children in the house! If it's breakable, they'll find it somehow," Or at least, that's been my experience, both as a child who broke things and as an adult who still accidentally breaks things.

There are a million different "ways of parenting" that you could try (and they've probably all been recommended *and* criticized before), but right now, it just sounds as if you need reassurance that you're not a horrible mom, that it's not just your daughter that this happens with, and that it will change for the better. You're not horrible, it's not just her, and it will get better.

Obviously, I'm pretty darn analytical, so if that doesn't work for you, just delete me. :-) Can you follow your line of thought during your very most frustrating moments? I mean, is it more that she's disobeyed a direct order, or that you don't understand her "motives" (and that she very likely doesn't have any?), or is it mostly the internal pressure of "If she's acting out, it means I'm failing in a big way?" The latter is always what I'm thinking during my more challenging moments, even though intellectually, I know that kids go through phases, they have bad moods, relationships go through better and worse phases, and while I'm certainly never as great a mom as I'd like to be, I know I do my best. I mention this (even though it may not apply to you) because it's not our child's fault that our own insecurities have fed into the emotion of or reaction to a situation.

In any case, I hope you very soon have a chance to relax, or at the very least, to take a few deep breaths. Sometimes the thing that helped me when mine were that age was to, after a "melt-down" on my part, just put everything I was doing aside, blow it off for the afternoon, cuddle up with the kiddo in question (and sometimes, with siblings too), and hang out and rest and play. Play is as good for moms as it is for kids. And no, I haven't forgotten that the baby's always screaming at that moment, and the other one seems to be breaking out with chicken pox, and, oh my gosh..............where does it all end?
Personally, I hope it never does, but, one of mine started high school last week, so I guess I'm feeling sentimental. Best of luck to you......I hope the day gets a zillion times better.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

HI R.,

I really feel for you right now. Take comfort in that we all go through this with our kids at one time or another and there are solutions. They won't change things overnight, as these behaviors have not developed overnight, but at least you get a starting point and something to work with instead of feeling out of control.

I have recommended this book over and over again. It sounds like your life is really busy, but I hope you'll take some time to take a deep breath and read it. Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child.

I briefly read your last post comparing your two girls, but I didn't read the responses... Kids are so different aren't they? Unfortunately we have to sometimes change our parenting techniques to meet the needs of their different personalities and temperaments. This takes a lot of work on our part, that is not easy work! It's exhausting at times!

Without knowing more info about what's going on in your house and specific situations with your kiddos, it's impossible to know what exactly is going on. But I'm sending you support. I can hear how much you do love your kids and that you desperately want to have a good relationship with them.

Also realize that 5 is a very tough age when kids are establishing their independence, yet are not "grown-up" enough to do everything... we expect more from them because they are able to do more, yet there are times when they still need us as though they are 3 years old. With a new baby in the picture she's probably going through a lot of this.

Take a deep breath... It gets better at about age 6 because she'll mature some, but I would really work with her on the issues that you're struggling with. I do believe part of it is her age and part is everything else... behavior, the dynamic between you and her, the baby etc...

Good luck!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My kids have food allergies and they all have (or had at one point) Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde personalities. One of mine would go completely off the deep end with anger and terror. With mine it was gluten. Once I figured out it was gluten, they totally calmed down and was normal. I also have a friend who's son did this with nitrates that are in lunch meat and bacon etc. I had the advantage that with the behavior issues they also had swollen eyes and hives which always came with the behavior so that was an advantage that gave me the idea it was allergy related, and it was!! If there is nothing in his life that could be causing this and nothing helps, then keep a food journal to see if this could be it. I know that gluten is one allergy that can cause neurological and behavioral problems. Good luck!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on


I think you said your own answer! You don't know where this behavior is coming from, so find out. I remember writing to you once about impuslivity, and just maybe, she has more of a problem with impulses than you can handle right now. I would suggest an evaluation to find out if there is a neurological basis for her unexplainable behavior. I have been in your shoes. When you love them, but don't like them and are at the very end of your rope, that is a time to see if a professional can help you come up with a strategy (based on her processing skills) to over come the barrier that is keeping her from aplying what she knows about how to behave to her actions. That is an issue that you can get help with, and she will be very happy that you did. She wants to do what you ask, but obviously, she can't. I would help her out. A neuropsycholgist or Developmental Pediatrician could do that kind of assessment.

When you are out of rope, go find a professional rope maker.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

well...i think right now you are upset and not really looking for anything but a shoulder to cry on...i hope that others who respond can see where you're coming from and not go all "mamapedia" on you. we have all been there, so take some comfort from that. when you are calmed down, go talk to her and get some "lovins" as we call it at our house, and let her know you love her in return. then talk to her about rules. you will need to start putting your foot down and sticking with consistent discipline...i don't know your story and haven't read our previous posts, but 99% of the time, these are discipline issues, and there will always be a huge fight when you start putting your foot down - meaning it will get worse before it gets better. so be prepared...take a deep breath, and get back in there. hang in there mama. you are so much stronger and smarter and experienced than she is. there is no way she should be outlasting, outsmarting, or out-anything else-ing you. you can do it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

....I know.. its are hard.

I don't know, how long you have had this problem with her? Is it only now, as a 5 year old? Or was it always this way?

All I can say is this:
When a parent does not "Like" their child... the child CAN tell and knows it.
And then, it creates behavioral problems.
I really suggest, Counseling or Therapy for BOTH of you.

The reason I say this so solidly is because: My own Mom, did not 'like' one of my siblings. My sibling, was SOOOOO difficult, like your 5 year old. My sibling and my Mom... just DID NOT LIKE each other. AND, it caused a LOT of problems/resentment/hatred/angst/misery for my sibling... because, our Mom did not 'like' her and she knew it.
They have NEVER gotten along... and my sibling sort of has attitude problems to put it lightly.
AND, for my Mom's side of the issue: I personally think it was because her birth of this sibling, was very traumatic... and hard on her. So, I think she never really bonded or 'liked' this sibling. It just created an association of difficulty... for her.

Regardless: the point is... my sibling ALWAYS 'knew' my Mom did not 'like' her very much. But a great number of other people did not like this sibling either. She IS a pain... .and has been since she was a baby.
But the relationship between her and my Mom... was not good. At all.
Because, they BOTH never 'liked' each other.
And the bottom-line is:
IF a Mom, does not 'like' her child... the child can ALWAYS tell. And then, this creates behavioral AND emotional problems in the child. It is, YOU, the Mom, that has to remedy it. It starts, with You.

Sure, my sibling was a ROYAL pain and monstrous. BUT... ultimately... if there is no relationship or GENUINE feelings between a kid and their Parent/Mom... then, the child will suffer. And it can go on for the ENTIRE rest of their lives or not.... believe me I know. My Mom & Sibling... were like that ALL their lives... until my Dad died.

You NEED to get Therapy for both of you.
I cannot be fixed, by yourself.
The more a parent does not like their child...the worse it will get. I saw it with my own eyes in my Mom/sibling... and it makes it miserable for EVERYONE in the family.
AND... you need to maybe get her assessed, for other possible behavioral/developmental issues.

BUT.... my point here is: your only 5 year old daughter... KNOWS FOR A FACT, that you do not "like" her.
THAT is the root of all of this.
To me.
How would you feel personally... if you belonged to someone who
did not 'like' you???

all the best,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Hi R., I've had MANY days like that throughout motherhood, felt like I was absolutely going to loose my mind! Once MY then 5 year old boy took the scissors to every custum make shade on every window, which had only gotten hung the day before to the tune of 600 dollars! Oh My God, I almost killed him! He pulled off the entire crime within 5 minutes, while I was in the kitchen cooking dinner. I know you're upset with yourself for ripping her face of/ reacting strongly using words you would not normally use, but the fact is, it's your reaction to this that will prevent anything like it from happening again! I can remember my mother RANTING through the house screaming, 'i just CANNOT have ONE goddam thing, CAN I?!" but there is hope, don't worry, this too shall pass, she WILL grow and learn, and go through 'nice' phases and a few more awful phases before it's all over. I hope you can spend some time on you, shake it off, laugh about it with some moms like us. Then when you're calm, you can discuss with her why your behavior was so strong, reinterate how it makes her mom feel when she bahaves like this. Sorry you're having a rough day within the rough phase, but she WILL get nice again, I promise!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Not saying that these issues would not come up later, but please don't freak out from previous posts and jump to the conclusion that something is wrong with your child. She may have been trying to get your attention okay not in a positive way, but she got it just the same. Does she usually do this when you are otherwise distracted? I know it's hard but you may want to set aside time you can spend with her so that these behaviors aren't as common for her. Did she just start school? She might be reacting to behaviors she's seen at school or is having difficulty with the change in routine (ie is she tired, is she overwhelmed etc). I know that this doesn't make her behavior any easier to take but at least it's a start to figuring out what might be going on.

the poster below indicated her "love language" but didn't tell you where to find this out. There is a book called Five Love Languages of Children. Fantastic book for helping you and your child. All the Love Language books are great.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Three words. Love and Logic.

Check it out. It has made a difference for me and my boy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Saginaw on

I have 6 and 5 yr old girls and I was just crying last week to my mom about the same thing. I love my children but sometimes I just dont like them. My girls also are not spoiled but dont want for anything they need, yet it is never enough. If they ask for a slurpee and I say not today they get stomping and huffy and yell at me! I really dont have any adivce for you as I cant seem to do anything about mine. I hate feeling like I failed them somewhere along the line but dont know what to do to correct it. My girls have alot going on in their lives, my husband and I split up 6 months ago and he has only seen them twice and doesnt call, and I had a baby in June and we had to move in with my parents. So in my case Im hoping that alot of this will change when things get "back to normal". Good lucky mommy and be strong.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Hi there....I dont mean to pry, and please don't take this as me judging your child in anyway, but is she just wild acting all the time?? Destructive?? Hyper??? If so, you might want to get her evaulated. She may have ADHD. I have a friend whose son acts just the way you describe and he just got diagnosed. My daughter is also ADHD.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I too have a child who is very unlike me in some respects and is hyper, full of energy, and though not defiant, certainly wants her own way and melts down at the slightest problem. And I mean melts like you put cheese in a microwave melts. There are real times and not a minute or hour or so, but days and weeks, where I just don't like her much and I feel awful for even thinking that or even saying it here. I actually feel better knowing that you, too, have a child that though you love her, at the moment, you really can't stand her. I'm with you!(see fist raised in the air). However, what we have done is take her to a therapist to find out what WE can do with out child. My daughter's energy and strong will will help her in the future. We just have to channel it and it's exhausting!!! The whining and crying and never backing down can take their toll, but we are learning. THere is a book about parenting girls that I would suggest you look at. Find the positives of this child's behavior and look to molding the negative behavior so that 15 years down the road it becomes a strength. Sounds like she knows how to search things out, push buttons, manipulate situations to her advantage and when she doesn't get it, does her thing. Teach her how to use her powers for good, not evil because trust me if she is causing you this much trouble, she has superior super powers that can make her super successful if channeled correctly.

I fon't know if that helps. Good luck, and keep hope alive(said in a Jesse Jackson mannor)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

My sister's 6 year old is very determined, strong-willed, and curious. She breaks things all the time just because she wants to see how they work..well, she played with my sister's perfumes although told not to; well, she spilt them. My sister confiscated something that her daughter loved -- just temporarily -- but she said to her daughter "Do you see how sad you feel that you no longer have (TOY)? That is how Mom feels since you broke her perfume". Child suddenly understands. She didn't deliberately want to hurt Mom, she just wanted to do what SHE wanted and ignored her Mom.

So there has to be a consequence, but use this as an opportunity to help her develop empathy. I haven't read your previous post, so not sure if she is just stubborn and willful or trying to get your attention by being mean to you.

Another relative found the only thing that his 5 year old would respond to was a similar consequence -- taking away a favorite toy. Time out, spanking (I don't approve of spanking so no lectures please) nothing worked, except for removal of a toy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

First of all, it is obvious that your'e already a good mother and strive to be even better. (Don't worry about not being perfect. Being human will do) You DO NOTdislike your 5 yr old. You DO dislike her behavior at times and you DO dislike some of the circumstances you are living under now. I am sure that all the other stressful issues in your life and family that are causing you angst come out when you go "mommy dearest" on your daughter. It's very hard to seperate all our emotions, especially when we are frustrated, so when we get mad, it's not always purely about the issue at hand.
I have a thought that no one else has had and it comes from having raised 6 kids and being a mom for 38 years now. I had similiar problems and feelings about one of my 6. I know that you say she is unlike you, but when I look back, what I see is that the only child I had these issues with is so much LIKE me it's crazy. I never saw it when he was a child, but now, in retrospect, I see it clearly. I think knowing that when he was growing up would have been helpful for me. Just thought this might be something that might help you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I feel for you, and I do have good news, sort of... As far as I can tell this is 5. They are pushing limits, and testing out different personalities and being realy pains in the behinds. Oh and screaming they hate you at the drop of hat, and all kinds of stuff. My five year old son has made me crazy, and I really thought something was wrong with him, but then I checked with others and yep, its a stage. A long stage, mine is almost six and is starting to calm down. Now is the time to pull out your books and tips on anger management, figure out resonable time outs (send her to her room so you don't have to see her for a bit) and just keep chanting she will be six some day. Hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

what? i can't just come in here and start swinging away at you?
well, then, take this instead....
there is hope. lots of it. all relationships with children grow and morph and change, and sometimes these changes are difficult. i too have found my kids at time incomprehensible and at times unlikable. it has always changed to deeper, better, closer.
there's a lot going on with y'all right now. it's affecting everyone. she's only 5 and doesn't know the right ways to express herself. so she's reaching out to you in the only ways she can find that seem to connect, and also are compatible with her personality (little firebrands will rarely say 'mom, i'm struggling with some stuff. can we sit down and talk it out?')
i think it's less about what to do with her, and more about nurturing YOU a little. the stress you're carrying is hard for you personally and radiating out to the family. i wish i could make a spa day happen for you.

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answers from Washington DC on

You told us about her behavior, which is very wrong. But how did you make her responsible for her actions? Yelling and screaming is probably not going to work with her (I have one who is an adult now and yelling didn't work with him either). What she needs to learn is to be aware of consequences of her behavior. For example, she should probably be punished for breaking the frame. Take away something she really enjoys for a period of time, if it is video games, or whatever, remove her access for a set period of time and don't give in. In addition, I would suggest making her pay the cost of replacement. If she gets an allowance, have her go with you and actually buy a new frame. Or she can earn the money by doing chores appropriate for a 5-year old. Again, take her with you and have her hand over the money herself. She needs to take an active role in making her wrong right again. That is my opinion. The earlier you take action, the better your chances of success. If you let her run the show, it will get further out of hand.

My two cents. :) Good luck!

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answers from Richmond on

Do you think that she is jealous of the new baby or picking up on the stress in your house? Just based on your previous posts, it sounds like a lot has been going on and you and your boyfriend have been having some issues. You might want to find a school counselor or a therapist and see if she will open up to someone other than you.

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answers from Washington DC on

Google Oppositional Defiant Disorder + characteristics. A child must have 4/8 of the characterisitcs to be diagnosed as having the disorder. If she has it, I would suggest professional help. No judgements; I feel your pain! Been there! I will tell you to ALWAYS stand your ground. You must control her will without breaking her spirit - tough line............Good luck and take heart. My daughter is now grown, happy, healthy, and self-sufficient. :)

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answers from Washington DC on

Not many suggestions but I have to hope that this is an age thing because my 5 year old girl is absolutely beastly as well. She figures out what buttons to push for all members of the family - older brother, dad and mom and definitely gets the reaction she is seeking. The only thing I can do is "pretend" it doesn't bother me and not take anything personally (channeling my inner actress). Everything has to be matter of fact with as little emotional response as possible. Granted, this is easier said than done! Most of her episodes can probably be traced back to not getting enough sleep or being hungry. Any kind of punishment turns into an all out nightmare because she whines and cries and basically makes everyone miserable. Yeah, so I can totally relate. Maybe try some of the "Love & Logic" techniques? Sorry, not much help but I can commiserate and only hope that this is a 4/5 girl age "difficulty" that hopefully will pass soon!

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answers from Washington DC on

youve had a lot of helpfull advice but would still like to offer my 2 cents:)
look into Love and Logic ( foster cline) see if you can get books by him from the library or attend some seminars ( my daughters school in Reston offers them, so check with some of the schools too) it is very helpful i had issues with my 4 yrd old and now we are really doing very well. if you need more info pls dont hesitate to contact me

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answers from Washington DC on

OK, just one more response....
I felt the same way you do about my son. For about a year, we had a very rough time with him and I too had doubts about my sanity, my 'like' for my son and just wondering what the hell was going on!
I ended up talking to our pediatrician, and ultimately had him evaluated and turns out he has ADHD and we ultimately put him on medication. I'm not pushing the meds part - each person/family has to decide that for themselves. But, I do think that you should at least start with a talk with the pediatrician.
Feel free to contact me directly if you wish to discuss this more thoroughly.


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answers from Colorado Springs on

Dear R.,
It is not too late to get a handle on your daughter. There really is hope for your relationship with her. I have no idea what your lifestyle is at home. But, I will give my advice based on what I know works. You may end up having to make some serious sacrifices for it to work, but it's worth it, right? First of all, do you work outside the home? Are you married? (remember I have no idea, I have not gone to your profile to find out) If you are married and both you and your husband work, I suggest you quit your job and come home. (If you are already home, great!) Then, I suggest tomato staking your daughter. What this means is that you keep her right at your side all day long. For everything. I know. Hard, right? But, sooooo worth it. She will then need to start working with you. Whatever you are doing, she does with you. She can help clean, cook, read a book next to you, everything. Use the time to have conversations with her. Teach her how to behave. Teach her respect. You will actually have to discipline her and be consistent and loving through the entire process. Don't let her get away with ANYTHING. When we start to see behavior we don't like, we let the kids know that there is a new sheriff in town. :) I wonder if your daughter doesn't just need more of your time. It sounds like she is doing anything for your attention. Give her positive attention before she needs the negative attention. If she has started school, I would also pull her out and homeschool her until her character is where it needs to be. Actually, *I* would homeschool althroughout school. :) But, her character is not going to get better by being on her own all day influenced by peers. A teacher does not have the time to give each child what that child needs in regard to character training. They just don't, no matter what their desires are. There are some really good and caring teachers, but they are not the Mommy (or Daddy), and only have to get through the curriculum. That is where their responsibility ends. There is so much more to a well-rounded, well-educated child than just the academics. Anyway. those are things that we would do. You can do it. Your situation is not hopeless. But, remember that you are teaching her in abundance by your reactions to stress. Are you mirroring to her how you want her to behave when things don't go your way? I know. Huge burden of responsibility! But, remember that it is not about you. It is about her own internal struggle that she is trying to communicate with you in the best ways that she can figure out. Love her and pray for patience!!

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answers from Washington DC on

I feel your pain. My son is only 3, but he's a very loud, rough, strong-willed little boy. The video 1, 2, 3 Magic has recently kept me from loosing it with him. If you haven't seen it, check it out at the library. If you have, it might be time to rerent it. I know I could use a refresher. For something like this, I'd say your daughter deserves an automatic time out. And use the tips from today's article (sounds like you read it) for making time for yourself.

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answers from Charlotte on

I wish I had something other than just a lot of sympathy to offer you. I am a mother to 4 children and my youngest who is almost 5 and the only boy is causing me to really doubt my abilities as a parent. I never had to deal with any of these issues with my girls and my oldest now almost 18 was diagnosed with ADHD. Im at my wits end with him. I just do not get WHY he does the things he does. He is almost 5 and will NOT use the potty, He has gotten into his sisters make-up many many times, a big jar of vaseline, lotions, and then spreads it everywhere, on walls the carpet, the toys. He has emptied several jars of spices, an entire bag of flour that covered my entire office. I still see it in cracks and when air blows through the vents It would put a fresh thin covering all over everything again. Just a little while ago he emptied a bag of grits and my bottle of creamer under the dining room table and was driving his cars through it. ( we built him a big sandbox in the backyard to try and help ) Anything he can get his hands on that might be fun to play in he dumps on the floor including a bag of sugar. He has dug the dirt out of the plants, colored on the walls ( I know some of this is normal however at the age of almost five I expect him to know that certain things he should not do) He has ruined our leather couch by standing on the back of it and ripping the entire top portion. He has broken one of our wii systems countless games by stepping on them. he cracked the screen on our plasma t.v ( now we have a screen protector) he takes all of my nice clean folded laundry and scoops it up throwing it all over the room. I would put him in his room so I could get a five min break which I find is better than losing it with him. We have a extra tall gate in front of his door than no longer serves the purpose as he climbs out. So we had to turn the knob so it will lock from the outside instead of the inside. While he is in his room he will take every single bit of clothing from his drawers and throws them all over and dumps his toys all over too so I have a major mess. We have to lock all the doors to everyone bedrooms and have key locks on all the house doors as he just walks out. Now in the last month or so he has started screaming when he doesnt get his way and will knock down or push over anything in his view. he takes my cushions off the couch all the time. I could go on and on maybe fill up an entire book with a sequel. I am no longer able to go anywhere, Im stressed out and honestly feel like i can not take another min. The whole house has been turned upside down with his behavior. None of my other children did this kind of thing other than maybe a mark on the wall once or twice. He is non-stop and even stays up until 12 at night ( if he ends up falling asleep) leaving me without a second of peace. Ive gone from a mom who goes out and is able to keep a clean house and manage all that needs done to a withdrawn, depressed at my wits end, cant take another second type of mom. Its effecting us all and I just dont get it. Everything is running smoothly until he decides its time to reek havoc. The added stress has added more yelling and and anger to everyone in turn making things even worse. I do not know what to do and Im afraid he will grow thinking hes a bad kid or no one loves him. Thats not the case and everyone is very loving with him until he starts acting out. he also has started to pull hair and I have bruises on my legs from his kicking. Pretty much if we want or ask him to do something the opposite is what he does. the other day I told him I would take him outside if he didnt make a big mess. What did he do? made the biggest mess in every room he could. I had to lock my linen closet because he was taking every towel and and sheet, blanket we had neatly stored in there. He has taken our toothbrushes and uses them as scrubbers so now we have to put them where he cant find them. it takes me AND my husband to hold him down just to get his teeth brushed and sometimes dressed. Im exhausted and I can very much relate to your post. I spend a lot of time in tears wondering what I can do. Good luck and I will be checking back to see the advice people have offered.



answers from Washington DC on

Kids can be frustrating! It's so weird how you can love and not like the same person, but that's all about motherhood!! Trust me, I think we have all been pushed to our limits at one time or another! i have two older step kids that drive me crazy all the time and my 'monster' side comes out (I just read that blog on babycenter - very good!)...and 5 year olds can be nightmares....my step daughter would do the worst things and I could never figure it out - she would use pen everywhere! She would mark up my husband's car upholstery, her walls, furniture, everything! One Christmas we were at my parents' house and she was throwing a tantrum in the corner because she would not eat her dinner. It was embarrassing, but I did not back down to keep the peace, or else she would have won and gotten what she wanted....it lasted for about 45 minutes or so, but when it was over, she ate her dinner and we got on to opening her one Christmas Eve present...she even thanked me for helping her eat her dinner! it was amazing...and she NEVER threw another tantrum again. She still messes up, but I think she appreciates having boundaries and consequences. You never said what his consequences were for breaking the frame...? I would make a chart with the house rules and he is old enough to follow a chart. These worked wonders for my step kids....I had stuff all over the place- rewards systems, punishment systems, schedules (sometimes kids don't know what is expected of them or get bored and act out...)...and I even had some in the time out corner - things for them to remember like Bible verses and stuff....Make sure to go over the rules, make sure he understands them and the consequences...and then, most importantly, follow through!! And let me tell you - it is not only good for the kids, it is good for the parents - I would get so mad...but once I followed through with punishments calmly, I felt better (like justice was served or something!!?) and I was proud of myself and my parenting skills. It's hard at first because I never wanted to take away privileges or put the kids in time out...but it works! And they will be spoiled without consequences....he will end up respecting you even more and not try to get away with what he has been doing....and make sure to have lots of quality time with him as well...it will balance out and you two will be closer than ever. Good luck!!


answers from Wausau on

Look at your life right now...are there any big changes in your or her life right now? Like kindergarten? My daughter just truned six last month and when she started school this year she became and absolute pain in the butt with hitting, screaming, she even hit a girl in the face with a stick! I looked up behaivor in Kindergartners and they said that school is a huge change and having your child become defiant, bossy, or even violent is normal....for a while until they get used to the new schedual. Take a deep breath and KNOW that this is going to pass! Trust me, I have been at my breaking point more than once with mine! You can even try counsling for her if there are other big changes going on with you or her. Also, my daughter cut her bangs off two days before school started too!

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