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how do you teach age hierarchy? 6yoDD absolutely irritating and preaching everybody, having trouble socializing

(26 Posts)
joburg Sun 02-Aug-09 12:07:47

I get nuts here ... please advice how can i teach 6yo DD to understand age differences when she insists on preaching everybody, no matter if adults, older children .... she became so annoying lately (even for us) while started to call everybody silly (DH is a favorite target), hunting for the slightest mistake, laughing at it out loud and rubbing it into people's faces over and over again.
She is very sensitive to any critics towards herself but would insist on going on with emphasizing smb else's mistake again and again, while any attempt of mine to stop her and make her understand it's not a nice thing to do will end up with her just getting grumpy or simply ignore it.
We had this going on for some time but didn't make a big deal out of it, until DD started to have a hard time in the summer camp (she got slapped in the face by an older girl the other day, after DD was calling her silly several times - DD was not exactly in the position of preaching the other girl. Appart form that DD comes every single day telling us 'sad' stories about how nice she is but all the others hate her!

How do i explain to her that 9 yo do know a bit more than 6yo, without hurting her feelings? That a 6yo is not exactly in the position to call others silly especially if we talk about much older children? Not to mention adults? How do i explain to her that it's ok to be 6yo smart but still have plenty to learn, and this attitude of hers is just gonna drive her friends away?

ellagrace Sun 02-Aug-09 12:15:48

haven't you just said it all?

tell her. it's worth a try. and then? keep telling her. that's rude, don't speak to your father like that. sorry but? if you don't have the confidence to know better than her and take action then aren't you reinforcing her beliefs?

'people don't like it when you do that, people find it hard to be friends with someone who tells them they're silly and always thinks she knows best, you don't like it when other people tell you you're silly do you?' etc. and keep going with it.

sorry if that is simplistic but some things are simple aren't they? is it ok for her to be rude to her dad? does she need to learn better social skills for her own good? do you want her to develop this trait further? answer for yourself and then take action.

joburg Sun 02-Aug-09 12:49:00

ellagrace, it is simplistic but it's just the right thing to do! it's just that i was so afraid i would 'break' my DD as my husband puts it (he spends so little time with her so he tends to spoil her a bit). I do think DD is just using all these techniques to fight her low self esteem, but on the other hand, i don't want to encourage her to blame others in order to help her feel better. There is a thin line here, and this is where my fear is.

Countingthegreyhairs Sun 02-Aug-09 12:49:07

What position does she have in the family? Is she the youngest? The reason I ask is she sounds as though she is trying to establish her dominance in a group setting and therefore may be feeling a bit insecure in herself?

If she is very sensitive to criticism it could mean that she is lacking in confidence and trying to take this out on others ???? This can become a vicious circle which can be avoided by focusing on her good qualities/achievements and ignoring the rest??? (Dunno really - these are just suggestions!! I have a six year old but I don't know what i am doing half the time!!)

On the other hand, I think you did a good thing by sending her to camp with older children as the group peer pressure of those senior to her is surely helpful in this situation.

When a child in dd's class at school behaved in a similar way (including hitting other children) they put her in a class two years above her for a fortnight and it worked wonders. (This child is a particular friend of my dd so I was mightily relieved. She is a lovely child in all other respects btw.)

Are there any groups of scouts she could join or a similar organisation near you where she could mix with older children?

It could be a phase, as I know 6yr olds are very keen on "sticking to the rules" and "everyone having to behave in the same way" ...the bit about no one liking her is fairly typical of her age (they are all jostling for position in a group and trying to establish their hiearchy).

To be honest though, no 6 yr old has a huge understanding of how their behaviour might affect others. They are still quite focused on themselves and are just working out that others have feelings too. Could you perhaps introduce some exercises that would help her have a little more empathy such as drawing different facial expressions on a pad and asking her to identify them. Or asking her "if someone behaved in such and such a way to x, how would x feel???" - make it a game with rewards of sweets for every correct answer.

Good luck with it!

sarah293 Sun 02-Aug-09 12:51:15

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joburg Sun 02-Aug-09 17:24:09

Countingthegreyhairs ... wow, what a long name DD is our first child and maybe that's why we have difficulties in disciplining her. she has been diagnosed with speech delay and some sensory integration issues and so we tend to forgive many things.... my fear was that we would start too soon to teach her different ways to behave while she seemes to put all people in one basket and have the same behaviour towards all of them.

piscesmoon Sun 02-Aug-09 17:33:26

I think that you need to quietly sit her down and explain all the things that you mentioned in your first post. She probably gets away with a lot because she is young but it will get more and more difficult the older she gets, unless she makes changes.
I would use fictional characters-read together and use the stories to start discussions-e.g.was that a good thing to do? Was there a better way? etc.

Countingthegreyhairs Sun 02-Aug-09 17:37:12

I'm no expert at all joburg - but I don't think an over-forgiving atmosphere at home is going to do much harm given her speech delay - it must be frustrating for her and you being so patient can only be helping her.

Maybe someone on the special needs thread would be able to offer you some better advice??

I know the feeling of wanting your child to integrate and be liked etc etc - my dd had some integration issues not long ago and I found that quite stressful, so good luck with it.

juuule Sun 02-Aug-09 17:40:40

Isn't this more a problem of learning to be polite to people rather than 'age hierarchy'?
Explain to her how hurtful, annoying etc it is when people are rude to each other.

piscesmoon Sun 02-Aug-09 19:06:13

I would leave age out of it-she will have equal problems making friends with her own age group if she continues. I would go with 'treat others as you would like to be treated'.

ellagrace Sun 02-Aug-09 21:34:20

didn't know there were development issues but i don't know that that has to come into it or that this has to be crushing for her in any way. agree with juuule that this is more about teaching politeness and how not to hurt feelings and upping skills of feelings awareness as in what piscesmoon said about 'treat others as you would like to be treated'. if she is sensitive to criticism talk about that and help her to see others feel the same so don't do it to others. talk about what makes her feel good and how it's the same for others too and encourage her saying nice things to others. these things reflect back also - if she is saying nice to things to little girl next to her at school she may hear nice things back helping her confidence - if she's saying less than nice then they'll come back with same and she gets hurt by that.

you can be gentle and disciplining too. discipline means to teach and guide not to punish and there's no avoiding it.

ellagrace Sun 02-Aug-09 21:35:05

actually if there are development issues then surely she needs your input even more.

joburg Mon 03-Aug-09 10:51:36

Thank you all for your replies. DD is not a rude girl and we actually had a very good discussion last night (after reading all your coments) regarding it. The use of the 'silly' word might improve after this, but we still have the problem of her giving lectures to everybody ... that's why my question on how to teach age hierarchy. DD has big problems in understanding and accepting that older children/grown-up people might know more than her, and she constantly runs into arguments with everybody, starting from children and ending up with adults, trying to 'teach' them things, lecturing them. She can't bear to be contradicted and she doesn't usually engage in dialogues on the subject (her speech and language delay might play a role here), which makes her probably very irritating to her peers. She can't understand that she is only 6 yo smart, while her friends might be 9 yo smart, 13 yo smart, etc, and she should trust older friends in what they say, BECAUSE THEY KNOW A BIT MORE THAN HER. We put beads on the floor numbering the years one child has and making longer or shorter raws describing how children get smarter and smarter every year; we tried for a long time to teach her all these, she just doesn't seem to accept it.

juuule Mon 03-Aug-09 11:08:05

Actually, I think she's quite bright
It's quite possible she does know more than some children who are older than her.
I wouldn't try to get her to unquestioningly accept that anyone older than her knows better/more than her. It's just not always true.

I would just focus on the being polite and getting her to polish up her debating skills. Even to the point that if someone older than her thinks they know better but she thinks they are wrong she ignores and lets it go. But she might have to get a bit older to master that one

joburg Mon 03-Aug-09 11:25:43

Juuuuuuuule cannot remeber how many u's are there, you are too nice in what you are saying, and of course i wish my DD was the brightest and smartest, and she is in a way, but she is delayewd and she is having big difficulties to put words and ideas together and in a dialogue with other children, she just can't cope, leave alone lecturing.

juuule Mon 03-Aug-09 11:31:44

Well she might be delayed in some areas but I still think it's smart of her to realise that being older doesn't always mean wiser

Sounds as though she is trying to rationalise what people are saying to her. What they say doesn't make sense to her, hence the lectures? Could you try to get her to come and ask you/tell you when she thinks that someone isn't talking sense so that you could explain it to her rather than her 'having it out' with the person at the time. For siblings and relatives, close friends perhaps you could talk to them to have a bit of patience with her so that they could perhaps help her understand what they mean sometimes.

joburg Mon 03-Aug-09 11:34:13

... wouldn't try to get her to unquestioningly accept that anyone older than her knows better/more than her ... no, not unquestioningly, but at least once in a while might be of benefit to my 'know-it-all-girl'

Blu Mon 03-Aug-09 11:43:42

I think it's quite common fo 6 year-olds to enter their 'precocious brat' stage! DS certainly started getting very above himself and calling people silly, and other names in a sort of over-excited, inappropriate way.

I would completely ignore her if she addresses you as 'silly' or any other insult, and make sure your D does, too. She really DOES need to know that calling people names isn't fun or nice and that people won't communicate with her if she does it. Just say 'I don't talk to people who call me names - ask me that again, but politely, if you would like me to answer'. If she sulks, let her, ignore more, and don't apease. Next time she might leave out the rudeness.

Of course it won't break her - it will empower her to make friends and get on better with people! If her parents laugh it off when she carries on like that, she is bound to see it as the other person's fault if other children take offence.

As previously suggested, i would be less complex in the way you explain it to her. it isn't to do with age, or who knows more - it's t do with manners and not calling peolpe silly or making fun of them - even if they DO know less or make a mistake.

And I am a very soft-hearted non-disciplinarian mother of an only child, so I promise I am not OTT here!

Countingthegreyhairs Mon 03-Aug-09 11:44:05

Having read a bit more of the thread, I think this might be one where you have to bite your lip and let her learn from experience joburg (hard as that sounds)

We can tell our dd (aged 6) that x will happen if you do y and she simply won't believe us. We could argue until we are blue in the face!!! I don't think she can make the leap of imagination required to know that older means wiser. As a consequence, for example, she rides her bike fast through an extremely large muddy puddle and gets covered in mud! Sometimes, first-hand experience is the only way they learn (hard as it is for us parents to stand by and watch).

But - it just occurred to me - may be you are saying that your dd is not learning from first hand experience and in that case could you get her some learning support to deal with that particular aspect of her cognitive development? Sorry if I have the wrong end of the stick just trying to throw out suggestions ....!!

fluffles Mon 03-Aug-09 11:48:12

has she got her name down for brownies when she turns 7?

that would probably be a good environment for her as the older girls (up to 10yrs) are often asked to help the younger ones and will have knowledge she doesn't but at the same time the emphasis on being nice and inclusive and social skills at brownies should make it easier than just dumping her in with older kids would normally.

in some way it's something she has to find out for herself... one day she'll find an older kid she thinks is totally awsome and knows everything smile

Blu Mon 03-Aug-09 11:48:51

Oh, sorry - missed your post about 'lecturing'. That's harder.

Maybe encouraging her to listen to other people, or taking it in turns to listen to each other could be a strategy. Tell her that she can only talk for as long as she has listened to the other person! And that friends take it in turns to try out each other's ideas. i.e accentuate positive things she can do rather than telling her NOT to o things or that she is not as experienced, iyswim.

joburg Mon 03-Aug-09 13:01:50

Oh, Blu, that's a subject for a completely different thread i should post .... listening is not one of my DD's favorite activities Actually, she can't listen at all, she doesn't have the patience, she can't concentrate long enough (i have to apply a lot of strategies in order to have her sit down and listen for 2-5 min) and appart from that, her lack of interest/understanding of other ppl's interests, emotions, activities for the day might be one more reason for the other children rejecting her. But as i said, i should post this on the SN forum as a diferent thread ...

thornrose Mon 03-Aug-09 13:14:20

I don't want to "scaremonger" but have you thought about Aspergers? My dd was diagnosed initially with Sensory Integration issues and later down the line she was diagnosed with Aspergers. The lack of interest and understanding of others rang alarm bells with me. I know this is not what you are asking but it's just a thought!

slowreadingprogress Mon 03-Aug-09 13:15:45

I don't think you need to teach her 'different ways to behave' to different people. If she is polite then it's not a problem to treat everybody the same.

I think it's over-complicating it for her if you try to frame it that she should treat younger kids, peers, older kids, adults, old adults all differently

In fact it is one of life's great skills, and makes a very nice person, to treat everyone the same. If you listen to everyone and treat them as having value then that's all you need to do. The issue is her lecturing, not whether she's doing it to adults or whatever. It's not ok to lecture your peers, either!

I think it's a two pronged thing; always speak to her as you want her to speak to you, and always give a consequence to rudeness from her (something like 5 mins alone in her room, or whatever you feel comfortable with).

Then imo you're doing all you can and you just need to relax about it, keep going, and be patient - she will need time to learn!

twopeople Mon 03-Aug-09 13:35:26

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