Parenting Tips??? Five Year Old

Updated on February 22, 2013
K.H. asks from Denton, TX
8 answers

Hello Mamas,

I have a very independent 5 yr old. She is very well mannered most of the time. Her teacher tells me she is so good and is so helpful. Lately she has had a few temper tantrums and will all of a sudden act horrible. She looks so angry and won't listen at all. It is like I am not even looking at my child. I have tried punishments and some seem to work ok. I would like to get advice on what you have done or any advice of what could help out with getting rid of these tantrums. My husband works overseas so he is gone a lot and I think that may have something to do with it. She has to share my time with her sibling who is littler when he is gone. Any advice is appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Let me be clear about what "punishing" means to me. I take her favorites things away (ipod/watching tv) or not let her play with her friends. I am by far a very fair mom and spend my time equally between my kids. This sometimes is challenging as I have a 5 yr old and a 2 yr old. So of course the 2 yr old needs more help.

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answers from Chicago on

Sounds like all the 5 year olds I know. My daughter stopped with the tantrums and has moved on to the whine. She's getting better.

What I found most helpful was to send her to her room for the tantrums. I walk away when she whines, and require a nice voice.

We are working on the anger. 5 seems to be a repeat of 2 in many ways, I'm finding, as they strive for independence but find themselves easily frustrated.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Honolulu on

If a child is genuinely sad/mad/frustrated for whatever reason, punishing the child/scolding the child/telling the child they are wrong for feeling icky... is NOT going to help and it is not the solution.

The solution is: to nurture a 'relationship' with your child.

As a woman and as a Mom... if your Husband scolded or punished you every time you were grumpy or sad or frustrated and he expected you to have no feelings and just be one mood all the time and to be happy and perfect all the time... would you, like it? Would you like him for treating you that way?
If that were me, I would not.

I have 2 kids. And even if the Husband is there or gone or you are busy or not, you need to nurture a "relationship" with both children.

ETA: so with my 2 kids... I actually spent more time on my eldest when my son was born, because she... needed more help with adjusting to life with another child in the house. Sure, the younger one may need more help, but the eldest needs even more "help" in a way. Because, older children often times, are just expected to be "older" even if they are not, once they have a sibling. I always told my eldest child, once her brother was born, that I was always there for her and she could tell me anything, and that I knew, she was still just a little kid herself. And telling her that, lifted a big burden off of her shoulders. Because then she knew, I understood her.
It is not always, that the youngest needs more help.

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answers from Chicago on

I agree with what MartyMomma said. If your daughter is already frustrated and your response is to punish what you've done is not going to solve the problem.

My opinion is to use discipline instead of punishment. Instead of punishing her for having a reaction you don't agree with..... TEACH her what reaction is appropriate.

Many times when you have a really good kid..... it's hard to remember that they are still a kid. So you tend to treat them old and more responsible than they are. She's still learning. Your job is to teach her. Identify what she is feeling and then teach her what to do about it.

ETA: your definition of "punishing" is the same as mine.

Punishment is a negative, punitive consequence that simply provides an environment that is *bad* enough that the person doesn't replicate that behavior that caused the punishment.

But if your daughter is frustrated or sad or angry and your response is to take away her iPod or not let her play with her friends..... that STILL doesn't solve the problem, now does it? Nope.... you STILL have a frustrated 5 year old.... only now she is MORE angry. You still haven't figured out or solved the initial issue that caused her to be upset in the first place.

*punishment* does not teach the correct, appropriate or desired behavior I don't believe all punishment is BAD, per say..... I just find that discipline is better, more effective and instills the values I want to teach as a parent to my child.

It's the difference between saying "don't scream" and "I can see you are angry, when you are feeling this way take 10 deep breaths, and then come talk to me so we can find a solution".

Also, I realize you are a bit defensive.... but if you say "of course the 2 year old needs more help".... it doesn't surprise me that when your 5 year old is angry or wants your attention..... she begins to ACT like your 2 year old. That's natural. Frustrating..... but normal.

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answers from Portland on

First, let me say that these outbursts are VERY appropriate to the age. My son surprised me with this a few months ago, and at first, it did throw me off. But in case you want reassurance that your kid is right on track, this is from a website I like called "All the Daze" under 'five year old development':

"Can have defiant and aggressive behavior, but still feel indecisive. An emotional outburst may escalate beyond the child’s control."

I agree that helping your child manage their feelings is more progressive than punishing. When my son is getting mad, I gauge my response/actions to what is happening. If he's throwing something, yes, *that* toy or item goes away. He hasn't hit anyone, so that's a plus.:) However, what I most focus on is trying to solve the problem at hand.

This means acknowledging "wow, you are really mad right now." and then sussing out the problem. Solving the problem FIRST then gives him the emotional space to be able to hear suggestions and corrections. "What could you do the next time your invention isn't working?" or "I know you don't like having to play in your room right now, and I'm cleaning the house and need you in here for a moment. How can we make this better for you?"

Here's something I want to address: your 2 year old does need more help with a lot of the self-care tasks, however, your five will need just as much help right now in handling their emotions. To me, when I witnessed my son doing this the first time during his fives, I thought "wow, it's like part of him is re-working at this challenging task of managing his feelings, kind of like when he was wee little." There are times when I'm pretty clear with him that "I need you to do this now, without throwing a baby fit" (i.e.-- getting ready for school, getting shoes on-- he really would prefer to stay home, but once he gets there, he's fine.)

I also have a 'blue dot' chart , where we put blue dots up to acknowledge when he's cooperative, has a positive attitude, or makes progress in something. "Wow, you got ready for school so cheerfully today with no fuss! Let's put three dots on your chart!" or "Thanks so much for making this easy for me--- I really appreciate your cooperation/help. That's four blue dots." We are liberal with them, and when he has 100 dots saved up, that's the time we go do something special with him, either as a family or one-on-one parent time. These are trips to the nickel arcade, a trip to a local inexpensive attraction, a special ride on the Zoo Train (we are members, so lower cost) , etc. The reward is time together instead of an object.

And yes, when he gets too, too much with his outbursts and we've tried problem-solving.... well, then he is walked to his room and "you may play in here until you've calmed down-- let us know when you are feeling better." Silly to say, but there was an episode of "Dinosaur Train" which had all the kids squabbling; the mother told them all to take a 'time out' and go find something to do which made them feel better. I find this kind of gentle guidance to allow THEM to find their own solutions instead of demanding that they change their attitude on the spot to please US has been far more effective at producing a calmer kid 20 minutes later on. The kid who has to conform emotionally, immediately, still hasn't had their unmet need met, so the problem is bound to come up again, and the child just feels incapable and perhaps even undermined.

Here's a link to that site I like, and they do have some helpful suggestion for this age as well. Good luck!

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answers from Minneapolis on

welcome to 5 year old hood. This is normal. They are just finding different ways to push your buttons. I say ignore this new development. My 5 year old throws horrible tantrums over the smallest things. Even things that never used to bother her, would make her start just freaking out and crying, throwing herself on the floor, folding her arms on her chest and actually growling like a wild animal. My husband has resorted to laughing at her, and I dont like that at all it just incites her to be worse, I say "Mira if you can't tell us whats wrong in a normal, calm way then go to your room and think about it. When you are ready then come and tell us" She will go in her room, bounce off the walls in a fit of yelling and crying, calm down and come and tell us her reasons. Usually its a mis-understanding on her part, or we didnt listen carefully enough to her. Most of her fits are frustration.

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm doing a parent study on How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen. My DD is a reactive and emotional child. One of the things I have done is to acknowledge her emotions. You might say, "DD, I see that you are upset. It is hard when Daddy is gone and there's only one parent to do everything." And then work with her on ways to get things done together. Enlist her help. Also, if she misses her father, can they send each other pictures, emails, skype, phone calls? How can she maintain the connection with her daddy? Finding a way to still have a good relationship with him may be what she needs.

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answers from Miami on

She is 5 and is still learning so she will throw tantrum and try different things to push your buttons. She also will just act out of emotion because she has not learned yet how to master her reactions. And finally she could have seen someone else do it and get rewarded for it so is trying it herself. Just be consistant with putting in time out for tantrums. Thats definitely not a spanking item. Its more of I'm throwing a tantrum i want something so the response is that is not the appropriate way to get what you want. Put her in consistantly in time out without any interacction for 5 minutes. If she gets up put her back in and the 5 starts all over again. Don't talk to her or interract with her and request an appology for that behavior after.

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answers from St. Louis on

Guidance, repetition and positive reinforcement. Yes, she is 5 and she is learning new things, new ways of doing things and catch attention. She is discovering how it feels to be independent. She is experiencing more feelings of frustration with situations and people around her. So, pay attention to the tantrums, when they occur, etc. The teacher can tell you, and she, herself can tell you about it if you are not upset. Does she get mad when a classmate take her crayons, for instance?, when the teacher doesn't pay attention to her?, when she doesn't win?, when she is not allowed to talk in class?, etc...According to that you guide her and say:"sweet heart, why are you so upset?", "what is happening that you feel so frustrated, so sad...." etc... and then, let her know that is normal to feel that way, but we have to use words to explain our feelings or so. Repeat, and repeat every time this happens. Now....if she is being disrespectful, you tell her that "X" situation is not right and she should apologize, say "I'am sorry", or get a brief time out, the very same day or the very same moment that occurs. Besides all this, it will be helpful that you set a time aside exclusively for her. It is hard because little ones take a lot of time as you know. But what I am saying is that you find exclusively a moment for her (while the little one is napping for instance, etc) like reading, building legos, playing with play dough together, etc. something simple. Give her the chance to help YOU (sorting out socks, pick up together some toys by color and sing songs...)...whatever is fun for her...just minutes....
I know how it is..I have 2 boys (6 and 12)....I hope this helps....

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