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DH struggles with defiant 6 year old DD
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Richtea67 · 22/09/2022 19:31

To be fair we are both struggling with our daughter's behaviour, and despite countless lengthy discussions about strategies to handle this, he always defaults to stern shouty 'do as I say now or else X consequence' mode! This really ramps up her defiance, and they end up bickering like they are both 6, or worse case scenario she goes into full blown meltdown and she can also lash out physically. As a very strong 6 year old this is very difficult to manage. She has always been very defiant and sensitive, and we have tried various parenting strategies over the years with mixed short term success, leading to periods of improvements at times. The last year has been particularly difficult with family bereavement, moving areas/schools and now a baby on the way, so I think some of this recent worsening behaviour is linked to this.

What hasn't worked previously is immediate consequences to bad behaviour e.g. no TV or sweet treat, or reward chart system. She really pushes any boundaries, therefore I adopt a more positive parenting style, praising good behaviour and reinforce 'natural consequences' e.g. oh OK, well if you don't want your hair brushed it will be very messy and in your eyes at school- she tends to respond to this if used at an early enough stage and this can often head off full blown meltdown. She is a very good communicator, so I also try to talk with her, empathise and encourage her to be open with how she is feeling. After a meltdown, particularly if she has been aggressive we have a cuddle and a 'debrief' i.e what caused it, why it isn't acceptable, what could she/we do instead.

I think part of the reason for posting is to have a vent, and also seek support from anyone that has experienced similar? One main concern is the impact that this is having on DH and DD's relationship, which isn't great. My relationship with DH is also affected as he think's I am too soft with her. It would be better for her if we were more consistent also. We keep coming back to the same conversation though and although we agree at the time, he always reverts to default shout mode in the heat of the moment- it is like banging my head on a brick wall!

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Kanaloa · 22/09/2022 19:35

It’s a bit tricky. It’s not great that he goes into shouty/stern mode but I also don’t think it’s great that the answer to her not wanting her hair brushed is that she doesn’t get her hair brushed. To me having clean face and hands, brushed hair, and neat clothes is a non negotiable really. Is your model of cuddling her and saying it’s not acceptable after she’s violent working? I mean, has the behaviour improved with this technique, or not?

I know you say you have conversations where he agrees but are these conversations where both parties are being heard? Or conversations where you say he needs to not tell her off/have consequences and then he is expected to do that?

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Kanaloa · 22/09/2022 19:38

Just because I can sort of see his point. If my child was regularly aggressive to me and DH insisted the answer was to let him then cuddle him and say it wasn’t acceptable and then it just continued happening I wouldn’t really be happy with that.

There are many techniques you can use if you look up online - one of mine is autistic and we used to do now and next boxes when he was smaller. Now you brush hair, next we eat snack, etc. Now you put coat on, next we go to park. Also maybe a timeout box she can get with books or teddies or something when she is angry.

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idonotmind · 22/09/2022 19:52

Honestly, i could have written your post, OP.

DD is exactly the same. We even have hair wars, too! My solution is to get it cut.

I don't know the answer. Yelling seems to work more than negotiation for me. I think you have to dole out consequences when you say them. Follow through. Which is easier said than done and can often mean I don't get to do what i want i.e. no hair brushed, no bike ride

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Bicthebiro · 22/09/2022 19:57

Have you considered ASD?

Sensitive
Prone to outbursts and meltdowns
Physically aggressive
Defiant and doesn't care about punishments
All possible symptoms of ASB

Particularly if DH is prone to similar outburts

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Yack02 · 22/09/2022 19:59

Unless there are additional needs involved, I think you need to be way firmer with her. The softly softly approach isn't working.

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Richtea67 · 23/09/2022 12:06

Hi, thank you for replies so far...

@Yack02 can you give a practical example of what you mean by being firmer please? As I say, firm boundaries and consequences haven't worked previously e.g no TV, treats etc. Always happy to revisit things we have previously tried though, or approach differently if there is something we haven't thought of.....

@Bicthebiro yes we have considered this, and if behaviour doesn't improve will discuss with GP. I have spoken with the school and they are shocked as she is completely different there! She did speak with their 'pastoral support worker', but I felt that she was just getting a telling off from them! She came home really upset and ashamed after speaking with them (with no improvement in behaviour).

@Kanaloa, yes interestingly we did put together a 'calm box' which DD decorated and put in some teddies and nice sensory bits but things seem to escalate too quickly for her to use this effectively. But useful to revisit I think.... Communication wise with DH it is very much two way, and it's not as if we haven't tried being firmer and more consequence driven. This is why we have explored other approaches. The hair brushing example....yes she does need it brushed but it seems to work better if she is provided with a calm explanation of why this is important, not just told to 'do it or else X consequence'.

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Kanaloa · 23/09/2022 12:17

Oh okay, so once told why it’s happening she can then calm down and allow hair brushing/other things? In that case it is tricky. We had this with DS. Saying ‘you must do x’ just didn’t (and doesn’t) work. We had to say ‘you need to wear boots or your feet will be wet and sore’ then it sort of worked. It’s a shame the school have been so unsupportive about it, that could have been really helpful for you but it sounds like they’ve taken it the wrong way like she’s just being naughty at home or something.

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Isaidnoalready · 23/09/2022 12:24

So she will comply if she is told why it needs to be done?

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Ship · 23/09/2022 12:26

Does it work if you give an element of choice? Eg would you rather I brushed your hair or are you doing it? Or shall I do bunches or a pony tail today?

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