Disciplining a Five Year Old

Nicole - posted on 06/06/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I'm a divorced mother of one beautiful daughter and I am trying my hardest to be stern with her when I need to be and teach her to be respectful to me and to mind me. She seems to have no problem receiving and taking the discipline from her father (from what she tells me-she listens to him and does as she is told). I feel like I am always yelling at her. I don't like myself when I do that and I just want her to respect me and do as she is told the first time and not talk back to me. I thought that maybe if I make up a Behavior Chart and put stickers on there for good behavior or happy faces for good and sad faces for bad and reward her at the end of each week (if she has more happy faces than sad) by either taking her to the park, swimming, renting a movie for her, taking her to get ice cream, etc, that maybe that would work. What do you think? Does anyone have any other ideas that may work? Remember, I need something that works for "moms"...after all, we are the softies, where as the "men" are the stern ones. :)

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Stephanie - posted on 07/09/2010

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i don't know if it will help or not but my family is old fashioned first time u get the talk next time u get the rod, the family believed in spare the rod spoil the child and i didn't like it growing up but now that i'm an adult i thank my parents for doin' it, so that is how i do my four, i tell them what to do and if they don't they get a spanking it works for my family i don't know about anyone elses.

Ellen - posted on 07/02/2010

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Yelling at children does not work. She needs proper punishments for her behaviors. Rewarding good behaviors is great, but bad behaviors should not be completely ignored either.

Try telling her what she should do instead of what she should not do. For example, if she is running and you want her to walk, say "please walk". Telling a child what they cannot do all the time sends negative messages to the child.

Once you tell her to please walk, if she continues to run then let her know if she does not walk she will have to sit in time out for (1 minute for each year of her age, so if she is 5 years time out should be for 5 mins). Then make sure you follow through on the punishment if she continues to run.

I also found it extremely helpful to give my children warnings. Like at the playground I would tell them that we were leaving in 10 mins so to finish their game or a few more times down the slide. Then I would give them the 5 min warning. Then "ok, last time down the slide". This gives them time to prepare for the transition.

If you need more ideas for other specific behaviors, feel free to message me.

Katie - posted on 06/30/2010

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A lot of behavioral problems are age related, but with children of divorce, it can be a little different...it is especially dependent on the child custody arrangements you have, visitation schedules, etc.
My ex-husband told me that my DS (4.5 y/o) listened to him all the time and that he has little to no problems with him. (We have a joint-custody arrangement and our DS spends about an equal amount of time with both of us). However, this wasn't the case, his now ex-girlfriend, told me after she left him that our son had preferential treatment over her own children in their house (lighter punishments, none at all, more leniancy, inconsistent bedtime, etc). It made all the (negative) difference in the world when he came over to my house. He threw more temper tantrums more often, had severe selective listening skills (heard the things he wanted to hear ie: getting a treat, going somewhere fun, etc) and was extremely argumentative. A lot of this behavior is normal, but unfortunate, for children of divorce to a certain extent because there is an emotional/confusion shift that takes place as they transition between one home to the next, between mom & dad, because they don't understand their feelings and the "why" behind them.

It might also help to speak with your ex about having similar, if not the same, rules in both of your homes and to maintain a "consistency" for your DD. That's really key- if she learns that it's ok to do one thing at daddy's house and it's not ok to do that same thing at mommy's- it sends a mixed message that someone from this age group doesn't really understand. Yes they see/understand trends and can learn to be manipulative/use all of those things to their advantage over time...but really, it's about communication, setting clear guidelines & rules and holding your ground. Because if they're pushing their limits now, just imagine how they'll be when they're 15y/o ;)

Another thing you might consider is to talk to your pediatrician about literature on "Behavior Problems in Young Children." My DS doc gave me some reading material and it has a lot of relevant information and good ideas in it. Just a thought :)

Good luck!

Nicole - posted on 06/27/2010

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I came up with a solution on my own! AND IT WORKS!

I'm using a behavioral chart for her and rewards...rewards include anything from going out for dinner at her choice of restaurant, going to the park or zoo, to getting a surprise gift.

Also, if she goes to bed and sleep by herself, she earns STARS. If she gets 5 to 7 stars per week, she gets to pick something special of her choice to do with Mommy.

She's doing a GREAT job so far! I LOVE HER SOOOO MUCH!!

Jane - posted on 06/10/2010

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Haha....that was not the case in my home...my ex-husband, the father of my children was the softy and still is. I am the disciplinarian. Some of the ideas you suggest are fine, timeouts work great...really anything of structure. My biggest thing for you is CONSISTENCY. I guarantee you, that you are having problems because you are not consistent. Kids know this and take advantage of it. It's not just your daughter...it's any kid. If you reprimand behavior one time and ignore it the next, the message she gets is "hey, sometimes I'll get yelled at and sometimes I won't so I'll give it a try". BUT, if you are consistent, they then know that each and every time, they'll get in trouble for it and won't do it again. Consistency, consistency, consistency. That is the main rule and only until you implement a consistent approach, no matter what the approach is, will you get the results you want.

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