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Strategies for dealing with a RUDE six year old(18 Posts)
I am really struggling with my 6 year old's behaviour atm. She has developed a habit of shouting her demands and blaming others for things that are clearly not their fault. Yesterday she shouted that there was too much food on her plate. I told her that wasn't an appropriate tone and that she could sit on the stair for time out so she could come back and be polite. She did the time out but then refused dinner altogether and went to bed hungry. She is so stubborn!
Because of her ongoing rudeness in the evening she now has a consequence of no tv this evening.
I also said she needed to talk to me about it but she refuses to talk and makes out like this is the worst possible thing.
I've been doing so much to try and build our relationship by playing with her (where she leads) and trying to spend one on one time with her at night when I sing to her.
I just find it all so frustrating, as soon as I feel like we're making progress she has an episode like this.
My 9 year old is really well behaved and when she does occasionally lose her temper she will reflect on it and later come back and apologise. But my 6 year old never apologises sincerely (will mumble a sarcastic sorry if I force her to).
I'm just so exhausted with it all. I'm a lone parent (STBXH moved out 2 years ago) and I'm sure some of it is linked to the separation.
Anyways, I'm rambling a bit but I didn't want to drip feed. I am just seeking some solidarity/advice/experiences from others.
Are most 6 year olds rude and self-centred or is it just mine?
I think it's a personality thing OP I've got a 9 year old like this and it probably started around 6. Sorry .
She's not like it outside home, though - is your DD?
It sounds to me like you're doing the right things by being firm and boundaried but also trying to spend more nice time with her. Unfortunately I just think there are going to be setbacks from time to time. Consistency is key. Also I'm sure you don't do this actually to her but comparing with older siblings is not productive. I too have an older better behaved DD and I try not to even compare them in my mind as it's as if the younger one sniffs it out!
Sorry I can't help more but I'll be checking your thread for tips.
Keep modelling good behaviour, praise when she gets it right. Gentle reminders for indoor voices etc
Praise your older one too, if she's getting I right consistently- 6yos are still very impulsive, and it takes time and reinforcement for them to be polite and considerate.
I don't have all the answers but I think you need to stay super calm when she shouts, and also keep things short. Not sure the having to talk about it would help. I would keep to the pattern of action leads to consequence, rather than insisting on an apology she can then refuse to give. Maybe ignore her if she's rude then it doesn't get the reward of attention?
at this age ignoring can work well.
So any request or comment made in a rude way, you pretend too be deaf, and don;t hear it. At some point you need to say that you are wearing special hearing devices that mean you can only hear her when she speaks nicely, and make a game of it, but be firm.
My DS - not quite 6 - is exactly like this, I assume it's part of them finding out where they fit in the world! And checking out whether there is scope for them to be top dog or not...and it's very hard to deal with...
Things that (mostly) work for us are not giving in, even when you feel like it, sanctions (often met with "I don't care I didn't want pudding anyway!), and then as a PP says, making a big deal out of the good stuff and through that reinforcing that cooperation is far more likely to get you what you want. Unfortunately I think we've got to play "the long game" on this rather than hope for more speedy results, as some days when I think we're getting somewhere, he'll kick off about something and we're back to square one.
You have my sympathy, especially dealing with it on your own...evening treats after she's gone to bed are definitely the way forward (chocolate/gin/favourite TV - whatever works best!)
I don't have answers either. Certainly don't agree to her request. That is extremely rude. We say Mummy please take some food off my plate. I don't really agree with pretending to be deaf. As it just winds children up. And they might yell even louder. But if nothing else works then why not.
Thank you for all the lovely responses and advice. @Plantsitter1 yes I agree it's her personality to some extent. She is incredibly headstrong and determined (traits that will serve her well one day I'm sure) but subsequently challenging to parent.
If I look back I do think there have been general improvements so you're right that it's good to think of it as setbacks rather than, "it's all still bad."
Yes, I'm very conscious that it's easy for me to think of older DD as the 'well behaved one' and I try not to compare but will make even more of an effort. I think some of younger DD's frustration comes from having an older sister who is always better just because she's older and has had more time to learn/grow.
@BluebirdHill yes, maybe I need to let go of the need to 'talk.' I have laid out for her before what I consider to be rude/bad behaviour. She gets one warning and then consequence.
I've tried ignoring in the past but found it became an excuse for her to basically verbally abuse me because I was just not responding. But now that she has consequences for rudeness I can implement these.
I like the idea of making it a game with 'special hearing devices' though because of course there are variations of rudeness and sometimes it's more just impolite.
Parenting is bloody hard work sometimes...
thanks again for all the advice. It really helps just to hear from others.
I would give them a chance to correct themselves first before sending them away. Initially, by modelling the behaviour I’m expecting.
“Shall we try that again by saying ‘ there’s too much on my plate so can you take some off, please?’.”
After that, I would ignore them and only remove them if their behaviour warranted it.
If they responded appropriately I’d be a bit OTT with praise so they understand the ‘reward’ of being polite and move on.
@Peach1886 thanks, it's good to hear from someone also experiencing it (although sorry to hear that you are also going through it).
I agree it's part of the 'top dog' thing and I think when her Dad left she basically thought she might be able to be in charge. he had been the disciplinarian prior to that and she continues to be a little angel at his house and at school.
Her behaviour when he initially left was sometimes violent and extreme (demanding to know when I would leave too, trying to hurt herself or her sister or me), so it's definitely improved from that.
And yes, on the worst evenings I just try to get through to the point where I can sit on the sofa with a glass of wine and chocolate and have a good cry.
She is an amazing child in so many ways and when she's affectionate it is really wonderful but oh my, does she make it difficult sometimes.
My nearly 5 year old has a terrible habit of sounding rude. I don't know whether it is actually rudeness or not, it's more like he is very literal so wants to explain/defend his position but it comes across as rude/answering back.
It is exhausting. I totally sympathise. Quite often I just don't feel up to tackling it, I just don't have the energy to deal with it. I have to just make myself it though.
One easy tactic to try (as mentioned by Gatehouse) is to allow them to correct themselves. I have a stock of responses I roll out 50 times a day:
Oh dear, that didn't sound right. I'll let you ask for that again.
That's not a word we use in this house. Try another?
You know we don't speak to one another that way in this family. How do you think should we phrase it?
Ok I'll let you ask for that again!
Ok, one last try to ask for that properly!
Etc etc. 9 times out of 10 it works and keeps us both quite calm.
Good luck. And
@CoffeeSTAT thank you for that list, I will add that to my repertoire
Yes, great list @Coffeestac. I really like the idea of getting them to correct it without suggesting how.
The "Oh dear" one cracked me up. Like I so wasn't expecting that 🤣
I told her that wasn't an appropriate tone and that she could sit on the stair for time out so she could come back and be polite. She did the time out but then refused dinner altogether and went to bed hungry. She is so stubborn!
I would have left it there. She doesn't have to display contrition to have registered that going to bed hungry isn't actually that nice- sometimes lessons happen when we don't notice them.
Because of her ongoing rudeness in the evening she now has a consequence of no tv this evening.
Not sure this is the best approach. She got punished yesterday and now you're punishing her again for the same offence. All that achieves is to remind her that she is naughty and that you and she are cross with each other. What I found worked better with this age group was making each day a new start, not to let the sun go down on our wrath, to make it easy to start again.
CoffeeSTAT's approach is brilliant
It's basically about making it easy to start again.
@corythatwas thanks that is definitely worth considering. I hadn't thought of no dinner as her consequence as that was her choice.
The added difficulty is that she goes to her Dad's one weeknight do it sometimes means two days of delay before the consequence kicks in.
BUT she knows that she gets a warning and if she continues to be rude I have to follow through. It wasn't just the one incident that evening as she continued screaming, shouting and blaming.
Yes, I'm just wondering if you wouldn't do better concentrating on individual incidents rather than to ask her to evaluate her overall behaviour. She is quite young and needs to move on quickly.
In particular, the idea of her going off to her dad's and then coming home to you to face a consequence for something she did before she went off to him- no, that doesn't sit right with me. Coming back to mum should be a new start.
My own dd was very stubborn and quite volatile, but I still found immediate intervention and then moving on worked much better. Telling her off, imposing any immediate consequence, but not treating her anger at the consequence as further misbehaviour and not letting consequences last so long that it didn't allow us to move on.
After all, we do all get angry at times and to some extent we do need to be allowed to express that. And then the anger needs to be allowed to come to an end, without festering. You can model that to her and eventually she will learn.
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