This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
6 year old DD - defiance(7 Posts)
DD is, and has always been a bit of a Jekyl and Hyde character.
Depending on her mood, she can be kind, helpful, good fun and generally lively company. On the other hand, she can be rude, disrespectful, argumentative and awkward. There’s no way to predict which one we’ll get!
I try so hard to stay calm, apply natural consequences and follow them through, too often I end up shouting or smacking her bottom.
An example. Yesterday we were at the park with friends. She got silly and deliberately got food all over her hands and clothes (mainly berries, so it will stain). I warned her once, said that new t shirt will be ruined and have to go in the bin if you don’t stop. She carried on, said she ‘didn’t really care’.
When it was time to leave she refused. We are due to go to the park after school tomorrow, so after a few attempts I said if she couldn’t show she could behave in the right way now, I wouldn’t be able to trust her to go tomorrow. She sat on the swing, staring at me defiantly. I gathered up all the stuff and younger sibling and just headed for the car. She knew she’d crossed the line and did follow ... eventually. She then spent ages getting into the car, whining every step of the way, deliberately sticking her foot out so I couldn’t close the door, just general awkwardness designed to rile.
Once we were in, I explained calmly that she had been told the consequences of her behaviour, and now her new t shirt would need to go in the bin, and she wouldn’t be going to the park after school tomorrow.
She absolutely lost it. Screaming at me not to do it, yes I could get the blackberry juice off, she hates me, pleeeeeease can she still go to the park’. I tried to stay calm, explained one more time and then tried to ignore.
She took her shoes off and threw them through to the front of the car, was kicking the back of my seat and encouraging younger sibling (2) to join in ‘because Mummy is being mean’.
At this point I pulled the car over, took a deep breath, went round to her side and opened the door and told her to stop, it was dangerous while I was driving and involving younger DD was unacceptable.
She screamed in my face ‘let me go to the park! ’ I said no. She said ‘just shut up and don’t talk to me ever again!’
I smacked her leg. And then of course I felt awful and she had the moral high ground. ‘You’re not allooooowed to hit me! I want a new mummy! You’re mean!’ Then tears. Then ‘Sorry, mummy’. I apologised too.
This is an extreme example but happens way too often. Every couple of weeks perhaps. Usually I manage to stop myself before smacking, but in place of that ending I often resort to shouting.
There are always tears and remorse afterwards, and we chat about behaviour, and good/bad consequences etc. We always pick up and praise good behaviour and she has a reward chart where she can earn treats, but it always seems to slip back to this.
The trouble with behaviour methods is they assume the children just comply with the punishment. ‘Simply give a clear consequence and follow through - your child will soon get the message’.
Yep I get that, and I try ... but what when they throw things, kick things, flatly refuse to go to the step/their room? Shout and scream and involve siblings until you’ve no choice but to reengage in some way? There’s only so much you can just ignore.
This is sooooo long, sorry. She is 6 and I am a grown up, I should be able to get a handle on this. Anyone any advice?
I think you're doing pretty well. Obviously not ideal to smack but you know that. Can you try to be just quietly bored and factual about her bad behaviour and the consequence? Could there be a reward for both girls following instructions nicely, her sibling might get more rewards and that could be powerful - thinking that it's tough the sibling will miss the park tomorrow too.
It sounds really frustrating op, especially as she is acting like that when you are doing something nice for her (taking her to the park)
I have a niece who sounds a little bit similar and things I notice that work with her is to really talk to her like she's an adult. Ask her lots of questions about her day.... make a friend of her so she almost feels bad to make you feel upset.
Ask her to do things for you as a favour.... So 'Katie do me a favour and try your best not to get the fruit on your top as its so hard to get out and it's such a nice top'
Another thing that I think works is to give a few warnings before you go anywhere 'let's have a nice time today, I don't want arguments, otherwise we won't be able to come again' when my daughter was young, we used to shake hands and agree to what was said, it was a bit weird I guess but makes you a bit like a team.
Also it always good to give them a 5 minute warning before you leave, then allow them to negotiate a few minutes extra.
Hope some of this helps x
My eight yr old dd can be the meltdown queen. I try to limit how much I say an outright no, as this tends to set her off. So if she wants to play her horse game I’ll say, “yes, but let’s read quickly (do homework or tidy room) first”. I try to say yes whenever possible and build in incentives to help her cooperate. It’s exhausting! I build in flexibility with transitions, so I’ll allow her to negotiate a bit longer playtime or a few minutes extra before bed, rather than being too rigid. If she’s having a meltdown, I’m okay with that, but she has to do it in her room so that we (including three year old brother) don’t have to listen and have our “ears hurt”. She can calm down faster without an audience, I have found. If she doesn’t cooperate I’ll “guide” her, arm around her shoulders. Like your dd, she is full of apologies after the event and we talk about what happened - doesn’t stop it happening again though! I think with children like ours, we have to be in it for the long haul. They’re bound to mature eventually, we just have to hope it doesn’t drive us insane in the process!
I'm sorry on what had happened. I recently read this book about how to get our kids to say "Yes" from Dr Daniel J Siegel.
Following the principle of the book, I would say next time when it happens again, wait till she calms down (move to green zone), then try to get her to talk and find out the real reasons of her behavior.
With my DD (a strong-willed 3.5 years old), I usually left her alone in a safe place if I felt my mood is going out of control. Then she will just scream, cry, sobber and eventually calm down. I came back to her after getting control of my own mood and just accompany her while she was crying and sobering. Then I talk to her after she has calmed down. I tried talking to her when she is angry. Not helpful. So now I switched to only talking to her when she got over her mood.
Thank you all so much for your helpful and non judgemental replies. Plenty to try out!
Great success today with a ‘grown up’ chat before we went to meet some friends. We shook on the kind of behaviour we wanted and when she got a bit lippy later I reminded her of ‘the deal’ and it worked a treat.
Maybe there is hope!
@BendyBeard great to hear your update and I hope it continues. When my daughter was younger she also always loved high fives, secret handshakes and thumbs ups. So perhaps when you and your daughter are some place and she is behaving well, catch her eye every now and again and give her a thumbs up and then when you leave, tell her how well she has done and give her a high five, the more elaborate the better😜 hopefully she will continue to respond to the positivity.