in despair over 6.5 yo DD(18 Posts)
Constant poor behaviour, lack of boundaries (especially physical), rudeness, back chat, disobedience. I try very hard not to get angry, to be firm and clear, but she just doesn't learn. An example. We have 3 chickens. She loves to play with them. Has been told a thousand million times that she can't pick them up. And what does she do. Picks them up. Every. Single. Time. Sometimes even as I am actually telling her not to. We have had a horrible afternoon, and now evening. She was out of bed, wanted some toy: I said "no" it's bedtime, now escalated to full-scale kicking, screaming tantrum, including throwing stuff at me. I just want to cry, I do not know what to do with her.
I have tried the talking to her when she is calm approach - she runs away, or doesn't listen, changes the subject. Never accepts that she is in the wrong.
I don't expect you to have the answers - just ranting really.
should have said "failure to respect boundaries" - she knows - in theory at least - where they are
What consequences do you give for bad behaviour?
What rewards do you give for good behaviour?
This is often the key...
consequences for bad behaviour are: loss of TV/screen time/withdrawal of treats/not being allowed to play on the road/not being allowed to play with chickens etc/being sent to her room/being removed from whatever activity it is. Rewards would be often the opposites, or if behaviour good for an extended period then maybe a small treat - a magazine, or a trip to a cafe.
But it's like something happens and she just can't dial it back - she isn't very good at social rules etc, so gets told off a good bit. So this all started because I told her off for mushing up cake crumbs and making a mess at her grandmother's house this afternoon. And she has been terrible ever since. Often she doesn't care that much about the consequence, but will try to argue her way out of it. It's like she knows all the rules, but just can't actually apply them. She doesn't like being told off, but can't get that the way to stop being told off is not to do the various things that get her into trouble.
How do her school find her? Is ASD a possibility?
I would be open to the possibility that she can't (yet) behave herself in the way that you would expect. And I would be wanting to find out why that is -maybe approaching the GP and/or the school for help.
In the meantime I would keep the battles to a minimum. Slim down the 'rules' to as few as possible and avoid clear flash points where you can -no touching the chickens might be easier than no picking them up. If not then maybe the rule could be no playing with them but she can feed them and change their water.
I'd dial back on 'telling her off' it sounds from the example you gave with the cake crumbs that a very minor thing has set off a lot of unwanted behaviour. Perhaps she feels that she's always in trouble so she might as well do what she likes? With the cake crumbs thing I would just say 'the crumbs are too messy so we'll clean them away now' no blame, no judgement just take the plate away and hand her a cloth to wipe the table.
You've got the power to take the conflict away, let her be upset or angry that she isn't getting her own way, that's fine and normal and it's important that she can express those feelings but remember that they are her feelings, not yours. You can be there and support her through her negative emotions without having to join in! Even at 6 she won't have the ability to control her behaviour all the time, she'll need your help enforcing the boundaries you've set. She needs to know that you can do that because it shows her that you are in control which is actually where she needs you to be.
the cake crumbs incident was only a fairly mild ticking off really - Orions there's much wisdom in your post - and I think mostly I do manage to support her. But I am not perfect either.
Crazyqueen - yes, it is - school find her perfectly ok, but there are some small issues (poor attention etc) and difficulty with peer relationships etc. We are still waiting for an assessment date for her. Her difficulties are not massive - she is no doubt beyond exhausted at the end of the school year and she really doesn't do well with tiredness.
I have had similar with my 6yo - kicking off screaming, hitting arguing at home, lot of anger towards me etc but school report saying she's virtually an angel at school.
I have a few theories. No 1 is that she works so hard at being good at school and at clubs etc that she lets off steam/frustrations at home because it's a 'safe' place to do so. I also think my expectations are sometimes too high/I am a bit too strict and need to learn to pick my battles - she is her mother's daughter and we can go toe to toe in an argument and I find it hard to back down.
However, we have seen a real improvement lately. The oft-recommended book "How to talk so kids so kids will listen..." is a great place to start. It teaches you how to speak and empathise in a more positive manner - I'm very bad for being overly negative but this book helps you to say the same thing but in a more positive way IYSWIM? I've been trying to follow that and am really seeing benefits. I'm trying to give her clear boundaries with consequences - she has today got back a very precious (to her!) item that was removed last week for hitting and kicking me. I am praising her good behaviour a lot more and it seems to be paying off.
OP she sounds very similar to my DD of the same age. School had raised concerns, but then backtracked on most of them. But they do admit she has problems with attention and organisation. It says in her report they think this will improve with maturity. She also finds school draining and still has to be made to take a nap after school occasionally.
We had an absolutely awful time with her at the beginning of the year, and I really had to break the cycle of telling her off so much and then her getting worse. She was having rages, screaming, shouting, slamming doors, doing the opposite of what was asked on purpose, damaging the house and her room.
What I have found to have worked was pulling the "rules" back to the absolute most important. Ours were not waking people up in the morning, no sneaking around taking food and no being cheeky. She would have the whole house up at 6am every single morning, so no lie ins at weekends, and our toddler was really suffering with tiredness from it. She was also taking food from the kitchen, despite being fed well. They were affecting the whole house, so they needed tackled first, and she was reminded of them every morning and every evening.
Everything else was ignored at first, and praise was given when she followed those rules. Then we introduced any other rules one at a time. Like the damaging the house etc etc. We briefly had a star system which really worked. She would be given up to two stars a day, one in the morning and one for after school. Small prizes at each milestone (magazine, small toy etc) and then a big prize when she got to 25. That was going to the cinema with a friend. She took 2 months to get to 25. But it kept her going and now she doesn't wake us all up anymore, the tantrums are lesser, the sneaking food still happens occasionally, but over all its like having a different child.
I also kind of love bombed her. Loads of hugs and cuddles, one to one time etc. It was hard at first because her behaviour made me want to be no where near her, but once it started to work she was a pleasure. And I have gone from dreading the summer holidays to looking forward to them.
I've spent most of the day trying to say yes and not no (we have tons of visitors) and she really doesn't like negativity. I think any concerns are probably fairly minor - I did talk to someone prior to assessment and she was so lovely - for the first time I didn't feel like a shit parent, but like someone who was managing quite tricky behaviours reasonably well for the most part
I think sometimes you have to step back and look at why you don't want them to do something. Like picking up the chickens. Is this because the chickens don't like it? Sometimes you need to give them a safe way to do the things that are causing conflict. For example - you could say that if she sits quietly you will pick up the chicken and hand it to her because this is the way that distresses the chickens the least. But she must sit still and not grab.
We've had conflicts over similar things - like my daughter wanting to use a sharp knife to help with cooking for example. Our worry that she might hurt herself means we say no when in fact we should concentrate on showing her how to do it carefully. Then you have a conflict and this can degenerate into stroppyness.
Have you tried 123 Magic. I found that works well although I do struggle to be as consistent as I should. Also something that works for us has been to tell DD what she can do rather than what she can't. As soon as I say no to something she will want to do it. By telling her what she can do she seems to understand much better. For example with the chickens you can say you can give them food like this or stroke their back like this etc (Amend according to what you can actually do with chickens as I don't have a clue!). My DD tends to try and pick up younger children although I'm sure she'd try to carry a chicken if she got the opportunity.
My DD sounds similar to yours. I personally suspect a mild level of ADHD although she is improving a huge amount as she gets older.
ADHD or ASD as others have suggested. I was similar at her age. I'd just forget what people told me and go and do something, thanks to my short attention span. Definitely get her assessed.
have had fairly grim day of constant defiance, disobedience, kicking off every time she is told she can't have or do something. Followed by running away and putting fingers in ears when I try to talk to her afterwards. Aaargh
I would get tough and implement strict rules and routines. Think Academy School style. I would ban get from the chickens full stop until she can be trusted to follow simple instructions.
I'm not saying withhold love and affection, I just think that very clear and consistent boundaries are the way forward. I would ignore negative behaviour by sending her to a room with no tv or toys.
what's academy school style? not sure I know what that means. We do have clear rules and consequences, but she just repeats the undesirable behaviour over and over; and then says when you reprimand her: "i'm getting grumpy/I'm not listening/I don't like that cross voice" - never seems to understand that it is HER behaviour that causes us to be cross, therefore if she doesn't want us to be cross she needs modify the behaviour. We tell her clearly and simply what is expected of her. She is also horribly distractible
I could have written your post OP about my 6.5DD who is very difficult at school but most of the time ok at home. But she gets told off a lot because of how she behaves at school and then it all escalates etc etc. I have just read a couple of books by Susan Stiffleman (parenting without power struggles and one other) which I have found really, really helpful (and I have read a LOT of these kind of books). She really focuses on the "why are they doing this" and it really helps depersonalise it. I've got a long way to go with it but I am hopeful!
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