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Fresh approach for a defiant 5 year old

(9 Posts)
Giddly Mon 25-Jul-11 11:09:02

We've got into a rather negative spiral with out 5 year old DD. While she's always been spirited, she's extremely defiant and angry at the moment, and has frequent tantrums where she can be quite aggressive. She ignores any requests to do anything, and attempts to force the issue often end in fury and yet another tantrum.

Attempts at both carrot and stick (i.e. rewards,time out, privileges removed) are futile, and she just says she "doesn't care", although when we follow through she certainly does! We stick to parameters and try and give clear and consistent messages. However, it's now become a battle of wills and is counter productive - the more we try to crack down and punish her the angrier and more defiant she gets.

She's fine at school - very bright and doing well. She's tired as it's the end of term and possibly a bit worried about changing class, but nothing that could really explain the degree of bad behaviour we're experiencing.

We need a different approach.We try and give her plenty of attention, but will be allocating 15 mins each day to focus just on her (she has a younger sister who she greatly resents) as a start. Distraction doesn't work. The empathy approach from How to Talk.. can sometimes diffuse things (although by no means always) and humour is occasionally successful as well if used to "head off" a tantrum. I could really use some advice, or book suggestions, particularly on how to manage the anger and tantrums when they occur.

Giddly Mon 25-Jul-11 11:40:53

Any ideas?

neverlookback Mon 25-Jul-11 22:06:02

i could of written this myself about my 5yo dd, who we are having exactly the same problems with at the moment, and ive been feeling so desperate to get a differant approach to her behaviour, she also has a 2.8yo ds who she resents greatly and im due to have my 3rd in 4 weeks and im dreading that she will get worse. From what i can work out in my situatuion is that she still feels that once i had ds that i stopped loving her as much and that i dont have enough time for her now as ds get more attention that she does which ive explained is because he is younger and cannot be trusted to do things on his own. Im trying to use my 3 morns a week when ds is at nursery and she is off school to do some me and her bonding time, and ive promised to go to the cinema every fri morn with her (its cheap kids time) if she is good, we went last fri and had a really good time together but she had been awful the night before and really she didnt deserve it but we went to try and make her feel special and not so left out.

my dd is very clever and she knows how to pull at my heart strings, one of the big reasons she feels pushed out is because i split from her dad when she was 18 months so she sees him 2-3 nights a week and she is extremely jealous of her brother as he is here 7 days a week so thats a bit diff than your situation.

beyond toddlerdom by dr green is a good book, but i too need some help, ive even been thinking of going to the doctor to help, no matter how much attention i give her she still is so hard work, demanding things, major tantrums, fighting with her brother, completely ignoring me again and again, she has so much anger and is so dramatic she is exhausting!

hopefully someone will reply with some help for both of us? xx

Giddly Tue 26-Jul-11 10:22:47

Sorry to take so long replying - thanks NLB, good to know I'm not alone. I think my DD is very academically bright, but not very emotionally intelligent IYSWIM, which I think makes it more difficult for her. I too was hoping to have some one-to-one time with her over the summer to make her feel special. Any other thoughts from others would be great!

MovingAndScared Tue 26-Jul-11 13:37:57

I have been having a few problems with my 5 year old and have been reading Playful Parenting which has given me a few ideas of how head things off, understand what might be going on for him and just have more fun together!

Giddly Tue 26-Jul-11 13:39:22

thanks M and S - will have a look

Giddly Tue 26-Jul-11 17:01:09

Bump for any more thoughts?

annieapple7 Wed 27-Jul-11 22:12:50

I empathise ! One tactic I have used with success when my nerves are in shreds and there is only one direction everything is heading is the Naughty Girl game. I play the Angry Mum (I am a natural!) DD is Naughty Girl - I am telling her to do something and I think she is not doing it but really she is sneakily doing what I ask where I can't see her. She giggles like mad and does what I want her to do, and it diffuses my frustration.
Being playful definitely is just being playful which is so hard when they are pushing all your buttons!

Giddly Thu 28-Jul-11 20:14:11

Thanks Annie. I think the playful thing is important and something I'm not good at.

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