to be in despair over 6 year old behaviour(25 Posts)
I am at my wits end. My 6 year old DD screams at me all day long at every request, calls me mean, does not listen and just generally has horrible attitude. Then at the end of every day in bed she tells me I am the best mummy in the world.
I feel I am doing a lot of screaming in exasperation, as after the thenth time asking nicely with no result I lose the plot. I don't know if my screaming is making her scream, but I do ask nicely over and over but nothing happens. When you are on a time line to get to school you have to do something.
I just dont enjoy her at the moment. I love her and adore her little personality but I dont enjoy the behaviour. My 2 year old in comparison is a dream!
Help me!!!! What can I do???!! I have a reward chart which sort of works. But it s not enough. I cried to her the other night saying i was just sick of screaming all the time.
Do most of your 6 year olds listen to you and do what they are asked?
I don't think it is normal TBH. My 6yo DS is very reasonable. He has the occasional grumpy face at being asked to do things, but never cries or refuses. From what I can see his friends are the same.
Have you ruled out underlying issues with your DD? Could something at school be making her anxious? Is her nutrition ok? Is she getting enough exercise/ time outside? Have there been any big changes recently?
Mine does this. Not all day but at least once a day. Total scream in my face. By bedtime v contrite and full of I love yous. Often when hungry or tired. Also she just loses control. I don't think she can help it. Is exhausting and ours is never more than 20 mins. All day must be horrendous.
No, as a rule they generally have to be asked several
hundred fucking times.
DD is now 7 & slightly better, DS is 5 & is a big fan of the word no, I try very hard not to lose my shit as I find this helps the situation very little.
Threats & bribes are more reasonable.
Your screaming no will certainly make her scream. If it's a muddle of you asking nicely then screaming you're probably giving a mixed message. You need to find your firm (but not shrill or angry) "I expect to be obeyed" voice. No debate, no argument if you don't do as I ask you'll have one warning then to naughty step/chair/corner/mat for six minutes each time. Then an apology. She'll get the message soon enough. Are your requests reasonable? She won't understand 'be good' she'll understand 'do not climb on the sofa in your shoes'. Explicit expectation rather than vague requests work best.
The not listening is the number one thing that drives dh and I to distraction. We've resorted to a listening reward chart which has improved things a little. Part of me thinks it's his age, part personality. I hope at some point the penny will drop. I don't shout very often and don't think it achieves anything, but on occasion I do succumb to it. Ds is a delight around others - helpful, polite, well mannered and kind. His teachers love him, strangers like him, he's entertaining and confident. And nice. He really is nice. But my word, the not listening is bad. I'm finding 6 both challenging and rewarding in equal measure. He's so bloody sure of himself and I swear that there are days when if I said black was black he'd say it was white. I do think there's a lot of developmental stuff going on at their age that also has a bearing on their behaviour - they want to be big and grown up yet are not quite ready to leave their babyhood/ early childhood behind.
Sounds awful to deal with. My ds who is about the same age can exhibit stroppy behaviour, and I have to ask numerous times but he doesn't scream at me and its not all the time.
Steps I would take- if she asks for something nicely, let her have it (within reason). If she yells or is rude then in no way let her have what she wants. Do not give in, especially if she starts yellling. Just repeat , only good behaviour gets you what you want.
When you are getting ready and she won't get dressed, etc. once you have asked 3 times, don't resort to screaming, stay calm as possible but go to her and do it for her, especially if she doesn't like this. Or else don't do it and she'll miss out- for example you leave for school whether or not she has her coat and shoes on, make her go out the door (but take them with you so she can do it on the way). Then she'll learn that unless she does it her own way, something else happens that she doesn't like as much.
When theres no time limit, if she is rude to you send her to her room, likewise if she screams at you. I know its hard but do not scream back, kids copy. Take privileges away if she is rude, whatever she likes- tv, ipad, food treats, etc. and make sure she knows why they are taken away. Make sure she is given them when she behaves well, and knows why she is given them.
DD1 used to be like this. We started asking her once nicely to do something. Then once firmly and if we have to ask a third time she gets consequences. Any screaming from her is ignored until she can speak nicely.
We also found that being more specific in our requests and offering some "choice" so she can choose either black or white socks etc.
We also try to remain calm but firm and if we really feel like losing it we leave the room to calm down then come back.
We also do lots of praise for her when she is doing the right thing.
It took a while but she eventually started to improve.
My older ones did at 6. My youngest is a Tasmanian Devil.
My 10 year old ds can be like this but not my 6 year old Dd but I think that's much more down to personality than age of anything.
Ds gets punished and rewarded depending on him behaviour.
The thing is Dd definitely isn't the more easy going of the two. She's just much better at vocalising her wants and needs in a way which people will want to listen to.
Don't get me wrong Dd can be as stubborn as a mule at times but she just seems to have more control over her emotions than ds. Sometimes I wonder if it's a youngest / oldest distinction?
My dd gets distracted stupidly easily which is part of the issue. I often give countdown warnings too so x minutes until we do teeth, get dressed or whatever. So she knows it's coming. It helps a bit.
The problem is, you keep doing the same thing over and over (asking nicely) expecting a different result, and then feel frustrated.
I ask nicely once (please put your shoes on) then sternly (Shoes. Now) then a consequence (I'm going to count to 3 and if your shoes aren't on then no TV/toys going on the shelf/no bedtime story or whatever your choice is).
Screaming back is just teaching her screaming is how people interact with each other.
You need proper boundaries and proper consequences. If you are not in control then she knows this and will push more
I find a long pointed quiet stare and then a very low quiet stern voice, giving the warning, then "you had your warning so it's time out." Time out is without comment from you at all. Close door between you and her unless she's likely to break something or hurt herself. Sometimes they need more than six minutes. Wait until quiet before going in and restate why she's there and you're not happy. She apologises - if she doesn't walk away close door again and repeat. I think psychologically she has to see it as her losing her shit and you keeping it cool and contained. Gives you control!
And yes to consequences e.g. temp loss of toys or no pudding. Something immediate - don't cancel anything coming up tomorrow as that drags the battle on. Explicit praise if the behaviour changes from before e.g. "You've been really sensible about x today
compared to yesterday, it's made me so happy!" etc, etc. Appeal to her grown up side! It is really difficult sometimes to keep your patience with young children though and we've all been there! Sometimes, in the nicest possible way, you need to look at yourself as well to see how you are contributing to the problem. Maybe you need to lower your expectations about listening so that you only assume she's taken something in if she's made eye contact with you the whole time you spoke to her and she's re stated back to you what she needs to do.
My 6 year old dd doesn't scream to get her own way but she can be quick to tears, sometimes (once a week maybe?) say no to us and storm off to her room, and can use what I consider to be an arsey tone when answering me. I pullher up on it quickly, and model the right thing to say and the right way to say it if she wants us both to be happy.
She's very mature and it's easy to forget that she's still so young. Sometimes it's my expectations that are wrong, I'm asking her to do something she just isn't ready to do, and I've taken to offering to help her with things she is struggling with. Her frustration is so clear, she has such big ideas and just can't put them into action as well as she'd like.
It's a really weird time. She's not my baby anymore, I can hardly lift her. She wants to spend time alone now, or with friends. I'm trying to build in choices and opportunities for independence, as well as a lot of time just us two to reassure her I still think the world of her, reading together, playing with make up, acting out scenes from plays she's 'written' with her.
I hope there's some ideas there. Good luck. No one likes to shout or be shouted at so I imagine you're feeling miserable about it all.
Lowdoor - teacher says she is one of her favourites. Sh is doing above average in school. I have her in activities after school and kept busy whilst also making sure there is time just to play with sister at home and have down time
It is not ALL day but it seems to be her reaction to most things I ask.
I did take her to see the gymnastics at the 02 on saturday and she was a delight.
So I dont think she has some terrible problem.
I just dont know how to get anything done as I ask nicely ten times all whilst trying to also get 2 year dd dressed fed clear up mess all while being sleep deprived. Sorry but sometimes hard to remain calm after tenth time of asking!!!!!
crumbs - yes my requests are reasonable. Ah - put on your cardigan for school. I explain everything. She blatantly does not listen.
I am calm and explain - until I have asked over and over calmly ad nothing happens. All your suggestions are great in theory but when sleep deprived and dealing with a two year old it just sometimes isnt possible!!!
eden yes I do do this.
ten times is an exaggeration
I do get sterner each time and do a countdown. With consequences. Then dealing with two year old etc I get worn down and hard to focus on consequences of one when dealing with another
6 is a pivotal age. They feel they can be independent but want you close just in case. It's push and pull. Things like punishment and time out may damage your future relationship with them.
Understanding goes a long way. They aren't robots.
Hard to deal with consequences? Guessing that's the issue. You need to be clear and completely consistent.
My DD would be a pain about getting ready for school. So now she gets dressed before breakfast. If she wants to watch TV in the morning she has to brush her hair first.
Egg timer could act as a reminder. X number of minutes to get dressed. A chart could be a reminder of what needs doing before school.
Titty - beautifully put. I will keep this in mind. I am just so focused on getting things done so the cog don't fall off, I sometimes lose my way a little with what you are saying. I really do understand how she is feeling or try to, I just find it hard to do this in amongst trying to do everything else and looking after a two year old also.
Wolfie - yes thank you great suggestions. I do these and then one day there is such an arguement about getting dressed, we take a step back and bad habits start again - mainly as I am so tired.
Part of this is not expecting her to pick up the slack for the fact you have a younger child who is less able
I say this as an older child who has 2 children (teens) and I can see exactly where this began for us, in this stressed out environment. She's no longer your baby, another baby is. She's expected to be a 'big girl' and these expectations can be stressful and confusing for a small child
Are you taking time out for yourself? I have children of a similar age and have on occasions reached that point of loving but just not enjoying and know that that is when I just need time off. Just a few hours of doing something entirely for me is remarkably restorative and improves my ability to deal with behaviour.
Also, are you sure the two year old is a dream? I find six a tricky age as they want to be so much more independent and show you all the things they can do, but the independence is not consistent. One day it will be all about not needing mummy to get a drink, say, and the next desperately needing mummy to do it. I suspect this pulling away and bouncing back is a normal part of them growing up. But, to us as parents we tend to think 'six year old can get a drink themselves so six year old should get a drink themselves all the time'. In comparison, I think it can be far clearer what you can and can't expect of a two year old. So when you are faced with a two year old being two and the six year old refusing to do something, I think it can be easier to be understanding of the two year old's behaviour while seeing the six year old as obstructive and causing the problem when in fact both are just 'acting their age'. Hope that makes sense.
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