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"In your face" 5 year old - very concerned

(6 Posts)
Angloamerican Mon 10-Mar-14 01:17:34

I have a 5, almost 6 year old daughter, and I am becoming increasingly concerned about her behavior. She has always been a particularly active, energetic child. Even in preschool as a 3 year old her teacher described her as being "even more energetic than the boys" - stereotypes aside, she has always been the kid who is bouncing off the walls. I figured that she would eventually "calm down" as she matured, and if anything I was pleased that she was at least confident and outgoing.

But since she started Kindergarten (Reception, I think the UK equivalent is) in September, her "energy" seems to be a little out of control. She goes to a very small, Catholic school, and they are very on top of issues of discipline, which we appreciate, but it seems as though we are constantly getting little "FYI" emails about her "scuffles" at school. I don't mean physical fights, but she is quite easily frustrated, and she doesn't always remember to use her "kind words and hands" in dealing with it.

I think she tends to be quite "in your face" with other kids, which is not going down well at all. She often complains that the other girls in school try to exclude her from games, and honestly, I think I can see why they find her hard work. It's as though she's at an 11 and they're all at a 7...she needs to tone it down a few notches. I think what doesn't help is that the other girls in her class are particularly quiet, rather placid girls, so my daughter's high-energy seems even greater, iyswim. I am one of the Girl Scout leaders in her school and the contrast between most of these girls and my daughter, is quite marked. I have tried - repeatedly - to explain to her that some children really don't like to be around kids who are so energetic and loud, but it doesn't seem to register.

Today we had brunch out, just the four of us, and she was wonderful company. Very kind and empathetic to her little brother (one thing I am comforted by is that her teacher tells of me of her great capacity for kindness, and that she can be quite the "mother hen" with her classmates. --Thank goodness she has some social skills--) But this evening we had an early dinner with some friends and their children and frankly, it was embarrassing. All the kids were sitting quietly, eating, chatting and playing nicely. Except my daughter. Talking far too loud, shoving the other kids, ignoring my (constant) directions to quieten things down, etc. It's as though she feels compelled to be the center of attention, loudly, when she has an "audience".

I'm at a loss. I don't know if this is simply her temperament, or whether or not there could be something "wrong". I've been reading about ADHD and the like, but that doesn't seem to fit. Academically she is doing superbly, so I have no concerns on that score, but I know that I am losing my patience with her. Part of my issue is that the character traits that she is displaying as a child are ones that I find really unappealing in adults. I am rather introverted and I avoid loud, "center of attention" people like the plague, because I find them so draining. And my daughter is starting to have the same effect - she drains me. But I desperately want to help her. She is such a sweet-natured girl, but it gets lost in all the noise.

Does anyone else have a similarly-natured child? How did you help them bring it down from an 11 to an 8? All suggestions welcome...

LettertoHermioneGranger Mon 10-Mar-14 01:38:51

Your daughter sounds very sweet, and I would urge you not to feel there is anything "wrong" with her behavior.

I would think, for her age, what she needs more than anything is outlets - maybe a sport, where she can run around with other children at a high energy level, or something like dance or gymnastics that has an element of performance to it. She needs something where the other kids can keep up with her!

Once she has a place for all that energy to go (as it sounds like school isn't it for her) you might have an easier time guiding her into more appropriate social behavior - though, and this comes from someone who is also very shy and gets very anxious at people who are outspoken in public - don't discourage her from being outgoing, or try to encourage her to be shy because it's hard for you to be around. Be careful to only curb her behavior where it's inappropriate. Being outgoing and exuberant aren't bad traits, they're only bad when they cross over into being obnoxious or rude. 5/6 is a hard age in general for the "oh no I can't believe my child said that" moments. She'll likely mellow out in first grade and beyond, children do pick up social graces as they grow, and having an outlet/being around children with similar energy levels could help a lot, she won't have a constant need to "heard" by being the center of attention, which could be her seeking outlets.

Speaking as a teacher, whirlwind children can be a challenge, but they're an absolute joy too, especially when they're sweet and bright as you describe your daughter.

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Mar-14 01:48:08

I wonder if tiredness could be having any impact on her behaviour at her most boisterous?
IME when some young children get tired, instead of flagging and slowing down, they just get more and more frantically active, self-centred and loud until they practically collapse with exhaustion and tears in the case of my DS.

I'm wondering if having brunch plus a sociable dinner was just a bit too much for your DD today, so you started to see her self-control disappearing as the dinner progressed. Also starting formal education can be a really tiring time. I know several parents who brought bedtime forward by an hour or two and found that waking hours became considerably calmer.

lunar1 Mon 10-Mar-14 02:46:34

I would work on the shoving and not using gentle hands. The rest I wouldn't worry about. I would agree with the pp that said about not overstimulating her and bringing bedtime forward.

tackytiger Mon 10-Mar-14 19:03:45

no advice I'm afraid, but my nearly 4yo DD is exactly the same (down to the kindness and empathetic nature). she's also really emotional and melodramatic.
I just worry it's going to put people off my bright, sparky, gorgeous, kind little girl.
Watching with interest for any tips.

Angloamerican Wed 12-Mar-14 17:21:17

Thank you so much for your responses. Letter your posting in particular has really made me think.

Thanks again.

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