6 year old girl throwing temper tantrums. What should we do?

Julia - posted on 03/05/2012 ( 25 moms have responded )

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My 6 year old daughter is essentially throwing temper tantrums. I cannot get her to do the things that she is told. She is calling my husband and me names. She tells us she hates us. She will throw anything that she can get her hands on. Nothing is working. We have tried grounding her. We took her radio and tv away. We have even made her write sentences. To no avail she will not do them. I am going to lose my mind if I cannot get a handle on this. Any suggestions would be wonderful!!!!

Thanks

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Jennifer - posted on 12/06/2013

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My 6 year old daughter is also having tantrums. She gets upset easily and can go from happy to sad and vise versa in seconds. Family members have often told us that they would not tolerate this behavior and we need to put our foot down, she needs a spanking, etc... The problem is is she CANNOT HELP IT. She cannot control her emotions. I am hoping to find some ideas to help with this. I have tried the punishing her (she's missed out on friend's parties, school activities, dessert, etc....) I have tried holding her, I have tried loving her, I have tried changing the topic, we have designated a room for her to go to when she's upset, we tried to have her draw pictures of her anger, NOTHING WORKS and it is stressful. Also she is not naughty all the time and her anger is not always a fight between us and her. She is down right mad at the world.

Orlando - posted on 09/13/2012

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Hello, well this is refreshing to see. I am a single dad who has 50/50 care of my child so 1 week on/off. When myself and my ex-wife became separated just under 2 years ago, my daughter's tantrums were through the roof.

As I live with my parents, they seemed worried that the neighbours might report us lol! I told them that it was a transissional phase due to the different styles of parenting and loss she was going through.

Nearly 2 years on and she is still having them at age 6, though they are few and far between without her harming anyone so in retrespect we've come a long way.



Just tonight, while helping her to get changed, she became very rude and was not being very nice to me. I was helping her as I knew she was a bit tired and I like that time of the evening to bond as crazy as that may seem almost like a cuddle time but it certainly wasn't that!

Anyway, I'd had enough and told her that I didn't appreciate the way she's spoken to me and that she needed to change herself.

Well, she wasn't happy and a tantrum ensued for about 15-20 minutes which felt like hours.



I closed the door and walked away going about my business like nothing had happened. After a couple of minutes, I told her that when she decided to calm down, I could talk to her but she was in a full blown tantrum by then. Knowing that she wasn't harming me or herself I continued to give her the space and went about my chores.



My parents were getting ready to go out and came out of the bedroom unhappy. They told me that enough was enough and that I needed to do something about her tantrums because it wasn't working.



I personally think she has come a long way. She screams the house down but doesn't harm herself, object or anyone else for that matter. I believe a child deserves the right to be unhappy and need the skills to self sooth.

My father said I was brave for not hitting her as it would stop her ways. I believe it would teach her that when the going gets tough, that's what we do and it prevents us from having the life skills of calming ourselves down in a crisis.



After 30 minutes she was exhausted. She came to me and said she was sorry. I told her that I loved her and that I was teaching her the way for the future so she could manage to calm herself down. She said that "Mummy keeps following me and screaming at me and I ask mummy to leave."



So I have to feel for her with different boundaries week to week. I think a child really does deserve the right to get cross at time as long as they are not harming themselves, things or anyone for that matter. I dare someone tell a grieving widow to stop crying out loud at their husbands funeral!



So what are peoples views? I need some support as I feel I don't have enough suppport or connections around. Am I doing the right thing? Is there anything else I should be doing?



I did feel good knowing the night ended well. She didn't get the movie night that I'd promised but she did get to fall asleep in my arms which she needed. Had I have lost it I think I would be going to bed with a different mindset!



Thanks!

[deleted account]

What kinds of things is she refusing to do? Can you let her suffer the natural consequences of not doing them?



Also, ask her why she doesn't want to do them. When you tell her to do something, and she lashes out, instead of getting defensive and punishing her, say "Let's talk about this--maybe we can come up with a compromise."



Chances are, she is feeling bossed around, powerless and just wants a chance to express herself and be heard. By letting her tell you how she feels, you are validating her feelings, which is a big, big deal to her. Think about how you would feel if you told your husband you were unhappy and he just told you to suck it up and do what you are told...it would suck right?

Also, letting her tell you why she doesn't want to do whatever it is you tell her to opens the door to a compromise, and letting her help you come up with a solution you both like will empower her and make her more eager to please you--thus lessening future power struggles.

Marie - posted on 10/22/2013

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6 is a little old to be throwing tantrums! Sounds like parents don't have a united front. If you love them you need to teach them VERY early on( like 12 mos) that they can not act like this. It's unacceptable and inappropriate to behave that way with you or infront of others. It's makes others uncomfortable. Shut it down as soon as a young child starts making this behavior a habit. You waited too long to reprimand the kid. When the behavior started was when you both should have punished the child with timeouts or taking toys away. (12- 18 mos)Both parents need to be on the same page as to how and when you disapline in your household,if not they learn to manipulate and pin one parent against the other. I have 4 kids: 2, 7, 10 and 13. None of them ever tantumed past the age of 2. My 2 yr old tries every once and a while but I remind her that mom and dad make the rules and that behavior is unacceptablein our house. I'm firm when I say it so she knows I mean it. I get comliments on how well behaved they are. I tell my kids I love them in the morning when I wake them up with kisses and at night after saying prayers. We're huggers and kissers in my family. Kids need love, boundries and consequences. But they really need consistancy from us. Remember to always praise good behavoirs and reprimand bad ones. Consistantcy is key, it's hard, but just remember,they get bigger and stronger and the behaviors can get worse if you don't start setting boundaries. Our jobs as parents is to make our kids independant,and able to function well in society by adulthood (18). good luck!

Deidre - posted on 03/05/2012

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Kelly's advice is right on! She really nailed it.

For me when my middle boy was doing that I was at a loss as well. He had just entered into a preschool program and they were able to guide me through what was happening with us. In our case I wanted to do such and such NOW! Either I was in a hurry or it was just TIME to do whatever. So the problem was he was having difficulty making the "Transition". So they recommended I use a kitchen timer. So that whenever it rang it was time to do the other thing. It was absolutely INSTANTANEOUS!! I felt like it was MAGIC!! I would set the timer and say ok, when the timer goes off we need to: take our nap or go to the store or eat lunch or everything else under the sun. And he complied without any arguing. This was my saving grace. I am raising 3 boys alone so trust me when I say I was about to lose MY MIND!! :)

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Bryan - posted on 08/18/2014

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My 6-year old daughter does the same thing and sometimes it's once every few weeks and sometimes she'll go through a spell where she goes through it several nights in a row... My wife and I have been a bit divided on how to deal with it but we've come to an agreement where we manage it where we can and punish her when we can't and just hope one day she'll grow out of it.

I worked in mental health for several years before having kids of my own and saw a lot of kids who grew up in absolutely horrible environments and began to question myself as a parent based on what I observed in that field. While in one hand I learned a lot about mental health, it can be counter-productive to psychoanalyze every child that displays behavioral problems. There's a balance and sometimes it's hard to know where that fine line lies (besides I've always believed one would have to be a little f'd up in the head him/herself to survive the first day in a mental health setting... Let alone the 6 years I stayed).

Having said all that if you have the "perfect child" and it makes you feel better to give yourself a pat on the back then knock yourself out (I'll even throw in a cookie for ya)!! For the rest of us we must trust ourselves as parents. If there seems to be a problem that's too big to handle then by all means seek professional help. In the mean time do everything you can to de-escalate those situations with your kids but keep in mind that bad behavior must be disciplined not rewarded. REMEMBER you are the adult!

Patricia - posted on 08/09/2014

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I have a daughter who is the custodial parent of my grandson, he is 4 years old. She let the aunt on his fathers side come to get him on a Monday for a visit, the aunt was suppose to bring him back on Wednesday, but the father came down from Texas and took him back to his home without my daughter knowing. On Wednesday the school called and said the father was requesting information about my grandson, because he was no longer going to be attending school in our state. Is this kidnapping, he is not on the birth certificate, neither does he pay court ordered child support! all he has is a DNA test. What can be done?

Lisa L - posted on 08/09/2014

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I too have a child who throws tantrums who is six, he is my grandchild. He of course has some neurological challenges. I was looking for some help when I came to this site for ways to help him. but instead I am seeing a lot of ridicule. It is hard being a parent and no two children are alike. I have raised four of my own and on my own and now raising three more due to my daughters inability to do so. I was very firm with my children as well. But you don't know how they are until they are grown. They may behave and do all you say, but when the teen years come around it is a different story. As they grow up and begin to make their own choices you will see more clearly that it is a lot of the child not so much the parenting. This of course is my thought and experience. As for the concern parents children are little people. I know my grandchild is experiencing some form of internal trauma yours may be too. Look closer pass the fits and seek professional help. I am and have . It is a long process. Most of the professionals question me why I felt something more was wrong and it was very frustrating. Most people family and friends included felt I wasn't hard enough on him. Well I actually have two grandsons who have challenges. one has been diagnosed the other I am still fighting for more of a diagnoses. A neurologist has at least validated my suspicions for what I thought was the cause. I just need him to be evaluated to understand how to better help him. It is very up setting for me to have him throw a fit and not be able to reach him. I have tried a lot of different ways to disciple him but nothing seems to work. So I feel your pain and hopefully this has helped. I too will continue reading and maybe someone will give me a bit of helpful advice.

Lisa - posted on 06/28/2014

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These posts have been a real eye-opener! First, I feel badly for all you single moms. I understand the loss of a husband through death or divorce, having gone through it myself. I also have a special-needs child. I do not get the wimpy attitude(s) regarding discipline; your children should not run your life. You are supposed to run theirs! Stop blaming/excusing your childrens' behavior based on YOUR life choices, & stop over-compensating for your guilt! Put on your big-girl panties & be a Mom! Better yet, quit dropping your panties & producing kids you can't deal with!!!

Kim - posted on 04/11/2014

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I have a 6 year old that has tantrums occasionally too. It is very common. They are finding their way in life and want more independence. I have experienced this even more from my daughter since she has no control over her environment and schedule since it is now court ordered. Marie, I feel you are not taking into account possible separation issues and undiagnosed conditions. Not every child is fortunate enough to have 2 parents in the same home on a "united front". My daughter had boundaries, consistency, routine and good behavior until her father decided to start physically abusing me and cheating on me. Our time is now split with her. It was a nightmare. To come out and say 6 year olds are too old to be having tantrums and it must be the fault of the parents is being pretty judgmental. There are so many things to take into consideration. I do agree that they need schedule,consistency, kisses, hugs and I love that you pray with them! Having faith in God is so beneficial to the family unit on so many levels! If my daughter does have a tantrum, I insist that she is isolated in her room on her bed and tell her when she is calm we can talk about it. If she throws anything she has to pick or clean up her room under direct supervision after she calms down. Now she doesn't throw things. It ends with hugs and I am sorry and I love you mommy so we both win :)

Olita - posted on 02/15/2014

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sorry, i thought marie posted something stupid again. Alas, it was ANOTHER moron!!! wow. I guess my last post was really for Shawnn Livley

Olita - posted on 02/15/2014

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Marie, you obviously don't have the ability to comprehend what you read and don't know what self-righteous means.... I didn't say anything about how I parent or about myself, but you, once again, seem to think you know so much!!

This is the last comment I'm leaving, it's pointless to have a back and forth with someone over the internet who has their head stuck so far up their own butt....

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/14/2014

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Olita, I really cannot believe that you just said "if you lucked out with kids that behave, don't pat yourself on the back, because that's just who they are"...

No, honey, sorry...My kids were well mannered, well behaved, and all around good young men. Not because I beat them, or otherwise, but because I, like Marie, had firm expectations of them and guided them from the time they were born. A relative of mine had 3 kids, the first she guided, etc, and he turned out great. The second she got a little looser with (same personality as his brother, and basically all around good kid) and he ended up in jail due to lack of parental guidance. It's NOT "just how they are". It is HOW THEY ARE RAISED that forms a person.

So, I'd have to say that, for your judgement of another poster's methods (which, by the way, have absolutely nothing to do with you), and her opinions makes YOU the self-righteous prick, my dear.

Parents: Raise your kids with some consistency in their lives. Don't be wishy-washy. Temper tantrums happen, at ALL AGES. Trust me, I work at a univeristy, and even college kids have tantrums...

For kids under the age of 8 or 9, tantrums can perhaps help them express their frustration, etc, that they don't know (because of lack of life experience) how to handle any other way. It is our job, as parents, to guide them into handling situations in the proper manner.

It's most definitely NOT because they were or were not born with the ability to do it because of 'who they are'...

But, hey, thanks for that laugh! I see you're the one who tells your kid's teachers that they need to leave him alone, he's just 'being himself'...no matter how disruptive they are getting!

Olita - posted on 02/13/2014

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wow, Marie....for someone who thinks they know everything, you sure don't know much! What a self-righteous prick! This is a woman who is at her wits end and is feeling hurt and you're telling her you did this wrong, this wrong and this wrong. This is precisely what's wrong with parents. Instead of lifting them up and helping you make sure you tear off a little piece at a time, which makes you feel better somehow?! Maybe you have kids that behave, maybe you don't and you just want others to be as miserable as you, who knows. But one thing is for certain; people(kids are people) are who they are. So if you lucked out with kids that behave all the time, don't pat yourself on the back too hard, They are mostly this way because that's just who they are. Sure parents guide them in the right direction, but don't get crazy, Marie. You so obviously don't know how to talk to people, I doubt it's any different at home. So, politely, get a damn grip!!

User - posted on 12/14/2013

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I have to say this is true sometimes, parents not raising children with rules, and boundaries, but for my husband and i, our daughter was nearly perfect, never needing consequences, verbal redirection at most. A switch went off during summer between kindergarten and 1st grade and has slowly become horrendous. Full tantrums, on floor! She had never had this type of behaviors previously. She says she cant help it when she screams, throws crying fits. We say she sounds like a donkey braying, sitting on floor crying and usually over nothing at all! She is consequenced, grounded, looses priveleges, held, loved, etc..its a nightmare. Nothing in her life changed except grade. She denies bullies, friend issues, even suspected sexual abuse-by peers just because its so drastic/intense. She denies all.
She also tells us she hates us. She has become so disrespectful and disruptive in our family.

Sue - posted on 12/10/2013

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Thats a good method in theory but unfortunately doesnt work in every case. Some children have to deal with a lot more hardships like parent separation for exmple. It could also be a condition that has yet to be recognised...in most cases not, just differences in each individual child.

Jamie - posted on 11/09/2013

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My six-year-old is struggling, too. I am not sure how else to help her. We are consistent and loving while she remains adamant about doing something or having it her way.

Karen - posted on 06/18/2013

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i have a 6 year old boy who swears f*****g b***h if he hears the word no or any thing thats not going in his favour he kicks off its like walking on egg shells im going out my mind ive done everything time out taking things off him stopped certain foods he shouts nasty rthings and he minnipultes my 4 year old neice now my sister does not want to come to mine or anybody due to his behaviour i dont know what to do its destroying us all i have a baby and a 14 year old and im a single parent i keep it togerther just lol !!!!!

Rosy - posted on 05/01/2013

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Start by loving her a lot. Night time story and lot of cuddling. That's the time my 6 year old opens up and tells me what's bothering her. Have a routine in the house. The most important thing is the parent has to be rested, happy and patient to handle these kind of situation with kids. The books and videos and CD from "love and logic" has been life saver for me. The fastest way i learnt is via dvd and cd . Wish you good luck.

Andrea - posted on 01/11/2013

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I see that this is an older post from 2012, but I am experiencing this phase with my almost 6 year old daughter. Each new phase brings me to the internet to see if it's normal or if it's something else that might be causing my daughter to act out. It seems like perhaps my daughter gets a little tired from school, and she is very much wanting control over her life, so she acts out when she gets frustrated. I just decided that to reach back into some of the Super Nanny tricks of the trade to deal with her tantrums... we had one that lasted nearly 45 min's over some candy I wouldn't let her have... she cried and screamed like there was no tomorrow, but I tried to stick with Super Nanny rules as best I could and it worked out. I think with every phase they enter into they gain confidence, but also insecurities and they don't have control over taming their emotions yet... they are learning how to do it... add in tiredness, hunger, etc... and it's fuel to the fire I think. I think the rewards system is a good system too, but I also think each kid responds differently to different forms of reward and punishment. Most of the super nanny's ideas seem to have some level of effectiveness really, and they've been my most effective tools yet for dealing with emotions and tantrums and bad behavior... though sometimes you just have to try to not let it bother you so you can get the results you want... I'm always calm while it's going on, but after I get upset... so it's a challenge for me to also be over with it when it's over.

[deleted account]

Great advice above but for me (who is living the same here!!), other issues along with tantrums have led us to testing (Aspergers, ODD, etc.). Can she stop herself when she knows the consequence is a really distressing one? For us the answer is no. Totally loses it over seemingly nothing and takes a long time to recover. You might want to read The Explosive Child, it's a great book!

Kate - posted on 03/07/2012

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Kelly, very good points.. have a 6 yr old with ODD and find that powerlessness in transitions is a real hot button for her. We try to verbally plan in advance as much as possible so she knows what is going to happen, and also give her as much opportunity to "help" things go smoothly, i.e. power! If I hurry her, things go south very quickly. She is slowly learning that obedience and respect will usually get her something that she desires, and otherwise, the most drastic measure has been removing all toys, books, animals from her bedroom and placing them under lock and key. She then earns them back for good behavior. It has been really difficult, but she is finally realizing that the rules for respect and obedience are not going away, and the she feels the love so much more when she is loving in return. But - that said, we have many very highly charged, emotional and anxious moment in our home these days! It is exhausting for a single mama too, as she and big sister recently lost their Daddy when my hubby passed away suddenly a year ago. The 9yr old has her own issues, but appreciates a one on one talk with mama a lot more, so we get through her "button-pushing" that way. The little one is just a reactionary so I have to be on my toes and FORCE myself to stay calm, which I struggle with. Every day is a new one, sometimes every hour! Take heart. Prayers for better days ahead!

Yasmara - posted on 03/07/2012

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Begin with a point system. Rewarding desired behaviour. With points .. like my son .. I started if he weared his glasses, did his homework in a certain way...

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