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How obedient is your five year old and what do you do when they don't do as they are told?

(22 Posts)
longestlurkerever Fri 16-Dec-16 18:55:35

Dd1 is 5. She's lovely, of course, but never does as I ask. I have to say everything three times and get quite cross with her several times a day. It's getting me down. I don't really know how to deal with it proportionately as she's not doing anything terrible like hitting or being rude and I don't want our every interaction to have to escalate to a punishment but if I ask her to stop curling up the end of the rug with her feet or to drink up her medicine she just doesn't do it. I ask her again and she doesn't do it so I have to get cross with her. Getting out of the house in the morning is a total nightmare as I have to tell her a hundred times to drink up her medicine, get her shoes on or whatever and I feel like we are always battling. Any advice?

Wolfiefan Fri 16-Dec-16 18:56:36

Getting cross with her will do nothing. She needs to have a consequence. Every time.

longestlurkerever Fri 16-Dec-16 18:57:50

PS her teachers say the same and have done since nursery days. It's not like she's constantly running amok, but she just doesn't follow instructions

longestlurkerever Fri 16-Dec-16 18:58:54

What kind of consequence though? I send her to her room but that hardly helps us get out of the house and it doesn't seem to have any long term effect.

Shenanagins Fri 16-Dec-16 19:00:06

Watching with interest.

MinesAGin Fri 16-Dec-16 19:08:14

Does she have a problem with her hearing? When you tell her to stop doing something, does she acknowledge you?

Beewhisperer Fri 16-Dec-16 19:12:08

I have taught so many five year olds like this. I often think that there little minds are working so fast that they don't always register what you are saying.
With children who do it persistently I tend to ask once. If they continue I don't repeat.
I say: 'what did I just ask you to do?'
Most children will parrot it back and automatically do it.
I would have something like a marble jar. Every time she does what she is asked the first time she gets to put a marble in the jar.

If she still doesn't do as she's asked after your question, you take one out.

Once the jar is full she gets a treat that you have already agreed to. E.g baking with you, trip to the park etc.
I would try to make treats high value but non material so that she is building g towards a nice experience with you.

longestlurkerever Fri 16-Dec-16 19:13:56

It has crossed my mind but I don't think she does. Most of the time she says Ok or something but then just doesn't do it. She does suffer with constipation/stool withholding and I do think it's worse when she's in a bad patch with that. It's as if all her concentration is going on that. She's on movicol (that's the medicine mentioned above) but I don't think that's the whole story

longestlurkerever Fri 16-Dec-16 19:17:19

Thanks Beewhisperer. We have tried something similar before. Trouble is she got nowhere near it being full so it lost its allure! She also has a toilet -based reward system (see my previous post) and a reading one and I think maybe the novelty has worn off. I might try reinstating it though as she's doing much better with the reading

RedCrab Fri 16-Dec-16 19:32:00

My just turned four year old has started doing this. I Also have a 21 month old and I'm 25 weeks pregnant with DC3 so please bear in mind my patience is wearing extremely thin! Normally I would have the patience for a Positive Discipline approach but I'm all out of fucks right now.

Last night I spontaneously told him if I had to ask him three times to do/or stop doing something I would temporarily take away a beloved toy. We talked it through loads and I made sure he understands he has three chances to comply. I know this is terrible punishment based approach but I'm seriously struggling with patience and exhaustion. Like your DD, he's not even doing anything especially naughty, I just really need his cooperation and listening right now. Like if I ask to come over to get undressed/dressed, he just runs around laughing. Gives me the bloody rage!

longestlurkerever Fri 16-Dec-16 19:37:28

I hear you on the rage Redcrab. I'm not pregnant (thank God!) But dd2 is 18 months and hard work herself and I have been suffering with endless colds and infections. My patience is never my biggest virtue and it's in limited supply.

catkind Fri 16-Dec-16 19:41:52

First question: has she heard your request? Both whether her hearing is 100%, and whether she's too tied up in what she's doing to register what you're saying to her. You could get her to repeat back the instruction to make sure. Like with toddlers, sometimes getting in their face makes sure they're actually paying attention to you rather than everything else.

Second question: say you've asked her to drink up her medicine. What is she actually doing instead of doing what you say? Just sitting not doing it, being outright defiant, or being distracted by something? Can medicine be done before breakfast or something else that she actually wants to do?

I think you don't actually "have to" get cross; not that I don't sometimes, but getting cross is when you've already lost the game and not actually a solution to getting things to happen. Not getting cross is more effective as well as more pleasant all round. Having a plan for what to do really helps with the not getting cross bit.

TheLongRoadToXmas Fri 16-Dec-16 19:48:38

Have you tried the 'when you've drunk up your medicine, then we will [do something fun]' approach? I use it a lot - when the toys are all tidy, then I will turn on the TV etc.

Another approach is be silly, along the lines of 'when you've eaten your crocodile' and they say 'breakfast, not crocodile!' And then you pretend to forget, 'so, when you've eaten your lion' etc.

Something else that works is saying there are three things you need to do to be ready (eg teeth, hair, clothes) and then getting them to repeat it back. After a few minutes you check in about how many of the things they've done, and it works surprisingly well. Both my kids seems to find anything done in threes a lot easier to focus on.

But also, shouting in exasperation works. All these strategies take more energy to use initially (though I think they use up less overall, but sometimes it's hard to remember that).

longestlurkerever Fri 16-Dec-16 19:50:27

Distracted mostly I suppose, or trying to negotiate about it. But also even if I'm standing over her saying come on, we can't do x until you've done y, she still just doesn't do it - sometimes she argues the toss. Sometimes she says "I'll do it in a minute but I'll just..". She's normally trying to engage me on conversation about something else.

TheLongRoadToXmas Fri 16-Dec-16 19:55:43

She might be enjoying the attention. When my 5yo gets like that I usually give her a warning that I'll leave the room if she doesn't do what I've asked. So, for example, I'll leave her to get herself sorted for her bath, having reminded her she needs PJs, nappy and towel. Then I go downstairs and have a nice sit down for a bit. Then I come up and say well done you're ready or or no, no playing time in the bath left, that's sad.

longestlurkerever Fri 16-Dec-16 19:59:16

Thanks. I'll try the three things trick. I do do if x, then y. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn't and then it's even more stressful as I'm annoyed she's still not done the thing and she's annoyed she's lost the reward. I particularly hate it when it's something I want to do with her (eg she wants a story before school and I say yes there'll be time if you go and get dressed now and then we run out of time because she's not done it).

longestlurkerever Fri 16-Dec-16 20:26:40

I think I'm going to try some of the being silly approaches too, thank you for those suggestions. We just read little miss magic and I said that's what I could do with, a magic pointing finger that can get her to do as I say. She responded well to that and giggled over being magicked into brushing her teeth and snuggling down. Don't know how long it'll last but I also have said we can bake biscuits for her school party if she's helpful tomorrow so fingers crossed we can. Ive upped her dose of movicol and am going to restrict screens a bit too. She's totally knackered so I've been letting her veg out a bit after school but I think it's not doing her any good.

TheLongRoadToXmas Fri 16-Dec-16 20:35:51

It is partly a function of this time of year - they get so tired and then they can't focus and get all silly. And I agree, sometimes screens wind them up, rather than letting them wind down. Maybe a cuddle and a story instead?

My other tip is a long bath, forces them to stay in one place, warm water relaxes them, with any luck they calm down enough to focus in on playing with the bath toys.

Also, have you defined 'being helpful'? My 5yo would need it explained as 'do what I ask straight away' or 'no making silly noises' or something like that.

cheekyfunkymonkey Fri 16-Dec-16 20:53:27

Place marking because I have a similar one! We overcame the mornings by a new rule ' get up, get dressed, no going downstairs until in full school uniform', and clamping down via timeouts for not paying attention whilst using star charts to encourage positive behaviour. We have seen improvement, but she still has her moments!

catkind Fri 16-Dec-16 21:54:25

Countdowns do any good? Can be surprisingly effective here.
And the raised eyebrow of doom if they try to argue. "Uh-uh. No arguing. Medicine, now. 5-4-3..."
I guess if that isn't working I'd just hustle them into it, like you do with toddlers. "Are you going to hold the cup or am I?" (Child ignores) "Okay, I'll do it then." I know you don't ideally want to be doing stuff for them, but I think the first step is to show them you mean business and stuff is going to get done when you say it is without hours of faffing around.

I have one who doesn't seem to respond to either positive or negative consequences. It's a pain in the backside, I really sympathise. The other - one negative consequence, and I mean seriously mild, lasts her months.

Believeitornot Fri 16-Dec-16 21:59:42

I'd throw out reward systems.

Also look at her diet for constipation. The movical wil treat the symptom but not the cause. Is she drinking enough, doesshe have too much bread etc?

Have you had her hearing checked?

Have you tried positive praise? And telling her what to do? Not what not to do?it takes a bit of mental effort but telling mine to do x, come and help with y gets much better results.

longestlurkerever Fri 16-Dec-16 22:33:37

The constipation is a massive challenge. She's seen specialists etc and they say it's not diet related although more water would help (another thing i have to nag her about) but is a result of withholding which is more of a learned response and is half psychological half physical. I've posted about it before and it's better under control than it was but I have to be vigilant and keep on at her to go to the toilet regularly. It doesn't help our general stress levels because a lot of my patience and persuasion has to go towards that.

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